All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

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The Equinox over Japan found the Butterflies and Whales in perfect harmony

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST for more fun games! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph!



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I am always drawn to a Japanese theme since I am just fascinated with it. I never fully got into Anime, but I easily could have been obsessed if I did. In any case, I am always interested in learning a new game with a Japanese theme and beauty so was very much looking forward to trying out the new Jinja. New to me!

The box says Jinja will be about 60 minutes, but it can play up to 5 players, so it might be a bit more or less. Regardless, it is very easy to learn and play which is attractive with all the game choices out there.

Jinja is a worker-placement game to collect structures and build shrines for points. There are limited places to build the shrines so you want to build fast and often. After 5 rounds the game will be over and after the final scoring, you will see who has the most points.

Each round a Kitsune Card is revealed and from what I saw they were mostly good events that happen during the round for everyone. These cards have beautiful artwork heart

There are Omikuji Cards that will score you end-of-game points if you meet the requirements on them. There will be a chance to get more during the game if you take your turn to do it.

The Deed Cards are the cards that will allow you to build shrines and will score you a majority of the points you will get at the end of the game. Each Deed card will have a payment requirement of structures needed when built. At the bottom, you can see the bonus you will get at the End of the Season which is the end of the round.

The flow is simple. You will take turns placing workers until everyone has played them all. Then you will trigger the end-of-season actions for each shrine you have built and the location bonuses.

The different locations might give gold coins, structure tokens, opportunities to buy and sell structures, you can even trade coins for points.

The thing I didn't mention is the lantern tokens on each location. Those lantern tokens will gain an end-of-season bonus for each shrine in the location, these tokens can be flipped. The blue sides all have 1 coin and the red side have a mix of points and coins and structures.

At the start of our game, I choose a few Omikuji Cards that I thought I could pull off. I chose to have the majority in small shrines, have a shrine in all of the sizes, and have a purple shrine. They all seemed reasonable. THen we drafted the Deed cards, I couldn't find a purple Deed, so I figured it would be more of a challenge to get a purple shrine than I thought. I ended up picking a bunch of small shrines so I could fulfill that one goal card. I also kept at least one shrine of each size.

During the game, I knew I wanted to get a few shrines in play early since they provide ongoing benefits and income. All game Michael and I were neck and neck back and forth with our points and often at the same exact total, it was not clear who would win this game at all.

He ended up locking me out of the pink region when I was working towards one more shrine in that region. Okay, change of plans, I moved on to other things and tossed that Deed card for structures. I did end up going fishing for a new Deed card that ended up being purple so I didn't have to worry about that at all.

There is an area control for the 3 different sections on the map so I was trying to gain those majorities and I ended up gaining 2/3 majorities for 8 points each. Those small shrines really helped me gain that control.

In the end, he had a TON of points from his larger shrines and Omikuji cards, it was a real nail-biter. He ended with 116 and I wasn't sure I could pull it off.

Turns out I had just enough to finish with 119, thanks to the 3 point token I got at the beginning of the game and didn't spend. It was SO CLOSE!!

This is such a tight game and every move matters. There was a bunch of tension so that was really interesting to see. The map is very small, so you really have to prioritize which shrines you want to build since they will be taken up really quickly.

This game was a delight and I totally think it is a keeper. I really like the actions and choices you have in the game. I bet with more players the tension will be even higher. I can't wait to try it out. Glad I got to play it!


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Oh man!! I was so excited to learn the new game called Equinox. New to me!

The artwork is STUNNING! Honestly, it just drew me and I couldn't wait to get it to the table. Equinox is a game that reimplements Colossal Arena, which I never played.

In Equinox, you are trying to gain control of the different creatures of the forest and have them stay active until the end of the game. At the end of the game, you want to have the most points from the surviving creatures.

Over 5 rounds, players will take turns playing cards to the tableau. Cards of the same type will just get played on top of the stack for that animal. as soon as each active animal has a card in the column. Once that happens, you check to see if there is one animal that has the single lowest value and the round will end. If there are a few animals with the lowest then you keep going until there is a definitive lowest.

The lowest animal will be eliminated for the rest of the game and can not generate points at the end of the game.

During your turn, you will have the option to play a stone to an unoccupied animal for the round. the earlier in the game you play the stone, the more points it will be worth at the end of the game if that animal is still active.

Also, during the first round, you will get the chance to play a face-down animal card which will score 5 points, the most a stone can score at all, at the end of the game.

What's interesting is that if you have stone on animals and have more stones than any other player on that animal, then you will get to activate that animal's special power. There are a TON of different animals and you will only be using 8 of them in the game so the opportunity for a lot of different interactions in each game. You can also reveal your hidden animal card with the stone on it, which might give you an immediate majority and the ability to activate the action on your turn.

During our game, I was focused on collecting cards of higher values for the animals I thought I could maintain until the end of the game. That was the deer. I went all-in on the mystic deer card. I could see Michael was working his magic on the bat and the owl. I placed my hidden card as the owl, so I was okay with him placing a few bets on that one since he would likely keep it alive.

What I didn't realize was that he could activate the owl's ability which was to steal a specific animal card, or look at my entire hand if I didn't have it. Michael gained so much information by viewing my hand. That was annoying. It just seemed too good.

I wanted to put a stop to that bat column, but I kept drawing all the HIGH bat cards. The best I could do is just not play them in hopes that he wouldn't find the cards to keep it in play. Of course, he was able to keep it in play though. Not only that, but he had his hidden card at the DEER! Ugh, such bad luck on my part.

I wasn't fast enough to play the stones and he was so I knew I was toast. It ended up being a lot closer than I was thinking it would be. Michael won with 19 and I was at 16.

Beautiful beautiful game. I am very glad for the re-theme and amazing artwork. I found the game to be enjoyable and I liked the animal actions. I would have liked to have more stones, but with 5 you really have to be selective on what you want to try and score in the end. Cool interactions and I think a lot of people will enjoy this one. You definitely need a large table! I think this will go over really well with a bigger group of players and it will be super tight. Glad to have tried it and will definitely be playing it again soon.


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Michael and I got to check out The Butterfly Garden (Second Edition). New to me!

I hadn't ever played the first edition, but it had different art. I am not sure if the rules were changed.

In Butterfly Garden, you are looking to collect butterflies and deliver them to different locations. You want to have the most points at the end of the game.

During the game, you will use butterfly cards in your hand to secretly bid for turn order. Some of the cards will have special actions that will activate if they are used for bidding. The lowest card will get to go first and throw their net to capture butterflies that are on display. The card used for the bid will go to your jar and any of the butterflies in your jar can be delivered to the destinations.

The card you use your net on will go to your hand, and the destination card you complete will be collected in front of you for their end game points.

You will score points for the destinations you complete, the different colored butterflies in your jar at the end, extra points for the variety of destinations you visit, and if you have the MOST butterflies in your hand of cards at the end of the game.

All in all, the game is pretty simple to learn and Michael and I were playing in no time.

I actually started with a pretty decent hand of cards that showed a lot of butterflies. I didn't remember how many points it was for having the most butterflies in hand at the end of the game, but I only wanted to play the big butterfly cards if it made sense for a destination card.

Instead, I was looking at the lower valued cards with fewer butterflies so I could go first and gain the cards from the lineup that I wanted to. Michael was doing very well with the destination cards so I wasn't sure if what I was doing was enough.

To my benefit, he didn't manage to get destination cards for each of the 4 locations, so I managed to get the bonus for having all 4 locations. It was enough to push me over the edge and take the win 38 to 36!

It was funny since we actually thought Michael had won that, but I remembered after the fact to actually score the bonus for having different locations! Saved by the destination variety!

Super cute game and totally beautiful. We actually found a butterfly that was not like the others so we were wondering if that was a mistake, but we counted it as a different colored butterfly if it was even played at all. Anyway, this would be a great game for casual or new gamers since it is pretty simple to grasp and play. I would certainly be happy to play it again!

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Friday night we got to check out Whale Riders on TTS. New to me!

I am always interested in learning a new Knizia game and this was definitely on the radar. I think the KS backers are getting their copies or have recently gotten them.

Whale Riders is a lighter game of managing your resources and contracts. The player who has collected the most pearls at the end of the game will win!

You can gather pearls mostly from the contracts you fulfill during the game, but also from the tokens you collect with pearls on them.

Each turn you will get 2 actions. You might move, or you can collect a token from the region you are standing by paying the associated cost. If you have the proper resources, you can complete a contract, or you may discard some contracts. If there is no other action, you can simply take 1 coin. At the end of your turn, you will draw back up to 3 contracts in hand.

When you move, you will move to the end of the line and turn around and head back. Once you make it all the way back, you can only collect the pearl tokens in that location. Once those tokens are gone, the game will end.

The whole game was pretty simple and basically what you might expect from a Knizia game.

We were playing 4 players, me, Shrey Derek, and Dan. the turns were very quick since we could plan for what we wanted to do on our turn and make it happen.

I figured swim out quickly since there were a lot of great tiles further out. I got some contracts completed quickly which gave me some extra coins to spend on the more expensive tokens. Eventually, the spaces were soooo filled with nothing tokens, that you really needed the coins to pay for the more expensive spaces to gain the specific resources.

Dan rushed the ending a bit prematurely. He figured I would rush back with him, but I saw him snatch up the 3 pearl token and just held my cool one space before the end and made my move when the timing was just right!

Totally paid off for me as I won with 36 points. Derek was 2nd with 27 and Dan at 25. Shrey ended with 21.

I thought this game was pretty good. I don't think it was all that special though. Pretty much a standard resource management game. I liked the timing aspect of the game and how you can rush the ending, or just hang back and work one region for the whole game if it suits you. I would certainly play again, and I still believe that it is worthwhile to play any Knizia game that shows up!

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In case you missed it here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!





New to the Collection:
Biblios Quill and Parchment
The Butterfly Garden
Nanga Parbat
Prison Architect
51st State Moloch
Empires of the North Egyptian Kings
Vienna Connection





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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The 15 Day Trek to Cloud City was a Splendor

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now only $10!


It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. Join me at 2pm Central!



Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun!!


A few games played from Wednesday!

Red Rising


Wordsmith


Claim: Reinforcements – Maps


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A bunch of new games showed up in Alpha mode on BGA and now I can have access to invite my friends to join me in the game. Shrey, Derek, and I ended up learning Trek 12. New to me!

I am always up for learning a new Roll n Write game. This was designed by Bruno Cathala too.

Trek 12 can be played over 3 games on different maps or you can just play a single map and call it a day.

I have only played on 3 of the maps but they do get progressively harder as you play them.

On the maps, you will see a bunch of circles that you will fill in with numbers. Ideally, the numbers will all link to form a big chain of numbers 0-12, but you will also want to have big groups of the same number as well. The longer the chain and the bigger the group is the more points you can possibly get. If a number is placed and is not part of a chain or a group then you will end up losing 3 points at the end of the game.

Each turn 2 dice are rolled and you will choose one of five possible combos. You can choose the high or lowest die result, the difference, sum, or the multiplied result.

You can only choose each result up to 4 times each and the game will end after 19 turns so not ALL of the boxes will be checked, but most.

At this point, I have now played 11 games of Trek 12, so it is safe to say that I really enjoy it. This is a roll n write game I would be happy to play anytime. I think it is a bit push-your-luck on what results of the dice might show up, but also a bit of strategy in how to place them so it works in your favor either way.

Out of the 11 games, I managed to win 8 of them, so that is pretty good stats. I look forward to checking out the other boards on BGA sometime soon. Great game and everyone should be on the lookout for it! I need a copy!

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More from the Alpha games on BGA and this time we found 15 Days. New to me!

Thundergryph Games always has amazing artwork in their games so right off the bat 15 Days draws you in with color.

15 Days is a quick card game where you are looking to line up cards in ascending and descending order depending on their season type.

Each turn you will get 2 actions. You might take cards from the face-up stacks or you might draw blind from the top of a draw deck. It isn't totally blind since you will know the season type by the back of the card. If you don't want to take cards you can play cards to your tableau, but for each card you play, you will have to discard a card from your hand.

Of course, there is a hand limit so you won't get to play all the cards you want.

If you have majorities in any seasons you will gain the season token which is a unique power you can activate.

The game is pretty straightforward. It wasn't hard to learn. I was trying to get the cards I needed from the display but learned quickly that drawing from the decks got you more cards quickly. Since you need to discard cards as payment, it was wise for me to take them from the deck since they were going to get discarded anyways.

Shrey kept stealing the tokens to gain the bonus actions, but I was fighting him the whole time.

Shrey was able to end the game, but we got one more turn, and in the final turn I managed to take away one of the majority tokens and got a bunch of extra points for it. It was a close one but I stole that victory with 17 points. Shrey had 16 and Derek had 14.

Pretty cool game, but for me it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. The art is beautiful for sure. I would play again, and will likely play again with it being available on BGA. Definitely great to try.


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I was excited to see Splendor show up on BGA because it had been YEARS since I last played it.

I think when I first got Splendor, I played it so much I got tired of it. But, I think it works great on a digital platform like BGA.

It is already super popular on BGA and there are always tables to play on if that interests you.

I remember playing the expansion when it first came out and I never picked up a copy, but I definitely want that expansion. I hope it also shows up on BGA.

Anyway, I have played several games so far and have been enjoying it. I wanted to write about it because I wanted everyone to know it was an option at this time.

If you haven't played Splendor, now is a great time to go learn it! Also, it makes me want to play the Marvel Splendor even more!


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Another game in Alpha on BGA is Cloud City.

This is a game I was excited to see show up on BGA since I think it works really well digitally and is a game I would like to play more. What is cool about the BGA implementation is that the game is presented in a 3D format which is totally different than the other games on BGA.

I am still terrible at this game! I think I lost all the games against Michael, and I continued to lose against Shrey and Dan.

Since it is in alpha mode, there might have been some bugs since I tried to place one bridge that wouldn't go. But either way, I still would have lost so that was fine.

Dan won with 63, Shrey had 54 and I was at 50.

Glad to play this one again! Look for it on BGA in the coming weeks, or if you have access to Alpha games. Good times!


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New to the Collection:
Mining Colony
Fast & Furious






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Tiny Epic Chronicles of Maine with the Red Rising Cross Clues

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now on sale for $10!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us as we play awesome games! over on: https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph!



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As many of you know, I went up to Maine this past weekend to visit the family. I got to see both sets of Grandparents and they are 89+ years at this point so I was really glad to visit. My uncle was in town so I decided it was a good time to go.

Of course, we always play some games when we all get together and this time I brought along Cross Clues & Second Chance.

I already knew they liked Second Chance as I had played it with them many times on the Zoom calls we have had. But they were new to Cross Clues.

You can't really play Cross Clues on Zoom since people need to have cards and hidden information.

We played Cross Clues 3 times and did "Good" each time. We started with a 3x3 grid and missed 3 clues I think then we just jumped up to the 5x5 grid. When you are at the 5x5 grid you get double the amount of time, so we had plenty of time to think about good clues.

In the end, I think everyone liked that game well enough, and it didn't overstay its welcome.

I do think everyone enjoyed Second Chance more though. They all like coloring in the squares and seeing if they can fill in the box perfectly. So we ended up playing this game twice.

I think I won the first game with 2 left over squares and I only had 3 in the second game, but Christina might have won that one.

Always a great time to get in some games with the family. I miss everyone so will have to visit again soon!



A bunch of pics from Maine

On the flight!
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Me, Mom, Mom's Parents/My Grandparents
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The Hodges
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Me and Mom
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Red Rising has been all the rage on Instagram and I was excited to get it to the table. New to me!

Yes! The hot new Stonemaier Games title. I haven't read the books so I don't have any connection to the theme at all or know how it translates into a board game. I did read that this was Jamey's #1 IP that he wanted to make a game for, so he must love the IP.

In Red Rising, You will want to have the most points at the end of the game from the cards you have remaining in your hand.

Red Rising is a card game with pretty simple rules. The gameplay is very straightforward and the choices are in how you play the cards and the actions they might provide.

What is interesting about the game is that each card is unique. Each card will likely have an action if you choose to play it for the action, or if you hold it in your hand until the end it will score additional points depending on its conditions.

Each card will also hold a base value of victory points. All of the cards will have a specific color as they will play off of each other depending on their colors.

During your turn, you can choose to play a card to an area in order to activate another area and take the card there. The different areas will either advance you on the blue track, or you can add influence cubes, you might collect gems, or you might take the control marker. If you don't want to play a card from your hand, then you can simply scout by drawing a card and placing it in an area to trigger the action of the area.

The way the game ends is when one player gains 7+ in any 2 of the 3 areas.

Really, it was quite easy to get into and understand. All of the cards are different you have to take time to read them and see what might work and how you can score points from them.

My initial thought was to go for cards with high valued base points, but I also needed them to work well with each other. Some cards will LOSE points if they are found with a specific color.

There was one card that I HAD to keep. It had a power that triggered after the game was complete to reveal the top of the deck and score the base points on it. Oh yes, super push-your-luck it might be 7 points it might be 35 points. Ohh the glorious unknown, I had to keep it.

Turned out to be a crazy great call on my part since I did score a very high value for that card and I managed to have a LOT of points from another card that scored me 5 points for each color card in my hand. I love the colors so it was scoring me a bunch.

Thanks to all of that, I won the game with 303 and Michael was at 296.


I definitely got a bit lucky, so we will see what happens next time. Because the game is easy to remember and teach, I am sure this will be a huge hit. I know Michael really enjoyed it and I certainly want to play it more. Great interactions with the cards and how they score in the end. I liked this one and it is going to be a keeper!

Be sure to check out the Livestream tonight since we will be playing it!


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There is a new Tiny Epic game with a super awesome theme that I knew I had to check out so Michael and I played Tiny Epic Pirates. New to me!

I enjoy checking out the Tiny Epic series since each game is totally different from the last one. It is a nice set of games.

In Pirates, players are looking to gather loot and bury it. It is a race to bury 3 treasures across the islands and whoever can do that and is the most legendary will win the game.

During the game, you will be activating actions around the rondel. Each player will have a random arrangement of actions on their helm. Deckhands can be used to skip over actions on the helm but could be used for additional bonuses.

You will also get to move your ship as a free movement. Depending on the place you land and the action you take you will do that action. You might fight another ship, or gain some trade goods, or sell goods, gain crew, or bury treasure.

You have to look out for the Navy ship that comes after you and the storms that you cross through. The deckhands will have to move to fix up the ship and that might change your plans.

In our 2-player game, we didn't really fight the merchant ships at all, we were finding goods and selling them so we could bury our treasures. You are pushing your luck when you go to fight another ship and you might end up losing so that would be bad. Generally, I tend to push my luck, but this time I was just collecting and selling goods for loot.

Neither Michael nor I advanced our ship's level at all. I probably should have tried going that path since Michael seemed to be generating a lot more loot than I was.

By the end, I had only managed to bury 2 treasures when Michael was able to get his 3rd one buried. I still had another turn, but I just couldn't get the loot and bury it all in the same turn. So I did not win that game!

This game totally reminded me of Merchants & Marauders. Michael did comment that he likes M&M more than TEP though. I have to comment that I think TEP totally felt too long and we were just playing with 2 players. I can't imagine playing it with more players. In my opinion, both M&M and TEP are games that suffer from just too much repetitive actions that add up over time, and eventually, someone will win. It is one reason why I am not a big fan of pick-up and deliver games because it is just too boring over time. I lose interest in what I am doing because it just feels samey.

While I love the pirate theme, the game just wasn't a big hit for me. I think if you enjoy games like M&M then this is definitely one to check out. It was worth playing for sure, and I could be convinced to play it again, but I would probably choose to play another Tiny Epic game instead.


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On the Livestream the other day Michael and I played the tutorial game for the new Chronicles of Crime: 1900. New to me!

I am a huge fan of the Chronicles of Crime series, and they just keep getting better and better!

In 1900, the scene is set in France I even saw a location of Moulin Rouge, just not in the tutorial yet. We are actually playing as a reporter and not the police.

The tutorial is fantastic since it will get everyone up to speed on how the game works without being too long and in-depth.

In 1900, there is a new feature introduced. We now have puzzles to solve and it is almost a double case! I love the inter-linking story and things to solve and find out. Everything is very well woven into a story.

You should definitely check out our video below to see if this might be a game for you. We had a great time and ended up scoring 130/100 on the tutorial! We did a great job!!

1400 impressed me and 1900 impresses me even more! Michael and I love the puzzles addition!! We are super excited to see what comes next.

As always, if you are interested in a crime-solving type of game, this is definitely a game to check out!! We absolutely love it!


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New to the Collection:
The Key Murder at Oakdale Club





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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The Supershow was a Super Motherload: Sweet Holic vs Block Ness

Steph Hodge
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I was looking forward to checking out a new Blue Orange title called Block Ness. New to me!

It is such a cute idea for an abstract game! Little Nessie pieces that you are placing to extend the body. In the game, you are looking just to block the other players and be the last one standing.

Every player has a unique set of Nessie pieces. they vary in heights and lengths so it will be different gameplay depending on the color you are playing.

When you play on your turn, you will have to either extend the tail side or the head side on one of the possible 3 adjacent spaces. If you can't extend either side then you will lose and be eliminated.

It is a pretty cutthroat abstract game. It is fairly quick though. Michael and I played a few times and once was on the Livestream (video below).

Michael kicked my butt in both games. He was very effective at blocking me and almost immediately at that.

I have to do better with placing my initial body piece. I am not sure the different colors are totally balanced but the game is so quick, that it doesn't really bother me much.

The final look at the game state is a work of art. I love seeing all the tangles of Nessie pieces. This is a great family game and I actually quite enjoyed it just as an abstract game to play. The pieces are fun and it is just a cool game in general. Great theme. If it seems interesting to you then you should definitely check it out!


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I am always up for playing a super cute and delicious game so Sweet Holic was very appealing to me. New to me!

Sweet Holic is a set collection game to gather the cookies and filling to make yummy macarons.

You have a hand of tiles and each turn you can play up to 3 tiles for the same macaron color, or you can discard a tile to draw from another player's discard pile or from the top of the draw deck.

There is a push-your-luck element to the game where you will want to try and get the right filling and cookie pieces before the other players, but maybe you just take a burnt cookie to try and end it faster.

Michael and I played 2-player and there wasn't that much interaction. We didn't want to discard colors the other player would use, so we ended up going for the exact same 3 macaron types. It all came down to who could get more filling type and finish their cookies to the fullest.

I somehow managed to win that game since my hidden goal worked out in my favor and I got extra points for it, more than Michael was able to.

Not a very difficult game to learn and certainly cute. There isn't much going on here and I have seen other set collection games like this so it doesn't really stand out, but I would play again. Definitely glad to have tried it.

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When Michael went to a local con, he found a game for us to try out called The Supershow.

It's funny since I actually remember playing this before on the BGG Livestream from Origins (vid posted below). I remember the game so vividly too since they had the huge belt. Fast filler card game.

You take on the role of a pro wrestler, some are real characters and others are created. I even have the promo Rainbow Girl!

I was looking to kick some butt with Rainbow Girl, if I do say so myself.

Each turn, each player will roll a die to determine who gets to take a hit. So, you are relying on the die to roll in your favor, but it might not, and you might never get to play a card. That is the luck of thee die for you though.

If you can deal with that, then you might have a good time playing this one. It is super light-hearted.

If you win the roll, you will need to play a "lead" before you can play a "follow card" and if you are so lucky, you might get to "finish" it if you can get that card played and then roll perfectly then you can win the match. I think you play a certain best of 3 matches or so.

You will need the cards played down, but the other player may find a STOP card that can block your move.

Very light card game and makes for a decent filler. As expected, Rainbow Girl kicked some butt this time! She had all the best stats, but there was a time when Michael was getting in all the attacks as I couldn't find eh right STOP cards to block him.

I got a couple of lucky hits in for the win though, and that is what matters, right?

This is a game I would play again, I don't think you need to like wrestling to enjoy this, but I would say it is probably for the more casual gamer.

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For the Monthly Challenge, I selected Deck-builder game night! Everyone was excited to see them and voted on us playing Super Motherload.

Michael hadn't ever played before so he had to learn it before we streamed it.

This is always a delight to play and I am so glad I could finally play with Michael. I did play it last year teaching Derek and Shrey, I believe.

We had a pretty good first game. He seemed to be getting a bunch of upgrades, but he was commenting that he didn't feel like it was a "proper" deck-building game because you just didn't get to use the cards you buy enough.

I can see that you are working hard to get the cards into your deck, but you don't really cycle through the cards that much. The game is all about managing the hand of cards so you can get the gems on the board. It is definitely a board game, vs a pure deck-builder.

Michael ended up winning that first game, but I might have had a mighty comeback.

On the plus side, Michael ended up really enjoying the game, as I thought he would. I surmise we will see it as one of his favorites that he learns in May.

I am always happy when Super Motherload gets to the table, I think it is a great game that is probably super underrated.

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In case you missed it here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!





New to the Collection:
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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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The Conspiracy of Scouting for Loch Ness

Steph Hodge
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A game played from Wednesday!

Chai: Tea for 2



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We wanted to play some games from the unplayed shelf so we started with Loch Ness. New to me!

Loch Ness is a game that I got in a trade, but really, knew nothing about it.

This is a deduction and bluffing type of game where you want to capture Nessie in the best positions around the lake. You will gain more points for the better photos you can capture and the game will end when a certain point goal is met.

Each turn players will select a card from their hand which will move Nessie a number of spaces, each player will gain a special action for the round as well. Then everyone will get the chance to move a few of their action pawns. Everyone will reveal their cards and Nessie will move. If Nessie lands in front of an area with your pawn you will gain points and possibly a rare photograph card.

Super simple, but arguably not very great at the 2-player count. I could see this working much better with a larger group of people and having more spaces being blocked.

With 2-players, Michael and I had to use a dummy hand of cards, so it was completely chaotic, but once a few of them were used, it was easier to guess where Nessie might end up.

I was trying to pick the islands that were in-between the extremes and pick my card to generally be lower. I often ended up with Nessie in front of me, so that seemed to work out in my favor. I eventually got enough points to end it, or Nessie had moved enough times to end, it. it was one or another, but I definitely won that game.

Again, this would be a better game with more players. I am not surprised it has been forgotten about. I didn't hate it and would play again, but I won't be requested it anytime. I like the Lochness theme, I think it is a good one and we should see more games with Nessie!

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Another game from the unplayed shelf is the very small Rotundo. New to me!

This is a game from the Adlung catalog. I found it in the BGG storage auction sale a few years back.

The theme is not important as it is just balls. Super light auction game where you want to collect the most points from the melds you can create. You can take a card or auction a card using the card from the melds you have formed.

During the game, I was just trying to collect the high-valued cards and make the most melds I could. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It wasn't enough since Michael was able to get rid of all of his cards and score more points than me. He had 1030 and I was at 925.

It was a neat little game that I was happy to try out. Ultimately, it is pretty forgettable. Even Dan said it himself, "oh yeah, I played that but haven't thought about it since that day...".

This won't be hitting the table but it was definitely worth trying it out.

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A while back, all my friend back in the northeast were playing a card game called Scout! before the Covids hit. I finally got to check it out on TTS. New to me!

Scout is a card game where you are trying to gain the most points. You will get a hand of cards and have one shot to turn the whole hand upside down, but the cards must remain in the order they were dealt to you.

You will want to play all of the cards in your hand to go out first, but you will gain the trick each time you overplay the one before you. If you can't beat that trick then you can scout and take one of the cards from the trick and the next person will get the chance to then play over that trick. Each card is worth a point that you collect, and each time someone scouts from your trick you will gain a point. Every card leftover in your hand is -1 point.

I was doing incredibly well in the game we played. I was way out in the lead, maybe I had some good cards, but in the final round, I never got to play the majority of my cards, and Dan kept playing all the cards so I would have to scout from him.

Turns out Dan had a major comeback and we ended up tied with 38 for the win.

Glad to have finally played it. Since I know it will be near impossible to get, I will just stick to Krass Kariert, as it offers a similar feeling. I would definitely want to play it again, but as always, I would just rather play Tichu!

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A new game on BGA was next to try, so we played Conspiracy: Abyss Universe. New to me!

Conspiracy is a game set in the Abyss world with the same wonderful art style. It is a light card drafting and tableau-building game that will be about 15 minutes to play.

During the game, you will draft lords and add them to a pyramid. You always have to place the cards from left to right and then the next line. The lords will provide points and you will want to have one big color set to score 3 points for each card in the set. There are keys to gain location cards for points as well!

Super easy to play and the implementation makes it even easier so I have played a few times since learning it.

This is a great new game and filler. I really enjoyed it and would happy to play this anytime. The conspiracy includes many familiar mechanics found in Abyss. I think it is a great follow-up game set in the world and I hope there will be more!


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New to the Collection:

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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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The Fantastic Beasts are Not Alone when the Duel of Wands capture then drink Chai

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now on sale for $10!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us as we play awesome games! over on: https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph! We plan to play Chai: Tea for 2

Games from Sunday Deckbuilding Night!

Dominion


Star Realms


Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures


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I was excited to check out the new 2-player game that just launched on KS called Chai: Tea for 2. New to me!

Steeped Games had their first game Chai released a couple of years ago, and now they have created a special 2- player game set in the world of Chai. It is a very different game than Chai, however.

Chai is a card game, and Chai Tea for 2 is a dice worker-placement game.

In Tea for 2, your goal is to fulfill ship orders with specific teas. The game will end when 3-5 orders have been fulfilled which is determined at the start of the game.

Each Harvest will produce 2 different Tea's on a token with a number 1-6. The first player will decide on which Harvest tile to choose from in the next 3 positions. Each player will collect the depicted teas and then collect more tea or tea advancements based on the value of the tile.

You will want to advance your tea from the bottom of your player board up the specific path for that tea to eventually end up at the docks and ready to ship out for an order.

Each player has 7 dice, once the harvest is complete, players will roll their dice and take turns using them on the location boards. Dice will be used to gain special tea movement cards or crates, as well as a possible set collection tea card.

Another location will also players to move a card they have to a new slot around their board which could activate tea tokens in the new space. This location also has a place to refresh cards that only have a one-time activation, so they can re-trigger a space. You can also claim start player on this location.

The next location will allow players to spend a run of 2 or more dice to claim a ship card. Another player can play a longer straight to take the ship away. You will need ships in order to gain a boatload of points, but also eventually trigger the end of the game.

The final location will allow you to advance your teas by using pairs or more of the same number.

Michael and I weren't really going for the same things. He was all about the cards and getting cool bonuses from them. I was gaining most of my movement from the movement action space. I even managed to pick up 2 ship cards in the first round, so it was smooth sailing for my plans and what I needed to get done.

It was clear that Michael was rushing the ending by picking up a bunch of ships. I nearly thought he would get it all done in the round before it actually ended. I was absolutely okay with one more round, however. In the final round of the game, I didn't even bother trying to get another ship order filled. I focused on collecting a bunch of cards and set collection. I even fulfilled a crate order. I got a TON of points from other cards I managed to pick up in the final rounds.

I ended up winning because of that final round and all the extra points I could add to my running total. I won with 45 to Michael's 36! Not bad!

Steeped Games never fails when it comes to production! I LOVE the added dice trays, they are amazing and the perfect size. The artwork is phenomenal as usual too. The all-around gameplay was fine, we didn't see any major issues or anything. I think it will work for the 2-player audience. I haven't tried the solo game, but that is also an option. I would be happy to play this one again and we will be playing at 5pm Central tonight on the Twitch channel! Hope you can stop by!

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After all the fun playing Not Alone I knew I wanted to check out the new expansion Not Alone: Sanctuary. New to me Expansion!

Sanctuary will totally change up the gameplay of Not Alone. It is not necessarily better, but it is just different.

Sanctuary adds in a bunch of new features. A lot of new Hunt cards and a new Sanctuary token. With the new token, the hunted can push along another track and get a new victory from that track. Not only visiting the sanctuary, but adjacent spaces to the sanctuary the hunted players can rescue survivors which will give you small benefits.

Besides all the awesome additions for the Hunted players, there is a new DNA feature for the hunter to gain even more evil powers over the hunted.

The first game I played with Michael as the Hunted player and I went HARD for pushing the Sanctuary, but Michael was doing a great job at blocking the spaces I wanted to go, but I could guess he would do that and sway right when he went left.

It wasn't all peachy for me, it came down to the final round where either he or I would win. I managed to stay ALIVE and actually finished the game with the blue track running out of time. Here I thought I would win with the sanctuary track, but I just couldn't manage it.

When we played it on the Livestream, it was an EPIC battle where I played as the Hunter and took on the Hunted players from the chat. It was hilarious and fun. We review all the rules too, so I hope you get the chance to watch the video.

Really cool expansion! I would be super excited to play this game again with or without the expansion. It also makes me want to get the other expansion that I am missing. I have been having a great time with this game. If you haven't tried it out you can play on BGA and it is a blast! Do it.


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Michael and I checked out the new 2 player card game called Duel of Wands. New to me!

In Duel of Wands, the game is played over a number of rounds until one player gets 2 victories.

At the beginning of the game, each player will get to upgrade 2 of their basic spells. They will also get 2 unique spells to add to their starting deck.

Once the game starts each player draws 4 cards, and will always draw up to 4.

Each turn, you will play a card from your hand and activate the ability on the card. It might be to steal a card or make them discard a card. There are block cards that can stop an action from happening too.

Once a player has to discard the Psyche card or needs to draw up and can't then the round will end.

Super light and quick-playing game that Michael and I could get into right away.

I upgraded 2 spells that I thought would make my hand stronger and just seemed overall better than others.

It seemed to work really well for me since I was able to whittle down Michael's deck and steal his recover cards so he wasn't able to recover as many times as I was. He was stealing my Break cards which was annoying, but I could deal with it.

I ended up winning the first battle. In the second round, Michael was able to upgrade 2 more spell cards so he had an advantage. My bad luck lost me the second round, but it also gave me the chance to upgrade 2 spell cards.

I smashed it out in the final round and managed to take home the victory.

In the end, I am not sure this is a game Michael enjoyed so much. I didn't mind it, but I don't think it really stands out in the massive stack of 2 player dueling card games. I am not sure the random unique powers are balanced because they really seemed like they were not. Ultimately, it is a game I would play again, but it isn't really high on the list to do so.

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We wanted to play a few games from the unplayed shelf so we selected Fantastic Beasts: Perilous Pursuit. New to me!

When this came out, I was the one to interview on the BGG Livestream, so I knew about this one. I recently picked it up in a game-used bundle deal.

Fantastic Beasts is a cooperative push-your-luck dice game where you want to capture all of the beasts that have escaped Newt's suitcase.

See the movie if you haven't, it's a fun one! I love the Wizarding World, so will always want to play games related to it, and of course, see all the movies created as well.

Each turn the active player will roll all of the dice and choose to keep them in a Yahtzee style fashion. Keep some roll the others and do it again. Every wizard has different stats on their player board they will want to "set", "ready", and "activate". You first have to set it then read it and finally, you will have to use a die to activate the power.

Once a beast has been captured each player will have to lose their "set" powers, but not necessarily their readied powers.

The game usually starts easier and gets harder, so it will give you time to upgrade your "ready" spells.

Michael and I have played a few times now including once on the Livestream.

I like how the game is cooperative because on my rolls I might be able to help and activate the other player's abilities as well as my own if they are set. We were rolling pretty well in our first game, but there was a time when Michael was down to 4 life and it could have been over with any bad roll.

We ended up winning our first game and it went even better in the second game on the Livesrteam. We do a full teach in the video if you were looking for more structured gameplay.

The game is fairly light, but it is a nice game if you like to roll a bunch of dice. I have had a great time playing this one and it has proved to be a keeper. I do wish there were some more beasts or wizards to switch up from game to game, but it will never be a go-to game so I don't think it will be a problem. It will be fun to play from time to time though! Very enjoyable.


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Steph's Hodgepodge from Friday






New to the Collection:
Curious Corresopondance





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Steph's New to Me List for April 2021!

Steph Hodge
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Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2021!


This year I have made the goal of learning 400 games!






Steph's Awesome Spectrum Rating System!

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



April List
from Worst to Best






From gallery of punkin312
Paris Connection:

I am not really into these network-type games, but this was easy enough to play and super quick on BGA. Just not into this game at all. It couldn't be over fast enough.


3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Doughnut Drive-Thru:

Such cute donuts! super simple push your luck game. Definitely not a lot of replay value here. You are fighting for the actions you need and hope you roll well enough to finish what you need to. Shrug, the game was fine, but will likely be forgotten.


4/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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13 Clues:

On BGA. Deduction game that is very much like Code 777 but with photographs and colors where you can ask other players what they can see etc. I am just not that into deduction games like this, but I liked this one even less than Code 777.


5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Wilson & Shep:

Super light kids deduction game. Targeted for the kids in the family. Not much strategy involved with this one, but cute enough to play a few rounds. Not for the everyday game day.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Sweet Holic:

Super cute set collection game. Play a tile or discard a tile. Nothing we haven't seen before in gameplay, but it is cute.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Ubongo! Fun-Size Edition:

If you are a fan of the Ubongo series, then you will feel right at home with this compact edition. Very easy to play. Puzzles didn't seem that challenging. It works, but I prefer 3D.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Duel of Wands:

An interesting theme being magic and spells. Pretty standard 2 player dueling card game though. Not sure the upgrades and bonus spells are balanced well. The game works for sure but wasn't much fun.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Umbra Via:

Auction game with some tile placement and area control. I think it works well as a game, but in general just not as interesting as I would want it to be. Might be better with more players so you don't have a dummy player getting in the way. Seems a bit chaotic.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Origins: First Builders:

The next big B&D game. Mostly just not a game for me. It is too punishing for my taste. I know a bunch of people will really dig this title. I can see a solid game here and I would try again, but for me right now the 3 player game was harsh so I can't imagine even trying it with 4 players. Might be best as a solo or 2 player game.


5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Zodiac Clash:

Beautiful production and interesting astrological theme. The theme is pretty much pasted on, but you are trying to align the stars... so, yeah. Very much an easy-to-learn abstract game. Not much going on here, but it was worth a try.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Rook:

Classic card game I finally tried. Played as a 2-player game and you have to have a dummy hand. I like it more than a lot of card games I learned in the recent months. I like the blind kitty. I would like to try it with 4 players, as I am sure it is a better partner game.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Loch Ness:

Light bluffing game better with a bunch of players. With 2 players you have to have a dummy hand. You are just trying to predict where Nessie will show up in that round. The game worked and I liked it more than Michael. I can see why it has been a forgotten title.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Hashi:

New flip n Write game. I can see this one getting really boring. I enjoyed playing it, but don't really have a desire to try it again. I feel like I saw what it had to offer. If it was the game on the table I would play again.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Switch & Signal:

I wanted to play this since it is a cooperative train game and I wanted to see what it was like. I was told it makes for a better solo experience. I liked it well enough and found it to be an interesting puzzle. Perhaps not enough tension for a cooperative game, but I enjoyed it about what I expected.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Glow:

What a beautiful game! Simple dice game where you want to roll your sets o you can gain bonuses from your cards you collect in the game, but you will also need to move around the board with the dice, so they serve as multi-purpose dice. It works well! Not sure about the replay value of the game, but I like it well enough to play again.


6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Summoner Wars (Second Edition):

I am not really into the 1v1 battle games. Interesting card management game where you are trying to deplete the other player's life first. I totally get why people enjoy this game, but ultimately it isn't my favorite. I would play again for sure. I loved playing the Polar Dwarves!


6/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Rotundo:

Small card game, better than expected. Gotta collect all the balls! haha, nothing exciting about the game but it works and I could see playing it on request.


6/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Super Fantasy Brawl:

Much better than I expected it would be. Played on BGA and learned that it is not just a battle arena game, which I thought. It is a game to get 5 points first and there are a few ways to score points. The interesting system they created here. I would definitely give it another try, but generally not my type of game.


6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
A Gentle Rain:

Simple tile placement game to try and create a 2x2 grid so you can place a flower token. If you can get all the flowers placed you will get a score based on the leftover tiles and placed flowers. A solo game that you can play cooperatively. It works and I enjoyed my time. Quick but nothing that stands out in the long run.


6/10 After 3 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Moonrakers:

This game is not designed for 2 players. Didn't work very well, even with the AI. I would rather just play with more players so you can get the full negotiation experience. Beautiful game with some deck-building and contract fulfillment. Race to get 10 points. I am not the biggest fan of negotiation games, but this was fine. Need to play again with more players though.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
15 Days:

New Alpha game on BGA. Beautiful artwork as found in most Thundergryph games. Card and hand management game for ascending and descending sets of cards. Trying to gain control of the animal tokens and bonuses. Works just fine and I would play again. Didn't wow me though.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Block Ness:

Super cute abstract game with an adorable Nessie theme. Player colors have a unique set of pieces. Ultimately you are trying not to get blocked by the other players. Nice game and will definitely work for families. Adorable!


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
One Card Wonder:

Recently on KS. Very light resource management game to build your wonder card before the other player's. Very light and harmless. Tons of variable wonder cards and building boards to keep it interesting each play. Would play again for sure.


6.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Unmatched: Little Red Riding Hood vs. Beowulf:

Small box Unmatched set. I liked playing this one on stream, but I am not sure I liked Little red's ability very much. Not my favorite in the series but still seemed interesting and different than the other characters and sets.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Wordsmith:

I am always up for learning a word game, I like that in this and Decipher you are using bits to form letters. In Wordsmith you are actually forming letters so you can form a word in real-time. I tend to push my luck with the dice rolls but still have a great time trying to craft the words. Overall, I think I like the gameplay in Decipher more, since I get to decode the other player's word.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Chai: Tea for 2:

Hitting KS May 2021. This is a game designed for 1-2 players only. I like that it feels very different to Chai but still set in the same world. Great artwork and amazing quality. Overall easy to understand mechanics and fine gameplay. Nice game.


7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Keystone: North America:

Played on Tabletopia so the game is still in prototype since all of the artwork isn't complete. The artwork that is there is amazing! Tile drafting and placement game. I very much enjoyed it. You have to take those key tiles in order to get multipliers - don't forget! . I look forward to the final product!


7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
MATCH 5:

A new party game that reminded me of Scattegories, but you will want to match people's answers instead. Love the dice and how there are a few sets of dice so it will always feel different. Great end-of-the-night party game. Happy to play this whenever requested.


7/10 After 3 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Inspector Nose:

This one reminded me of Similio but with dice. I had fun playing with the BGG TV Twitch channel. I would definitely want to play this one again to see if it has staying power. But, I surmise if you like Similo this will be a winner for you.


7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Fantastic Beasts: Perilous Pursuit:

Love the Wizarding World very much, and I love pushing my luck was happy to try this one. Cooperative dice game to capture the beasts. I very much enjoyed the films. Easy to learn and play and will work for a bunch of groups.


7/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Unmatched: Cobble & Fog:

Definitely the best theme I have played in Unmatched. I simply love Jekyll & Hyde as a character in general. Very cool series and enjoyed this box set more than the others because of the theme alone.


7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Conspiracy: Abyss Universe:

Nice little card game set in the Abyss world. I really liked this one. Simple tabealu and set collection game. You can play on BGA. Simply beautiful too.


7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Scout!:

A card game that all my friends were talking about several months ago. Finally got to try it on TTS. Duel numbered cards, but you can't choose the number you want. Cards also must remain in the order they were dealt. Reminded me a lot of Dealt!. I like they both about the same.


7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Aldabas: Doors of Cartagena:

Never would have guessed there would be a game about door knockers. Alas, here we have it. Clever tableau card placement. Not challenging to learn and super quick to play. Very enjoyable.


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Age of Galaxy:

Going to KS in May 2021, really enjoyed the first play of the prototype. Lots of cards for cool abilities but you are limited by how many you can play. Very quick exploration and tech tree game. Such a tiny box, it really packs a punch!


7.5/10 After 1 play(Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Minigolf Designer:

Love this theme so much! It is so much fun designing a minigolf course. Works great with 2 and I can imagine it working well with more players as you see more tiles. Drafting tiles with tile placement is always fun for me! Definitely a keeper!


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Trek 12:

Last-minute learn for the month as it is on BGA in Alpha mode. Perhaps my favorite Bruno Cathala game. Roll n write with a light campaign mode. I haven't played the box game so I think there is more to it, and I am dying to play it! Reminded me of a more complex Rolling Japan. I will definitely need to seek this out.


7.5/10 After 8 plays (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Hadrian's Wall:

Talk about Combos! You are presented with ALL THE OPTIONS and you just have to go for a strategy and hope it works. Lots of rules, but everything makes sense and feels very much like a Garphil Games game. Good Luck... devil


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods:

Only played the prologue game so far, but it was a great story and I love the new character cards with stats. I can't wait to explore this one further! Great Escape game.


8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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Game of the Month!




From gallery of punkin312
Merchants of Magick: A Set a Watch Tale:

This is a roll n write game that I just love. from the artwork to the theme, this is a cool game. I love the idea of upgrading your shop to have items and then fulfilling the order cards. Can be slightly luck of the draw if you find an order that is perfect for you, but I think that is part of the fun. I have really been enjoying my plays. Available to play on TTS which is awesome too.


8/10 After 4 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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New to me Expansions!



From gallery of punkin312
Board Royale: The Island Expansion - Wild Hunt:

Turns the game cooperative which is cool. Still in prototype form, so will be interested to see the final product if anything changes. Would definitely try it again.


6/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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From gallery of punkin312
Claim: Reinforcements – Maps:

Love these new expansion packs for Claim. I think they add enough to keep the games mixed and interesting. If you are a fan of Claim, I definitely think you should look into the reinforcements packs. With Maps you get new rule cards and ways to score each game.


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Claim: Reinforcements – Magic:

I like the Magic Reinforcement deck better than Maps, but only slightly. I really like the push-your-luck aspect with the wizards in this expansion. Beautiful art and wonderful addition.


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Targi: The Expansion:

I think this expansion will work really well for those who play Targi a bunch! There is extra content but doesn't change the game dramatically. Keeps it about the same amount of time with some more options. Very enjoyable!


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Not Alone: Sanctuary:

Very cool expansion. Changes the game up quite a bit, it is not for the better, but it is different. Will add to the variety in the gameplay for sure. I will happily play this one anytime!


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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The Tally


January: 27
February: 44
March: 35
April: 40





Total new-to-me games for the year: 146!



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Follow along this geeklist to see what tv shows and moves I have been watching:





Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I often review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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April is GONE - Happy Friday blog time!

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Hia Everyone!

My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now only $10!


It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. Join me at 2pm Central!



Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun!! We have a special deck-building game night planned!


A few games played from Wednesday!

Kitchen Rush


13 Chefs


Rolling Japan


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Michael and I wanted to get a few games off of the unplayed shelf so we checked out Zodiac Clash. New to me!

This was a game I picked up in a trade with other BGG blogger Dustin, so that was cool. I know he enjoyed this one somewhat, though not enough to keep it.

Zodiac Clash is an abstract game where you are trying to get the stars to align so you have 4 of your stars in a row.

This game is super easy to play. You will get to move and place stars and spin the wheels. Each player will choose a sign to play and they will have a special ability as well.

That is pretty much the game. Michael was ready for it to be over before the game began. He isn't into all the astrology or abstract games in general.

Thankfully the game was pretty quick. I wasn't struggling to find a good move, but Michael would often just rotate the wheel to disrupt my plans, as expected. I managed to outwit him with my play since the different rings turned in opposite ways so I could rotate the one bottom wheel to make everything align.

I took the winner's title that time, but I am pretty sure this was a one-and-done situation.

The game is simply beautiful and just very attractive, but the box is huge and it just won't see more table time. I enjoyed it just fine, but it will be better in the next person's hands. Glad to have tried it.

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Dan had a few games to teach us, so I was looking forward to learning some new ones and we started with Hashi. New to me!

I had seen this one pop up a few places recently and as it is an NSV game I am always looking forward to playing their titles. Dan had a PnP that we could try digitally, he just provided the sheet of paper for us and he used the cards he printed.

Hashi is a flip and write game where one card is revealed and all players will have the chance to use it fully, partially, or not at all.

Your goal is to have bridges connecting to as many islands as you can, and there are speed goals for completing a few things first.

Each island can have one number inside of it, but the number that is in there can have no more bridges than the number itself. Each side of an island with a line can hold up to 2 bridges total. So a corner island can have up to 4 bridges max, so don't put a 5 or 6 inside that island since it can never be complete.

Bridges can never overlap each other so you need to plan your path carefully and you will never use all of the cards in the game.

It is super light and easy to play. I wasn't focused on the flag islands like I should have been and Dan was ON IT. While I still managed to score second place for the goals, it wasn't enough to beat dan's total in the end. He managed to get 52 and I was at 48 along with Shrey. But Shrey was a cheater cheater who cheated. I think he added too many bridges to an island or something.

It is a fine game, and I would play again, but I don't see a whole lot of replay with this one. There are definitely other flip and write games I would prefer to play, but this is fine.


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Shrey had actually read the rules for Switch & Signal a game I had wanted to play for a while now. New to me!

I wanted to play this one because it is cooperative train game and I wanted to see what it was about.

In Switch and Signal, players are working together to move the trains around the map to pick up the goods in the different cities and then drop them off in the final destination.

Each turn, trains might be added around the board and or moved. You have to try and prepare their paths to make sure they don't run into a dead path by switching the signal to go. There also needs to be a green light into the city they are trying to reach.

If a train ever is supposed to move more than it should, then you will end up going time tokens, which will trigger cards from the event deck to discard thus shortening the game. If there are no more event cards to flip at the start of a turn, then you will lose the game. If you can pick up and deliver all the goods then you will win.

On top of the events, players will have cards in hard to help adjust the switches and signals as well as move trains extra spaces.

This game is supposedly better with lower player counts so playing with 3 players was a good choice. Shrey and Dan were good teammates and were definitely talking strategy well enough to keep the trains moving and paths open.

Perhaps we got lucky, but we ended this gem with like 6 cards in the event deck or maybe it was more than that. We did incredibly well though. There was a time that we lost a bunch of time tokens, but after the major hit, we controlled it well and had no issues.

I can see some bad luck of the dice or something to make you lose a lot of time tokens. It worked really well though.

Shrey and Dan weren't too impressed with the game, but I liked it well enough. I thought it was an interesting take on a train game. I would definitely play it again but tend to agree it might not have much staying power in the long run. Definitely happy to finally try it!

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So a new game was added to Yucata.de and Derek hadn't played it so we taught him La Granja: No Siesta.

I have probably played this game 5 or so times, ad each time I am totally underwhelmed and say I am never going to play it again.

but it had been several years since I last played and Derek was looking to maybe buy it, so we had to give it a go.

Man, this game is sooooo uninspired. It is sooooo boring and never-ending. There are so many things I want to change about this game, that it just makes me wonder.

During the game, you are drafting dice, but each time every drats a die the rest are rolled before the next draft. Bleh, makes drafting a lot less important than in La Granja. Another very unsatisfying thing is that there are no real combos that you can create or very few at the most. You do this then you do that, whoop di do. It is super easy to just do everything and have nothing left to do.

There needs to be another way the game can end. I really hate that hat track and how the game-ending depends on it.

Anyway, I managed to win 53 to Derek and Shrey's 50. It was no big victory, as I believe we all lost for playing.

Hopefully, Derek got what he wanted from learning the game. I am officially DONE playing this game. There is just not much there and the length of the game is just terrible. It always super overstays its welcome. You should probably just avoid it.

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New to the Collection:
Space Kraken
Lost Ruins of Arnak
Duel of Wands
Excavation Earth
Equinox
Red Rising







Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:00 pm
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The Minigolf Designer found the Origins of the Keystone Umbra Via

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Tonight at 5pm CDT join us as we play awesome games! over on: https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph!



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My friend Gerty suggested I check out Minigolf Designer and since I loved the theme I just had to do it! New to me!

Minigolf Designer is a tile-placement game where you construct your own minigolf course! You are trying to please your client's wishes, and if you can do that and score the most points you will win the game in the end.

At the beginning of the game, players will select their golf course shape and arrange any ponds or streams on their map. The harder the area, the more points it will gain at the end of the game if it is completed. You can also choose any number of promises for your clients. Each player has the same promise cards, and there might be a big penalty if the promises aren't met at the end of the game!

Once you start playing there will be a lineup of several tiles and the person furthest on the left will select from the line first. In the beginning, you have to start adjacent to your starting entrance, but from there you can place a tile on a diagonal adjacent to any other tile. You will want to start creating the 9 holes you need to complete your golf course.

Ideally, you will have a par between 3-5 for each hole, and those par values are represented by the red flags on the tiles. So you are free to build your golf course how you see fit!

Of course, there is a female and male client that wants specific things on the course, so you will want to try and pick up tiles with those features and meet those requirements the best you can as well as any hidden promises you have made.

You will get a bunch of bonus points for how the course is laid out. For example, you will want to have your holes line up with the ending of one hold adjacent to the start of the next hole. You will always want to have completed holes or you will lose a bunch of points for a hole that isn't finished. Pretty much common sense when trying to plan all of this for the end result.

The game will end once one player has completed their course and declare it completed.

The rulebook wasn't complicated to follow and everything seemed easy to grasp. We were able to start planning the course right away. I love how it can scale to 5 players very easily. I think it will be nice with more players since you will see more tiles, but it works just fine with 2!

I ended up picking a pretty easy layout and making it work really well. I had made a bunch of promises though and that is what got me in the end. Since you are going to be ranked against the other players, you might succeed at a promise, but another player might handle it better so you come in second place.

In a 2 player game, the 1st place person will get 10 points and the runner-up will get -10 points so that is a HUGE difference in a 2 player game. Don't make promises you can't keep.

The first game went pretty well for me and I thought I would be winning a LOT of the promises, so I MAY have over-promised a bit. I didn't realize that since Michael had the bigger land he would gain the land bonus when I also had a perfect completed course. That's okay, I learned my lesson and took it to the Livestream! Check out the video below to see the rules teach and playthrough.

I am really impressed with this game! I just LOVE designing this minigolf course! Trying to get within the par limits and making it all just connect and fit in the grid. It is a puzzle that I love to figure out. I just love drafting tiles and tile-placement games. This totally works for me and my taste in games. I would definitely recommend checking this one out if you like the sound of it! Glad we could play it on the stream! A keeper for sure!

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There had seen a bunch of photos on Instagram of Umbra Via and it seemed interesting. New to me!

Umbra Via is an abstract tile placement game where you want to collect all your Soul Tokens before the other players can collect theirs. The first player to collect them all and the tile that holds them will win the game.

In Umbra Via, each turn you will draw 3 flowers from your bag and use them to bid on the tiles in the display. Each player will reveal their bids and then do the same draw 3 and bid again adding the second bid to the first.

Whoever wins the bid will get to place the tile with all of the flowers on the tile. Tiles will have to be placed adjacent to other tiles, but they MUST be placed in the orientation they were revealed. You will want to control the black area to gain those Soul tokens. The regions have to be completely closed off before it scores and the number of soul tokens you can get are equal to the size of the black region. Second and third place can score some Soul tokens but it is always half rounded down of the higher position.

All in all, it was super simple to learn and play so Michael and I could jump right in.

I was working on one huge region, but I wasn't sure it would pay off since if you play with 2 players you have to use an AI color that is thrown into our bags so we can bid with them, but they are like an imaginary 3rd player for region control.

I managed to take over an 11 tile region and that boosted me far into the lead. But Michael was claiming a bunch of smaller regions. I wasn't sure which way it would turn out in the end, especially if Michael would manage to win all the bids since he wasn't trying to help me close the big region. Thankfully, I managed to get the win on a tile so I could have the final closed region for enough points to win the game.

There is definitely some strategy with how you bid and place the tiles, but I would consider it a light strategy game. Super light. I am not sure there are many interesting choices, but I do enjoy bidding games in general and will always want to try them. Certainly glad to have tried it and would gladly play again, but I probably wouldn't request it.


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Rainer found time where he would teach me how to play Origins: First Builders. New to me!

I was looking forward to playing this one because the colors of the game simply stand out in its beauty! I love the bright rainbow colors.

Origins is a pretty big game with tons of paths to explore. You will want to have the most points at the end of the game to win.

During the game, you will place your dice workers in different colored spaces to trigger the actions. You might gain resources or advance on the stadium track or temple tracks, or build. The catch is each time someone takes a location space that location will advance by one tick. The wheel will tick and the location will require a higher valued die to go there. So the wheel has 1-6 and if it is on 6 then you need a 6 pip die to go there or you have to pay the difference in wisdom.

The whole game revolves around the buildings you can build and the synergy you can create between those buildings and patterns in the display.

Derek joined us for a 3 player game and proceeded to crush our souls.

So Origins is pretty unforgiving and punishing. The resources are super tight and you need them for everything you are doing. I found myself missing 1 resource here and there which diverted a lot of plans.

Derek was rocking it though. I think he had like on average 6-10 more actions each round than I had. I mean he had a million dice and free actions that was quite impressive. I was trying to be concise and accurate, which turned out to be a total disaster. Either the wheels would be too high and I could take the actions I wanted or the buildings I needed I couldn't get for lack of resources.

Perhaps I just had poor planning, but it felt like a beat down every turn. Generally, I am fine when other players are hate drafting and making the game more complicated for me, but I really don't like it when the game is a constant beat down on top of other players. It made for a punishing and frustrating game for me. I think I would like the game a lot better without the penalty of the wheel, but it is hard to say.

The final scores were quite embarrassing - Derek had 243, Rainer 110, and I had 46. So yeah, they were both familiar with the game I expect them to do better, but I didn't expect this huge gap in scores.

So, I didn't hate the game, I think there is something here, but it will definitely need a few plays to grasp for anyone. In the end, I would try again, but I am not sure if this will be a game for me.

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This past weekend I got the chance to learn a bunch of games with Shrey and Dan, and I think the best one we learned was Keystone: North America. New to me!

I actually hadn't heard of it, but Shrey offered to read the rules so we could play! It is clearly still in prototype form since a lot of the tiles used on Tabletopia have a placeholder for artwork. By the way, the artwork is AMAZING!! I love it so much! I tried to get some screenshots for you.

Keystone is a tile drafting and tile placement game. You will want to fill up your 4x4 grid with tiles and hopefully score for the patterns you make.

You can score for each line and column that have consecutive ascending or descending numbers. They also have to have at least one matching habitat. Animals that have a key on them will also provide a multiplier for the line.

Everything is fairly straightforward and easy to learn. The currency is acorns which you need to have to draft a tile deeper in the line but the first tile in the line is always free. If you choose not to draft a tile you can activate a special action instead for its benefit. There are a bunch in the game and won't all be in play.

In our game, I was taking all of the Keys I could manage, clearly a very good strategy. I wasn't focused on scoring my personal hidden objective. I was just focused on the tiles I could get and the patterns I could make from them. Keys are super important and they shouldn't be forgotten.

I went full-on arctic, mostly because they had the most adorable animals.... but also because no one else seemed to want them. I wasn't afraid to spend the acorns on the tiles I needed and which often had keys on them. I believe I ended the game with 9 keys and Dan maybe had 3.

It was a blow-away victory for me. I absolutely crushed them. I think it left them a bit sour on the experience. however, they simply let me take all the keys. Keys are some serious points with those multipliers.

I won with 99 and Dan had 66 and Shrey was at 62. They just weren't effective at hate drafting, I suppose. But Dan's argument was that he should have to play a certain way to win. But, I am pretty sure if KEY is in the title of the game, you will want to get the Key tiles. Anyway, we only played one time, so I would want to play a few more times. For me, I liked it and I am excited to try it again. Definitely a beautiful game and one a lot of people will enjoy playing for sure!

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New to the Collection:






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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The Wordsmith Summoner was Unmatched against Beowulf in a Gentle Rain

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


My 2021 Awesome Gaming Calendar is Now only $10!


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CST for more fun games! https://Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph!

From Sunday!

Aristocracy


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It was the time to check out an older title with a new Master Edition called Summoner Wars (Second Edition). New to me!

I had never played Summoner Wars but I had heard of it, of course. I have been told this new edition is GORGEOUS compared to the first edition, so there is something to be said about that if you are already a fan of the first edition!

Summoner Wars is a 2-player card battle game. You will be battling until one of the leaders on either side dies.

Each turn, you will get to do a number of things. You can deploy people by spending magic and they will show up next to gates. Then you will get to move 3 units up to 2 spaces. Then you can build structures like those gates with your summoner. Finally, you will get to attack the other player with up to 3 units.

The overall game is fairly straightforward and easy to grasp. It is all about making the combos so you can defend your area and kill off as many minions as you can as you attack.

I was playing as the Polar Dwarves (SO COOL!!! - no pun intended, really! I just think they are the coolest faction. I love fighters and I love polar theme!) Michael was playing as the undead faction, bleh. I hate zombies, so of course, he picked it!

I had some pretty awesome gates that would move very slowly. They were a beast though and I could really use them to my benefit.

My hero had range and my champion cards all had a ranged attack so I could step back and attack where he needed to be melee and adjacent.

I was totally kicking some butt and my position was looking really good. My one weakness was that I had my summoner out in the open. In the end, I could have won on my next turn, but Michael managed to get out 3 minions and have a HUGE event attack card to kill those minions in order for him to deal 6 damage to me. It didn't knock me out, but he still had his attack phase left so he was able to cast the final damage in order to win the game.

Let's just say #MistakesWereMade. He got me in the end, but it was super close and I would have definitely won in the next round... provided the dice rolled even somewhat decent. There is always the possibility that the dice will roll nothing you need, which happened a few times to Michael, but yeah, I wasn't having that issue.

Summoner Wars isn't really a game that I would gravitate towards, but I think it does what it is trying to do really well. I love that the rules are easy to learn and that the faction decks are created for you, but you CAN customize and make your own decks if you want. Little things like that really stand out and make a game better. I could play again, but I probably wouldn't request it, just because it isn't really my type of game, but that is my personal preference. It will work really well for many families. I can see parents and kids enjoying this a lot together.



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I am always interested in learning new word games and I really enjoyed Decipher so was definitely looking forward to checking out Wordsmith. New to me!

Wordsmith is a word construction game where the pieces you are using will form letters and you will want to form words. The longer the word the more points you can get. After 3 rounds you will determine a winner for whoever has the most points.

The same pieces are used in Decipher, but Wordsmith is a more streamlined word game. It is super straightforward.

Each round, one player rolls the 4 dice and each player will grab the associated pieces then the dice are rolled again and more pieces are grabbed. Once the round starts, everyone will try to make a word with these pieces. Once a word is called out, it can't be used by another player. Each player will also have their own die that they can roll. When they roll it they will grab the piece, or if it has a star they can grab the piece they want!

You can roll the die as many times as you want, but if you don't use all the pieces in a word, then you might end up losing some bonus points at the end of the round. For each piece you don't use in the word, you will have to throw it back to the pool and you will have to mark your boxes. Some boxes will give you points if it isn't marked.

Once one player has found 6 words in the round, it will end. You get a point per letter you have in your word, and you gain any of the bonuses that.

Michael and I played and I was rolling the dice like crazy collecting a bunch of extra pieces. It was definitely going very well for me. I found some great words and they were all longer so I was totally kicking butt after rounds 1 and 2! Michael wasn't too far behind.

In round 3 everything went wrong. ALL THE RED PIECES! I mean I needed words with like 5 N's so kept rolling the die to find other pieces to use and ended up with more reds. It was rough, and I managed to only get 3 words in the round. They were decent words, but it wasn't enough and Michael ended up winning that game!

I like the challenge of trying to form letters for you can form words, but I think I prefer Decipher to Wordsmith for the deduction element of the game. Both games are clever and I love the use of pieces. I would be happy to play this one again! Definitely glad to have tried this! Good for any word fan


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The other day on the Livestream Michael and I tried out the new Unmatched: Little Red Riding Hood vs. Beowulf. New to me!

This is a standalone game with 2 characters inside, but the Unmatched series can all be mixed and matched with each other. It sort of reminds me of games like Villainous and Funkoverse. While this is a new game, it is very familiar and easy to jump into. We hadn't played it but learned it on the spot.

I chose to play with Little Red, obviously, and Michael played as Beowulf. I had the Huntsman as an ally and some special cards for him specifically. My ability triggered when I play a card and the bonus action symbol matched my top card in the discard. Michael had a cool ability that created Rage and had some serious power-ups from that Rage.

I wasn't afraid to get into a close melee range, so I was always up in Michael's face. I had some good defense cards to block. When I lost the Huntsman, I was low on cards so I just had to BOOK IT, there wasn't much I could do. Michael ended up cornering me, but it was a close one.

I still had a lot of life and Michael was down to like 4, so I figured I would have a shot at winning. Turns out Michael had a major card to deal some serious damage. I was the complete loser this time, sad! You just have to watch my demise in the video below.

I think it is an interesting new small box Unmatched. I ended up finding Little Red frustrating since I would often not have the symbols I needed to trigger the bonuses. I don't think I would choose to play with her again but would want to try Beowulf.

All in all, I definitely prefer Cobble & Fog to this one, but I can see keeping all the Unmatch games for that variety. Definitely a great game for those already interested in the Unmatched series or just to test the waters.



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There is a new solo+ game we were able to play called A Gentle Rain. New to me!

It is pretty much a solo game, but playing as 2 player you can just take turns placing and talking about the tiles together.

A Gentle Rain is a light tile placement game where you will place tiles down matching the various flowers. When you place a 2x2 grid of tiles you will create a circle center where you can place one of the 8 flowers that match one of the colors next to the circle.

Your objective is to place all of the flowers before you run out of tiles. When you place your last flower you will score one point per leftover tile and an additional 8 points for the flowers.

The first game we actually did pretty well! I didn't know it at the time, but we finished with a score of 11! I suppose the highest score you can get is 21, so there is still room to improve, but when we played on the stream the first game went very poorly! We only managed a score of 7, so we had to immediately play again... You will have to check out the video for that! We even had a Hype Train during the play!

I have to say this is a nice little solo game. Easy to play and very quick. I can see a lot of people just playing this at any time. Simple rules and quick play will be an instant winner for a lot of casual gamers. I liked it and will definitely play a few more times to see if I can beat my score!

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312





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In case you missed it here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!





New to the Collection:






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:00 pm
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