All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

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PAX UNPLUGGED - All the Renegade All the Time! First Look at Some New Titles! Pie Town, Kepler, and a FULL RECAP of the NEW Con!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Hia Everyone!


I went to PAX Unplugged with Renegade Game Studio this past weekend! It was an amazing time and I got to spend a lot of time with Mandi from The Dice Tower. She is just awesome!! I wrote up a whole blog post on the Renegade Blog: http://www.renegadegamestudios.com/blog/

I won't go into full detail here about all of the events I attended but I will cover all of the games I played as normal. Hint: a lot of Renegade titles! I posted about 175 photos from the convention on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/stephhodgephotography/photos/?ta...

I took all of my favorites and the game photos and added them to this blog post. There was certainly a lot to cover with me being away for 5 days. Poor Ron had no one to play games with!






Before I went away, Ron and I played a quick game of Santa Maria.

I really wanted to play this and teach Ron. It is a great 2p game but also very nice with 4 players as well. At first appearance, the game seems to be very quick, but as you play through the rounds get longer and the decisions become more important and critical.

This actually makes the game a lot longer and we could tell because I think we ended up spending about 90 minutes playing with teaching. For a 3 round game that seems kinda long. Now that he knows how to play I am sure we could play a lot faster next time. I am not sure how much time we will be able to cut from that play time but I would hope up to 30 minutes or more.

The game play is very nice though, you get to draft dice and take turns doing actions until you have no more actions. Since you gain dice throughout the game it will end up being longer per round or you will have more spaces to gain more resources and you will have a lot more to do with more materials.

Ron ended up really enjoying the game and perhaps it was because he won the game. He was ahead each round with the helmet track and he had some end game scorings that I never invested in and it would have been more worth my while. I really needed to focus in more. But I was doing a different strategy in connecting my roads and getting points for the people on the streets. I got 19 points from them!! It was a lot! Not enough though. I think Ron won by just a few points too.

I can't wait to play this one again!













Wednesday I made it to PAX Unplugged! The Con was from Friday Nov 17-19th!









Probably my favorite photo from the con that I took! It is Flip Ships! Sad I didn't get to play!






Wednesday night we had a scheduled event at Family Fun Hobbies in NJ, which is about an hour outside of Philly. This was great we had a bunch of tables going with gamers learning and playing Renegade games!

We were teaching the new Pie Town! New to me!

If you aren't familiar with the title, this is a dice worker-placement game. You never roll the dice but you are using them to collect apples and other specialty ingredients to try and make the best pies! You have a secret pie that others are trying to deduct and learn your recipe. As you take actions you are leveling your strength and will get better actions as the game progresses.

There are several different actions to take like go to the orchard and gain ingredients according to your level - level 3 gets 3 from the surrounding trees.. At the end of the turn then you get to level your die by +1. If you wanted to recruit new workers you will lose a value of 2 to your die at the end of the round but you get to bring on a new die at level 1. They are basically in training mode and will have to learn by baking or collecting. You can choose to score the pies in the row or column. The easy to bake pies will score less than your secret pies.

All game you are working to collect these ingredients, but when you go to bake you want to try and be sneaky since people are trying to deduce your secret ingredients and if they can do this than they can try and bake your pies for the high levels as well. There is some serious end game scoring if you are able to guess your opponents ingredients. In order to help figure out their specials then you can spy on them in the orchard if you have a higher level worker than they do.

There is definitely a mind game in there too. What do you think other people will end up doing. All game I was trying to just level up and collect resources to make lots of pies at once. It didn't work as well so I then switched strategies and started getting some more workers and this caused for my workers to lose a few levels. I was then getting spied on in the orchards. People were finding me out!

I did so well, but not well enough. The other guys at the table won, but I was just happy to have beaten Scott! It was a great time, I look forward to playing this game again soon.

We had an amazing time and met some great fans! It was fun to see them again during the convention as well!
































Thursday was the official set up for our booth. Since our booth was Ginormous we actually had to wait for the union laborers to set it up. While we waited for them we got to play some games with the demo team!

We had a few different tables going on but with a focused learning game of Kepler-3042. This is one of our new titles and wanted to make sure we had appropriate candidates to demo this during the con.

In Kepler-3042 you are choosing an action each turn to help gather resources, improve your technologies, explore the Galaxy to discover new planets and maybe colonize them if you traveled far enough. With your own personal pool of resources you have to manage the supplies wisely throughout the game.

I had played this last year a few times and enjoyed the game. I have to say I much prefer the box art for this game and the pop of color on the board really brings the game some life. Otherwise the game play is the same.

I had forgotten a lot of the game play but it came back pretty easily with some reminders from Luca who ended up playing with me Mandi and Jason. It was quite a learning game for them all.

Since Luca already knew the game very well he did a great job teaching us and then proceeded to destroy us! Hard core.

I was working on colonizing and settling 3 alien planets. This was tough to do and really needed just one more turn to do everything I needed to. I was a turn too late for that, so missed out on like 10 points.

Cool game and I am glad I came home with it since it is pretty fun. I gotta photograph it for real next time!

























Explorers of the North Sea was another one being played. This is the 3rd game in the North Sea Trilogy. The first is Shipwrights of the North Sea followed by Raiders of the North Sea.

In Explorers each Viking team is branching out into the sea to try and find colonies and search the lands to collect livestock and build outposts. With several ways of collecting victory points you can focus on a particular avenue and go for it. You will be placing a tile down each turn expanding the board and creating a unique map of water passageways and different islands.

I have to say I didn't quite enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed Raiders. They are totally different in game play but the same ease of play is there. I simply like worker placement/ displacement better. There were several things I would have changed about the game with perhaps drafting of tiles to help mitigate the randomness of the drawn tiles. I had goals I was trying to fulfill but if I never got to get the tiles I needed to help with that then it could be a problem.

The game plays out fairly quickly to help with the randomness that will come up. I think I got pretty lucky
























Back at the hotel there was a quick game of Topiary being played! This game set to release Q1 By Renegade Game Studios! New to me!

Topiary is a super fast tile placement game where you are placing Meeples on rows and columns to see beautiful Topiaries. You get points depending on what you can see and the heights of the bushes. The bushes are ranked 1-5 and you can see the 5 over any other number and the 4 can be seen above a 1-3 and 3 over 1-2 and 2 over 1. But, you can not see the bush that is the same size or smaller behind one another. You are doing this with all of your meeples. When you place your meeple you get to draw a tile from the view point and then from your hand of tiles you then get to place one face up. Hopefully your view won't be ruined by another player in the near future.

You want to see as many bushes as possible. You will score their values at the end of the game for the ones you can see. You get bonus points if they are matching types. With the 3 tiles left over in your hand, If you are holding smaller values, and you can see the higher values in any of the rows with the same shape then you get to score the left over tiles.

Just a few added end game bonuses to keep you on your toes for the final count. It is a very fast game play and super wonderful. This could easily be my new favorite filler. I really like the choices here and how thinky it is for being quick. Perhaps it helped that I totally won this game and everyone else was pretty far behind. But it was still amazing fun and enjoyed the time playing.



















Before the hall opened on the Friday, I was able to demo and learn The Fox in the Forest. New to me!

This is a 2 player trick taking game. All of the odd numbers have assigned powers. All of the 1s are the same powers etc. There are 3 suits of cards and you are trying to collect so many tricks to score the most points as possible. Once someone hits a recommended amount of points then the game will end. You could just say most points after 3 rounds wins. I feel like 3 rounds is just the right amount.

You are just playing with 2 players so a few hands of cards is a great time killer if waiting for a table to finish up or a nice end of night game.

I ended up just playing a few rounds with Dave who taught me. He absolutely killed me since I was too greedy then I tried to pull back but then it ended up giving him the win with 7 tricks and I had 6. If you get 7-9 tricks then you get max 6 points. He totally played me. I thought I was going to win all of the tricks so I tried y o hold back!

I was super foolish! haha It was a great time learning this one. I love the art so much and that winter fox is just the best!!!!!!!!!!! So happy to have this one in the collection now.















There was a cool industry panel that I got to attend. During the hour there were a lot of current board game insights and anticipated projections for the future being discussed. Hearing for the retailer, distributor, publishers, and media is eye opening and thoughtful.

Being discussed we're topics such as retailers and small ownerships how to maintain current demand. Everyone had a say in their opinion on Kickstarters and how that it is its own entity. Kickstarter is a tool that can help bring to life new and interesting ideas.

It finalized with an overall consensus that the board game industry is at its all time high and still shows to be a growing market. More and more gamers every year which means more and more games are being produced. The top quality we are getting in our boxes today are setting the standard for what a board game should be and what is expected. Who knows when, but there will be a plateau, but as we are seeing it, we are at the best of times!

this is the photo I get...






This was the crazy Market Place next to the convention! Always slammed and it is where I got my milkshake every day!




We went out for a late night Gelato and Sara just couldn't make up her mind and tried I think all of the flavors! Scott and I were all about the Dark Chocolate and it was amazingly delicious!








At night we played a few late night games. It was me, Sara, Mandi, and Dan King. He wanted to learn some games so we brought down Topiary.

Believe me when I say fast and easy to understand this is a great one. We were doing some socializing so it ended up being like a 15 minutes game instead of 10 minutes.

Still went over fairly well and we had forgotten to explain end of game scoring with the tiles in hand. That didn't seem to matter so much though. I didn't do very well this game at all. I was getting blocked left and right. This game can be so cut throat! You can easily block other people from scoring a lot of points when planned properly!

I am pretty sure Dan won, or Sara.I think it was green player and Sara is usually green except maybe this game so I am just confused! It was great, I look forward to playing again.










Next up was our poor attempt to teach Dan how to play Origami. I played this a few weeks ago and taught it.

It is not a hard game. I think the general consensus was that they didn't want to play this one. I think we played about 5 turns each before we called it quits. Dan was just totally not into it. Sara was liking all of the insects she was collecting.

I have to admit this is really not a great game. It is more beautiful than it is fun. Definitely wish the game play was more engaging than it actually is.

So yeah, we didn't end up finishing this game, but I am still counting it as a play since we tried.







The final game of the night was Harvest Dice.

Dan King taught the game and I was happy to correct him on a rule. It made me laugh, evil evil laughs of joy. Haha

Anyway this was a fun game I tried to rush the ending by filling up my pig pen. I got a lot of points but had I been able to do this a bit faster it would have been better.

I ended up not winning the game but I was close!! I needed a few more round earlier then I could have brought down the multiplier. It was a good and viable strategy but didn't work out for me this time. Enjoyable game I am not sure how often I will be playing it, but I don't mind it.







During the con I ended up demoing a LOT of games I was best at demoing Ex Libris.

I know this game very well by this point and teaching it over and over was no problem. Because I was demoing there were times I got to play and I ended up playing 3 full games.

I am not the best one to demo a game because eif I see the right move I will take it. Because I have so much experience in the game I ended up winning all of the games. This is probably not the best plan for me to do... I have to think more like Joe H. He likes to try wonk and often times failing to win strategies just for funzies.

On the plus side everyone I played with really enjoyed the game!!

I also learned from my game plays that you play one more round after you hit the 12 card mark. That is very interesting and I'm not sure how it will play out with one more round.

Still a fav!









Late at night was a Fuse Tournament! New to me!

Fuse is a co-op game where you are pulling dice from teh bag frantically and trying to draft them to fulfill your puzzles but if you can't draft a die then you will cause you and your teammates to discard dice from the boards of matching values and colors. It is super hard and you have to try and complete all of the cards before the time runs out. You have a 10 minute clock and you will score for the completed cards and how much time you have left over. There is a cool companion app to go along with the game that you can use.

This tournament that we played was a best score out of 3 games. There were 2 teams of 4.

I actually participated in the game and it was my first time ever playing! I was super excited to be apart of the competition even if we ended up losing. The other team was amazing and kept winning each game. We all had a great time and I caught the winning smiles and their luxurious Pax Medals for winning the tournament!

Our team was not doing so great. I mean I was holding the team together nicely completing 6 + cards each time so I felt I was holding down my end. It was super fun to get to play with Cindy and Collin though. We had a great time and finally had a great last round when we did win one of the rounds.

The winning team had the high score of 91 though and totally dominated us! They were very very good at the game. hmmmmm




The other team destroying us... see their smiles?






Sara joined me Collin, and Cindy for a game of Otys. I am very familiar with this game now and it was very easy to teach.

We we're all extremely tired so this game went on pretty long and I was not helping so much by teach other games in the surrounding area. it was good though.

Sara wanted to learn a new game and Santa Maria was not available for me to teach. Everyone liked the mechanics in the game and had a good time playing.

It was pretty hilarious to see the prototype of the game though. We were playing on styrofoam. It was a good quality prototype so it worked well.

This game Collin took home the win and I think we were all relieved to be able to home back to sleep for the night. Haha that was a great night though!









Finally another game I ended up demoing was Sundae Split. Because it is easier to just play sundae split I got to play in 2 games of this as well.

Teaching this game is super easy and the time to play is super fast.

I felt kinda bad because I would randomly get the good stack each time. I ended up winning those games as well.

I am like the best and worst demo teacher there is. Perhaps I am just too good at games. This is a great one and I hope to show it to my family today on Thanksgiving. Really enjoyable.







Sunday was the final day of the convention and more family focused. To cater to that we had Mandi Board Game Pin-up Girl of the Dice Tower hos a special Renegade event!

This was a super awesome time for families to come together and learn some our our titles. Mandi still had her voice after demoing for the 2 days prior, but was an amazing teacher and mentor for everyone.

This was a 2 hour event and she taught Sundae Split, Lotus, and Dragons Hoard! Once the event was over, the families got to keep the games they just learned and we snapped a group photo! It is so rewarding to see such Joy from kids and parents when playing and enjoying our games!











Now for the friends and selfie section of this blog post!




















Yay I made it home and took a bunch of games with me!










New to the Collection:
Raiders of the North Sea
Fog of Love
Shipwrights of the North Sea
The Fox in the Forest
FUSE
Explorers of the North Sea
Kepler-3042
Pie Town
The North Sea Runesaga
Planet Defenders








Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
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Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:25 pm
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Lobster Trap!!! ALL THE GAMES!! 38 Plays and 16 NEW TO ME Titles... So Much To Recap! Great Times and Great Friends!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Hia Everyone!


This past weekend was my favorite local con called LobsterTrap!! I have been going every year for 5 years or so and Ron and I have the best time playing games. We always get to play the hot new releases from Essen and I learn the most in the month of November! Lots of great titles to recap on and do mini reviews. Considering I am going to PAX Unplugged I will have to keep my reviews short and talk about the game plays in a brief fashion. I welcome any comments below to discuss further if there are questions. So many great games and great people, I had an amazing time!






Wednesday night Ron and I got to playing Altiplano. New to me!

There has been a lot of discussion about this recently especially now that Renegade will be bringing that title to North America. Very exciting stuff!!

You have to go into the game without expectations for it being as good as Orleans. They are totally different games with different mechanics and you should not say well Orleans does this and Altiplano does that. Sure, there are discs that will go in the bag, but all in all it is a very different game and different objectives with a totally different concept.

The main concern is the length which I feel wasn't bad. We were playing 2 player and we finished in an hour. Considering I haven't played with more players, I don't know what the time stamp will be at. I look forward to testing it, but I can see how there might be an AP issue.

This is a game all about turning resources into other resources. SO MANY RESOURCES. It is a big game of splendor. The rules are actually pretty simple to follow and grasp so I don't see it being a problem to teach it in the future.

Ron completely destroyed me, as to be expected this game because he had played the weekend before where Felix absolutely dominated that game. I was very badly managing my resources and basically gave up after a while since Ron was collecting all of the glass because he got an early coffee and I had no idea what I was doing. Experience will help you in this game.

Regardless, I look forward to playing again, I don't think I will want to play this game with 5 players since I think that could just run long. This game can play up to 5 players though, I just get nervous with that count in a game. Perhaps I will get to play it again soon!

























First game of the con was Merlin. I first played this game at GenCon and had a great time. I was very excited to play it again and own this game. I love all of the shiny colors and management of the dice.

This will be a great game for anyone who enjoys a good Feld game. It fits right in with his style and you won't be surprised by any of the mechanics. It wasn't getting the best of reviews at the con, but I definitely liked it. I think you have to appreciate Feld titles at least a bit to like this one.

In the game I managed to maintain the area control over the towers on the mini map and I was scoring a few extra points each round. I lost a lot of points in the battles but I was gaining a lot of points in the game from the cards. This game I did incredibly well on and ended up winning!

This LT I was definitely on a roll for the wins. I am shocked at how many games i played that I actually won. I managed to record most of the winners for each game I played, in hopes that it will dictate my blog better for me.

Star and Nate both ended up liking this game, but I am not sure they loved it. Ron still likes it like I like it. I was happy to play it again. I do think it is probably a game that is best with 4 players. We will have to try with different player counts and see if it works.















Next up was the quick Majesty: For the Realm. This is easily one of my favorites from Essen. I am so pleased I picked this up, I really really love it. definitely a top favorite from the year.

Fast drafting with critical decisions. It was a wonderful time playing as always. I did extremely well this game collecting all of the defense and scoring big for the brewers. Nate kept attacked each and every chance and I was at like 6 defense. Ron and Star kept dying left and right so I ended up with like all of the majorities at the end and tons of in game points.

Boom I won that time with 156! It was great!
















It was time to pull in Riley and Steffan to a game of Clans of Caledonia. New to me!

This game Ron taught but Riley had read the rules too so he was helping a bit. Ron was getting a bit frustrated with me since I was asking questions and trying to pay attention but was distracted with people stopping by etc. I triiiiiiiiiied to pay attention.

Eventually we started and I caught on rather quickly, but poor Steffan didn't really grasp the game at all.

This is kind of a confusing one. it is not totally clear that you need wheat to make beer, even though it makes sense. But yeah you have to build both the wheat building (or acquire it by buying it in the market), and then you also need to build the beer building to produce it. There are tiny arrows that are very easy to miss and it could have been more clear. We played a whole round before I figured that one out.

Each player gets a special starting ability and for the first game it is really hard to choose which one would be the best choice, with not knowing strategies at all. Go for the easiest one to understand.

I went for the one that when you produce a beer you get $3 seemed legit. My strategy to start was to get my guys on the board and not worry about the end of round scoring that takes place, at least until I understood the game better. What I did understand was making the money from the people. I got my people out and spent as little as possible all while trying to make separate colonies for the end of game majorities. This was a brilliant strategy for me since I managed to get $40 for like 3 rounds in a row towards the end of the game. I was making the big bucks!

I ended up winning the game because my beer warehouse was very nice to me and gave me a lot of extra money. the end game scoring cards were all in my favorite and I had secured the best points possible for the tobacco that was scoring 5 per and I had 8 of them. I nailed this game. I suppose I should just stop here and never play again.

No I don't compare this game to Terra Mystica. I won't do it. Ron did, but again, you can't go in thinking TM, I find them totally different, and would actually rather play TM than this one if you put them both in front of me. I don't see a lot of reply here, but I am sure there it. It just seems too similar, and I don't foresee another strategy. Not really a favorite new one from the weekend, but I just didn't mind it. I won after all with 149 to Ron's 146- sweet sweet victory!






















Next up Dan taught us how to play Riverboat. New to me!

This is a new game I had been looking forward to playing. You are taking actions to place workers and then drafting tiles where the workers are standing on your player board. Ideally you are creating patterns on your board to help score big points and gain big boats.

It is all about managing the tiles and the bonuses you can get to try and get the scoring markers. It is a pretty solid euro game and one that I enjoyed playing.

This game I was missing the point of trying to get the scoring markers and it was too late by the time I needed to get them all and just didn't have the resources to do so. I spent time placing my white guys in the party in Orleans. But it didn't pay off in the end since I didn't manage to get any points and I really needed those white dudes to help with the farming so it was wasteful.

Ron ended up winning this game by a lot. I was just a mess and didn't grasp the concept quickly enough for some reason. Now I know better for next time, so I plan to win next time.

I had a lot of fun and look forward to trying it again soon!























Next up Geoff decided to destroy me and Dan in a game of Otys.

They were interested in learning this one and Ron went out to get some food so we had about an hour and I figured that was a good game to play.

I was just not focused at all. This game and the one before, I wonder if I was hungry or something. But, I was so very far behind when Geoff thankfully ended the game. It actually went over surprisingly well and they both enjoyed it! I will take that game as a success!

I am really happy I picked this one up. Easily my most played game since the fair and still one I look forward to playing more. I don't even think Ron has played it yet. I should fix that! Great game!









next up I taught Geki and Ana how to play Ex Libris.

Perhaps not my wisest decision since they are Italian and alphabetizing might not be high on their priorities. Geki was still interested in learning it and it was apparent that Ana was not enjoying this game at all.

We had screwed her over of some actions and this was like turn one so from there it went downhill. She ended up screwing Geki over a bunch from using his Sasquatch actions and yeah it was a whirl of disappointment from them both. The game can be quite mean at times.

In the end Geki said he enjoyed the game and would play again, Ana said not for her but she absolutely destroyed us. She had all of the points and managed her library super well.

I still love the game, but it might not be for everyone!











Ana was interested in playing NMBR 9. We played a 4 player game and we used the new Starting tiles and they were wonderful!!

If you like this game at all the small promos that you can find for this game really make all of the difference. We scored very high this game and easily my best play yet. I ended up scoring 107 points and it was Ana's first game she scored 101. It really helped that we got all of the high scoring tiles really late in the game, so we were able to get tons of points.

Definitely look into the starter tiles and corner pieces if you can get them I highly recommend them! Super awesome.







Next Dan offered to read the rules for Alexandria. New to me!

This game was very interesting. Definitely a one shot deal and a game I don't care to play again. Each player had very specific roles, almost like there was no overlap of goals. Each player had their own mechanic, almost. It was weird since the set collection that Dan was trying to collect seemed to be a goal for most people but, not really because our cards were not geared towards it. Everything just felt off. I got to be a traitor so that was fun. Derek got to be the helper and force us to decide we wanted his help. Aaron was the trickster and played a lot of tricks on us. Basically, everyone in their roles and it really was hilarious on how well our characters matched up to our actual playing styles and personalities. I am a vicious vile sabotage person.

I had a good time trying to burn the place down faster than it was meant to, it didn't quite work out as much as I wanted it to, but we had a good time. I don't really see much replay value here. I would always play the same role and always want to do the same things, and it would definitely be same-y after a few plays. I feel like our roles needed to share more overlap with each other. Something was missing here, and I am not sure what.

Dan ended up winning with 75 and I was super close behind him with 71. the other guys were much further behind and felt there was no other real way to score points well enough. I have no idea what their deck of cards looked like so I am unsure about that.

All in all I am glad I tried it but not one I have to return to.

















Final game of the night was the very fast Mystery of the Temples.

Derek had wanted to learn this and since I knew it I could easily teach it. It was the same group of players and I taught the game pretty quickly. Everyone picked it up fast and it was only a matter of time before it was over.

It is a very fast resource conversion game and you really only have to score 5 times before the game is over. It is gorgeous and fun.

I was definitely not focusing on the correct curses to break this time and didn't manage getting a lot of end game points that I needed to to make up for the lesser curses I broke.

Dan totally won this game and I think he was about 5-10 points higher than the rest of us so that was a big jump from the rest of us who were clustered together.

Derek really liked this game and said he wanted to find a copy. I am not sure what the other guys thought of it. I certainly like it and look forward to more plays soon.















Bright and early DAY 2!! We set out to play a 4 player game of Keyper. New to me!

I got a fast demo at Essen and wanted to then buy it. It is easily my favorite in the Key series. I like Key to the City and Keyflower but this one changes that. In this game no one can out bid you on tiles or use your buildings once you build them. What you have is your own and what you do with your meeples is your prerogative. The ever changing boards is wonderful and you can customize the board to have you see fit and you might want a space on your board that no one else does, but then someone might end up taking that space because there is no other. By that point it is no longer your board, however.

Timing is everything and when to follow and when not to follow is key. When you take an action the player to your right has the chance to follow along and mimic this action. You both then get bonuses so there is an incentive to follow if and when you can. You must follow the same colored meeple or use a wild white one.

White meeples are great to have and you want to try and obtain as many as possible to offer flexibility.

In our game Geoff had all the white meeples. I was stuck several rounds with grey and green meeples, and this worked out okay for me for a time. I was really focused on shipping (blue) actions and needed blue meeples to help with the bonuses. My buildings allowed for more points to be given for the shipping actions. I tried to ship as much as possible and sell all my goods for bonus money.

This actually worked well for me and I won the game with 107 points. It was awesome. I was worried my strategy would be too strong but Dan was actually right on my tail with just over 100 points and nearly caught me for the win. He was doing something completely different. I believe Ron might have had a similar score if he understood some of the end round tiles a bit better.

The iconography is there and isn't too hard to follow. it all lines up pretty nicely with the Key series and if you are familiar than it will be easy to pick up.

I very much look forward to my next play!




















Since Tery and Mark were just at the next table, I asked them if they wanted to play a game of Nations.

We brought the game along and it is almost tradition for us to get in a game of Nations at LT. This year we got to play with Tery and Mark, whom we never get to play with but always talk about playing games together. I am glad we finally got to play a game.

They claimed to like the game, several times in fact. I just don't think they play it as frequently as we do so they were figuring out strategies and remembering how to play when we first started the game.

In the game I tried to not worry so much about military but to meet the threshold for the wars that were being set. One point everyone was up around 20 military and I was at 4 so I decided to set the way low so I wouldn't have to worry about it. I was fighting to stay in the middle of the pack for the balancing act too. It seemed to work out well for me since I didn't incur any harsh penalties.

What really set me apart from the others was that I was in the lead for books all game. No one was fighting me for the victory there. It was excellent I collected a ton of VP!

I ended up winning this game too!! I was shocked i certainly didn't feel like I was winning but as the cards fell it all sort of worked out for me. That is 2 Nations games in a row in the past month, I don't know how it has happened, but I like it!

I had a great time playing with everyone and got to play Nations again. It really is a wonderful game.













Next up I sat down to a 4 player game with Ron, Riley and Scott and we indulged in Clank! In! Space!. New to me!

You know, with the new gig, I figured I best catch up on some Renegade titles and since this is one of the hot new games, Riley and Scott were excited to play it.

Scott has played several times and Riley taught the game. It is pretty much Clank! You are in a spaceship and have to get in and get out and try to stay alive in the process. The boards are modular so that is nice and you can switch it up each time. The game is a bit longer over all. There are more combos to be had too.

I think at one point in the game Scott had pulled like 12 cards or something. He had them all laid out! I have no idea how he ended up killed, but it happened.

I died!!! I was just one space away from a secure final scoring count, but nope I was then killed. NOooooooooooooooooooooooooOoOOooO it was sadness. HAD I succeeded in making it to the final scoring area (one space away) I would have come in 2nd place with my total VP! Yah, since that didn't happen both Riley and Scott were able to count their points but Ron Actually escaped and totally demolished us in the process.

I believe Ron actually had double if not triple my score with over 150 points. It was absurd so totally insane. Ron needs to be stopped at all times, for the record!

We had a great time and it is a nice switch up from the basic Clank!





























Felix was really interested in learning Biosphere. Ron and I pulled in Len to join us for a 4 player game.

It went really well, the game flows very nicely and the player aids help guide each turn really well. I wish this game were easier to acquire since I have a few friends who would be interested in purchasing it. I wish more people could play it!

I am just terribly awful at playing this game. I full understand what I am supposed to do, but then execute poorly. I try to focus on too many things as once or take whatever card is available to me at the time. This, I am learning is not the best of strategies.

Felix was a mastermind this game, he totally focused in and then within 5 turns or so he had ended the game. I mean he found all of the perfect combos and just went for it. We were all sitting at like 2 or maybe 3 goals complete and he was like oh hai, I won. We were all taken aback, really?

Yep he is just the bomb.














After dinner I brought down a few games to play and Mark and Nate joined me and Ron for a game of Memoarrr!.

This is a great memory type game. It always brings out a lot of laughs. I really enjoy this title. Mark was clearly not really into the game since he couldn't remember anything!

I did alright this time collecting like 4 cards. Nate was pleased that he could claim one, but really Ron totally won this game. He found all of the most valuable gem cards.

I really like this one. I will have to get a smaller box so I can transport it better when I travel. It is a great one to bring out any time.








Mark was interested in learning Heaven & Ale. I learned this back in April and had a pretty good idea for the game, I got through half of the rules but Dan ended up finishing the rules for me. To my credit we were almost done and I was doing fine. I am not sure much had changed since the prototype.

It is a pretty cool game for sure. I like the management of your actions in this game and the tight race to try and meet conditions before the other players all while trying to manage your board properly for end game scoring.

This game I ended up winning because I got all of my goods super high on the track, though my brew master was not high at all, but gaining still 3 points for the multiplier. It ended up working out very well for me. I had a ton of end game tiles to help with the points as well.

Poor Nate he was doing very well then somehow lost his way in the game. I don't know what really happened. I think everyone quite enjoyed the game though. I definitely think this was the hot game of the con. It was always being played around each and every corner. Lots of love for this one went around.

I will have to be on the lookout for this game, I think I want to add it to the collection, it is a very nice game. Ron had fun too so I can see this being a good one for the collection. Pretty sure the release for NA is Q1 so hopefully soon!

















Final game of the night was one I took home the victory. To be fair, I taught the game and I am ruthless. Shrey and Derek both wanted to learn Nusfjord.

They both suggested it basically at the same time so how could I say now. I just had learned it the few days before.

My teach wasn't so bad. The turn order tokens are actually very handy. They tell you when the cards are supposed to come out and how many. Everything you really needed to know. Smart idea and well done.

The production is all very small though, and I feel like so many things could have been a bit bigger, like the $1 coins or the fish.

This game I collected like all of the shares- I was quite the opposite of my first play. Seemed to work out for me though. There were some end game scoring cards that came out that worked for me that I was able to pick up. We did end up playing the ending a little wrong. I had played the ending like I had with Ron, in the 2 player rules. We weren't supposed to add in all of the cards that weren't dealt, we were supposed to reveal each players hands of cards to then be able to build. Some final scoring cards were never supposed to be revealed. I kinda like seeing all of the cards, so I am not sure if playing the correct way really changed much, but It still went alright.

I think Derek and Shrey really liked the game, so it was a success! I am glad we could play together. They are a couple of my favorites to play games with!!!







Saturday morning I was up bright and early and found friends to teach Sentient to.

Michelle had wanted to learn and I pulled in a few others to learn with her. I got Matt and Steve in on a game. I said play fast.

It still ended up being an hour because we were all socializing and playing. Let me tell you I just love this game. It is my single favorite Renegade title, and I knew it the moment I played it at Dice Tower. Wonderful game.

I felt bad since I ended up winning this game. I collected a lot of round to round points and a lot of 2nd place points. I ended up with 70 points and everyone else was around 60 points, so they were quite close to me. Michelle really liked this game and ended up teaching other players later, so I am pleased! I would consider that a success! Really happy to play this one when requested.










I was quite interested in learning Calimala. New to me!

Michelle read the rules from the box and we got to learning. We ended up missing a critical rule, however. We ended up stopping mid way in the game.

I got a pretty good feeling for the game and ended up playing it again the next day.

It is actually a pretty elegant and simple game to understand and play. You have discs and you place your disc on your turn and activate the 2 spaces you end up adjacent to. Every disc beneath you also gets to activate the locations spaces again! Well, if you are adding a 4th disc to the pile than the most bottom disc doesn't get to activate the locations. That disc is actually used for a scoring to take place after each other player takes their actions. The scoring might be for any number of different things, perhaps locations, or delivery of different goods to the buildings.

The actions you can possibly take are getting resources, or delivery of goods/ cloth to cities. You might have to build ships or storehouses. There are several different paths to take but you want to try and plan accordingly for the scorings that will take place sooner rather than later.

Considering we didn't play correctly we didn't actually finish the game. We were scoring all 4 discs when the scoring triggered and you were only supposed to score 1 of the discs. That changes the game dramatically so we called it. It seemed really interesting so I wanted to play it again before the con was over. See below.

















Jeff H was interested in learning Photosynthesis. I ended up teaching 3 people who wanted to learn.

This worked out well. I had to have a discussion about why this game was abstract, but Michelle claimed it wasn't as well as Nate. They said there was theme so it means it is not abstract. Hmm I guess that everyone will have different opinions about that, but to me this game is clearly abstract.

You are mentally thinking about placement and all that, it is abstract.

This game went over very well and everyone really liked it. Jeff especially liked this one, perhaps because he won it but I think he really liked planning and managing the trees. Nate liked it too and Michelle was a fan but I don't think she will actually play it again, while she said she had a good time, I am not so sure.

I am always happy to play this one. I have had a great time when I get to play this so I am happy to continue to do so.














Next up several people had wanted to play Indian Summer. Ron joined in for this and was nice to teach it. More that I was lazy.

This is my game. I totally get this game. I got it the first play and I continued to get it. Man I completely owned everyone this game. Derek and Ron were after the cute fox and weren't focused on the game at hand. Only the fox and his cuteness.

I was drawn to him in the first game I played as well, But I still won that game too.

Yeah I finished this game about 2 turns sooner than everyone else might have. I am just the best at this game it seems. I feel like I need to go enter a competition! It is just awesome. I need to play this one at home so I can game photos that do this game justice. It really is a stunning game and I just close the color scheme.

Game times!













I felt badly for dragging Shrey into a game that Joe H dragged me into... How did I get involved to play Aloha: The Spirit of Hawaii. New to me!

Joe H always has the most unusual titles. Always. I have come to expect and know this in time. Since we hadn't yet played a game he had wanted to play a game with me, and to my delight we played this game.

I use delight lightly here. It was a fine game, and not terrible but not great either. It was a game. You are taking control of the island in Hawaii and trying to get the actions to move up on track and gain leaders for points and votes. There are a series of chapters and actions that will happen.

I am apparently amazing at this game since I won by a large margin. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it well. I went to locations to try and gain the leadership and focused less on the coins and votes than I should have, but because I focused on population, it really helped me maintain the controls.

It worked out and I ended up winning. It was a game, and probably not one I will ever play again, but happy to have tried it, I suppose.

















Marsha joined in for our next game it was Majesty: For the Realm.

I wanted to teach Joe how to play this and I was sure Marsha would enjoy it. Shrey was interested in playing it again too.

Joe was all out military this game and when he could have strike me down he decided to get a cook was a better plan, so I was safe from killing off my people. It was already too late since Marsha was on a castle streak. She had collected 4 then 5 majesty cards. She absolutely crushed us this game.

No one seemed to remember that I said don't let one person get all of the majesty cards, yeah didn't work out so much. I was sitting to Marsha's right so it was super expensive for me to try and stop her so that just didn't work out.

It was a great game and she won. Joe really liked it and said it was one of like 2 games for him to get. I was please to have shown him the game. Again, this is one of my favorites from the year and so great!!










I suggested we try out Reworld. New to me!

Ron was great and read the rules from the box and we all sort of sat around and set up the game. It was on my to try list since Ron said I might enjoy it being and K & K game.

I really am turned off by the box and theme of the game so I wasn't that excited for it. After learning it, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a card drafting game. It was a weird one though. You are at the mercy of the cards you are dealt and you use the cards valued 1-5 to acquire these shuttles and factories. You have to place them Im the appropriate rows 1-5 from which you placed your card.

It is all a weird set collection and programming game to try and score the end game point tiles first.

You have to first spend rounds drafting these tiles and then you activate all of your movement of the tiles. It was very elaborate for something that shouldn't have been so elaborate. I honestly didn't care for this game at all.

I totally won the game too, but there was just something off about it. I did really like the drafting mechanic I just wish it was used in a different way. I don't really think there is a lot of replay value in this title. I hope others find it more entertaining than I did. I do recommend trying it for yourself and seeing if this is one you like. I am curious as to what other people think about it.

I am happy to have won, I don't really know if it was a well deserved win though.


















Perhaps against my better judgement I pulled Alchemistry off the shelf. New to me!

This is resource conversion game. You are pulling gems from the bag to try and collect sets and fulfill contracts. You are pretty much at the mercy of the pulls and hope you can get what you want. There are other actions you can take to help and obtain the correct gems, but all in all these is a pretty easy gem game. I didn't really find that many interesting choices in the game and I put it right on par with Compounded.

Ron ended up winning this game since he was able to fulfill a lot more cards than the rest of us and contracts for points. I don't think anyone was upset to see the end of this game. I can't say we had a great time. I did enjoy the artwork and the color box which is what drew me in to begin with.
















Next up I got to play with a few friends whom I rarely get to game with. We didn't know what to play so I suggested Halloween.

They are not really cult of the new like I am so they had no idea about this one and just trusted me. I felt I could teach it after my one play at Essen. It isn't that hard of a game to grasp. It is more of the tech cards that you can invest in that I was less sure about.

I think I taught the game alright and people caught on. I also think Drew was pretty tired since he wasn't getting it as much. Eventually, the game got underway and we all got into it slowly. I kept reviewing the rules to make sure I was doing it all correctly.

I don't think I missed anything, but I did learn the gray icon meant ANY three ghost tokens and the rainbow one was 3 different ones. That is not what I recalled from the play at Essen. That was cool to figure out.

I did pretty alright, I ended up winning this game. I was able to acquire 5 locations on the tech cards and end the game earlier than the pumpkin strategy. Felix walked by and said he got to play and ended it in 4 turns. I was like wat? haha I guess he found a killer combo that allowed for him to get the tech he needed in order to end the game. He sad he really liked the game and wanted to play again.

haha I think the guys I was playing with would have liked to have it end that way. I really felt that Star hated this game, but in the end he claimed to have not hated it. On the plus side it ended and people were happy to have played.

I really like this game, it is a race game to try and end the game quickly. You just have to play for that and know what to expect. It won't be for everyone but I like it and look forward to the next play.










Mike asked for me to teach him Sentient. I can't turn down a chance to play Sentient. I just explained earlier that I wouldn't do that!

I was happy to teach them and they played very quickly so that was nice. I ended up winning this game too with 71 points and they were all just behind me in the 60s.

It seems to be a winning score for this game. Star thought he was doing better than he was, but I ended up scoring like 22 one round and getting a lot of second places. Again, I think that might be a good strategy to work towards. I only ended up claiming like 3 tiles in the game to multiply my cards, but that is so hard to do well in. You really want to get the in game points where you can.

Great game!









Mike got to talking about other Renegade titles and how he really enjoyed FUSE and Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game. New to me!

I explained I had brought along Flatline so I could play so I was really excited that he would teach and play the game with me!

This is a longer version of Fuse, another game I have yet to play and want to! Flat line you are all working together to allocate your dice appropriately and use the Renegade companion application! It works so well!

We ended up playing 5 players and we had a lot of fun!! We NEARLY won too! We got down to the final 4 tiles to work through. If we didn't get terrible events to keep taking away our lifelines it would have worked out much better for us. We kept getting them back too, but still the bad cards were just too bad! We didn't fight off the blue cards well enough.

I know we could beat this game, we just need to play again!! If this is the big version of Fuse I am very excited to try Fuse soon! Probably this weekend! I really liked this game. Totally worked for me.

SOOOO CLOSE TO WINNING!!!!!! Just not close enough!














Final game of the night was my FAV!!! Steve was available to play Ginkgopolis. Ron joined us for a 3 player game.

We played correctly and had all those cards discarded each time we shuffled. Ron was getting annoyed by it by the end of the game and it made me laugh. It is crazy, but I understand it.

I still don't care either way. I don't like taking out the 6 random tiles at the beginning of the game though.

This game seemed to go on a while. I was doing a good job of collecting all of my guys and I was really paying attention to the board and trying to control different area's by the end. I was able to kick Ron off just at the right time Steve also did this and I got the very large area at the end which totally helped me.

I ended up winning this time but it wasn't by as much as I would have liked. It was a great game. Didn't feel the same without Joe C to laugh at the whole time.

Always up for this game I simply love it!










The final day I had set up a 9 am game with Star, Steve, Joe R and Joe H to play Biosphere.

I was happy to play this one again, I really need to play it more and get better at it. I was unsure about the 5 player game but I figured with this crew it would work out just fine. I was correct. Though I wasn't clear enough in my rules explanation, but we were able to correct the majority of spaces thing very quickly. Star understood my simple ways in explanation, the other guys are just too smart for me.

It went very well, and we were all neck and neck in this game for ending it. I thought for sure Joe R would end it when he did, but Joe certainly didn't. He had forgotten about his double tundra tiles and got a bonus on a track which allowed for him to score for evolution and his 5th condition met. Everyone was planning on one more turn. Joe H said he was going to get 7 conditions met if he had one more turn! Nope didn't get in that final turn and Joe R for the win!

It was a great time and I think everyone enjoyed it. Everyone also agreed the mat is totally worth it and needed for this game.














Now was the time we broke out Calimala. Playing with Ron is just not a good idea.

I suppose it is a good idea. I liked the first attempt at playing this game and then this play I was a total change of heart. It is just as bad as the Gallerist. I realllllllllllllllllly hate the mechanic where people get bonus actions based on what other people choose, especially when those people are Ron. I suppose it was good to have played the full game through to fin this out.

The beginning to the game is great and quick but then as the game goes on the long drawn out turns and double and triple actions people get can be a pain in the ass to follow and figure out. It is fiddly and annoying to track. I really just didn't like this game at all.

Ron absolutely ran away with the game and there was nothing we could do. I was just all around frustrated at this experience. I would try it again with 3 players and maybe it would be better. I don't know, I would have to play totally different next time.

I really wanted to like this one too.











Next up was the epic T.I.M.E Stories with T.I.M.E Stories: Expedition – Endurance. New to me!

I got Riley to show up with this game and we pulled in Derek for the experience. It was great!!

I won't give any spoilers, but we all had a great time. The pictures don't really give spoilers either everything shows up when you open the box.

This was definitely not my favorite expansion, but it was not the worst either. Obviously you will like it if you have played and enjoy TIME STORIES. Time well spent!










Derek wanted to learn Okanagan: Valley of the Lakes. I learned and played this one at GenCon and was happy to play it again.

My one concern is that you are only choosing from one tile each turn, much like carc, but you get much fewer turns to try and set collect as many tokens as possible. For me the game is nice but not one I have to return to all that often, but I definitely didn't mind it.

Carc it still the better game imo. You can't help but compare the games though. I do like the bonus actions from the tiles though.

In our game I was just getting screwed turn after turn, and of course that left a sour taste as well. I was easily half the score of the top person. I think Ron ended up winning. He had a major huge last turn. I was getting terrible chits that didn't line up with my goal cards at all. My goal cards lined up pretty well, but it just didn't work out at all for me.

I think Derek ended up enjoying the game and Dan didn't mind teaching it so it was fun to play. I will play again.













I asked about Pixbox. New to me!

Really not so much game here. You just have to find the pattern using the see through boxed pictures. This was most uneventful of games.

I ended up winning and I was still excited to move on to the next game. The box certainly made it look more interesting than it actually was, so that was a pretty disappointing game.








We played a 5 player game of NMBR 9 with 2 sets of the game. We could also use the new starting tiles and bonus tiles in the game since we have double those as well.

This game was a disaster for me. It was terrible! I think I ended up with like 55 points or something. All of my placements were all wrong and nothing worked out well. It was just a s**t show. I was definitely feeling the 4 day convention at this point and was not focused at all.

Pretty sure Dan destroyed us with like 135 points or something insane. It was sad sad sad for me.







Later that night when we were home, Ron and I broke out a few games and we started with HATSUDEN. New to me!

This is a 2 player only game! You are trying to gain the majorities of the energy types and have exactly the right amount in each city at the end of the game.

Each turn you can do one of the following actions: play a card face up with a value 1-4, over cover an already face up power supply with a higher value, play a pylon face down to cover an empty space, or discard a card and draw a new one. You always draw up to 5 cards at the end of your turn.

The game ends when someone has played 2 rows of 5 cards each. Your goal is to try and have exactly value 10 worth. If you have exactly 10 value for a given line then you will get 1 point at the end of the game or 2 points if you get both. But the meat of the game is in the columns in trying to get majorities. If you ever play a value 4 card down you get a bonus action which could be a multiplier or a +1 value to your row. There are only 4 of these bonus cards that you can possibly get so you don't want your opponent to get all of them before you can get one.

It is a very fast game and you just have to play your opponent and hope they can't over take more energy than you can.

In my game Ron put the x2 card down on a color I definitely didn't have a say about, he did that since he had placed a 4 down there, then he ended up playing a 2 with it. My best play was to play 3 and 3 so I could tie him and no one would get the double points for that energy point.

It still didn't work out for me. He was able to 2 other majorities and secure both of his lines, he ended up winning this time.

It is a nice 2 player game and plays very quick. We had some good decisions to make during it and ones that I felt were critical. Should have played that 4 first so I could get that bonus card. Ron did and now he has it, doh!

I look forward to playing this one more!


















I read the rules to the one above and Ron read the rules to Atlas: Enchanted Lands. New to me!

This is one of the newer titles from Renegade Games. By one of my favorite designers J. Alex Kevern. I really like his designs. In this game you can play 2-4 players so grant it 2 players is not the best player count. You are bidding on the cards you play to try and make your bid back. You can bid on the time with is 4 cards in a row face up, or you can bid on the place which is 4 cards in the column (same number). You can play anywhere in the grid. The grid is 4x7 n a 2 player game and you have to match the number to column exactly. Each row has a time of day and each number 1-7. It is a bidding game to guess what cards your opponents might have and how they choose to play them will make all of the difference.

I actually quite enjoyed this despite losing terribly. Ron and I both found meaningful decisions. I tried to screw him out of as many points as I could. He, of course, did a much better job at discounting my bids. If you make the bid, then you get to collect your tokens at the end and the one with the most tokens wins.

Fairly simple and straight forward. I had a great time learning this one. I love the artwork so much!!! Really great stuff here.


















Final game of the night before the football started was Tribe. New to me!

This game is GORGEOUS!!! I LOVE THE WOODEN PIECES!! WOW! I mean it is just a stunning game. The vibrant colors, I almost want no one to play this since I am afraid the pieces might break! I mean it is a work of art game. I am so happy this came home with me from Essen, I plan to play this one a lot.

There are a couple phases to this game and in the first phase you are rolling the die to see what actions you have to take. You might have to play a folklore piece, or pull blindly from the bag. Lots of things going on but you want to create sets of the same colors on the figure itself and you also check for ALL the figures! So many different ways to score and you have placement rules for what can touch what on a figure as well. It is a very challenging game, and I am shocked we were able to place so many of these wooden pieces on the figures. We did really well!!

I was forgetting half of the time which scores what and I am sure I missed a point or 2. When you are in phase 2 then you have to take all pieces from the bag and place them out and play accordingly with no die roll. It is a tricky game and one I quite enjoyed.

This game Ron totally dominated and I was left like BUH WHAT?! I did alright but he was making crazy plays and somehow succeeding.

I honestly had a great time playing, and while it isn't my favorite Dexterity game, it is easily one of the top 5 games I brought home from Essen. I simply can not wait to play this one again! I loved it!























Now I am off to PAX UNPLUGGED!!!





New to the Collection:
Dice City
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Tiny Epic Galaxies: Beyond the Black








Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Essen is Over but the GAMES Remain- Full Reviews: Santa Maria, Noria, Agra, Nusfjord, And All Photography All the Time! PLUS Big News!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


This Past week with Essen was crazy and I actually played a lot fewer games for it with my sleeping patterns and now NEW JOB! That's right I am now working full time with Renegade Game Studios. I am still invited to write my blog, which I will definitely plan on doing. I will do exactly the same thing I have been doing, but now you know about Renegade. I am their Marketing Coordinator and will be running all of their social Media accounts such as FB, Instagram, Twitter. I will also be doing a lot of other things and helping run conventions. It is an exciting time for me! I hope I still get to play the same amount of games I currently do. Who needs sleep anyway? I am super excited and plan to help make some amazing games!!











It is all a blurr at this point but my week was crazy as I said and one weekday night Ron and I decided to play a game of The Game: Face to Face. New to me!

It is a competitive game for 2 players. You each have a deck of cards 2-49 to play up and down from 1-50 and 50-1. Each turn you can play any number of cards to your own side and you can play exactly one card to your opponents side. When you play to your opponents side you must make their side BETTER with ANY number at all to make it better. Of course you don't want to help them but you want to get ride of your cards if you can.

That is the entire game, and it probably makes sense if you have played the regular The Game before.

This game I was doing pretty well, but Ron had to go and lose because he simply couldn't play any more! I mean of course I accept the win, because I like winning, but it sort of felt ill deserved. I still could play cards all over the place. But, because you have to play at least 2 cards on your turn you just might not be able to!

It was a really nice game and I look forward to more plays of this one. It is a nice take on the original concept.










Thursday night was Fun Group! I brought a bunch of new games! I had the most interest to play Otys.

This was great since I knew how to play and I could actually easily teach the game. I thought I did pretty well considering it was the first game I learned while at Essen on Day 1. It is actually a pretty simple game.

Riley was interested in learning and I was joined with Scott and Joe R for a 4 player game. They all caught on pretty quickly and the turns started becoming more brisk. It ended up being a close race but because I was able to complete a contract and get just over the goal of 18 points I was able to trigger game end. Riley was setting up for some big points in a few turns so I really made a good play to end it when I did.

Riley and Joe were just behind me like a point, so it was SUPER tight!! Totally worked out for me though and I think I would have won on the tie breaker anyway. Everyone really enjoyed it! I am excited to play this more!














During Essen I picked up a couple copies of Origami. New to me!

One of the copies was for Riley, so I was happy he was willing to sight read the rules for us to play.

It is a very simple game where you are trying to collect animals and score their points. On your turn you can either draft cards from the center line of cards. You can take cards = folding power of 4 of fewer. Another possible action instead would be to play a card down from your hand and you have to pay the cost. The big number in the top left is the cost to pay and you pay with the folding values of other cards. Finally the 3rd action you might choose to do is the action on one of the top most cards in a set. Some animals have immediate powers and some have special actions which you can activate as your turn.

That is the whole game. You can only ever have 2 stacks of cards and they must be even at all times or with a difference of 1 card. You can't keep that sweet Lion on top the WHOLE time. well depending on how many snakes you have... sure. It is a very simple game and plays really fast. You go through the deck 2 times and the game is over. I think Riley and I each had like 7 cards played at the end of the game. It was not that many. All cards have points and some have special scoring bonuses you also count up.

It was a cute game. I had a fun time playing. It didn't see particularly special or unique but I didn't mind it. The artwork is stunning and the best thing about the game. But it is so fast and harmless I will play it several more times before deciding to trade it away.

I am pretty sure Riley won this game. I did fairly well but I think he won with a few more points than me.


















We finished the night with 2 games of JamSumo. I played this years ago it seems. I really liked my time playing it and when I saw it for sale at Essen I wanted to buy it. Now I have it!

We played both games, Jam and Sumo! Sumo is the fun one where you are flicking your dice at other players trying to knock them off. You are also trying to get the most points from your pips. Jam is the game that you are trying to knock yourself off the board and into the hole in the middle trying to get the fewest points possible.

Both are great dexterity games but Sumo is the game I will likely always play first and take the game out to play.

The first game Scott totally killed us and he was just a pro at keeping his dice on the board with higher values. We couldn't catch up at all.

The second game Jeff won because I totally screwed up. I flicked the die way too light and it was just a mess. Jeff was able to secure another die before my turn again and that die was the winning factor. It was a sad day for me! Boooo- But I had a great time playing.

I really do love this game. Reminds me I should play Kung Fu Zoo more often.










Friday night Ron and i decided to open one of the many boxes of new games from Renegade that were handed to me for my new title. We decided on playing Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game. New to me!

This is a deck building game and you are after the points. If you can collect the the correct number of points or more decided by the Evil Ex! Each player has a different set of starting cards with the same type of actions but not identical. You also start with 3 DRAMA cards.

During your turn you draw 5 cards and can use the GREEN side of the cards to spend and buy new cards to add to your deck. You can activate any of the cards abilities if they apply to the situation. Drama cards are there to be in the way, but some of the cards used in the game actually like the drama cards to be paired with them in order to get a bonus. It is nice there can sometimes be a use for this card so it is not just there clogging up the deck. Your turn is not done, after you take the buying action you then can attack. You first discard the cards used from the last 5 cards and then draw 5 cards revealing the RED side of the cards. These cards have arrows or letters on them. Every player has a aid to help them reveal combos. The combos created give attack powers and you can attack a card from the display of cards, or you can try and fight the Evil Ex!

If you win you generally get to keep the card and there is some abilities you might get but mostly for the points! If you fail nothing much happens but you have have to discard a card or something.

The play continues until someone either defeats an Evil Ex or hits the VP score needed.

It is definitely a very interesting game. The artwork is amazing and vividly beautiful. Definitely my color scheme and art style that I just love. Really easy to photograph. There can be a lot of chaos in the first play because all of the cards are double sided so it makes it difficult to really recall the cards you have acquired and their backsides. I am sure I will get better with more plays.

I can see if I played this every week for a few months I would start to recognize the cards better and anticipate combos. For now there are a TON of cards and it is hard to plan when you are just learning. I love that there are so many cards, it means for a different playing experience each game. Lots of characters to choose from and different Evil Ex's to fight. I think i will end up enjoying this game most with 2 players. I can see AP or down time becoming longer with more people as they start planning out their turns etc.

In out game Ron totally won. He was attacking and fighting almost every turn. I was too chicken to do this. I should have been more confident, but when I decided to get confident I would fall one power shot of winning the attacks. This happened more than once in a row. He was the one to finally beat the Evil Ex and end and win the game. I was getting so close though! It is kind of hard to keep track of your points that are cycling through your deck as playing cards, but the ones laid out in front of you are easy to track.

All in all I enjoyed the game and time spent playing. I do look forward to playing it again with Ron soon!





































I don't know why but I decided it was time to play Brick Party. New to me!

I didn't know much about this game, other than it was a speed game. It is really best with more players because the game with more players is completely different and so much harder. I don't know how it could be more difficult, but it would definitely be more difficult.

As it stands, the 2 player game is just a race to finish the visible pattern using your colored blocks. As I understand it, the team game is that one person sees the shape that the other person then has to create by the words given to them. This to me seems impossible! I have no idea how I would be able to do that. Both with the bricks and with speaking to my teammate.

I was happy to start off with the "easy" mode of 2 player. Wow did I just fail this game. You are supposed to play 12 rounds 3 of each difficult levels that are all mixed together. I think we played 6 rounds before I ultimately gave up. Ron won each and every round, nearly before I got 3 bricks together. I mean he was just amazing at this game and i was just utterly terrible. It was really quite humorous! I never thought I would be so terrible at a game!

As you know, Ron totally killed it that game. I did a video of him playing because he was just that impressive in under a minute each time. I would really have to be on his team next time we go to play this one. I duno how he does it! I was laughing a lot and we had a great time playing. Would be a lot of fun for families for sure.











Out for a walk on a gorgeous November day








Saturday was GAME DAY!!!! Woohoo!!!! People started showing up and super excited to see my large stack of games. It is totally a crazy stack not gonna lie. I decided to read the rules to Rainbow Park. New to me!

This is a VERY small game with VERY small rules and VERY small text in the rules. I managed to come out alive though. Very simple game. You place all of the cards out and play Memory. The catch is the cards are double sided with possibly a different color and shape on the back or not. There are a few cross cards that you can take in order to flip the 4 surrounding card to try and screw with people.

Of course in our game we were just struggling to stay focused because people were showing up and talking about all of the cool games and everything else. We ended up finishing the game eventually but it took a while to get going because finding a match was really quite hard. You can play an easier game with less cards but I said we had to play with all of the cards!

I was surprised I managed to get as many matches as I did I think I gathered like 4 or 5 sets. I didn't have any for over the first half of the game, then I could start remembering more once they started disappearing.

Of course Ron won that game. he was totally focused, except that time he wasn't and I scored the points.

We had fun, I don't know how much replay it has for me but I would try it again. I was sad to find you don't score for collecting sets of the rainbow, but I supposed that would be difficult in the game to do.
















Scott had brought along his Flippin' Penguins game. New to me!

I saw this on his Instagram feed and I had to play it. It is just amazing! Penguins in top hats! How freaking cute is that. The goal is to get both of your penguins flicked up top with the gold penguin. First person to do this 3 times wins!

really simple stuff and I have no idea where Scott finds these games but I am happy that he does! It is a pretty funny game. The wheel is turning and you just have to do your best to grab you penguins and shoot appropriately. very simple.

I only managed to get to score once! But I was happy I got to score at all. Scott was in the lead all game with 2 points and then Star came out of no where and totally crushed it with 3 wins in a row! Whaaaaaaaaaaaat it was crazy.

We all had a great time!















People were all starting to arrive and I was pleased said he would read the rules for Santa Maria. New to me!

He was very interested in playing this one and read the rules before game day so he was prepared. It was awesome we could just jump right in. Joined by Jess and Scott who were both very interested in this one as well!

It is a dice drafting game and that is easily becoming one of my favorite mechanics and this was a great exampled of that and tile placement.

There are 3 rounds only and you get so many actions during the round. Ideally you are collecting points all over the place and working to fill in your board with tiles and even more actions to possibly take.

The main mechanic of the game is to draft and place dice on your player board. With the white dice they match to the specific column and you get to activate all of the spaces in that column and then it lands on the last space that it uses, blocking that space to be used by other dice. Ideally you want a bunch of actions in that column so you can get even more resources or advancements on different tracks. The more you can do with the one die the better you are, clearly.

You draft the white dice from the common pool of dice, but you also get Blue dice to use in the rows. You only get one to use at the beginning but you can go up the praying track and get more as you get up that track. You will also get little tokens as you move up that track and those tokens can be used right away for special abilities in the game, or possibly end game scoring tiles, or as simple as collect resources. These will all get taken soon but you can go where other people are located but you have to pay $2 per other token to that player. You want to try and get on those locations sooner rather than later!

Ideally you are collecting resources in this game to collect more tiles to place on your board and fill the contracts for the boats. You want to collect the board to score more points from those. There are a lot of different paths to take but it seems like you want to try and do well at everything.

At the beginning of the game you draft player abilities to start. I ended up going first and got last pick and it was the best pick of them all! I was allowed to place my blue dice in the columns if I wanted to and this game me so much flexibility! Everyone else had to place their blue dice in the assigned rows. You can always pay $1 per space to move the dice one space up or down to help mitigate the dice a bit.

Besides using a die on your turn you can instead buy a land tile, or fill a contract, or use money on one of your board space then blocking the space. In a given round you can have several turns and there is no set number of turns or limit. You can keep going as long as you have the actions to use.

The game went longer than anticipated for 3 rounds only, but we were all looking at all options and getting a handle on the game play.

I think it went really well. I did incredibly well but I didn't get any of the end game scoring bonus tiles. Maybe one but I was not scoring enough for those.

There is another track in the game play that scores a lot of points round to round and I choose to ignore that for most of the game so that definitely didn't help me at all. I was so focused on other things and made those work, but it wasn't enough for me to win the game. I am pretty sure Jess or Star won the game. It was probably Star since he was constantly up on the track each round fighting for the top score.

Everyone really loved this game and are thinking about picking it up for themselves. It was a hit and I can't wait to play with Ron and show him this game. I think it will work well with 2 players too. I am excited to explore this one further!


























I was super pleased and excited that Chris had pre read the rules for Noria. New to me!

I heard the rules were quite extensive and I bet Ron would have hated to read them. Chris did a great job teaching us the rules with help from the rule book. We set it all up and man there are a lot of chits. It is just simply beautiful!

I am excited that this is a first time female game designer, Sophia Wagner, and it is quite an impressive start! There is a huge board with tracks and an interesting gear/wheel mechanic. Very large impression.

In the game you are managing your gears and the actions provided. There are a set number of round in the game and you have up to 4 actions on your turn each round. There are several possible actions you might take and it is decided by the line of tokens you can form on your gears. You can only take one action from each level on your gear and they must all be connected in order for you to take them.

The standard and easy action would be to collect resources that come in pink, black, and green. You collect number of that resource type according to how many ships of that color you have. Other standard actions would be to use the blue cloud and gain a new ship or visit a new destination and build a factory. The factory allows for you to run you machines if you can fuel them and build the parts OR it allows you to move up on the appropriate track if you spend the correct resources required. The wrench allows for you to upgrade an action. When you upgrade an action you can use that action TWICE in a given turn. This is where you are allowed a 4th action. You can only use one upgraded action a turn though.

The whole game you are looking to increase on 1 or 2 tracks (usually) so you can gain points for the end of the game. Depending on your level you will get some number of points multipled by the first revealed number below. A free action at the start of each turn will be to spend gear tokens to move a cube down to cover a number (making the next available a higher value for your multiplier), and then to remove a cube from any other location. This is huge, you need to do this in order to score your points.

The game is actually fairly simple once you get through the chapter book of rules.

In our game it took a while to get over the hump of rules and set up but once we were finally well underway the turns moved by quickly. I still think we were playing over 2 hours or more. Time flies when you are in an airship.

Me and Shrey kinda felt like we were getting hosed. Chris and Michelle teamed up on a track and Shrey and I had our own tracks we were working on. This was an advantage to them because they didn't want to ruin the value of their tracks but they were like trouble teaming the beat up on our tracks. Michelle worked hard to go up the black track and because her multiplier was better she scored a LOT more points than my guy that was also at the top of the track with a less value multiplier. I had been working on another track as well, but that wasn't good enough to make up for the lost points.

Michelle ended up winning with like 118 points and I was like 106 or something, it was still a legit score and better then the guys were scoring. Poor Chris had been too focused on so many track he didn't really budge on any one of them. i think you really have to focus in and plan for one or maybe 2 tracks and just go for it.

The game play was fun and we all had a good time even if we were a little beat by the end because it was pretty long. I think we all learned some things and would plan a bit differently for next time. I look forward to my next play of this. Perhaps this week!























Up next we had time for a faster game before Michelle left so I taught them all Ex Libris.

This was easily the craziest of Ex Libris that I have played yet. We were getting tons of cards and there were some seriously crazy powers and combos going on and Michelle could have ended it round 2! She choose not to end it but, that was probably unwise. Her character was the bookworm and could basically draw and shelve 2 cards with her worm. It was a super awesome power!

I was the snowman which I didn't particularly like but I could block the tax collector which was very nice of me. If there is a space I hate the most it is the Tax collector and I wanted to block that off asap.

We all ended with a TON of books, or at least it seemed like it was a ton of books. Because we were having such an easy time with the game, I am not sure I won anyone over with it. But, I do think everyone enjoyed it.

I am shocked that I somehow won this game. I was taking all of the cards, I had -9 in the banned books but I made it up in other categories though. I ended the game with 56 points and Michelle and Chris was tied with 54 and Shrey was 47 so it was all pretty close. I really do like this game! I can't wait to show this game to more people.























It was now or never, so we decided it was NOW and we broke out Agra.

I got to play this at GenCon and I did a brief overview of this game there. It is a HUGE game and a ton of rules and icons and it is a heavy heavy euro to make your head explode! If you like cruchy eruos than this game is probably for you.

The production is top notch and the game play is just awesome. No, there is no set path for you to take and you just have to trust that you will find your own way. So many different lines to follow and try to accomplish, but you really have to roll with the punches.

There are several phases you do on your turn and the first one is meditation. If you have workers on the board that are standing, well you can lay them down and get their meditation value in special bonus actions. Most of the time your workers will be bumped and you won't have any to lay down, so you really want to try and select the actions that other people are going to use so you can possibly get those meditation points!

There are a lot of moving parts happening. When you finally do take your main action you can select from a number of spaces on the board. Several places allow for producing goods = to your farms production. Other spaces allow for you to upgrade those goods. You might build one of the buildings, or make a delivery. There are tons of ways to score points in this game, and all of your points are hidden away in your bag. I had no idea who had what for points. As the elephant moves around the board he drops points along the way making the spaces more valuable. If you go to a space with the elephant than you you some favors. There are several ways to get favors but that is the easiest way. These favors can be used for bonus actions on your turn to spend and take that action. My favorite was the immediately make an upgrade action with one of your goods. This is so flexible and helpful for fulfilling contracts or making delivery to Akbar.

Everyone has a ton of workers and you never actively get your workers back, you have to eventually be bumped from the space or you will have to spend points to reuse a space. (I would be surprised if you ran out of workers)

When you make a delivery you can deliver to a couple of different places but there are several game end timers that will trigger if they were to occur. Once one of them is triggered then everyone gets one more turn.

This was a real brain burner for all of us, and I had played before. Shrey did an amazing job teaching us since he read the rules a few times before game day. It was very impressive there are just so many rules and moving parts. Nothing is very intuitive, it is all sort of just happening. We all were scrambling to find a path to take. Chris was completely lost, but he stuck with us. Felix was clearly understanding it better than the rest of us since he ended up scoring 20 points higher than me who was second place.

We all really loved the game but were like WAT? at the end. We had NO idea who had what and why and blah! It was like a 3 hour game and we all really want to play again. I already know I won't be able to teach it, however. It is just a doosie. I seriously love it and it is one of the better games to come out of Essen, but man it is complicated to teach and figure out. It will not be for the average gamer/middle weight gamer. I am curious as to what other people have to say about it. Let me know!

























We all agreed we needed something with a bit of lift after that game. We all switched up and Dan read the rules for Feelinks. New to me!

This is a game from a couple of designers with one being the designer of the beloved Dixit. So I was definitely interested in seeing about this one.

In the game you are looking to score points and in order to do that you have to anticipate the feelings of your partners response to the question. In the center of the table lies several feeling cards The active player draws a card from the deck and selects one of the phrases. What is cool is that there are 3 decks of cards (adult, children, family) depending on the players. I can bring this to my family gatherings and it could be a fun one to play with grandpa!

Once you get the phase you have to look at the feelings around the board and find your own feeling for the situation and select the matching card and place it face down. Then the partner cards are mixed up and dealt out randomly Then revealed. Once you see who your partner is for the round, you then have to select what you think THEIR feeling is for this phrase trying to match their response. I you guess correctly both you and your partner gets 1 point, but if you both get it correct then you get 3 points!

It is very clever and simple concept. We had a ton of laughs at how incredibly bad we all were in this game. The first round was great though since we all did REALLY well! But that was about the only round we did well. We were just playing to have fun and not really think about lots of stuff. Eventually Derek and Ron joined in for a few rounds. The first round with Ron we got the card "Your boyfirend/girlfirend is cheat at board games and you are the only one to notice" I got PAIRED with RON! for the round. I mean really? We BOTH selected "angry" and copied each other's answer- it was absolutely hilarious and we apparently thinking the same thing. It was pretty funny.

We had a great time playing.




























We were ready to jump into another game and we selected Paper Tales. New to me!

This is a very fast drafting game. Your goal is to get the most points you can with the cards you have drafted and put into play. You are really trying to get the most military each round so you can collect VP. I actually never won a war though and did alright. Though still lost.

Each round you draft a hand of cards and then you can put up to 4 cards into play 2 in the front line and 2 in the back line. They might cost money to put into play, and they will age at the end of the round and you will add a token to the cards meaning the next round if they aren't healed then they will die off. You shouldn't get too attached to your cards in this game, but then again the game plays so fast that it all works well.

With the cards you have selected you might be gaining resources to help build up the towns and buildings. If you ever get to the upgraded side of one of the buildings then you can start hosting more people in your army. Of course I never found the high valued army cards so I focused on a different path. I found the Phoenix and he never dies but gains lots of points for his aging tokens so I did a large collection of those tokens on him and ended up scoring like 12 points from that and that caught me right up at the end of the game for my points.

I was focused too much on trying to keep the cards I had, so I didn't end up getting the resources cards I needed until too late.

Chris was so far ahead of us though he was just unbeatable. We needed to do a better job at hate drafting. I was at like 8 points before the final check for end game points. 8 points is VERY BAD sine you gain 3 points per war you win... and there is like 4 rounds so yeah I just failed at that totally. I had a lot of end game points from the buildings I managed to build and the Phoenix. I ended up tied in last with Dan.

It was an interesting game and I will definitely play again and differently next time. Maybe I will do better, but I look forward to trying. I love drafting games.

















Final game of the night was Sakura Hunt. New to me!

This was a hot ticket item at Essen so I had to get it. Simply BEAUTIFUL!!!! Wow the colors in this game are just awesome.

It is a pretty simple game you are trying to meld like you would in Rummy. Ideally you are melding these cards that will all line up in a big long line of 1-10 range. The bigger the range the more points you will gain. You also get points for have sets of 3 of the same number. You only get to meld 4 times in the game so you really have to make the 4 melds worth your time. There are rows of cards and depending on your timing when you meld you will get more or less points. Each row you will only be able to meld 1 time so you have to plan wisely.

It is very easy game to play. Set collection and easy.

We all liked the game well enough, so that worked for us. I wasn't totally impressed by the game, but it was a nice card game. I will play again, I need to collect the rainbow and all. It wasn't bad but perhaps not my favorite Essen release. Happy to have it and play it more though to see if it holds up with some more plays.

Oh I should mention that Shrey absolutely destroyed me and Dan by a ton of points. He got the full rainbow... Made me so jealous.

















Sunday found me and Ron playing a game of Nusfjord. New to me!

Of course I wanted to play the new Uwe Rosenberg game first. He had gotten the chance to play it on Saturday with a bunch of people so he already knew the game.

In the game you are fishermen and you use the boats you are collecting to catch more fish. The fish get distributed each round to your shares and the elderly hires you have collected. Only then will the left over fish go into your reserve, which is not yet the available stash. You will place 3 workers in a given round and after 7 rounds the game will be over. It is a Victory point game so you want to collect the most points in order to win.

There are several actions you can take, but you are working to build up the resources such as wood and fish to build buildings. The buildings have on going powers that you will be able to use and generally have VP on them. Eventually the End of Game scoring cards will come out and you can specialize in a category and gain lots of points if you build those buildings. All money is 1 point at the end of the game, so you only want to spend money when you absolutely have to.

I think if you are familiar with his titles than you will have no problem diving into this game. It was of course the first game and I was AP with the choices because there were a lot of buildings. I like that you are handed 2 secret end game buildings that you can try and focus on at the beginning of the game to give you a strategy.

This worked out well for me since I really had no idea. I was upgrading my boats using my elderly action space and ended up with all 3 big boats which was my goal of the game to have 3 of the same sized boats. Probably easier in a 3-4 player game if there are more boats available. We learned late in the game that the BIG boats weren't all of the resources printed on them, there is an OR in between the left and right sides, but it is not clear at all. Since I needed that 3rd big boat I had to pay the $4 to get it because Ron was going to build it. I asked to have a redo. So, it is all screwed up. But we will know for next time.

I ended up winning with my large income of fish. This win was mostly due to the fact that I focused on getting 4 (!) End of game scoring cards that all worked out well for me. Ron picked up some of my shares and I was paying him, but it wasn't enough to make it work. I think he needed a few more points else where to really make it work out.

All in all I liked the game and am happy to play it. it really falls at like 8/10 for me- which is on the lower end of the Uwe scale and just, isn't one of my favorites. It is still wonderful though and worth playing if you enjoy his work.
























I was so happy to finally get Sentient.

I got to play this a few times at Dice Tower Con and couldn't stop thinking about it. This game is just brilliant! I really do like it and I liked it even before I started working for Renegade.

If you like dice puzzles than I think you will like this. You have to work with the cards you are drafting from the center of the table to try and work with your dice. Each card you select will manipulate your dice by up or down 1 notch. Some are = but never when you need it to be. You are trying to meet the requirements of the card you just selected with the dice to either side. It is a really nice game and there is then area control at the end of the round for the bonus tokens and additional point.

This will easily be my go to filler game from now on. It is like a 30 minute game, you just have to play quickly- but with 4 new players it will run longer.

Ron and I played in no time at all. I was getting Ron mad with every move I played. I think he wanted the opposite of what I wanted but we were going for the cards that actually worked in our player area vs the majority bonuses at the end of the game. I ended up pretty uneven in for what I wanted and what I got. But, I ended up gaining a lot of in game points from the cards I collected.

It definitely worked out for me, somehow. he got a lot of end game points with his large collection of green tokens, but he didn't managed to complete all of the cards he took in game so it put him behind. There is a nice balance there. Really wonderful game. I love it!




















We finished the night with a game of Noch mal! & Noch mal!: Zusatzblock I. new to me expansion... sheets.

the game play is the exact same but the scoring sheets are different! There are 3 pads of new maps for the game and this is great!!! So very much needed. Ron and I were exploring this new map and he was getting all of the first scoring for the columns. It was sad, but I made my way to the other side of the board and worked my way in on there!

This totally worked out for me since I was planning my colors to finish as well. I ended up winning 27 to his 23! It was awesome!

This is a great little dice game and I am happy to have more scoring variety.








Monday morning I got up early and read the rules to Sundae Split. New to me!

This game is being released this week and in order to promote it online for Renegade I wanted to play it! It is a charming game where the main mechanic is pie cutting. I have all of the information and make sets of groups = number of players and you choose first I get last. Everyone is trying to build their own sundae as best they can but you don't want to find Broccoli or corn in your ice cream so those are negative points.

When you are splitting the cards you have to make sure there are some number of face down cards (depending on player count), so the other plays don't have full knowledge. You are trying to outwit them and snag the pile of goodies you wanted from the beginning. You will score for the scoops you collect, but if you collect all different types of scoops than you get bonus points. You get sets of whipped cream and jimmies and get points. the cherries multiply your largest collected scoops of one flavor. Lots of different goals to work towards, so just don't collect Celery!

I have to say I love Ice Cream more than the average person, I am from New England after all and we have ice cream for a meal. or maybe it is just me!? I realllllllllllly love ice cream so I am happy to play a game about ice cream anytime.

Since we were just playing 2 player, Ron simply knows me too well and when I am bluffing or not. I probably played too obvious. Ron totally kicked my butt this game. I did pretty well, but he got more combos than I did. I think this game will actually be better with more players then you can make more stacks of cards and possibly harder decisions to be make. I look forward to playing again soon with more players!
















Monday night found me at game night and I had a few games on my to play list. First up I enlisted Geoff and Dan for a 3 player game of The Sanctuary: Endangered Species. New to me!

I was unsure about this one at Essen and I wanted to get in a demo of it, but I ended up buying it due to time and it seemed really cool. The worker placement mechanic is pretty great. What gets me is that the box art doesn't match the rest of the art in the game and it is a real bummer for me. The Animal dials are nice but the actual cards and what you are playing with just seems on a different level of artwork. It has a real disjointed feel for the game. I still wanted to play and have a chance at loving it.

The game is pretty straight forward once you get past all of the iconography. You have to set the game up specifically so each round has a set number of cards of each color mixed together. They are randomly placed out around and will be the actions to take for the round. Each player has 2 workers they will send out and do actions on their turn. It is a snake style placement and general cycle to resolve.

When you resolve your worker takes the main action (top half) of the card they are on. Any and all cards to the left and right with no thicket or other scout blocking their way will gain another action for that player. that action will be in the bottom half of the cards. You can never purposefully block someone to have 0 line of sight. They must always have at least one bonus action to take, if not more. You might block one side but the other side would be safe.

When placing you want to think about the bonus actions you might get, but ultimately, you just want to have the most actions you can possibly use. It is likely though if you are placing first then you will be screwed over in some way.

Over the course of 5 rounds, you are trying to gain the points in order to win the game. You gain points in several ways- populating the forests and lakes, increasing your animals habitat/population which is multiplied by how much it is liked (thumbs up). All of the resources gathered are points and there are other points as well. Lots of small rules and some end game upgraded features you might collect.

The game plays out pretty well. The box says 30 minutes, I think it meant to say 30 minute per player... You just have to agree to play quickly and not AP so much. It is really easy to AP in this game and trying to plan your best move.

I was just focused on one habitat and didn't get a chance to add in another one at all. It worked out for me though since I total got max points from that one and focused on putting all my thumbs there for a bigger multiplier. Towards the end of the game I managed to get a few more trees and i had an ability that allowed for me to place illegal trees but I still got to score for the trees. I ended up winning the game, but it wasn't a huge win for me. Dan was pretty close behind me and Geoff behind him. Geoff was kind of all over the place and less focused than I was on specific habitats. Dan had planted more trees and made lakes where Geoff hadn't found the time to do that.

We all liked the game, we aren't totally eager to play it again right now but I do want to give it another chance. I think there is some good mechanics here and interesting choices.



















Next up was a game I wanted to try out called Guilds. New to me!

All I read about it was that it had a cool bidding mechanic and tile placement. It is pretty interesting the income you get must all be spent before the end of the round or turning into gold coins which is a different currency 5 silver to 1 gold. If you have any remaining then you will lose it all at the end. You should plan to bid accordingly or at least save the denominations appropriately.

The main mechanic of the game is to bid on cards to add to your collection. There are end game scoring cards for majorities if you meet the conditions of that card so you can set out to try and meet those conditions better than other people. Some of the cards you are drafting have points on them, and there are room tiles which you can purchase with gold tokens that will have end game points on them and different scoring abilities.

All of the cards you are bidding on in the game had some on going effect, generally. For example, I had a card that said whenever a dwarf enters my castle then I get 2 silver coins. Some cards will kill other peoples cards for the right price, or simply have points. Some cards have additional income and house symbols. All things that could be tied into the end game scoring.

When you bid in an area you have to be the single best, but then you also have to be winning in one other region as well as long as there are 3 regions still active. Essentially you have to bid on 2 regions if you hope to win one of them. If it becomes your turn and you are currently the high bid in an area you can choose to take the card from the area and discard the money spent.

In the 3 player game there are 3 regions and each with 2 cards on them. So there is potential for 1st and second place to gain a card, or if the other player somehow decided they didn't want the second card they could try and pass to allow for other people to outbid him and claim the card. If you are the only one left than you must purchase that card for the cost you put down.

In our game we wanted the fewest cards in our collection as part of the common goal cards. We wanted most income and most blue factions. I was definitely heading for the fewest cards then I had one round that was just crazy and I ended up picking up like 5 cards out of 6 or something. It was crazy and awesome since I had a lot of scoring from those cards even though some cards were negative points. It all evened out in the end. Geoff had an assassin card that allowed for that card to be killed in the process of killing any other card. He totally could have killed me if he did out all of the math.

But he didn't and thus I won the game by a few points. (he totally could have though so I will settle for a tie)

The game plays out in 6 rounds and since we were all learning and figurine out the game it made sense it lasted a bit longer than normal, but we kept it quick. I actually think it works very well with 3 players and look forward to playing again soon. It is probably best with 3. I had a great time!




















The final game of the night was Harvest Dice. New to me!

This is a pretty simple dice game. We played 4 players and you use use all 9 dice. Each player drafts 2 dice and there will be one remaining for each player to mark off on their card. Players are using the dice to fill in their gardens, or pig track if they can't add to their garden. The game ends when someone fills in their garden or one of the 3 carts is full from being the last colored die in the round.

You are trying to get large connections of the veggies. You will then multiply that number by the carts value so whatever die is left at the end will go into the multiplying factor. You want to get your biggest batch of veggies multiplied by the largest cart (up to x6).

It is a nice little dice game and I will be playing it for a while yet. It is just not as fast or easy as other roll and write games so it might not see as frequent plays as some of the others.

Ron ended up winning this game though we were all pretty sure Marsha would win. She still had no idea how to play at the end of the game, but she had fun and was just 1 point behind Ron's winning score. She beat me and Dan! Dan was definitely the loser this time, but it was a fun game. Glad to own it.












New to the Collection:
Renegade Games Overtook a new shelf... or two

Atlas: Enchanted Lands
The Blood of an Englishman
Brick Party
Castles of Caladale
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Clank! In! Space!
Clank!: Sunken Treasures
Clans of Caledonia
Covert
Dicey Goblins
Doggy Go!
Dragon's Hoard
Ex Libris
Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan
Flatline: A FUSE Aftershock Game
Flip Ships
Gentes
Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
Honshu
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts
Lotus
Mystic Vale: Vale of the Wild
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game
Sentient
Shiba Inu House
Sundae Split






Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 1:00 pm
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Steph's New to Me List October 2017- ESSENNNNNNNNNNNNNNN list with 50 NEW Games! With Photography

Steph Hodge
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New Hampshire
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Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2017!


This year I have made the goal of learning 300 365 games!


October List




1. Mini Rails:

Difficult to judge on one play. It plays quickly, but there is so much screw you involved. It didn't sit well for me. Might be better with less people. Probably better after one play so I know what to expect. Just felt I was getting picked on for the sake of getting picked on.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








2. Carreau:

Amazingly fun dex game. I love dex games and this is just fun to catapult your die into the field. I am terrible at this one but I like a challenge. And lots of flicking.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








3. Akaba:

Somehow- I got assigned to play this strange game. You use a blowing thing to move your magic carpet rider along the board. You have to try and collect the items. It was weird and the art was terrible. I found it fun for about a minute then I was over it.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)









4. Gentes:

Was expecting a light civ game. Not so much civ at all but set collection and action selection. I really enjoyed my play of this game. I look forward to more plays. Not pretty but has some nice mechanics.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)









5. Tesla vs. Edison: Duel:

Usually not into the 1v1 tug of war games. This one has card drafting and different actions to take. It was way more interesting than others in the genre. I have been having a great time with this game and it plays super quickly. Would definitely recommend.



8/10 After 2 plays (Owned)








6. Age of Thieves:

Action point allowance system. You are trying to sneak in and steal the ruby. There are guards everywhere and the other players are also trying to screw you over. There are a lot of great things about this game. I actually very much enjoyed it. Ron didn't like it as much. I know the expansion coming out might help some of the problems we had. I look forward to playing again.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)








7. On the Underground:

Train game. Well, not really, but you are working on building a network of connected links in various colors. Played completely wrong. Given that I didn't hate it, and would try again. Not really jumping at the chance though.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)









8. Scotland Yard:

Been told to play this several times in the past few weeks with all my plays of Whitehall Mystery. This was a bit disappointing. Yes, it was great for the time it was made but nowadays I don't think it holds up. For me it was a decent game that I will never have to play again.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







9. Cir*kis:

I wanted to play a brightly colored and weird abstract game. This seemed to jump out at me. For an abstract I really just hated it. I do like abstracts too. The odd shapes just didn't give me many options and I didn't have fun with the point system. Not a game I want to play again.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)









10. Can't Stop Express:

Reminded me a bit of Can't Stop, but I like the big game more. This was a bit weird and there was a lot of well F moments. Maybe it will be played again- maybe not. I didn't hate it.



6/10 After 1 play (Owned)







11. Zombie Dice:

Push your luck dice game. Liked it more than I thought I would. I really don't like Zombies. But you are just trying to collect brains this game. I would easily play this one again.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








12. Samurai Vassal:

Nice bluffing game. Hand management and easy to play. Definitely a good end of night game when everyone is tired and laughing mode. I like that the rules are easy to understand. I will definitely play this one again.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)









13. Viral:

Card management game with area control. Really am not into the theme at all and generally wouldn't have played. But since it was there I tried it out. I thought it was a pretty okay game and could play it again, but overall I didn't really find anything that was unique and the theme is off putting.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)






14. Speakeasy Blues:

Very clever Dice selection game to take actions. You are set collecting and trying to gain points from those collections. It is a balancing act of how you spend your reputation so there is a neat timing element to the game. I had a great time playing. (still in prototype form)



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







15. The Labours of Hercules:

Co-op game to help Hercules defeat all of the beasts. You might turn out to be a traitor though. Interesting line up of cards and bluffing mechanic. I honestly have no idea how Hercules can win this game, but I am interested in trying it again to find out!



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)






16. Raid on Taihoku:

Super heavy theme and incredibly difficult co-op. Can be a bit luck dependent and we ended up losing in 2/10 rounds. Difficult to keep everyone alive and if you don't manage to then you will lose the game. There is a balancing on keeping people from dying. I would definitely be interested in trying it again.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








17. Dragon Castle:

Beautiful game. Bought it because of that. Easy set collection game but you have to collect the tiles and place them on your board in the most optimal way as you can. I like this game, I am unsure on how much replay value there is. Perhaps not enough going on to keep me interested for several plays. We will see on the different variants and player counts.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)







18. Mystery of the Temples:

Resource collection and management to unlock and break the curses around the rondel. Amazing art and beautiful theme. More interesting then the normal cube pusher like Century Spice or Splendor. One I look forward to play a lot more.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)







19. Memoarrr!:

New take on Memory. It is clever and cute and lots of fun! Each card has a color and a character one of each combo. You have to match at least one of the 2 things on your turn or you bust. All of the cards stay in the same location from round to round so it gets increasingly more funny as you go and people mess up. Very fun game.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)







20. Otys:

This is a cool game. You are controlling Divers and taking actions. It is like a rondel within a rondel and you have abilities to change the rondels. It can be very interesting and timing is important. I am definitely enjoying this one. Happy to have it.



8/10 After 2 plays (Owned)







21. Vault Assault:

Real time dice rolling. You get to play as the cops and then the robbers. It is very interesting to try and roll what you need, since you never will. I had fun, but not my typical kind of game that I enjoy. Seemed to get a lot of buzz at the con though. I had fun.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)






22. Tokyo Jutaku:

BIG Jutaku, so not really new since it is the same rules. But IT IS BIG! I loved it. I won so that helped! I would happily play this game any time I think it is a joy. Speed game to build structures with funny pieces.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)






23. Arboria:

Clever easy abstract game. Reminded me of the recent Photosynthesis game so I can't help compare and this is the easier version of that. I can't say that I liked it as much. There is a similar sun mechanic and shadowing mechanic. I had fun playing. There is a weird card mechanic so it was a a bit random as to the cards you could take. All in all I would play again but I definitely won't request it.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







24. QANGO:

Easy abstract. Connect 5! but there are several ways to win the game. Very simple and fast so easy to play with anyone. I definitely would want to play this over connect 4.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







25. Muse:

Team game to try and get other teams to give interesting and misleading clues to their teammates. Very fun party game and one I will bring around to my family gatherings. Beautiful artwork. Ended up buying it.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)






26. Babylon Tower Builders:

Cool pieces! Abstract building! It was a lot of fun late at night at Essen playing. I will play a few more times but not sure how much staying power.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)






27.Blackwood:

Interesting worker placement game to collect ingredients to make the potions and cast the spells. Weird movement of the action spaces and progression of the era. You cant really plan ahead because the board will move around on you and then fill in. Definitely a game to explore further. I like what I have seen though.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)







28. Divinity Derby:

Racing game with an awesome theme. Can play with 6 players but While I played with 3 and loved it I know people who played with 5 and said absolutely not. I think it is pretty random and crazy anyway, and at least with 3 players you have a bit more control over the creatures. Would advise fewer players when playing. I quite enjoyed my experience with the game. AMAZING theme!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)







29. Halloween:

Fun theme. Very cool figures in this game. Had a great time manipulating the ghosts. I like that you don't control any one or two ghosts on the board. Each ghost can belong to anyone who has that same ranked ghost on their board. Very interesting mechanics. I look forward to playing a lot more.



8/10 After 1 play (Owned)






30. A Tale of Pirates:

Co-op real time game where your worker is the timer, and you have to control the boat and exploring the passageways and fight the other pirates. Lots to do with and integrated app to use. Not bad but not really my thing either.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







31. Whoosh: Bounty Hunters:

Really cute art. Speed game and better than most because you have to focus on so many things at one time and there are some trick cards. I quite enjoyed this one for the category it falls in. Would play again.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







32. Sign:

Partner game to try and get a set of 5 of the same symbol. It is a challenging game since you have to signal your opponent without being obvious about it. I had a fun time play. Would try it again.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







33. Café Fatal:

Las Vegas with pizza. It was pretty cute and I enjoy the game play of Las Vegas so this game worked for me. You are fighting to collect slices of pie/cheese. I would gladly play this one again.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







34. Indian Summer:

Mix of Barenpark and Cottage Garden. There is more depth here but it is a race game to fill your board first. It is gorgeous and one I would rather play over the other 2. I liked it very much.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)








35. The Festivals:

Pretty simple bid and move game. You are trying to visit all of the festivals and gain points. Race to collect the most points. It was interesting. I like the hidden bids. Harmless.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








36. Mountaineers:

Completely re-done since the initial special hand made copy I purchased. I think the game has been through the works and developed appropriately. Very nice work and coming to KS this week Nov 7 2017. I am excited to see the final product.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








37. Battlefold:

Next level up from Fold-it. I am terrible at Fold It but this was increasingly harder. You are also trying to make your fold into your actions for the round. Super hard but if you die no worries you aren't kicked out. Pretty great I am just terrible at it.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







38. Venice Connection:

Tile placement to try and connect the river. Too easy to screw your opponent and have the game just not complete. Perhaps I missed something critical, but it really did not have enough choices and is a game I just didn't understand at all. Definitely was not a game for me.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







39. Probot:

Easy going programming game. You have to use the deck of cards that is your hand and get the robots to where they have to go. It is a race to do this first to try and score the points so everyone is trying to do the same puzzle in their head. It was a clever game. Not in BGG for some reason.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







40. It's Time for Speed:

Simple and fast card game for 2 players. Trying to ditch your hand first and you can match the symbol, number, color to place the card down. Definitely a game I would play again. Super fast and harmless.



7/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)







41. Flix Mix:

Another speed game to ditch your cards. You have to play the dots over other dots of the same color. More dots you can cover the better off you are. Plays up to 4 and it is chaos. I had a good time but I am terrible at it.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







42. Taiwan Snackbar:

Okay not so new but this was the first edition and the rules were updated since Tempurra so yeah it counts as new. Card game to have the most cards but not to bust. It is cute and I really like the art.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








43. CONEX:

Spacial card placement game to get points. First to get 20 points wins. It is fairly simple and it was okay. I am glad I got to try it but I don't think there is a whole lot of replay excitement here.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)








44. Karuba: Das Kartenspiel:

Does a good job getting the feel of Karuba. But you have to BID each turn so You might end up losing some cards in the bidding aspect. I think that will be a turn off for a lot of people and this game. I like that it holds 6 players though. Clever card placement aspect though and I had fun. Would easily play again.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







45. Pulsar 2849:

Much better than I was anticipating. I really enjoyed the dice drafting and all of the ways to score points. Very Euroy and my type of game. I would love to play this one again soon. Sad I don't have it but on the wishlist. Maybe SS will see my wish.



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







46. Exodus Fleet:

Another space game, but this was a bidding once around resource management game. Actually quite enjoyable and one I would like to revisit sometime to see how I feel after a second play. I liked it!



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







47. Harvest:

Nice resource churning game. Most interesting is the turn order selection. Very fast game that plays out in like 30 minutes with the right crowd. I think it will be a great filler with lots of meaningful decisions! Happy to have it!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)








48. Biosphere:

Easily my favorite game of the month and one I can't wait to play again! Had a wonderful time learning and I heard of one issue people were running into but you simply don't have to play with that rule and just play the game. I am terribly excited for this one! Can't wait to explore more!



8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)







49. Time Arena:

Charming 2 player fighting game. You are trying to inflict damage to their totem and kill off the other fighters. The sand timers are how long before you can bring them back on the field. Can only be a 10 minute game at most and it is an exciting and stressful 10 minutes! Love it!



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)







50. Custom Heroes:

Was worried about this one a bit but the idea is so interesting. It was actually very light and fun to play out. I still managed to get no points but I had a fun time playing nonetheless. Totally crazy and light fun combat game. Would gladly play this again!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)










New to me Expansions!



1. Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science - The Genius Expansion:

Definitely a game better with the expansion. You have to think differently than before and you are drafting cards instead of luck of the draw. I think it works much better.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)









The Tally


January: 19
February: 22
March: 26
April: 60
May: 20
June: 21
July: 49
August: 50
September: 16
October: 50





Total new to me games for the year 333!








MY GAME OF THE MONTH IS:
Biosphere

The Designers:











Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Mon Nov 6, 2017 12:47 pm
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Essen Days 3 & 4!! All Games Played and Full Conclusion to One of the Best Cons!

Steph Hodge
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New Hampshire
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Hia Everyone!





Welcome to Essen!! Day's 3 and 4!!

Day 3:


Head of the line again and I met up with Anna and her Husband! It was great times!



First thing I saw was NUTS!






We didn't get into the demo we wanted to first thing. All tables were booked for the HOT games but we did find a seat at Indian Summer. New to me!

Of course this was on my list of games to buy and play. I love me some Uwe Rosenberg games no matter what. I have to try them all!!! Who knows what you will get?!

This is a race game. You are racing to fill up your board completely, before anyone else. No points no nuthin! It is essentially if barenpark and Cottage Garden had a baby. In the game you are using pieces from your line of pieces. If you have 0 pieces in your line then you will first refill up to 5 pieces. You have some bonus tokens you start the game with to use for their actions if you wanted or you can save them up and possibly combine them later to get better actions. for example, the blueberry allows for you to refill the line of tiles with more tiles that are already places out around the center board *like cottage garden*. This will immediately give you more options for tiles to play on your turn. the acorn gives you a squirrel!! The squirrel is a 1 sized square piece that can just be placed to fill in some wholes. The blueberry and acorn are anytime actions and as many times are you want on your turn. The Mushroom and feather are also options but will replace your FULL action for the turn. Taking other peoples tiles, or placing 2 of your own instead of the normal one.

Ideally you are filling up regions on your board and with the patterns you are creating you want to try and get the tiles to have the holes revealing the good below it. When you put the hole on the acorn you then nab an acorn tile and place it there so when you complete the region you get to collect those tokens to your supply. You might also get to cover the holes with the special tiles from the middle of the board, those would also give you MORE bonus tiles for what that animal covers up. The more bonus tiles you can get the better off you are. If you got enough acorns then you can fill up the board right away!

There are a lot of cool things happening in this game. When you use the bonus tokens is critical since you want to get the best tiles added to your line vs the other players lines. You can always spend 2 of a single resource to upgrade to the next level resource. blueberry- acorn-mushroom-feather (most rare).

In the game I am just awesome at visualizing and planning. It is all about timing and seeing what is available. I think I was able to steal from people a few times, but since that feather is so rare it is not a common turn for people. But it totally messes with their plans. I had a few killer turns in the final rounds. My combos were off the chain. I was finishing an area getting a ton of tokens and then using them to fill ing more regions. A lot to consider.

I actually think I like this more than Barenpark, and i know I like this game more than Cottage Garden. They are all pretty much the same weight as far as gaming goes. Maybe I just like it because I am good at it. There is so much red in this game and the fall theme is amazing. Lots to like about this one!



















Hanging out at the Renegade Booth!!






On Instagram I was invited to the Indonesian booth and we played The Festivals. New to me!

This is a pretty simple game where each round you are trying to make it over to the current festival. There is a movement element but it is really about the bidding. You are bidding cubes and the cubes will be used for your tickets to said places. If you don't have the most cubes then you have to wait your turn and you may not score any points. You could choose to pass for the round and collect tickets from where you are standing however.

I like blind bidding games, I think I generally have a pretty good idea on who is doing what, and if I have seen them bidding a lot of resources then they will likely be out in the following round so I could possibly bid less and score more.

Each festival card is different. Some might be just first player to come gets 7 points. Others might have scoring for 1/2/3 place positions.

we had a good time playing but Ron totally crushed us. He was just getting so many points. the game ends when someone gets to 20 points. He was well over 20 and I was just at 18. I think the guy demoing the game had like 5 so he was not playing very well, but I am not sure if that is on purpose or not. Jess was also not far behind me.

Ron had a few good bids which gave him the extra points needed to win. I would happily play this game again. You can have a few variations of the game and have boarders you can't cross to make it more difficult to travel to different locations. That could be cool.










Then we found ourselves at my friend Corey's booth for Massif Games and his game titled Mountaineers. New to me- ish!

He had room for us to join a game and we found Derek to play as a 4th. Now this game was at Essen last year and I really enjoyed my time and ended up buying a copy of the hand made game. Since a year has past, this game has been totally re designed with a similar feel and more streamlined approach. Corey is setting to go to KS basically any day now I believe Nov 7 or something in the next few weeks.

Since I last played my copy the dice have been removed and you are awarded gear tokens throughout the game to be used on your tech points and payment for moving on terrain. You are no longer collecting cards to move you can simply move how you see fit.

In the game you still have a set of goals you are trying to accomplish. There are ways to get additional goals through upgraded techs. Each turn the player must first draw an event card. This will likely have some +#gear tokens and all players get to gain that many gear tokens. Then the player gets to perform 2 actions. You can choose to buy a tech as an action, use a tech, or simply move. When you use a tech you will also have to pay some number of gear depending on the action.

Of course the event card might say you can not travel through forest areas this turn, or might be nice and say +1 movement when traveling on glacial areas.

I love the deep rich colors that he modified the game to be and I am super excited to see and play the finalized game.

In our game we actually didn't get around to finishing it since Derek had to bounce and we got only an hours time with rules incl.

I was just trying to do my goals but JESS kept getting in my way. I eventually had to kicked her trail out from under me just so I could get by on and move up the mountain. It worked out a little for me, but I was just getting the worst of luck with the card draws on my turn. I kinda miss the dice rolling. Each of the event cards also has a sub action of VP condition for the end of the game. Corey is still working on figuring out what exactly to do with that. I mean Ron managed to pick up like 4 scoring ones and I didn't get any so it was a bit unfair. I got a lot of bonus actions, but since you can only use 1 per turn, it is hard to get what you want when you need to.

I lost this game so hard. By the time we stopped I think I managed to complete one goal, maybe. Ron had done like 3 and Jess was catching up to him. If Derek hadn't had to leave early he even might have won. He was saying he was close to completing and having a huge turn.

Needless to say we all very much enjoyed out time and I will just have to get used to the new rules, but I can't wait for the finished product! He has a fine game on his hand and it is just so eye catching!! Love it!
























Next we found ourselves in hall 3- the HUGE hall and we sat down to demo Battlefold. New to me!

This game is the next step up from Fold-it. You are using this cloth to fold and create a pattern using the given requirements. Once you do that you grab the turn order marker. Once everyone complete the fold then you can proceed with actions.

On the board you are a champion and trying to attack and defeat the other players being the last one standing. The fold in which you just created will provide actions for you for the round as well as your standard move and attack action you already have. You do this until one player is left standing alive on the playing field. But, there is a twist. When you are defeated, you get to become a ghost! You get to attack as a spirit. You don't actually do damage but if you succeed in getting enough hit points on your player board before there is a single victor then you will win the game!

There are two strategies here. I know going forward I will always play this game to be defeated quickly so I can try and win as a ghost!

I have to say I like the fact that no one is eliminated in the game even if you are defeated. I am just terrible at folding patterns. I can't seem to wrap my brain around this game. Jess was like bam - I am done. I was like but what?! This game was apparently her calling!

Well, perhaps not considering she didn't win. I am pretty sure the demo guy won, or Jess might have survived. It was tricky but I know Ron died after me and I was half way up the spirited vp track.

I had fun with this one, even though I am just terrible. I like the various player abilities and movement attacks. I would play again!














Last year I didn't manage to pick up Pipe Work. But I was so happy they still had it out and I could play with Ron and Jess. I really love this game.

I knew it would not be easy to take home so I ended up not buying it again this year. One of these years I will make it fit!

This is a speed dexterity game to fill your board with pipes and have all of the connections match. Blue to blue etc. You can play different levels of difficulties.

Ron of course gets handicapped with level 4 and I played 3 and Jess played 1. Jess still lost, except that one time when I was filming her!

Ron still won each and every time. He is just awesome at the spacial puzzle games like this. Jess wanted to buy it simply because she wanted to try and get better at the game. I can't blame her for that. I need to get better at Fold-it. We just have different strengths!

Great game! So much fun!












Since there was a table with a game on it we sat and tried out Venice Connection. New to me!

Easy enough tile placement game where you are trying to make a loop/connection of the river tiles. We had the hardest set up and Ron just made it impossible in the first couple moves we couldn't even finish the connection so we just stopped.

Perhaps I just didn't get the game but it didn't seem all that great to me. Maybe we were missing tiles? I don't know, but this is one I just didn't understand. I don't have to play it again. I am not sure any of us really understood. So we moved on to the next game.









As far as I know this game is not in BGG. I duno why cause it should be, but we sat down and played PROBOT. New to me!

It is a programming game. You have a hand of cards and are using them to make the robots move on the board. There might be more than one correct answer but you are trying to do it faster than any other player to get the point. The robots start in a specific space on the board and need to end on a specific space as well!

The demo guy was great at helping us figure out the game a bit. We all caught on pretty quickly too. Of course I was going light speed ot try and get all of the cards played fast. There is always going to be a screw up in your first 2 rounds. Oh that bot went there, what!?

It was a great time. We played several rounds and got a feel for the game. I am not sure if it was selling or it might have been a prototype. I think kids will really like this one. The theme is cute and you get to program robots with a hand management element. Very clever.











I was spotted with the FLUFFY!






Jess got a demo of Ebbe & Flut.

I absolutely learned the game from the demo but I didn't get to play so I won't count it as New to me. I didn't even count it as a play, but totally could have been.

It is a nice 2 player game where you are trying to move your cards across the battle field to the opponents corner and score them. You get to move your cards either up or to the left and you are trying to match letters or numbers to allow for more movement.

It seemed like a cool game I would definitely want to play it.









Same publisher but I was unable to locate the BGG entry for It's Time for Speed!. New to me!

This is a game I played twice, once with the demo guy and once with Ron. Yeah I lost the first time since I was learning and I won the second time against Ron. The only time I can ever win against Ron...

It is a speed game as you can imagine. You have a deck of cards and a hand of 3 cards. When you play a card you can draw back up to 3. You are trying to get rid of your deck fastest.

There is 2 piles of cards in the center and you can match the symbol, color, or number in order to play a card down. 3 elements and it is hard to really keep track of all of that when you are playing at the speed of light!


It was a bunch of fun and super light and easy. Made for 2 people and 2 minutes. I would easily play this one again.







The next speed game we played at the same booth was Flix Mix. New to me!

This played several people and we played it as a 4 player game with all of us. You are trying to overlay the dots exactly. More you can overlay the more points you can get. But, you are also trying to get your cards played as fast as you can to end the game.

Oh boy was I terrible at this game. realllllllllllllllllllly bad I think I managed to get like 6 cards down and Ron finished all of his 20 or something. It was pretty embarrassing, but I don't mind so much. Ron completely destroyed us.

We had a good time though. Easy to play and one I would try again. Maybe I would be better the next time.






Next booth over we found a game called Taiwan Snackbar. New to me!

It is sort of new to me. It is the original version of Tem-Purrra The rules aren't exactly the same but the game is VERY similar and I think they share a BGG page so yeah, perhaps it is not new- who is nit picking anyway.

You want to have the most cards at the end of the game, but if you get 3 red x's then you will lose and trigger the end of the game. On your turn there is a card in front of you and you have to play a card to match it or draw as many cards as listed. It goes around and around until end of game. Some cards are special and change direction or skip or something.

It is a cute game. I don't really find many critical choices to be made, but it is light and fun. Happy to try it or play again. Not really my type of game in the end, however. The art was great though.









CONEX was a game on my list to try. New to me!

This is a card placement spacial game. You are trying to score as many points as you can it is a race to get to some number first.

On your turn you place a card from your hand. You have to match the colors on the car to another card of that color. If you have a blue corner then you have to match the white lines and place the blue on the blue card so it lines up exactly. You can not over lay any more cards and that one. You get the points depicted on the car in that color box. You then get the bonus action on the card if there is one. Might be to roll the die. The die might allow for you to draw cards or get a multiplier for next round. If you have no cards to place you pass your turn to draw cards to the hand limit.

It was a cute game. I didn't see many choices that were critical. I am glad I got to play it. I also won so that certainly helped. Not really what I was expecting, but happy to try it. Wouldn't mind playing again but it is unlikely I will.












So there I wanted to check out the new game Karuba: Das Kartenspiel. New to me!

As we all know and love the tile game, I really wanted to try this one out. Somehow Jess never played Karuba, how is that possible? I duno, but Ron read the rules for this game and she eventually caught on to the system.

This is actually quite a different play style to the game. It is more of a bidding/auction type game. You are blind bidding 2 cards from your hand the player who bids the least value has to pitch a card fro the game. Mind you that you have exactly 16 cards to fill a 4x4 grid and if you pitch a card that is space you could otherwise use. All cards will be used. Then you place all of the cards you just bid with into your board. You only have a hand of 5 cards so you have to select the 2 wisely knowing you might end up losing one of them. In the deck you have 4 temples and 4 explorers. You are trying to make passageways from the correct color explorer to their temples for points and if they cross over any gems they get additional points. Explorers block other explorers.

The actual board you are creating feels the same as regular Karuba, but it is much different with the bidding mechanic. I like that the game plays up to 6 players, I can see the bidding getting a little easier than with 3 players.

Ron ended up beating me by 1 point because I was unable to walk the long way around and collect the gems. You must take the direct fastest route to the temples. No stopping to smell the roses in these parts. I ended up having to pitch only one card and for 8 rounds that is not too terrible with 3 players. Somehow Ron won though. I wasn't able to connect each of my explorers I missed one and Ron connected them all, of course.

I think and hope Jess liked the game. I should get her to play the tile game soon! I think it was done nicely and in a good way. I would definitely play it again.













I was invited to the Kolossal room to hear about some new and upcoming titles set to hit Kickstart early 2018. We didn't actually play any games but I got a pretty good over view on how the games worked. The first on the table was the gorgeous Western Legends.

This is a western themed game, clearly. It really has the look and feel of a western style movie, which is cool. The artwork is really pretty stunning and there is a lot of back stories on the characters you can choose to play with. Each character will have a unique ability and kind of give you a guided path to take for the game giving you little bumps here and there for specific things.

Otherwise you might not see a path at all! It is very much a sandbox type of game with a lot of switching back and forth on strategies and planning. One minute you might be all wanted for robbery at the local bank and then the next you paid you dues and are now working the law side of things. Spin of a dime and see what happens. There are some event cards that might help sway you to one side or another. Several ways to score points such as robbing a bank will get you wanted points, but catching the local wanted guy will score you law enforcement points. You can simply go to the mines and mine some ore, or steal a cow at the local ranch. Lots to do and lots of different cards to help you move around the board.

There are plenty of avenues to pursue in the game, and you might not ever go to rob the bank or initiate a fight in order to win. I definitely like that in a game. So many different ways to play and never knowing what the outcome or likelihood of a strategy winning might be.

I can tell you that my friend Scott will be all over this, I already can see the pimped out plastic horses and cowboys with golden nuggets. He loves his themes and especially westerns.

It will be produced in a huge Kemet sized box so you know you are going to get a ton of cool stuff in this game. I look forward to seeing and playing the finalized copy of the game.












The next game they wanted to show me also set for 2018 was Kami-sama.

This one felt a little more euro-type audience. Definitely more my style game. I am always going to be drawn to the more euro-y style games in general. This game you have asymmetric powers as well and tons of Japanese spirits you get to choose from at the beginning of the game.

The board is circular and will be rotating a quarter for each round. You are always only playing into your quarter of the wheel representing a current season, in each given round. Trying to form clusters of your buildings. Mean while you and everyone else is trying to destroy o overtake the quarter you thought you had just secured. It is very much area control with a balancing act for the nature and favor tracks on your player board.

You will be playing cards to carry out different actions and using them to gain the control on the lands.

It seems very interesting and I would really like to play the final game when it is available.


Thanks to Kolossal Games for showing me the games. I had a great time meeting with Travis and Kira who are both very passionate about the games and all of the back stories and themes that are woven into the games they are creating. The passion really shows and you can tell all of the hard work they have put into creating these stunning games.


















The final game of the day was really just another overview and I won't call it a play since i didn't actually play. We got the overview for Keyper.

I won't lie, the guy demoing the booth was a real charmer. A very unique character if you will. Anyone who gives me a hard time usually gets some laughs at the table, and this guy was really giving me a hard time. He would have fit right in with my Monday group.

The game seems very similar to Keyflower, with out the bidding. This totally changes the game. You are working to build up your farm and collect the resources and do the stuff. Typical Key- game. You get the cool boards to use. The cool mechanics here is that you can follow along if someone takes an action. You might never see your workers again because you will get to claim 1/4 land tiles for the end of the round, and you get all meeples on that land tile. It will be a tough management on the meeples you are placing and you want to try and save the special meeples until the very end.

I didn't end up kickstarting this game. But the demo interest me enough to say he Ron, if it is interesting I would not mind owning this one. So now we have the super special Character edition! I can't wait to play!











Jess needed to have a punching Party! So we all helped!






Final Day!!

The sights early morning!

















Cerebria






Yay for Ladies!!





First thing I had to do on Sunday was secure a copy of the English edition of Majesty. Once that was set Jess and I went to find Ron because he was securing a seat at a demo of Pulsar 2849. New to me!

I hadn't known this was a game with a drafting dice mechanic. I really like drafting dice. There is a balancing to the dice once rolled and if you roll 5 x1's and 1 x6 then the dice will be scaled do you are going to have to pay track points if you want to use that 6 die. There are a couple different tracks you are adjusting the initiative track which decides turn order and the track that provides resources at the end of the round depending on the rank and 4th place would get none. Now if the reverse happened and there were 5 x6s and 1 x1s you would get to increase on the tracks by the number of spaces away if you were to take a lower valued die.

Yes, the higher numbers are definitely better and provide more options in the game.

In the game you have some actions you are doing with the dice you select. You always get 2 dice but it is snake style so you take a die first but then you will also take last pick as well. You can move around in the solar system to try and visit planets and find pulsars. Ideally you want to get that pulsar scoring by getting the tokens needed and activate them.

There are several techs you can plan to acquire to help score points or possibly manipulate dice better. Lots of different options and more open up as the game progresses and there is certainly planning to do. There are other goals you can try and claim and finish to give on going benefits each round. Pulsars will also give you points once completed.

There is a lot of end of round scoring and happenings that you want to be aware of. There is definitely a lot going on and I really enjoyed it!

We played a condense version of the game and in 5 (instead of 8) round we felt we had a pretty great understanding of the game.

I really liked it, but I won the game, so perhaps I am bias. I have added it to the wishlist. I think Ron liked it, though he didn't have much to say about it.

I was so very far in the lead all game. I thought I was going to crush their souls. Nope actually, the random guy playing with us and Ron both had some major final socrings and between round scorings and managed to nearly pass me and caught up a great deal!

I was working the tech route and they were working the exploration route. You get some major points for the number spaces you have visited at the end of the game. I was nervous I might not win because of that.

Definitely a lot to consider in this one and a game that I would like to play again. Perhaps my SS on the geek would be so kind haha I look forward to trying it again.




















The Pulsar Scene






Mr Daryl Andrews himself!


More sights and friends!




























Ron and I found ourselves needed in a demo for Exodus Fleet. New to me!

After playing Pulsar I wasn't in the mood for another space themed game, but we were needed so we sat down to try it. This is a completely different space game though. It is a once around action to try and take the presented action. One player says which action they would like to do and starting with the next player, they get to bid to do the action. It is a once around bid and the top 3 bids will get some variation of the action. Generally the person who bids the most will get a better benefit for their money spent. You can always choose to pass and take money and a resource.

It is a resource churning game. You have space ships that can hold cargo (sometimes specifically which type), and you are working to expand your business and get more ships and more cargo. Some types of ships are the same and will work better for you when you have several of the same type. You will also score better at the end of the game. All of the ships have little powers and bonuses. Extremely hard to read and very small print. The lady we played with didn't even realize there was text on her cards and wasn't doing that bonus each time X happened.

Every player has an ability as well, mine was to get a discount when building ships, so clearly my focus was to buy all the ships.

There are sever mid game scorings that will happen and you will be scoring for your people that you have gathered, but it is pretty hard to gather the people. You need a lot of resources for that.

There are several actions to choose from when it is your turn to select but you definitely want to try and pick the action that no one else wants so they simply have to pass. One of the actions is income and everyone gets to do that but you will get a sweet bonus. All players would get to collect money for their ships, and is the main source of how to get money in the game.

Each round every player will host an auction and there are some number of rounds before scorings happen and eventually the game will end.

I actually enjoyed this a bit more than I thought I would. I like the once around auctions and I like the different levels of specific actions. It is a clever way of managing what you need to do and hopefully not what other people need to do. If you see everyone is full up on resources you might call for a gather resources action. Timing is everything and you want to try and take what advantage you can in this one.

I would definitely play this one again. I like everything is is doing. You can make some cool combos with the ships and powers. I think there is a lot to explore there. The intermediate scoring seems a bit weird but, I would want to try the full game before actually saying anything about it.

It was fun and if it shows up again I will play!















Next up we were summoned to play Harvest. New to me!

I was excited to play this because I am a fan of designer Trey Chambers and wanted to see what this was about. It takes place in the same world as Harbour but is nothing like it.

In the game you are trying to score as many points as you can. You are placing your farmers on locations to get your garden planted and harvested. Loks of different possibilities with the actions and there is always 4 cards on display each round for *usually* better variations of the actions but you might have to spend points to use them. You might be able to buy buildings to help score points and possibly give youa focus to try and work towards.

The cool part in the game is selecting your turn order. Everyone starts with a number card and from lowest to highest you will then select a new card for the beginning of the round. There are 3 cards to choose from. You replace your card with once of the 3, so someone might then be able t o choose the one you just had last round. 1-15 are the numbers and the higher the number (later in turn order) the better the benefit of the card. You will then immediately be able to acquire the resources on the card or possibly take an action like planting, something cool is on this turn order card. Then we start and placing one worker at a time will take actions in turn order.

I think you play 8 rounds and then the game will be over It is a pretty quick game and you build up and tear down the farms. Generally you are holding out for the better actions as they become available or hope for a good high number to get that extra action you wanted.

Every player has a cool player ability and some small bonus they can do. I was able to plan for a fewer poople. It was night and i didn't have to worry as much about the fertilizer needed in order to make the plants grow.

I definitely did not win this game. The guy we sat down to play with got all of the point!! He had a large collection of 5 point tiles and I was doing pretty well with my 2 points and some 4 points but it wasn't enough to make up for his collection. I was also working too much on expanding my field because generally my second action was not being used properly since people had taken the spaces I needed to go with.

I had a lot of fun playing this one. I now own it so, I look forward to the next time I get to play it!




















More sights of Essen! Lots of TBD booth and some BGG!!!






















Next up we wandered by the DDD booth and found ALL of the designers there for their new game Biosphere. New to me!

This was a game our Gathering friend Alan told us to go AND GET. He simply loved it and we played several games with him in April and kind of knew our taste a bit. He was saying this was the gem of the con, after playing I tend to agree.

I had the extreme pleasure of playing with Philipp Rösch, one of the designers. He is super awesome and we had so much fun. This game has about a million dice, never to be rolled. They are simply used to mark as a symbol, is the best way I can explain it and how it made the most sense to me when I got to play. They are not rolled nor are they counters. Each dice is a single unit in a space. You simple just need to see if you have majorities for locations it is actually a lot more simple than it appears!

The game has a number of phases and ultimately, you are working towards completing the goals. Yes, this is a race game to complete the goals. There are no points awarded! It makes it simple enough. You are working looking to boost your stats and gain better life span for your animals.

There is a dial that moves one notch each turn. When the number (or symbol if you would rather) is revealed you must then kill off all of your dice with that matching number.

Then you collect Evolution Points. These are EP and will be used in the next phase where you can spend them! You are looking to buy cards for EP and play up to one of the cards you have collected. You do what do do this as fast as possible because it helps boost your survival in given areas, or might help your movement, or even reproduction habits. These are all very helpful in the coming phases and more you can get the better. In order to play them you need to meet SPECIFIC requirements on the Evolution Scale. Very large but very general or something where you are also balancing these tracks on your player board. Ideally you will get a lot of cards with similar features so you don't have to go crazy and spend lots of EP for moving around the evolution scale.

Then players get to move on the map. You have a movement track and you can move 1 die per movement point. You can go from one terrain to another adjacent terrain. When you do you must change your die one lower than the face it was showing. 1 wraps to 6. This is going to kill off the die faster but will give you presence in the location which is probably what you want.

Then you reproduce. On that track on your player board you get to populate locations where you are or adjacent to that number of dice. Where you place them is critical. You are managing each terrain type on your board and if you select arctic terrain and you haven't managed to boost your stability there well the die you place will likely have a very low number and will only survive a round or 2. The forests are more dense and easier to live in so those you have generally a few more rounds to survive. It is all i how you manage your boards and what cards you can buy and complete.

After that happens you look to see if you have any complete majorities. If a location has space for 7 dice and you control 4 of the locations you have majority. This then allows you to AUTO fill all empty spaces in this area with your current value for that terrain type. This is a great way to get a lot more cubes on the board to start moving around and securing the en victories. You might also meet the common goals. if you control 2 tiles in this terrain then you get to place a cube here and gain a boost for specific terrain tracks or movement track or variations of the different tracks. Definitely something to work towards. There is a bonus for each of the terrain types.

Of course the next thing you do is check for the mission goals and claim any of those.

Then you reset and start player passes and you do it all again. The game is actually fairly simple and plays in like 90 mintues. Philipp had a great time playing with us and we had a great time learning from him. As the designer he completely destroyed us. We didn't have time to play through the entire game since we had about an hour left to the fair closing time and I wanted to check out a few more things. I was incredibly grateful for there being space open at the table so we could play.

Ron was ready to score a bunch of end conditions in another round. I was not even paying attention to those and just trying to see how the mechanics work and what to try and accomplish.

In the end Ron and I tied with 1 goal completed... it was a pretty sad showing from us. And Philipp had 3 or 4. haha Totally got owned.

Knowing how to play, I will do things differently and work towards trying to get some common goals first. Those help boost your survival easier than trying to buy and play cards, which you should also be doing if you can.

The game is awesome and simply fun. I can't wait to play with my groups and see how they enjoy it. I really like it and so far one of the best games I have played from the Fair. I am excited for this one!



The designers of Biosphere!





















The last and FINAL game of the con was Time Arena. New to me!

This is a real time game with 5 min clock for each player. There is a cool app you can download or you can just use a phone time or something. You have up to 5 minutes to play this game. When you are done with your turn you hit the clock and the next player take their turn. You are supposed to make meaningful decisions in a VERY fast time.

It is a pretty cool game. You get to put out your fighters and the com on the board in a specific place 1 of 6 spots, but the advanced side has like 3 spots. Then the fighter can move according to the bumps on the top of their figures piece. I think 1-4 bumps you will find. You can stop and attacking any of the 8 spaces surrounding the figure and you have an attack base value and a defense base value if you are being attacked. You roll the die for modifiers and see if you win. If you win the attack then that players piece goes back to their row and they have to flip the timer. If it is your turn and you have a guy you want to bring on the board, well their timer can not be running. You will have to wait until that time is over and then you can put them on the board.

The idea of the game is to not really attack your opponents but to get to their totem on the other side and seal all the life they have there. If you can kill off the life then you win. Or the game will end after 10 minutes and whomever has done the most damage wins.

It is a game that you are at most spending 10 minutes to play this and it is a lot of fun.

I got completely hosed by the guy teaching me the game. Clearly he had been playing all weekend long and I was his final customer. Haha it was pretty sad how poorly I did but I had a great time trying to win! He basically walked up and I stopped him for one round and then had no hope since he destroyed all of my guys and just walked up to my totem and kicked it over. I am the worst at defense!

I love that there are advanced rules and you can draft the fighters and of course each fighter has a specialty and bonus to pay attention to. It is really cool and I look forward to playing again soon, since it is now in my collection! Ron will have fun beating me up I am sure!

I love the colorful sand timers!














And the moment you have all been waiting for!
THE MEGA HAUL!!!








New to the Collection:
Essen Days 3 and 4!

Dice's Zoo
Feelinks
Harvest
HATSUDEN
Ilôs
Keyper
Majesty: For the Realm
Origami
Paper Tales
Rainbow Park
Sakura Hunt
Sheep 'n' Sheep
Time Arena
Tokyo Highway
The Game: Face to Face
Tribe
Tybor der Baumeister
Zooloretto Duell
Zooloretto Würfelspiel Trio





Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
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Essen Days 1 & 2- Full Recap of the Games I Played! So Many Photos!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!








Welcome to Essen!! Day's 1 and 2!!

Day 1:



In the lobby before the doors opened we ran into Angelus, as we have in the past! It was great times!







After some serious shopping time, I found myself at the table ready to learn Otys. New to me!

I was hooked immediately. The production is awesome with duel layer boards. You are managing a team of 8 divers. In the game you are working to use those divers to score victory points. It is a race game and the first person to a specific score will trigger the end of game.

On your turn you will do 1 of 5 actions performed on that specific line. You say Oh okay I will take action 3- you then get action 3 bonus on the common board, which might be an energy tank or battery or something else. Then you use the diver in row 3 for their action. Once you do that, you can spend an energy to keep them in that row, or otherwise they will go back to the surface. This means you won't see them for a while. There are ways to manipulate the divers with energy tokens.

All other divers shift down after the used diver goes to the top. The action number 3 then gets placed below in the used and locked row. You can't use action 3 again until that row fills up and then you must take those tokens back. You still have the X action which is a wild and could be used in the same row as 3, however. When you use the X then you are then shifting the common bonus board tiles and you will get the next in line from above.

There is so much to think about but ultimately it is gathering resources to a specific line that fulfills contracts. You can get better actions by upgrading the divers and other things on your player board. It feels like several Rondels you are trying to keep in mind but they are always changing as well or have options to change.

I am very much looking forward to my next play of this. I was playing with 3 other guys who didn't speak English very well but they got by. and I tried helping a bit. They wanted to stop after several rounds but I had a very good idea for the game and will find it easy to teach, I think. A few details and a lot of moving parts might make it less than ideal but I have faith.

I was going to win this game for sure. I had done tons of upgrades and was ready for anything. But, considering we stopped I didn't get the chance to fulfill the huge contract I was working towards I would have had it the turn after. I didn't lose but I was 3rd because of that. I am pretty sure I would have won.

I had a great time and am happy I picked up the game! It was a great start to the con!














Then I ran into Anna! She's awesome!




Jess and I found Vault Assault. New to me!

This was on the BGG hotness tracker from the con. It is a real time game to try and steal the moneys. You are rolling dice in real time and one player is playing the cops role and the others the robbers. The cop's role is moved to each player once in the game and then the game is over. The player with the most money wins the game.

First in the game is a random guess to where the cop is hiding the gem. if you guess correctly then you win a gem worth 40k points. After that attempt each player will be rolling dice frantically to collect sets of dice that allow you to get money from the vaults adding to your getaway cars.

There are a lot of different things happening. The cops have to try and roll combinations as well and after their fourth combo they will make an arrest, unless the robbers escape with the 5 dice needed to escape.

As far as real time games go this was pretty fun, I am generally not a fan of the speed rolling of dice. This was interesting, but, like always with speed games you just have to go with what everyone is saying and hope they are not screwing up their roll.

It is a nice filler of a game and I had a good time playing. I was incredibly lucky with my rolling when I played the cops and made 2 arrests. But, in the first round I managed to getaway with the cash, but in the final round I didn't split up my money well enough and ended up getting arrested and lost my huge stash of money. It was so silly. I only ended up with the diamond I found in the phase one of the round that one time.

I definitely didn't win. Jess probably won the game. It is a hard one to do well in! You just can't predict what will happen. I like that there is different tiles you can dd for a different play and feel for the game. Seems cool.
















I wanted to join Jordan and his tournament for Tokyo Jutaku. New to me - ish!

Technically, the game is a giant version of Jutaku, which I have played before, clearly. But there is a new BGG entry for this game and I technically didn't play this version of the game. So I will call it new.

I ended up teaching Jess how to play and Ron showed up. There was no one else for the tourney! I was glad for the invite but was hoping for a better turn out! It was okay, I am happy to play this game.

It is a speed game to try and stack the wooden blocks in some number of stories high and some umber of tiles used.

I was shocked this game Ron was all out of whack. I managed to secure 4 cards before Ron got 3! It was crazy!! I am not sure if Jess managed to get one or not. I definitely won!! It was a miracle! Maybe I am just better at the big version of the game than Ron! I have no idea! I won a cool Dark Flight shirt though!

I had a bunch of fun!










Then I ran into Eline and then Patrick!









Next up the 3 of us found ourselves playing Arboria. New to me!

This was a game on my list of games to try out. It is an abstract tile placement game. You are given cards to choose from for the actions. Each card has 4 symbols in 4 colors and one of the symbols line up with your player. You can place that color and symbol on the map where the sun is laying. Other flowers might cast shadows so you can't place in that location, though.

When you select a card you can select from your own cards or any other players cards that have already revealed them. You are trying to make your flowers grow tall and in a group that is very long. It is like an easier version of Photosynthesis and faster too.

There is another mechanic that will move the sun around the board and move the cloud and make the cloud rain. All things that are good but also block the spaces below.

It was a cute and clever game. I didn't win that game. I am pretty sure Jess had us all beat or was at least neck and neck with Ron. It was a cute game. I would definitely play it again. I don't think it will ever be requested for me, but I didn't mine playing. The game ends once the sun goes around the board once so it was pretty quick. For me it was just ok. Happy to have tried it.









Next I found Ryan Bruns and we had our usual terrible hilarious pic of us. We had decided to something related to Germany so we are eating Haribo Gummies...



Then I found Smoox and Henk!







Since a spot had opened up I got a demo and played 2 games of Qango. New to me!

This is a game much like Connect 4 but you are trying to connect 5 in a row, or 4 in a square block, OR 3 in the colored area. It is actually a simple concept and you just go for it.

Of course my first game Ron totally beat me. I was focused too hard on trying to get the trap in place but he was able to do it before I was. Here I thought I was in control the whole time. Nope!

The second game I played against Jess and this time I was able to get the 4 in a row with a space on either side before she could realize it. Woohoo I won that game. It was pretty fun and fast abstract game. I definitely think Allen should play this one.

It would never be a go to game for me but I could play again. I think my family could enjoy that one. Easy to understand.











I saw a gilded box cover and had to know more about Muse. New to me!

This is a party game for sure. You form 2 teams and then each team tries and out smart the other. When it is the teams turn you get a hand of cards that remind me of Dixit or Mysterium cards and drawings. Then you also get a few small cards with choices on them. These are the action cards. The team must then select one card from each of the types and hand the 2 cards to one player on the other side of the table. That player must then state a word or perform and action (charades, humming, pose etc) that the card states that corresponds to the image they just viewed. The rest of the team will see all of the cards and know the word or pose the player just did and will have to try and guess the correct image from the many images.

If they guess correctly they keep the card if not then the other team keeps the card. First team to 5 cards collected wins!

It is a silly and fun game and when we played I was on a team with Jess. We were doing so well! I think we actually won the game too! So that was cool. The lady teaching us was not from the states and it was harder for her when we gave the action card "name a holiday"- she made something up like nation day of peace and Ron had no idea what she was saying. I understood- but it was not very clear because while the pigeon looked like a dove the image itself was destruction and chaos. Mixed signals for Ron.

I had a lot of fun with that one so I ended up buying it. It will be fun to play it during the holidays coming up! Gorgeous box too!













Later that night at the hotel we ended up playing a game of Babylon Tower Builders. New to me!

The game is not very hard but we did play it all wrong, so that didn't help.

In the game you are placing 3-5 tiles/ or dudes on your turn. You are trying to compete for majorities on each of the floors. You will count all of the guys on each floor at the end of the game and each floor # is the # of points you will be awarded for winning majority. You have to have a clear majority in order to win- none of that ties win situations.

We didn't realize in the rules you have to play directly adjacent to other tiles, at least I think. I didn't actually read the rules that would be crazy. Anyway, when we play again I will have to look and see exactly how tile placement works it is a bit confusing, what exactly we did wrong.

Anyway, it is an awesome game to look at and build up. I had a lot of fun playing. We were playing with 5 players and I think it is generally pretty good with more players so it was fun and one I will play again soon.


Us looking upon the board


















Essen Day 2!!


Friday I started the morning learning the game Blackwood. New to me!

In Blackwood you are a witch and are searching the forest to gather ingredients. This is a worker placement and set collection game to collect ingredients and potions. The ingredients are used to make the potions and Potions can be combined to form spells. In the game there will be 3 expeditions and 6 turns per expeditions. All of the ingredients you are collecting each expedition will be lost at the end and the new round would then begin fresh. You will never lose the potions you create.

Each turn you get the opportunity to place your witch on an open forest space. The first round will be marked closes to the left and then 2nd round would be the next column to the right and so on for the 6 rounds. You can place your witch on any space in any column but the spaces will only be resolved in the current column. However, if you place in the top most space in column 3 and it is round 2, you still might get the chance to play. If you opponent goes in the top most space in column 2 when that resolves then all the cards slide down and you will get the chance to perform the action. Each of the cards have ingredients but with a cost. You get the chance to buy the card if you have money. You can always go into debt if you think it is worth it. You can also sell potions for $3 but you get 2 less points for the potion in the end of the game, and it is then considered used, so you could not make a spell.

After you buy the cards you get the free actions to form potions if you are able or create a spell if you are able. The potions give points and the spells are once an expedition uses might be something like one free wild ingredient or place one more witch this turn. All players have 3 witches for use so you can plan really far in advance but you might not get to resolve that witch for a while.

It was just a 2 player game with me and Jess, we found it pretty easy once we got going to play it out fairly quickly. You really can't plan ahead your turns during the game because the board will change before it becomes your turn. You have to play quickly to keep people's interest and focus, which is not an issue for me and my groups.

I thought it worked pretty well as a 2 player game, with more players you are adding more cards for the lines of ingredients and for the spells. I think It would be find with any player count, but probably more AP with more players and just a longer game.

Jess was doing incredibly well this game. She was pretty focused and managed to pick up some high scoring potions before I had the opportunity. I had to take several $$ from the potions I created and that auto cuts back on the points. It was still better than taking a debt token, however.

I like the easy of the game and the moving cards. You can get a killer combo if planned correctly. I definitely think there is more to explore with this title, yet easy to teach someone new to gaming.

I ended up losing to Jess, but we both enjoyed the time playing. I am happy to have added it to the collect to play with the Ron. I look forward to photographing it!













RAWR



Also, a hall pic





Jess took off and I found the Ron and we sat at the demo table for Divinity Derby. New to me!

As a rule, I hate racing games. As a trumping rule, I love mythological creatures.

THIS GAME WAS AWESOME! Honestly, I really really love this theme, and I was hooked when I saw the figures. Phoenix, Gryphon, Dragon- all the rest. This game has a theme I love.

This game is a racing game with a cool card mechanic. You reveal cards to your tray and you get to also view your neighbors cards as well. The player to your left will have cards for you to see. No one will see the same 2 sets of cards. Each card has a larger number and a smaller number. Sometimes the top number will have a + sign with another number, that can be used, but it would be considered cheating on the creatures behalf. Each turn you select 1 card from your tray and the neighbors tray that you can see. One will move the creature the top number, and the other card selected will move the bottom number.

At the beginning of the game there is a draft for creatures and using your hand of final placement cards you have to draft a creature and guess what position he will finish the race in. You can choose any number of positions or multiple if you want to be more secure in your guess you will just get less points, than if you were to specify the slot.

There is another chance in the game to get one more pick for guessing the final outcome. There is a line and when it is crossed the players get to do it again but with a lot more knowledge. Remember I said cheating up above? Well when players select that card and use the additional movements this could be considered cheating by Zeus, at the end of the game. That card used has to go into the pile and will be mixed in later. If it is one of the 2 cards pulled at the end of the race then they will be disqualified, and yes, that is a card you can select for a creature.

There are different gods you can choose to become at the beginning of the game and each with a special set of cards and powers that might trigger is the situation arises.

In our game we were just playing 3 player since I waved down a random passerby to join in the game since you really need 3+ players. My card stated that when a specific creature lands on my marked space then I get to do said action. So my action ended up being that if the creature that landed on the space had a cheating card in the pile, then all of the Zeus cards will be removed from the pile, thus leaving more opportunity to be disqualified. There are a bunch of Zeus cards and they just rule everyone is safe from elimination.

It was safe to call the Pegasus to being eliminated since Ron was cheating left and right with him and when he landed on the space it was a no brainer. He was my 3rd pick and of course I got 7 (the most) points because I ended up being correct.

I think in the real game you are supposed to play 3 rounds. We just did a single round to get a feel for the game and it worked extremely well. With 6 gods to choose from there is a lot of replay ability here and i simply can't wait to play with more people.

Ron and I ended up TIED for the win. We both managed to get the same exact score but with different creatures in the race. It was really cool. And terrible since I wanted to win. I really enjoyed my time with this and I know Scott will enjoy it when he finally gets to play it.


















Ron and I were lucky and found a seat at a table to learn Halloween. New to me!

This was great since I had it on pre order and Ron would prefer not to read the rules if he doesn't have to. I was not sure what to expect from this game, so I was pleasantly surprised to find what I did. It is a points game where you are trying to upgrade the ghosts to higher level and take control of the different areas. Each turn you are using your player board to mark the actions you take. You get to take 3 actions one for each ghost. Each row will represent one type of ghost starting at the basic blue ghost the lowest level. There are several different actions to take with the ghost. You might do a scare tactic and game scare points. These tokens are used to upgrade your ghosts to the next level. You might move a space on the board, or initiate a fight in a location. Each ghost has a corresponding die blue is a D4 the lowest, up to the Red a D12. Both ghosts must be present in the same location to do this.

All game you are doing actions and trying to make the board in your favor. You will be collecting tokens and there are even tech cards to claim if you spend the correct number of ghost tokens to claim it. So in my game I had got the one where it said each time up upgrade a ghost gain 2 points. Clearly you will be doing that in the game it seemed wise to claim that. But all players can claim any of the techs.

While it is a points game, you are also racing to get the small pumpkins down. The game ends when someone places their final pumpkin on the board. There are 6 pumpkins! TO put one down you have to have one of your ghosts in a location and take the action to claim a space. Each location has points per type of ghost. 2/4/6/8/10 accordingly. Sure you can spend time moving the blue ghosts and scoring small points, in hopes of ending the game sooner, but you really want to try and get the big points, since points will still determine the winner at the end of the game.

The game is actually pretty simple to understand and one I think I can easily teach, hopefully tonight. There are so many rainbows in this game and it makes me extremely happy! There is some luck of the dice but if you plan well you might collect a token to help with a possible re-roll or something.

In my game I was working on upgrading my ghost, it seems this is the thing to do early and often. But, perhaps it will become repetitive after so many plays, I don't know. Having only played it the one time I really enjoyed the mechanics of the game and the interaction. Players are using the same pool of ghosts. My blue ghost will be the same as your blue ghost. If someone decides to upgrade the last green ghost to yellow well then on your turn your green ghost can't do much. There is definitely a balance there, that I haven't really seen before.

I was trying to upgrade my ghosts but Ron was of course doing a much better job at that. I went around early picking up power tokens that give small benefits and I probably should have focused in more. I had some techs I invested in but I always needed one action that was still covered up. You have to take a full turn with a specific ghost and clear the row of their action discs in order to free up the spaces. Timing is everything.

Ron ended up SUPER far in the lead and he won. He was able to place his last pumpkin down on the board to trigger the end of the game. You still get to finish out the round, however. I was start player so it didn't matter much to me.

I am definitely interested in playing this one more and seeing how it will hold up!




















Marlon found us and we walked around and eventually found a table to sit at for a game of A Tale of Pirates. New to me!

This is a co-op game where players are placing their "workers" aka Sandtimers in locations on this ship. You might steer the boat, shoot a cannon, be on the lookout, load the barrels etc. You can only perform the action once the time is up and you can go to the next action.

The game is a legacy style game where you will unlock levels and they get increasingly harder. Honestly, the game is super hard once you are past 2 I have no idea how you are to win, but good luck.

There is a play along app that tells you how to set up the round and what you will need. There is a goal to meet in order to win. You have to generally find all of the passageways and destroy all of the other pirate ships before leaving.

We won, barely, the first 2 rounds. We continued for the 3 scenario and this time the quest was harder. It was a quest that needed to be played in 3 rounds and you needed to find the treasure still meeting all of the other requirements. You have a number of life tokens that wont be replenished so the other pirate ships might deal damage to you if you are not careful. But you still need to find the correct number of treasures before the 3rd round is over.

We had a fun time playing and we lost horribly the 3 epoch or expedition or whatever term they use. I think I liked the game least from anyone playing, but I still had a great time playing. We met a new friend Arvid and we snapped a photo. Happy to have tried it. I would definitely try it again sometime too.



















The sleeping guy found me...





Then I had to take a pic with the GINORMOUS Civ Display.






Marlon was still with us and we played a game of Whoosh: Bounty Hunters. New to me!

I just love how cute the creatures are in this game. It is a speed game. You are revealing cards one player at a time in order to try and claim one of the 3 center cards. Each center card has several icons on them and once all of the icons have been revealed then you can slap the card. Your focus might be on one card while someone else might be working another one. But, ideally you want to know everything at all times. It was fun and I am amazing at speed games. Or, at least this one.

It was clear I was the winner. I had collected the most, but I also incorrectly slapped the most too. But, it is 1 for 1 and the negatives don't get increasingly worse or anything just -1 per wrong guess.

I had a fun time playing. I am not sure Marlon enjoyed it as much as I did. I didn't like the spiders though... I am not a fan of spiders. It was a cute one and I could see families enjoying it. I would certainly play again.














Next up we found ourselves at a demo for Sign. New to me!

I was teamed up with the demo guy, since this is a team game. In the game you are trying to get a set of 5 of the same symbols all in different colors. You have to have a sign- get it- to signal your partner saying you have the set of 5. If you think you know your opponents sign then you can try and call them on it. You will get a point if you guess correctly or they would get a point if not, but you will also get a point if your partner calls it.

It is sort of a speed collection game. There is a splash of cards in the middle You can freely pick up and discard from your hand but you have to always have 5 cards in hand. The symbols are really similar so you have to be careful not to screw it up.

Me and the demo guy had a great and simple sign using the cards instead of a wink or something more obvious. Marlon and Ron were screwing up most of the time and we had 5 points in 6 rounds. Haha it was so funny to see Ron try and signal Marlon. He was just not paying any attention to Ron whatsoever.

We had a great time playing this game. It was cool.











The final game of the day was at the Zoch booth. We were able to check out the game Café Fatal. New to me!

OMG a pizza game I had to play it. It also had dice and rolling. This game is actually VERY MUCH like Las Vegas. You are trying to take control over the different slices. 3 dice valued 1 beats the 2 dice valued 6 but 3 dice valued 6 will then beat the 3 dice valued 1 etc.

Once you place on the board you can only place dice adjacent to that location. You can only have 1 number of your colored dice per location and if you choose to place a 4 then all of the 4s you choose to place later on that round will have to go to that location.

Ideall you will win the location and the pieces on it. You are trying to collect whole pizzas/pies/cheese to gain more paints than just the individual slices, but the slices are also worth points. It is the first person to 50+ points win!

It is a race game to try and collect as much as you can. It was super cute and very much like the game Las Vegas.

I was in the lead the whole game but I think Ron had a major come back in the final rounds and he was able to pass me at the last minute for a win. He is super annoying like that. We also had a huge fit off over a space one round and I think he ended up winning and that really pushed me back on the points. spending so many dice only to lose the area is not a way to win the game.

I really enjoyed this one and would definitely be interested I playing again sometime.















Well deserved Gelato after a long day of Shopping!!!






Ron and I started punching and this was the most amusing thing to come out of the boxes. The start player marker for Altiplano!







This Concludes Part 1 of Essen. Please Stay Tuned for Part 2 Essen Edition coming soon!



New to the Collection:
Essen Days 1 & 2 Haul... I may have a problem.
7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack
7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack
A Feast for Odin: Lofoten, Orkney, and Tierra del Fuego
¡Adios Calavera!
Altiplano
Babylon Tower Builders
Biosphere
Blackwood
Carcassonne: Gold Rush
Colors of Kasane
Deutscher Spielepreis 2017 Goodie Box
Divinity Derby
Dokmus: Return of Erefel
Dream Home: 156 Sunny Street
Dream Home: Promo Tokens – Christmas Tree
Gaia Project
Gauner raus!
Guilds
Harald
Harvest Dice
Hyle
Isle of Skye: Journeyman
JamSumo
Meowtopia
Merlin
Merlin: Queenie 1 – Treasures of the Environs
Mi Tierra: New Era
Mord im Arosa
Muse
Mystic Vale: Sunshard Glebe
My Story
NMBR 9: Starting Tiles
NMBR 9: Extra Tiles
Noch mal! Zusatzblock
Nusfjord
Otys
Pummeleinhorn: Der Kekfe Marathon
Rajas of the Ganges
Rainbow Rage
Riverboat
Santa Maria
The Colonists: The Imperial Post
The Sanctuary: Endangered Species
The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice
Twenty One





Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next Time!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
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The Netherlands Friends are Awesome!! Ron's Birthday Game Day and Euro Trip Part ONE!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!




First thing is first. I am GotW!! Check it out!
Geek of the Week #629: Steph!, Punkin312






This past week I have had the pleasure of spending a good time in Netherlands visiting with Friends and seeing the sights. This post will have a lot of travel photos recapping my time in the Netherlands and PRE ESSEN! I got in several games played because it was Ron's Birthday on Oct 22!! I scheduled a game day at a very cool Board Game Cafe called Boardroom Cafe in Haarlem. It was such a great time and so many great friends came out to join in.


Our Hotel



First day we arrived and met up with Ron's Cousin Doug and he did a quick guide through Amsterdam. The direct train to Amsterdam was closed for the weekend- HOW RUDE!- But Ron and I managed to figure it all out. When we got to the city we met up with Doug and then we rented a boat. He took us on a canal tour! It was just us 3 on the boat. We were so fortunate that the sun came out while we were on the boat. It was still flipping freezing but I had a blanket!










Later we walked up and down the streets of Amsterdam and I found a mini Oktoberfest- that was pretty cool.










On Ron's birthday we wandered the streets of Haarlem a bit and it was drizzly but still so gorgeous. Nothing was opened on Sunday morning.






















Ron's Birthday game day!! Later that morning Witt @boardgameaday and Jon (Jon Gets Games) came early to play games so we were playing in the hotel before the Boardroom Cafe opened at 2pm.

Picture thanks to Witt!


Our hotel was super close to the cafe so it was easy to just set up and play there. I brought along my box o'games and it has an abundance of options to choose from. We went with probably my favorite in the box Rolling Japan. Jon didn't know it or Witt so it is usually my go-to dice game anyway.

It went over extremely well and they both really loved it. The pain the game provides is certainly catching for whatever reason. I ended up winning this game, but only saw later that I had made an error on my board. So instead of scoring 9 I actually had scored 10 when I placed a 1 where it didn't belong. I am a huge cheater. I still would have won with a score of 10 but it is all screwed up now anyway.

They liked it so much we continued the pain with Rolling Tokyo. The back side of the board that plays in only 4 rounds and you get the same tension in half the time. Haha it is just as painful and the winning scores are usually the same or slightly better than Japan.

Jon did better this time and ended up tied with me for the win with 9 points. Seriously, nothing to brag about with that score and winning.

Again this game went over very well and we had a good time rolling dem dice!!









Jon really likes Qwinto and Witt hadn't played this game before so we ended up teaching him the game.

Since we were on a dice game kick and this is pretty fast. We were talking a lot so playing more slowing than general. But, it moved along nicely and like always I sucked it up so hard. I am just terrible at this game.

I always go to push my luck and play rather poorly because of this. I was still happy I scored okay, for me. It wasn't anywhere near the winning score of 75, however. I believe this game actually ended in a tie with Ron and Witt though. There was definitely a lot of ties on Ron's b-day. Very strange indeed! It is like the world was telling us to get along. lol






Once the store opened up we head over and found Kim, Joel, Gerty, Sylvia all there already! I guess we spent too much time talking and less time walking a minute to the store!

Witt brought along Ex Libris to play. I sat down and taught the game to Gerty, Sylvia and Kim. And Ron got to play his birthday game of Terra Mystica with the other folks.

This was not a hard game to teach but I had learned it back in August and forgotten a few details since we had only played 2 player at the time. We got through the bumps and It was smooth sailing from there.

Kim and I were in a race the whole game for cards. Gerty and Sylvia were taking their time on shelving the books and had a lot fewer cards when the game actually ended.

I was less focused on my bonus scoring than I should have been. The action locations coming out were not really good enough for me, but I made due. I was the ghost and I forgot a major part of my ability that I was able to not only use a space someone else was on but I would also draw a card! Doh! I needed those extra cards with the tax collector that came out in the game.

I ended up ending the game with 12 cards and the round finished out. I had a ton of points!! Yeah it was still no match for the mighty Kim. She had killer combos and points for her shelved books. She is just a natural book shelve-r!

I was a near and far distant 2nd place and Gerty doesn't want to talk about it.

We all had a great time and I can't wait until I have this one on the shelf, I quite enjoy it!


Picture thanks to Gerty!















Since Niels showed up we had 5 players and it made sense to play 7 Wonders.

It was just base game but everyone had played it. I needed to do a few reminders on the types of cards but everyone caught on well enough.

I was playing Rhodes and I am just not a big fan of that wonder so I ended up not completing the wonder at all. Kim next to me was playing the board that gives all the resources, so I was not expecting to be able to purchase resources from her at all.

I had a fair amount of resources that I collected. To my benefit Gerty and Niels on the far side of my were fighting with military like crazy. I think Niels had like 6 or 7 military cards by the end. That is a sure on way to lose the game.

Sylvia was playing smart but since Kim and I were most recently to have played this before we won with a tied score of 50. Since Kim had more $$ than I did she ended up winning! Noooooooo Kim was ON FIRE with her half awake self. She and Joel had just flown into Amsterdam all sleep deprived but she was ON POINT.

It was great fun and I will still love this game forever!!! Top 5!










Gerty picked out Magic Maze for us to play. Gerty wanted us to start on level 4 difficulty but I rejected that since I hadn't even played that rule or know what all of the colors do.

We started on level 3 which finds all pawns having to leave their own exits and the passing of the directional tiles each time we flip the timer and chat.

As you can imagine this didn't go over well and we lost our first game pretty quickly. It was basically a disaster and we even cheated a bit with the paused timers.

Once we failed that first time we ended up trying again and we did a LOT better this game. People were only focusing on one pawn at a time and this was fast but not fast enough. We needed to really work on more than one pawn at a time.

The second game we didn't cheat and ended up getting 3/4 pawns out but we were not even close with the last pawn. it was still a pretty good job considering.

I think Niels and Kim enjoyed it even with our losing 2 games!











Witt also supplied us with another game called Viral. New to me!

This was a game I wasn't as interested in because the theme is just not there for me and I don't care for body parts in my board games. I do like the colors and vibrancy of the board, however.

This game is played over a number of rounds and came play up to 5 people. Niels had to leave mid game and Marlon showed up so ended up filling in for him! It all sort of worked out in the end.

In the game we were playing the full count of players and you are selecting cards from your had of cards for your first and second actions. 2 cards for each action and one is telling you the body part in which you are doing the action fro the other action card you have selected. Action might be to add your virus, or to attack other viruses or to move.

Each round has a number of phases starting with the actions people are doing. Then you have to move along and see if any Breakouts happened and you score points for majorities and additional for majorities where the breakouts occur.

For me this game works. I don't know I am going to play it again, but it wasn't bad. I have never really been a fan of area control games and this is primarily that. But, there is a cool hand management system in place and I enjoyed it.

As you are scoring points you are also adding additional action cards to your hand to select from so there is a small deck building aspect to the game. You can collect up to 4 additional cards that all all worth points at the end as well.

All game I was working on securing the majorities for the high scoring locations on the board which not many people picked up on until late game. The downfall for me was that I was focused too much on that and I was having to take back most of my pieces because of it. I was in the lead the whole game so it meant I was going last the whole game. There is a good and bad side to going last though.

It ended up not working out for me in the end and Marlon was able to pass over me with 2 extra points. I needed to draft my hand of cards better during the game since I only scored like 5 points when I think Sylvia got something like 13. I could have done a lot better in that area. I was getting some cool cards though.

Niels/ Marlon for the win that time! How Rude! It was supposed to be my victory!













I saw they had Twenty One to play and I have been wanting to play this one again!!

I didn't think the rules would be so hard to remember. But considering they didn't have them in English I couldn't read them to figure it out. Thanks to Marlon for reading them and helping to understand the game.

It is a simple dice get when you get down to it.

When Sylvia rolled the first Roll it was over. Kim managed to score 5/6 dice on the money- I mean we are talking BIG points in that first roll for Kim. It was pretty much crazy and unheard of. You are trying to get the dice to match up with your row and sheet. And to get 5 on the first roll, let alone any roll it is crazy and intense.

Yeah I thought i did well with 79 or something and I came in second to Kim's 121. I still had 2 rows to potentially fill up but nope she filled in her sheet super fast and then the game was over. Absolutely killing us all. It was great fun!

I need this game!







Final game of the night was a 5 player game of Scythe. Marlon hadn't played this one before so Ron ended up teaching him. Witt and Jon had played and we all sort of chatted for a bit.

This game I was playing Green, which I am not sure I have played with them before. I like trying new things.

I managed to get all of my flags down and score major points for area at the end of the game. I think I counted up 14 hexes that I was controlling because I had the center of the map and the 4 flags down. It was crazy. I still had the lowest pop possible.

I totally won this game. for 5 minutes until Jon said oh hey I forgot to count my building points... MMMHMMM likely story Jon!

So Jon actually won and he was playing with Blue. There was no red or Purple player so that whole side of the board was empty. He had the whole board to spread around in. Poor Ron was playing with black and kept losing the battles he was supposed to win.

It was a great game and I had so much fun playing with everyone! The whole day was amazing and great! So happy I thought to put it all together and play with friends. I hope Ron had a fun Birthday full of games!
















Monday Ron and I played the Tourist and we went all around Netherlands. I first really planned out wanting to see Kinderdijk and all those lovely windmills. The weather was awesome but we went at height of the day with the sun in the face. But, still managed to get a few great pics.


















This is what the windmills power...



Next we went over to Rotterdam Market Place and found lunch and an awesome huge mural ceiling. Lots of cool stands with sweets and spices and anything you could want. Walked around a bit outside and saw some boats too.














I found a Ginkgo tree and Ron wouldn't let me keep it. I really need one SO BAD!



To finish the evening we went north to the town of Volendam- yeah it is a tourist trap. The views are awesome and it was right at sunset to make it even better. It was a really awesome day!






















Here is me!







Rijks Museum was on the schedule for Tuesday when Derek and Jess flew into town. Kim and Joel met up with us later and we all went to Dinner and then back to Haarlem for some games!

Here are some of the interesting things I found in the Museum







Wherever there is a game there is a Steph


Really cool moving Holograms on this display.






This sword was also a gun... cause it makes sense.






The Spielbox! So cool!




Some Paintings- Reminded me of Arle and then some others I liked.






Ron being amused.


Night Watch


Ron and his boats.


I found the only rainbow in this place.


Ron was not amused when I said go stand there.








The 6 of us after the Museum





Later we went out to eat







After the long day with friends we decided to end it by going to the ice cream parlor and we played a 6 player game of Deep Sea Adventure. I played it super safe this game and my rolling was terrible. I ended up picking up 4 triangle pieces and 3 of which were valued 0. I got so many tile I would have won by that count. Considering you don't count by number of tiles I ended up not winning but also not losing.

Kim lost with 0 points but Derek won with like 30 something points. We were eating I cream and enjoying the time together in Haarlem. It was awesome to have Kim and Joel along for the ride too.










Later that same night Jess, Derek, Ron and I all went back to the hotel and played a 4 player game of Speakeasy Blues. New to me!

This game is currently on kickstarter being published by Artana Games and Jess is apart of Artana so she had this prototype with her. I was excited to play this because it is designed by a few friends and are also the designers of Sagrada, which I adore!

In this game you are set collecting and dice drafting. The artwork (so far) is really nice and the color scheme pops. There are several ways to score points and you are trying to score the most points to win.

In the game you are drafting a set of dice from 6 dice. You first select a set to roll from the main board and they get rolled and added to a pool to choose from. You select 2 of the same colored dice and perform the action on those dice. It is sort of worker placement because the dice represent actions and you have to place the dice on those specific actions. Some spaces are more costly and might cost reputation or even money.

With the dice you are trying to acquire points for the end game scoring cards that are revealed slowly throughout the game. You are Trying to get the most of specific symbols or conditions. You might place your dice to collect booze, as you might expect, or crime lords to help gain influence with the families do dirty business. Generally you might just want to have a party and you want to have the big stars there like charlie Chaplin or Josephine baker. You only have room on your player board to gain 2 columns of cards but you can pay for more up to 4 total slots of 4 cards each. The card on top of the stack is the only card to be in effect during the game and at the end of the game.

The game is actually pretty straight forward. Since it was still in prototype format and the rules were just updated, we had a slow going game. I still anticipate more updates with those rules.

All game Ron and I were pushing the reputation track but since there is a cap at those points you are incentivized to use said point of other various actions or cards that say to, when presented with a good opportunity. There is also a cap for negative points so you can't for further into debt once you hit -3 on the track.

I was trying that'd to get media people in my tableau and Derek was all about the criminals. Ron was a bit all over the palace but he was hosting a bunch of soirée parties and gaining a lot of reputation for that. He ended up winning to game, of course. The Ron! Here I thought I was going to win since I was playing just as well... Apparently not. I think he won by a few points. It was late and we were tired but it was a good game and we had fun. I am really looking forward to the final product!
























On the Road to Essen!




ESSEN DAY 0!


Pre Essen Gaming! The halls were still being all set up but Smoox was running his booth and there was a ton of demoing happening so we were able to get in a few games!




I had to go and see my awesome friends at the TBD booth. They were my first stop since I love to meet with everyone and say hi. They were all set up and already doing demos by the time we got there!!! Jess was with us and we all sat in for a demo of The Labours of Hercules. New to me!

This is a bluffing game and possibly a hidden traitor game. One player is Hercules and everyone else's role is secret. Everyone is trying to help Hercules defeat 12 labors in the deck. There are tokens that will be pulled from the bag at the end of each round and if the players who aren't Hercules pulls a broken sword this might cause them to become traitor and then their goal becomes to try and deceive Hercules and make him lose.

In the game there are 2 lines of cards and each player, starting with Hercules, looks are 2 cards one from each row. Each card has a number on it and the player can choose or might have to reveal the higher valued card depending on the symbols of the cards. Then if they do reveal they perform the action. If the 3 card is ever revealed the round will end, or if a full line of cards has been revealed it will also end. When you look at the two cards you can choose to switch their positions if you want. Ideally Hercules wants to have his card be in a row with a lot of monsters he is able to beat. Some monsters require weapons to help him do this however, so it all has to line up as best as he can. Players are trying to help him do this , unless they aren't...

Different cards do different things like look at another card or put tokens back in the bag. But AT&T he end of the round for each beast on display Hercules has to pull a good token from the bag. Then each player must do this.

In our game Jess was Hercules, and everyone thought I was a traitor. To be expected, I know, but still unfair. I wasn't a traitor, until round 5. After round 4 I pulled the inevitable broken sword. It was looking poor for Jess anyway, she was really behind but we were running out of tokens and we actually ended the game by running out of tokens. She ended up losing and Jerry and I revealed to be traitors! We won!! It was great, I really wanted to be good this game, yeah I tried, but didn't seem to work out that way, good thing too! It can play a ton of people so I was happy I could get to play! I will have to try it again soon!




















Next the 3 of us sat down to a game of Raid on Taihoku. New to me!

The designer and his son taught the game but mostly his son who was like 8 years old or something. He was adorable and totally has played this game a ton of times. The rules seemed pretty easy and it is a coop game.

As a team you are trying to survive 10 rounds and if a member of your family dies then everyone loses. You are running around the city collecting food and medicines to help keeps the family alive. Each player plays a different member of the family and has different stats to maintain to also be considered for winning the game.

It is very thematic because the game is very unforgiving. Each round 4 bombs are dropped on various cities and if you happened to be in one you will lose 2 health points. In the first round we all lost 2 health points and Ron and I only started the game with 4 health points.

This might have been the fastest game ever. We all took the risk that no bomb would attack us next round and Ron was the unlucky one. Having not known that it is so easy to lose health otherwise we would have gone looking for some. There are cards to explore at the cities to help increase the health.

It is certainly a tough game. I felt I got an idea for it but would really need another play to know more. Pretty cool to have tried it though very sad and hard theme. I would try it again for sure.
















A few sights










Later at the hotel, we found Philipp and he joined us for 3 games that I managed to pick up on Day 0! We started with Dragon Castle. New to me!

This is a gorgeous game. I mean top notch tiles and beautiful art. Since it is an abstract game, we figured it would be easy to learn and we weren't wrong. You set the board up appropriately and start. There are 4 possible actions but primarily using only 2 of them. You can draft two matching tiles from the board with one of them that must be on the top most layer the other from any outer edge with a long side revealed. The other action would be to take one tile from the top and a pagoda top.

Once you take any tile you must place it on your player board. If you make a connection of 4 or more of the same color you must score it immediately and flip all of the tiles over. Once they are flipped you can start placing new tiles on top. When you score you also get the ability to place a pagoda if you have one or 2 depending on the color scored.

In our game I was saving a spot to score a big region. The bigger you can make a region the more value and points you get. . I think I ended up getting 2x 9 regions scoring like 9 points each and then extra scoring for pagodas placed. I totally crushed the boys in actually all of the games this night. It was a very good start to the con!! I think I ended up getting 44 and Philip was at like 34 in second. I have to say I enjoyed this game. It falls in line as the same easy going weight as Cottage Garden gives me.


















Next up Philipp was kind and read the rules for Mystery of the Temples. New to me!

I was very much looking forward to playing this game. It is simply gorgeous!! I can't wait to photograph it! (Better) it is a resource management game and with some worker placement. You are moving in a rondel around to various spaces the range is a lot though. You are collecting gems and converting gems on the spaces. You are trying to break the curses by getting the gems in order on you player board via connections. Each curse has a pattern left to right and you can break the curse from either direction using from 3 to 5 gems. The curse can be broken up ton5 times and once a specific pattern was formed then it can't be fulfilled again.

The game is actually quite easy to explain and play. Once you break the curse you get a symbol card at the location and you are trying to collect different symbols but they all provide benefits for the locations when you take an action so you might want to focus on one type vs many.

In my game I ended up finishing it by placing my final cube for breaking curses. I was really good at one type of action space and got a Ton of gems from that one space so I was at the point where I could go to a space and then break a curse by the end of the game. It was pretty cool! I won the game but everyone else was so close behind me.it could have been anyone's game!

I look forward to playing again soon. Fast and fun and fits in nicely with the Emporers4 collection. Love!!





















Final game of the night was Memoarrr!. New to me!

This is a small memory game. You are trying to match the animals or the colors. All players get to see 3 cards at the beginning of the game on their side of the board. Then the first player flips any of the other cards. Going around the table the next player must reveal a card with a matching animal or the color of the card. If they don't they take a volcano card from the center. This continues until one player is remaining. The remaining player gets a treasure card worth so many points. All cards are then put back in the original places and the round starts again. You do this like 8 times or something and the player most points wins.

I am amazing at this game. I think I lost maybe 2 or 3 rounds but I was the far superior player in this game. I could remember a lot of the cards and the guys were having more difficulty. Not sure Philip even won a round. It was a great time and it works very well with 3 so I am guessing it will be better with more players and more laughs. I don't even think we saw all of the cards by the end.

Quite enjoyed this easy filler game.
















This Concludes my Pre-Essen Gaming! The next post will be all 4 days at Essen Spiel and my full recap of games I played! Woohooo!! (Might be 2 more posts, I have too many photos.)




New to the Collection:
Basically Essen Day 0!
Agra
Cottage Garden
Dark Castle
Dragon Castle
Halloween
Indian Summer
Memoarrr!
Mystery of the Temples
Noria
The Labours of Hercules
Sorcerer & Stones







Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:36 pm
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Short and Sweet Post! Weeklyish update...

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


This week is just going to cover the weekdays that I got to play a few games. I am planning on leaving for Essen and won't have much time to write and prep for next weeks blog. I will have a lot to report when I get back and will likely be covered in 2 or more blog posts after. I am super excited and hope to take a zillion photos for everyone to enjoy.


Mapping out my plans...





Monday night we got to playing a bunch of card games. We started with a 4 player game of Wizard.

I don't mind playing this game. It takes a while to play but I don't mind. I like trying to get the right bid and make it work. It is a classic card game and I owned it at one point. Only ever played it once though.

We played with initial hidden bids so we don't get to see what people are bidding before placing the bid in turn order. It was fine. I think I would like it better the correct way, however. All you are trying to do is make your bid and you get the value of your bid +2. If you don't make it then you lose points = to what you are missing or went over by.

It is an interesting card game. I think probably more interesting with more players. 4 players was fine though. I like the idea of more players and chaos.

I ended up the big loser this game. Pretty sure Bill came out ahead in the final turn making his bid of 7. It was a pretty major command at the end. I just failed and failed and failed. People were very good at screwing me over.










I brought along a bunch of card games to play and we decided to learn Custom Heroes. New to me!

It was about time that I learned this game. I picked it up at GenCon. It took a while for me to open and sleeve the game. Finally did and tried to get it played a bunch but no takers. This time Dan was willing to read the rules and we would play.

I was very skeptical on the customizing of the cards since you will lose the card after play. My initial hopes for the game were high then they diminished a bit after seeing some reviews. My then overall feeling afterwards turned out pretty good.

The game is played as a climbing game. You can only play individual numbers or sets of the same number. When customizing your cards you can play modifiers + or -. There are a lot of abilities that you might be able to add on and there is even a "bomb" type card that will win the trick, unless it is over bombed. Like in Tichu.

The idea of the game is to run out of cards first. If you can go out first then you get 5 points and other tokens. Each place gets some number of points and tokens and additional cards which you pull from the bag of clear cards. It is actually pretty cool. I found I needed more tokens so I could pay and activate the cards abilities. I kept running out and not having enough was key to doing well for me.

Sometimes you just get a crappy hand. I just felt totally out of control. I played all sorts of bad. I was like no way can I lose this- then I would lose it. We also played the 2nd and 3rd hand wrong by leading with the player who went out first. Which was super painful for me since I lost ever single hand by the first one. It was pretty horrendous for me.

All in all I enjoyed the game and I think I could do better next time we played. I do think there is hope for the game despite losing so badly. On another plus side I think everyone playing didn't mind it either and would play again.

This game Dan ended up winning. We were sure Geoff would but since you have to go out and have the points it makes it a bit harder to win. I definitely look forward to trying my hand at this game again soon. I need to do better. I might have been negative points if I could have gone negative. Maybe I need a starting handicap.













I also brought along Bard Saga. This was a game Ron and I played 2 player a few weeks ago. I was looking to try with more players to see how it would play out.

My verdict for this game is probably best with 2 or 3 players. 4 players seems like a very high dependency for luck. Since I was getting all the luck it was working out that the rich got richer. Because I was able to get early scroll combinations I was getting early cards and extra cards and more scrolls at the end of the round. Because I got more cards played out I had more scrolls and more scrolls means more card in the next round too. It was a cycle and Geoff and Dan weren't thrilled by it.

I was doing very well so I didn't mind. I ended up winning the game. I think 2p might be the best count since you are just playing each other and you have a bit more control over what is happening.

I want to try it again with 3 players though. I really like the artwork- super gorgeous.












Final game of the night was Tichu. We had played about an hour and we had to go since Ron had to leave early the next morning for a work trip.

To start the game I like to keep it interesting and I called a grand Tichu. I had a great hand but Ron was able to bomb me in an bad place and I was left with a single 4. It was sad and I ended up losing the grand call.

I mis played... it was sad. I know had I done the safe way I probably would have made it ok.

Poor Geoff has to put up with me as a partner and I didn't end up calling Grand again, I don't believe. Geoff called Tichu once or twice. I was just not getting the proper hands at all. I had some good ones but they were mostly just mediocre hands.

Eventually we got out of the negative zone but we were never really able to make up the ground.

Once we finished Dan and Ron were at like 850 and Geoff and I broke the 600 line. I swear we were going to win that game. We might never know!

Always a great time.









Wednesday night Me and my co workers went to dinner. Yay!









Thursday night was fun group! Since we are close to Halloween we always do a haunted game night. We had enough people for 2 tables and I actually got in 7 games!! It was crazy. We started the night with a 4 player game of Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters.

This was the first time playing with 4 players and people who can actually roll the dice well. We just played on easy mode since I still have never won that game before.

Few folks were new to the game and I explained. Riley's copy of the game was never opened but he said he had played before.

Anyway we got to playing and Riley rolls as well as I do. Meaning we get 1-3 movement and never kill a ghost. Though this game I think I managed to kill 2 ghosts!

While Jeff was killing them each and every turn. WE WON!!! This game we actually won! It was so close at the end one more red haunting would come out and we would have lost. It could have been any number of letters to do this, but we kept drawing the shuffle card which helped us out a lot!

It was quite amazing that we won. I suppose I am ready for the advanced rules now! I doubt we will ever win those, but if we do we can use the extreme mode with the blue ghost promo I have.














Next up the 4 of us played Sweets Stack. This is VERY MUCH Halloween themed with all the pumpkins and candies. I love this one.

You are trying to actively bust the other player in their tetris-like board by handing them cards with tetris pieces.

This game I was definitely odd man out. Everyone got high teens and the winning score for round one was actually 20 points. I was at 9 and very far behind. I just didn't have good cards to pass along. I was actually busted first! Things went better for me over the next few rounds but still not enough to make up ground.

Jeff ended up winning the game with a double and triple recheck on his points but Riley was just behind him.

I think everyone liked it but I am not sure it was a favorite for people. I definitely love this game a lot!










Becuase it was fitting and Riley enjoys bluffing games I suggested My Dungeon Boss: Never Lie.

I was happy to play this again, and the fun group seems like a perfect group to play it with.

I can't lie to save my life. SO I was telling the truth most of the time and trying to make people believe that I was lying about it. Points are awarded when you can guess correctly or if you are able to deceive people. So you want to try and guess correctly when someone is lying.

I really didn't win this game but I got more than 2 points this game! I am pleased with that. Riley pretty much blew us away. He was always just guessing that the case was closed. When I did that I lost but he managed to get them all. Well Ok I closed one case successfully. It was cool.

I like this game and think it is fun to play and laugh about. Not sure everyone felt the same but it takes a certain type.














Next up we played a game of Zombie Dice. New to me!

Yeah I have avoided this game since I really just don't like Zombies. But, I figured it was a dice game and I should really play a dice game since I like them! It was all about trying to collect BRAINS.

You roll 3 dice at a time and try to collect brains. If you ever get 3 bullet shots then you bust. You have to hold onto the bullet shots you already rolled.

It is very much like Martian Dice (we played right after). I kinda like this since it feels a bit mre push your luck. You are pulling from 3 dice and the dice have different distributions. It is cool. I had fun with this.

I ended up not winning of course. Riley pushed his luck right at the end and scored big! What a jerk!







To convince Riley to stay one more game we played Neos

This is really a 5 minute game I just had to explain it first.

We played and Jeff really didn't know what he was doing. But he was doing it well and found 3 cards with A and E on them so ended up scoring 2 ribbons with only 3 cards so he ended up tied with 33 for the win. We both had 33.

He was shocked. He owns this game and never played it so it was a good opportunity.

I really do love this game it is so fast and a nice card game. Needs more love and US distribution.









As I promised, I played and taught Martian Dice.

This is a simple dice game just like Zombie Dice. This game you get to roll all of the dice, however. It is a lot of fun to roll 13 dice.

It is all very much who is lucky and who might push their luck and still be lucky. All good times though.

This game I actually won! It was amazing! I never win!I was rolling pretty well though and I was not being dumb about things.

It is always a cute 10 minute filler though. Happy to have played.








We ended the night with 3 games of Werewords.

I really love this game. I am always the mayor and I just hate being the mayor. I am terrible and dumb so it makes me super embarrassed. Haha it is probably why people enjoy me being the mayor!

The first game my word was Private. Which can be used as different meaning and it is confusing to clue in people. The guys all guessed it correctly and I don't know how Joe did it but he managed it. I thought for sure he was the seer. The werewolf couldn't figure it out so we won!

The second game was pretty funny and Derek was the mayor since I passed it off on him. He was not a Very good mayor. Sorry Derek we had to start over since he forgot the initial word haha. I think the werewolf won the 2nd and 3rd game though.

It was all in good fun and I was shocked when I figured out RUM as the final word in the 3rd game. I love this game!!






Friday (today) Ron and I were mostly packing but I managed to take out and play Samurai Vassal. New to me.

This is a 2-6 player card game where you are bluffing and deceiving other to try and gain the trust of the Daimyo.

We just played 2 players and it really would work better with more players. There is an AI that you can add in and make it a little more interesting.

Everyone has the same 5 cards and one more that is drafted so each hand of cards is a little different.

The goal of the game is to get 12 points first. If you win the confidence then you will gain the trust points on the cards. What's cool is that if several people play the same level than their confidence is auto win over the individual higher valued cards. This is where more people will make the game more interesting. You get to see a lot more teams trying to form and backstabbing happening. Some of the proposal cards have special powers as well so you might affect the winning card/s with those as well.

We played with an AI so there was definitely a random element in that but it kept it interesting.

I absolutely killed the Ron in this game. I suppose I am getting better at figuring out what he might do. There is a card that essentially passes you for the round so you pick up the cards you have already played. But if you have a bunch of wins then all of the trust stacks up and you can collect tons of points. Lots of things to consider.

I look forward to playing this game again soon with the full count of players. I love that this is a prototype and my UN was printed on one of the cards punkin312. SO COOL!!




















ANYWAYS that's it for now, check back in a couple weeks!




New to the Collection:
Samurai Vassal







Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:39 pm
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1 Week Count Down! ESSEN Overview Top Picks and Anticipations! Also, EVERYTHING ELSE- Photography!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Hia Everyone!


So the Essen List is at the bottom. Sorry I play so many games and make you all scroll so much! I don't MEAN TO! It just happens!




Monday night was a small group of people. Dan, Geoff and I played several 3 player games. We dug deep into the depths and dust of Joe's enormous basement to locate several games to play and teach me. We started with the game On the Underground. New to me!

I wasn't sure I would enjoy this one with the route building aspect to it, but there is a fair amount of freedom and planning involved. Each turn you can place 4 track. You have 3 colors of track you can place (in a 3 player game) and of course you have to build off the end of an existing line if you have one. But when you initially start a color it can be anywhere on the board. There are spots on the board that offer up points if you go there or end the line you get 2 points and a break. You can always branch if you spend 2 branch tokens from an already existing midway point in the track you have already laid.

Each turn the passenger will move to a new location and you want him to ride your train vs another players train. You get a point if he rides on your train.

Let me just tell you I would have won that game if we were playing by the correct rules, but we missed a critical rule for the game. As it stood I ended up tied for the win with 3rd place like one point behind. The major rule we got wrong was that if there is a gold location out the passenger must first go to that space then proceed to go to another white location in the same turn. I definitely had the best set up for early game and was very far in the lead. Later in the game the guys were better positioned and managed to get caught up. But, It would have been a much different game with the correct rules.

I would try it again, but I was not wowed.


















There has been a lot of discussion on my blog comments about trying Scotland Yard. New to me!

Now for me to try it out! The guys let me play as the one trying to escape. I enjoy playing Jack in Whitechapel/ Whitehall so I surmised it would be the same for this game.

This game is SUPER hard to play as the escapee. You have to reveal yourself 5 times in the game or something. You only get double movement 2 times. It is just nearly impossible to win as that player. I managed to get half way through the game before being found but it was inevitable. Whitehall does this as well, but there is more elegance and opportunity to outwit and escape the cops. Yeah okay I will give it credit for being so old. I might need a tetanus shot.

I thought it was a fine game. I would definitely think better for kids and families. I definitely don't like it nearly as much as the other games I love so much in the genre, but I can respect it. NY Chase is supposed to be very much like it but there are a few additional rules, so I would be opened to playing that game sometime.

Maybe I am just sour that I didn't win. ninja













The Final game of the night was a random abstract I picked from joe's collection called Cir*Kis. New to me!

These shapes are so weird. It is a very weird game. I did not take to it at all. I generally really like abstract games too, but this was just weird. The pieces are specific to the areas and you can't really branch out and try new things. I know several people will say it is the same as any abstract, but it really isn't. I felt there was nothing left to the imagination of possibilities.

You are still actively trying to block others and score points for yourself. It is a point game which is a bit unusual for an abstract, and I don't think I liked that aspect of it just making it more thinking and AP.

I don't think it was great with 3 player and best with 4 or 2 I suppose. The board felt off balance.

We were all 35-35-35 and first person to get 5 points would win the game with 40. It was all just anti climactic and was generally just an abstract that didn't keep my attention long. I would gladly play Blokus over this 100 times over.











Wednesday night Ron and I got to playing a bunch of games. I was ready to try my hand at Tesla vs. Edison: Duel again. I won the first game so Ron felt the need to go in and pick his inventor of choice. I then had to pick from the opposing side.

This time my goal was to get 4 more power houses in a column than Ron and own all the power tokens. It seemed really reasonable and manageable.

No, we had the worst cards come out. They were ALL YELLOW (NY) ALL THE TIME!! Just playing into Ron's strategy. Of course, afterwards he told me a rule that would have changed the whole game for me so I think I might have won in that case. There was something I could have done to clear the power supplied to the cities, so yeah would have been much more beneficial to me.

Ron won this time, but I will get him next time! This game is SO FAST!! I was like what we are done?! Crazy. Definitely enjoying.




















It had been a while since playing Shadows in Kyoto so it was time to go at it again.

I was already getting tired and this game you can not be tired when playing. You really have to have your wits about you when you play if you want any hope of winning.

This time I tried out the Green player. Each player has 3 different abilities that players can choose from for the game. Ron choose the ability that revealed my identity when I attacked. That power is so crazy good. It really made me never want to attack. So, I made all my effort to get to the other side with no confrontation.

My ability this time was that I could hop over my people, essentially. I have to play the colored card that the guy in front of me was on and I could end up one space ahead. It is a very cool power and if I was more awake, I would have done a lot better.

I was SO CLOSE to the other side, and I knew I was doomed so I went for it anyway. Ron found my guy and captured him. But, it was worth the shot in case he was bluffing.

Regardless I am just terrible at this game and Ron always wins. I have played I think 3 times so far and never won. I am too risky with my movements and then I get caught. Ron is just more patient and then he wins. I have to be more sneaky, somehow!












We were nearly done with the night but then I was like oh yeah I got in a new game... it can't be that hard to learn. So then we played Can't Stop Express. New to me!

I really like Can't Stop, yet I don't own it. I KS this game though with the off chance of it being like the base game. I even read the rules!

In the game 5 dice are rolled. It is not a single player's turn it is everyone's chance use the dice each roll. You will choose 2 pairs of dice and mark the value on your sheet. The 5th unused die is a the game counter, if you will. Each player has room for 3/6 numbers and once you take 8 of one of those numbers then you will specifically end the game for yourself. Everyone will get to roll until they are complete.

For the general game you will be scoring points. Most of the time negative 200 points but sometimes positive. When you take your pairs of numbers you fill in some boxes. If you have 1-4 boxes filled in for a given number then you will lose 200 points at the end of the game. If you have 5 boxes in a number you get 0 points. Every box after 5 that you check will be worth some number of points depending on the value. The 11 will get more points than the 7 row.

It is standard stuff and not a bad game. It is super luck and both Ron and I got major hosed towards the end of the game when we were forced to take numbers we were trying to avoid. It can get difficult and you just have to be lucky sometimes. I definitely will play again- it will be interesting to see what will come of the next game.

As it stood I have -700 points and he was like -900 or something. We are clearly, very bad at this game.










Thursday night Ron and I got to playing a couple games of Codenames Duet.

I really like this game. I looked at the map and we decided on the 10-2. We got pretty great cards and combos and easily completed it. We did so well that we could have done the super hard one in the southern hemisphere. Like 10-0 it was even 9-0 we did so well. Ugh

Of course the second game when we were going for 10-1 or something and we were trying to combine the most awkward words. In the end there was a bunch of gamble and we ended up failing it. Ron also totally mis-read a word that was smoothie as smooth, which was a bit different.

I think we are getting better at this game. I think the locations will be super hard! I don't know how we will get through the entire sheet lol











We didn't know what to play next so I just suggested The Castles of Burgundy.

It felt like a while since we last played so it was a good 40 minute option. I felt I didn't have to think too much with this one.

OMG I JUST NEEDED A DAMN 3 ROLLED. UGH yeah all first round I didn't manage to complete a single region. I needed a 3 and I kept rolling double 6's or 5s or anything but a 3.

Ron managed to score a bunch of points in the first round and I new that my winning this game was just not happening. I managed to score like 40+ points in the final scoring but it was still so far away from winning. He completed his SUPER HUGE region and that was the end of me.

I still played out the game but I knew it was over. I didn't manage to fill any region larger than 3 sized so yeah, that was a fail. There was one round I had forgot to grab the coin and I could have bought a cool tile or something away from Ron. That hurt me most. I remembered the next round and took my buck but yah it was too late!

I will just have to win next time!















Friday night Ron and I got to playing several games. I had been wanting to try my hand at Princess Jing again.

I think I really knew how to outwit Ron. I can't give away all my secrets, but I think I know the key to winning now. Spoiler alert, I won this game.

Ron kept forgetting everything is knew by way of the mirror. I was following his every move and i knew where his mirror was at all times.

I was moving my decoy and princess rarely but, it was enough to confuse him.

I was actually playing the game very well this time, so it is no surprise that I ended up winning. It was awesome. It is even more awesome that I know the techniques I used in order to make it happen. We will see if it holds up for next time though.

Having fun with this fast abstract 2p game.








I felt like trying the super hard version of Okey Dokey.

We hadn't actually tried it without having the wilds in play before. I wanted to see if this was something we would be able to accomplish.

No of course we weren't able to accomplish this. We got past mid way, but we had opposite cards. I had all of the cards we needed at that very moment to make it happen. Ron had all the end cards needed in the final rows. Yeah, it was pretty unfortunate.

I do think that it is possible, but we need a few more plays. It is becoming more and more clear what our goals should be for early game. Still hard to pull off though.











It had been far too long since my last and only play of Seeland. I wanted to play again and see if this was a big box game I wanted to keep around.

After playing again, I have to say I quite enjoy this game. There is something very nice about it. You are moving around a rondel and playing to an open area on the game board. Trying to get groupings of as many points as you can manage. The other player is trying to do the same but better than you.

It is quite an abstract game and one that I very much enjoy. You can find this game $20 or less and for the value the game play is there all day. I really will have to try to get this played more. I want to try with 3 people, But I have a feeling it is going to be best with 2p maybe 3p. I doubt 4p game will be that great.

This game I had control over so much. I was easily winning the end game majorities for most collected black pawns on the board and the largest scoring.

Yeah I won this game. I was definitely on a roll for the winnings.

So the verdict is this game is not ready to leave the collection and a game I want to play more of. I hope that I can remember to pull it out on game days in the future. It is a neat game for sure.













Trying to find other titles in the collection I hadn't played in a long while. I decided it was time to try my hand against Ron's in Jutaku.

This is a speed game to try and get the buildings built before your opponants. You have to use some number of pieces build some number of stories high in a defined space on the card you selected.

Ron is super mean to me. He lets me get a win for the first round and then he wins the next one. The I get the 3rd one and he gets the 4th. I get the 5th and he gets the 6ths and 7th. After you get 4 cards the game ends. Sure I got 3 cards and he got 4 cards, but if my value is larger then I win.

No his value was larger x3 times my score it was insane. He goes, "yeah I let you get the first one so I can plan out the card I am doing worth double what you are- then I complete it in the second round. Then I do that again." Ughhh make I hate him!


Yeah he won that game it was a demolishing. He always win this game. I just suck at it! I do find it really fun though!













Saturday was game day and Steve came and requested 7 Wonders. Adam, and Pat joined us for a 4 player game. We played with Projects, Leaders, Cities.

I am so looking forward to the extra cards for Cities and leaders coming at Essen.

Anyway, I was so excited to play this since i play it so rarely, when it is suggested I really just go with it and try to make it happen. I love this game.

Thsi time I had the choice of Giza and Rhodes and well I love Giza so that worked for me.

There were a few critical errors I had this game. We were playing with projects and I just didn't do any military. I ended up losing my blue card for not helping build the project which was 5 points. Then the final round I lost 3 points because I didn't have a military card to lose. I ended up pitching the military card for $3 which didn't help me at all so In the end it was a net 7 points for not helping build the projects. It was terrible!

I really needed to help but I had like no money or no special materials. I just completed my wonder super fast and then tried to worry about something else. It was a mess and I ended up not winning. Pretty sure Adam had us for the win that game. Pat was just a few points ahead of me and Steve behind me.

It was a great game, I wish we played it right then and there again. I hope we get to play it again soon.











Felix hadn't gotten the chance to play A Feast for Odin. I was more than happy to play this since it had been a long while since I last played and really, any Uwe games I would love to play!

It took some convincing, but We got Steve to join in. He had played once before and was a bit hesitant to play again. Since I was teaching it anyway, he joined in and basically relearned it. He was saying it takes a few games to play this one and he had only played once so it was a chance to try again.

Felix looked and seemed tortured all game. He was claiming to enjoy it, however. I told him a score to aim for and he was stressing over that. I said winning scored might be over 100 but in a 2p game Ron and I get much higher. So he was just aiming to get over 100. Steve missed that goal to work towards. He was just working on his home board very thoroughly.

I was getting exploration boards and houses and didn't even worry about the home board until after. I should have gotten more exploration boards because I had extra pieces and they weren't being used. It was so wasteful and I know I could have done more.

I did end up winning with like 102 and Felix was disappointed with 97. I know I could have done better so that was sad for me. I think Steve was at like 70 or something.

It is really hard for me to guide people in this game because there are just so many options and choices to explore. I am not a great guide but I think the explanation went over very well. Felix knew all the options and just struggled with a path to take.

I like it with 3 players a lot. Very cool game.













We had some time while others were finishing so 6 of us played 2 games of Streams.

This is my go-to filler games that lasts 5 minutes. It is easy to teach and play so why not!?

I think 3 people were learning this time. We ended up playing 2 times since we have the time.

Yeah I definitely didn't win either of the games. I was pulling the tiles in all the wrong directions. Nothing seemed to pay off at all.

It was interesting though I think the winning score was like 32 and 43 or something very slow. No one was having any of the luck this time. People had fun trying though. It can be a loud game haha.







People went different ways and then 4 of us ended up playing Jump Drive.

It is a cute game. I am happy to own it. I don't mind it. Felix taught 2 others and we played. It went over pretty well. I definitely think the better you know the game the better you are at the game.

I am still pretty new to this game, but it is pretty easy to pick up and play.

I didn't do half bad but Felix absolutely destroyed us! I was just over 40 points and the other 2 playing were like 30s. Felix was well over 50. I would have had a pretty great next turn though. Isn't that always the way?!

OH well, happy to play it and give it some life. It is a nice little game.









I had really wanted to play Chimera Station with more than 2p. Managed to talk Shrey into playing and mark showed up just in time. Ron was also with us because that is how the table situation worked out. It was nice to play with Ron!

This game is very mean with 4 players. It was even a bit chaotic. Just on the 2 plays I have played, I have to say the 2p game is a lot better. There felt to be more control over what you were doing. Ron and I were also playing slightly wrong and I would have scored a lot more points in the first game. There is a lot of similar but different terms being used in the game. like "lose" "detach" "pay" and they actually all mean different things. We figured it all out.

I like the randomness in the buildings and all they can do. Some definitely seemed OP and much better than others. The command ship building tile is just crazy and too good. 3 commands is just a lot.

Mark was very far in the lead this game. He was scoring all of the time and I tried to get on that bandwagon. I was also working up my tech track to get the 8 points. I scored those 8 points maybe 7 times in the game. I was doing extremely well with that. I was also the only one with claws and was bumping people left and right with my claws.

Since I was the only one with ability to grow to a 3 size, I was using that to the best of my ability.

In the end I won. I could have won by more if I realized that Mark was scoring for opened spaces on the building track. I could have refilled it. I didn't quite lap the Ron this time but I was close. I was well over 200 points and Ron was mid 100s. I don't think Ron liked it very much. Everyone was meh about this game. I definitely think 2p or maybe 3p is the way to go.













NOW WAS THE TIME! Steve was available and Joe was there so we had the 3 player game of Ginkgopolis.

We played with the full board. We didn't play with the 7 card discards. We also played with the holding a card back.

Steve was passing to me and he did a very good job of holding cards and keeping them from me. I was not getting passed the cards I wanted to situate my self properly.

This game was incredibly close. I mean I needed to get more in game points is really what needed to happen. Joe had an amazing last play that gave him a 11 section region of the map ALL in his color and this gave him the game. He had won with 68 points and I was just behind with 65. It was sadness for me! He was crying the whole game, with Steph is always so lucky- Steph this and Steph that. He was even disappointed in his win. hahaha It was still always a great time. Steve is enjoying the games too I think he was just at 60 so he wasn't too far behind either.











It had been a long time since I last played Round House. Since this game has a new expansion coming at Essen, I really wanted to try it out, but I wanted to remember the base game first.

Thankfully Star was teaching the game to Jess and Derek, since I think I would haven't have taught it as well. Star really likes this game and has played it quite a bit.

We played slightly wrong where you pass the marks on the score track and get an order card. You could instead choose to take an amulet, Star didn't know that rule and I should have remembered, but I didn't. So we played incorrectly and it only would have helped me win the game more.

As it stood I did extremely well this time. Derek was sitting on the one valuable space the whole game and Jess and I were like WTF. This is the main reason why I think 5 players is best for this one. You only get 1 pawn and people can't sit on a space the whole game. I think it is not in the spirit of the game, but it just happens that way.

I was happy to beat Star he has won the past times I have played with him. So he definitely know how to play well. Poor Derek, I lapped him. I was at like 94 points and he was at about 34. He didn't do so great. haha I still think everyone enjoyed the game.

I look forward to seeing what the expansion might add.















We had 6 players at this point and we decided on Auf Teufel komm raus.

It had been far too long since I played this game and we were all looking for a good easy time.

This game was going crazy amazing for everyone. I don't think anyone busted for the first 4 rounds or something. As soon at 3 people were in the final box ready to win on the next turn- EVERYONE STARTED BIDDING CRAZY. It was like bets of 300 or even 400 were being made. It was total cuckoo house. Insane bets left and right. Eventually I came to my senses and bet around 130 each turn. Everyone was still trying to make up the ground they lost. This game lasted like 5 extra rounds because of the crazy bets.

It is hard to believe that I was the only sensible one in the group for the ending of the game. I spent like 3 turns in a row as low man bid. And for 3 turns in a row I was the one and only to make my bid, or at least 2 of them. One turn I bet 150 and then proceeded to pull a crazy amount from the tokens. WHY can't I pull that when I bet that much? It never seems to work out when I do.

Anyway, that was sad for me. But, I got the bonus 100 bucks that time.

I ended up winning so that was a nice surprise. Shrey lost his mind somewhere in that game and was betting insane amounts, but he had us all laughing a lot and it was just a joy to play this game again.














Hilarious Pic taken by Jess- I just busted!





We were on a Push your luck kick and decided we should all play Celestia next.

Again, this was another game I haven't played in so long. I am glad we had the full 6 players for this game. It is definitely better with more players. You have more time between turns and there is a lot more laughs and attempts at bluffing.

I am just so bad at this game. I don't really trust people and jump out too soon while others make it to the end. I actually don't think anyone got a 25 point card. I was so far behind this game. I don't think I hit 40 points. Pretty sure Joe won the game before the round finished out. Not sure if we were supposed to finish the round or if someone hits 50 and it ends. Regardless, I don't think anyone would have beaten Joe's score.

It was a great game.













I convinced people to stick around for another game and we played teams of 3 each with Word Slam.

I was teamed up with Joe and Derek. Vs Ron, Shrey and Jess. Our team was the bomb. Every time I was up at plate, we got the win for the card. We were just playing hard level cards and we managed to get 4 cards before the other team got one. We decided to play a few more rounds on extreme hard and then the other team decided to start winning some rounds.

A few of the rounds were just too hard where no one scored any points. It was still a lot of fun to play with everyone. This is a pretty great game to end the night with and you really can have any number of players. Glad I picked this one up considering how much I have played it recently.









Jess and Joe just wouldn't leave. It was nearly 2am at this point. I was happy to play one more game so we did! I suggested Neos, but Joe was like wait what's Frogriders.

Well that plays in about 15 minutes so we ended up just playing that. It is super easy enough to play and teach so it went very quickly.

We have hardly played with 4 players so you score a LOT fewer points than 2 players. Because of that I definitely liked the 2 player game of this better. Jess and I actually kept the same goal card so we were both going for the red frogs. It wasn't good for me. She was doing a much better job acquiring those frogs than I was.

I got a lot of end game points but it was because I picked up a few blue cards that helped me.

I honestly have no idea who won the game. All the colors were off and I am pretty sure I didn't win. It was probably Joe, or Ron because they had special jumping powers. Joe got a lot of end game points though. Tricky. Fun though.








Sunday was football day so I get a lot fewer games played. I hate football season.

Later at night Ron and I played on game of Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science & Genius Expansion. New to me Expansion!

This game was fun, but with the expansion it really makes it a strategy game. There is drafting of the cards that are available instead of the random draw from your own deck of cards. I have to say from the one play it really changes the game a lot and for the better.

You pull all of the players cards together and make different stacks. A few new stacks are formed and there is a new scoring that happens at the end of the game. When you complete a card in hand, you get to draft from the available face up cards.

There is a lot to plan for and there is definitely more strategy.

Ron and I had a great time playing 2 player and I know that with more players it will be a lot more possibilities and board expanded. I think it will be a great time.

Ron and I actually TIED in this game and since I was the "oldest" most Wise Einstein, I won on the tie breaker. Very cool game, and I hope to play it again this week!!
















The Essen List!!!



Most Anticipated Games I Will OWN!

A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch- Quite pricey at Essen, but a game I want nonetheless. Should I wait for US release? I want this game!

Agra- Already pre ordered. Big Heavy Euro Type game. A must for any Euro player. YES!

Altiplano- I am huge on Orleans- so I am already on pre order for this game. YES!

Charterstone- Actually my friend has it on order and we will play in the coming months but it is hard not to be excited for this one!

Ex Libris- Played at GenCon and it is all the fun! I like the special puzzle. Next step up from Dream Home.

Halloween- They made it so easy to pre order so I did...

Harvest- Looks great and I am a fan of designer Trey Chambers, so I have to see what it is about!

Hunt for the Ring- Honestly, I don't know much about this game, but I have to have it. Clearly love the theme and really have been looking forward to this for a while.

Majesty: For the Realm- Easily one of my most anticipated released. Really loved my play in August.

Meeple Circus- Already have it but still excited for everyone to have it now!

Merlin- I got to play at GenCon and I definitely want to play this game more and more. Great euro.

Noria- Don't know much but gorgeous art and Stronghold games so I am interested. This is going to likely be a blind buy not knowing much.

Nusfjord- Uwe Rosenberg. Big Box. YAS!

Pummeleinhorn: Der Kekfe Marathon-
Cuz I am a kid forever and love rainbows and unicorns and cookies... do I need more of a reason?

The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game- I love Dice games so I have to play this one. Did not love the card game but I still have to have this one.

The Sanctuary: Endangered Species- Was on my watch list, but I have read so much that I know I likely enjoy this one. Sounds like a cool take on worker placement and I can't wait to find out!




Most Anticipated Expansions I WILL OWN!!

7 Wonders: Leaders Anniversary Pack & 7 Wonders: Cities Anniversary Pack- The more 7 Wonders the better!

A Feast for Odin: Lofoten, Orkney, and Tierra del Fuego- yes more please.

Die Gefährten des Marco Polo- I hope English will be available, but I can't wait to add a 5th player option and see what else is in store!

Dokmus: Return of Erefel- Played in April and loved it! Must have if you like the base game.

Fields of Arle: Tea & Trade- Already played 9 times and I can't get enough. BIG FAN and #1 expantion for me to get.

Isle of Skye: Journeyman- No idea what is included but I want it.

NMBR 9: Extra Tiles &NMBR 9: Starting Tiles- Sounds extra awesome for a game I already really enjoy. Simple addition to a great game.

Noch mal! Encore!- More score sheets = more fun!


Terraforming Mars: Venus Next- Like everyone and their mom we want more Terraforming Mars.



Games I want to check out and play maybe own!


Age of Thieves: Masters of Disguise- Expansion to a game I just bought. I want to see how it works and if I think I should own it.

Azul- Already played and enjoyed quite a bit! Cool Abstract.

Divinity Derby- I am not really into race games, but I can be persuaded by this theme.

Guilds- Bidding and city building have my attention.

Heaven & Ale- Had a great time with the prototype in April. Want to see how it was updated. Very fun game.

Indian Summer- I can't say no to an Uwe Rosenburg game, but I want to try this first.

Mystery of the Temples- More goodness from EmperorS4. PRETTTY

Otys- I can't explain how cool this game looks. I am so in and I want to push my luck and dive to the depths!

Pot de Vin- Seems like a really cool trick taking game. Very cool.

Rajas of the Ganges- Played this twice and loved it. Can't wait to see the final production!! Cool euro dice game.

Riverboat- Michael Kiesling which is always a reason to try a game.

Santa Maria- All the main components that I enjoy in a game. Civ/ tile placement/ farming/ dice

Sorcerer & Stones- Already a huge EmperorS4 fan and this just looks awesome. Very excited.




Other's that caught my eye goo


Blackwood- Definitely looks pretty and one I want to investigate.

Carcosa- Supposed to be like Carc and I love carc. Definitely getting some buzz.

Divinity Derby- I am not really into race games, but I can be persuaded by this theme.

Dragon Castle- production looks top notch. Quality stuff here and reminds me of Mahjong. Need more information.

Harvest Dice- Always interested in more dice games.

Iquazú- Don't know much about it but Haba has impressed me in the recent years so it is worth looking into.

Keyper- Key games aren't my favorite but I should try it.

The Essence- Only Demo available but it looks so cool!

The Expanse Board Game- Don't watch the show- lots of buzz.

The Game: Face to Face- interested to see the twist.






New to the Collection:
Medici(French Ed)
Can't Stop Express








Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Newly Wed- Still All The Games Are PLAYED! Learned 6 New Games! Reviews for All Including Gentes, Tesla V Edison DUEL, Mini Rails, Age of Thieves - Weekly Update With Photography***

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!




Monday night came and I had requested a game of Eclipse. Of course with all of the expansion bits. It had been far too long since my last play of this game and I was itching to play it!

I figured Joe would be interested and Geoff, but Geoff was away for work so we played with Joe's son Jared. It was a 4 player game since Ron was also playing. I made Ron sit on the diagonal from me. He always wins this game. I am just happy if I can keep up and score decently well.

This time Ron was playing my favorite race the magenta. But, I was playing the mutations. No one was playing their own color appropriately, so you will see the photos and say wait a minute. Yah I still played with the magenta ships and Ron was playing with Red ships and Joe was playing with black. Jared was playing Blue but he was Humans so it actually lined up.

All game I was focused on getting more pink tech points to I could research more and more. I was spending my research action on getting the techs though. I hardly spent time on finding the cool mutations. Of course towards thee end of the game I picked up all the ones I would have liked to have earlier game. I was trying to be focused, and I spent so many discs trying to explore and find territory. I found the wildcard tech that allowed me to build on any planet, but just the turn before I spent my research on a pink one. So that was a waste for me.

I had some pretty cool ships going on but they have like terrible initiative, so it was essentially pointless. I needed more computers and higher energy reserve. It was just not going according to plan!

In a last second attempt in the final round of the game I initiated 3 battles. I managed to at least fill up my point track with tokens of value. But, it wasn't great since I ended up losing all of the battles. It was a disgrace!

Joe and I TIED for 2nd place which was still like 20 points behind Ron. I think we were at 52. It was sad! It was a pretty great score, even, but Ron completely blew us out of the water. Poor Jared was about 40. But yeah, he was less confident than I was going in and he had played it in Feb.

It was cool though. I was happy to play this one again since I rarely get to play it. Cool game.






















I was talked into one more game of Tichu. Didn't really have to twist my arm this time. I have been on such a huge Tichu streak recently and really enjoy playing it.

This game I was paired up with Dan. That works for me since he knows I can be crazy at times...

Dan and I were off to a very good start and commanding lead. Putting Bill and Ron into the negatives fairly early and kept them lower for a lot of the game. Eventually they had a few good rounds where they were catching up. We were sitting around the 500-700 range for a while but slowly climbed to the top. We were in striking distance for like 3 turns, but just didn't get the cards to support it.

It finally came around and Dan and I won so it was a bit anti-climactic. But I am still happy to have played and win! Dan had several Bombs all game and that certainly helped us!

Awesome game.









Tuesday night Ron picked the game Whitehall Mystery. This has certainly been a big hit for me and us. We have been playing this weekly since we got it.

This time it was my turn to play as Jack! I had to really work this time to make ground and not just get caught in a few turns. It was definitely a nail biter game for me. I had Ron biting his lip for most of it.

I was nearly sure that I would even win this game. I ALMOST HAD IT! It is impossible to win this game and you would be a liar if won or you were playing against non intuitive players. I get it this type of game won't be for everyone but I really do love it.

I made it all the way until the final hour and was just steps away from my hideout before I was caught. It was so sad though and he was on my trail several times through the game so I had to find another way around. My final hide out was not at all convenient and it was like the worst of all the locations so I should have worked around getting there sooner in the game to help with the mess of the bottom left quadrant.

Ugh I just love this game and I WAS SO CLOSE!!!













I wanted to play a few more games so I suggested Cribbage.

It had been far too long since I requested this and the board was calling to me. I reached for the closest deck of cards and found my Princess Mononoke deck which is always a delight. Hard to see the text but the amazing art and scenes from the movie make up for it. I really do just love that movie.

This game was going very well in my favor. So much so it was a long joke during the game that I would skunk him. Unfortunately, the final few hands really pulled him back in the game and slowed me down.

I mean I still won the game so there was that! But it wasn't as epic as it could have been. It is a great card game. Classic!













We finished the night with a fast game of Hero Realms.

I really enjoy this game. It is a nice change up from the star Realms addiction I have. I still am very much playing Star Realms all of the time on the App and am still in the league on BGG. (gold tier!) Ron and I still play on the app a lot when we are out to dinner or whatever. (yea I eat sometimes).

This is the card game that we have to pull out and manually play- no app included. That is cool.

It was a great game for me. I picked yellow as a deck to focus on this time and to worked wonders. I eventually got some green cards to balance it out. It was super strong though and I was basically unbeatable. I got him so far in the red zone and was able to take him out with ease after that. I just had a killer deck! It was awesome! Boom I love winning by so much! Makes me feel good!

Still loving this one. I am a big fan of the series of games. Star Realms is just so freaking amazing!


















Wednesday Ron and I got to playing a bunch of games! I wanted to play a bunch of games we hadn't played this year so we started with Viceroy.

I really like this game and the quality of it. I love the gems and the playmat and the artwork. It is very nice. I actually like it 2 players because then if you are picking the same card to bid on then someone else doesn't get a huge bonus. 2 player is just head to head and I think it works very well. The challenge to puzzle your board together better than the others is a fun challenge.

It was a re-learning game, but I remembered most of the rules but Ron found all the nitty gritty rules for us. I built up my pyramid very well actually.

It is a fun puzzle of a game and resource management as well. I am glad we decided to play it and bring it to life again. It is a game I am happy to play when requested, but it never gets requested so there is that. I do enjoy it though and think it needs more love.

I am nearly certain I won this game, but I just don't remember - so that means Ron probably won. He was doing just as well as me with points, I do think he ended up getting more combos and scroll points. I was scoring for scrolls but didn't end up getting ANY! bad planning.
















Next up the very small boxed card game called Emu Ranchers. A game gifted to me on my birthday! Bout time I got around to playing it!

We learned it last year and I had it on my wishlist. It is actually a very nice 2 player card game. You are trying to collect sets of emus of the same color. There are a lot of great pulling decision's since all of the cards are multi-use for different colors you have to pick your sets wisely.

This game we played 2 rounds and the best score from the combined rounds won the game. Ron had an amazing first round. I think I only scored 2 points even. I was playing it super safe. Ron was a risk taker. It ended up hurting him since he started some pens but they didn't work out so much and while he gained tons of points he also lost lots of points. But he still ended up ahead from round one.

I had a total comeback moment in the second round and ended up winning the game! It was awesome. This is a really clever game and I enjoy it a lot. This could easily be in box o game sized box but I will take a standard pack of cards size. It is a great game for travel and I will have to bring it around with me for that.















Final game of the night was a very fast game of Stellar Conflict.

This is a super fast game. You have to draft some ships for their value and it forms your deck of cards. But, the actual game takes place in 1 minute time. Then you have to go through the motions of combat.

All in all it is a 5-10 minute game at the longest. It is really clever and fun real time game.

I think it works well with 2 players but with more players there is total chaos and hilarity ensues! You really feel the pressure when the clock starts to get down all your cards. But you want to place them in a strategic manner.
You don't want to shoot your own ships (what usually happens to me), and you want to defend your cargo... but if you play all of your ships too early then you might still have time on the clock, but you have to play them fast since you don't want to NOT play all your ships.

It is a clever game and We had a lot of fun.

This might have been the first time I ever won this game. I absolutely destroyed him. He was blowing up his own ships and I was on point and hit something with every card. Got so much of his cargo too. It was no competition and that always makes me happy!













Thursday night fun group! I ended up playing a bunch of cool games! We started with a 3 player game of Lords of Vegas.

Jeff hadn't played this game before but Riley and I had and I gave Riley the rules to figure it out. I remembered it not being very hard and once we got going it was easier to remember everything.

This is a great game. I am not sure Jeff was enjoying it, but he was doing very well. Riley was absolutely baller. Extremely lucky with the roll of the dice and card draws.

I was all in on the red property and that panned out very poorly for me. I should have know to avoid red since I love it so much. Yeah I was in the very poor slums of vegas - basically the old strip where the sketchy gambling happens with the $1 tables.

It went very very very poorly for me. Hey I am happy that I managed to get like 14 points or something!

Riley and Jeff were neck and neck at the end and Riley could have been a few steps higher had he played a bit differently but yeah he still ended up winning regardless so there is that.

It was just humorous how bad it was for me! I had a great time playing and I really like gambling hahaha. On the contrary, I don't think Jeff liked it so much. But, Riley and I had fun!















Riley took off and I taught Jeff how to play Hanamikoji.

This is such a great go to 2player game when you are looking for a fast title. I taught him and we played a few rounds and it was all over in 15 minutes. Boom it was awesome.

The first round I really thought I had won the game. I was not at enough points or influence. Last second snag from what I thought was secure.

We had to play a second round and in this round I lost the 5s and he was able to get 4 points of influence. I can't believe I lost. I mean I guess I am an amazing teacher.

He really enjoyed the game too. It was awesome.











Next up we played a 2 player game of Kribbeln.

We each just played a 2 player game not each playing 2 humans. It is pretty funny since Jeff is terrible at rolling dice and I am equally bad at rolling dice. I am just especially bad!!

I was winning for most of the game by just a few points. But, in the final section I managed to mess up so hard and lose the game. he won by just a few points. I could bhave had at least one more point had I played it safe, but I took my chance and rerolled and it didn't pay off when I could have scored something it ended up being zipola!

Awesome game and I love it!!!







While waiting for Jared to play the final game of the night, Joe and I played a game of Träxx.

Turned out to be a wise choice since it took up right to the point when Jared was ready to play. This game plays out very quickly.

I just love trying to best guess the correct pattern to make on your board. It is just fun to use a dry erase marker!

Joe and I actually TIED this game. A score I remember and it was annoying!! WE TIED!!!!!!! I can't believe it! Haha it was played in like 8 minutes so I can actually believe it. It was still fun to play this one again. I enjoy it.












Final game of the night was a very fast 3 player game of Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science.

I really wanted to teach this to Joe and everyone else had left so we recruited Jared to join in. Joe is all about Math as it is his profession and all.

They both picked up the game really fast and I don't think we played 5 rounds before it was over. I always like playing this game to try and see how the formations take shape. Some of the inspiration cards work so well together they ruin other players goal cards. I know Jared had a card that was directly related to my card and he made me lose all hope for my inspiration.

Joe was young Einstein and he totally kicked out butts with 26 points. I was second with 20 and Jared 19. So it was pretty close but Young Einstein didn't even get his points by stars. I think he only got 2 stars from other players. he managed to get a lot of the common goal cards and complete several of his inspirations. Well done.

They both really liked the game a lot. Yay! I picked a good one.

I really need that expansion. I hope soon!










Saturday was game day and we drove down to Natick MA for a local quarterly event. Ron and I showed up and David was finishing up a game and we soon started learning Mini Rails. New to me!

I was interested in learning this game and less than most because trains. But David has been all about it since he got it so I was more curious. We played the full count of 5 players with Jess.

It is an interesting push your luck game with a lot of screwage. There is a line up of pawns and 2 of them are yours. It dictates turn order and across from the pawns are discs that correspond to the companies.

Each round of 6 rounds you will be using one of your pawns to gain a share of a company (colored disc) to your personal board. With the other pawn you will have to expand a company on the board. Disc to board and when you do this you will either increase (white) or Decrease (red) that company by the number of dots on the location. All players then have to adjust their stock accordingly.

Each round there will be one disc remaining and that disc represents the color that will score at the end of the game. It means you can remove from your negative track that color and it also means you can score positive for that color. If there is NO disc of a particular color, that disc can not score positive points. You will always score negative points (unless the disc gets removed).

There is a lot of screw you moments in the game. Its all fine but it is actually too much for my liking which is why I found this game only alright. I went first in the game, I didn't know what I was doing so I took tock in a company. Then the next two people took the same colored stock and hit me hard with it. for no reason other than to screw me over.

I was done then and there and ended up losing, of course. Things like that really tick me off. Clearly if and when I play this game again, I will play differently. I get now what I did wrong, and I think I can fix it for the next time. I will definitely try the game again, but I am not really itching to do so.

Ron and David were neck and neck for the win all game and supporting the same stocks that were hard to screw over. Now the board is ever changing for any game you play. The hex tiles are double sided and can be arranged differently from game to game.

It ended with David just a few points in the lead for the win this game.

I think I was dead last so yeah, that was uncool. I am just left with an uneasy feeling. I am glad it was fast though and would definitely try again.















He help lighten the mood I ended up learning Carreau. New to me!

I love learning dex games. They really do lift my spirits I just have so much fun with them.

This game was lots of fun. Players go around taking turns (no realtime aspect here). You have 3 cubes you are trying to catapult into the ring to try and get closest to the ball in the court. If you are the closest at the end of the round you get a point. If you have several dice that are the closest then you get one point per die if you are the only one that is closest. If you manage to knock the ball out of the court then you get 3 points and basically win.

First player to 5 points wins!

We were going and I was having my own little party each time I managed to get the cube into the court, which was not very often. I think I somehow managed to score one point though. I had a ton of fun!

Ron managed to chip out the ball when he already had 3 points so that was a win right then and there! Right after we were talking about how it would be difficult to get the ball out of the ring. haha Ron just always has to prove everyone wrong.

I had an amazing time playing and hope to play it again.















There were a bunch of people around and I thought it would be a good time to bring out Rescue Polar Bears: Data & Temperature.

I had just the right crowd. Jess, Scott and Donna. All people who went AWWWWWWWWWW when I took out the polar bears. Which is the correct response to have when playing this game.

Since it was the second time I was playing I needed the rules for a few minor rules and set up. But, otherwise we were ready to go within a short while.

I was so happy Donna decided to join in because she loved those polar bears I think even more than me which is saying a lot! Everyone was definitely in the spirit of the game.

You aren't necessarily trying to save the polar bears this game but collect the data and manage the polar bears as best you can. This was the first time playing with the full count of 4 players. I learned what the other colored boats were doing. So Jess was green and her boat allowed her to take an action to place 2 data tokens on the map! This was critical for our game and I doubt we would have won without this ability. Donna had SUPER fast speed and could move around and collect data and cards for us, but she had no holding area for the bears. Scott had extra capacity for bears and my upgraded ship allows for more action points.

We had a few rounds where we were critically in danger of being too hot and losing the game. For most of the game we didn't need helicopters, Then all of a sudden we needed some and we were low! Fortunately we didn't need many more and kept all the bears under control despite all of the ice melting happening after each turn.

We came out victorious in the end!! It was awesome! We saved them all!












Scott's awesome pic of us in the end with guest cheerleader Kim!






Same people with one more for a 5 player game of Meeple Circus.This has been a huge hit with players and how could it not be! So colorful and bright and fun!

Music and all just puts everyone in a dexterity kind of way. Scott is a rules lawyer and disagreeing with a lot of situations that I would have found acceptable if people could pull them off they should! The rules are very unclear on what is actually acceptable and what is not. I am a bit more lenient with the rules and Scott is more adamant about it. So we went with the strict ruling this game.

I did alright the first round but I was in the middle of the pack for almost all of the game. Some folks had some clever stacking abilities and Donna and I were matched in the first round with exactly the same pieces. She managed to stack faster and score 1 additional point from me though for Ta DAing.

The final round I had to use one had the whole time and that was super challenging. I Had GRAND ideas for how I wanted to stack them all but I just couldn't do it with only one hand. It kept toppling over and I was sad!

I still scored something but it could have been EPIC!!

Donna Took commanding lead in the final round and ended up winning the game. I think I ended in like 4th. Haha it was pretty sad, but jess and Scott are getting better and better at this game the more we play!

Awesome time!











I somehow got talked into playing Akaba. New to me!

David has a way of setting up a game and waiting until I am done playing to say "here play this!" and I can't help but agree! It is a silly Haba game where you are blowing your dude on a flying carpet around. I can't explain it properly, without laughing, but you are blowing your dude to try and get into market stalls to collect the goods from your pile of goods. First person to find all 5 goods wins the game.

Again, I am willing to try things once, so I agreed to play. It is not a pretty game in my eyes. It is an older title though.

It was a 4 player game, and I basically got nowhere fast. I kept falling over which ends your turn. Scott was rolling the dice very well causing my turn to end quickly as well! I was socked when I managed to get even 1/5 goods!

it was neck and neck with Scott and Dave until the end but Dave managed to take the win this time. He has it so highly rated and for me to was a complete bust. I just didn't like it at all.

Just wasn't for me.











Ron joined and David left but the 4 of us played Harvest Island.

Ron explained it and the others were learning it. It was a 4 player game and I am not convinced 4 players is the best count. I certainly don't care either way and will play with whomever wants to play. I do find the game plays much slower with 4 players though. It wasn't as quick as I might have expected from the first play. But Ron and I are speed demons.

I am actually not sure the people we played with liked it so much or just sort of liked it. Scott said he was a mean little game. I have to agree it can definitely be mean at times. When people are hate drafting or try to cause weather strikes. Simply getting lots of seed cards so you can over take someone elses standee can come off as mean too.

I still like it. It doesn't feel as mean as Mini Rails though. I just like pushing my luck for the timing. Timing is everything in this game.

This game I was doing very well. I collected a bunch of standees and had a lot of seeds in hand for the timing. I needed one more turn to really make it effective though and harvest my fields. Nope it always stops short. I did well, I actually can't recall if I won or if Ron won. I think I might have still won since I did pretty well.

I still enjoy this one. Next time I want to try with 3 players! Perhaps this weekend!














David, Shrey and I found a 3 player game of La Granja. David hadn't played it and he really likes the dice game. Pretty sure he is the only one.

I mean I think the dice game is fine, but for its length I would rather play something else.

I ended up teaching this one and it was going pretty well. We had some really terrible rolls. I mean REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY bad. I don't think we saw #3 rolled until round 3 or 4. It was all money all the time. Everyone was rich.

I was buying my goods for the first part of the game. Eventually I managed to ship 3 crates to get the crate per round in round 4. It wasn't worth it. I was giving up valuable goods in its place. I ended up in second place far below what Shrey was winning with. David was just under my score though. It was close though and I might be wrong. all I know is Shrey absolutely killed us.

Everytime I try to get crates it fails me miserably! But I always like to try for some stupid reason.











Joe Showed up! I talked to Ray and Ron joined in for a 4 player game of Nations. we were also using the expansion in this game.

Ray was just learning the game but he picked it up rather quickly. Joe takes forever to take a turn anyway, so Ray had plenty of time to figure out as he went along. Thanks to Ron for teaching.

I choose a cool board for Ray that gave an automatic 2 food per turn which is nice for a beginner. I choose Korea for myself since I like a challenge. I always am drawn to the golden age bonuses. This game I was getting 2 free architects with each Golden Age that I was acquiring. This is always a downfall for me. I never seem to make the golden ages work, but I tried SUPER hard this game to make it work. I would have the wonder on tap and ready to go.

Luck was really in my favor this game. I was getting free architects left and right. So many golden ages coming out and it was glorious.

I was incredibly lucky that in the final 4 (!!!!) rounds not one military card showed up, just after Joe covered up his military for good. It was crazy. I was actually playing a very good game!

I didn't get majorly hosed in the final ages as I always seems to get in this game. It was all just working perfectly.

It all paid off for me in the end since I managed to win this game! I WON!!!!!! I beat the Ron and Joe! It was a miracle! I might have to retire from this game for good! I WON! Simply crazy. It was amazing and it felt awesome. I haven't won this game in years! I think I only had like 48 points or something. Joe came in second and Ron 3rd in the 30s.

WOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Korea for the win! I loved getting all those wonders it was so much fun!


















As soon as that game had ended I was called in to be a 4th player in a game I had been anticipating called Gentes. New to me!

I didn't hear much about this game, but what I did hear I knew I wanted to play it. I ended up pre ordering it, and I am glad I did. The verdict is a good one. I do worry about playing 2 player however, I don't think it will be as nice.

The idea for this game is to get the most points. There is a lot of point salad in this game and I can see complaints being too dry euro for my taste from various people. Stuff like this don't phase me and I still see the game for what it is and enjoy it.

This game is actually very simple to understand and play. I don't really consider this a civ game and was expecting more of a build up going in. But, for the length of the game I think it worked just fine. Scott wasn't a big fan, he was expecting more theme and play I think.

Anyway, Matt taught me and Kimberly how to play this game. Lou also had read the rules and was willing to help and teach the game.

The game is actually very simple once you understand the icons. Each turn you are taking a chip from the board to perform an action. Some chips require that you take time as well. When you take time you get tokens in 1 or 2 time stamps. You then place these chips on your player board. You take one action then the turn moves to the next player. Once your board has filled you are done for the round. There are 6 rounds and 3 ages.

One action might be to draft a card for some number of $. Say if you paid $6 you can take a card from the $6 slot of possibly a few lower costing cards depending on the space and how much money you end up paying. You could take the action to play a card. In order to play a card you must meet the requirements of the card and have already collected the people needed on the card in order to play it. When you play a card you get some number of printed points, and if you have any matching symbols you get to score per one type of symbols printed on the card.

There is an action to acquire people and they are lined up and when you do that action the people you selected to hire are moved to the back of the line thus making them more expensive.

Finally there are building actions. This is pretty critical early game. You really need to build on the map. You can collect different incomes if you have houses in each of the regions. At the end of each round you can collect from one house in each of the 3 regions. This is huge! Do this early would be my advise. The thing here is that if you play int eh same region all houses trigger when you do that. There is another section for houses which don't apply to the map so much but apply to taking a special action depending on your location in that area. I didn't venture into that, but people were definitely getting some good bonuses from there.

There are 3 different goals to work towards for the first person to do them gets a bonus 8 points while everyone else who does it gets 4.

I do actually think the management of the people is the most interesting part of the game. Each of the 3 tracks has 2 people one on each side, so the amount of people you can get of a particular trade is finite if you wanted to have some or any of the other half. The cards work out that you can make lots of interesting combos happening. They definitely lead you on a particular path.

In the game is suggests starting with an already balanced starting position. In later games there are advanced rules for drafting and obtaining your own choice for starting people. I look forward to trying that.

I got a pretty good starting combo though and I was very pleased with how it played out for me. I found a lot of cards to line up and I was scoring a lot of in game points from the cards I was playing. I didn't focus so much on the buildings but I did get some early ones down that were helping me with the Round to Round $ situation.

I was actually pretty well off for money and was making a decent amount all game thanks to my starting cards. O max out the possible income I was getting then I picked up a card that said spend $3 for a point up to 5 times so I was then spending my money on that!

Kim was seemingly doing things better than me though I was ahead on points but she was honing in on the common goals and managed to get 2x8 point tokens. I did get the 3rd but I was convinced I was going to lose.

The final round everyone is wanting to play all their final cards and make it all work. In the final age, all of the cards you can draft are big high scoring cards so you can get lots of points. If they are in your hand at the end of the game you gin half the points if you still meet the requirements, or you will end up losing half the points if you don't meet them.

I could complete my cards that I had left over, and I surmised Kim could too. She wasn't able to though and gained 7 and lost 6. Had she gained the 13 should would have easily passed over me and won the game. As it stood I made it over 100 points and everyone was short of it. I don't think I lapped anyone, but it was definitely close. I did extremely well that game. Everyone was playing for the first time so it lasted a bit longer than it might normally.

I think I could easily teach this one as it is pretty straight forward. I really liked it and am glad I have it on a pre-order with some other games. I look forward to playing again!















Thanks Dan for taking such a great pic.




The final game of the night was me Ron and Joe playing a 3 player game of Ginkgopolis.

Honestly, I don't like this whole discarding thing but I have been rolling with the punches. I like the alternate set up of the board, I like the holding of the cards. I will request at least holding a card for the next game we play, probably this weekend.

This game was not going in my favor. I was in desperate need of workers and no one was displacing me so I could get them back and re use them. I was trying though!

I kept having to pass Ron awesome cards. I made some silly choices early on because I didn't want Ron to get some good cards. It was just all crazy. I still didn't do half bad though and came in second to Ron's winning score. Joe was just getting hosed all day and somehow blaming me. As it always is!

I am just happy to be able to play this game weekend after weekend. It has beena huge joy for me! Just my #1 after all. Ron had to win a game this day so I suppose it had to be Ginkgopolis. He won that one and I won Nations... everyone is happy! I am more happy since I never wins Nations!

One day Joe will want to branch out and explore the Ginkgopolis expansion. I hope!







Sunday was more of a lazy day for me but Ron was kind and read the rules for a few games so we could play. We started the day with Artana's new release called Tesla vs. Edison: Duel. New to me!

This is a game that was recently KS and sold out at GenCon. I have heard some cool things and I am not gonna lie I am not really a history buff. The theme is above me, if you will. I know several people who are very much into this theme and history including the Ron!

This is a 2 player only game and fits very nicely on the stack of other 2p boxed games such as 7 Wonders Duel, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small etc. I like that it is all perfectly square- as I am sure many gamers will appreciate.

This is a drafting and tug of war type of game. Each player has a different set of goals to try and accomplish to win the game. It is possible that both inventors will succeed in their goals at the same time so you continue into the next round. There are only 3 rounds, it is a super quick game so if both players succeed in the 3rd round then you have to go to the tie breaker which is whomever has the most control over the states. It is not whomever has the most points, which is cool.

In the game there are several different actions that you can be taking but you have a hand of 3 cards. Each turn you play a card and will perform the actions on the card. Actions might be as simple as getting points, or they might be to gain stocks, Or the gear would be to take control of an industry type to gain those stocks. Some other actions might be to Electrify a city, Of influence a location so the other player can not gain a city card in that area.

Every time you hit 3 points on the score track you get a bonus action of your choosing. After you play your card, you get to add your personal stock to the correct location, or you can sell stock for a free action. The more of one type of stock you have in a given area the more influence points you have in the area. Since it is a tug of war type game you really want to keep your control, but sometimes it is more beneficial to pitch a stock to get that bonus action for something more pertinent to the situation directly at hand.

This game I was playing as Hiram Maxim and his winning conditions were to have 3 different stocks for 3 minor companies AND be ahead of the other player by 6 or more points on the point track. Ron's winning condition as Tesla was to control the most power companies in each of the 3 states.

There is no real direct conflict or removal of other players stock. But, you are trying to steal the industry tokens and take the influence tokens in your favor over the cities. There is some push back from the other player which is interesting.

The first round we decided not to draft the action cards, since we really didn't know left from right or have a game plan. After the first round it was clear as day what I needed to do and we decided to draft. This was a lot more effective in crafting my hand to suit me better. I did a bit of hate drafting though since I knew Ron wanted a card I ended up taking it so he wouldn't get it. I wonder if the game becomes more like that with time.

I have to say I enjoyed this game a lot more than I anticipated. Easily one of the best tug of war games I have played. There is a lot more going on in this game and I simply love drafting cards so its fitting. It really stands out in the 2p small boxed games that I have and have played so I anticipate playing this one a fair amount of times.

I wonder if it helps that I totally won because of the tie breaker rules. We both had completed our goals by the end of round 3 so we had to revert back to the tie breaker. I had the most majorities over the states 2/3 and I won the game! It was Epic! I am just a master at manipulating stocks and companies I suppose.

I had a great time learning and playing this game. I look forward to playing it again this week!
































Ron had read the rules to Age of Thieves. New to me!

I saw this at Essen last year and was definitely interested, but worried on space coming back to the states. I ended up not buying it. I then found it on the ding and dent shelf at gencon at the coolstuff booth. Since I can't restrain myself from buying games, I picked it up. Several friends over seas have enjoyed this title so I thought it would be a safe bet.

In the game you are a thief trying to steal the ruby in the middle of the board. All thieves are working against each other to try and obtain this and other gems scattered on the board. The main goal is to gain the ruby and get out accordingly. If no one gets out with the ruby in time then the player with the most gem points and escapes is then the winner.

It is such an interesting game and very abstract. Each turn you gain a card from the action deck and you have a hand of cards with a few permanent cards that can be used each round like movement. Then we draw an event card and resolve the event if there is something to be done. We also add a gem to the board. Some events might be thieves get 2 bonus movement this turn if they do a sneak action. Something like that.

Next the guards roll for initiative for the round. The guards can see 4 spaces away and if they see a thief they move 3 spaces closer to that thief. If they ever land on a thief that thief has to go to jail. Players then use their Action points to allocate to the cards they want to play. Depending on how many AP cubes you place on a card that will resolve first in order with the most down to the least with the guards activating at the point the dice roll suggests.

You can always plan for the guards (unless and event card says after planning) so you can sort of anticipate where they will be. But so many cards allow players to move guards in range. So players will try and sabotage other players into getting caught. You want to make sure you are planning for any scenario. The actions carry out and players take their turns with initiative. If someone finds the ruby then the new red event deck will be used and we move into the end game. Players have 5 turns to try and escape with the ruby.

That is essentially the game in a nut shell. There are a lot of other little rules and bits to work around on the board but it is the idea.

In our game I was like I need more turns to get it all done! I managed to manipulate the board in my favor and I didn't have any guards in site when I entered the center ring. It was awesome. Guards were like on lunch or something. It is definitely harder to play this game 2 player since Ron is across from me and no one is really moving the guards on either side of the board. They are very static. Ron had a few unlucky movements and ran into a hidden guard so he was captured. that set him back a lot. I wasn't turning up any hidden guards so it was working better for me.

Once I got the ruby we moved into the final stages with the harder event cards and more guards and captains are placed on the board near the exit where I had to bring the ruby. I thought for sure I was dead in the water. I had an EXTREMELY lucky pull of the cards and found an invisibility cloak that I managed to escape the tight grasp of the guards who had me fully surrounded. It was SUPER lucky.

I got by and went undetected. Ron was on my trail though and it came down to the final turn and I just needed to move out. I USED alllll my initiative power and totally got through. Ron was not able to get more AP than me to stop me so I was out the door for the win.

I had a lot of fun playing this game. It was a fun puzzle to try and guess what Ron might do to manipulate the board against me. I don't think Ron liked it as much as I did, but I am definitely interested in playing the game again. I think it will run long with 4 players but I think the board will be crazy and awesome with 4 players. I would like to try it sometime. very cool.





























Final game of the day was Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle & Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion.

This was our second time playing with the expansion and man oh man is it a hard expansion. We breezed through the base game and this expansion is kicking out butt. We have been extremely unlucky in these games.

Spoiler is we lost. Clearly. We had all of the worst villains again. We even took Bellatrix out but we had Lucian and Basilisk but eating away on us. Ron and I did much better this game, however. We even managed to kill off 2 villains. We had a pretty respectable deck of cards even, but we got unlucky a bit when Ron couldn't keep all of his cards and when he would have killed basilisk we ended up having to go to a new location and draw more events. It was just bad to worse when there might have been a glimmer of hope.

It was still a lot of fun to try and win. I actually thought we would be able to do it, but yeah I know exactly the moment we lost.

Still loving this game so much! It is awesome! Ron is only so-so on it but he will play it with me cause he loves me!
















New to the Collection:
Tesla vs. Edison: Duel
Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science – The Genius Expansion








Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.


Until next week!


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:23 pm
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