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Gathering Part 3 of All the Games!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Time for Part 3 of The Gathering of Friends!

Find Part 1 here: Gathering Part 1 of All the Games

Find Part 2 here: Gathering Part 2 of All the Games!


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KeyForge: Call of the Archons has been a hit with many people and it was time I saw what this game was about. New to me!

This is not a game I figured I would like, and The Gathering is a perfect place for me to try games like this. Keyforge is a 2-player competitive game where players have their own unique deck of cards. The catch with this game is that every deck of cards is totally unique. Each package will be all-encompassing for anyone to play. You can't customize your deck in any way - you get what you get. Of course, the base game will have the same base decks of cards, but every pack you buy afterward will be a unique experience.

The game is pretty straightforward. You have a hand of cards and you will place heroes into a line up in front of you that will stay there until they are killed off by the opponent. Your goal is to gather lots of aember and forge 3 keys before your opponent does.

I really hated this game in the first 3 turns. But I wanted to give it a fair shot and we were able to finish the whole game. There are some extra rules for those who really get into the game, or you can give a handicap to players who have a stronger deck since that is inevitable.

Around mid-game I was hating it less as I was piecing together what I should be doing. I think the saving grace for Keyforge is being limited to selecting only 1 out of your 3 factions to use each turn. That is truly THE interesting part of Keyforge. When you pick one faction, then you can activate all the heroes in your line up and play all of that faction's cards into play, otherwise, you can't! You might have an amazing line up of heroes but no matching types in hand, so you'll probably have to choose a different faction to use that round.

Yah I ended up losing horribly. I do think I managed to forge 2 keys though. Michael crushed it. I was just happy it was over. I ended up not hating it, but I still don't find it compelling enough to buy it or really even to play again. It was fine though. Not really my cup of tea.













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Still on the hunt to learn more games and I found Herbaceous Sprouts. New to me!

I quite enjoyed Herbaceous in the past, which got me interested in this follow-up game that involves dice! The dice game gives me a similar feeling to the card game but without the same sense of urgency.

Herbaceous Sprouts is a set collecting, dice drafting game. At the start of each round, cards are placed in a drafting row. Dice are rolled and placed on each card. You will select one of the cards, then take whatever actions the card allows you to take. Finally, you will try to fill up the flower beds before the other players do.

It is all very relaxing and easy to play. With Herbaceous, there was a lot of pressure to pot my plants first and get those big points. I didn't really have that tense feeling in this game. Yes, you want to get to plant first, but you don't have a whole lot of control, since turn order matters most with the dice you get to draft. This game also felt a bit longer to me and lackluster. Beautiful production with amazing art, but it didn't grab me.

The scores were close. Mike Y won this game with 33, Michael had 31, and I had 28. Mike Y said it was his least favorite game that he learned that con. He said he still enjoyed learning and playing with us though.

I would be fine to play it again, but I don't think I am the target audience for this game.







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In an effort to make Mike Y happy with an exciting roll n write, I taught him how to play Twice As Clever.

He said he didn't like roll n writes so much, so perhaps it was a poor choice. Regardless, we played, and he had a decent time. He did admit that this was his new favorite roll n write out of like 3 titles. Hey, I will take it!

I got to play this game a couple of times at the con, and I ended up winning both of the games we played. I feel pretty special, but I have played WAY too much on the app - so I have a leg up on the competition. When we taught Luke how to play, he was really excited about this game. We all had pretty high scores in the mid 200s. The pic below - that is not bad!

I love this game each and every time I play it. It ended up being my game of the month for April. LOVE IT! It could possibly be my favorite roll n write of all time. So happy to play this game whenever!







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Last year I had the pleasure of playing the expansion for Keyper in prototype form. I wrote about it here: CLICK HERE! This year I wanted to play again! Richard Breese and I went head to head using this new expansion to be. Not much has changed since then so we basically just got to playing.

I can't even recall the last time I played Keyper, it was months ago! I figured I would lose wicked bad.

During our play, I discovered that there was no rule about selling sea creatures from the ship. So I gave some suggestions to Richard as to how I thought it should work. He agreed, and we gave it a try.

As it turns out, I had a crazy amount of in-game scoring because I was shipping left and right for bonus points (my favorite strategy). I had over 100 points, and Richard barely had any. So I started to wonder if my sea creature suggestion was overpowered.

I thought for sure I absolutely crushed him, but Richard had a TON of end-game points. Still, I barely won, 185 to 178, which is wicked close and leads me to believe that what I thought might be OP wasn't really all that OP.

We got some insanely high scores. Though, I don't know what a good score might be using this expansion. In the base game, it is usually like 120 or something.

It is always a great pleasure to play a game with Richard, and it's even better when I can beat him at his own game! I hope he can release the expansion by Essen this year!







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As you have read, I got to play a bunch of roll n writes during this con, and Boomerang was a surprise hit for me. New to me!

We played 4 players and Nicole was kind enough to teach us. She particularly likes it as she is from Australia, which was cool to learn.

Boomerang combines 2 of my favorite mechanics: drafting and marking my player board with a writing utensil (aka draft n write). I LOVE DRAFTING CARDS! Why haven't these 2 mechanics been combined until now?? I duno, but I love it.

In Boomerang, you are trying to fill in tourist sites on your board and gain bonus points for completing territories first. Each card you draft shows a location in Australia. Cards might also display activites, wildlife, and collections. There is a lot to try and collect each round, but you want to try and focus too.

I wasn't able to get many bonus points for completing the territories first and I wasn't doing very well with the set collections either. Michael absolutely ran away with this game and scored a whopping 153 points. I was second with 124. I knew I wouldn't win, but I thought I would at least be close enough to throw stones (or a boomerang) at the winner. Nope, not even close.

Boomerang is an all-around wicked clever game and I had an amazing time playing. I have to play this game again soon! I loved it!







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SUPER TOP SECRET PROTOTYPE I CAN'T TALK ABOUT NOW!


Makes me so sad that I can't tell you about how awesome this new game is - hopefully coming soon!!! It is just AWESOME! I can't wait till I can tell you more!

Oh! Wait! I CAN tell you something about it!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was so good, I had to play it twice.



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I finally got to play a game I have had on my unplayed shelf for a while now. It's called Bukiet. New to me!

Not gonna lie, I bought it for the colors! So pretty! heart Luke from Portal Games joined in for a 3 player game with me and Michael. It was handy to have Luke at the table since the game was in Polish and Luke knows Polish! We did find a Polish-to-Spanish-to-English translation that we could use for most of the rules though.

Bukiet is a really simple dice drafting game where players are trying to fulfill bouquet orders for customers. If I draft a 4 yellow die then I can circle a group of 4 yellow flowers. Whites are wild and count as any color.

Customers are happy only if they get the right number and color of flowers. If you circle the wrong color flower or too few flowers, you will make the customer unhappy for -1 point for each mistake (I would be happy to have a bunch of different colored flowers, but I guess I'm not their target customer!). If you have the most unhappy customers then you will get hit with even more negative points, though if you have the least you will gain points.

Your goal is to be the fastest to circle all of a type of flower. The faster you are, the more points you get. You also want to complete flower beds for bonus points. Michael ended up winning our game with 27 points. Luke and I were nowhere near that!

Bukiet seems really simple, and I am not sure there is that much to it. I know I can play it with the family though since the rules are very easy to understand. I still love all the colors and I would be happy to play again.







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Luke was interested in showing me and Michael how to play ArtSee. New to me!

Turns out I played this game in a really early prototype phase and it has changed considerably.

In Artsee, you are controlling an art gallery and you are trying to get visitors into your gallery to see all the lovely art. Each time it is your turn, you will play a card to create a gallery or expand an existing gallery. Other players will get a bonus if they have a matching color gallery. The card you play will have a left or right arrow which will look in the direction of the arrow and score for artwork of the matching color. It might be pointing to one of your own galleries or to a neighboring player's gallery.

It is a pretty easy game to pick up and play. There is no limit to the number of galleries you can have. I ran into the problem that I was trying to focus too much on expanding one gallery and other players were benefiting from my card selection and even leeching off of my nice deluxified gallery for lots of points. Other players were playing a lot more wisely and not helping me in the slightest.

I super lost this game because I wasn't playing hateful enough. Michael and Luke actually tied for the win. I was much further back so I don't recall if there was a tiebreaker winner.

It was a cute game and the art is lovely. I would gladly play this one again.













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Late one night I managed to round up some players for a game of History of the World.

The more I play it, the more I love it! And I finally got in a game with Joe R! He is always one of the hardest people to get to play a game with. Michael and Derek were both learning this game. Poor Derek had some bad allergies, but he was looking a little broken by the end of it. Always such a good sport though.

It was a bit slow going, and apparently, I am not a great explainer for this game. *shrug* I tried! I am really bad with the theme when explaining this game, so perhaps Joe should have taught it.

At the start of the game, I teased Joe about always losing, so of course, he had to go and win the game! Ohhh man he had an epic final turn. I thought Derek would come out of nowhere and just take us all down, but he didn't really get the best final round. He had it rough the first few rounds but had a really great come back in round 4 taking over the map.

All in all, it was a REALLY close game. Joe had 149, Michael had 147, I had 141, and Derek had 137. That is wicked close. It could have been anyone's game. On the plus side, I think everyone had a great time playing.

Here I am, thinking if this needs to be in my #top10 somewhere. It is THAT GOOD.









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In an effort to play an average of 5 new games per day, I needed to play a couple of fast, new games, so Michael and I played a quick game of Push It. New to me!

Riley had been bringing this around to game day, and I duno why, but I missed out on playing it. That has been haunting me ever since! What the heck, Riley!?

Push It is a super fast dex game where you just need the discs and some table space. Each player has 2 discs, and they are trying to get the closest shot to the center push it disc. You get one point if you are the closest and a bonus point if you have both of your discs closer. I think it was first to 5 points wins? Or that's how we played it.

Boom! I crushed this game. I don't even think Michael scored any points. It was a skunk! Maybe I have been playing too much Crokinole. Anyway, I can see the appeal to this game. Bring it to dinner and play while waiting on food or just casually anywhere. It didn't do much for me in terms of dex games. I would always choose to play a number of other dex games over this one, but for portable games, this works well. I could easily play it again.






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Dan had another game to show me called Meander. New to me!

This is a puzzle type game where you are creating a board that marbles will travel on. Each turn, you will draw and place a tile on the board trying to create pathways that work well for you and screw over the other player. Ideally, your path will make the marbles land on the other side in a scoring position. But there are dead ends and spaces where they can land that won't score you points.

I am apparently very good at this game. I was making perfect paths and ruining Dan's paths. He was not doing that to me, but he probably thought he was. All of my marbles made it to the other side with no problems! I think Dan only scored 2 out of 5.

It was a cute game and I could easily play this one again. It was harmless. I don't think it was that exciting but I enjoyed my time!






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Saturday got eaten up with a lot of Flea Market time. You can see in the final haul picture (at the bottom of this blog post) that I might have gotten too many games! On the plus side, that should keep me busy for a while.

Eventually, we got to play some games, and Michael read the rules to Würfelwurst. New to me!

This is a silly little push your luck dice rolling game. On your turn, you will roll all the dice. The black dice have numbers (and one sausage) and the white dice have animals. You will keep one or more dice and then roll the rest again. Each time you roll, you must keep at least one die. You will score the number of ONE type of animal multiplied by the lowest number on your black dice. The sausages count as a 1, but if you roll all sausages, they count as a 7!! Here's the catch: you can score each of your animals only once.

Anyway, it is a cute push your luck game. Probably best with 2 players since it is a game where everyone playing will just be watching the active player. I dislike games like that since there is just a bunch of downtime and nothing I do will really affect the other players.

Michael ended up winning this game since he had a few killer rolls. It was cute though and I would be happy to play again. I won't be looking for the chance to, however.







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Dan had a new party game called Hintegers. New to me!

I think there were 6 of us playing this game. The more people playing, the more fun you will have, definitely! The goal of the game is really simple: you are trying to get rid of your hand of numbered cards first. Your cards are numbered 1-10. The active player is given a choice of categories. They will select one of their cards and will give a one-word clue that relates to their number. Everyone else will choose one of their cards that hopefully matches the clue giver. Whoever matches the active player will get to discard their cards (along with the active player if at least one person guessed correctly).

Example category: Movies. I would play the number 4 card and give the clue "Fantastic". Likely that clue is too easy, because you ideally want only one other person to match your card.

I am simply terrible at this game. Not only am I bad at trivia stuff, I am also bad at math. Not entirely true, but I don't have a lot of math trivia knowledge. There is room to be clever though. I was trying to be clever with my clues, but I was more confusing than clever. I tried and I had fun, and that's what counts!

Dan won this game. I think I managed to guess 3 clues correctly, but I was in far worse shape than many people! It was a cute game and I could play again. This game is just another reminder that I swim with smart people.




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We had 5 players, and Megaland was on my list to try out. New to me!

I figured this would be a mixed bag for me, and I wasn't wrong. I really enjoy push your luck games like Diamant, but they tend to outstay their welcome. This has a similar problem, or maybe our play just went too long.

I can't help myself but push too hard, so I just ultimately fail. I managed to increase my life a lot, but that doesn't get you any points. You have to build up your card engine and generate points that way, and to do that you have to leave the adventure with lots of goodies for rewards before you die. Yah, I never left the adventure soon enough and would always be defeated by the monsters.

Erik was the only sensible one in the game and would often leave the adventure early and collect the few rewards he had. Yah - that is the sign of a real winner. He absolutely crushed us. I am nearly sure I had no points at the end of the game.

It was a cute game and I like that it is available at Target. I would have LOVED this game growing up, and it makes me super happy that kids can get into gaming playing games like this. I can't say this is one I would want to play a lot, but I would be happy to play it again.









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In an effort to learn some more games, I spotted a 2018 Essen release that I was interested in trying called The Tales of Ki-pataw. New to me!

I am always interested in learning Japanese games and this one looked crazy cute. Scott joined me and Michael for a 3 player game.

Not knowing much of anything about this game, I knew Scott would appreciate playing as the Capybara character. So super cute, and under almost any other circumstances I would want to play that character. However, there was a photographer girl, so I HAD to play as her.

Tales is a simple pick-up-and-deliver game where you are running around the board trying to complete goals and contracts and race to the finish. Each player will have their own objectives to complete and whoever can do that first will win. There are alternate end conditions if you partner well with other players and manage to complete it together. I think there is a bit of time traveling happening in this game, and there is a LOT of back story if you are into all that.

There are also elements of deck building that are happening here. You are using a deck of cards to move around the board and complete contracts with cards.

My goal was to visit the places and take some pics and get back to the train station. But I was a very slow, very cold, very hungry, lost little girl, and with such a small hand of cards, I found it very difficult to move around. Scott was a ravenous Capybara and wanted all the food, and he was moving really fast after he ate! His goal was to basically visit all of the locations and eat a lot. Michael was moving very quickly too. He was a time traveller from the future, and his goal was to find the most perfect eggs to eat.

Michael went straight for his objectives. I was trying to work with Scott to pull off a cooperative victory, but we kept getting in each other's way.

It was a cute game and with a few more turns I know Scott and I could have won. But Michael swept in and overtook us for the win.

There are different ways to play the game with more advanced variants, I think. I would be interested to see what the game offers. It was a cute game and pretty interesting. I love the artwork, of course.














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The ice cream social was happening, and it was time for a Filler game. New to me!

Filler is a clever title, but might get lost in conversation, or perhaps easily remembered, hard to say!

This is a super light card game about filling up some pastries! All of the cards have a time stamp and players will select one card to determine the turn order. The earliest card gets to go first. There is a line up of cards each round and players will take turns filling the pastry orders. You will use cards from your hand as ingredients to take pastries from the line up of cards. What is interesting is that, when you take a card, it goes into your hand so you can immediately use it next round for filling ingredients.

You play round after round until the deck of cards is depleted. If you have no cards in your hand then you have to spend your whole turn taking all of your cards back into your hand. A lot of the cards will have end game scoring points and there are set collection bonuses to look for as well. In the end, you just add up your points.

We played a 2 player game and it was super cute. I had some killer turns which got me the win. There were a few cards that allowed you to fill another pastry order, which gave me more cards, which gave me more bonus actions. It all worked out very well for me.

I found this game to be very charming. It is light and easy to play. I like the unique starting hands and the different time stamps. It is really cute and I could play this anytime.








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There was a game I noticed at the last minute that I had to play called Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale. New to me!

I didn't know much about it other than I had to play it. It is a roll n write (flip n write) game about creating a map! There are monsters that will come attacking your lands, but you are trying to map out your land the best you can to score the most points.

There are 4 scoring cards that will give everyone goals to work toward in the game. There are 4 seasons, and each season, two scoring cards will be used, so each card will be scored twice during the game (a la Isle of Skye).

Cards are pulled one at a time and players will have to draw that shape on their map. Some cards will give multiple options. Players will use the scoring card goals as a guide to place the shapes in specific spots on the map.

Each season, a monster will be shuffled into the mix. If a monster card is drawn then everyone has to pass their map to another player who will draw that monster shape on the board in the most inconvenient spot they can find in hopes that the player will take a lot of negative points or screw up their positioning for other scorings. The monster is then discarded from the game.

Each card will have a value printed on it. Once the value of the revealed cards reaches a target value, the season will be over and scoring will happen. Then the next season begins with another monster shuffled in. The person with the most points at the end of the 4th season is the winner!

I love me some multi-player solitaire games like this where really any number of people can be playing. No wonder it was a huge hit for me. I think we ended up playing this game with 6 people. I got to name my map and draw a sigil and create a cartographer name. All these things should involve colors and rainbows and apparently waffles.

We had a pretty nice game and we only ever saw one monster card show up. I ended up losing a bunch of points from that monster but I still did pretty well. There were some good points to be had from scoring complete vertical and horizontal lines, so I was working on that most of the game. I guess that ended up being a winning strategy since I managed to knock it out of the park with a 143 score. I think I left everyone else in the dust around the 120 mark. Maybe I just know how to make maps.

I simply can't wait to play this game again! I am in love! I will have to use colored pencils next time. How pretty my maps will be! I can see it now! Love love love this game!







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One final quick game before we called it a night! We felt we couldn't go wrong with Quick!Quick!Quick!. New to me!

The speed is literally in the title - QUICK. It took longer to read and try to understand the rules than it did to play. Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too many rules for a speed tile laying game.

In Quick!Quick!Quick!, you are trying to rescue people from a disaster by placing tiles in a grid. You have to make sure all of the requirements are being met for the tiles you are placing. There is a lot going on and a lot of wishy-washy rules about storing unused tiles and small bonus tiles.

We played it, and I think I won, but I am not sure anyone really won. It was definitely not quick, or even quick enough to have "quick" 3 times in the title. I can't say I had any fun playing this one. Perhaps I should have called it a night after Cartographers.

Anyway, it was one more game to learn, which made it an even 50 New To Me games for the convention. #goalsweremet







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It was such an excellent con and so many wonderful games were played and wonderful people I got to play them with. One of the best weeks of the year! Loved it!


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New to the Collection:
Instead of listing everything, here is a pic!
Highlights include:
Hadara
The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Dungeon Academy
Rebound








Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!
https://www.facebook.com/AlltheMeeplesoftheRainbow


All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Thank you.
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Fri May 17, 2019 12:00 pm
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Gathering Part 2 of All the Games!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Time for Part 2 of The Gathering!

Find Part 1 here: Gathering Part 1 of All the Games


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The first game I got to learn one morning was a new prototype from Bezier Games called Silver. New to me!

This game is in the vein of CABO (second edition) where you have a bunch of face-down cards and you are trying to get the lowest total value of cards among all players. Everybody will start out by looking at 2 of their cards. Each turn you will draw a card and choose to activate the power on it or swap it for another card in your line discarding the one you swap out. If you have multiples of the card you are discarding, you can discard all of the same value from your line. Because you can start getting matches and discarding those matches, it really makes for a better game than Cabo.

When you think you have the lowest total, you can call for a vote. If you have the lowest, you score 0, but if you are wrong, you score the points in your village plus 10. Everyone else scores the points in their village. The winner gets an amulet that will protect a card next round.

We played the full game of 4 rounds. I was simply terrible at it but I tried my best. It can still be attacky which isn't my favorite, but it was less harmful than Cabo. There are more actions and even some powers to help protect a card if you win the previous round.

We were playing 4 players and the guy who I didn't know ended up winning. People should have been attacking him like I was. I always seem to end up a target.

I had a pretty good time playing this one. With games like this, I think I would generally like it best playing only 1 round to make it a filler game. I would be happy to play this one again.










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A game that was getting played a lot was Krass Kariert.

A game I have played before! Woooohoo! It had been a long while since my last play of it but I recalled most of the rules well enough. Michael was still learning but Toni ended up explaining it for us.

I still very much enjoy playing Krass Kariert and I am glad it is gaining in popularity. Last year it was available to play but it wasn't a hit. So weird how games come and go.

I did particularly well this game. I wasn't playing easy, I was giving all the hard punches to Mary and she kept losing her tokens for it. I managed to knock her out pretty quickly. It was over in 4 rounds because of that.

I love card games and Krass Kariert is unique enough to remain in the collection. It is great. I want to play more card games.




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Looking around the room, I wanted to play a new game. I ended up finding Incubation.

This game has the cutest baby dragon art. Of course, I am attracted to the cute baby dragons - who wouldn't be!? There were no rules in the box because it was a late-stage prototype, but we were able to find Sean who taught us the game.

Incubation is a very simple set collection game. It is super simple, so it seems like it is perfect for kids to play. You roll 2 dice on your turn and collect the resources, or you can choose to reroll the dice for a different result. You are trying to hatch your baby dragons for points. When you collect resources, you have you use them or they disappear - you can't store them.

There are common goal cards you can try to claim if you hatch the matching dragons. There is a wheel where the water, fire, and gold tokens will gather for bonuses when you hatch an egg.

We ended up playing with 4 players and Carlos and Walter were super nice about it. I am not sure they wanted to play this game, but it was still good times getting to play with them.

Maybe it was my excellent rolling technique, but I managed to win this game with 60 points! Michael was second with 48 so I basically crushed them alllllllll. I am Steph Hodge, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons!!! (I wish!)

Incubation was super cute, but not really one that I want to play again. I would peg it great for the families out there with smaller children. Not as much strategy here for hardcore gamers.











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I was very interested in learning The Scarlet Pimpernel. New to me!

I don't really know the story well at all, but from what I know now I think I would have liked this game better if it were made into a fully cooperative game. The artwork had me curious to try this though, it is just stunningly beautiful.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is really a cube pusher game. You are trying to get lots of points in lots of different ways. There are several rounds and the Scarlet Pimpernel is trying to get from one location to another. You aren't working together to get him there, but individually trying to get points by helping him get there. There are a lot of moving parts, but it comes together. There is a game to be played here.

Even playing with only 3 players, I felt it was too long. I can't imagine playing with 6 players. It would just be a drag I suppose.

All game I was trying to figure out a strategy and plan for the future rounds. I did a pretty good job of it. I ended up using all my cubes and locking in majorities so my tiles wouldn't get taken away. I was placing my cubes on paths I knew he would have to take so I could capture those definite points. It all worked in my favor since I managed to win a very close game, 56 to Michael's 55 to Dan's 53.

After playing, I was a bit ho-hum on The Scarlet Pimpernel. I still don't feel like I accomplished anything, and I have no real desire to go back and play again to figure anything out. If requested in the future, it would take a lot to convince me to play again. I think it was a fine and solid game, but just not for me.

















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There was a new game from Matagot that I was looking to try called Dungeon Academy. New to me!

This is a speed puzzle type game. You are rolling dice in a Boggle type manner. On the dice, you will see monsters you have to defeat and potions that will help regain your life as you are going. As soon as you see the dice, you must create your enter and exit plan as fast as you can. Ideally, each path you make through the dungeon will kill off a ton of monsters. The more monsters you kill, the more points you get. But every monster will take some of your health and mana. If you are the first person to exit the dungeon, you will get first dibs at the rewards at the end of the round.

There are 4 rounds in the game. Each round you will get to score bonus for one type of monster, so you have to plan each round carefully and get the best possible bonuses you can. Players have unique abilities they can use in the game and the treasures they find will also help them along the way.

It is a pretty fast game and 4 rounds just flies by. We were playing with 4 players and it was no problem explaining the rules and playing. As the rounds go on you will incorporate different dice which might pose a question as to how to kill a dragon or what a symbol might mean, but once you play a few times to be familiar with the symbols, they won't hold the game up long.

Turns out I am a true dungeon master student. I won, but it wasn't by a lot. I won by a single point! 33 to Michael's 32. Close call! I was the slowest in each round too. You can still get a treasure being the last one to finish, so it might be more beneficial to take your time.

I had a lot of fun with this game. I have played it a few times since my initial play and with a bunch of people. Everyone has enjoyed it a lot. It makes for a good filler game and people can step in or out just to see how they can do. I look forward to when it will be released.










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Mary was talking about a weird trick-taking game she played called Auf falscher Fährte. New to me!

I really wanted to try it out and I got to play it with Michael and Derek. I don't know if 4 players would be better or not, but 3 worked perfectly fine. This game is so freaking bizarre. At the start of any round, each player knows the trump color and pitches any card face-down to the stack. This stack will be a combined value that will mean either you want to have the most tricks at the end or you want to have the least amount of tricks at the end. BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THE VALUE - not until the fifth trick, anyway. You look at your hand and hope you pitch a card that will help you either collect all the tricks or not.

Poor Derek was getting a rough break. There is a catch-up mechanic midway through the round where the player who is losing the current hand can change up the trump color, which should help them regain some control over what is happening in the round. I like that mechanic a lot. I am not sure it helped Derek at all though. We only played a few rounds since we were going to go to dinner, but I still had a great time playing it.

Michael ended up winning with 8 points and I had 7 so it was a close one. This game immediately went on the wishlist. I think it is just a wild game and I love the uncertainty of what cards you should be playing.





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Dan was up for learning one of my new games called X: Ganz schön knifflig!. New to me!

This was definitely one of the weakest roll n write games that I learned during the Gathering. This is very much like Can't Stop Express and other games like it, but it just isn't as good.

You are trying to fill in the lines of numbers by combining pairs of dice. Other players will get to select one pair from the rolled dice as well to fill in the opposite side of the sheet when it is not their turn.

Anyway, there really isn't much going on for this game at all and I can't say it is a roll n write game that you should check out and play. There are just so many better games out there.

Dan ended up winning with 17 points. I was definitely last since I didn't really complete any rows that would have gotten me lots of points.

At least I played it and I don't have to play it again!




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Now was the time for the epic 7 Wonders: Armada war between Me and Stefan, and Dan also joined in for a 3p game.

I should have just hung on tight to my championship title from November. I thought I had it pretty good, but I was playing for a card that didn't show up in the final round since I forgot the card distribution. Whoops! #MistakesWereMade

Stefan just ran away with the game this time. He had the best board: Alexandria for all those resources.

It was a shameful showing from me. I can't believe I played so poorly! I scored about what Dan scored! The HORROR!

I really need a rematch. We need more players next time too.





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I was excited to try more roll n writes and I managed to play Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write twice! New to me!

This is a new game coming from Portal Games later this year and it is pretty simple to pick up and learn. You are trying to gain resources to craft buildings and to be able to place and use those buildings on your land. You are trying to get the most points to win the game.

Players are given a board and some buildings to work on constructing. Three resource dice are rolled and then players in turn order will draft a role for the round to give them a special bonus. Bonuses might be to gain one extra worker or an extra gold for the round. A worker die is also rolled that will give you a number of workers that you can use in the round. Workers can use an available resource die or maybe harvest from the fields you have unlocked.

You are also trying to build buildings that will give you bonuses. The buildings are really what give the game character and will keep me interested in more plays.

I did get to play this game a few times and it felt like there was a dominant strategy with the 8VP building. I was able to build 4 of them. I won both games using this strategy. It wasn't even really a close finish either. I don't know if that is a dominant strategy or I just got lucky.

There is also a solo mode to this game, and with that, a set of tons and tons of unique buildings. In the basic game, you will be playing with the same buildings over and over. I am nearly sure I would get tired playing this base game over and over. What will keep me interested are those extra buildings that will offer variety in the gameplay.

I had fun with this and I want to see where it leads for future plays.















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I had the pleasure of getting to try out the new expansion for Underwater Cities. New to me Expansion!

I love the base game and I was looking to play this new expansion. It was still in prototype form and there is still a lot that I didn't get to see that is in the works.

This expansion adds a bunch of new cards for each stage of the game and some new player boards. I was asked not to get into too much detail because nothing is absolutely final yet. Every player did get to start with a unique starting ability and resources, so that was an especially awesome addition to the game.

I played a 4 player game and it went on for far too long. But that's not a fault of the expansion. I told myself I would never play this game with 4 players, but it was unavoidable unless I bailed on this game. I was most interested in learning the expansion, so I stuck it out.

I was trying hard for diversity in each of my cities, but there were no special cards that helped my strategy and it wasn't enough points for me to have a winning score. I think I was in the 80s and the winning score was over 100 points.

The expansion adds a lot of cool materials, and I am very much looking forward to the released game. It is definitely going straight on the wishlist! Any fan of the base game will appreciate the expansion.






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We had some time to kill so we were going to play 2p Hanabi, but Dan joined in and made it a 3 player game.

We were playing with one variant for the rainbow wild cards and it was the one that created a new suit. It wasn't the hardest variant to play with and we did pretty well. I would say we won the game, but I don't really remember our ranking. I do know we didn't blow up!

It can be a challenging game when playing with Dan. haha It was still fun though and I think I might pick up the deluxe copy since the tiles are so friggin cool! Really like that nice quality they have.








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We were waiting on Derek to finish up a game so he could join us for dinner, so Dan decided it was time to try out the abbreviated game of MeM. New to me!

The quick version of how this game went was that I want to burn it. The fair version is that I promise Dan I will try the full-length version before burning it.

In MeM, there are stones in various colors and you have to basically draft stones from the board to your own personal board while matching a pattern still on the board. If 2 green stones are next to each other then you can draft 2 blue (or any 2 matching) stones and put them next to each other and be okay. There has to be a matching pattern still on the board at the end of your turn or you lose.

I lost almost immediately. This is a visual game that I was just not grasping well enough. I would try the full game, but if it is like the short game I probably won't like it. I'll make sure to have a torch handy.




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I got to try out the new Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North. New to me!

Luke from Portal games was showing off some new games, and he had a copy of this, but only for a 2-player experience. Michael and I sat down and Luke taught us how to play.

There are a lot of similarities with this game and Imperial Settlers. They are individual games set in the same universe, but they are different standalone games. This is not an expansion for Imperial Settlers.

Each player will have their own faction with a unique deck of cards. One faction might have better raiding and exploring abilities, and another might be better farmers. It is pretty easy to figure out which strategy to take on if you know the game and look through your deck beforehand. However, you are not guaranteed any specific cards because all of the cards are shuffled before the game starts and you probably won't get through all of them. These cards will be played for their building costs and can be activated anytime after they are in play.

Empires of the North works in a similar way to Imperial Settlers where each player takes an action in turn until all players have passed. Players have a couple of action discs that are placed on a circular action board. Once an action disc is placed, it can be activated once more on an adjacent space. So you will have essentially 4 actions with the action discs each season, but you have to plan wisely so you know what the second action will be with each of your discs.

There is an explore action you can take that will allow you to go off and raid or settle new areas. If you are using weapons to settle, then you aren't using weapons to attack the other players. That's nice.

My deck of cards was all about harvesting and generating a lot of in-game points from my cards in play. Michael was doing an exploring strategy which gave him a ton of end game points from the places he settled and bonus cards that he managed to play.

There can be a fair amount of attacking in this game much like Imperial Settlers. Michael was mean and killed off a lot of my cards that would have given me a lot of points, making them unusable in the final round.

If I had been able to end it a round sooner, I would have crushed him! I was soooo far in the lead, but just a few points shy of being able to end it the round before. Knowing the game now, I needed to build a card earlier to help generate those few points I would have needed. In any case, he was able to win this game by just a few points. I was robbed of that win. I will have to catch him next time.

I had a great time playing Empires of the North. I do think that it works very well with 2 players, and I don't think I would enjoy it as much with more players. I like that the box will come with so many unique decks to explore. It will be a hit, I know!












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Eric Martin was available to show us how to play Black Angel. New to me!

This game was my most anticipated game of the year, so of course I was eager to try it. Despite being a prototype copy, the look of this game is show-stopping. I think about 5 people stopped by our table to just look at what was happening on this board. It is stunning!

We ended up playing a 4 player game with Eric, Michael, Derek, and me. I was surprised that Eric wanted to play again after he had just taught a few others. But he did, and he ended up playing 4 games of Black Angel in 2 days since so many people wanted to play it.

The main idea is that we are robots in control of the Black Angel, a ship that is riding through space. There are aliens attacking and the ship is taking damage. We can try to repair the ship as we go, or we can send out our shuttles into space to try and collect points for completing contracts on planets. Dice will act as our workers for the actions we select.

When playing, you can feel the influences from games like Troyes with the dice mechanic and Solenia with the board-moving mechanic. There were a bunch of other new mechanics used as well. For example, each player has their own board and can buy technology tiles to fill it. Tiles are pushed in and eventually pushed out if enough are placed in that row. Columns and rows can be activated with cards from players hands to get those tiles' bonuses.

The real heart of the game lies with the dice worker placement. You are using the dice you have or paying other players to steal their dice to take actions. The actions you can take with the die depend on the die color, and the value of the die will determine the strength of the action. Yellow dice can be used to purchase technology tiles, red dice can be used to repair the ship, green dice can be used to attack the aliens, and any die can be used to explore space.

I think the hardest thing for me to understand was the exploring space action. There are a few different options you can take when you explore space, and it was hard to visualize and grasp for me. I was also having a hard time trying to figure out how to gain points. There is no real direction to take to get points. I figured I should get the tech tiles and load up on bonuses from the grid. All I wanted to do was that, but there was never a time I could do it. All of the yellow dice were very low, and the technology space was always damaged, which meant that I couldn't get the tiles with the yellow dice that were available.

Eventually, I managed to find a way to get some major points (9) and then the game was over. Black Angel reached its destination. The game could have also ended with the alien deck being emptied, so I can see that working as a major strategy, just allowing the aliens to attack. Regardless, Eric won with 31, I was 2nd with 27, and Michael 26. I don't recall Derek's score.

This is a hard game to review. Maybe my expectations were too grand to begin with. Maybe I hyped it for myself too much. I felt the mechanics were forced together, and not elegantly. I do think that if I play again, I will have a better idea on what to do, but there is still no clear path for a strategy. There can be a bit of group analysis. Black Angel is not a cooperative game, but the ship is being attacked, and you can help stop it or repair it, but why? There is not enough incentive in destroying ships or repairing locations, and worse, you're allowing your opponents to profit by enabling them to use those repaired locations.

Black Angel is a beautiful production and I know it will sell out at GenCon. I hope people will love it more than I do. For now, I am fine with it and I could play again. But I would always choose to play Troyes over this.












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There was a new Stronghold game I was invited to play called Amul. New to me!

Amul is an Arabian themed drafting and set collection game. There are only 9 rounds and you get to play only 9 cards. The element of surprise is at the end when you reveal your hand of cards for scoring.

It is a pretty straight forward game that will play with up to 8 players I believe. The more players, the more cards you will have in the game. You will always play through the entire deck of cards and have an appropriate number depending on players.

There are two ways a card can be played: either by having a table icon, meaning it must be played to the table, and/or the card will have a hand icon, meaning it will be scored at the end of the game if it is still in the player's hand. Each player will have a hand of cards and will toss one face down to the middle of the table. The cards are revealed and then drafted in player order. After each player drafts a card they will play a card from their hand to their collection face up in front of them. Some will give immediate actions to draft from the marketplace or to complete a contract from the palace.

At the end of the game you get to play those final cards you have in hand and figure out who has the best score by adding all of the different cards up. There are so many different types of cards with different scoring mechanisms, but that's what makes a cool set collection game.

Since we were playing 6 players and several of us were learning, I didn't realize how valuable the military cards were. They give you priority in the later rounds for turn order. Since I was really far from the person in the lead with the military, it meant I was going essentially last in the final 3 rounds. This was detrimental. You don't want to be drafting cards late in the turn order with 6 players. I didn't get ANYTHING I was looking for. Yeah, I totally didn't win that game. Eric ended up winning, and spoiler alert, he was the one with all the military. Doh! I know better now. I need those military cards!

I'm always looking for a good drafting game, and I've found a great one with Amul. I very much look forward to playing this again sometime soon! #shouldnthavegoneforthecamel #buonocoreforpresident












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Break to see the falls!



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Dan had been wanting to play the final chapter for the game Woodlands for a while.

We usually find that we are teaching this game, so we usually have to play the easier levels. Turns out we were going to teach Michael, but he's pretty smart. He was fine picking it up from the final chapter.

Turns out we were playing this game all wrong from the very early chapters. The rules are ambiguous so it wasn't really our fault. It was painfully clear in the final chapter that we were playing wrong though. The "new rules" messed with my mind, so I was way outside my element.

I had too many attack cards played on me. One round, I was playing with an upside-down map, and the rules were confusing to me, so it was just a train wreck. I don't even know if I got any points! I super duper lost this game. Newbie Michael was the end winner, go figure.

What I learned from this play was that I really need to go back and play the easier levels with the alternate rules. We were just playing the game on super hard mode before, which I liked, but doesn't work in the final chapter since it is just too hard and not workable. S'all good.




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I saw a stack of new prototype games from Asmodee. Since I am always looking to learn new games, I pulled out One Key. New to me!

I am a fan of Libellud games. They always have such compelling artwork. I was curious to see what they had in store with this title.

One Key is a cooperative game in which a silent cluegiver tries to get their teammates to guess the selected image by giving them clues using other image cards. Of course, the cluegiver can't talk, so the teammates have only the powers of deduction, trying to make connections when there might be none to make!

There is a snazzy app that you can download that will make fun sounds and music as you play. Definitely a clever addition and super cute to use.

When I was giving the clues, it was so hard. Derek and Michael were not on my wavelength at all. They were making connections on cards that I was not seeing and I just felt really dumb for not making those same connections. We ended up losing about halfway through the game. Whoops. We had to play again. This time I asked Michael to be the cluegiver, and Derek and I were working together to figure out the clues.

Derek was on point. I was not buying it at all, but I went with Derek's instinct and we ended up winning the game. It was pretty crazy how much Derek was on Michael's wavelength. I don't know how he did it - I was leaning a totally different direction. Goes to show I am just terrible at this game!

I had a great time playing this one though and I really look forward to playing again!








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There was a lot of talk about a new prototype called Folding Space. New to me!

We found Bobby, who is one of the designers, to teach the 4 of us this game. Folding Space is a set collection, space battle game. You are trying to jump from planet to planet collecting items. If you end your movement on a planet with no one else you get to take one item. But you really want to end your movement on the same planet as another player, which will initiate a combat. The winner gets a bunch of items and the loser still gets a couple of leftover items.

The game has a folding board mechanic using boards that are similar to those found in the game Keyper. The boards in Folding Space have a bunch of icons that relate to combat cards and movement. Players use these boards to try and gain majorities of different symbols. It isn't a timed mechanic, but it really is, because when everyone else is done, they'll start the countdown, forcing you to finish quickly.

There is a space seagull that will issue a whole lot of negative points to players who really overshoot their opponent in combat, so you want your battles to be close. Otherwise, you might be sorry. This was a pretty harsh mechanic.

I just didn't feel a compelling reason to have the folding boards in this game. I was trying to hard to find the best possible solution with my folding board but it never seemed to work. I never seemed to win the majorities I was going after. I really like the folding boards in general, and I think they should be in another game that focuses more on the boards. But in Folding Space, there seemed to be too many mechanics to really make the boards worthwhile.

I ended up winning by a long shot with 48 points. I think everyone else was in the 30s. I was trying my best not to conflict with anyone. I didn't have the combat cards I would need since I wasn't winning those majorities, so I just tried to stay clear of everyone and do my own thing. It seemed to work.

For me, this game just doesn't get me excited to play. It was pretty easy to play and I can see it being a casual game for casual gamers. I just didn't feel like I had a lot of control over what I was doing or getting. It was fine and I could play again, but I am not rushing to.










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The BGG Show!!




Stay Tuned for Part 3! Turns out Part 2 was too long so I needed a part 3...

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!
https://www.facebook.com/AlltheMeeplesoftheRainbow


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Mon May 13, 2019 5:16 pm
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Gathering Part 1 of All the Games

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

I had the greatest pleasure of attending The Gathering of Friends this year and played 81 games, 50 of which were new to me! There is a TON to talk about, and I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences!



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I made the trek to the Gathering by a 14 hour car ride with Michael who was also driving, so I didn't have to fly and I could bring a bunch of games! On the drive, I ended up playing Tears of a Goddess with Michael. I would read out the options for him to choose and it was a pretty fast adventure. He was making all of the wrong choices and ended up not finding any of the sprouts and died pretty fast. It was really interesting to see him take a totally different path than I originally took. He had a different special ability that he was not able to utilize like he wanted to. I will have to go back and try the final specialization and see if I can do better than my first attempt.

Such a great way to pass time. I think it works really well for a car trip!



The critical first stop after check in: Cold Stone Creamery




Then so many goodie bags!



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YAY! We made it to the Gathering and it was about 8 pm by the time we got to actually sit down and play some games! First up was a new Uwe Rosenberg game called Second Chance. New to me!

This is a roll n write game (flip n write) where you are trying to fill up your board. We all started with a different pattern on our boards. Each round we would flip up 2 cards for everyone to select 1 of them to use on their board. Once you get so far into completing your board, you might not be able to take either option. If this happens, you must try for your second chance by drawing the top card from the deck. If you can use that top card, then you can keep playing. Each player who takes a second chance will get a unique card. If you can't draw the second chance card pattern for your board then you are done. The player who fills their board will win or the player with the fewest empty spaces will win.

Of course, I was flipping those second chance cards left and right. The game actually ended with the deck running out of cards. I was able to fill in the majority of the grid and had the fewest leftover squares. Mwahaha, I won the first game of the con! It is always a sweet victory when I can crush Dan at his own game.







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Dan had another game for me to learn which was Draftosaurus. New to me!

This game recently came out and I was very much interested in it. You get to draft amazingly cute dinosaur meeples! I see googly eyes in my future! It is cool that you can play either side of the board and get a different gaming experience.

In Draftasaurus, you will be drafting dinos into your theme park. The active player will roll the dice and everyone will have to draft a dino into an appropriate area into the park, hopefully creating the sets they are looking for. You will gain lots of points for completing those sets and regions.

I don't think I was hate drafting well enough as Dan managed to win this time, and that is just not okay. Albeit, he had played before, but it still seems wrong!

It is a fairly simple game but I quite enjoyed my time playing. I ended up buying it from Beth at the con! I can't wait to play again and grab some colorful pics!








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So, more from the roll n write category, we decided on playing a couple of games of HexRoller. New to me!

The colors in this game are awesome. I wish there were really colorful dice too. There are a couple of different colored dice which don't mean anything but MAY mean something later if they do an addition or expansion for the game.

HexRoller is a fairly simple game where you are trying to complete as many regions of your board as possible. There are several small goals to work towards as you are filling in the board. Each round you will select 2 different numbers to take from the common dice roll. If there were three 4s rolled, then you would have to use all of the 4s in order to use that number. Ideally, you will fill in the different hex regions on the board and you get to score those. But you will also score for the links you make on your board.

It is a clever game and choosing the numbers to take each round is quite a challenge. It is not always wise to just take the highest values. We had to play 2 times since I did just so poorly the first time. I think Dan managed to win the first game with 71. I insisted we play again, with the alternate board and that time Michael was able to take home the victory with 54. It turns out the alternate board scores a lot less! I think the bonuses are fewer, or we all just played really badly, or we rolled badly. It was rough! I have to say I had a great time playing this one!






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Joe H joined us to play a speed game called Sherlock Express. New to me!

Dan got this game under the impression it was a light deduction game but it is really more of a pattern matching and speed game. Each turn the active player will flip over their top card and it will have 1 feature on it. That will give an alibi to the cards in the middle of the table sharing that feature. This proceeds until there are only 1 or 0 cards that don't have an alibi. You are trying to deduce the cards fast and you want to slap the card with no alibi when there are only 1 or 0 options left. The first player to claim 5 cards will win!

I thought I had this in the bag. I am still master of the speed games, for now though. I had my work cut out for me though as Joe H was able to keep my attention as we ended up tied 4 to 4 and it was a close race. I was able to secure that final card though for the win. I don't know if this game won any of the hearts of the players, but I had a good time playing. Not one I would bring out often enough to keep in a collection though.







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Dan had another game for me to try called Shadow Blocks. New to me!

This is an abstract speed game. Everyone is shown an image of a card with multiple shadows. Players have to use their blocks to create a structure on their boards that will match the shadows. Each image will have 3 shadows but you will create one structure that will create all 3 shadows in order to get a point. You are trying to just complete these structures faster than the last player. 3 people will get to score each round in a 4 player game.

In our game, I thought I would win this easily. If you get ahead though, you will be handicapped with harder cards until players catch up. It was also unfair since I found a card that doesn't work. Well, we studied this card long and hard but the only "workable" solution required a zero-gravity environment. Technicalities, and I blame my loss because of that card.

It was a cute game, and I could see playing it again, but it didn't really hold my interest very long.








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Over the 9 days of playing games, I managed to get in 9 games of Tichu. What more can I ask for?! I love this game and would play it daily if I could find a group to play.

On the positive side, I think I got Michael very interested in the game. We ended up being partners in all of the games and I helped train him. In general, we won 5 of the 9 games! That is awesome!! The first couple we ended up losing because I was being dramatic with my calls as usual. I was able to calm myself and hold back even when I might have wanted to call Grand. Regardless, I still called Grand a bunch since I really enjoy the challenge.

The later the game is being played, the less likely I am to call Grand. I guess my conservative side kicks in the later it is. We had some epic games and some insanely long games due to just bad hands and not scoring many points.

Here are a bunch of pics of the different hands of cards, most of which were Tichu calls. I love this game and will always want to play it!




















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Early the next morning I saw Dominic looking for a game to show off his new KS success Oceans. New to me!

I was hesitant to learn this one since I didn't have fond memories of Evolution. Dom assured me it was different and not as vicious of a game. I get drawn into these games for their artwork alone. I just love the look of this series and I love the ocean creature theme too.

In Oceans, you are creating species which will have up to 3 traits. You are managing a hand of cards and using those cards to upgrade your species. You will only get to feed one of your species per turn, though. What's cool is that other species might be able to trigger off of your feeding. Ideally, you will have cards that benefit from each other and they will be self sustaining. After you feed one of your species, then all of your species will reduce in life. If your species loses it's last life, the species disappears.

I felt like I had no hope to protect myself in Evolution, but in Oceans, I feel differently. Yes, there are still a lot of attacks that will happen in this game. But you can easily defend your species by upgrading their traits to have protection. I didn't have a difficult time finding the protection cards. I didn't feel like I was getting attacked a lot, and when I was attacked, it didn't seem that harmful.

There is a strong engine builder game here and so many combos to create and experiences to be had. There are many different event cards, so you will have a different game each time, considering you only use 2 each game.

There are also deep water cards that have many unique traits. I was still wrapping my brain around the entire game to really utilize the deep water cards, but I saw their value. They cost POINTS in order to play them, so they better be worth it. I didn't get any of them in play until really late in the game and by then it was already over for me. I couldn't keep up with the points the other guys were claiming each round.

There is a lot of strategy packed into this game and every choice you make really matters. This is a game I would definitely want to explore further. It is no wonder that this game did extremely well on KS so kudos to North Star for another success!

Of course, Dom was able to crush us into the ground, which he should since he has played it a couple of hundred times. I was so far in last place and was nowhere near them. I need to up my gameplay!












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Michael hadn't ever played Scythe before!? Well, now was the time to correct that. We ended up playing a 5 player game. We were using Derek's awesome game with painted minis and a crazy centerpiece factory.

It had been a while since Scott and I had played, and Erik was re-learning the game, so Derek ended up teaching. Unfortunately, Michael ended up picking the blue faction. I should have reassigned him to another one because blue is the worst one of them all and I have only had a miserable time playing the game with the blue faction. It was a rough play for sure, but he was able to get the mechanics down and play the best he could.

I was playing green. I have played green before, but maybe only 1 time before. I was collecting a TON of in-game points. Scott was playing red, and he overtook the factory and tons of land. It ended up being a close race between us, and I thought I might actually win this game. Scott ended up winning with 62 and I was 59! It was a close finish for sure. It could have been anyone's game.

Love this game so much, so I hope it will get played again soon. I really miss playing it. I think all the expansions really deterred me from playing it as I am not a big fan of the expansions so much.









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Lexi and Will were looking for a game and they were really interested in learning to play Chronicles of Crime. I knew Scott wanted to play this game too, so the 4 of us sat down for the first case of Chronicles of Crime: Noir.

I had played the tutorial of this game and was familiar with the different actions that were added. Since I felt the expansion really didn't change the base game that much and everyone was learning, it wouldn't matter to them which version we were playing.

It worked out pretty well. Everyone was contributing to the investigation. We were piecing the case together slowly. There were a few standstill moments trying to put the pieces in the right spaces. That is the hardest part of the game. There are no real directions and everything is really open-ended. The smallest details might be doors to the answers we need at the end.

By the time it came to solving the case, we thought we were on the right track and knew everything really well. Not so much. We only managed a score in the 50s (out of 100). We ended up reading all the answers to try and figure out what we did wrong. I still have no idea how we could have gotten some of the answers, so beats me!

I still have fun with this one, but the cases can be long and totally draining. This was definitely one of those cases. Still happy to play this game though and maybe I will get better at it! #unlikely





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I had been wanting to play Subtext since my first 4-player game. This time I got to play with a full table of 8 players.

Okay, I think 8 players is too many. Having only 1 turn to be the active player is not enough. There are also fewer chances that you will get paired with the active player.

In our game, Michael ended up being paired with the active player 4 or 5 times. I never got to be. Most of the rounds had an obvious connection. I thought it would be harder to make the connections but it was still kinda easy to. I think everyone just plays too literally. Joe H was playing really abstract and just would draw a line. Is that a candy cane? Sled? Shoe? He would just respond: yep. Maybe the idea is to be very vague and not obvious about what you are drawing.

I think Joe actually ended up tied for the win that game. Being vague for the win, apparently!

I still love the game, but I think I need to find a group to play with semi-regularly and maybe it will feel different. I think 5 or 6 might be the sweet spot for this game.














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It is possible I like Chili's - the restaurant. I go there frequently to get some yummy chips and salsa.

While going to dinner, there were a couple of games of The Mind that were played.

I am always happy to play The Mind, and it is so easily accessible. You can carry it anywhere and play anywhere.

Michael and I won a 2p game once, and that was easy breezy. It is always so easy to win basic Mind play with Michael.

It is more difficult when you add in Dan and Derek to the picture. We made it through Round 4 or 5 with them before the food ended up coming and we decided to eat. It was neither a win nor a loss since we didn't get to finish playing!

Sad it only ended up being 2 games of The Mind. Should have been 20!




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Perhaps my favorite new game of the con and easily the biggest hit of the con was a new game called Hadara. New to me!

I missed out trying it in prototype form last year, which was probably for the better, since I would have had to wait A YEAR to play it again. This game is brilliant! Light but meaningful civ building game. The gameplay is easy to understand and there are simple steps to follow.

Hadara is played out over 3 eras. Each era has a phase A and a phase B.
In phase A, players will be assigned each of the 5 colored stacks once, taking 2 cards, selecting 1, discarding 1, and proceeding to the next stack. You can either buy or sell the selected card. If you choose to buy it, you have to pay coins but will get a discount of 1 coin per card that you already have in the matching color. If you choose to sell it, you will get a few coins.

Cards that you buy will be added to your tableau. Most cards will have icons for the different resource tracks and you will adjust the tracks accordingly. The tech cards (purple) are special and have different ongoing abilities. These cards really offer you a unique position. You won't see all the cards in a game, so there will be a lot of variety each time you play.

Once all 5 stacks have been depleted, players will gain income based on their income level (yellow). Each player will have the chance to conquer villages based on their military level (red), raiding them for money or settling them for resources. Afterwards, you will have the chance to build statues based on your culture level (blue), which will give you victory points and/or resources.

Then you move into Phase B! This is when players will take turns selecting the top card from any of the discarded stacks that were made in phase A! As before, you will either buy or sell the selected card. This continues until there are no more cards in the stacks. Players will get income again and check for colonies (military) and statues (culture). In Phase B, there is a new feeding step, however. You must FEED. You will have to have enough food (green) to cover the number of cards you have in your tableau. You can't have a civ game without having to have feeding costs at some point. Cards that you can't feed must be discarded. Finally, you will have the chance to buy some medals for end game victory. Money is precious and buying these end game medals are worth it if you can afford it, but it means going into the next round with less money, and getting those extra cards in your tableau might be critical. It is tough to say which is better, but that's what makes Hadara a great game.

You do all of that 3 times and then the game is over. It moves along really quickly and you are constantly making tough choices on which cards to buy or which cards to try and hold out for.

I ended up playing 3 games over the week and 2 of those were back-to-back. We loved it so much we decided to play again!

I had some killer tech cards in the first game, and so I was expecting to see them in the second game, but not so much. I actually didn't even see those cards in the 3rd game either! One of the tech cards gave me a bonus $1 when I sold a card. I loved having that ability and so I was doing pretty well that first game. But Michael ended up winning.

I was frustratingly close to getting my final statue in the second game and was sooooo very annoyed that I couldn't make it happen. I might have actually won the second game had I been able to get that +1 blue advancement. It was a huge bummer. But Michael won the second game as well. He clearly understands how to play. I had the last laugh, however, as I won the third game a few days later.

Really loved my plays of this, and I very much look forward to playing it a lot more. It's fun to plan out in your mind that you know you want to buy a certain green card that you discarded in Phase A so you need to sell this red card for the money you will need to have. There's a lot of thinking going on but it plays so fast and smooth. The bright bold colors make me happy. It really stands out on the table and invites you to play it. I suppose the one criticism I have is the player aids. They are amazing, however, they add one small detail to the back of them that could easily have been put on the front. I don't understand that at all. Nitpicky, but someone mentioned it in ALL of the games we played.

Easily one of the best games of the year! Can't wait for more!














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I need to double check my games of the month but I think I learned like 20 roll n writes. It was a non-stop roll n write fest at the Gathering and I was in heaven. We played another Uwe roll n write called Patchwork Doodle. New to me!

The games are actually pretty similar, just different mechanics on getting to a similar ending. You are trying to fill up your board with polyomino shapes. This game resembles Patchwork with the shapes all laid out in a circle. You will roll the die and this little yellow guy will move around the circle, and you will have to select one of the pieces next to him to use. It is pretty simple. There is some mid-game scoring and some bonus actions you can use to help you make it work better.

Dan was teaching the game to me and Michael as he had played it before. He was saying in his other games it was just too easy to fill in the whole grid, and they were all tied in the end. Well, that didn't happen in our game. Michael and I were going for big areas quickly, but we weren't able to fill in the complete grid by the end, so Dan actually ended up winning - slow and steady wins the race. He did fill up the board for huge end-of-game points.

This game was cute and I could play again, but nothing really wowed me about it. I think I like Second Chance better because there were more choices to be made. They are both good, but I still prefer other roll n writes though.








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Oh a really big hit for me was a small card game called Ohanami. New to me!

I am actually surprised I managed to play it only 3 times. I loved it so much, I wanted to show everyone how to play! Steffen Benndorf, the designer of The Game, brings us a competitive card drafting/laying game.

In Ohanami, there are 3 rounds. At the start of the round, each player will be dealt 10 cards. You will select 2 and pass the rest, select 2 more and pass the rest, and so on. Every time you select 2 cards, you will add them into your tableau. You can have up to 3 columns of cards, and you can only add cards below the bottom-most number or above the topmost number in each column. All of the numbers must be in ascending order once they are placed though. If you play a 30 and then above it a 60, you are eliminating all of the chances to play 31-59 in that column. That might be fine if you have space in the other columns.

There is scoring after each round, but not everything will score each round. Some colors are worth more at the end and some colors are worth more the earlier you acquire them.

It is super simple and easy to play. I loved playing it the three times I got to play. It makes me happy putting all the numbers in order. Situations where you have to decide how many numbers to lock out can be interesting. Like, okay, I will lock this range of 4 numbers, that isn't so bad! But the next card you want to draft is in that range you just blocked out. #typical. I love those kinds of choices. There is a lot of memory to this game if you want to take the time to try and remember the cards you are passing.

It just so happens I won all of the games I played of this! Maybe this is a true calling for me. I think I just understand it well. Winning is not the reason I like it so much, but it is a nice boost for once. Ohanami is on the high end of favorites that I learned during the Gathering. This is on the wishlist! I need to get it!

I wonder if I could combine 2 decks and make it an 8 player game!












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More from the roll n write bunch. We played a game of Rolling Ranch. New to me!

Cute animal dice. Each turn, you'll roll both dice and try to fill in your farm pens on your farm board by drawing the animal from one die on a space that matches the number from the other die. Or you can take the materials from both dice, which can help you build buildings that score you bonus points or gain you special abilities.

Turns out I was the best farmer since I managed to pull out the win in this game as well. I think the other players were just happy it was over. I am not sure this game really won anyone over. It was cute enough though.

In general, it is a pretty standard roll n write. Nothing really outstanding here, but it was good. I would, of course, play it anytime, as I would with any roll n write. I don't think it is necessarily better than others, though I did like it more than Harvest Dice.




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Another game I saw being played all the time was Silver & Gold. New to me!

This is just one more roll n write I got to learn! Silver & Gold comes with little map cards that you can write on, which is super awesome! Everyone starts with 2 maps. Each round, a polyomino shape will be revealed and you have to make Xs on your maps to try and fill in the islands for points. You might get a few bonuses when you fill things in, like a free X somewhere, which is helpful for smaller areas. Every time you fill a map, you will draft a new one from a pool.

Silver & Gold is a fairly simple game to complete as many maps as you can. It is definitely one of the better games in the genre that I learned over the week, and everyone was talking about. It has a nice quality to it.

Michael ended up taking the winners title for this game but Dan was right on his tail only 3 points behind. I was like 20 points behind so it was just not happening for me. I needed to get better islands and have better luck with the polyomino cards. There is some planning to be had in this game and I had a good time playing it. Onto the wishlist it goes!








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Res Arcana has been all the rage on BGG and across social media. New to me!

I had to play it before it was no longer all the rage. I honestly didn't know anything about this game going into it. I knew it was beautiful. The artwork is stunning and the bit tray is a nice touch. A very lovely production.

Res Arcana is an engine-building card game where you are trying to create combos. Acquire resources, use card abilities, attack others, and gain monuments.

You are dealt a set number of cards for the game. These cards are your deck. You will get no more and you will just have to make do with what you get. You will get to choose 1 character to play out of 2 choices. You will want to match your character's ability to your deck of cards as best you can. Your goal is to get 10 points first.

It is supposed to be a fast game, but our game took a million years, or it seemed. Perhaps I should give it another try, and if it shows up, I will. I am also thinking it will be better with fewer people. I could attack people, but otherwise, it felt like a solitaire experience. I wasn't paying attention to what anyone was doing.

I am pretty sure Dave won this game since we somehow let him build up a proper engine and eventually take us over. I was just spinning and getting nowhere all game. There was nothing meaningful for me to do. This has a lot of small actions and small points. I like big actions and big points, so I was a bit disappointed.

I think I would like it better if it played out faster, which I am told it should. Maybe it takes a few games to wrap my brain around. Not sure it is my type of game though.










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I picked out Noctiluca to try out. New to me!

I didn't know much about this game other than the purple box with lots of dice. It is an abstract game where you try and gain dice to match your card patterns for points.

The dice are rolled and laid out on the board. Each turn, you will look at one row or column and grab all the dice of the same value in that line. You can place them on your cards if you have the room for them. If you can't use all the dice then they are drafted around the table for other people to use.

That is basically all there is to the game. You are trying to complete as many of these cards as you can for their points. You don't want to give dice away to other players - that only helps them. Of course, since you don't want that, it really makes for an AP prone game. With so many dice on the board, the options seem endless, and you are just staring at the board hoping to make the best play.

Everyone in my game was just like, okay is this game over yet? No one was really taking the time they should in order to find the best match for their cards, which is fine by me. I didn't know it was going to be so AP anyway.

There was just nothing special about this game at all and I have no idea who ended up winning since I just didn't care. This was just a super boring game. Happy to have tried it but I won't return to play this one any time soon.










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I was ready to play another new roll n write game called Dizzle. New to me!

This was another roll n write hit of the con. I saw it being played a bunch and with good reason.

Dizzle is a dice drafting game where you try to fill in your board the best you can. You can get points by completing columns and rows and other puzzly connections on the game board.

Each round, all the dice are rolled and players will take turns drafting dice. When you draft a die it will have to go on a matching spot next to an already existing die or next to an X space if it is the first die you are drafting. If you have no legal play, you can pass for the rest of the round or try to push your luck by re-rolling all of the available dice. But if you can't make a legal play after re-rolling, then you must lose a die from your board back to the pool of dice for others to then draft away.

Of course I am just terrible at this game. I will ALWAYS choose to push my luck even if there is only 1 die available. I will never choose to stop before I must. Therefore, I always lose my dice. I am never lucky enough to roll a number I need.

I still find the push your luck mechanic very fun. When you re-roll, you are changing the dice that everyone was already planning on drafting. It is definitely an interesting strategy.

In the 2 games I played, I didn't even come close to winning. I was so far in last place. Turns out Michael won both of the games we played. Seems like he knew when to stop, or maybe he was just rolling really well!

What I really like about this game is that it comes with 4 different gameboard "levels", so you get to ramp up the difficulty as you go along. I thought the basic board was okay, and I wasn't itching to play the game a whole lot after the 1st play, but then I learned there were different levels and objectives and I really wanted to try them out. So the second game we played level 2 and I liked it a lot more.

Dizzle is now on my wishlist since I want to see how the other levels will play out. I think I will like it a lot more after a few more plays. I just have a hard time controlling myself and pushing my luck too far.










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Another top hit of this con was Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal. New to me!

I accidentally stumbled into this one when I was searching the tables for games to play. I was like, "ohhh this looks interesting, I haven't heard about this one. Ohhh, it is by Wolfgang Warsch, of course, it is." Ridic how many games he is just pumping out!

Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal, which translates to The Taverns in the Deep Valley, is a deck building & dice drafting game. You are trying to get the most points from the cards you are claiming. Each round you will roll dice and draft around the table. The dice will be used to serve customers for their money, which you will use to buy cards that will help your intake of customers and services. You might use the dice to upgrade your pub to do similar but permanent features. You are really trying to attract the nobles to your establishment and if you upgrade the pub then you will be gaining those customers, and the more nobles you have, the more points you will get at the end of the game.

This game is cool and comes with a bunch of modules so you can mix and match them for different experiences.

Michael and I took on very different strategies and I managed to have a KILLER turn bringing in like 6-7 nobles at one time. When you claim cards like that they are automatically added to the top of your deck which really helps your pub. Having all the nobles together is actually really great, and was a fine strategy to have on my part. I worked hard to get that one killer turn. Michael was slow and steady all the way and he managed to win 92 to my 91. Nooooooooooooooo! It was definitely a close call.

I am surprised I only got around to playing it the one time. I really wish I had been able to play it again as I really loved my first play. I screwed up a few things and I know I could have won if I played slightly differently. I can't wait to try out the game again with the different modules.








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Picked out a quick game to play called Sushi Roll. New to me!

Sushi Roll is very much like the card game but more random since you are rolling dice. I like that feature, actually. On your turn, you will roll the dice in front of you, draft one, and pass the rest. There are tokens that allow you to steal dice from other players and there are re-roll tokens so you can try to complete that set you were working on. The scoring works basically the same though.

I do think if you like Sushi Go you will enjoy this one. I was glad to play twice since the first game I played was just 2 player and we were learning. Turns out we played slightly wrong - when we taught a larger group, we figured those rules out.

I did like it more with more players so I would suggest playing with more than 2 players. It can be a bit confusing with 5 players though. Whose turn is it? Are they stealing dice? Can we draft our dice yet? Our 5 player game lasted about twice as long as our 2 player game did, so I guess it is beter with 3 or 4 players.

The dice are easily the best thing about this game. BIG CHUNKY DICE! It is super cute and I am sure kids could pick it up easily. I would be happy to play it again but I won't suggest it.










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Dan has been trying to get me to play Vinci for a while. New to me!

I love Small World, and I will give credit to Vinci and History of the World for paving the way for Small World. Vinci plays out similarly to Small World but it is not as elegant. But I absolutely love love love History of the World and prefer it over both Vinci and Small World.

If you know how to play Small World, you basically know how to play Vinci. In Vinci, you will get 2 faction bonuses when you draft a nation/ability so you will get that same randomness you find in Small World.

Vinci ended up longer than I would like and it is wicked ugly. By the end of my play, I was soooo over this game. Dan won pretty handily - maybe since he played before? Maybe I wasn't beating up on him hard enough? I duno, but I was just not invested in the gameplay enough to care.

This is certainly a game I never need to play again. I can't recommend it to anyone - unless you like old cardboard chits. #notforme







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Dan and I had a few minutes to kill so we played a 2 player game of Pearls. New to me!

Pearls is a new, simple, set-collection card game. The bigger the sets you collect in your hand, the more points you will get and possibly bonus points as well. Nothing challenging about this game, and it is more a filler game anyway.

I am glad I got to play with Dan, because that means an easy win for me! I had some major sets that scored a lot of points and I was able to end it with basically no cards in hand. I had the right timing all around so everything was falling into place for me.

Nothing really special with this one but I am happy to play it again if requested. Not one I will request in the future though. Happy to have learned it.







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When I learned there was a prototype to play for a new The Voyages of Marco Polo, I had to play it! New to me!

There are still a few balance issues, but it will hopefully be released at Essen. They still don't know if they are going to make this an expansion or a stand-alone game. It could really be either, but having it as expansion means it wouldn't fit in the base game box with the other expansion. But this might give them an opportunity to make a BIG BOX version for it.

Anyway, the game was being called Marco Polo 2, so they are still working on the name as well. It doesn't matter to me since I wanted to play whatever HiG was showing. They never let me down with their games!

This game still feels like the original game, but there is a whole new board to explore and there is an ever-changing marketplace. There is a new resource: Jade! It is used all over the place now. Players still have hidden objectives to give them the incentive to go certain places on the map, but there doesn't seem to be as much pressure since you will just want to visit as many places as you can to get more points.

There is a new feature with the different sigils you can collect that can give you bonuses and make it easier to move from location to location, but they are working on balancing those bonuses. I am very interested to see what the final product will have.

The way you get contracts has changed from the original. In this version, some location spaces have contracts. You will receive a contract the first time you visit. Afterwards, you can use the contract action to get a contract from any location you have visited. I liked this method a whole lot better.

In my play, Michael was learning the basics to Marco Polo from scratch, which was pretty cool. Nikolai was remembering the basics of the game. We were all figuring out what might be a good path for each of us to take. Of course, there were new mechanics in the game and all-new character abilities, so we were trying to best optimize those abilities. I had an amazing jade ability. Every time I completed a contract, I got a jade, but I also got 1 VP ANYTIME I collected a jade. So I was getting tons and tons of points from collecting jade in various ways. It was awesome and possibly my new favorite character. They are all my favorites - amirite?

I think Michael had the ability to claim a location bonus every time another player collected one. So that tile you get when you first go into a location, like 2 gold or a free move or a bonus die... yeah, he would also gain those things. He was also getting an income of a jade. Dan was playing a traveler character. In the original, it is expensive to place dice but cheap to move along the routes, but in this new version, it is cheap to place dice but expensive to move along the routes. The more dice you use and the higher the values, the further you can go. I felt it was easier to move in this game than the original. Dan was having a very hard time with his character though. Nikolai was getting a TON of resources from his character ability where he got bonuses for each roll he made.

Everything seemed pretty great and I want to play with all the abilities! Our game ended in a pretty close final scoring but I managed to win with 105. Michael was right on my tail with 102! Dan and Nikolai were in the 70s. Needless to say, Michael picked up the game rather quickly and got some great combos early with his player ability.

Can't wait for this one to hit stores!












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We had some time to kill before dinner so we decided to learn Pulp Detective. New to me!

I had been curious about this one since its release at Essen, I think it was. The artwork is interesting and I like trying to solve cases. I really can't say I had any fun playing this one though.

In Pulp Detective, you are given a set of victory conditions, like you might need to find 4 clues and catch the bad guy. You are using dice to match symbols on cards to get the card's bonuses. It is hard to do since you only have a single roll of the dice to try and hit all the matching symbols to secure the bonuses.

This is a solo game at heart and we were playing it 2p as a 1-player game, just alternating turns. It worked fine doing that, and there were other rules for 2p that I am not sure of at this time.

In our game, we didn't even secure 1 clue that we needed. We were really close to getting a few though. With very little luck mitigation, it was really hard to manage. We did get some bonuses which helped us get a few re-rolls, but they didn't end up helping. We tried!

It was just a huge MISS for me. Maybe other people will have better luck, but for the amount of time to learn and play the game, I wish I picked a different title.















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We decided on another quick game to learn called Palm Island. New to me!

This is a small boxed solo game, but there are cards and variants to play with 2 players.

This is definitely an interesting game. You have a deck of cards you are working through over and over and over. I think you go through the deck of cards 8 times and then the game will be over.

Each card has 4 possible faces (top and bottom, front and back), but you are always looking at the top part of the card. At the start of the game, all of your cards are Level 1 cards. As you play the game, your cards can be upgraded by rotating them 180 degrees or by turning them over.

The top card of your deck is always available. Many of the cards will give you resources. When you gain resources from a card, you will turn the card 90 degrees so that the resource sticks out the side, and place the card at the back of your deck. You can have a maximum of 4 tapped resource cards. You can pay costs by untapping those resources, always keeping the resource in position in the deck. Other cards are buildings that give you more and more points as you upgrade them using the resource cards you have on tap.

Michael and I each played the solo game at the same time and compared scores. I ended up winning that game, which was awesome. It is really hard to tell how well you are doing, and there were a few times I ended up losing some resources since it hit the top of the deck and I didn't use it in time!

Palm Island worked really well playing 2p as a multi-solitaire game, and I could easily recommend this for trips. It would be a perfect game to play on a plane. There are other variants you can play with 2 players but I haven't been able to explore them yet. I will be looking to pick this up soon.








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One night we spent 5 hours learning and playing the new Vital Lacerda game called Escape Plan. New to me!

I generally proceed with caution when stepping into a Lacerda game since they are usually not my jam. They often have too much going on for me to enjoy fully. But this game has an awesome theme and I've been curious to try it out. I love the idea of trying to collect all the monies and escape the town. It is a great theme and the production is TOP NOTCH.

I will start by saying that learning from the rules is hard, but once you get going, the game flow is incredibly easy, and I feel like I could go in and teach this game no problem after playing it just one time. Even with my incredibly long first play (which is usually a deterrent for me), I had a great time learning and playing this game. I know it will be a much faster game the next time I play it.

Escape Plan is played over a number of days and turns. You will basically get 9 actions in the game to do EVERYTHING you want to do. There are ways to obtain a few bonus actions, but I only managed to get 1 bonus action, giving me 10 total actions in the game. Every action matters, so plan wisely.

In Escape Plan, you are trying to get around the city to the different areas to claim as much cash as you can before you ultimately have to escape the city. If you don't end up escaping the city in time, then you automatically lose no matter how much money you've collected.

Each player will have a secret goal card that will give them values for each destination if they manage to hit those spaces and collect their rewards. Of course, there are cops roaming the streets, and to leave a location tile, you always have to evade those cops or they go shooting you in the leg. If you get shot, you might have to visit the hospital or clinic to heal up.

There are opportunities to recruit gang members that will help you evade the cops with their distractions. You will also be able to hire allies (putting them "in your back pocket") that will give you special abilities to help you evade, to move cops around, or to get places faster.

Doing bad things will increase your reputation. But reputation can end up hurting you, since players with a lower reputation can move cops closer to your location. You have to watch out for situations like that.

Despite my long play, I had a great time playing this one. We were playing with player abilities. My ability allowed me to easily break into lockers so I didn't need keys - that was awesome. I didn't use that nearly as much as I should have. I was trying to do too much too fast and it all got jumbled. I needed to really focus and I wasn't doing that so well.

I thought I was doing REALLY well and that I might win, so I was a bit sad to learn I didn't win. Michael ended up winning this game with $472,000, and I was actually not far behind with $421,000. Derek managed to grab $262,000, and Doug the Boss had $227,000. It was quite a range of scores. Michael was able to get extra money from having a bunch of allies in his back pocket. My reputation was too high, and I lost a lot of money for that.

There is definitely a lot going on in the game, but it still seems easier to teach than most Lacerda games and falls in line with Vinhos. It plays out faster than his other games too, which is nice. I learned a lot in this first play and I am eager to get it to the table again soon. I had a really great time playing and I know I will like it more and more with each play. This is a really cool game.



















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The BGG Show!!



Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!
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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
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Tue May 7, 2019 1:25 am
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Steph's New to Me List April 2019!! *All The Games!*

Steph Hodge
United States
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Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2019!


This year I have made the goal of learning 300 games!



Steph's Awesome Spectrum Rating System!











Steph's Sad Cloud Rating 1-2.5/10
Steph's Bland Rainbow Rating 3-4.5/10
Steph's Primary Rainbow Rating 5-7/10 (Solid Play)
Steph's Super Rainbow Rating 7.5-8.5 (Keepers)
Steph's Double Rainbow Rating 9-10/10 (Top Favorites)




April List
from Worst to Best



MeM:

Maybe I don't like it since I am bad at it? It is colorful, I will give it that. Really just not an abstract that I enjoyed. I did enjoy when it was over.



2/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Pulp Detective:

Oh man, it is really hard to manipulate the dice in this game. Maybe I was playing wrong, though I don't think so, but I didn't manage to get any of the clues I needed. Seemed way too luck based and it was just generally not fun. Not a game for me.



2/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Quick!Quick!Quick!:

Speed tile laying game. Too many rules, so short game play. Way too fiddly. This game needs a good developer and then I might revisit it. Not quick enough to have "quick" in the title 3 times.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Jagdfieber:

Simultaneous card selection. Rock Paper Scissors mechanic. Try to snatch up as many cards as you can for points. Cute art, but overall not a great game for me. Wouldn't want to play again.



3.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Captain Marvel: Secret Skrulls:

This is BANG! rethemed. I hadn't played Bang in a million years but everyone else was naming the cards that the new cards were mimicking from Bang. I am not one for player elimination so this game wasn't really a hit for me. I think if you like Bang, then you will enjoy this one!



3.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Vinci:

I am grateful for Vinci to help pave the way for the excellent games that Small World and History of the World are. This just so didn't work for me at all. I won't play this one again.



3.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Noctiluca:

Not that bad but not great. If you want to do well, you have to seriously AP. This game is just asking for players to AP. I have to frown on that. Not much game here and just not much fun. Kinda surprised and might have expected more.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Nessos:

Bluffing game. Reminded me of Cockroach Poker, but not as much fun. I would never choose to play this one over that one. It was fine.



4/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Shadow Blocks:

Speed polyomino placing game. I like that there is a catch-up mechanic. Interesting puzzle for a while, but goes on too long and becomes less interesting as you play. I would rather play Ubongo 3D or something.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Pearls:

Reallllllllllllllllllllly simple set collection game. A game I didn't mind at all, but it wasn't too deep. Could play again, but really not itching to. It was fun to beat Dan once.



4/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Formula Dé Mini:

Really not into racing games at all. This was fast enough where it wasn't too tedious. I wish it were just 2 laps though. I will always choose Snow Tails over this and it gives me a similar feeling. I do like the rainbow dice. Not a game I want to play again though.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Disastles:

Perhaps too much destruction and fewer castles. Only played the one game but nearly everyone died. Hard to maintain connections if your castle is being destroyed. Quick enough filler though and I will have to check out the different ways to play. For me, it is okay.




4.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Incubation:

Good for families and kids. I was drawn to the fabulous artwork. Went on longer than I might have liked for a set collection game. No real desire to play it again. Super cute though.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Elements:

2 player card game. Awesome production for a small boxed game. All in all, this was just unexciting and not fun. I can see how if you play a lot, it might be clever, but I just don't care to find out. Not for me.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Dig Down Dwarf:

This edition had poor dice production - pips were falling out. Cool gems. The game was more interesting than I thought it would be, which is not saying a whole lot. Still not a game I would much like to return to. Not exciting, but could be fun if you have a few good rolls.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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The Tales of Ki-pataw:

This game wanted to be so much fun. Loved the back stories and art. Wanted to love it, but it was just kinda okay. Running around to complete my objectives. There are a few different ways to play the game, so it could be more fun another way. I would consider going back to try.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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The Scarlet Pimpernel:

This game is so very attractive. Beautiful colors! Didn't know the story well, still don't really. Doesn't make sense as a theme so much, but I almost wish it were a fully cooperative game. Right now I feel it is missing something special. Mostly just a cube pusher for me and not a game I will be asking to play in the future.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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X: Ganz schön knifflig!:

Roll n Write that reminds me of Can't Stop Express but not as fun. It was just okay for me. I could play again or not. Meh.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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The Potion:

Reimplements another game called POK but updates the scoring rules which really help to fix it. Push your luck bluffing game that has some cute pieces and a fun package. Harmless filler and I would be happy to play more.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Folding Space:

Still in prototype form, so there is room for some development to happen. Would want to play again in final form to see how much it changes. I am not a fan of how the folding boards work with the speed and majority mechanics. I wish the boards were implemented differently and featured more, or just not implemented at all.




5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Megaland:

It works. It can be a good family game. I like that it is in Target, and I wish I had a game like this growing up. Right now, it just doesn't work for me though. Maybe push your luck games like this aren't for me. I just will lose, always. I can't stop. It is a fault of my own and not a fault of the game.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Meander:

Not much to this game. Gotta puzzle out some patterns in a board and hope they work out when the time comes. It's cute and clever, but won't be hitting the table frequently.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Sushi Roll:

Pretty cute dice drafting game. I definitely like this more than the card game, if only for the big chunky dice. Better with more people because you can see more dice and have more opportunities to steal dice away.



5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)



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Herbaceous Sprouts:

I have to say I liked Herbaceous more. This was perfectly pleasant, but not terribly exciting. Love the production and artwork, but I will stick to Herbaceous.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Push It:

Simple dex game to try and be closest to the push it puck. Not much happening here, but can be a good restaurant game if you like that sort of thing. Harmless.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Würfelwurst:

Push your luck dice rolling game to get lots of points. Cute artwork and fun critters. Very simple but I can see it going on far too long with more than 2 people. It was fine.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Sherlock Express:

Speed pattern/deduction game. The main problem is that people don't play this quickly enough. I think players should flip faster but it rarely happens that way. There is usually a long pause between the flips for people to try to calculate. More fun to go really fast! It was cute enough and I could play again.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Tiny Towns:

Great production and art. Gameplay for me was only okay. Kinda wish the resource you are given each turn was random or relied on some other mechanic. Or maybe if the buildings were ever-changing so that no 2 people can have the same board set up. It's hard to explain, but I am just not that into this game. I very much want to be.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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LAMA:

SO MANY RAINBOWS!! I wish I could give a game a ranking just on the bold rainbow colors. The gameplay was just not great for me. It was fine, don't get me wrong. There is nothing much to it. Simple filler card game and nothing to keep it getting played. Samey. BUT RAINBOWS!



5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)



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Res Arcana:

This is one I should play again someday but with fewer people. For me, this just went on far too long and I couldn't get any combos working. It was a rough first play, but I want to give it another chance.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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KeyForge: Call of the Archons:

I really started off hating this one. By the end, it was warming up for me. I like that you can select only one faction each turn - that is probably the game's saving grace. Not really my type of game in general though.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Hintegers:

Interesting party game. I am just not smart enough for it though. I could play again no problem. If I gave the clue "watch" which number would you pick? Yah, no one will get it right, and this is why I am bad at this game.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Rolling Ranch:

Pretty simple Roll n Write game. You get to play with farm animals and you try to pen the same types of animals together. Different buildings and bonuses to aim for to keep it interesting from game to game. I felt it was a bit long though and I was generally uninterested by the end.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Black Angel:

This is one to explore more. There is a lot that rides on how the table is playing the game. You will have a much different experience depending on what is happening among the players. Beautiful production, but can be difficult to find the combos and paths to victory. Not intuitive and will be difficult to teach.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Antler Island:

Love the stag figures. So cute! The gameplay is not that interesting, but the puns and humor that comes with the table of gamers is priceless. Not a game I will frequently find myself playing, but happy to play every once in a while. "Deer Goggles."



5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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ArtSee:

Pretty game. I recall playing this in prototype form a few years ago. It has come a long way, and for the better. Lots of options on where to place cards and which cards to put, but still constricting enough. I had an enjoyable time playing but I am not sure it stands out amongst the rest.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Silver:

An updated take on Cabo. But Silver is a much better game with more control and more options. I think it falls into the Bezier line up very well. I will definitely play this one again.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Senators:

Oh man, this game is harsh. I really need to play it a few more times with the advanced support cards and see how I like it with those. For now, I don't mind it and I think this can be a pretty cool auction game. Worried that the rich might get richer though.



6/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Patchwork Doodle:

I like filling in my board with polyominoes. It seems a bit samey after a while and I would like different objectives from game to game. It was okay.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Bukiet:

Oh, the pretty colors in this game. An easy Roll and Write where you roll dice and fill in your board. Nothing too deep, but I could play with the family. Doesn't stand out in a room of Roll n Writes, but I am happy to play it.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Filler:

Delicious little card game. It was a nice surprise and works very well with 2 players. Light drafting game to try and use your ingredients to get more cards for your hand which will help you get more cards. Interesting deck building game. Happy to play this one again.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Cover Your Assets:

Really cute card game with more than meets the eye. Timing is everything - when to strike and how to strike are critical. Lots of laughs with this one. I like it a lot and will play with the fam.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Sherlock Holmes: Four Investigations:

Not my favorite in the choose your own adventure series of books, but still really clever. Enjoying the experience and I like that I can choose to be Holmes or Watson. That was clever.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Palm Island:

Neat little card game. We played 2 players as multiplayer solitaire and I thought it worked pretty well. Interested to see how the different modes will work. Sometimes difficult to get the cards to cooperate when you are holding them. Very enjoyable little game.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Silver & Gold:

Oh, this was the talk of the town for the week. I do like actually writing on the cards that you collect. Finally, a smart Roll n Write idea! Really enjoyed this one and will happily play it when requested. Might not stand out in time, but for now, I am enjoying it.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Oceans:

Solid gameplay. I liked this a lot more than I enjoyed Evolution. More control over the cards you are playing which helps you defend yourself. Highly interactive engine building game. Will love to play this game again.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Amul:

Clever set collection and drafting game. You have to be tricky to prepare well for the big reveal at the end of the game. That final reveal is what will keep me going back for more. Really enjoyed my play.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Draftosaurus:

Oh my goodness so cute! I love drafting dinomeeples. I had to pick it up since it is so cute. I just need to add googly eyes. I will play this anytime since it is so quick and so colorful.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Dungeon Academy:

Speed game where you use the patterns on the dice to gain powers and defeat the bad guys in a path. The more you kill, the more points you will get. Really clever speed puzzle game. I look forward to playing a bunch more.



7/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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The Boldest:

Simultaneous card play, and I love that mechanic. Sort of programming your plays in this game at the same time. Hard to judge what people might do. Plays out fairly quickly though. Enjoyable play. I really am not attracted to the artwork at all, except my water buffalo friend. Would like more color in my game art.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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One Key:

This game is super cute. Libellud really delivers with their artwork every time. Does not disappoint. Cooperative gameplay and it is super challenging to convey meaning in images that have little to do with one another. Love the use of the app. A really clever game and I can't wait to play again.



7/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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HexRoller:

I love the puzzles of trying to make the connections and waiting for the perfect rolls to fill in your different regions. Never plays out the way you want it to. Clever Roll n Write and I am happy to have it.



7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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Dizzle:

Really great how they incorporate different levels to keep you playing. The variety is nice and will make me want to own this. I am terrible at it since I always push my luck too much and it never works out. Keeps it interesting though.



7.5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write:

Enjoyed the few plays I had of this. I have to say I am more interested in the campaign mode to try all the different buildings and see how they work in different plays. Basic play might get static after a while, but there is a lot of potential with this one.



7.5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Captive:

Ohh this is an exciting book. You are in for an adventure this time. I had to pause in the middle, but I couldn't wait to get back to it and save my daughter! This one is a true maze. Very cool!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Second Chance:

I love the tough choices on which pieces to draw. With colorful markers, this game will be awesome! Happy to play this any time.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Auf falscher Fährte:

This game is such a delight. I really like not knowing what will happen and I play every trick in fear. This is a card game for me. Really loved it.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Ohanami:

I took to this game immediately and played it a bunch. Love playing out the cards and trying to find the perfect time to switch over to extreme plays. Really nice filler game and will definitely be adding to the collection.



7.5/10 After 3 plays (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Escape Plan:

Such a big game and amazing production, and yet I still think it is Lacerda's easiest-to-play game. Streamlined and easy to understand (compared to Lisboa). I had a great time and this theme is super cool. I very much look forward to my next play.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Marco Polo 2:

Not on BGG yet, and HiG hasn't decided whether to make this an expansion or standalone game. Either way, I have to have it. Loved playing the new take on Marco Polo. It is so exciting to see more content for this game and I can't wait to see the final production.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North:

Unique player decks make this game awesome. Different strategies to accomplish similar things. Loved playing this head-to-head and figuring out what might work best for my faction. Looking forward to the finished product.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Boomerang:

Really excellent card drafting/Roll n Write game. Two of my favorite mechanics and it didn't disappoint. Will have to add this one to the collection! Really stood out among the many in the Roll n Write genre this month.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale:

LOVED this one. Creating a map and trying to complete goals. Really creative Roll n Write and one I will always want to play. Very excited for more plays of this one.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Subtext:

Will no doubt be the best party game of the year. I love this game! I generally like party games, but this one really makes you think outside the box. Dixit meets Pictionary! You totally need the right crowd though.



8/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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The Game That Shall Not Be Named:

Terribly sad I can't talk about this game, but just know that I LOVE IT! It will hopefully hit stores this year. IT'S AMAZINGGG FUN! There are some dice... and more dice! So many dice!



8.5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned/Wishlist)

No pic!

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Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal:

I love drafting dice, and I love deck building. All of that is used so well in this game. Confusing rules, but once you get through them, it is a blast. I very much look forward to adding this to the collection!



8.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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Hadara:

Loved this game. Quick and meaningful choices. Wonderful engine building and easily a highlight for the month, if not the year. Want to play this all the time. Very much look forward to wearing my copy out.



8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Game of the Month: Twice As Clever!!

Twice as Clever and Twice as Better. Love this game. Possibly my favorite Roll n Write. Highly addictive app and so much to think about in a short playtime. IMO way better than Ganz.



9/10 After 5 in-person plays (Owned)



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New to me Expansions!




Mystic Vale: Vale of the Wild:

Leader cards and more advancement cards and new vale cards. So much added. The coolest feature is the leader cards though. One will be added to your starting hand and will provide a unique ability for you. Super cool!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Underwater Cities: Expansion:

More cards, more boards, more awesome. A must have.



9/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Teotihuacan: Late Preclassic Period:

UM! SO GREAT! Pretty sure that covers it. Amazing game and amazing expansion. So much amazingness! Like the base game? Great - this is an insta-buy expansion.



9.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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The Tally


January: 12
February: 13
March: 21
April: 68!





Total new-to-me games for the year: 114!



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I have been seeing a bunch of movies recently... hopefully more and more with AMC's A-List!








Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!
https://www.facebook.com/AlltheMeeplesoftheRainbow



All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Thank you.
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100 Comments
Wed May 1, 2019 11:00 am
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James' Personal Best!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Hia Everyone!



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As many of you might have noticed, I have been on and off the past month or so. As it happens, Ron and I got a divorce and I moved down to Tennessee. I have been keeping up with the blog and will plan to for the foreseeable future. With the move and the new surroundings, it has been quite an adjustment, but I plan to play as much as I can, like always. I am not up for talking about everything that has happened and I don't need sympathy - it is life and it happens. Ron and I are amicable and I am sure I will see him at different conventions or when I travel home to the Northeast. Going forward, I will start adding names again to the blogs, but now with an all-new cast of players.


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Got to spend some more time with my choose-your-own-adventure gamebooks and picked out Sherlock Holmes: Four Investigations. New to me!

Ohh this is a longer book! I only managed to get through 3 out of 4 cases in this book. I like that there is so much to do and you can easily stop and pick up from where you left off. What is particularly interesting about this book is that you have the ability to choose to be Holmes or Watson, and you will have different instructions and paths for each case depending on who you choose to be. I think that is super clever.

Once you are done with a case, you don't get a score. Since I haven't finished all 4 cases, I don't really know how I have progressed. I could be screwing it all up, but I have no idea! I still have one more case to go. I think I am doing pretty well. POWERS OF DEDUCTION! haha

Really enjoying these books from Van Ryder Games. Can't wait to see what else might happen!








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Got together with some friends for a game night and I was able to bring some of the games that need more than 2 people to play! We started with Tiny Towns. New to me!

I love the look of this game. It is charming, like the art from Beauty and the Beast. The little town meeples are so cute and colorful! I didn't know much about the game except that Lincoln was loving it from when he talked about it on the BGG Show!

In Tiny Towns, you are trying to build up your town with buildings that will score you lots of points. All of the buildings are available to all players and won't change during the game.

There are 4 resource types that help create the buildings on your player board. Each player board is a 4x4 grid and each space can hold exactly one piece of wood, either a resource cube or a building. Each building requires a pattern of resources for it to be built.

On your turn, you will call for any resource. All players have to place that resource on their player board. Then any player can build a building if they can. When a building is built, it must be built on a space that one of its resources was on.

Some buildings provide an ability that you can use for the rest of the game. Most buildings will give points though. Cottages require food to score, so you have to build a farm to feed the cottages.

At the start of the game, each player is given two monuments, and they will choose one that only they will be allowed to build this game. There is some variation with the monuments.

The game will end when nobody can play anymore. You get -1 for each space on your board without a building. #rude. I suppose it is possible to cover your board completely, but it would be very difficult to do so.

In the game I played, James had built his monument, which gave him this amazing ability to put a building ANYWHERE upon completion. We could also build trading houses, which counted as wild resources on your board. He absolutely crushed us with that combination. It was no joke. It definitely seemed a bit OP but we were all learning and maybe there could have been a way to stop the madness, but I am not sure.

So I've got this app that I've been using to keep track of #allthegames I play and who I play them with, and it always tells me when someone scores a "Personal Best". James' personal best happened to be the top score of the game too! How about that!? James always seems to be getting his best score when playing with me!

My major concern for Tiny Towns is that everyone can choose to create the exact same board. There is nothing stopping me from copying the person to my right. The only difference is that each player has a different monument, but they aren't required to build them. Perhaps that is enough difference to make people shoot for different buildings in general. I don't know, I have only played one time so far. It just seems weird that I could have the exact same board as someone else at the end of the game.

I am not sure I won people over with this game. I think it is cute enough. I almost want a larger selection of buildings in one game though. Maybe it would help if the buildings or the patterns changed after someone builds a building. I definitely have to give this a few more plays to see more.
















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Next up we got to play a push-your-luck card game called Cover Your Assets. New to me!

I love Skull King. The more I play Skull King the more I want to play it. I was interested in trying some of the other card games in the line and Cover Your Assets was one of them. It is very simple to learn and teach.

In Cover you Assets, you are trying to make sets of cards, creating a huge stack of them and gaining lots of money. The game will end after a player reaches a set value, and whoever has the most money will be the winner.

The gameplay is very straight forward. You can play a pair from your hand to your stack, you can match a card from the discard pile to your hand to play to your stack, you can discard a card and draw a card, OR you can try to steal someone's set on top of their stack. The way you can steal theirs is by handing them a card that matches their top stack, face down. They can respond to your challenge with a matching card from their hand. You can counter that with ANOTHER card from your hand. This continues until one player runs out of matching cards. The last person to play a card will win the challenge along with all of the cards that were just played.

There are 2 types of cards in this game that are wilds: the silvers and golds. These cards are valued higher and can be matched with anything or played as a wild to help defend or attack other players stacks.

At first, the group was skeptical about this game. Once we started playing, it was clear there were a lot of clever choices to be made and that it was not just simple luck of the cards. Yah, sure, it can be helpful to have the right cards at the right time. I certainly had some beginner's luck when I was playing. I ended with some huge stacks of cash. I was letting everyone steal from each other and then I would swoop in after they all dueled and took the stockpile of goodies from them with no contest. (insert evil laugh devil )

We all had a fun time playing this one, even if I won. Sometimes I can just win! I was particularly consistent in each round. James had a few really weak starting rounds but managed a SUPER strong final round once he figured out the game. He got his #PersonalBest score with 955. Going from very far last place to 2nd in one round is impressive! I am excited to bring this one to the next family gathering as I think my family will very much enjoy it!











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There was a game that came out last GenCon that I recalled seeing because it has the most unique packaging! It is a vitamin-type bottle with little acrylic pieces in it called The Potion. New to me!

This is a funny story. When reading the rules, I was thinking, wow this sounds very much like a game I played last BGG.Spring called POK and sure enough, The Potion reimplemented POK! Not only did I play it there, I played it with James and Michael who I was now playing this with. They were as surprised as I was!

Oh man, I was not really favorable on POK, but after finishing the rules, it was clear the parts that were broken in POK were updated and fixed for The Potion.

The Potion is a cute betting game. It plays out super quick in like 5-10 minutes and is wicked easy to teach and play. There are 3 dice. Each is a D6 with 3 blank sides. The other 3 sides will have a red, blue, and green face in 1, 2, 3 values. All players begin the game with 2 red, 2 blue, and 2 green tokens. Your goal is to try and get rid of 2 colors from your hand of tokens (this is a positive change from the original POK rules, in which you had to get rid of 5 of your 6 tokens).

Each round, the dice are rolled. The players will secretly choose one ingredient to place in their hand, then simultaneously reveal. If the ingredients match ONE of the die faces, the players that contributed to the match get to discard their ingredient to the bottle. If no ingredients match a die face, players who chose an ingredient not shown on any die get to discard their ingredient to the bottle. There's one catch - if ALL players qualify to discard ingredients, then NOBODY gets to discard them.

This is easier to explain with an example. Let's say a 1 blue, 2 blue, and a blank die show up. If 2 players end up showing a blue token, the 2 blue die is complete, and those players get to toss their tokens. Other players who chose a red or green token would have to keep theirs. If 3 players had revealed a blue token, then no single die is complete, and players who revealed red or green tokens would be able to toss their tokens away.

You keep playing until one or more players have only 1 color remaining. We had 3 winners this game! Susan, Michael, and I shared the victory. I think a tiebreaker should be that the person with the fewest tokens remaining in one color should be the winner because then Susan would have been the ultimate winner this game. What really matters is that James got his #PersonalBest score for the game.

The Potion was certainly much better with the updated rules. I will gladly play this any time now!
























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A game that was sitting on my unplayed shelf for a realllllllllly long time was Jagdfieber. New to me!

This is a simultaneous card-selection game where you are trying to predict what other players might do so you can capture their wolves and rabbits and carrots for the most points. Hunter gets the wolf and the wolf gets the rabbit and the rabbit gets the carrot. You get the idea. Food chain ordering - you know!

Really nothing very exciting happening in this game and I didn't make clever choices. I just went with what I was seeing on the table. Most of my stuff got eaten before I could score it, and I didn't catch enough because other players had activations before me. #mistakesweremade. I totally didn't win this game but Michael ended with 23 for the win. Most importantly, James managed his #PersonalBest with -2!

In the end, we played only 1 round. I think the game has potential but there was not enough to keep me invested in multiple rounds. I think the artwork was charming though and I love my wolves. I could play again, but I am in no hurry to.






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I was scammed. I turned around and I was suddenly playing Formula Dé Mini. New to me!

I know a few games I definitely don't ever want to play and hope I won't have to. Formula De is one of them. I was told the mini-game would be 45 minutes. #wrong But it wasn't too bad. I was also told it was very much like the bigger game but cut way back.

There are some okay things about the game with the sharp turns and the damage points. I like the rainbow dice that are variable depending on the gear you are in. But there are still really fiddly rules, like if you roll a 20, everyone has to roll the damage die, or when you rub against another car, you both have to roll the damage die. I duno - I just can't get into racing games at all.

I made some big mistakes this game. I tried to make a pit stop when I had 5 damage points left, and that absolutely hosed my game because I didn't roll above the damage points I already had. In order to leave the pit, you have to roll higher than the damage points you have remaining. It cost me a full turn. I should have just taken my chances, but I still managed to come in 2nd place. On the plus side, we did see one car blow up! That was exciting, and the reason people go to watch car races, right? FINAL DESTINATION 5. James had everything under control in the final lap and crossed that finish line first (unimpressed). He managed his #PersonalBest with 1st place.

Not my type of game and not a game I could care to play again unless I had to. I would always choose Snow Tails over this. It is far superior.






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Saturday I got to go to a game night at Doris and Chad's and we played a bunch of new games which was exciting. I first tried out Senators. New to me!

Senators is a card game in which you try to gain the influence of the most senators. By the time the 4th war comes around, whoever has the most will win the game.

Each turn, the active player will reveal an event card and carry out the event which might involve everyone. These events might be harmful or helpful. The active player then chooses 1 of 3 actions to do. They can hold an auction for goods, extort other players' cards, or cash in.

During the auction phase, 4 stacks will be revealed, 3 of which have a resource on them and the last stack will be an office card. Players will take a once-around bidding phase. After everyone has bid, the active player will decide if they want to buy each card at the highest bid value or let the highest bidder buy it. All cards purchased this way will end up in an open market in front of that player.

The second action is the extortion action where the active player may choose to offer some cash for one card in front of any given player. The player receiving the offer must accept the purchase or pay that amount of money to keep the card. No matter the exchange, the card that is claimed will go to the hand of the player who paid for the card. Cards in hand are kept hidden.

The final action that can be chosen is the cash-in action. This allows players to give up their resource cards in sets of 3, all with the same type or the same value. Sets are worth cash equal to the combined values on the cards. A bonus $15 is given if they are the same type AND in consecutive order. Afterwards, the players can choose to buy senators for $10 each.

In our play, I had a very difficult time. I was very low on cash and we kept getting hit with a penalty of $5. I didn't have $5, but the game allows you to take a $5 loan by losing one senator. Yah, you can be fully eliminated from the game if you have no senators. I was frightfully close to being eliminated from the game. I did manage to get a big set of resources so I could buy 4 senators at the end of the game.

Of course, I was nowhere near victory at the end. I managed to stay out of last place, so it was a small victory. Chad was ON IT. He was rolling in the senators by the end. There were so many event cards that gave him money for being in the lead. #critical.

I really have to give this one another play, now that I know what I am doing. There is also a variant for advanced play where you can add in some support cards, which I think will change up the play a bit. I am excited to see what those bring to the table. I think there is potential with this game. I just have to get past the initial beat down that happened.

It was too bad James wasn't there to get his #PersonalBest.










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I got a new game called Subtext. New to me!

This is a new game from Wolfgang Warsch. He has been knocking it out of the park recently. I mean one hit after another - it is quite impressive.

I already knew from the box cover that I would love this one. It is a brilliant cover with all the line art that looks like a maze and the really nice pink-to-yellow gradient. It is different and I like it!

Subtext is a Dixit meets Pictionary type party game. I love that it plays 4-8 players and will really handle the higher player count well, I am sure. It is played over a number of rounds depending on how many people are playing, and whoever has the most points at the end will be the winner.

Before the game starts, a number from 1 to 5 is chosen. Each turn, the active player will draw a card. Depending on the number that was chosen, the active player will look at that number on the card and remember the word written there. Then the active player will take that card and add it to a mix of other cards equal to the number of players minus 2. The cards are shuffled and handed out to the other players. So a random person will now have the active player's card, and the active player doesn't know who it is.

Every player will then draw a picture relating to the word they have seen on the card they were given. The active player will also do this and put their picture off to the side. Each other player will assign their drawing to a letter. Then each player will try to deduce whose drawing matches the active player's drawing. Even the active player will be guessing who their partner is.

The scoring works much like Dixit. You don't want to be too obvious with your drawings because then it is just too easy and everyone will know right away. You can't be too challenging because your partner won't know that they match you. In order for the active player to score, both they and their partner have to match their guesses AND make sure at least one player doesn't guess correctly.

In my play, we were playing with just 4 players. I was definitely the best one in this game. My drawings were on point! Doris and Brook were just too obvious. There was one time I was teamed up with Doris for the word "mafia" and she drew a gun. I mean that is just toooooo obvious. I drew a cigar and it was clear they were a pair. Maybe cigar was too obvious too, I don't know. One round, Chad was the active player and drew Kermit. It wasn't clear who matched with him. The word turned out to be Rainbow, and it was supposed to be paired with the unicorn someone drew. I suppose that makes sense, but it was hard! Chad is a very talented artist though!

Anyway, I still did wayyy better than the rest. I am SUPER excited to play this game with a lot more players, maybe even 8. It will be amazing.

Subtext is so simple and so clever! I already know it will be near the top of the favorites for me. It is perfect for everything I want in a party game. I can't wait to play it with everyone!



















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Next up I read the rules for Disastles. New to me!

This is a card drafting game where you are drafting cards into your space castle. Each turn players will select an action, which is usually to draft a card from the display and add it into their castle. There are other choices like to move a card around or swap cards, but you are generally trying to expand your castle as best you can.

The row of cards is swept each round and new cards are revealed. In the stack of cards, there will be disaster cards. When these are revealed, each castle will have to defend using their protective shields or take the hits. You have to take a hit by removing a room tile from your castle. Each connection made in the castle that has matching symbols is a shield against an attack. You definitely want to connect the symbols correctly, but it might not always be possible.

Some of the room cards have a symbol that has a golden border around it. If all the golden borders are matched correctly then the card will get to be activated. Some cards have persistent effects and others require that you use your one precious action to activate. Some cards give you cool combos and more actions on your turn. Ideally, you will build up some sweet combos in the game.

In the rules, it says not everyone will die, but ooof, in my play, it was a close call. Chad and Brook were eliminated rather quickly. A few rounds later, Doris was eliminated. I was the last man standing so I auto won! My castle was down to only my start card, however. Hey, 1 card was still better than no cards! It allowed me to win.

We had a pretty harsh game for sure. I think I figured out why though. After the game was finished it was clear we missed shuffling in the treasure cards. There are a whole bunch of those and it MIGHT have separated the disaster cards a bit more. Revealing so many disaster cards round after round was really harmful to our castle construction.

It was a super quick game to play, and I think it took longer for me to read the rules than to play. I will definitely be giving this another play so I can try and get those combos going. You can also play this game cooperatively. Maybe that could be a cool way to play. There are also a bunch of variants in the rules.

Player elimination isn't a favorite mechanic of mine so I will proceed with caution, but the gameplay is so quick it is hard to really fault a game for that. I don't think it bothered anyone in my game so it was fine. I am happy to play again.
















Cosmic Koala!!














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I ended up teaching Twice As Clever to the group. I am getting pretty good at teaching this one now. I have a good approach to the game and which mechanic to explain in what order. Brook and Doris hadn't even played Ganz so I was basically teaching them from scratch.

I tried helping out as much as I could in this game. I wanted to make sure everyone could see their options. It can be hard to see the value in locking out all of your dice for the gray action, but by doing that you can possibly get 6 X's in the gray region. Can be very powerful!

I still totally destroyed them all. I did much better than my last time playing IRL, so that was good. It was interesting playing with 4 players since that is not how I normally play. Still, I love it any which way!






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We played the game of rainbows! ALL the bold and awesome colors that create LAMA. New to me!

This game has been brought to my attention more than once because it has so many awesome rainbows in it. LAMA is a small boxed card game that plays in 15-20 minutes. You are trying to get the least amount of points as possible, and the game is over when someone hits 40 points.

LAMA is a super easy game where you are trying to dump cards to the discard pile. On your turn, you can play a card to the discard pile if it is the SAME value or a value of +1 higher. Cards are numbered 1-6 plus LAMA cards. On a 6 you can play a LAMA card, and on the LAMA card you can play a 1. If you don't have a card to play then you can draw a card from the draw stack or you can fold your hand of cards. If you fold, you will get white tokens for the DIFFERENT cards you have in hand. For example, if you have one 6 card and two 5 cards, you will gain 6 white tokens for the 6 card and 5 white tokens for the 5 cards. Each white token is worth 1 point. In addition, you will get one black token per LAMA card, each worth 10 points. The round ends if someone gets rid of all their cards or if all but one player folds.

I ended up winning the first game since I kept going out. When you go out you actually get to discard a token, either a white 1-point token or a black 10-point token. Not bad! The second game we played, I didn't do as well. I kept being dealt a bunch of LAMA cards. It is really hard to get rid of those cards since people try to keep everyone else stuck with LAMA cards. Yah, it was rough going, but it was still cute to have all the LAMAs dancing in my hand with lots of rainbows!

I have to say I liked this game ok. If it didn't have the bright bold colors of the rainbow, I don't think I would like it as much. So, judging only the gameplay, it was decent. I am not excited to play it. BUT I LOVE THE ART SO MUCH! I could easily play this any time, it is harmless. Thanks to Chad for owning it and suggesting it for me to play!










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I was interested in giving Miraris another play. It was a very quick game and we ended up playing 2 times.

One game was crazy where people kept canceling each other and there were 4 cards on stacks at one point! Dannnng that is a lot of cards up for the taking. I had some pretty sweet end of game cards, but nothing that really scored me many points.

Brook managed to get a TON of end-game points both games and ended up winning both of them, once with over 70 points and the other with around 40. I did well the first game but not even 40 points well. Super hard when Doris keeps playing the same card as you! This is why we had to play twice though!

A simple fun game that I am happy to play!









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There was a request by Chad to play Auf Teufel komm raus. I can't ever pass up the chance to play this game. I love it so much. It might just be the amazing poker chips that are in it though.

No, I really just like the push-your-luck part of it. I realllllllllllly like that.

I rarely win this game, and it is because I am known to pull those devils. This play was no different. The first 3 turns had me pulling up a devil. Really?! I mean it is just crazy. I certainly know how to entertain a room!

Towards the end of the game, I had a major comeback. I had the highest bid 2 rounds in a row, gaining like $500 for one round and $400 for another. I was up close to the finish line when Chad was declared the winner. I am proud of the comeback I had, considering I was in the devil's lair in round 2. Whoops!

Always a good time when playing this game.



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We finished the night with a quick game of Brikks.

This game I had my heart set on getting the "complete 4 rows at once" bonus. Yeah, wishful thinking, but I did manage to get 3 completed! I felt it was quite an accomplishment. Not only did I get 3 completed at once, but I managed to complete the top row! Waaaaaaaaaat! Boom, 20 points. I love that 20 point bonus. I have managed to get it only once before.

I have been enjoying this one. I will have to check out the rules to see what other variants are available.



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Another lunch, I was able to pull out the next book called Captive. New to me!

Seriously loving these adventure books. This one is a thriller and I only made it about halfway through before pausing. I got to select my Strength, Dex, and Will at the beginning of the game, so that was interesting. I went with a few well-rounded abilities, and so far it hasn't been too rough on me. I lost a bunch of life, but I was able to cure most of it.

This is the first time out of 3 books where I really had to write some things down, so I have a napkin I am writing on. I could write in the book, but man that just seems wrong on so many levels! I don't want to write in a book! And besides, I might want to play it again after I fail.

This one definitely has the suspense and keeps you guessing. #mistakesweremade, but the story is not over yet!

To Be Continued...

...NOW!

Okay, so I managed to finish this hostage situation in another sitting before this blog was published!

Soon after I resumed playing, I managed to die. So I restarted from the same point and died again. I tried one final time from the same point and... I managed to win that time! Hahahah wow there are a lot of ways to die and I am sure I only found a few of them. I don't know my score since I forgot too many things that I might or might not have found throughout the adventure. Out of a possible 38 points, I probably got half the points. Super tricky!

This has been my favorite of the 3 books I have played so far. I am very much looking forward to the others in the series!





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