All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

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Skagway in Space with Some Kabobs for the Sharks

Steph Hodge
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A game that caught my eye at Origins for the retro artwork was Space Explorers. New to me!

I was super excited to get this one played because it sounded like a really quick and interesting engine builder. The artwork just stands out and is so different. It really has wonderful vibes.

In Space Explorers, you are trying to gather the most points by recruiting people to your tableau and building the space projects. People you recruit will have a range of points and the projects you build will give you even more points. The game will end when one person has recruited 12 people or all of the projects have been built.

Space Explorers has a Splendor-esque feel to it where you are buying cards to place in your tableau and building up your engine to make other cards cheaper. What makes this game stand out is that each card is unique and will provide a special bonus for you. Some cards have on-going bonuses where they provide symbols each round, and other cards will provide special abilities.

The people you are able to recruit will have a cost of a variety of symbols. You can spend a card from your hand to act as 2 symbols but you can also spend the tokens you have in front of you. These tokens remain in play and you will have to hand them off to another player when you use them. You don't want to help them out too much!

Whenever you recruit a new person, they will be placed into their matching column and cover up the previous person's ability/bonus. So you can only have one active ability or bonus per column. While you might want more blue workers, the first worker might be just so awesome, you don't want to cover him up! That is what makes this game great.

Michael and I were just learning the game and trying to figure out how to best combo our workers and get the most points possible.

I figured this was more of a race game where you want to get out as many people as you can. While that is partially true, you want to try and get high-valued workers for bigger points and not just the little 1s and 2s valued workers. They are good to help start your engine and build up the workforce, but you want to get the really cool abilities to help you out too.

Space Explorers has a fun balance and I just love all of the different abilities and bonuses that really keep the game interesting and will sometimes make you second guess your choices. There isn't always a clear best move, and that is where your cleverness can win you the game.

I totally kicked butt this time around, winning with a score of 36 to Michael's 28.

This is a game I could play any time. I really enjoyed the pace of the game and find it really appealing for all levels of gamers. Easy to play and teach is always a win in my book. Looking forward to my next play!















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I got to go play games at James' and Susan's house. While Michael was caught in bad traffic, I was able to teach James and Susan how to play Dizzle, fo shizzle.

I was excited to play this game again. I am thrilled Stronghold is making this one more accessible in the US since it is such a clever game.

The first time I played, I wasn't so impressed, but as I am playing it more and more I am enjoying it more and more. Since James and Susan hadn't played before, I figured it would be best to start them off with level 1. I wanted so much to move on to a new level I hadn't tried yet, but it was more appropriate to play the first one.

I had last played in April so I was basically okay on the rules. I reviewed them to be sure I didn't miss anything, but all in all, it was pretty easy to recall everything.

Susan always says that she and dice just don't mix well together. This time was no different for her. She was pushing her luck too much and it resulted in her losing a bunch of already claimed dice.

James ended up winning because he was claiming all of Susan's failed dice! I was playing it safer but was close behind his score in the final count. Poor Susan was about 40 points behind James' 72 points. Whoops!

I think she still enjoyed Dizzle well enough. I don't think it will ever be requested by her to play, but she can still have fun with it. I am still loving it. I can't wait to play levels 3 and 4! Those are the real challenges!







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The main feature for the night was a 4-player game of Jaws. New to me!

Spoiler: I haven't seen the movie. Of course, there are quotes on the cards and I have heard several of the quotes before. I just never saw the movie! I should do that. "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

Michael read the rules so we could start playing. Jaws is a 1-v-All game. Michael played as the shark and James, Susan, and I played as characters from the movies. I was Quint, Susan was Hooper, and James was Brody for anyone who knows the characters.

In Jaws, you are trying to kill the shark if you are playing the humans, and if you are playing as the shark, you want to kill all the humans or destroy the boat.

Jaws plays out in 2 parts and each part could be played as a stand-alone game, but really you want to play them both for the full experience.

In Part 1, the humans are on land and on boats trying to save the people on the beach from being eaten by the shark. The humans also want to attach barrels to the shark to help track him down and pinpoint his location. If the humans can get 2 barrels attached to the shark then Part 1 is complete. While the humans are trying to find him, the shark will be trying to eat up all the beachgoers. There is a bit of hidden movement for the shark, and he can play some abilities to try and throw us off his case. If he can eat 9 swimmers, that will trigger the end to Part 1 as well.

Depending on if the humans or the shark can end it faster will determine the number of bonus materials for Part 2. The faster the humans can tag the shark, the more gear cards they can claim for Part 2, and the fewer shark cards the shark will get. Of course, if the shark eats 9 swimmers, the opposite is true - the shark will get a lot of shark cards and the humans will get only a few gear cards.

Part 2 is the meat of the game. The humans are taken out on the Orca ship and are trying to take on the shark at close range. There are weapons to use, but the shark will have his own strengths and cards to play. The shark has more hidden movement and choices to make, but the humans can try to gauge the situation and guess what he might plan.

Ultimately, one side of the fight will win and it is all about timing and having a bit of luck on your side.

Our game lasted like 2+ hours. Michael was very good at deceiving us HOO-MANS. We were definitely overanalyzing everything. I had correctly guessed his position a number of times, but we ended up picking a different location and was wrong. I should go with my gut instincts more!!

In Part 1, Michael ate up 9 swimmers, so we got the MINIMUM amount of gear we could possibly get going into Part 2. It was definitely rough for us. We were able to use the small amount of gear and hold strong until the end. Michael was just too powerful and his strength tore apart the ship and sunk us. We had some major hits though and got his health down to the single digits. It was a close game, and with some better rolling from Susan, we could have won that game. I only tease because Susan insists that she always rolls so badly!

Michael the Shark took home the win this game. I think we will play better and faster the next time it comes around.

I love that there is a 4th of July card in the game. It was a perfect card to draw being so close to the actual calendar date.

Jaws was pretty fun. I would definitely want to play as the shark at one point and try to attack everyone running around. It might be more fun to play as the shark - I don't know. But it was cool to try and pinpoint him and I don't mind working with the group. I am guessing if I liked the movie I would like this game a little bit more, but I don't think that not knowing the game ruined it at all. I have been spoilered a bunch since this game got released though! hahah

What makes this even more epic is that Michael ended up winning a copy of the game on the official BGG contest! What! How cool is that!?! I still haven't ever won a contest before. I always try to win though. Ravensburger "JAWS" Contest! WINNERS!




















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Final game for Fun Group v2 was a quick speed game called Kushi Express. New to me!

Not really knowing what to expect when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the components. There is a toy-like feel to the game with the rubber cubes and plastic sticks.

The goal of Kushi Express is to collect the most points from the pattern cards you collect. You will collect a card if you are the first person to correctly make the pattern on the card.

Kushi Express is not your normal speed game because there is an added complexity to the game with the cheese and bacon ribbons you have to wrap so precisely. Sometimes you have to wrap the bacon fully around another food item and other times you have to weave the bacon around several food items. It is tricky and with the added pressure of trying to complete it first, it is easy to fumble! There are a couple of cards in the deck that will invoke a reaction to stand up and yell KUSHI! If you do this first, then you get to steal the top card from another player! Ouch!

It was clear that Michael was not very good at this game and he didn't end up scoring until the very end of the game - I think we were getting tired of winning so much. James and Susan had it down though and were cleaning up with cards. I was trying to wrap the food items from the stick and I think Susan was pre-wrapping the items which let her succeed faster. It was impressive!

Final scores were Susan 38, James 34, Steph 14, and Michael didn't want to talk about it with 7 points. James managed to steal 6 points from me and clearly, that would have helped my score a lot. But it wasn't enough for me to win it anyway. If James had stolen from Susan, he would have won! Serves him right. #jerk

For a speed game, this one is a lot of fun. I like the added challenge of the ribbons and I think it is all excellent quality and will hold up over repeated plays. It is simple and fun! I could play this with any age player and any game group.












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I had the privilege of going on the BGG@Sea cruise in 2018. Michael was there too, and to celebrate visiting Skagway Alaska 1 year ago, we decided to try out a game called Skagway. New to me!

MAN THESE RULES ARE LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. I believe they were 20+ pages long. By the time we got through the rules, I didn't want to play. We ended up playing a few days later and I was just so unimpressed, I am not sure it was actually worth playing. I rarely say that about games. The theme is cool and there are some cool ideas featured, but overall there was nothing really interesting happening in the game and just too many rules for what should be a simple ruleset and quick gameplay.

I like that you can turn the town good or bad depending on what buildings you build. That was kind of fun.

Maybe playing with more than 2 people it could be fun, but I wouldn't count on it. The game is much too fiddly and giving points to this person and taking points from that person. The icons on the tokens are much too small and you are using those icons a lot to figure out what you have to do.

Since I was not invested in the game at all I didn't care about my score so Michael absolutely crushed me. I wasn't trying though since I wanted it to be over.

Easy come and easy go, as I already sold it.












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New to the Collection
Jaws
Space Explorers
Dizzle
Kushi Express
Skagway






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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Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:00 pm
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Adventures by Rolling West to See the Parks and Bosk.

Steph Hodge
United States
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One of the best games I got to learn in June was PARKS. New to me!

Parks is easily one of the prettiest games I own, but what really hooked me was the Camera token. There is an action in the game that allows you to snap photos and score points from the pictures you have taken in the game. PSH, YAH, I LOVE THAT! So totally biased because of my love for photography. Parks features 59 different national parks in the game, and each card has unique artwork and factual information. The information is not actually used in the game, but it is really great for learning about these different parks. I have already started a list of parks I need to visit!

In Parks, players are gearing up to visit different parks and scoring the most points to win the game. Visiting different parks will score you victory points and the hidden goals you have from the start of the game will also help to provide points. The gear cards will make your trips to the parks easier and thus will help you visit more parks. There are 4 rounds in the game, and each round the trail tiles will be shuffled up and placed out. Also, each round, 1 additional special tile will be added, making the trail a little bit longer.

Players have 2 hikers that will walk the trail. On your turn, you will move one of your hikers along the trail as far as you want. You can't go back once you move forward though. You will gather the resources from the space you land on or perform the action the space allows you to do. Eventually, your hikers will make it to the end of the trail and get to visit the available parks if you have the appropriate resources to do so. You can also reserve a park for a future visit or gain a gear card. Gear cards are pretty great and can help by giving resource discounts or by making trail spaces better. Getting good combos with your gear cards is a really good strategy, so you want to get gear cards early and often.

There is also a photography element to the game. Each snapshot is worth points at the end of the game. The person with the camera token gets a cool discount when taking a photo. There are also canteens that you can fill up once per round to get a cool activation effect.

The game is simply stunning. The production quality is top notch with cool Game Trayz inserts and custom wildlife meeples. I am blown away.

Michael and I played this game. I was characteristically after the camera token from turn one. I was totally unreasonable about it too. If he even thought about taking it away from me, I would immediately take it back. I was definitely not out to win the game but to be the best photographer in the game. I suppose that will make my playing of this game very predictable. I can't just sit back and let someone else hold the camera. IT WON'T HAPPEN! Never say never, but I am fairly sure.

Regardless, I had a great time playing this one and seeking parks that fit my goal card. I was trying to snap those photos in the game and as a result took about a million real pics too. Maybe I need a photo blog dedicated to this one game.

Michael ended up winning our game, and it was probably because of my unwillingness to let the camera go. But it was close! He won with 39 and I had 36 points. Doh! Not enough SUNNY parks came into play which would have really helped me out and my Sunny goal card. All my gear cards were pointed towards making SUN easy to acquire.

My dad would just LOVE the theme of this game. He is a hiker and loves visiting all these parks. I look forward to showing this game to him, though I know he won't play since he is not much of a gamer. I think this game would be over his head, thus I think it is just a little too advanced for non-gamers. But I would say that this is a good bridge from light games to medium games. I can't wait for my next play!

I think I need to wallpaper my house with this artwork!








































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To keep with the forest theme and gorgeous production quality, I wanted to try out Bosk. New to me!

All I really need is a gorgeous box cover for me to want to play it and Bosk has had me hooked since I first saw the cover months and months ago! Easily one of the prettiest box covers of all time, though games have gotten 10x more gorgeous since I started really gaming in 2011.

Bosk is a pretty easy-to-understand abstract game. The first half of the game is a round of placing trees on the board followed by scoring for those trees by the majorities of the rows and columns on the game board. In the second half of the game, players will drop their leaves on the board depending on the wind patterns in hopes of gaining area majorities in the different land regions on the map. This is then followed by the final scoring round for those majorities. The game is over after that and you will win if you have scored the most points.

Michael and I just played a 2-player game so the board was pretty open. It certainly felt like going last held a big advantage since he was able to get the final say in just about every column and row. Going into the second half of the game, I was pretty far behind. The first-player advantage at that point was that I could choose the wind patterns, which is something I really needed. Michael didn't really see the benefit for that, but I totally did. Had he gotten that option he could have messed me up for some big points. I think he understood afterward though. While it was a pretty cool advantage, I was still going first in the second phase and thus he was going last for that last-player advantage with the final say.

I ended up losing by a single point! Nooooooo! So I did manage to have a pretty good comeback, just not good enough. It was pretty close and I quite enjoyed it.

I felt the last-player advantage was too strong, but clearly, I was pretty close, so I am likely just wrong and a first-time-playing curmudgeon. I really enjoyed this play anyway. I like trying to figure out the board patterns and the different scorings that will happen. I think this game is easy to figure out and play so I could teach my brother or a new player how to play pretty easily. I definitely look forward to my next play!
























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I recently got a new expansion for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island but before playing it I had to brush up on my base game skills. I lost the first time I played and spoiler, I lost this play as well.

MAN THIS GAME IS HARD!!! Michael and I sat down to a 2-player game of the second scenario. We needed to cure the island of curses. It was a near-impossible task for us. Nothing was coming up roses and fending off the fog was just not happening. The main problem is that we needed a hillside tile and we weren't finding any. We even searched the tile stack a few times for the right tile and just had no luck!

Eventually, we found it and we were able to start killing the fog, but we were already so behind in making crosses and our wood supply was in high demand. In the final round, it was down to the wire! We flipped up an event that caused us to need ONE MORE WOOD when building. If it wasn't for that one card we would have just BARELY beaten the game as long as the weather was on our side. It was super close by the end.

Shocking that we were able to hold out for so long. I thought we were dead in the water. I think it means there is a promise for the next time we play! I can't wait to try it again soon!



















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I was anxious to try out Pipeline. New to me!

This was a game I had been following for a while but never got to try the prototypes that I had seen around. Since it was just at Origins, I was happy to see it getting such good ratings from the attendees and I think it was at or near the top of the Geekbuzz all weekend.

Pipeline is an economic game where you will acquire crude oil that you will then refine and sell. Over 3 rounds you will strive to build up your oil company and hope to gain the most profit from your sold oil and pipeline network that you have built.

In the game, you will spend your money to acquire crude oil. To refine it, you will have to purchase pipes/connections that are laid out on tiles. There are the government tiles that are available from the beginning of the game, but there are also shops where you can purchase them and will change each round.

The rounds have a number of turns will that decrease as the game goes on. The idea is that you will get your engine built up and will be able to process the oil more efficiently over time. Each turn, players will get to select an action to perform, and they can often choose to spend an extra $10 to perform a second action if it is available to them. As your action, you can also choose to run your pipelines and refine all of the oil you possibly can with the pipe networks you have created.

I played a 2-player game with Michael and it took a while to get through the rules and figure out all the small details. I had a pretty big network of pipes since I was spending a lot of the time visiting the shops and buying them up. There were a few really great upgrades I wanted to purchase but I never found a proper time. Eventually, I picked up an upgrade that got me free secondary actions which was awesome. I saved a good deal of money on those bonus actions.

Because I was able to get my engine going, I was scoring a whole lot of monies by the end of the game. Michael had a contract that was seemingly holding him back since he had to focus on filling that up instead of just selling to the Marketplace. There are a whole lot of end-game points for the pipeline connections you have created as well, and I scored so much from that. After all the end-game points were counted, Michael had 475 points, but I came out on top with 644.

I think there is a lot to like about Pipeline, but it can be severely prone to AP. There is just so much to analyze and so many possibilities to consider. Just getting your pipes to go the right way can be a challenge. Playing this with the wrong bunch of people could be a deal breaker.

I thought Pipeline worked perfectly well for 2 players, and I bet I would even prefer it at that player count to try and keep the playtime shorter. I hate the ability to shut people out of the upgrade actions. I think that is just mean for the sake of being mean. I am not sure anything really shined in this game for me, but it all seemed to work. It doesn't excite me, but I would play it again.

























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One roll n write game from Origins I was given to try out was Rolled West. New to me!

If you are familiar with Gold West, Rolled West gives a similar feeling but in the roll n write genre.

Each turn, the active player will roll the 4 dice and select 1 that will be set aside for the active player to use only for the territory type at the bottom. The 3 other dice can be used for a number of ways. You can visit the town or fulfill contracts or deliver on the routes, but you will definitely want to build up your settlements. You can also store up to one unused resource. These resources will be handy in later rounds when you can complete some more juicy contracts.

When it isn't your turn, you can claim one of the available resources from another player's roll. After a few rounds, the game will be over and you will add up the points you have scored.

Michael and I played a 2-player game and it was very easy to learn and play. I had played Gold West before, but Michael hadn't, so I found Rolled West easier to grasp than he did. Rolled West really gives you a quick taste of that Gold West feeling in a faster game time. It is also in a much smaller box, which is nice!

I never got to build up all the settlements I wanted. You are really at the mercy of the dice and you don't get to have re-rolls. So I had to focus on the other strategies that were available to me. Michael was all in on the delivery track and ended up kicking my butt with points from there and from contracts. I just never got my act together and got minimal points everywhere.

I quite enjoyed this one! I think it will hold up nicely if I don't overplay it right off the bat. It is cool to see more in the world of Gold West, since I love Gold West. It kind of just makes me want to play Gold West though! I look forward to playing this one more and seeing other strategies.











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New to the collection!
Bosk
PARKS
Rolled West
Pipeline







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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Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:00 pm
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A Sliding Quest to Steal from the Troll & Dragon in New York.

Steph Hodge
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At Origins, I picked up the gorgeous new game called World Shapers.

I got to try World Shapers out at BGG.CON and had a great time playing with 4 players. This time around, Michael and I played a 2-player game.

With only 2 players, you add in another whole round to draft cards. So you will end up with a bunch more cards, but you will also be able to see a wider variety of cards than if you just played 2 rounds. However, with 4 players, most all of the cards will be used.

I should have converted the terrible cards at the end of each round to gems. I never seem to have enough gems in this game. The rainbow card hasn't ever scored me points but it does provide me great happiness. I should discard it for a gem, but instead, I place it in the tableau even though I know it won't score me any points. #details

Michael kicked my butt because I don't know how to play this game well yet. He won by about 10 points. I need to learn to let go a little and discard the pretty cards that are worthless to me. Next time!

Really enjoying this one.












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Next up we wanted something light and fun so Michael and I checked out Tuki. New to me!

Tuki is a speed pattern-building game. There are enough blocks in the game so 3 players can attempt to build the same structure at the same time, but there are rules for a 4 player game as well.

In Tuki, you are trying to build blocks to match a pattern on a card before the other players. The white blocks are just place holders (snow) that you can use to get the colored blocks into position or to balance other blocks. Sometimes the challenge will be to have the structure totally supported by white blocks, with no colored pieces touching the table! The Table is Lava! No, wait, that's a different game... laugh

Your goal is to be the first person to collect 5 cards first. If you win the round, you collect a card, so just do that 5 times!

Michael is apparently very fast! He had won 3 rounds before I managed to win a round. I had a sudden burst of energy after that and caught up. We ended up with 4 cards each, so it was down to a final 9th round, winner takes all. Yeah, I totally lost it! I don't know how!! I was doing so well!

I have to compare this game to Ubongo 3D which I love so much. Tuki plays out so much quicker, and there is so much replay value here. All of the cards can be looked at in the 4 different card directions, and the die roll will tell you how to orient the card. There are also expert levels where you can play with the golden color piece for an extra challenge. I haven't even tried that yet!

Loved this game and look forward to playing it more. I think it is one my mom will really enjoy.












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We got to play some games with Michael's teenage sons, Hayden and Brandon. The first one we picked out to play was a very challenging Unlock! Expedition: Challenger. New to me!

Now, when an Unlock game has a 3 lock rating, it really means it will be a difficult one. I am actually quite impressed at how well we did. There were a lot of things that went right over my head or I couldn't find. But Brandon was really good at finding different things that the rest of us couldn't. That was pretty cool! The use of the app was special and different this time around.

It was quite a challenge but we managed to win it with 5 out of 5 stars!!! I am still shocked! I enjoyed this one in the series a lot. I think everyone had a great time playing this one, which is an added bonus! #recommended








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Unsure of what teenage boys would enjoy playing, I suggested we try our hand at Slide Quest.

We each grabbed a side and started at level 6. Michael and I had just learned it at Origins and beat levels 1-5. We were feeling confident in our abilities so we started from there, taking on levels 6-10.

Hey, I only made us die one time! I feel like that is a success. I am only to be blamed for that 1 life lost. Well, we only lost 2 lives this game, so we did extremely well! We killed the bad monsters and rolled our way to victory.

We didn't end up using the app timer since it is just too much added pressure. I am sure the app will come out once we gain some skills in maneuvering this rolling knight a bit better.

Everyone was paying attention to their side of the board, so we worked well together as a group. It is hard to photograph and be in control of a side of the board though. I might just have to spectate a game to get some dynamic photos one day.

Really love playing this game and I look forward to playing the rest of the levels soon. Maybe the boys will want to play again next time.








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I thought a quick push your luck game would be a good one for the boys to try out. Michael read the rules to Troll & Dragon. New to me!

Troll & Dragon is a dice game where you are trying to steal precious gems from the Troll and valuable gold from the Dragon. If you are the active player, you will roll the 4 white troll dice to steal gems. You can roll as many times as you want, each time taking the number of rolled white gems from his cavern. But there is one side that shows a Troll face, and if you roll that, then that die is locked and you can no longer roll it on your turn.

If you hang on to dice that show a lock and a door, you can advance to the 2nd possible phase of your turn, which is to steal gold from the Dragon. If you don't want to (or can't) steal from the Dragon, you can simply keep trying to steal gems from the Troll. Pushing your luck to get that key and door or just rolling to collect gems can prove to be very valuable.

If you manage to get that door and key, you can progress to the Dragon's lair. In this phase, you will roll 2 gold dice as fast as you can to collect gold. You can stop at any time you choose. While you are rolling the gold dice, the other players are passing around 2 red dice to try and roll a Dragon on each red die. Once they have rolled 2 Dragons, then the Dragon wakes up and you have to drop all the gold AND gems you just gathered. You have to escape before the Dragon wakes up!

On my first turn, I didn't manage to roll a key or door to progress into the Dragon's lair. I did, however, roll a boatload of gems that I was able to steal from the Troll. This put me in a very nice position, but everyone else seemed to be getting into that Dragon's lair pretty easily.

There were a few rounds where I just pushed my luck too much and got busted by the Dragon. I was getting really greedy towards the end. It was a close race between everyone though. Hayden was rolling very well and was stealing tons of gold. Brandon was bowing out early since he didn't seem to like the risk of waking the Dragon at all.

All in all, it was a close game with Michael on top at 39 points. I was at 38 followed by Hayden at 35 and Brandon at 30. It could have been anyone's game!

The rules aren't difficult in this game, but there are phases in your turn when rolling dice at a normal pace turns into a speed rolling dice game. Switching gears from slow to fast was slightly confusing for Bran and he didn't like the speed element to this game. I am not sure Hayden enjoyed it much either, but he didn't seem to be bothered by the speed element.

I think it is a perfectly fine push-your-luck game and would easily play it again. But I don't think it holds anything special over other push-your-luck games. I think if I wanted to play another push-your-luck game with the boys, I would choose Incan Gold since it always seems to produce a lot of laughs.














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The final game we got to check out was Ticket to Ride: New York.

The boys were familiar with the T2R base game, but it had been a while since they had played so this was basically a learning game. Fortunately, this game is easy to learn and play.

Pretty sure it was a bad idea to play this since they were going to the movies right after, and they seemed to be more interested in leaving to go do that. So I might have been the only one who was focused and it made for an easy win. I have also played this game a whole lot more than any of them. I won with 33 points. Michael ended in the high 20s for second place. I am not sure we tallied Hayden or Brandon's scores. I think they did fulfill some contracts, so they were focused for a few rounds anyway.

Teenagers, amirite?






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New to the collection!
Troll & Dragon
Tuki
World Shapers
Slide Quest







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 Jul 12, 2019 11:00 am
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No Swap No Pay for the Zombie Kidz Evolution.

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!




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At Fun Group we got to play a bunch of new games starting with Shikoku. New to me!

In Shikoku, players are trying to be second best. You want to make it to the step right below the top of the Pagoda. If you hit the topmost space, you will trigger the end of the game and automatically lose.

Each turn, the order for the players is determined by the previous round of cards played. Players will select a card from their hand to play one at a time. As you play cards, they will be ordered from low to high. In a 4 player game, the person who plays the second lowest card doesn't move up the steps, while everyone else will move up the number of steps equal to the sandals on the card they just played. The person who played the lowest valued card will draw a random card from the draw stack and be placed in last for turn order in the next round. The other players will refill their hands with one of the cards from the previous round, and the last card will be discarded. Cards will remain in play from round to round, and only 1 will be discarded each turn.

We played with 4 players and it was very neck and neck. We all steadily eyed each other and watched which cards people selected very carefully. If you are playing last, then you get the final say on who really gets to not move that round. It can be very powerful to go last! Sometimes you don't want to move up since you might be too far in the lead. But you don't want to fall too far back. It is very tricky not to be ahead the whole game!

We were all just steps away from heading over the edge to the Pagoda. I had no choice though. I had 3 sandals on all my cards, and that was going to push me no matter what, because I wasn't going to be second lowest. Susan was right there with me and we went together to the top. That left the boys on the second topmost space tied for the win. Had one of them been further back, there would have been a solo winner.

Susan and I gave them the stink eye for sure.

I love that this game can handle up to 8 people. Shikoku must be total chaos with 8 people and I would love to try it. I know the rules change a bit for that player count so there is even more to consider. I think it could be a ton of fun. I like the way the cards cycle back into play with the drafting system. There is certainly a lot to enjoy about this one. It did not play out how I figured it would, and it's cool when a game can surprise me. I would be happy to play this again!














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Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was No Swap No Pay. New to me!

I honestly didn't know much about this one at all. When I opened the box I was excited to see high-quality chips like you would find in Majesty: For the Realm.

The goal of No Swap No Pay is to have the most loot in your bag at the end of the game! 1 Silver = 1 point, 5 silver = 15 points, 1 gold = 3 points, 1-2 blacks = bag worthless, 3+ blacks = 10 points. Purple chips are wild! Clearly, you don't want 1 or 2 black chips!

Each player will be start player once. The start player will pull chips equal to 2x the number of players from the main pull bag and then will start a draft. Each player will take one chip, first clockwise then counterclockwise, so all players end up with 2 tokens. Then EACH player in turn order will have to offer their bag to another player. The other player will choose to swap bags with them or will allow the active player to pull a random chip from their bag. Once all players have offered up their bag, each player must select one chip to remove from their bag and secretly place it back in the main pull bag.

Once everyone has been start player once, the best bag of loot will win it!

Oh, man, we were all laughing during this game. Trying to figure out who has the best bag is so hard! You might think you have the best bag and not want to offer up your bag, but you have no choice! I really thought I had the best bag near the end, but I had to trade it away. Of course, I got a bag with 2 black chips. In the final round, I managed to snag a black chip from James' bag and I had also gained 5 silver in the bag. I was doing all right! Somehow I pulled it together for a win. If I didn't pull that black chip from James, my bag would have been worthless! It was a risk but I felt he had a ton of black chips because I could see what he was drafting. It was awesome. It was definitely a cool victory for me.

I think everyone had a great time playing this one. I know I certainly did. I really like this kind of tension and uncertainty in a game. Not really knowing what people are hiding is fun. It plays out pretty quickly too, which is great. I could play this one anytime. Really liked it.






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The group was willing to try one of the 3 games that is included in 8Bit Box so we played 8Bit Box: Stadium. New to me!

I had only heard about 8Bit Box but I never really got the full detail about how it works. So inside the standard box you will find 3 games which are "cartridges". You have to think of 8Bit Box like a gaming console where the controllers and bits are everything you need in order to play the games/cartridges. So Iello will be having cartridges for sale later on that you can just buy separately to play as you see fit! It is a really neat idea!

Today we only looked at the longest game in the box called Stadium. This is actually a 2v2 or 3v3 team game where players will form Olympics teams. There will be a series of mini games, most of which are betting games or push-your-luck dice games. Players start with a lot of endurance and will be performing tasks which tire them out at the game progresses. The more endurance you have remaining, the more likely you are to perform better at the mini-games. The team that gets the most points from the awards they collect are the winners.

Susan and I teamed up this game since we both love red, so we could easily be the red team. James and Michael were the blue team. I was playing risky with my endurance, and I wanted to beat the boys so much. In some challenges you can't talk to one another, and Susan and I weren't on the same page. We really needed her to use some endurance in one of the final mini-games so we could have a big push at the end. She didn't catch my drift and we ended up losing the gold medal to the boys that round. Unfortunately, we tired out after that, and without extremely lucky dice rolls, there was no way we could possibly win the final mini-game. It was a rough go and we ended up losing by a few points. It could have been our victory!!!!! NOoooooooooooooooooooooo!

Susan and James liked the game so much, they went out and bought it the next day for their family. It is super cute and an easy-to-play game, and I totally get why families would like this. Perfect price point and different games to play with the promise of other games being added to the system. Very cool idea and one I look forward to exploring more. Girls need a rematch!













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Next up I showed them all how to play Feelinks.

I recently got this game at Origins and have played it several times in the past. Feelinks works really great with a large number of players and pretty well with only 4 players too.

In Feelinks, you are randomly paired with another person each round, and you have to try and guess the feeling they picked for the given topic. At the same time, they are picking the answer that they think YOU picked. There are only eight feelings available to use each round. The goal is to get as many matches as possible for points. You can play until someone scores off the board, or you can simply play once or twice around the table so everyone has a chance to choose a topic.

You can really learn a lot about people, and the topics can bring up a lot of interesting discussion points. I think it is a clever party game and find it easy to play and challenging.

There was one round where I was teamed up with Susan and it was a question about "how would your mother..." and I was thinking only that I know VERY LITTLE about Susan's mother. But strangely enough, we had talked about her mom once before, and it was just enough information for me to appropriately guess the answer she would give. It was so awesome!! Michael still ended up winning that one, no shock there. He knows everyone the best! lol

Good times were had! Happy to play this one again.










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Michael and I started our legacy game of Zombie Kidz Evolution. New to me!

The zombie theme is one I avoid usually at all costs. But this is the most adorable zombie game and the concept was just too awesome to pass up on trying. This game is ridiculously cute and addictive.

You are kids trying to eliminate the onslaught of zombies that are attacking the school. When you start the game, everything is pretty basic but will ramp up rather quickly once you start unlocking new mechanics and rules.

You have a passport manual that will have places for you to write in your dates and achievements, but what is super cool are the stickers you will apply to your completed missions and advancement track. Even if you lose a round, you will still add in one brain to this advancement track. Eventually, you will unlock the next envelope even if you don't win. The more you win, the faster the advancement track will fill up.

The missions are the coolest part of the game. Some are easy like "win a 2 player game". But you will want to save that one for when you can't complete a harder mission like "End the game with 5 zombies in one space". There are SO MANY MISSIONS!! It is excellent.

The gameplay is pretty basic. In order for you and your fellow kidz to win, you must lock the 4 entryways into the school. On your turn, you roll the zombie die and populate the room with the next zombie in the lineup. If you have no zombies in the lineup (meaning they are all on the board already), then you will lose the game. After you place a zombie, you then will choose to move one space or stay where you are. If you move into a space with 2 or fewer zombies, you will eliminate all the zombies from the room and add them to the back of the lineup. The way you lock an entryway into the school is by joining a fellow kid in the same entryway and high-fiving (literally, high-fiving each other). A lock is then added to the space.

It was pretty easy to win the first few games. Once we started opening the envelopes the story changes a bit.

Michael and I are currently 10 games in and I think we lost maybe 2 games. We are having a great time playing through this game. There is so much joy in opening a new envelope to reveal what is inside. This game is amazing for the family and kids will LOVE IT. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a kid playing this game. I am certainly having a great time with it and look forward to playing the rest in the coming weeks.




























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I recently got Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write, so I was excited to play this again with some of the different buildings.

Ignacy actually reached out and showed me a link that has variants for this type of play which can be Found Here!

I will definitely have to look into that further.

Michael and I decided to play the solo game simultaneously using the solo mode building set 1 and we would just compare our scores at the end. We used the same dice rolls and everything.

I ended up playing this game the same as I had played the first 2 games. I went for the big 7-point building as many times as I could possibly build it. Albeit, this is not the most fun strategy, but it always seems to win me the game, at least in the 3 games I have played thus far. It certainly seems like a dominant strategy and I wonder if it will always win the game. I wonder if other people are finding this as well.

The different building sets are definitely the most interesting part to the game. Playing through those will be a fun time to see what different combos you can generate.

I will have to try for a different strategy next time, but going for the biggest point building just seems like the obvious choice. I duno. I suppose we will see what happens!










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BGG Show!!






New to the collection!
Dizzle
Feelinks
8Bit Box
Shikoku
No Swap No Pay
Zombie Kidz Evolution
Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write








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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Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:00 pm
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Adventures at Origins Part 3!! (Con-clusion)

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!
In case you were on vacation and missed out here is Part 1 and Part 2 of Origins!


Steph Plays Origins Part 1

Steph Plays Origins 2019 Part 2



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One day I had really good timing and I ran into Frank West who was showing off his new game The Isle of Cats. New to me!

He was just getting off the Livestream at the BGG booth, and once I saw it, I IMMEDIATELY had to schedule a time to play this game. I saw amazing artwork and polyominoes and a boatload (get it?) of cards! I didn't really need to know more than that for me to want to play this game. We scheduled a time and I got to invite Charlotte along to play with us later that night! Michael was finishing up a booth shift, so he tagged along to play for a 4-player game.

This was the third cat game I got to learn at Origins. Cats must have been the theme of Origins this year? I am fine with that.

OMG THIS GAME IS SO CUTE! Really amazing artwork just brings me in. Thankfully, the mechanics in the gameplay are also amazing, or at least totally right up my alley.

In The Isle of Cats, you are trying to get the most points via lots of different opportunities. The two main ways to score points is by grouping the same color polyomino cats together and by public and private end-of-game scoring cards.

There are a number of phases in a round. The first phase is to collect an income of 20 fishes, which is the currency in the game. The second phase is the drafting phase. Players will get a hand of cards and select 2 and pass the rest, select 2 and pass the rest etc, until all the cards are drafted. There should probably be some hate drafting happening at this time. After you draft, you have to pay for the ones you want to keep.

Afterwards, cards will be played. If you have end-of-game scoring cards, they must be played. These cards will score based on specific cats or formations on your boat. Some are public and affect everyone, and others are private and are kept face down.

Then players will secretly bid a number of cards that have baskets and boots. The more boots you have, the earlier you go in turn order. Baskets are used to capture cats, which you will place on your boat. Cats cost a certain number of fish. There are 5 colors of cats and some white/wild cats. There is usually a reason to get one color vs another, but sometimes you will need to go for the best shape for your misshapened boat structure. On your boat, there are a number of rats that are all worth negative points if they aren't covered by cats. There are also 7 sections to your boat, and if a section isn't filled up, then you will lose points. It is unrealistic to fill your boat completely, so you have to plan accordingly.

Finally, you will get to play treasure cards. These will give you more tiles to fill in the gaps in your boat or to cover rats.

After you play the cards you wish to play, you do it all again. You play out 5 rounds which are exactly enough cards that are in the deck for a 4 player game (but with KS goals, that might change). ou can hang on to cards from round to round and save them for when you most need them. There are tons of cards, and some of them won't be bought each turn, so there's a lot of replay value.

Frank was playing with us. I am so thankful he made time to show us the game and to play a full play through. For me, the game just zipped on by. It took 90 minutes to teach and play, so it moved along really quickly. I didn't have much of a strategy. I picked out some easy end-game scoring cards so I had something to work towards. Having large groups of same-type cats was also something I could work towards as they will always score you points. Knowing when to hold cards for later rounds is really important. You might not have the fish to spend on the cats this round, so you can hang on to cards that allow you to get cats on your boat next round when you have enough fish saved up. Figuring out the timing was a challenge, but I was feeling confident in my playing abilities.

Later in the game and looking around at the other boats and the common goals, I was feeling a bit less confident. It was certainly not a guaranteed win for me. I was feeling a bit like I was in last place, even. Michael had a lot of common goals locked up and was scoring a LOT. He had a ton of hidden goals and a lot of treasures on his boat that scored points. Frank was across from me and I have no idea what he was doing, but I surmise it was amazing as he indeed won the game with 108 points. I was JUST behind him with 104 points. Michael was just behind my score and Charlotte just behind him. Frank said anything over 100 points would be considered a fairly high score. With only about 10 points separating first from last, it was a super close game with tons of different strategies.

Charlotte confessed she isn't much of a polyominoes fan but had a great time playing nonetheless. She enjoyed it quite a bit more than she initially thought! Phew! Glad it wasn't a disappointment for her!

Michael and I simply adored this game! I have not stopped thinking about it since playing it and it was my clear favorite game of the month from June. LOVED IT! I love drafting and all the different cards and tile placement. It is all very puzzly and totally right up my alley. I simply cannot wait to play this game again. This is going to be a top contender for the 2019 ranks. Easily one of the best for the year!





























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Charlotte was up for another game and we pulled out Kanagawa.

I had played this before but Charlotte was interested and Michael hadn't played so we went through the rules and played a quick game.

Michael read the rules since it had been a while since my last play. It was good to play again since I just got the expansion for it, and now that Michael knows the base game rules, we can easily play the expansion soon.

I was not really gaining the combos I needed or the cards I needed to make my run of seasons or different sets for the masters token. Nothing much worked out for me and Michael had them all. He literally got all the colors. He completely ran away with it and Charlotte and I sat there dumbfounded. It was a pretty quick game because of that.

This game is simply gorgeous, but each time I play, I feel I need something more. I am hoping the new expansion adds that next layer to make everything a bit more interesting. I have fun with the base game, but it feels tired by the end. I look forward to trying that Yokai expansion out next time!










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Charlotte left and Scott Alden joined us for a few games. We got to check out Undo: Blood in the Gutter. New to me!

The concept of Undo is cooler than the actual experience. The concept is that a bad event happens in the present time and you need to go back in time to change the circumstances that lead up to the current time so that the event doesn't happen. In this case, there was a murder that happened, so we had to go back and try to prevent the murder. You will get a varying score depending on how well you answer the questions from the timeline that you choose to visit. You might keep the result the same, make it better, or even possibly make it worse.

Playing it was enjoyable and felt different. It was cool to discuss choices with Scott and Michael. It all felt a bit easy though. There wasn't much challenge. We scored 8 out of a possible 10 points, so we had nearly the best result possible. I don't feel the need to really go back and revisit this case again to try and do better. I don't even think I am that drawn to play the other Undo games in the series.

I did have fun playing this one, and I would recommend trying it out just to experience it, but it was just okay for me. There is no real "hook" here.









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The most interesting adventure game we got to try at Origins was The Crusoe Crew. New to me!

This adventure book is so unique! I love the other Van Ryder Games adventure books I have experienced, but this one is different since you are playing with other people! Each person will have their own book and different abilities. What I see in my book might not be what other people see in their books. My character was the puzzle solver, which meant that I could help solve puzzles easier than the other players. Michael was dexterous and could break down the walls. Scott was tall and could see higher and above things we couldn't. No one played as the girl who could talk to animals (I should have, SO CUTE!).

Anyway, this game is made for kids and families so we were expecting an easy ride of it. No, we completely failed. There were some hard puzzles, and man, each of our characters got trapped 3 different ways! We hardly saw any of the book too. We didn't search the beach at all. There is still so much left to explore. I am glad I have a copy of these books since I really want to go back and see how it all plays out when you do well. I want to try playing as the animal talking girl too.

There is a lot happening in Crusoe Crew and we all had a great time losing. Fun stuff!












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The next night, Scott had picked up a new adventure/campaign type game that just came out from Pegasus Spiele called Adventure Island. New to me!

So this is not really a campaign game, but it is. But it's not. But it is. But it's not. There are different scenarios and you are working your way through the game and there is a progression as you go. The main problem is that it is not a campaign game because you don't retain any information from game to game. For example, if I find a compass in game one, I don't get to keep that compass in game 2. I have to find it again. But game 2 is basically a continuation of game 1. But it's not. But it is.

I think the point of resetting your inventory is so you can play with anyone at any time. However, I would rather it just be a continuation of a game, campaign style.

Scott, Michael, and I played the first 2 scenarios. We NEARLY won the first game, but the rules were so terrible, we only figured out that we lost after we revealed the ending and started trying to set up game 2.

So, the goal of the first game is to find shelter and make a fire. Well, we found a card labeled "shelter" and we made fire. YAY, we did it! No, apparently not. But we did... but we didn't. We found "unsafe shelter" which doesn't count as shelter. REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY bad rules. Anyway, it was painfully clear once we found the rules for scenario 2 that we were wrong about our victory. We proceeded to game 2 anyway.

Game 2 was just as difficult to navigate through and figure out. The game is near impossible to win. Everything is really dependent on where important cards are shuffled into each location deck. So we lost the second game super hard! I don't get how you can win the game if you can't hold on to the items and locations you already found from the previous games.

The whole experience just left me more angry than happy. Too many problems with the game for it to be fun. I went in fully expecting to love this game too! Or, at least, I had high hopes for it. The rules need to be more clear, I shouldn't have to rely on BGG forums for basic rules, or any rules!

I am curious if anyone has played this game and enjoyed it straight through. I don't right out hate it, but it was pretty disappointing for me. I even gave it 2 scenarios before we just had to call it quits. I think Scott and Michael felt the same way as me, unfortunately. Oh well, all the games can't be winners. Make this game a campaign game and it would improve the experience by a lot!














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We ended the con on a high note with a simple and fun game of Slide Quest. New to me!

I saw this game during Essen and was super excited about it then. I am even more excited now that it is available!

Slide Quest is a dexterity game where every player controls a side of the board, which is basically a hanging platform. There is a knight figure that rolls around on the platform and needs to travel from point A to point B. The game starts out easy and gets harder and harder. There are 20 levels you can play, but each individual game is 5 levels.

There are different obstacles to overcome like dynamite and monsters. You don't want to push the dynamite over or you will blow up. You want to push the monsters into the holes in order to pass the level. There are rocks and fences that you have to maneuver around and archways that you have to pass through.

Michael took control of 2 sides of the board, and Scott and I each took control of 1 side. I wouldn't be able to control 2 sides - I can barely control 1 side! We were playing on easy mode and we only lost a few lives by falling into the holes.

I should mention there is a killer app that you can use for timers and game music. You can play the game with varying levels of difficulty, and let me tell you, easy mode is still wicked hard! I duno how you can possibly beat some of the levels in the amount of time it designates.

We tried playing with the app timer and ultimately failed because we weren't coordinated enough. We took about triple the allotted time, and even then it was a challenge. Fortunately, the app didn't scare us and we played past the timer. Haha, we definitely need to practice.

I consider playing through the 5 levels a win! So we totally won the game. Albeit there is room for improvement on style points and promptness, but we still won!

This game is so fun. I don't know why I feel stressed when playing it, but I do in a good way. I just haven't really seen a game like this, so Slide Quest definitely has the unique factor. Totally a keeper and one I look forward to playing more of!












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Recap of Origins in photos! All the random pics I haven't shared yet! And of course my game haul!



















Josh Groban made an appearance in Columbus!








































New to the collection!








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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Mon Jul 8, 2019 4:51 pm
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Steph Plays Origins 2019 Part 2

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!




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In the hopes of learning the next best Happy Salmon, I checked out Dirty Pig.

This is not a speed game but will play out pretty quickly. You are simply trying to get all of your pigs dirty. They start out squeaky clean and just want to be dirty. They are pigs after all.

Players will have a hand of 3 cards. On your turn, you will play a card or discard any number of cards and draw back to 3. You can play cards that dirty your pig or shelter the pig. If you play a rain card, you will clean all pigs not in a shelter. If you have a dirty pig in a shelter you can nail the door shut so other players can't attack you. You have to look out for the lightning though which will destroy the shelter.

Anyway, there are a whole bunch of cards and you will try to stop others from getting 3 dirty pigs all while trying to get your pigs nice and dirty.

I certainly didn't win the game I played. It was a 3 player game and I just could not find any dirty cards. I was discarding a bunch of cards and it just never seemed to happen for me. It was quick, but it seemed like it was taking forever. Dirty Pig has a cute idea, but I will always choose to play Happy Salmon over this one though. I think in the end there might just be too much luck for me. I am still curious about the chicken game in the same line-up. They all come in really cute animal packages.







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My Friend Who Shall Not Be Named ninja was roaming the halls and I managed to play a game with her! We sat down to learn Rivals for Catan. New to me!

I am not sure how either of us hadn't played this game before. I think she plays more games than me, which is hard to believe! I even owned this game for a time and now I own it again! Crazy how things work out.

The kid demoing the game for us was very enthusiastic. Not sure he was really a gamer but definitely had a great attitude. I don't even think he knew what BGG was, but we told him.

I didn't really know what to expect from this game. It was very much like Catan. I know, I know, shocking! You are still building up to gain points from settlements and cities and trying to get 10 points first. But you are limited to the resources you can have per location, which is interesting. It forces your hand a bit to spend and expand. There are different cards you can build and events that might happen.

My Friend Who Shall Not Be Named ninja totally kicked my butt. She crushed it and she didn't even know how she did it. I knew how. I was rolling terribly! I made cities and I needed to expand more and gain more locations for production resources. She expanded quickly and I tried to get city points. It is definitely not good to do that too early.

There is a lot to enjoy about this game. I can see the basic cards getting a bit dull after a few plays and wanting more expansion type cards for a greater mixture. I think it really gives you a feeling of playing Catan but with only 2 players. You don't have to deal with trading and everything, which is great. Now that I own it again, I wonder if it will see the light of day. I have no idea, but I plan to hold on to it for a while longer. This is one I will look forward to playing again sometime.








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While hosting the BGG Livestream at Origins, I got to play a few games on air! There was one game from The OP that we got to play the entire game on air. We played Astro Trash. New to me!

Astro Trash is a real-time game where you are rolling a few dice and activating what the dice are telling you, ultimately trying to empty your planet as fast as you can.

One die will tell you where the trash has to go, either left or right or to the center. Another die will tell you which color trash you are moving, and finally, the last die will tell you how many of that type of trash you can move.

It is as simple as that. Whoever can move all of the trash from their planet first wins!

It was super cute and high pace! I was rolling poorly at first but then managed to catch back up with some rolls that put a lot of trash on my neighboring planets. Always better to place on their planets than into the middle. I completely demolished them this time around and I had a fun time doing it!

This is a quick and simple game that I could play anytime. It is pretty silly and would make for a great family game with the kiddos. I love the bits in this game - they are so big and chunky! Cute cute cute.




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One of my favorite games from Origins that I got to check out and learn was Calico. New to me!

This game is puzzley. When I say puzzley, I mean puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle. You are patchworking these tiles into a pattern on your board to score you the most points. So many layers of scoring to consider when you place a tile on the board. You are just looking to score the most points.

The game is fairly simple for rules. You have 2 tiles in hand. On your turn, you will place one tile then draft one of the 3 face-up tiles so you have 2 in hand again. You can place the tile in any available space on your board. You will play until all spaces are filled. It is how you place the tiles that really matter.

There are 6 colors and 6 patterns in the game, and I think there are 3 tiles with each combination. Everyone will start with 3 scoring tiles on their boards that will score based on the surrounding tiles at the end of the game. That is the first puzzle. The second puzzle is where you try to make 3 of the same color tiles touch, which will gain you a button worth 3 points. The final and most complex scoring puzzle depends on the cats. They like different patterns of 3-5 matching tiles. Those kitties will score a range of points depending on how many tiles you collected of that pattern.

We were playing a 2-player game and it moved very quickly. I didn't manage to get any of the high-scoring goals, but I did get to score each of the low-scoring goals, which was better than my opponent. I completely crushed him. I was on point and collected a bunch of cats. He had a different strategy and collected a ton of buttons. I forgot they were worth 3 points each, which is something to not be overlooked but I think might be slightly less important than the other goals.

This is straight-up my type of game. It is still so fresh in prototype form, but can easily be one of the best games of the year for me. I think they will be hitting KS soon so I will be on the lookout for that. Even without the amazing artwork from Beth Sobel, I think this game would still do well, but of course, the awesome art helps draw people in by the adorable cute kitty.

Regarding the cat not actually being a "Calico" cat, I was told that the box would have been too busy, and I have to agree, it would have been too much going on. Apparently Calico is also a quilting term too? Anyway, things I have learned since playing this game.

Super excited and can't wait to play again soon!













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Scott came back to the booth with a small PNP game called Medium. New to me!

Medium is a simple word game in the realm of The Mind. You only play with 2 players. One person plays a word card, and then the other plays another word card hoping to trigger a related word that might link the 2 words. After a few seconds of trying to think of a related word, the 2 players will count down from 3, then say ANY word trying to match each other.

Ready to play a round with me? OK. I will lay down the word Pie. You are going to lay down the word Turkey. Okay, think of a word that links them both. Ready? 3... 2... 1...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
THANKSGIVING!!!


If you also yelled that, then we won! If you didn't yell that, then we would take the 2 words we just yelled and have to relate those with another word. We basically have 3 chances to guess correctly. Usually, after you miss the first one, you will miss them all. The derailment is just too great.

I ended up playing this a whole lot in the BGG booth. I was showing everyone who stopped by even for a minute or 2. I even played on air a few times. It was just all around amazing fun. At first, Scott and I couldn't seem to win, but we were always so close to success. Eventually, we managed to get a few correct, but it took a long time. It wasn't surprising that Michael and I were awesome. He was saying the words that I was when Scott and I were playing. Scott was just on a different wavelength. Rob O and I were even farther off. He was just not focused or something.

It is still fun to try to play with whomever just to see what happens. One time I played a 3-player variant with Rodney and Chaz, and the clue was Cup and Nose. I clearly had the best answer but Rodney and Chaz were soooo on a different page than I was. I said "wine", as it CLEARLY should be! Well, it was clear to me. They were thinking like medical masks or something. They were more on the same wavelength.

Anyway, we were just playing the few word cards we had available to us. It was awesome and a great booth game. Can't wait to see this one in the final format. It will be awesome!





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Another booth game we ended up playing 3 rounds over the weekend was Match Me!: What color is this?.

I got to learn this one a few weeks prior at BGG.Spring and just loved it! I was so happy Scott brought it along for us to play. We need Jordan Draper's edition of the game ASAP!

I have yet to win this game. I didn't provide horrible clues in all these games, but I always choke. There is so much pressure to think of a good clue. I had to give a city name, so I said, New York. Do you want to play along? If you could think of one color that represents New York, what would it be? Ready?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Of course, half of the people picked black (correct) and the other half picked red. I wasn't thinking of "The Big Apple" but I should have been. I was just thinking that EVERYONE wears all black there all the time. It was hard.


Love this game and I am determined to win it one day! #doubtit. So fun! Can't wait to play with my MA gaming family.









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After hours gaming in the BGG Booth, we played a 5 player game of HexRoller.

I learned this back in April and had a good time with it. Michael helped out and taught the game to 3 others who hadn't played before. We were playing on the easier side. I think I prefer the harder side. There are more chances to make links and score higher.

Anyway, we just played the one game, and everyone basically scored the same thing. I don't know if we were all doing similar things or just happened to all get the same score of 60 points. The winning score was 63 points and literally, the 4 other players got 60, including the two of us who had played before! It was pretty insane! Tight game.

The more I play this game, the more I think it is just ok. I am still happy to play it, but ever since I picked up a copy, I haven't played it and I am not sure I will end up playing it often. So many other roll n writes are calling to me. Not sure there is enough here to keep me coming back. But I'm not giving up hope yet.




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More from Origins coming soon!



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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Steph Plays Origins Part 1

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

I went to Origins!! I got to spend the greatest time with the greatest team that is BGG! I got to have a ton of interviews on the live stream and learn about all the upcoming game releases!









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Before we were able to set up the BGG Booth on Tuesday before Origins, W. Eric Martin showed several of us how to play Super Cats. New to me!

This is a very silly game where you are trying to get all your cats to stop being lazy and become SUPER! I think there was a Thor cat and a Cat Girl cat, and of course, my favorite was Super Rainbow Cat! Anyway, you can make your cats SUPER by using hand gestures to represent values from 0-5 with your fingers. The highest unique number will get some bonus, usually making one or two cats SUPER. The first person to turn all of their cats SUPER will trigger the next phase. In the second phase, that one person is trying to defeat the robot dog machine thing and the rest of us are all trying to stop that person.

Once I saw there was a Super Rainbow Cat I was all in. It was my goal to get that kitty flipped over as fast as I could. Bribery worked... well, it was more like me begging to please let me have my rainbow cat flipped. It ended up being the only cat I flipped all game. I kept matching all the other players. WEM ended up with all his cats flipped over and so he got to fight the big dog. We ended up stopping WEM though!

It was a SUPER silly game, but it generated a bunch of laughs. I have a feeling Scott F. would enjoy this one. I could easily play it again, but I don't think it will be hitting the table anytime soon.














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Mike Young had some new games to show me and I was very interested in learning Era: Medieval Age. New to me!

This is the first Roll and Build game I think I've ever seen. Of course, I was totally interested in this one ever since I heard about it. I am a fan of Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age and I knew this was in the same vein.

While there are a lot of similarities in the games, Era is much more abstract and spatial. Each round, players will roll the dice up to 3 times, like Yahtzee. If a skull is ever rolled, you have to keep that die for the end result. Depending on the number of skulls you roll, there will be a different outcome for the disaster.

Players will collect their resources and pay food costs, which is one wheat per die you have. The disaster is then handled, which might affect you or other players. Players get to spend their resources to build their town and then there is a combat check.

Each phase happens in player order, which is important because there are a limited number of buildings. When a stack of buildings runs out, no further buildings of that type are available, and after a certain number of building stacks are emptied, the game will end. It will likely be an abrupt ending too.

There are tons of different buildings. Some give you extra dice and some give you end-game scoring bonuses. They are all worth some number of points. There are walls you can build in your town, and if you enclose a region on your board with walls, you double the points of all the buildings inside the wall.

Mike was teaching 3 of us and it was a rather slow start. It was a crazy fast finish though. I think in the final round we ended up buying 3 out of 5 building stacks and boom, it was over just like that.

I don't really feel the need for player shields. We played without them and it worked just fine. I ultimately didn't care if someone had more swords than me. They would try to take my resources and I would just say no! It cost me 2 points each turn, but I didn't realize that until halfway through the game.

Turns out I should have handed over the resources since Mike ended up beating me by just 2 points. It was a rough ending. I think he went out to laminate that score sheet. I should have won!

It was an awesome game and I am so glad I got to play it! I will have to track Mike down at DTC and play it again! The big chunky building pieces are just amazing. I will have to put a wash coat of silver or something to really make them pop. They deserve a nice paint job for sure.

It will be a huge hit, I already know! Such a great game and one I look forward to playing a whole lot more!












Thanks for the pic, Deb!


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Mike had one more game to show me. This one is called 5211. New to me!

Well, it is not that new to me since I played the original game called 5 Colors back at BGG.CON in November. They took that game at Plan B and just revamped it to be colorful and whimsy. I am always up for more whimsy in my life & games.

I like the name because it is in the Next Move Games line and it has to be 4 characters long. 5 = number of cards in hand, 2 = the 2 cards you play first, then you play 1 and then you play 1 more for the whole round. Whichever colors have the single highest number of cards on the table under 7 cards will get to score. If there is a tie for most then the next color down will get to score and so on.

I totally kicked some serious butt this game. I schooled them all. I was playing for the high colors to match at the end, and many times they would, which meant I could score my secondary colors and get lots of points when others weren't getting many. Totally worked in my favor.

Very simple to learn card game. Easy to play and one I could play with my family. I quite enjoyed this one and will have to pick it up. Definitely good for start-of-game-day or end-of-game-day situations. I look forward to playing it more.








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Rio Grande Games always has a huge room set up to play all of these games from ages past to recent new releases. It is free to go in and play and it's just an all-around good time. I managed to try out my good friend Joe H's new game called Caravan. New to me!

I sat down to a 3 player game with a son and his dad, and they were really sharp gamers.

Had I not known Joe H designed Caravan, I would have pegged it as a game he would enjoy, which is hard to do since he has a very unique taste in games. Caravan is almost a throwback to more classic (older) designs, which is why I think camels are appropriate.

In Caravan, your objective is to gain the most points by delivering goods that are dropped in the corner of the boards to their matching delivery spaces.

On your turn, you get 4 actions. You can drop a camel in a space (2 actions required if another camel is already in that space), pick up a good, send a good from one camel to any other camel in your line of camels without a good, steal another player's good if they are on the same space as you, or simply move your camel to a new space (provided there are no goods on him).

There are 8 spaces where goods can appear, and if enough goods have been taken so there are only 4 goods left on the board, then the board automatically populates to have 8 goods on it. This will be triggered during a players turn and resolved immediately. The 4 spaces with the untaken goods on them will be bucked up to make them more attractive.

I found the most fiddly part of the game was to actually remember to put cubes on the board when we hit 4 cubes left. I was half paying attention to that and half just trying to figure out the best routes. Thankfully the son was on it and almost always ready with the bag of cubes.

Of course, as soon as I would move a camel from a loading space, a new awesome resource would show up that would have worked well with my line of camels. #typical. The father and son were both able to beat me this time. I think the kid beat me by one point! It was a close race, but I just could not get the goods delivered in a timely manner.

Pick up and delivery hasn't been a favorite mechanic of mine in the past. I am not sure I would even consider it a mechanic I like. Caravan feels more like an abstract puzzle though. It certainly plays fast enough where I could play this whenever requested. Now all I need are some googly eyes for the camels. We always need more camel games. John at Monday Night Games will be so thrilled!












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Queen Games had a media night, which I think is pretty cool. They invited media guests to their booth to come play some games. I really wanted to get in a full game of Merlin with the new expansion, but I missed the boat for that. To my delight, I did get to try out Bastille. New to me!

There was a lot of huff and puff around this game and the KS for it a while back. Since it was paired up with Merlin, people just surmised it was a throw-away game. It came out at Essen and just flew right under the radar. Fortunately for me, I play everything, so I know first hand if it is a game I will enjoy.

Bastille is a medium weight euro-style game with worker placement and a bit of area control and set collection. The game is very easy to learn. You will win if you have the most points at the end.

We were playing with 4 players, all learning. You have to have 3-4 players, and I think the reasoning for that is to help initiate tension and conflict for the different spaces on the board. You will always have 3 workers but there is a location to upgrade your worker by one notch up to ranking 4. This mechanic is one of my favorites and can be found in Lancaster. It is always useful to upgrade when you can, especially in this game where the highest value in a location will gain a slight advantage.

There are a lot of actions to consider with your 3 workers. You can recruit people at a cost that is discounted by your worker value. You can look for goal cards to try to complete by the end of the game for points. You can gather defense and build up the wall. Each round there will be an evaluation for flags. Whoever has the most will gain a reward and second-most will gain a smaller reward. There is also a mid-game scoring round and an end-game scoring round which you will want to plan for.

I had a very difficult starting goal card, and it was hard to focus on anything more than that. I needed to collect 2 of each color recruitment card. Other players had easier goals, like having the most green recruitment cards. They started collecting more and more goal cards since they were feeling secure with their initial cards. I should have gone diving for other cards to try to refocus my strategy, but I wanted to get that one goal complete before starting another. By the time I went looking for other goal cards, it was too late and I missed out on some I could have scored. It was a good lesson to learn for the next time I play.

The winning score was 76 and I was tied at 63. It was rough, and I definitely needed more goal cards completed. But it was a great time nonetheless.

I have to say, Bastille was a pleasant surprise! It will now hold a space in my collection so I can play it more. There are even Queenies that can be added to change up the play a bit, which I am excited to try. I think this is a great step up from a game like T2R or Catan. Really clever, and one I hope to play a bunch more.












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More Origins Coverage Coming Soon!




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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Steph's New to Me List June 2019!!

Steph Hodge
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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)




June List
from Worst to Best



Skagway:

Wanted to love this one and got it because I had a great time visiting Alaska. Really just too many rules and fiddly bits. Not elegant at all and I was bored to tears.



3.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Dirty Pig:

More about the luck of cards than a real strategy. Feels like it goes on forever! Might be fun with kids for a quick game, but ultimately not one I want to pull out and play more of. Give me Happy Salmon any day!



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Adventure Island:

Big disappointment. Really bad rules to top it off. I think there are some clever ideas happening here, but poorly executed. It would be 10x better as a campaign game.



4/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Among Thieves:

Actually works well with 8 people and I had OK time playing. But all in all, this is not really my type of game and doesn't work for my style. I think it will be fun for the right group of gamers who enjoy some bluffing. Clever possible endings in this game which keeps it interesting.



4/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Pipeline:

Gorgeous production. Fun puzzle with the tile-placement mechanic. Mostly left unfulfilled. Not enough time to really build an engine. Contracts seem too punishing. It is a very mixed bag for me.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Conflicting Legends (second edition):

You actually get to play Rock-Paper-Scissors in this game. Cute art but very mean. It is a beat-up-on-the-leader type of game as it is a race to 10 points. Not really my type of game, but it was fun enough.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Rivals for Catan:

Finally getting around to this one. Better than I was expecting, but still nothing ground breaking. Gives you a good feeling of Catan and will play 2p, so if you love Catan, this might be the next game for you.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Super Cats:

Silly simultaneous hand gesture game. More silly than fun. It was cute though. WEM has some weird games! I can appreciate that.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Troll & Dragon:

Push your luck dice rolling game. I am always up for some dice games and push your luck games. This does it pretty well, but it is not my favorite in the genre. Would play it again though.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Astro Trash:

Speed dice rolling game to get rid of all your trash. Awesome components and simple fun game. Not much to it but to do it.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Party Playoff:

Better than it looks. Man the design is so retro. A lot of poor decisions were made with this graphic design. Because of that, I want to deduct points. The game itself is fun. You try to predict the group's picks in all the different brackets. There will be a community vote depending on the questions asked. It's cute.



6/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Jaws:

Longer than I might have liked, but overall more fun than I was expecting. Pleasantly surprised with this one. All hope is not lost for the humans. It is quite a challenge though. Never saw the movie but still had a good time with it.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Cartooner: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics:

A delight to play. I am so bad at concepts and thinking of funny things to say for comics but I still have a good time trying to wrap ideas together. Really the same game as Mangaka. One I would definitely play again.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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5211:

Simple card game. One for the family since it is so easy. Fast and enjoyable.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Undo: Blood in the Gutter:

Good, but not great. More of an interesting concept than execution. I could play the other Undo games, or not. Had an enjoyable conversation and time playing this so it wasn't a waste of time.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Shikoku:

I like that it will play up to 8 people! I bet it just gets crazy with so many people. I think the biggest issue would be the game length. I enjoy it but it felt a bit too long even with 4 people. I am certainly happy to play this one again.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Creatures and Cupcakes:

Great quality push-your-luck kids game. The little cupcakes are adorable and this is just all around fun. I would be happy to play (and lose) this game again. Adorbs.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Unlock! Expedition: Challenger:

Some challenging features in this game, and the app is pretty cool. Definitely prefer the Unlock game experience to those of the Exit games. Each Unlock game is always so different from box to box. #recommended.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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The Crusoe Crew:

Adventure books for the family! The puzzles are harder than you expect them to be. Clever that each book is different for each person because they are each playing different characters. Wicked hard and we weren't even close to beating it. Will have to go back and try again!



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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8Bit Box: Stadium:

Lots of fun in this box and the system is cool. Many mini games in the "Stadium" game and I look forward to playing the other games in the box. Super cute idea and one for the family. Worth the price tag on Amazon.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Vindication:

Easy game to understand and play. Rules were long but we managed. Beautiful game and could easily be one I play again. Not sure there is much staying power, but there are expansions to add in. I liked it more than not, so there is that.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Medium:

Simple and clever. More of an experience game. Lots of fun playing this one during Origins and it is always so amusing to see what words people will come up with. Not sure this is ever a game I would play "for points" - more just for fun.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Kushi Express:

Speed game to try and make your kabobs. You are given a pattern and players rush to place the ingredients on the stick in the correct order. Awesome components and fun family type game. Could easily play this one anytime!



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Caravan:

(All right, Joe, better than half!) Clever pick up and deliver mechanic. Easy to pull out and play and has a classic feel to it. Overall enjoyable! We all need more camels in our life!



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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Farmini:

Super cute!!! Really great intro to tile placement for kids. I actually quite enjoyed this one for how simple and cute it is. Perfect family game.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Slide Quest:

Totally unique dexterity game for up to 4 players. Each player controls a side of the board to maneuver the rolling knight to his destination, avoiding any dangers. So cute! Could play this anytime with anyone. One for the family.



7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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Space Explorers:

Love the art and graphic design on this. Set collection type game and a race to gather points. I love the different card abilities, and they are what will keep me coming back. Cool game.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Bosk:

Gorgeous game. 2 different abstract puzzles to try to solve. There is a lot to consider. I do wonder if there is a last player advantage, but I will have to play more to find out!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Tuki:

Spatial speed game. Reminds me of Ubongo 3D. This one almost seems more abstract since you have to use the dead space for formation. Won't be a game for everyone but it is super quick and great for its genre!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Rolled West:

Really feels like Gold West. Lots of familiar features in a compact roll n write. You are at the mercy of the dice so you don't have many options from round to round. I think it is cute and one I will be playing more of.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Zombie Kidz Evolution:

Was never expecting to enjoy a zombie game enough to rate it higher than a 5, however, here we are! Maybe these are just cute zombies. Simple and clever little game. I love the campaign style for kidz. There is a lot to love about this game. Stickers and missions and upgrades. This is one for everyone.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Bastille:

A game from Essen that flew under the radar. Medium weight worker placement euro game with clever choices. Easily one I could play whenever requested and one that will be on the shelf for years to come. Has an mechanic to upgrade your workers like in Lancaster, so that is always fun. Really enjoyed this one.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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No Swap No Pay:

Oh man, this game! You are collecting loot in your bag-o-loot, but on your turn, you have to offer up your bag to another player. If they decline then you get to snag a coin from their bag. Different coins and values and always tough choices. Lots of laughs and genuine fun being had when playing this game. It's great!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Era: Medieval Age:

Yah! Roll and place game. We get chunky bits in an awesome production! I love dice games and this is totally right up my alley! Has the feel of Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age but so much better. Can't wait to play this more!



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



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Calico:

Amazing art drew me in and amazing gameplay kept me there. Love the puzzle within the puzzle within the puzzle. So much to consider on any given turn and it is wonderful. Will be a major hit once it presents itself on KS and retail. I know it!



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



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PARKS:

Art alone is 10/10. Amazing production here and shout out for the camera piece and photography inclusion in the game! More depth in the game than first appears. Set collection and resource management. Nothing groundbreaking with the gameplay, but overall top notch, solid game. Loving it!



8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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Game of the Month!


The Isle of Cats:

LOVE IT! Contender for game of the year. Only played once and just want more and more of it. Love drafting and tile placement. Billion cards will keep the game interesting each play. Hits all the right buttons for me and has amazing artwork. Can't ask for more!



9/10 After 1 play (Not Owned/Wishlist)



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New to me Expansions!

NONE




The Tally


January: 12
February: 13
March: 21
April: 68!
May: 51
June: 37





Total new-to-me games for the year: 202!



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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!





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Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
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Indie Game Studios For The Win! Conflicting Thieves Party and Become Senators!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!




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We got to play a 6 player game of Conflicting Legends (second edition). New to me!

I wasn't really sure how this game would turn out with a lot of actual Rock-Paper-Scissors hand play, but it's not that basic. The cards supporting the R-P-S system are actually quite clever.

In Conflicting Legends, the first person to claim 10 victory points will win the game. On your turn, you will either play a card from your hand, spend tokens to conquer or develop a realm, or simply pass. Most of the time, you will play a card and resolve any effects on the card. Some cards give you tokens if you meet the card's requirements. Some cards are used to attack an opponent to try to take a realm from them. When you attack, you will be throwing Rock-Paper-Scissors against the person who owns the realm. If you win, you take control of the realm. Some cards modify the R-P-S rules, like being able to use both hands and selecting which outcome you want.

Once you have a realm, you can spend the appropriate tokens to develop it, which will give you more points. Alternatively, you can spend tokens on conquering an uncontrolled realm in the middle of the table if you have the military strength tokens needed for that.

Once you pass, you can still get beat up on from other players. There are reasons to pass early though. At the end of the round, you will draw 3 cards. You start the game with 6 cards, so if you end up playing all 6 cards, you will only have 3 cards in the next round. It might be wise to not use all your cards in the first round, instead waiting to play more cards in round 2.

Finally, once all players have passed for the round, there will be an income for the cards you did play. If I have 3 red and 1 blue and 2 green cards, I will collect 3 red, 1 blue, and 2 green tokens.

As soon as one player hits 10 victory points, the game immediately ends.

It was pretty fun to play this with 6 players. Some cards affect multiple players and there is a lot of back and forth stealing realms. You can see how many points each player has, so you really are trying to target the leaders so they don't automatically win!

There was a point in our game where 2 people were at 8 points and I think I was at 7 points. There wasn't much I could do with the cards I had, but I did the best I could. Susan was cunning and ended up winning that time! She won some of those Rock-Paper-Scissors battles that I couldn't seem to win!

This was a surprise hit for everyone. Everyone was saying that the characters' abilities were pretty thematic for the characters, so that was pretty cool. The art kind of reminds me of Bicycle cards for the Royal family.

Conflicting Legends can be a bit mean, but that is how the game goes. It was still easy to learn and quick to play. I could see playing this beer-and-pretzel game to close out a night of gaming. Enjoyable!










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Next up was Among Thieves. New to me!

Among Thieves is a game that has some bluffing and greed. Ideally, you need to make teams of players who won't deceive you and take the money for themselves. But maybe you will be the one deceiving.

In general, you are looking to have the most money. If you are dishonorable, it is likely that you are gaining a lot more money. But there are 4 possible end conditions, and you have to be ready for any of them to strike. Some end conditions will remove the player who is the most dishonorable at the end of the game.

Each round, the active player will select a team of players to go on a heist. Each of the players on the team will secretly select Honor or Dishonor, and all players will reveal at the same time. If all players are honorable, then cards are revealed to show how much money they will get to claim. If there is even one dishonorable person, then one card is handed to each dishonorable person and placed face down behind their screen. This hidden card might have an honorable symbol on it which is counted at the end of the game. The dishonorable people will gain double the amount of what the honorable people would have gained, and the honorable people will gain NOTHING. If the whole team is dishonorable, no one gains anything. You really don't want that to happen.

When cards are revealed to determine values, there might be a symbol which will cause an event card to be drawn. These change the game drastically! For example, in my play, an event made each player give $3M to the player with the least amount of money, which was me. Boom, I was instantly rich.

There are bribes to be made and promises to be broken, but when you are selecting your team, you want to find the players who you can trust and are probably losing the game at that moment. You don't want them turning their back on you.

This game plays up to 8 people and we did just that! We had a full 8 player game of craziness. I got selected to be on a number of heist teams, mostly because I paid bribes to be on them. Even just offering a small amount of money was generally enough to get me on the team. Of course, the person selecting could have just kept my money and left me behind. That happened once, which was lame, but that is the risk you take.

We all thought James would win, but he was hit with a really hateful event towards the end of the game, and he ended up losing like half of his money. Ouch, that was rough! Eric ended up totally killing us. He got a ton of money from various cards and deception.

I do think this game plays better with higher player counts. Everything is pretty quick after you play a few turns. You have to really try to put yourself into getting on the teams or you will be waiting a while in between your turns.

I am not really one for bluffing and lying games, so this was only okay for me. I was honest the whole time since it is just easier. I dislike being dishonest. It is just not who I am as a person. Being a deceptive person isn't really attractive, even in a game. I could play it again, and I see an audience for this one for sure, but it wasn't my favorite.

I also got to play with these cool player shields coming from Kaiyoot Designs. These player shields are really great for any game that needs shields. Cheap shields that are included with many games fall down too easily or don't really cover what needs to be covered. The Kaiyoot shields are large, sturdy, and snap into a perfect shape. Afterwards, they unsnap and lay flat for storage. These shields are available in a variety of colors and are currently on KS now. I think they are pretty cool and plan to use them for any game that needs shields - AKA Ginkgopolis.















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Michael had a game to try out called Cranium Party Playoff. New to me!

Think what would happen if you combined March Madness brackets and party games. Yes, this is that game. Places, people, actions, and things are placed onto a bracket. Your goal is to guess the final outcome for each quadrant and all of the matchups after that.

After all players have made their predictions, a question will be asked for each bracket round. The group will vote on which answer is best. For example, a question might be "Where can you get the best burger?" If the two options were Home Depot and McD's, I would think most people would answer McDs, but if you answered Home Depot as one of your final spots, you might vote for Home Depot to win.

Anyway, we played with 6 players and I managed to get NO points at all. Michael absolutely crushed us. He got like 11 points. It is like he planned for the final verdict all along. I should have gone with Lucille Ball since I love her anyway. She ended up doing very well in the bracket.

It was a cute game and easily one I could play again. I enjoy party games! Fun is fun no matter what type of game you are playing, and that is why I play such a wide variety of games. Happy I got to play this.









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Next on the table was a 3 player game of Vindication. New to me!

This game caught my eye last GenCon since it had all the pretty colors and went immediately on my wishlist. It was getting good feedback from a lot of people. I was a bit surprised to learn that it was a cube pusher. It sort of looks like minis on a map, but it is not.

In Vindication, you are trying to gather the most points by collecting cards and controlling majorities in colors. Each turn, you have to move at least one space, but you can take actions before or after moving, like visiting an area, taking control of an area, recruiting allies, or fighting monsters. You want to spread your influence around the board, combining primary colors to form secondary colors which can be quite powerful.

The rulebook was long and repetitive, but we managed to get through it. Once we got started, it moved along pretty briskly.

There are several paths to take in this game. James was going for control of tons of locations, which gave him points whenever others went to visit those locations. He wanted to get all the allies so he decided to control all of the inns. I decided allies were not the path for me, so I focused on other methods of generating points. I ended up going for large end-of-game points. This strategy was risky since I was really behind all game and I just was so unsure if I would gather enough end-of-game points to win. Michael was doing something completely different, using his cards for interesting combos and working on building up his speed. He was doing fairly well with his abilities.

I lucked into a few cards towards the end that got me a ton of points. This was the only thing that was able to save my bacon.

Michael still ended up winning with 88 points but I was just behind with 85. James was still very close with 83 points. It was cool to have such a tight game with everyone having completely different strategies and focuses.

I could easily play this game again. I don't know if it really offers anything new and exciting but there is a solid game here. It is certainly pretty enough. I am interested to see if some of the expansion modules add enough to make the game a bit more interesting. I will end up keeping it for now, but not sure how long it will last. Happy to play it again.


















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Nearing the end of the night, we still had 5 people interested in trying out Senators.

Another game where I could use the Kaiyoot Design player shields! They were especially useful this game, since the Senators shields are so tall they tend to fall over.

My first play of this a few weeks ago was rough, so I wanted to play again and give it another fair chance. I think Senators really needs the right group of players. It can be very unforgiving, and I do think that experience helps in this game.

This game totally bombed, with players noting one flaw after another. The event cards seemed to heavily reward the top players over and over and over. Most people didn't even want to finish playing.

I ended up winning since I knew what events to expect. Unfortunately, with two separate groups disliking it, I don't think I will find any other takers for a follow-up game. I am sure there is a group out there that will enjoy the meanness in this game. It is perhaps just not for us.









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The final game of the game day was Las Vegas.

It was a full 5 player game and no neutral white dice. I think I like it at 5 players best, but it does make the game drag on longer than I want it to.

I embarrassed myself this game, as I always do. I try too hard to get one thing and just end up losing it. I always end up with such a low score, it is ridiculous! I still like trying to push my luck and rolling lots of dice.

Michael ended up with like 4 times my score. It was crazy. He destroyed us all. Happy to have played, but this one can be shelved for a while now.





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There was one late-night session of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set.

I think this was the 3rd game we played in the scenario 0 set. I managed to find some weapons, but they weren't that cool or anything. Still, they were an upgrade from the damn torch I downgraded to last session. I am still mad about that!

It was fairly standard. We had some good rolls and some unlucky rolls. What matters is that we were able to find all the bad guys and take them down and close the locations. I don't think we really struggled at all with this scenario. We were able to take care of everything.

I suppose maybe I can get better weapons next game. Here's hopin'!








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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 Jun 28, 2019 12:00 pm
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Climbing the Mountain to Victory in Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

I did a photo blog of Origins 2019. I will be doing write up of the games I played too, but here is just photos! So many photos!

Steph's Photo Guide to Origins 2019!



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I recently received a KS copy of Mountaineers and I was itching to play it.

This is a game I have been following for years now and it is just so awesome to see a game transform over time. I still have the original handmade copy of The Mountaineer that has completely different rules and mechanics. A few years back I got to play the updated version of this game and it hasn't changed much since then, besides being produced for KS backers.

I was pleased that everyone wanted to play it at game night since I knew it would be better with more players. We played with 4 players and it worked well. If you were to play with 5 or 6 players you actually get to add on a 4th side to the mountain.

There was no way I could recall the "new" rules, so Michael ended up reading them to the group. There are a lot of great things to like about this game. There are a lot of opportunities to score points. Everyone will have their secret objectives that they are working towards, but there are event cards that players will get each turn that have small side goals to work on or can be used as a one time bonus. There is never a clear path to victory as you have to manage the conditions of the game and the other players. Whoever scores the most points after 10 turns will win.

James compared this game to Ticket to Ride, and I can see that. You are forming paths with your climber and trying to complete your secret goal cards. There is no set collection though. There is a bit more thought in this game as you have a choice of upgrades to invest in and each character has a special ability. Each game will feel totally different from the last with a lot of variety in the setup.

I was so far behind because I was just shy of completing an 8-point goal card. Michael ended up winning our game with 65 points, and I was super last place. It will just make me more motivated next time.

Love this game and it will have a permanent spot in my collection. It is just so unique and visually stunning. Such a fun game I could play anytime.


























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There are only a few types of games my mom will play, and they usually involve few rules. I recently got to show her TAGS and she loved it. So when she was in town visiting, she requested we play it.

Michael hadn't played TAGS before, so mom explained it to him and we started. Oh, I knew I would lose this game. I still enjoy playing it though. It is a fun challenge to try and come up with answers and be more clever than others. It is so hard to think quickly on your turn, so you have to actively try to think during the other player's turns.

After 3 rounds, I was indeed in last place. I wasn't lapped though! Michael crushed us, of course. He probably just knows more words. haha!

Such a fun party type of game. I could play it at any time.






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Michael and I decided to revisit Tiny Towns as a 2 player game. We both felt the first game had a bit of OP player ability and was just a bit too painful with the mean cube selection in a 4p game.

We ended up playing 2 games and these games went far better than the 4p game. There was more control over what was happening on our boards because we were able to select cubes every other time. It did get a bit hateful towards the end of each game and we ended up filling the boards with cube colors we couldn't use. It can be a bit harsh. I found the monuments to be more balanced with the buildings on tap. Everything seemed better in these plays.

I still ended up losing both games by a significant amount. Maybe I am just bad at this game. #probable

There is a solo mode I would like to check out. I bet we could even play solo mode with multiple people as a multiplayer solitaire game. That could be fun. I would definitely want to try that. If you have played it and think it is good, let me know.

I want to play a few more times to form a better opinion. But I am enjoying it well enough.














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So I thought the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts game coming out was an expansion for HP Hogwarts Battle. It is not. I only found out after playing 11 games of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle with Michael.

He hadn't played any of it so we started from Box 1 and worked our way through the base game. Michael took on the role of Harry and I got to play as Ron. We were a killer team. We were able to easily beat boxes 1-5 but had a hiccup in box 6. In that book, we just had a bad mix of villains and cards. Perfect storm. It was our only loss in the whole campaign and we ended up with a lucky go in the final box, taking on the Horcruxes with no problem.

We decided to try our luck and continue the game with the expansion box 1. I hadn't ever beaten it, and spoiler, I STILL haven't after 3 more attempts with Michael. It can be a bit discouraging to try so many times and to fail each time.

I think the expansion can be heavily dependent on the initial set up of the game, with the Villains and the starting cards you can purchase. The encounter cards are just so incredibly difficult to manage if you don't have the appropriate cards on tap. I also find it weird that your main character is less powerful than it is in base game box 7, yet all of the box 6 and box 7 Villains are mixed in. Something is just off. I wonder if only 2 Villains should start in the lineup, or perhaps only Villains from boxes 1-5 are mixed in. There could easily be a fix or a house rule so that Fenrir and Bellatrix don't show up and kill you instantly. It is a tough expansion for sure. I still have no idea what lies in box 2 - here's hoping that I will find out one day!

On the plus side, I think Michael really enjoyed the experience. We did play 11 games in 3 days, so there is that! I am still very excited for the Defense Against the Dark Arts 2-player game that is coming out. It will be awesome, I am sure!























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There was a game day at James'. First on the table before the majority of folks showed up was Blokus.

Eric loves it. We got to play a few months ago and I recalled how very much I enjoy this game. Susan plays with the kids sometimes, and she needed a refresh on the rules. James joined in as the 4th player.

It played out fairly quickly, though people were starting to arrive so there was a little bit of distraction. James and I did a fine job of blocking Eric. He is the master after all. Susan was doing her own thing, but we really put a stop to Eric, and he was the first one out. It really came down to me and James.

It was neck-and-neck but James was in the lead. He ended up beating me by 1 point! Nooooooo! I needed to play just a bit better. I will get them next time. So happy to be getting in some games of Blokus again. I will get better the more I play!






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Susan requested that I bring over Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents. I was happy to teach and play this game. It is a cute drawing game with some laughs.

It plays out in 15 minutes, and in general, most people have a good time trying to be creative with their images.

This game was particularly difficult. I was just not having any great ideas. All my drawings were subpar and confusing. I kind of wish we had played again! I managed to get a couple of double-point squirrels but was still nowhere near the winning players. Eric and Michael won that game. They were tied! I am not sure James liked it so much, but I think it is cute and would play it whenever requested.









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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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Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:00 pm
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