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All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

A photographic journey through board games...

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SO MANY NEW GAMES! 46 to learn before 2019 so I had to make a dent. Cupcake Empire, Cryptid, City of Gears, Tournament of Towers, Koi, Santa Maria + All The Others!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
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Hia Everyone!


A Sweet New Microbadge! mb


BGG Support Drive happening Now!! I made a super sweet offer in the 2018 Supporter Drive Giveaway / Rummage-O-Rama!

I am giving away a copy of Visitor in Blackwood Grove!



Last week I was gifted awesome games from my Secret Santa! #BestSantaEver






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Thursday night was Fun Group and I got to play a bunch of games! We started the night off with Orbis. New to me!

This is a new title that I have been curious about since GenCon but didn't get to try it then. My Secret Santa sent it my way and I was looking forward to trying it. Riley was great and offered to read the rules!

This is a very simple tile placement game where you are trying to get the most points. In the game, you will take a turn and draft/buy a tile from the display of 9 tiles. They have a cost at the top and you have to pay the matching resources. Whenever you buy a tile you look at the color of the tile and then place a matching colored cube on all adjacent tiles from where that tile was. This makes those tiles more attractive to the next player, because cubes are really the only way of getting tiles to use in future rounds. When you take a tile, you are building a personal pyramid with a max base of 5. Once you have two at the bottom, you can then place a tile in the next level up, but the color you place in that location must match one of the two tiles below it. Also, when you place the tile, you get to activate the action if there is one. Some of them have end of game scoring, others have on-going bonuses or immediate powers. Most of them have some points though.

The game will end after 15 rounds and you have a complete pyramid. Simple!

I was hearing a bunch of mixed reviews on this one so I wasn't sure what to expect, really. I thought it was pretty good. I was prepared for the feeling of being restricted and not entirely sure how that would turn out for me.

You really have to plan in the final rounds because if you have a need for only blue tiles and there are no blue tiles on display then you are just out of luck. You really need to have a variety so you can choose from the available pool wisely. It can be tricky. I kinda liked the restriction here.

If the game was longer than 30 minutes, I am sure I wouldn't have liked this game as much. For a 30 minute game, there are some fun choices and I can see playing this one for a fast filler in the future. We were all just learning it too, so it can easily be quicker the next time we play.

I thought for sure I would win that game but I got screwed over in the final turn and wasn't able to purchase the tile I thought I was going to. It cost me a lot of points and I ended up not winning. Riley won with 23 and I lost with 20 so it was a fairly close game for 4 players.

I will be playing again for sure.













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In an effort to keep Riley around for another game we ended up playing 2 games of Shadows: Amsterdam.

I have been bringing this one around a bunch and offering to play it with people when we are looking for a faster game. It is also the type of game you want to play a few times in a row, anyway.

I was teamed up with Derek, and he caught on to the clues I was giving him about 50% of the time. When he was clue-giving, I wasn't doing too bad, but he misunderstood the multi-colored spaces and wasn't taking me to those locations. Derek and I are just not the best team and ended up losing both rounds. He will do better next time for sure.

We all had a great time playing and it is definitely one for the Christmas crowd. Great game.










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Riley took off, and Derek, Scott and I played a game of Ganz schön clever. I really like this game. I think it is a bit long, but I like to try and get those massive combos.

There is always a challenge. I thought I was doing well, but Derek was doing better and he said he had his best game yet. He ended up winning by just a few points. Poor Scott was just way out of the running, but it was his second game and was a bit confused during the beginning when he was relearning it.

Great game and always one I will be willing to play.







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The final game of the night was just a 2-player game of Patchwork.

Derek had wanted to take off and Scott suggested this one. I hadn't played it in a very long time, but it is a simple game to take out and play. Scott said he knew it, but he had forgotten several rules. It was fine though and like I said, it is super simple.

He absolutely crushed me, almost filling his board. I got the 7x7 bonus and I got like -28 points or something insane at the end of the game for the empty squares. I was still positive net value, but he was far above me. Boooooo I am still not very good at this game. I always will try though!

Fun game!














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Saturday was game day and I was ready to play a bunch of games. I ended up playing 16 games, 11 of which were new, so it was a solid day of games. We started with the game called Forbidden City. New to me!

This is a new tile placement game from Knizia, so I was interested in trying it out. Since Dan had not been to game day in a couple of months, I figured he would be interested in trying it. He was, of course, and he read the rules!

It is a pretty simple tile placement game where you are trying to gather points by closing off rooms where you have a lot of influence. You get bonus points if the room you close is connected via archways to other rooms. There are no real restrictions when placing room tiles to the map except you can't align an open area with another open area of a different color. But you can close rooms easily by just placing walls to close it off.

When we started the game it wasn't clear that we could do that, so we were making very large rooms. Once we figured out that you don't have to keep making rooms bigger, it opened up a whole lot of possibilities. We should have been creating a lot of smaller rooms and it would have been generating a lot more points throughout the game.

Having played once, I very much look forward to going back and playing again now with this knowledge on how to play better. I think there will be more reasons for cut-throat play.

As it turns out, I am still the best player and managed to win this game by about 10 more points than the other players. I had a great time playing it and I look forward to future plays. I hope it will hold up over time.



















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Dan had played Cupcake Empire and was willing to teach. New to me!

I have been anxious to play this because the theme is awesome and there are so many colorful dice! The whole game is just so pretty and eye-catching. I had to twist his arm a bit in order to play because he didn't have the best experience playing the first time. But, I suspected it was group-dependent and not the game's fault. YAY, WE PLAYED!

This game is so cute!! In the game, you are managing your bakery and all the cupcakes you are making and supplying to customers. You are trying to get the most points. Whoever hits 70 points first will trigger the end of the game and you will finish the round. So it is really a race to 70 points!

Everyone has one of each colored die and a bunch of grey dice. You start out with the colored dice in their respective columns and roll the grey dice and place them accordingly. On your turn you will activate a column. Normally, you need 3 dice to activate the basic action in a column, but the more dice you have in the column, the better the action will be when activated. What is so great about the colored dice is that you don't need three dice to activate a column. If a colored die is in the correct column, that die can activate the next level action. So if you have 2 green dice in the green column, you can take the second available green action. The pink dice are wilds and can be an asset to any column. When you activate a column, you use all the dice in that column.

Each column specializes in something different. The purple column specializes in cupcake bottoms and the yellow column specializes in cupcake tops. The orange column allows you to open up new stores, and the green column allows you to sell to customers. The awesome pink column will allow you to gather new dice as well as cool upgrade tokens that will improve your column actions.

Each time you take your turn, you get to score your points that you generate in the turn and at the end. You are managing 2 tracks and the lower of the tracks you will get in victory points so you really want to try and maintain a balance between the 2. There are common goals for each player to claim if they can manage them. Those change each time you play so it will be variable.

When you are done with your turn, you roll all of the dice you just used and place them into the respective columns. There are ways to adjust their values and it is possibly a bit fiddly, but I think it works and it is not too complicated. I don't think you can easily be screwed over in this game which is great.

We played 3 players and because Dan had played before, it went pretty snappy. I mean I think it was like a 45 minute game, about how long it should be, and it felt right.

I was quite pleased with this game and had a great time playing it. I nearlllllllllllllllllllllly won it too! Dan was far in the lead all game - it is like he learned from the first time he played. My shop was bumped the turn before mine and it RUINED me. I could have gotten 2 end goals and got enough points to win, but because I lost that shop I missed out on the points needed to pass Dan at the last second. There were a few rules that were also not clear to me, like I tried to place 3 of the same upgraded actions in a column, but that's not allowed, so I didn't do that. The upgraded action I wanted wasn't available also, so I missed out there. Lots of things went poorly in the final turn.

I still had a great time playing and I will definitely win the next time I play. I think the characters are vibrant and fun, I love all of the components of the game and the quality. It was super cute. Definitely on the keep pile. Good times.



















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Next up was a game I wanted to play called Tournament of Towers. New to me!

This is a dexterity game. I am always up for new and exciting dexterity games. This one is SUPER HEAVY. It has top quality components and funky shapes. It is also a drafting game. You are drafting a set of pieces then planning them out in the order you want to place them. Don't mess that order up, because you can't change it! There are 2 rounds and you essentially do that twice, but the second time you have to build off of the structure you created in the first round.

There are advanced rules/variants that you can use with events too. We didn't want hassle so we didn't play with this.

It is a pretty simple dexterity game. I like that on the card artwork it shows you the size of the pieces. That is handy. The yellow pieces are single units and are generally pretty awkward shapes that don't stack well at all. The gray pieces are all easier to use in the structure. If you get the yellow pieces, they are worth extra points, so if you think you are clever enough to place them, then you get more points.

Not gonna lie, we were pretty lenient with our rulings for this game. Star and Derek kept knocking their towers over, but we let them rebuild it - over and over. hahah! It is more fun to let people get their goals/visions for the tower. In the end, I still managed to win anyway! I am awesome at stacking games. Dan said he liked Junk Art more. I think the pieces in this one are more interesting and better quality. I am thinking the gameplay is more interesting with Junk Art, however.

In the end, I would be happy to play this again. It is a huge heavy box which doesn't really make it convenient to bring around places but will bring it out at game day in the future.


















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Dan and Derek were interested in trying out The River. New to me!

This was getting some buzz at the past cons and I am always up for learning a Days of Wonder game! They always have top-quality production, which photographs well.

This game isn't as lavish as Yamatai but it is a fast entry-level worker placement game. There is a cool tile placement mechanic for set collection but you have to place them in order along the river. You will be losing guys along the way if you pick up tiles too quickly. Otherwise, it is a simple worker placement game where you go out and collect resources and fulfill orders/buildings for points. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Since we had 3 players the game flew by. I think it is only supposed to be about 30 minutes of game time and we probably took that long to learn and play. Next time will be even faster though.

I am not sure anything really stood out for me in this game, but there was nothing bad about it. I predicted a few more rounds and was on point for it, but it was still fast ending and I had bigger and better plans, but then it was over. I think that is a great thing for a game. It means I have to plan better in the next game I play.

I enjoyed this one and would always be happy to play it. It is harmless and takes hardly any time. I will be glad to show people this one. Not sure about longevity but happy for now.


















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Next up was Railroad Rivals. New to me!

Normally I am not drawn to railroad type games (ANTI-MONDAY NIGHT FANBOY 18XX ). But this game was supposed to be an hour long with tile placement and I was interested to see about that. I love tile placement and trying to figure out the puzzle that a game has to offer.

You can win the game by getting the most points. Of course, the points are your bidding power, and you need to bid for turn order, and turn order is super important.

Each round there is an action for turn order and this is after you see the splash of available destination and company tiles available. Once turn order is decided then you will take turns drafting one of each type of tile. The companies are just set collection and help you focus on which to try and push. No one can take the companies' shares from you. The destinations are the interesting tile placement part of the game. You have a hand of 3 tiles and you will end up playing all of them in the game. You try to make connections. When people use your train or you use your trains' connections then you get points and the company share value will increase. At the end of the game, you will be awarded points for each share you have in every company.

In our game, we were playing with 3 players and they were just not bidding me up for the turn order so I kept going first. It was definitely in my interest to fight for first since you get first dibs at tiles in the draft and then placement and then the delivery phase. I would snipe the good tiles and I would steal other players cubes and deliver them where they couldn't reach them. It is all about how you can screw over people in this game, even though it might not seem like it from afar. The whole time, I was planning on my next move to screw over Dan. It ended up working out for me, and them just allowing me to go first was their big mistake. I totally kicked some major butt!

Things I like are that you will always get a share and you can't lose it. They come to you no matter what. I can see why people wouldn't like that since most people will want to invest in the companies and be able to do so when they see fit. This is all random timing so you have to bid for turn order accordingly. As far as the connections go I felt the board was cluttered with trains and it was hard to see the connections. You don't even really want to be giving points to other people and using their trains unless it REALLY makes sense to, but even then I find it not the best solution. The game never hit that wow moment for me. I didn't care about the random factor - it didn't bother me as it did for some.

In the end, I am just not sure it holds up to being a game I want to be playing over and over again. I think it was a fine entry-level speculation type game. I could play it again, but if I were to choose to play this or Raccoon Tycoon, I would pick the better art in Raccoon Tycoon.































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I hadn't had the chance to play my copy of Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra yet on my table. NOW WAS THE TIME! The time was now.

We got to playing and I was surprised to hear Derek hadn't played it yet since he picked it up at Essen. I ended up teaching him the game with Dan chiming in as he does.

I was not planning my columns very well. I was trying to collect the colors and score them during their appropriate rounds but then nothing was working out time wise and I would be resetting all at the wrong times.

I still managed to stick close to Dan's score but he was definitely the winner that game. This game is just so pretty, I love it so much! Gotta play it more!


















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At BGG.CON, I learned a new quick game that I was able to teach next called The Golden Sails.

I remembered it pretty well, I just didn't know what a lot of the purple bonuses were or how to score the weapons. It was easy enough to figure out and play.

We were just playing 3 players and it went by in like 15-20 minutes, so hardly any time.

Simple set collection game with a bit of fighting. It is possible you never will end up fighting if you play a nice game.

Dan ended up winning this time around. I just couldn't get there and get all the points I wanted with the different sets. I thought Derek was going to win since he was going a different route than the rest of us, but he was beat up on too much to win.

Cute game and I am happy to play it more in the coming months.















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There was a calling for a 3 player game of Santa Maria & Santa Maria: American Kingdoms. New to me Expansion!

I already love the base game, and I am just never good at winning this game, but I am always SO CLOSE to winning. With this new expansion, there are a whole bunch of different modules you can mix in with the game. There is a lot of content. If you think someone is just amazing at this game then you can give them a handicap board, which is interesting. When we played we only added in a few different additions.

We ended up playing with the extra goal tiles and cocoa tiles. Cocoa is a new resource that you can generate but you have to spend it before you can re-generate it. You can spend it on new ship tiles that are available and you can spend it to change any die face to what you want it to be. It is pretty handy. There is also a governor that will be moving along your board from the top left and you are trying to make him get to the bottom right for max points. You can say screw it and not try for him at all but you might lose a bunch of points.

Just these minor additions really gives you a lot more to think about during the game and I felt was more than enough to incorporate with the first play using the expansion.

Since we were just playing 3 players the game seemed to go by pretty quickly. I think I like the game best with 3 players. Sometimes this game can feel longer but this felt like a good pace and time spent.

I was complaining all game that I didn't think I was doing that well. I knew I was doing alright. I was really hoping for a final push at the end to take the win, but I was just a few points behind Chris in the end game. He was shocked I was able to score so high as it was. I think I only made 4 ship deliveries. He had like 10 or something. I got all of my points from the main board which I completely filled up and picked up as many people as I could.

The new expansion adds in some more polyominos and I really like the 1x3 tile. It is a costly $4 but it is so worth it and it helps to fill up your board and not make the tiles so fought over. I like them a lot.

I think the expansion is a great addition with a ton of content to explore. I don't think it changed up the game so much to make it an entirely new game and you and give or take as much as you want. I really enjoyed it.

I look forward to my next play to explore more of the modules.




















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It was time for a fast game and I was FINALLY able to get Let's Drink to the table. New to me!

Okay, so this is a re-theme of Cha dango, a game I absolutely adore. It works basically the same way except it adds in a fourth thing to match. It is a real-time game to match what is on the back of the card on the draw deck to the front of the card you just flipped up. With this information, you need to gather one bit of that and snag any number of matching items from the display of cards in the middle of the table. For example, if the back of the card shows colorful bunnies then you are looking for the color of the bunny of the card you just flipped. If that color is green then you snag all of the green cards in the center of the table.

It is a super cute and super fast game that I am very good at. This happens to come in the CUTEST little bunny plushie and OMG I LOVES HIM!

This time we were playing with 4 people, but it was really me vs Dan in the end since the other guys were just not really into speed games so much. I absolutely demolished everyone. Whoops! This is why I can't get the game played very much. But I LOVE it!! I gotta play this and Cha Dango more. I seriously love it so much.












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Next up I have been looking to play City of Gears. New to me!

Dan read the rules! Thanks Dan! I was interested in this game for the theme. I like the steampunk feel and the cool gears. I got to check out the demo on the BGG live stream at GenCon and was definitely interested in checking it out. There is a fair amount of take-that in the game, but you can play with a nicer variant if that bothers you.

We played the base game with no added expansion stuff that the KS provided. All of the bits are awesome and the robots are super cute. Nice quality production on this game.

The game is played in 2 phases and the first phase will end once all 9 game board tiles have been revealed, then you will add in four white gears to the gear bag. The end of the game happens once three of the white gears have been pulled from the bag. The game will abruptly end on the spot, and you won't finish the round or even the turn.

On your turn, you will roll your dice and use the resources to perform actions. You can do any number of actions any number of times except pull gears from the bag, which you can do only once. You will need resources to activate the boards, to move on the board, or to attack people. You can attack someone's gears/links or robots. You are just looking to gather as many points as possible by making links on the gameboard and trying to gain control of the different tiles for end game scoring.

You might have gears that are developments and will generate actions or bonuses on your turn. I had one that provided additional end-game scoring for not unlocking robots.

Our game was a bit of a fluke. I think we only went around the table like 4 times and then the game was over. It was REALLLLLLLLLLLLY fast. We all rushed to explore the map and try to find good tiles. Once the white gears were added, it was clear the game would be over soon. Dan had a TON of personal development tiles and location bonuses that let him draw gears from the bag. He pulled like a million tiles and sure enough the game was over just like that.

Throughout the entire game, I was battling with the dice. I was just not rolling what I needed. You really need to roll gears each and every time so you can build up your developments and links. You really only get 3 resources a turn, so the ramp-up was slow and the ending was super fast. Turns also seemed slow while people were figuring out the game. I didn't get enough resources and I couldn't do a lot on my turn so I am not sure why it felt long.

I never rolled a lightning bolt at all! I couldn't ever attack another player, so that was lame. You can always convert 2 resources into another one but those are precious actions you are possibly giving up. I felt the game was over too quickly and I never really got an engine built or anything. It was all very fast and I didn't do enough to really explore different combinations of tiles or anything. I think having an even number of turns would also help, since the final player got one fewer turn and it really hurt him. Dan and Chris tied for the winning score with 23 points. I had 16.

I am not sure I am the right target for this game. It was a pretty rough play for me and it just didn't given me a sense of wonder or interest for further investigation. I would try again, but I am not sure it will be requested all that frequently.






















The Board is looking at me!




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I was thinking something a bit simpler for the next game and decided on playing Planet.

I got to try this game during Essen on the final night and Marlon totally cheated the whole game. He didn't mean to. haha It was fun times so I was excited to play it again.

I could easily teach this game because it is pretty easy and everyone was on the same page with the scoring. Dan is the picky one when it comes to rules and he always likes to know all the information there is to know at any given moment.

So, the biggest challenge was updating everyone about the current standings for all of the upcoming goals for the round and beyond. There was a constant question in the air of how many this and how many that. It kinda brings the game down when you are constantly asking these questions.

It was fine and we made it through, but it was a bit of a hindrance to the experience. I still really like the game, I just don't like having to do inventory each and every round for all of the scoring cards. I like the surprise of oh who won this time.

Shrey ended up kicking our butts majorly. It was no contest. I am just not great at getting the animal cards, which are clearly more valuable than the end game scoring cards. Fun game.















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Next up there were 3 of us for a game of KOI. New to me!

I figured this would be a relaxing and easy game to play and I wasn't wrong. It quite reminded me of a game called Frogriders but with a little more control and planning.

This is a simple abstract game where you are trying to get the most points from eating dragonflies over the course of 7 rounds. Each round, players are dealt 3 cards they can use or hold on to. There is a hand limit so you don't want to hang on to too many, but there would definitely be a reason to hang on to some. The cards have any number of interesting things like movement patterns or items like lilypads or rocks.

At the start of the round, you will draw an event card and there will be effects that happen. For example, it might say you can play any card to jump a space this round. You will then have that option for this current round. When it is your turn, you play any number of cards from your hand and collect whatever you can collect. Once all players have gone you score for the round.

We were playing with 3 players and I think my biggest problem with 3 players is the start player rule for the rounds. The person who gets to start is the person furthest behind. Yeah, that makes sense, but then all of the turn order should be in the order of points, not just leading player. It is an easy rule to adjust for further plays, and I will house rule that. As it stood, Shrey was ALWAYS going second, no matter how far in the lead he was. Dan was always in the last place and couldn't get out of last place. It meant I was always going third, and that usually meant nothing remained on the board for picking up points. It was just frustrating for me. Again, I think it would easily be fixed just by adjusting turn order according to the player position on the score track. Or, maybe, it is best as a 2 player game! As it turned out, Shrey absolutely crushed us and there was just no hope for me and my sad koi fish.

I certainly LOVE the production of this game and the artwork is just brilliant. So very beautiful. I like the ease of gameplay and trying to figure out the best movement patterns. There could easily be another variant for drafting cards each round, which could be good or it might just drag the game longer than desired. It could help with the randomness of the card draw. I didn't have a problem with that, but Dan was finding it difficult at times.

I enjoyed my play and will be looking to play this one again to see about the turn order changeup and if that will work better for me. I like what I played though. So pretty! heart





























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Next up was a 3 player game of Hokkaido. New to me!

I had missed out on playing this so many times that now was my time to play it! Finally!

I enjoyed Honshu enough that I wanted to learn this one. I got the rundown of Hokkaido during Essen and it looked to be a great improvement on the original.

In this game, you are drafting cards, which is an auto improvement for me. I love drafting! They took out a lot of delivery spaces and just kept in 4 points per delivery and didn't bother with the lesser value spaces. But the major thing that was changed is the added mountain range you are forming. You will gain points for this mountain range and you will have 2 totally separated regions at the end of the game. You will actually compare the largest city from either side and score the lesser valued one, so you are looking to expand both sides of your mountain range pretty evenly. There are added goals you can play with that will also give points. There are also new uses for the cubes that help you gain single landscape regions which were a great addition. Otherwise, it is basically the same game as Honshu where you are over/underlaying cards to form a landscape. You gain points from forests and lakes the same.

This game played out much quicker than Honshu, which was awesome. Unfortunately, Shrey and I tied this game and the TIE breaker rule is that the person with the most desert type land wins... so yeah I lost! Booo! Shrey for the win again. He was on a roll.

I had a great time with this. I think it was like a 20-minute playtime and that is a perfect filler type game IMO. I will gladly play this anytime.

















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Scott was in for one more game and we broke into teams of 3 for a game of Trapwords.

I am always up for a game of Trapwords. This time I was teamed up with Ron and Dan against Derek, Scott, and Shrey.

I am not sure I have ever played by the official rules with all of the technical details but this game we surely did. No proper nouns allowed. Fiiiiiiiiiiiine. Hahaha we had to re-do a round since I violated a whole bunch of rules.

It still worked out for our team since Ron and Dan were being all smart-like. I had no idea what was happening and was not really on their team at all. The other guys managed to catch up to us, but we still managed to complete the game with the dragon as the boss.

Love this game and will have to bring it around during the holidays in hopes that my family will try and play it. Clever clever game.

















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We had 5 players and decided on The Table Is Lava & The Table is Lava: Coconuts edition. New to me & Expansion!

This is a new dexterity game. The expansion adds a 5th player to the mix so we could easily incorporate that expansion for our 5th player! You just have to change out a few cards and you are good to go.

Everyone places their starting card in the middle of the table and places meeples on them to set up the game. Every time it comes to your turn, you select any card from your hand of cards to either throw into the middle of the pile or flick from the edge of the table. Your goal is to knock down or knock off all of the other player's meeples. Meeples standing on cards at the end of the game are worth 2 points, and if they are sleeping on a card then they are worth 1 point.

Very simple game and a perfect end of the game night with no thinking involved.

Ron ended up winning this game. He had about all of his dudes on the map. I am nearly sure that Derek tossed his card off the table each turn. It was pretty funny. I will gladly play this game anytime.






















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The last game of the night was Once Upon a Castle. New to me!

This is a new roll n write game from Blue Orange. I am always up for new roll n write games!! You can be creative and draw your own castle or use the outline of the one provided. In my case, this is an automatic drawing game for me. I also need to use colorful sharpies, so I need to always keep those handy when playing this game.

On your turn, you will roll both dice and use them. You will take discs and place them onto your board in the appropriate spaces. Each other player can use one of the dice. If you fill a column or row then you can also claim the reward attached to that line.

Your goal is to make the donjon and the 4 castle walls and 4 castle towers. There are other bonus points you can claim from banners and collecting people, but you need those other things to end the game.

I am not only colorful in this game but I am amazing. I picked up an early card that gave additional people when I took a Turkey die and that was awesome. Really cool combo and it helped me a lot. I ended up winning.

I would have won anyway because I had the prettiest castle. Ron and Dan had weakkkkk castles.














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Monday night we played a 6 player game of Skull King.

Last time I played with 3 and I was interested in seeing how this would play with more. It was highly entertaining.

I wanted to play the whole game betting 0, but that is impossible if you are dealt the Skull King himself. Unfortunately, my hand was also terrible so I had to bid 1 and that is what I took for round 7 or something. Totally wasted. Turn 8, I didn't have much better and I was not great at bidding.

Turns out I was still BOSS at this game and ran away with it with 380 points. You really get higher scores with more players. More cards are offered up and more chances to pick up bonus points.

I had a great time playing. Works well with any number of players it seems.











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I was interested in trying out Cryptid. New to me!

I was hearing a lot of different things about this game but the overall consensus was that people were enjoying it. Since you need 3-5 players, we broke off into 2 groups of 3 and Dan was able to read the rules.

This is a deduction game where everyone has a hidden piece of information about a mythological creature, like, "cannot be within one space of a mountain". On your turn, you get to ask another player about a hex on the board and see what they have to say about their information. If it is not a valid location, they will place a cube, or if it is a valid location, they will place a disc. If you think you know the exact location of the creature, you can make a search, and if it is not a valid location for someone, they will place a cube.

You keep continuing the gameplay until a location is found that is valid for all players.

I had a great time trying to piece out this puzzle. I was the first to search on like turn 4 or something, and I was able to guess the correct location. I tried to figure out everyone's hidden information the best I could. I ended up guessing Eric's spot on and I had the right idea for Dan so I will give myself half credit.

I had a great time playing and I wanted to play again right then. I think they enjoyed the play but they weren't interested in playing again. I definitely look forward to the next play!














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I hardly ever get to play games with Eric, and when I do, I make a point to try and play one of my #top10 games called Cities.

This game needs more love!! It is so one of my favorites and I could play it every day and several times a day at that. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

I was consistent with both of my plays, scoring 66 in both and winning both games. On the plus side, Eric managed to do much better in the second game. Dan was still terrible at both games, but he tried, I suppose?

Hahahahah, I could have done better, but I will take my wins and leave. #anytime








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Dan was bringing around Woodlands and I have been anxious to play this one again. It had been far too long and I really like what this game offers.

I didn't want to play the base mode again though, so I asked if we could play chapter 2 with Robin Hood. Eric was learning but he was up for the challenge. He played perfectly well. Not everyone can just jump into this game on level 2 and do well.

I really thought for sure I would win this game. I managed to screw up the final round royally though, and it was just rough. That last round was a challenge, and you have to rework your brain to think a different pattern scheme. I liked it a lot though. Dan managed to sneak that win. Dang.

The next chapter will be awesome. I can't wait to play it. Just need to find some victims to play with.








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Eric was willing to play a new game that Dan brought around called X nimmt!. New to me!

I didn't like 11 Nimmt but I do really like 6 Nimmt so I was willing to give it a shot!

This is very much like 6 Nimmt but with a few new rules and restrictions. In X Nimmt, you can only play 2-4 players which is interesting. There are 3 lines of cards that will bust on 3/4/5 respectively. The major difference is that when you bust a row, you take the cards and add one to your own personal row, and the others get added back to your hand of cards. If you end up busting your own personal row, those cards are scored DOUBLE.

In the game, you, of course, want the lowest score possible. Double points in your score pile are bad. You also get 1 point per bullhead from the cards remaining in your hand when it ends. The round ends when someone has no cards remaining in hand.

I have to say I really like the added rules and smaller player count. I think it makes the game very interesting since the cards are essentially cycling through and through in the same round. I really enjoyed my play of this.

I was glad I got the chance to check it out. I even ended up winning! Woohoo! I would definitely recommend checking this one out if you like 6 Nimmt!












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The final game of the night was Tichu. There is always room for ONE MORE game of Tichu.

I was somehow paired up with Dan. WTF?! After last time, I thought for sure I could get Geoff as a partner and destroy... nope, I got Dan, and we proceeded to fail just like last time. At least last time we were able to get in a few good rounds before getting our asses handed to us. This time was just a beat down with no hope of survival. I am not sure we ever broke 100 points. It was over in about 45 minutes.

Definitely not one of our better plays. I don't think we ever made one of our Tichu/Grand calls. It was a sad day. We will have to do better next time.






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New to the Collection:
Cerebria: The Inside World
Spirits of the Forest
Orbis
Kero
Movable Type
Dominion: Renaissance






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




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


All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Thank you.
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Steph's New to Me List November 2018!!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2018!


This year I have made the goal of learning 300 400 500 games!

New Awesome Microbadge!!
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Steph's Awesome Spectrum Rating System!










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




November List




1. Brikks:

Roll n Write game of Tetris! I probably hyped this game up too much for myself. I wish there was another board for variation. Not really enough interesting choices to keep me wanting to play over and over.



6/10 After several plays (Owned)



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2. First Contact:

Tons of fun! Seen the movie Arrival? This is the board game of that movie. Aliens trying to communicate with humans. Lots of laughs and makes for a fun party game. Having a great time with this one and can see lots of games in my future!



8/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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3. Pandoria:

A bit too much take-that for my liking. Overall simple rules to understand and play. Not many interesting mechanics for me to keep me invested in the longer playtime. Not for me.



4/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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4. Underwater Cities:

People keep comparing it to Terraforming Mars. I have to say I like it a lot more than TM. In this game, I get to build my own city and do my own thing. Really clever game and one that I look forward to many more plays of! Loved it!



9/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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5. Nemeton:

Nothing much exciting happening in this game. Nothing that I haven't seen before or anything to make it stand out from a crowd. Felt it was far too long for a simple resource management game. In the end, not really for me.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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6. The Great City of Rome:

I love tile placement and card drafting so that works well for me. The art is not so exciting but I enjoyed the game play. I look forward to more plays.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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7. Walls of York:

Roll n Write but in boardgame form. You are placing walls down according to what is rolled trying to make the best city walls. It is super cute. Kinda wish there was more complicated scoring or gameplay options for advanced players.



6/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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8. Solenia:

One top game I was looking forward to from Essen. I had a great time playing and I think the advanced play will be even more compelling. Simply gorgeous production. The transition from night to day is so cool.



8/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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9. Gingerbread House:

Simple, simple gameplay here. I still enjoyed it and LOVE the art and quality production. Will stay in the collection for at least a few more plays. Super cute though.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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10. Horticulture Master:

Easily one of the prettiest games to come out of Essen. Game play is simple and relaxing. I think it's more interesting than Cottage Garden. A bit long for what it offers, but warrants more plays.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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11. Qwantum:

New Roll n Write game and it was okay. Nothing much exciting happening with this one. Would gladly play it anytime though.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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12. Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra:

This is awesome. Takes Azul and changes it to be a game for me. I was not entirely fond of Azul, but this totally fixes what I didn't like and makes it so much better. Loved this game.



8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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13. Manitoba:

Some cool ideas going on here. Standard Euro type game and one I could easily play again. I wouldn't be jumping to do so but I wouldn't turn it down. Totes fine.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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14. Valparaíso:

Started out strong with a nice card management mechanic. Everything else really just fell flat and didn't really work for the group. Not a game I would care to play again.



3.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)




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15. Ceylon:

Was REALLY bad but learned we played it incorrectly so I will judge based off of the correct rule. Would try again for fair judgment but based on what I know- it was all around OK. Nothing special happening with this game.



4.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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16. Fertility:

Cute tile laying and resource management game. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but it is solid and a game I could play anytime. Plays out wicked fast. Might not be terribly exciting after several plays though.



7/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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17. Trappist One:

Nightmare getting through these rules and playthrough. Maybe the game isn't as bad as my experience but I won't be playing this again, it was just torture. Beautiful art though.



2/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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18. Crime Hotel:

I had a good experience, but I can see if you can't win or lose a hand then the game just sucks. Which happened in our play. Kinda ruined it for us. It drops the rating a bunch because of that- if a player can't score cause of bad card draw then yah - bleh.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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19. Trellis:

Beautiful production - not so interesting play. Very mundane and easy. Could be good for non-gamers and families, overall uninteresting. Needs more for advanced players. First player advantage.



4/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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20. Fool!:

I was fooled into playing this not really aware it was a remake of Foppen. Yes, it is a re-do of Foppen, a game I despise. This did not help and I won't play again. Just not a game for me.



2/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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21. Fuji:

Love this game! Cooperative dice rolling game. I duno why I love it so much but I can't wait to play harder levels of this. So much fun.



8/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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22. Ragusa:

Played prototype. Needs a lot of development for it to be a game I would play again. As it stands - it didn't work for me at all.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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23. Rebel Nox:

Weird and interesting trick taking game. Teams and partnerships are forever changing in the game and you just don't know who you are working with. Tricky. I like what is happening though.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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24. Lift Off:

Interesting game here. Not sure it is for me. Just too long for me - maybe I need to play with a different group of players? I would definitely play again.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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25. Crown of Emara:

Another game which I am not sure if it is meant for me. I definitely liked what was happening. Would use a card variant for sure in the next play. I want to play again and see if I like it more.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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26. Globe Twister:

Awesome puzzle game. It was made for me. I love the way it makes me think. Would play anytime.



8.5/10 After 1 play ( Owned)



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27. Blackout: Hong Kong:

Impressed me a lot. Played a lot of little things incorrectly so I definitely look forward to my next play and correcting those issues. Loved everything I was doing and got a really good sense for the game. Went to the top of the Christmas wishlist.



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



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28. Discover: Lands Unknown:

I discovered this game was baaad. It started off fun and interesting but then there were clear flaws in the game and no direction or clues to what needed to happen. Every game box providing different content doesn't help and you won't have the same experience as the next player. Dislike.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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29. Tales of Glory:

This was a delight! A game totally up my alley and one that I am so glad I grabbed at Essen. It is just awesome! Tile drafting and laying to create combos. The game length is perfect and the decisions are clever. Loved it!



8.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)



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30. Claim Kingdoms:

No real good choices in this game. Really uninteresting and boring. I just can't recommend this one. Just play Claim instead.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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31. Hasp:

Super cute trick taking game. Easy rules for new card players which makes it accessible for families. Can be a bit luck dependent, but I like a challenge.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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32. Outback:

Easy push your luck dice rolling game. A bit of set collection. I found the advanced side a bit too long and 4 players to be too many. I think it would be better with fewer players so less time between turns. Not a game I loved but could play again.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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33. Orbital:

A bit uninspired. I love tile placement and the scorings, but you just can't read what other people are doing quickly so you are mainly focusing on yourself. I want to play a few more times and try out different goals and boards to play on.



5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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34. Escape Tales: The Awakening:

This is awesome. Probably my favorite escape-type game. Lots of fun puzzles. Took like 5-6 hours to complete but you can break it up into many sittings. #recommended



8.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)




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35. PUSH:

PUSH your luck game. Cuter than anticipated and a game I could easily play anytime for a fast filler. Pretty dated graphic design, but has lots of colors so I accept that.



6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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36. Gobi:

Simple tile placement abstract game. Kinda luck of the draw since you don't get a choice in the tiles. Could easly play whenever, might get old after several plays.



6/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)



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37. Belratti:

Super cute party-type game. Co-op Mysterium-esque game. Probably a bit long for the type of game it is. Would gladly play this anytime.



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



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38. Victorian Masterminds:

Awesome productions and minis. Totally unnecessary minis, but cool nonetheless. All in all the game just didn't do it for me and it was ho hum. I could play again, but I won't be rushing to do so.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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39. Captains of the Gulf:

Interesting mechanics and multi-use cards. Non-elegant and fiddly game. Lots of upkeep and lots of little rules to keep track of. Once you get past the hump of the game, it works. I think there is a good game here, just not an easy one to grasp.



7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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40. The Golden Sails:

Simple filler of a card game. Drafting and set collection. Coming out in 2019. I quite enjoyed this one. Clever choices in a short playtime. Look forward to more plays.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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41. Oziland:

Very easy tile-laying game. Multiple ways to play it and I played the common board version. Really turned into a luck of the draw game. Didn't work that well for me.



4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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42. A Thief's Fortune:

Interesting card game to create combos. Not much there to keep me wanting more or asking to play again. 2p seemed to be the right count as I think 4p would just be far too long. Would play again, but it didn't wow me.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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43. Passing Through Petra:

Interesting mechanic for the actions you will be able to take on your turn. Overall not a game for me since I am not a fan of a race-to-the-finish games. Could play again but not by my request.



5.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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44. Scorpius Freighter:

Took me by surprise. Tough choices with 3 rondels and tight actions. Lots of different paths and strategies to explore. This is exciting and fast so will be looking to play this more.



8/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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45. 5 COLORS:

Cute little card game. I love colors, of course. Simultaneous card play and fast. Harmless, really, but not so exciting.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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46. Knapp Daneben!:

Roll n Write! I like the challenge of trying to make all the connections and correct decisions. I have fun with this one!



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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47. Reavers of Midgard:

Exciting Euro coming 2019. I liked Champions, but I loved Reavers. I think there is a lot of promise here. I had a great time plaything this one in prototype form. Interested to see where it ends up.



8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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48. Gùgōng:

Had a great time playing this one. Tricky to do well and that's always appealing. I loved the card mechanic happening in this game. Can't wait to play again.



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



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49. Magnastorm:

Cute turtles. Very linear game play and just seemed to have a runaway leader problem. Can't say I liked anything I was doing. Just not a game for me.



3/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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50. CuBirds:

Super cute card game. Set collection filler type game. Easy to teach and play. Would gladly play this anytime.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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51. Raccoon Tycoon:

Amazing artwork which pulled me right in. Entry level economic game which I found pretty cute. Too simple for most of my groups, but I could play again.



6/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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52. Fine Sand:

Simple game play with added replay value for the bonus fabled deck of cards you can play through. Surprised me how much I enjoyed this one. Can't wait to play more.



7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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53. A Pleasant Journey to Neko:

Awesome artwork and interesting use of dice. A bit confusing on timing but it is all mapped out on a player aid. Card iconography is not obvious. Overall interesting enough to play again but not as elegant as I might like. I like tableau building and comboing.



6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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54. Blöde Kuh:

Silly card game. It was cute, and I could play again. Didn't find it to be that special though.



5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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55. Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure:

Totally didn't work for me. The tests were just too difficult, so maybe I am just not smart enough for it. Pass.



2.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)



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56. Orbis:

Interesting tile placement game. Get the feeling of restriction as the game goes on and I am not sure if I like that or not. A game I want to play a few more times for sure.



7/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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New Expansions!



1. A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians:

Easily the best Expansion of the year. AMAZING. More AMAZING for the already AMAZING. I duno, just buy it.



10/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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2. Caverna: The Forgotten Folk:

Was skeptical of the variable player powers. Love it nonetheless. More building tiles and so much to explore. It's wonderful.



10/10 After 1 play (Owned)



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The Tally


January: 23
February: 24
March: 48
April:58
May: 56
June: 44
July: 29
August: 59
September: 30
October: 27
November: 56





Total new to me games for the year 454!



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MY GAMES OF THE MONTH ARE TIED:
Underwater Cities
&
Blackout: Hong Kong



9/10



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For those keeping track, I watched 8 movies in November, 0 of which were with Movie Pass (time to cancel it, I think).









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


Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


If you like what you saw, please thumb!





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



All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Thanksgiving Family and Friends! Lots of Games to be PLAYED! Raccoon Tycoon, A Pleasant Journey to Neko, Fine Sand, Teotihuacan, Cubirds, Magnastorm and so much more!

Steph Hodge
United States
New Hampshire
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Hia Everyone!



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Exciting news! There is a new Microbadge in town! All the Meeples of the Rainbow blog!laugh If you need/want 8 GG for it lemme know! heart

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Monday night after BGG.CON we went to Joe's and played a bunch of games. I was interested in trying out Magnastorm. New to me!

Ron had learned this at BGG.CON and was willing to teach me and Geoff. The game is pretty easy and the goal is to race to reach 23 points to trigger the end of the game and most points wins from there.

The game is fairly simple. You are using workers from the top worker board and moving them onto the lower board to take a move action or a collect resource action. It costs a fair amount to move, but you want to move in order to drop turtles down and claim locations. You get to move up the corresponding tracks and possibly get cube bonuses.

The whole game was wash-rinse-repeat. There was nothing I could do that would stop Ron. I felt there was a clear runaway leader problem. I kept catching up to him right before he would leap milestones ahead. It was frustrating and not a game I was having any fun with.

I was hoping for more because I am a fan of Feuerland Games, but this one I just didn't enjoy. I don't think Geoff was enjoying it very much and he was experiencing a similar emotion as I was. Ron won by a mile and we were happy it was over.

At least it was a fast game.















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We had time before the other tables broke up and we decided on a 3 player game of Skull King.

I learned this game back in June before Dice Tower. I had a great time playing so I was definitely interested in playing it more.

It is a game much like Wizard, but there are special cards that will trump other cards, and there are different layers and levels of these trump cards.

There are 10 rounds. In each round, you bid on how many tricks you think you are going to take. In round 1, everyone draws one card. In round 2, everyone draws 2 cards, and so on. Players all bid simultaneously.

We were able to play the game in like 20 minutes for 3 players. I suspect a longer play time with more players. We all had a good time. I conveniently took a picture of the score pad when I was winning, or rather, tied for the lead with Geoff. I totally didn't win the game in the end though. Nearly sure Geoff won that time. I had a great time playing.

The game is a riot and I really am looking forward to playing with a bunch of people over the coming holidays.










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The next game we played was Shadows: Amsterdam. We ended up playing 2 times and I taught the rules. It is super easy to teach and plays out in 5-10 min so it is a perfect filler game.

This is such a great game. I love the added pressure of the other team you are racing. It is not really a timed game but it is still a race to do well.

I was teamed up with Dan and Joe H and they were just not on my wavelength. We had a really rough first game and the other team were on 2 and then 3 correct clues. We barely had one then magically caught up to them but they were still able to find the correct exit first.

The second game was just as bad if not worse. We kept finding the police in locations. Joe H was giving the clues and he was just making no sense at all! The cops ended up catching us and we lost because of that!

This is such a fun game just to take out and play. I will be bringing it around to Fun Group to check it out with them. I think they will enjoy it bunches.










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The final game of the night was the mandatory game of Tichu.

This time I was teamed up with Dan. We had a wicked strong start as I recall. I was calling Grand and Tichu and making those. Then it was all downhill in the end. I am pretty sure we ended up losing. I dunno how though.

I simply play this game to call Grand as often as I can. One day and one day soon... I will call Grand each hand. It will happen. Who wants to volunteer to be my partner? I hope you don't mind losing and by losing I mean Winning.




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Happy Thanksgiving!!










After a few movies, I managed to convince my mom and dad to check out a few games and first on the table was TAGS.

I knew my mom would love it and I was not wrong. It went over very well with her, because she kept wanting to play - maybe because she kept winning. My dad and I were just not great at this game, but he was better than I was. I am just terrible at this game. I still have a great time with it, but yeah I never win, and I don't think I ever will! I just like trying!

I will have to bring this one to Christmas gatherings too.









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We then played 5 games of Illusion.

I thought for sure my mom would like this one, but my dad really got into it. Photos for proof. He wasn't too bad at this game, but I think he started off strong by winning a few of the games. I think I won the rest of them though.

I am not sure my mom even won that many rounds. She was just not having any luck. Hahah it was pretty great though. It went over way better than I thought so this will be traveling with me wherever I go. Good times!







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We finished with several games of NMBR 9.

I brought this around last time and I thought they would remember it. They did a good job remembering it and getting into it so it wasn't that hard to play.

I think I managed to win all the games we played, but they were getting better and better with each play and gave me a run for my money. I rarely win this game so I think next time they will just beat me.

I am glad I was able to bring a few games they really liked. I brought a lot of other games like Trapwords and Shadows Amsterdam, but those games need more players.

It was a great Thanksgiving!






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Saturday was game day! Woohoo! I got to play a bunch more from my very large stack of games I want to play. We started the day with CuBirds. New to me!

This game has amazingly cute art and I thought could be a good starting filler type game. I was not wrong! I got the overview during Essen but never got the chance to play.

It is a card game to try and collect sets of birds in your hand so you can play them down and gather a different set to try and win. Each bird has 2 numbers in the upper right and that is how many of the type you need to collect before you can score them. If you get the smaller of the numbers then you get to keep just 1 of the birds and 2 are saved if you get the larger number played. Your goal is to either collect 7 different types of bird in front of you or 2 types of birds with 3 cards each.

You gain cards to your hand by playing to the common field of birds and you will gather all of the cards in between the card you played and the matching bird on the other side. The catch is, when you play a bird type, you must play ALL of that bird type from your hand down to the playing field.

It is a super cute card game and can be learned and taught rather quickly.

We had a full 5 player count with everyone learning and we played in about 20 minutes after the rules were read. I went for the 7 different birds which sounds like an easier target, but in reality, it is not really much easier. The winner was the one who collected 2 bird types with 3 cards each. It is really only 6 cards needed and that should be easier anyway, but since there are limited amounts of each type, others might claim the ones you need.

I had a fun time playing and will definitely want to play this one again.











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I was really interested in trying out a new game called Raccoon Tycoon. New to me!

THE ART IS AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!! I had to get that out of my system. I mean the art is top notch and should be made into large posters for people. I hope to see many more games with this wonderful artist.

With that said, the game is a pretty light economic game. It is very simple to understand and play so I would consider it an entry-level type of game into the genre of economics.

On your turn, you will have several actions to choose from and you only select one of them. You can gather resources, which will adjust the market prices, or you might buy a building or sell resources for money. More interestingly you can put up an auction for the different animal railroads. You are trying to collect sets of them. There are several ways to score in this game and collecting money is not one of them, unless you have a special endgame building that gives points for it. You gain points from the different railroad sets and a bonus if they have a town to match with. Buildings are small points too and whatever bonuses they might give.

Fairly simple to learn and play and we zipped through a game of it. It was a full 4 player game and it was pretty clear going in that I would lose this one. I was just not getting enough money early and often. I picked up some lesser-valued building tiles that didn't combo well. Joe was doing well to never put up an auction and buy lots of railroads on other peoples turns. Yah he absolutely destroyed us.

I am not sure it was a winner for most that were playing, but I found it pretty cute. I think it will do well for the artwork alone and the game is solid. Perhaps not many exciting choices, but the gameplay is fairly quick and can be a great entry level game. I would play again for sure.



















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Joe H was willing to teach a game he already knew called Fine Sand. New to me!

I kept hearing it being compared to Fabled Fruit, a game which I totally enjoyed but got repetitive having to teach the basic game over and over again. This game feels totally different, IMO.

In the game your goal is to simply get rid of all your cards from your draw deck and discard pile. The game play is simple: Draw cards according to your draw limit, then you will either draw more cards, or build a card. Finally you will have to discard down to your hand limit. You have a free action to pass one card to your left also. When you build a card from your hand you are looking to add extra hand limits and draws, but you are also just trying to get as many out of your deck as possible. Players play until someone can't draw enough cards.

It is a very simple game. I love that everyone starts with the same deck of cards, but they are shuffled first. Between games, cards are added and removed from every player's deck, so each game will be a little different from the one before. I think the whole concept is fresh and exciting. With the simple play, I can easily teach this to the next table I bring this to.

We had a fast 4 player game and it was great. Riley wasn't dumping any cards to Scott so Riley was the clear loser. It really pays off to dump a card each round, even if it hurts. I didn't do it as frequently as I should, so I lost too. Joe H had the clear winning strategy this game and totally crushed us all. I think I was second though, so I felt good about that.

I had a great time playing this game and look forward to the next time I get to play!












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I told everyone I had to play games from certain stacks of games and it was decided that we were to play Teotihuacan: City of Gods. Fine by me!

I freaking love this game and I was excited to finally play in my own home. Beautiful game that I have been wanting to play and photograph for a while now!

Riley ended up teaching Pete how to play and Derek and I already knew how to play so it was a pretty easy play. With the wrong players I can see this game just taking far too long. I think our play came in around 90-120 minutes and it was even prematurely ended.

Yep! I managed to build 3 temple pieces to end the game maybe 4 or 5 rounds earlier than it might normally end. It was crazy! I hadn't been in a game where that happened before.

I loved that we were able to use a different set up of the board and different tech tiles and goal tiles. It is just awesome.

Oh yeah I totally won this game too. I was just over 200 points. I was thinking that isn't a lot compared to other games, but yeah it is since we really ended it a lot earlier. Crazy!

Love this game so much!























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Next up Joe H was willing to read the rules to any game, so I selected A Pleasant Journey to Neko. New to me!

This has been on my radar since The Wood Games posted about it on Twitter months before Essen. You are out to collect the most Penguin Points!! How cute is that! The art is amazingly cute and the components in this game are top notch.

There are 4 rounds and after the 2nd round you will move to a new phase and get a more advanced set of cards you are playing with. I like that there is an advancement in the progression of the game like that - it gives you something to work towards once you know the cards a little bit.

There are several things happening in a round. At the start of the round, players roll dice and then start drafting them for their pip values. You will end up with 6 dice and then pitch one of them for face value in coins. You get a sweet reward after that and then you will get to start taking actions with the dice you drafted. You might bid on a card in the display. All of the cards have a cost on them and some bonus you will get to have in the game. You might get hit with penalty markers if the card is too good though. Other things you can do might be to activate any cards you have claimed using the exact value of the die to where you place it. There are a bunch of free actions you can also take on your turn to get fuel or money from fish. But it is most important to move your ships along to the ports and they also generate money and oil.

The game isn't that complicated and everything is printed out on your player aids and on the main board so you know what step to take and when. I have to say the most confusing thing about the game is the iconography. It is not always obvious what a card is supposed to do, so you find yourself looking up cards over and over again.

In our 4 player game, it was a bit of a slow start, but we made it through and once we got going it was easier to understand everything. It is not exactly an elegant design, but it works. I always like drafting and tableau building. I like that you are working to get combos in the game that really pay off and maybe score big points at the end of the game.

I was really wanting to buy one more card and get some massive points, but I didn't have a boat to use or a harbor to use, so I was very quick to fill the 2 harbors with cards and didn't work on getting more and I should have.

Joe H ended up winning this game, probably by a long shot. I did okay with my max card points, but it wasn't enough. I had too much unused cargo at the end.

I liked playing this game. It is a game I expect to play again, but I worry about the length a bit. I hope the playtime becomes shorter with more plays.






















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We were waiting for food to show up and we decided on playing a game of Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition. It holds a bunch of players so it was a great choice.

Next time I play this game I will definitely play with one of the advanced variants of Blue or Red version. Right now I have only played the basic game.

It is pretty easy to explain the game, but the end scoring is somewhat tricky with all of the connections and exits you are trying to make. It is not very elegant, but the gameplay is fun.

I think Kim actually won this time around. I was close but it was not good enough. I needed better planning all around - I was just not getting the roads I needed to make it a success! Really enjoying this game though and happy to play it when requested.





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Joe H had another fast game for us to play called Carreau. This one is always fun. I played this game last year at a meetup and had a great time. It has been on the wishlist ever since.

Silly dex game but still fun to try and win. You get one point if your die is closest to the ball, or you get 3 points if you knock the ball out of the ring. First to 5 points wins!

So simple and so fun. Amazing how easily I am entertained. I was close to winning too... but not close enough. I think Scott might have won.

Good times and it is a game I am always willing to play! Fun Fun!











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Joe H had taught Kim a game earlier that she was interested in playing again and so we pulled out Blöde Kuh. New to me!

This is a small card game with some push-your-luck and clever card play. Timing is everything in this game. It is a silly card game.

You are trying to get the fewest points possible and give points to other players. You want to play pairs from your hand to move around the animals for the round. If you play only one animal from your hand, the animal will do a solo action, so you have to be tricky with your timing. Once someone has emptied their hand then the round is over. The person with the most cards get some points, so don't do that.

I am apparently a great player. I totally won this game with a score of 3! Out of all of Joe's plays, that happened to be the best score. Maybe I found my calling.

It was cute and I would definitely play again. Not high on my list of games to pick up, but yeah, it was ok.









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There was interest in playing Key Flow. I last played in April, so it was rough teaching 3 new players. I asked Scott to start teaching since he had played earlier in the day and I thought he might be better at it.

Having both of us teaching was probably not great. I really had to go over the rules multiple times, so I think people were really confused. It was just not clicking for some reason. I think people might have just been overly tired by that point.

By the end of the game, it was clear that people were okay on the rules and that Jess hated it but Ed really liked it. Jess is not a fan of drafting type games in general so yeah it wasn't a winner for her.

I freaking love it! Totally a game for me. It was wicked long though, so I would rather not teach 3 people again at the same time.

I ended up winning since it is my game. I do very well in this game every time I play it. I had best retire, being so far ahead. No, of course not, I very much look forward to playing again really soon!















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Last game of the night was with the same crew and they were already tired, but we went for it anyway and broke out Coimbra.

So happy to get this game back to the table. It is very easy to explain this game and it all came back with ease. I was teaching all 3 players how to play and it went pretty well.

People were playing wicked slowly though. It took just under 2 hours to play this game with teaching. I feel like this should be an hour-long game tops. Just the way the night was going, but it was fine.

At the end of the third round, I got a big sigh from everyone when I said only one more round - hahaha people wanted to go to sleep. We did finish though and it was well received all around. I was super last this game. I was too busy being focused on everyone else and making sure they were understanding and I was just messing up my game the entire time.

Everyone else was like a few points away from each other so I have no idea who ended up winning, but it was probably Jess since she was dominating the map.

Love this game, happy to play it more and more!



















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Sunday Ron and I played a few games starting with Tag City.

I last got to play this game during Essen, so like a million years ago now.

It was great to bring this one back to the table. It is so colorful!! So much fun! It really is a Noch Mal killer. I can't help but compare the games and this is so much better. I love the hate drafting of dice in this game.

I ended up planning out my board better than Ron had, and I covered each and every space by using a few drones. Yes, I scored the game correctly this time and I still ended up winning!

So fun!










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We played a light filler called Trellis.

I played it a few weeks ago with 4 players and it was probably better than the 2 player count. At 2 players you really can't afford to help the other player since it is all about getting rid of your flowers first. We were off on our own sides of the world just trying to find the tiles where we could get 3 flowers down in a turn and not just 2.

I went first and I totally won the game. Not sure if there was a first player advantage, but I think there was/is. I would definitely want more advanced rules since the game is just too light for my taste.















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The final game of the afternoon was 2p Fertility.

I got to play this a few weeks ago and was looking to get in some cool pics of the pieces in this game. I am pleased with the results!

Pretty simple tile-laying game and easy to play. I explained it very well and we were done within 20 minutes. Very fast game to play.

This time I tried to get lots of wheat which was great. But I mainly went for the different set of masks. I hadn't gone for masks before and it was definitely a valid strategy. I liked trying something new and succeeding. Yep, I totally own this game! Woohoo! Kicked some butt and snapped some major cool pics.

Easy to play this one and wouldn't turn down a request to play.


















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New to the Collection:
Skylands





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




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


All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
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BGG.Con 2018 ALL THE GAMES!!! Ginkgopolis, Escape Tales The Awakening, Gugong, Reavers of Midgard, 7 Wonders Armada, Victorian Masterminds, Captains of the Gulf and So Much More...

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!






Off to BGG Con and got some Gelato! Yum!



BGGCON Pics!












During BGG.CON I played 44 games and 16 of them were new!






Perhaps the best game of the con was The Mind. I ended up playing 16 times with 2 wins. I always have such a great time playing this game.

It would have been more wins but Michael and I just played most of these games starting with the dark mode since we easily win the game at 2 players.

We did try the promo Level 13 card and yeah we beat that with ease too. Most of the games we played were in the dark and we were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO very close to winning dark mode. We make it to level 10/11/12 all the time and we were one life short of beating level 12 in the dark. It was crazy and I thought for sure we would get it by the end of the convention. We didn't get to play as much as I might have liked but I am glad we got to play when we did.

It is so great and one game I just love. It will likely be my game of the year. LUV IT!






















The first game of the con I scheduled a play of Escape Tales: The Awakening with Michael. New to me!

This is a game I knew I wanted to play and I knew it would take a long time to play so I wanted to make sure we got into it bright and early on the first day.

I was not wrong. It took 5 hours to play it and then a bonus hour to work back through all of the puzzles we missed out on.

This experience was awesome and I can't recommend it highly enough if you are a fan of escape-room-type games like Unlock/Exit. This was more of a choose your own adventure and there are a bunch of different outcomes.

The puzzles were interesting and there was really only one puzzle we just could not figure out. Spoiler... it's a single word, and if you have played it, you will know:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Fridge


Easily one of the best new games I learned this con and look forward to more in the series. I hope it does well! I think it got picked up for North America so we can look for it in the coming months.














Next up was one of the BGG giveaways called PUSH. New to me!

This is a very simple push your luck game to collect the most points. On your turn, you will be pulling cards from the deck in hopes of not busting. You are making stacks of different colors and numbers. You can stop at any time and collect the cards from one stack. Some cards might have pictures of dice and the player who collects that card must roll the die and kill all of the cards they have collected in a certain color that was rolled. Instead of flipping cards, you can bank all of one color you have previously collected.

You are just trying to keep all the points and cards you have collected and whoever has the most will be the winner.

Super easy game to play and teach. It plays out in like 5-10 minutes and is a great little filler.

I had fun playing with Michael and Russ. I am nearly sure I came in second place, but I am not sure. It was pretty close. I could easily play this game again. It might not be exciting but it wasn't bad.










I was interested in learning Gobi. New to me!

Michael is very good at reading rules and we ended up playing 3 players. This game was pretty easy and I got the overview during the Essen livestream. It is a pretty easy tile placement abstract game. You are trying to make long connections from market to market in the same name. You get bonus tiles if you make a connection and if the connections are 5 or longer then you get a better bonus tile.

I ended up playing again later in the week since I could easily teach it and Mark and Nathan were carrying it around to play. Worked out.

In both games, I absolutely destroyed my opponents. Perhaps this game is my calling and I am just meant to win it!

It is not really a game that stands out amongst the rest, but I think it holds its own. I had a fine time playing. Good choices with the bonus tiles you are taking to use in a future turn. I could give or take this game. It didn't wow me, but I would play again.

















Later after dinner in the BGG room, we played a few large party type games and the first on the table was First Contact.

Man, this game is super hard to explain. I am just not good at it. On the plus side, by the end of the game, I think everyone was good with the rules. It was a huge hit of the con for several and it makes me happy to know that my teaching of this game was then used for others to teach different groups and so on and so forth.

So it was a bit of a rough playthrough of this game. It was a full 7 players and like 3 or 4 onlookers trying to figure it out. Because the game is played in 2 phases, it can be really confusing for the human side to figure out the alien side and vice versa. You really have to play around and just hope people can figure it out by the end of the first round.

It went pretty well, we went through I think 4 rounds before there was an Alien winner. It was me and it was technically 2 human winners with the same score, but I handed it to the player who matched my color more since he was more helpful towards what I was doing.

Great game, I think I will keep it to 6 players for the next game though. Happy to keep playing this one.








Next up was another 7 player game that was the talk of the con called Belratti. New to me!

This was getting a lot of post-Essen talk from friends I know and I was very interested in trying it out. It is a picture association game like Mysterium. There are artists and curators. There are 2 images flipped up and the artists have to select cards from their hand to "match" the images that were revealed. Once the artists agree on a number to toss in then there are 4 fakes (Belratti's) mixed in and the curators have to decide the real pictures vs the fakes. They are trying to not pick Belratti's photos.

Very simple social game to try and get a lot of correct answers before Belratti gets away with 6 fake images.

So cute and clever game. The artwork is simple and the concept is simple. Might be a bit long for what it is, but it is group dependent because there can be an argument for any of the images out there. You just have to find that connection.

In our game, we had glasses on the table and I had a telescope in my hand so I used that and of course, it was selected for glasses. Makes sense. You look through both of them. I liked that answer.

I had a great time with this one and I am pretty sure our team actually ended up winning. It is likely you will win though. Cute and interesting. Look forward to my next play.













The final game of the night was Victorian Masterminds. New to me!

This was a game that Ron had played a few times and was able to teach me, Nathan, and Mark how to play. In the game, you are working to build up your airship and gain points in various ways. It is a very simple worker placement game. All players have gears that have specialists on them. Each turn you draw one and place it in a location. If the location ever has 3 gears on it then they are flipped over and revealed and executed in order. This is basically the whole game.

Man, this game is beautiful. The production is top notch and if I ever owned this game I would really have to take the time to paint the minis cause it is just fantastic.

The game is easy to pick up and learn. There is some take-that, and there is the mechanic of relying on others to activate the spaces you occupy. That does sting the rating a bit since I really dislike mechanics like that.

Our game had an abrupt ending, which is fine. I don't think it would have been abrupt had I played before, knowing that a quick ending was possible. Ron absolutely destroyed us, having played 2 times before.

It was a cute game. Not sure it is one that I will be owning but I could play again.

















Ryan Bruns was interested in learning one of his newly acquired games called Captains of the Gulf. New to me!

This is the new Spielworxx game by Jason Dinger, who happened to be at BGG.CON and happened to be available to teach us his game. He didn't play but he walked us through the rules and we got a lot of back stories and all of the connections to the game. It was pretty cool to have him explain it.

I have no connection to fishing or the theme at all, but the game is pretty thematic. You are fueling up your boats to head out to sea and gather creatures to bring back and turn into profit.

The main mechanic of the game is how will you best use your multi-use cards from your hand. You are simply going around a rondel taking actions and using the cards in hand to help guide your direction. It is pretty simple and the icons were okay. There is a better player aid posted on the Geek if you have the game.

We had a long game and it dragged a bunch while we all figured it out. For me, that hurts. It was really hard to know what to do in the first several turns and I am sure people were accidentally cheating because it is really hard to know what is happening on everyone's player boards and the money they were paying and the fish they were collecting. It is very easy to get lost or caught up in what you were doing alone.

I think I ended up winning by a few points but it was a close game among all players. Every $1 really counts and you want to spend your money sparingly. I did fairly well on the different harbor ports and their corresponding tracks which gave me a lot of end game points.

Our play was a long one. There are a lot of good things about this game and the overall mechanics are good. The problem is the massive amounts of upkeep and fiddliness with maintaining the ocean and the different events and repopulations. It is just so easy to forget something small that might impact the game. It is not an elegant game or streamlined at all. It feels very clunky. With that being said, I enjoyed the game and could play again. I think it would run a LOT smoother with a second play, but it still doesn't change the fiddliness of the ocean population.

I think this game will be received fairly well and I think will show up on tables in years to come.























Next up I found The Golden Sails in Ryan's bag. New to me!

This is a new game coming in 2019 from Mayday Games and Hobby World. It is a simple set collection card drafting game. You are trying to collect different sets and gain lots of points.

Each player is given 5 different pirate cards that they will allocate onto the cards that are being collected for sets. There is a display of cards to try and collect, and each player will draft 1 of them each round. All of these cards have 5 possible outcomes and most of them are a specific set collection. For example, the red side has different icons and you are trying to get as many different ones as possible. For the green, you need chains of numbers. Purple is a wild action or misc benefit. Brown is an attack on the different players adjacent to you. Some of the colors will score differently per game you are playing.

It is a very easy game to pick up and learn. I love the bold colors and art.

In our game, I got a pretty good score, but there was one critical turn that I screwed up when I could have gotten a bunch of points for the green connection. I missed out and picked a lesser option. Besides, Ryan is from Mayday and he trounced us. It was like he had played several times before.

It was a lot of fun for a 15-minute filler. I love drafting so it works really well for me. I look forward to playing more! I actually have a copy and will have to play again soon!











I have been playing and teaching a lot of Brikks and it was a game that Ryan wanted to learn.

I taught it and I am getting better at teaching this one. It has been going pretty well. The game continues to not excite me too much but I certainly enjoy playing it well enough.

This time I didn't manage to get the top row filled, again. I honestly must have gotten lucky the first game I played. I have tried to fill the top row each time since and it is just not possible. I need to save 5 dots for the occasion to allow me to fill it up for max points.

I didn't win this time - it was Ron... of course. Happy to play it, but would rather play Rolling Japan or Avenue.







Next up I managed to score a copy of Chronicles of Crime from the library.

Michael and I played the 1st case part 1, since it was one that I skipped over when I first played it. Man, it was very different and very difficult.

We were just terrible at this one and scored a 57/100. Quite laughable though. We just missed something totally. We didn't read the results so maybe we or I could go back and retry it again. By the end, we were on the right track but it was really hard to figure out. It was supposed to be easy mode too!

This is such a cool game and really immerses you in the story. I just don't think I am cut out to be a crime detective. I look forward to part 3!










We also took out Oziland. New to me!

It was on my games-to-try list mostly for the colors and theme alone. Love Wizard of Oz and tile-placement so yeah it was a must play. There are a few modes to playing this game and we just tried one where there was a common space to lay tiles. You are playing tiles to try and enclose regions and gain ownership of the different character tokens.

Once someone gathers 3 characters then the game is over and they win! You can steal ownership of another players character if you complete another section with that character symbol.

It was a very simple tile placement game and really nothing special. I didn't find I was making interesting choices. I did enjoy the Wizard of Oz theme and the bold colors but it wasn't enough to keep me engaged with how the board was unfolding.

I do remember winning this game though. I was just lucky enough to pull another symbol and was able to win the game before Michael could win. It was more of luck of the draw vs any sort of skill.

In the end this game was just not for me. I think it could be good for casual gamers or non gamers. It is easy and quick. Not one that I feel the need to play again.














The final game of the night was A Thief's Fortune. New to me!

Michael was great and read the rules for us to play it. It was just a 2 player game for us to learn it. I was curious about this one ever since getting the demo on the BGG livestream at Essen.

It is a combo card drafting game. You are trying to create combos in your tableau area to gather resources and victory points. There are location cards, people cards and event cards. You first draft them at the beginning of the round and then try to put them into play the best you can.

It is a pretty simple card game and we were able to learn it fairly fast. I think it would be quite a long game with 4 players and I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. 2 players worked well and kept the game snappy and at my pace.

The art is cool, but Michael didn't feel the theme came through. The name of the game suggests you are stealing things, and in the game, it didn't really give that impression. I am never really into theme anyway so that didn't bother me very much.

I totally got ahead of him early and stayed there. He was never able to regain the lost points and I just won! I had so many leftover resources and I never was able to find cards that I could use them on to get lots of points.

I could play this again, but I think it was a bit forgettable.













Friday morning we were waiting for the 9am game we had scheduled and had a little bit of time so opted to play a quick game of Illusion.

Russ hadn't played this game so I explained and then proceeded to whip butt! Maybe I was just manipulative for Michael to try and call my "lies" which were not really a lie. Hey, I can be good at this game sometimes!

I was also doing a pretty good job calling when there was an error in the lineup. I think we only played 4 rounds before it was over so it was super quick.

Love this game. One I have played a whole bunch this year.









The game we had scheduled at 9am was Strasbourg. I basically saw Nathan sign up for it and was wanting to play a game with him. It was a 5 player game and I think 2 people were learning including Michael who also joined in!

I love this game, I don't think it gets played nearly enough. I love the card mechanic in this game. I think it works perfectly well with 5 players too. I don't get why people don't want to play this one more. It is classic Feld and should not be overlooked.

We had a great game. I was totally focused on what I was doing and it ended up paying off! I was screwed over with one of my goal cards but I managed to make 3 others because I had an awesome final round. I played very sparsely each round and had a really large final round, acquiring everything I needed to make my goal cards work out. I even could have kept the final 5th goal that I ended up pitching at the beginning of the game. I should have gone big or gone home!

I won by a long mile and Michael ended up coming in second. I am not really sure what happened to everyone else but it was a lot of fun. So glad we were able to play this one.













After that, I went off to play a few more games with Nathan and I ended up teaching Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra.

This has been getting some love everywhere I look. We invited a lady and a guy to join, and we got to play the first round, and then the lady ran off. Something clearly happened - dunno what. It was weird. So the guy followed her. We found a couple of other players and I re-explained it. Very weird.

This game went pretty well. Everyone caught on really fast. I think I managed to win because I was doing really well with bonuses per round and lining them up. But it was really close so it easily could have been Nathan who won. It was a few points away from me either way. I didn't take many negative points and that might have saved me.

Been loving this game. I hope to play again this weekend. Great game!











Next up we ran into Mark and he had read the rules to Passing Through Petra. New to me!

I was interested in this game since J Alex Kevern is the designer and he has some designs I just adore so I like to see what's out there. This one is a drafting and set collection type game. It is a race to get your cubes allocated to different locations and completing goals.

There were a few cool things happening in this game. I honestly am just not a fan of racing to finish and that is the biggest turn off for the game for me.

I was able to get my last cube down a turn later than I anticipated, but I was still able to secure the win. I am thinking Nathan could have snuck in a win if he was more focused. I think he was less focused on the cubes and more about getting the proper goal cards completed. They like playing a trick on him or something.

I liked the tug of war that allowed you to take the different actions. That was clever and I was kicking myself for some of the things I was essentially forced to do in order to take a different action in the later round. Tricky.

In the end, it was an interesting game. But I simply don't enjoy race games like this. It is not my favorite end condition. I would play again though.














Later I was lucky to pull Michael, Barb, and Jeff aside to play a game of Fuji.

I was so happy I got to learn this the week before and was looking to play it again. Barb had played it the day before, so she was familiar with the rules. I taught Michael and Jeff how to play.

Since this was in the main ballroom, we kept getting interrupted. Apparently, Barb and I are popular and attract attention. #remindertonotplayinthemainroom haha We still had a great game though.

We won the base level on easy mode with flying colors. I have now won the easy mode twice. It is time that I played the next level up. Definitely, the next time I play will be level 2 difficulty.

Love this game so much. It is fun to try and escape. This is gonna be super popular when it hits North America distribution.















After that Michael and I learned the rules for Scorpius Freighter. New to me!

This was on my to-play-and-learn list because it is a Euro in disguise. I was put off at first since it was space and asymmetric, but having played now, those are very small aspects of the game. It is very much a Euro game.

You are selecting actions on the 3 rondels and doing any number of things. You want to get storage and factories and resources and contracts. There are so many things to do. There are really cool combos you might be able to create and generate. You are working all game to gather the most points as possible by fulfilling contracts and maybe upgrading your crew members.

Still so much to explore with this game. It all plays out super quick too. Once one of the rovers makes it around a track and gathers its 4th cube (with 2 players) then the game will be over.

I had such a great time playing this game that I picked up a copy. It is definitely one I want to explore further. I think there are a lot of good and tough choices to be made and different strategies to try.

In my game, I was the one crossing the line on each rondel and I would have to pay the cube fee and it was just killing me since Michael would just ride the rewards. He ended up winning this game probably by a lot. I just couldn't get the contracts filled or the larger paying ones. I actually remember it being semi-close ending, but I know I definitely lost.

Can't wait to play again! I quite enjoyed this one.














We also tried out an Exit game called Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure. New to me!

I won't give anything away, but I absolutely hated this game. Maybe I was just tired and unfocused, but it was near impossible to figure out one of the puzzles and we ended up just giving up after that. It was not clear at all what we had to do even after the hints.

I was very discouraged and it was just not fun. So if you like the Exit games I hope you already played this one. I just can't recommend it at all. Maybe you are smarter than me though.

Good Luck!










Russ was willing to teach a game he just learned called 5 COLORS. New to me!

Well, any game with color in the title has to be a game I try. This is a new Japanese game so I was instantly interested.

This is a fast card game where you play through the deck of cards and try to score as many as possible. You always have a hand of 5 cards and the first time you play you will select two of the cards to play simultaneously. From there you will select another, and then one more, each time revealing the cards after everybody has selected. Once each player plays their 4th card, we evaluate the table, and if 6 of a color has been played, then they are canceled. Otherwise, the color that has the most in play will score and players take those cards and put them into the score pile.

Very simple game and easy to play. Could be a great filler. I didn't find there were that many options but it was cute.

I recall the scores were really close and I think we were all within like one of each other. Pretty sure I got screwed over in the final hands and didn't win. Must have been Michael or Russ who won!

Good fun game! Would play again for sure.












There was another game I was itching to play called Knapp Daneben!. New to me!

This was a game I got the rundown for at Essen, but it wasn't yet available. I had to play it!

I love Roll n Writes so much and this one is a lot of fun. It wasn't loved by everyone at the table, but I certainly enjoyed it. I was happy to see English rules in the box since I didn't remember the rules from the demo I was given on the BGG livestream.

It is a pretty simple game to learn with a few different ways to score points. You are trying to make connections of numbers when you fill in the board. Each player is their own color and will have to use their colored die with another colored die each roll.

I like trying to make the tough choices and make it all work. I was holding out for the perfect number, and then it was the last 5 turns then 4 then 3... yeah I never found the perfect number or else I would have won!!! Yeah, I wasn't so lucky. Pretty sure Ron ended up winning that game.

I will be playing this again soon! Snagged some sheets to laminate! Love it!











A major highlight of the con for me was the 3 players 7 Wonders + 7 Wonders: Armada CHAMPIONSHIP!

I DID A BUNCH OF PRACTICE FOR THIS! It was only 3 players and it really isn't my favorite player count for this game. We played it super quickly though since we were all wicked familiar with the game.

I was doing extremely well all game. I was on point and working with what I was given. I fought for military and ended up with a ton of end game points for the military.

I absolutely destroyed the boys in this one, 96 to their TIED 76. It was an ass whipping, as you can see from the sad faces below. I will be crowned champion until the next time in April and we will see about that then.

Seriously amazing game and I love it more and more with each play. The best expansion for this game. I love it so much! I want to play this every week/day, this game is just so great! I hope it revives 7 Wonders for people. I want to play it more.















On Saturday I got a few games played but I was mostly walking around and seeing what was up. First game of the day was a short demo of Reavers of Midgard. New to me!

I was drawn into this game for the colors alone. I enjoyed Champions of Midgard and this looked to be even more Euro-y so I was interested. I believe it is a 6 round game and the most points will win.

We played through 2 rounds and I got a very good feeling for the game and could probably teach it or at least the big main mechanics of the game. It is a fairly straightforward worker-placement game. You only have 1 worker and with every action, each other player gets to perform a lesser value of that action. It is funny since I don't generally like that mechanic, but I think it works here since you can always take something - somewhat of a pity prize, but you can still take it. There are a lot of strategies to try out and try for.

I love the different dice you get to collect and roll. The dice are really currency/resources.

This game really impressed me with its fast play. I had a great time and I know the Kickstarter just finished so that is exciting. Will be coming next year!

In our play, I absolutely crushed them all. Mwaahaahaa! I had a couple lucky rolls but you can mitigate your rolls by spending specific tokens, so I did!

This is the type of game I just understand and go for the hidden goal I was given. I love that it gives you an objective right off the bat and that you can claim more along the way. Lots of good stuff happening here. I can't wait to play again!

















I found Nathan and Mark later and we played a game of Trick 'n Trouble. Newish - but not really.

I technically haven't played this newly released game from Frosted Games. I do own Familiar's Trouble and have played several times. For me, the original artwork is so much better, but I get why they made it more streamlined and bigger.

So I explained the game. I knew the rules already and it was super easy to play.

We were really terrible at this game. We did only 2nd level up from worst. Haha it is still fun to try. I told them we would fail the first game. They weren't interested in playing a second game though. I think we got like 29 points and you really want 50+. It is still fun to play. I am not sure they are the cooperative type of gamers. I am curious as to what they thought though.

I love it!








After the closing ceremony, I promised to meet up with Jerry and play a game. He invited me to play as the 4th player for Yellow & Yangtze. This was great since I have been meaning to play this game again since getting it, just no time! So many games and no time! I need to bring it to Monday group and get it played more.

I quite enjoyed my first play and was looking forward to another play. Thankfully, there was another teacher and I didn't have to recall all of the rules. If there was a player aid, I could have easily taught it. I really need to print one out.

All game I was doing minimal work, but I was desperately trying to get yellow cubes since those are the wilds. It ended up working out really well for me, except I still managed to come in second place.

There were a few big battles that happened and takeovers that were inevitable. Poor Jerry and Smoox, who were just not doing very well at this game. We kinda picked on Jerry a bunch though in the early game and I think that hurt him for the rest of the game.

I still think everyone had a good time playing. The scores were 7/6/4/4, so I didn't do half bad, but it just wasn't good enough. I always feel like the scores are just so low for the length of the game. Haha it isn't even a long game, but winning with 7 points hardly seems worth it.

I had a lot of fun with this and look forward to the next play! It was really great to finally play a real game with Jerry and Smoox. I just always talk with them and playing a game was so much fun!














More promises were filled with the next game being Ginkgopolis. I promised the Meeple Realty guys Thomas and Tommy I would teach this game. Everyone knows how much I love this game. I am only willing to teach it once during any given con and you have to catch me at the right time. It is not really a great game to teach over and over, but I feel like I am getting a good rhythm down.

It was great this time though since these guys really know games. They picked it up with ease and instantly loved it. It wasn't even one round before they declared they loved it. That made me really happy, of course!

Maybe, hopefully, they will do a reprint in 2019 and then they will make an amazing insert for the game. I want an insert so badly for this game! #1 after all!

Of course, I crushed them at the game with a score of 84 I think, and they were in the low 40s, so basically I need a 40-point handicap when I teach the game.

Love it and was so happy to play with them. It was a great time! #Bestgame!












Sunday I expected to play more than one game, however, I got caught up with lots of talking and visiting of friends so I only played the one. Nathan promised me to play Gùgōng. New to me!

He had played before and was willing to teach. It was really the only game I wanted to learn going into BGG.CON so that was awesome that I was finally able to check it out. I was told by several sources that I would enjoy this one so my interest was high.

Yeah, it is a middleweight Euro game with lots of choices and paths to take. It is easy to declare a game with these features to be one I should check out.

There is a lot to love about this game. You are using cards from your hand as actions and the values help take the actions. If you play higher than the card already in place, then you don't have to pay an additional fee.

Ultimately you are just looking to get the most points over a number of rounds. You have to make it up the temple track fully, and if you don't, then you simply cannot win!

In the game, Nathan absolutely destroyed us. There was a critical rule that was missed that the 1 card beats a 9 card, and it would have changed my first round pretty dramatically, but I won't fault him for missing that rule. It was totally fine. We even played on the wrong side of the board, not realizing that there were 2 sides to the board anyway.

I had a great time playing. We just had 3 players but it was snappy and the choices were good. I very much look forward to TMG's production coming early 2019. Solid game and I have been thinking about it since!

















Aldie Say Relax Play Games





Meeple Realty Terraforming Mars tiles coming 2019




Grizzled upgraded pieces!









Game Haul!





New to the Collection:
Wopono
Word Domination
Unlock! Squeek & Sausage
The River
The Table Is Lava
The Table is Lava: Coconuts edition
Hardback
Burgle Bros.
Imhotep: A New Dynasty
Rise to Power
Tokaido
Scorpius Freighter
1st & Roll
KOI
Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr
Now Boarding
Cryptid
Cave Paintings
Gameception
Cul-De-Sac Conquest
Thwarted! A Game of Super-Villainy





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




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


All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
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Lobster Trap! 20+ New Games Played Including Blackout Hong Kong, Discover, Fuji, Manitoba, Crown of Emara with SO MUCH MORE!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!






The week before BGG Con - I might as well go to a local con LobsterTrap and during this con I learned 21 games and played 36! Pretty awesome.






Day 1 of Lobster Trap (LT). We got there kinda late we stopped for lunch and went down after traffic died down. We actually arrived at a great time since Dan was looking for a game and he enjoys reading rules. Geoff joined me and Ron for a 4 player game of Manitoba. New to me!

Every LT I make a point to play as many new games as possible. There are a lot around the room that I haven't been able to play before so I want to check out as many as possible to see what I need to acquire. The LT stack of games from Essen this year was on the smaller side, but there were a few that I really wanted to check out that I didn't bring back from Essen. Since I didn't know much about Manitoba, I figured it would be a good place to start.

It is a pretty standard euro-type game with collecting of the resources and figuring out how to best score them and maintain your resources. I think the key different mechanic here is the disc selection. You get to select any action from the 5 available action discs but you are possibly giving other players a better opportunity if you use most of the stack of discs to find the action you want instead of just the top of the stack leaving very limited options for others.

In our game, I was trying hard to collect the buffalo and of course, Ron was doing the same thing. I didn't manage to gain the major points for that and he did of course. We were still clearly doing mediocre strategies because Dan ended up winning by a long shot. He was the only one to get to the end of the white track and it got him a sweet bonus at the end of the game. Not sure if that was the main reason, or he just played better. Geoff and I felt a bit hosed because we were going 3rd and 4th in the game and going first at the beginning seemed to be a pretty big bonus.

In the end, I didn't dislike the game. I just felt it was okay. Some interesting things happening in it and I definitely it was worth playing, but I felt it is not one I need to own. I would play again for sure.















Next up was the other dlp game that just came out called Valparaíso. New to me!

The box would remind anyone of Concordia. The gameplay is very different. There are actually a few mechanics in the game that are very interesting, but the overall feeling and play of the game was just not there for us.

What I liked was the card management. You get to select your cards each round and the order in which you play them. A bit of programming, but you can always pay some cost to play a card before it is scheduled to activate. This is really helpful if other players ruined something you wanted to do causing the board to change before you could execute your actions you were hoping to. It is just a nice feature to add to a programming mechanic.

The actual gameplay was a bit unexciting and mundane. Nothing we haven't seen before in other euro-type games. Why do one thing v another? I duno, just try to get points. Geoff was having a hard time since he went off and built a house in the middle of the road. This would be good if people actually walked by and he could tax them, but no one went by that house or paid the tax so he was annoyed that he should have done something else with that house. There are too many travel options to make building that house worth it. There is also a trading mechanic where you might get points at a location for trading in cubes, and if someone does it before you do then you get stuck with whatever trading action is available next. You just might get screwed out of those points you were planning on.

All of Geoff's issues weren't that big of a deal for me, but the game still didn't excite me at all. Nothing about it was fun. I don't even remember who won the game, it might have been me- I did pretty well! But I just don't recall what happened in the end. I also just don't care! Not a game I care to play again, but it was fine at best.














We needed a better game than the previous 2 so we ended up playing Tichu.

During LT I managed to play this game twice. Yay! Love this game so much. I was teamed up with Ron in the first game and then later in the con I was teamed up with Mark.

In the first game, Ron and I were all over the map. First negative then high positive. We were not doing great early then we did well later in the game. There was one hand that I got 2 bombs! But one of the 5s was needed for both bombs so that was super lame. I think Ron called Tichu that hand anyway and we were able to succeed.

Ron and I ended up winning that first game. Where Mark and I had a totally different game. We were just getting the worst hands possible. I wish we could be able to call anti-Tichu and take 0 tricks or something lol. We might have won the game that way! On the plus side, it was a super fast game that we lost super hard. It was just a mess. I had a couple of great hands that Ron and Geoff had a million bombs to play over Boooo- I should have won at least a few of my Tichu calls.

Love this game I wish I got to play it more than twice.














next up I found a few folks who were interested in learning Realm of Sand.

It is a game I haven't played nearly enough since acquiring it and I was more than happy to teach it! I simply love this game. It is so easy to play and there are so many thinky choices. I wonder if I like it so much because I can visualize it and play well. I generally have won all the games I have played!

Wystan was just not having it though, he really disliked this one. He is not a visual player so much and the tile-placement is just not his thing. I get that, not everyone likes the visual puzzles.

I was off to a weak start, as I normally am since I plan for bigger and more interesting cards than most people, and I think that does me a lot of good in the long run. Worked out for me in this game and I ended up beating Felix by 1 point! I hope he still enjoyed the game!












Shrey was available and he was awesome to read the rules and teach Ceylon. New to me!

The game was on my interested in trying list, and I had the chance to so I was definitely wanted to. Learning from the rulebook is so hard and so many times rules are missed and I never blame the reader since I wouldn't be better at that job at all. Even if the rules are missed I still get the basic feel for the game and can generally know where I stand on it. This time we missed a rule and it was critical. We got a major rule wrong in this game, so I won't comment too much on this gameplay. The major rule we got wrong was that the tech tokens can be spent on any action, not just the card actions of the card you just played.

The game is pretty simple you are playing cards to take actions and providing actions to other players when you do it. Each card will have 2 different actions you take one and the others get to perform the other side of that card. My major problem with the game would be fixed with the correct rules for the tech tokens.

I was just never drawing the cards and actions I needed and I had a ton of tech tokens that were useless to me that would not have been. My enjoyment of the game would have greatly increased, but it would still not be enough for me to play again.

All in all, it wasn't a wow game for me at all. Nothing that interesting was happening. I can't fully say since we played incorrectly so I will just leave it at that. Not really interested in playing again. I will take my victory and retire.

Haha, it was pretty great since we were cleaning up the game and I forgot about the area control of 4 regions and getting 10 point bonus which put me in the lead for winning the game. Totally forgot I was trying to do that but knew I was trying to do it. 10 points to go from 3rd to 1st. #worthit. I WON!
















I was interested in trying out a new game called Fertility. New to me!

I got the rundown at Essen and it seemed like a pretty simple tile placement game that I would enjoy. I was looking forward to trying it. It is very simple and I ended up reading the rules from the box, even though I mostly knew how to play.

Each turn you will play one of your available tiles to the main board and collect resources for the matching sides you can line up. You also get wheat if you place next to a field location. You collect the different goods and you can buy a market tile if you have resources. You get to then place your collected resources on the different market tiles you have available for the specific resources. You are trying to fill in the market tiles with goods for points and different scorings. All goods not used are then wasted. Wheat is just super huge points if you don't spend it on purchasing market tiles.

It is a pretty simple resource management game that plays in about 30 minutes so it is a great little filler. I have a copy of this game so I look forward to playing again soon.

In our game, I am nearly sure I won. I got a LOT of wheat points and totally did well with my market scores. I think Joe liked this game, and I was happy to get in a game with Joe anyway. He always plays like 12 hours long games, so he is difficult to get to game with. When I do, I bring down his average for the number of hours a single game takes to play.














Several people were interested in learning Brikks. I ended up teaching everyone how to play and we looked up the rules for starting shapes. I was definitely playing that incorrectly, so now I know. I also learned there were different modules for the gameplay. That is crazy, I didn't know! So the starting shape has to be from column 1 and all players have to have different shapes.

We played, and my impressions on the game still holds to be the same. It is just a fine game that I am happy to play. It can be a bit long and if people aren't focused it will be worse.

I don't even know if I won that game. I did pretty well but got screwed in the final turns for the top row I was working on. Just no idea what happened! #istillloverollnwrites








The last game of the night was Trappist One. New to me!

This was a super rough one. Learning this was convoluted and overly complex. Actually playing wasn't so bad and simple, once we deciphered the rules.

Unfortunately, this was just a total miss for the whole group playing. We were just like why are we doing this, to get this in order to do that. We didn't have a focus in the game and it was just all very long and drawn out. I don't think it was the worst game I learned at the con, but it was near the bottom of the list if I were to rank them.

The artwork is the only redeeming feature of this game. It is simply gorgeous! I wanted to try this one because it was so pretty. Playing it, on the other hand, was just unbearable. This is not a game I care to return to playing in the future. I have no idea who won, but maybe we all just lost.












Yay Friday morning we agreed to meet and play a 3 player game of Ginkgopolis.

Super excited to play this game, it is my favorite after all... I was happy Lynda was able to learn it the night before. I didn't have to teach it!! Wooooohoooo!

It went pretty well and I think we played under an hour which was awesome.

Perhaps the game was a bit unfair since Lynda was a newbie and Star rarely gets to play. Maybe I needed a 40 point handicap. haha I didn't quite get to the score of their combined scores but it was close. I won with like 86 and they were both in the 40s.

It is possible I should have done some hand-holding in this game. I was trying, but I should have tried harder. I was barely awake at like 830 in the morning, so yeah, I will blame that for my unhelpfulness.

#bestgame










We found 6 (!) players for an epic game of 7 Wonders & 7 Wonders: Armada.

I was super excited to play this!! I actually got to play it twice!! I really needed to practice before the game at BGGCon. I still have yet to win this game. I am just terrible at this expansion, so it seems.

I was doing a bit of hand-holding with these 2 games though since I was teaching. In each of the games, we had 5/6 people so it was a lot to handle and with almost everyone knowing the base game. I tried to find only people who knew 7 wonders but I still managed to rope in 2 newbies who had played maybe once before. I left it up to other people to explain the base game while I set up the expansion.

Both games went incredibly well and it was very well received. Yay! Spreading the love of 7 Wonders continues. The first game I went for Science and it wasn't going according to my plans and the second game I didn't go for science and I still managed to make it to the top of the green track with help of my wonder and a few cards.

I really like the boat tracks- makes the game so very interesting!

Mark was seriously hate drafting me in the second game and so I ended up tied with him for 2nd place. Joe ran away with science and took the win that time. In the first game, I think Steven ended up winning and Lynda and I were duking it out for science. Both excellent games and I can't wait to play more and more.
















So Brian was saying how great Crime Hotel was. New to me!

Ron read the rules for us and it was a 4 player game. This is a trick-taking deduction game. You are trying to figure out where the murderer is in the hotel. You have a hand of room cards that are being played down and the winner and loser for each trick will able to guess where in the hotel he is. You won't know until the end of the round for sure though.

It is a cute game. Ron was not enjoying it at all. I don't think he got to make any guess- at all. He was always in the middle of the pack each trick and it didn't let him make a guess. I think by the end he could in the final turn.

It didn't bother me, I thought I was doing pretty well. There is no real way of knowing if you are correct but you get to guess columns and rows for smaller points.

I thought it was pretty cute. John ended up winning our game since he was the one to make the lucky guess. I thought for sure I would get it, but noooo. haha

Not a game I would request, but I could play again.














Next up was a super easy to learn game called Trellis. New to me!

During Essen I was super attracted to this game. It is simply gorgeous and there is tile placement. Your goal of the game is to get all your flowers down first- if you do then you win! Simple as that!

Each turn you select one of the 3 tiles you have in hand and play it to the playing field. You have to connect at least one vine and ideally, you extend your own vines. If you extend a vine color someone else already started they get to bloom and drop their flower down on the new tile. You get to claim a different vine and make that whole vine bloom allowing you to drop a flower on each tile with that color vine it connects to. Because you helped another person you get to select 2 vines to do this for.

I am pretty sure that is all of the game. It is super simple and one my family could easily play. It takes like 15 minutes to play too. We picked it up and learned it and played in 15, so yeah pretty cool. Not for the heavy gamers out there. I can't say it is the most interesting tile placement game, but it was harmless. I will definitely be playing again I can't just let Ron win and call it quits. I need my revenge.














I found the new card game Fool!. New to me! (sorta)

I say sorta because it is really Foppen. Had I remembered that picking it up to play I would have put it down immediately. I realllllllllllllllllllllllllly dislike Foppen and this simply doesn't change it enough. It changes it to work with more people and maybe with max player count the game would be better, I don't know. I hate the you lose the trick mechanic and you have to sit out the next trick. I sat through 5 rounds of this game.

Never again. Who is the fool now?








I needed something better and Scott was done with his game so Shrey, Chris and I pulled him in for a 4 player game of Fuji. New to me!

This game was awesome. I got the brief demo at Essen and was interested. It is a co-op game and everyone is just trying to stay alive and make it to the golden area on the game map. The Volcano erupted and you have to just survive before it gets you or you die from too much damage. You are trying to survive by moving to locations.

You have a collection of dice you are rolling and the locations you are trying to move to will have different symbols for the dice on them. Like it might show a red 3 and blue 4. If you try to move to this location you simply have to have more VALUE with your exact matches than your left and right neighbors value. I might have 2 blue 4s and 1 red 3 for a value of 11. Chris to my right might have 1 red 3 for value 3 I will have more value and be OK. You not only have to have more but you have to have moved by a specific amount in order not to take damage with the movement. If Chris had value 12 then I would not be able to move at all. We can not discuss what values we have or give too much information before deciding on the spaces we are actually moving to. We just have to speculate and hope for the best. We might even get some rerolls after we decide if we are moving, then it is a real hope and a prayer to not screw over your neighbors with the rolls!

It is lots of laughs and good times in this game. Clever items you can use and fun trying to understand what other people are throwing out there.

We were playing the game on novice or beginner and we didn't have a problem beating it. It could have been a problem if I was caught in the corner one more turn, but I made it out. They had played twice at the last game day and lost both times, so it just might be harder. I look forward to trying the next level of difficulty. Looks so hard!





















Hey Jess and Edward showed up to play some games and we checked out a new prototype for Ragusa. New to me!

It was really a rough going start to figure out the rules to this game. It is still in development so I am going to hope they fix it up and make it crystal clear what you need in order to do all the things. So whatever you see in photos is not final.

In the game, you are placing 1 house a turn to gather resources and hopefully produce them into something else later. You might try and trade them away for points or exchange in the market for points. It all comes back to points. You want the most points.

It just felt like we were doing something wrong all game, so I don't want to comment too much on this one. I think it needs a lot of development work before it should be considered done. Most everyone at the table didn't or couldn't perform their final action since there was just nowhere to go because we couldn't meet the requirements for placing the final house. In a 9 turn game, not being able to take your final action is just weird and lame. Something seemed off- so I hope they fix whatever that is. In a game with a score track of like 100 we didn't make it very far.

Hey, I still managed to win the game with about 30 points. I got extremely lucky with my initial endgame scoring card that was giving me 4 points per ore I was making. I made as much as I could.

Shrug, I duno, we will see what happens.












Next I ended up reading the rules to Rebel Nox. New to me!

This was a trick taker I was very interested in learning because I love trick-takers and this art is amazing. In the game, you are looking for your team to get a number of points depending on how many are actually on your team! The number of people on your team might be ever-changing each round.

The gameplay is also pretty great! You get dealt 9 cards and there are goals you are working towards in each trick. 6 tricks will be won in the round and. There is the rebel team and the loyalist team, and you never know who is on your team, and your team will likely change in the game. Each of the locations will have an effect on it and the leading player (the player who won the last trick) will get to decide on the location to visit. they lead a card and each suit declares a trump in a Rock Paper Scissors manner. I lead a red card and blue might be the trump for red so if the next player doesn't have a red card they can trump in with blue and (possibly) win. Some cards have symbols on them either gun to assassinate the highest card in play, and if there are 2 assassin cards then the 2 highest cards will be killed and there is also an incubator which the LOWEST card played will get to swap cards with the winner of the trick 1 for 1 ratio. With the incubator actions, that is how the teams might be switching during the gameplay. Since the rebel cards are in players hands, she might be stolen or handed away.

There are also flags to be won from players cards or mostly from the locations you are fighting for. At the end of the round, players reveal which teams they are on and evaluate together which team has collected the most flags and will get to claim followers accordingly. Then all players individually look at what they collected and gather additional followers. If a team hits their targeted point value they win. Otherwise, you play another round. You keep the leftover 3 cards and then deal 6 more to each player.

It took a bit to get in the swing of things. I am not the best at reading rules so it probably took a while to do that. I still think the table had fun. I also think playing with 4 players was okay, but playing with more players would make it more interesting like with 6 players!

It was a close game though and almost all game Jess and I were rebels. I managed to take the rebel card from her and I was the only rebel on the team and I was trying to get a fast victory. Scott ended up taking one of the Rebel cards from me though and we were then on a team. Hey, at the end of round 2 the rebel team won! I think I might have been able to succeed on my own had he not stolen one of the cards from me.

I am glad we could win though it was a lot of fun! I look forward to playing again soon with more people!












Tim was teaching a game to Deb and I was looking forward to playing Lift Off. New to me!

It was a 4 player game and I was hearing so many great things about it. There are a lot of wonky mechanics going on in this game, but it all ties in together nicely. In the end, you are just looking to have the most points. You do that by making a lot of deliveries with your spaceship.

All game you are looking to increase your spaceship capacity and then you can deliver larger loads for more points. There are many things to consider in the game, but you are drafting the actions you will be taking so you might never see a card you want in the game at all. For example, I never found a ship upgrade card that lowered my shipping costs until the very end of the game. I was paying so much money and was always very short on money. It was very limiting.

I still enjoyed the game, I don't think it is really one that excites me play frequently. I got my ass handed to me this game. I don't think I was quite lapped, but it was close. I thought I was doing well, but I was really just doing poorly all around.

Not really sure what I did to be so bad at this game I was making deliveries each turn. I was mostly inefficient even though I thought I was being extremely efficient. I duno- maybe I just don't get it. I will try again though.
















There was a lot of positive buzz around the new game Crown of Emara. New to me!

This is a eurogame I made Ron and Derek play at Essen to see if we should buy it. We ended up not buying it so I was really curious to see if we missed out. They both enjoyed it then, but I guess it didn't impress Ron enough to buy.

He did like it enough to explain it to me, Dan and Deb. It is pretty easy to learn and play. You are trying to score people points and house points and the lowest of the 2 scores is your final score. You need to keep them as evenly balanced as you can throughout the game.

In the game, you are using your cards to take actions and move around the different boards. You gather resources or turn in resources on the main boards and the cards also give you small bonuses. There is a lot to like about this game.

It is a pretty standard euro and we had no issues picking it up and playing. Since Ron had played before he had a clear advantage.

I really wish there were starting selection of cards, but there is a variant in the rules that allows for you to select the card you want for your actions, and I will definitely be playing with that rule from now on. I got screwed over more than once because of card draws and that totally sucks. I was quite frustrated because of that. I see a good game in here so being able to control the actions I want when I want will be 100x better.

I look forward to my next play.





















The final game of the night was Globe Twister. New to me!

I was very much looking to try out this new real-time puzzle type game. We actually ended up playing twice since it was so great! There are basic sides and a fisheye sides to each players tiles. Everyone has the same basic side and everyone has a different fisheye view.

The goal of the game is to be the first to create the picture using the tiles. At the start of the game you mix up all your tiles in a 3x3 pattern and if you wanted to pass them to the next player you can. All players have a picture sheet with the correct image they will place on top of the tiles until everyone is ready to start and when you are ready you top that sheet to the side and use directional cards to try and alter your picture to be accurate. The directional cards might change locations of tiles and rotate tiles, but you are using a 3x3 frame to place the cards in and when you think you have done all you can do, you cover y our board and flip a timer for everyone else to finish up. Then you activate all your directional cards from top left to right. If you or anyone don't manage to complete your picture then you play another round. Usually, by end of round 3 or 4 your picture will be complete, well mine was.

I was far superior at this game than anyone at the table. It plays 5 players. Maybe I did a poor job mixing up my tiles, but I am just really good at seeing what need to go where and then putting the pressure on for the timer and making people try to work faster. I take a solid couple minutes to analyze what I have in front of me and then plan accordingly. You only have so many 90 degree rotations and you have a couple 1x use cards that are very helpful.

I won both games by a long shot. I loved working out the puzzle. This is exactly my type of game and I loved playing it. So excited to play it more!














Saturday morning was a scheduled play of Founders of Gloomhaven. I was teaching Ray and Geoff how to play. I had played once a few weeks back and Shrey was meeting up to play as the 4th player.

I hadn't considered teaching the game and I was trying to teach from the rulebook which was a poor idea since it was all out of order from how I was trying to explain it. Thankfully I got through most of it and Shrey showed up to help clarify specific things or small rules I was forgetting.

Definitely not an easy game to teach. There are a bunch of weird rules like the cascading point system and tile placement/requirements.

All in all, with the 2 of us knowing the game and 2 learning we were able o knock it out in 2 hours which was great. I think it is a much better game at that length or shorter. I do wish there was more of a surprise ending. I think there can be a strong leader problem or if you get far behind there is not much you can do. It is so hard to really say. Geoff ended up winning- no shocker.

Shrey and Geoff were helping each other all game, I was caught in the middle and Ray was further behind. In general, I don't mind the game, I am not sure I love it though. Not sure how many further plays I am interested in trying, but I will play at least one more time with the reverse board side to see how it goes. It is an interesting game.

















Beacuase I was gaming with Geoff he also asked me to bring along Swordcrafters.

He saw me playing this game a few weeks ago and was interested in trying it because it is such a great theme and super fun to actually be building a sword type structure in a game.

I have to say I liked this game a lot more playing with 4 players than with 5. You get more tiles and you can plan a bit better for some goals.

This game was not handing me the tiles I needed to complete the goals but I did have the longest sword! I made one of the sword tip goals but not the other one. I managed to lose all of the common goals.

I have to say in my second play, the person who had the SMALLEST sword won again. What's up with that. Small and mighty wins the game. Well done to Geoff.

Love playing this game. It is very clever and you definitely need the added modules. Great times.









Right after that game Felix and Matthew pulled me into a 3 player game of Blackout: Hong Kong. New to me!

This was easily one of the hottest games at Essen. Sold out wicked fast and has been well received by everyone so far. I am thankful to those who have played and posted that this game is best with 3. We were strict on that player count and that made for a very good game for me. We were able to play in under 2 hours. I heard horror stories of 4+ hour long games, so yeah, that would have been horrible for me.

This is not a co-op game- I thought it might have been at first glace. You are trying to get the most points in the game. It is a deck-builder and a bit of area control. It is really hard to explain everything this game is because it has a lot of interesting mechanics. There is a bit of Mombasa with the card management, which is excellent and probably my favorite mechanic.

We actually played a lot of rules incorrect since Felix missed a bunch when he was reading them. Because of that, I want to call the first game an asterisk because he won by a landslide, but he was also playing terribly wrong.

Regardless, what I got from the game was great and it will immediately go on the wishlist. I would love to play this again with the correct rules and keeping to 3 players. I always say Gink only 3p and I hate leaving people out when I do, but it is necessary- and this game will be the same thing.

I look forward to more plays and I hope to try the different campaign modes and see what that is all about. A very clever game, I already know it will be a lot of peoples favorite. It will be a tough race between this and Teotihuacan. It was probably my favorite new game of the con, I didn't have many but this was one of them.












Matthew was up for another game and he offered to teach Discover: Lands Unknown. New to me!

This was on my anticipated list because it is weird that each game box has different materials and who knows what. I still don't quite understand how they are producing the games, but they are.

We ended up playing scenario 2 because he had already played 1 and I didn't care either way.

It is an exploration game at heart and you are trying to unravel the story. We were playing as a co-op game and I guess you can play as not co-op sort of? We just stuck to the full co-op mode and if someone died we all died.

It was sort of like an escape room type game. You are trying to find all the clues and get off the island. I won't get too much into it.

There were some major flaws in the game and it was just a nightmare towards the end. The first 2/3s of the game was exciting and fun. The last bit of the game was just tedious and we eventually just gave up. We hit all the marks again and just never found what we needed to. What kills me is that there are duplicate cards and it said to remove one of them. If you remove the one that says you win the game, well then you have to figure out how else to win. We removed that one and were at a total loss for what to do. No direction, nothing. It was all around terrible.

It just didn't make sense to me at all. A major flaw in that design. I can't see playing this game again, even if I knew the scenario was "safe" How can you be sure if everyone's copy is different. So hard to say. This ended up being a miss for me and there was such potential at the start.












Next up was a lighter game that I picked up at Essen called Tales of Glory. New to me!

I loved this game so much I wanted to play it again the next day! This game is sooooo made for me! You are placing tiles to build up your kingdom and adventure and gain the most glory to be the winner!

It is a tile drafting game. Each player makes a selection of a tile they wish to take and from the first player going around the claim the tile they selected and if there is a tie the closest player to start player gets the tile and the other player has to wait and select a tile after everyone else.

When you get to claim a tile you then get to place it into your kingdom if you can pay for the costs in the top left. You will get any adjoining bonuses and if you lined up a key segment then you get to unlock treasure!

The gameplay is very simple and straightforward. Very mainstream and amazing art. Ankama is producing high-quality games with amazing art, they are really on a roll and is a publisher I quite enjoy.

This game was made for me. I simply love the tile placement and trying to get the best combos the board has to offer. It is a perfect game length too, right where you need it to be to get a good feeling for what you have accomplished and goals you wanted to complete.

In both of the games I played, I had a great time. I think the 5 player count was too many people and 3 player count was perfect. I liked that the two tiles were killed at the end of the round with 3 players. No tiles were removed with 5 players and one tile was just there round after round since no one wanted it.

It went over really well and everyone enjoyed it. I think I won the first game but I definitely didn't win the second game we played.

This was easily one of the best games I learned at LT. I am totally looking forward to many more plays!!






















I enjoyed Claim when I played it and there was a new tile placement game in the realm of Claim called Claim Kingdoms. New to me!

I figured it would be a fast game that we could play before people took off for dinner. I wasn't wrong. The game plays out in about 15 minutes. You play through all of the cards.

The gameplay is very simple and you are playing the card you have in hand somewhere on the map and execute the effects of the card. Then you draw back up to 1 card in your hand from the draw pile for from display of 3 cards. You never really get a choice in the cards from your hand, you just have to hope for the best, basically. Not much strategy to be found in this game. You are simply looking for majorities to win the points.

I am pretty sure everyone playing this game hated it. It was just not happening for us. We didn't find anything worthwhile when playing it. It was 15 minutes but it seemed like 45. Why didn't the game end faster? hahaha

Hey on the plus side I ended up winning by a point. In the end, it was just not a game I would care to play again. I will have to check out Claim 2 instead.








Next up we had 4 players for a game of Hasp. New to me!

I got the rundown during the BGG Livestream at Essen and was very interested in trying it out so I picked up a copy. I was happy we could find a 4th player so we could have partners. I am curious about the 3 player rules though and hope to try that next time.

The art in this game is super cute and I love that it is an easy to learn and play trick-taking game. I love partner games too. There are 4 suits 1-6 and 4 higher trump cards 7-10. Each round the player to the left of the dealer looks at 3 cards and calls a trump if they want. Then they lead to the first trick and can choose to show 7+8 for an additional point to be added or the 9 for a point. They could choose to call take all tricks for 2 additional points or take zero tricks for 2 points. With partners, it is so hard to make calls like that not really knowing what your partner has in hand.

It is fun to try and see though!

We had a great time playing this game. Joe and I totally kicked Shrey and Felix's butt! I thought it would be a great game for families who are learning card games or kids to start playing trick-taking games.

I was always playing games as a kid- like GinRummy and hearts. This would have fit right in there. So glad games like this are still being made. I am always looking to play new trick-taking games. I simply love the genre and if we can play as partners, that is even better.

I think most people playing enjoyed it, even if they weren't wowed I think they would play again. I look forward to my next play.












I didn't get a chance to play a game with Mike during LT at all (he was there one day) so now was a great time to play a game with him and Star. Star was great and taught Dice Settlers.

I last played this at Dice Tower Con and had a blast playing. I didn't think I would do a great job teaching it though. I was pleased to see the final KS production copy since I hadn't been able to open my copy yet and play, but the resources are awesome sauce. The tents were a bit disappointing though. My TINYTINY red teepees vs the GINORMOUS black hotels. I didn't quite get that ratio scaling, but that was ok.

This game Star rushed the ending super fast and it was over before I even managed to get a second die added to my bag. It was seriously bad rolling on my part and I never rolled the hats to change my dice faces. It was all fire and compasses all the time. On the plus side, I managed to get a couple big pointer tiles under my control. I somehow was able to win this game with a couple 7 point tiles helping to boost my endgame score.

I duno how that even happened but it was awesome. Star got his 5th house down on like turn 6 or something. It was just so fast! I don't think we won anyone over with that game, because it ended so fast. I still quite enjoy it though. I need to play it some more.











I suggested that we play a game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods. The game I think will be at the top of everyone's 2018 lists, or near it! Shrey and Ray both were interested in learning it and Star was great to teach this one as well.

He had played it a lot more recently than I had and it has some delicate rules. Once you get going in the game it seems to go by so fast since you are constantly thinking and planning your next moves.

I simply love this game. It was getting late though and I was losing focus towards the end. If I managed to pay attention, at all to what was happening on the decoration space. I could have built a decoration and got the red bump I needed to get the points I needed. Instead, I used the lock space and it was just so dumb! I could have had like 5 more points. I think I lost by like 4 points so it was all just silly and I am still kicking myself. I was playing a very good game too. Star had a major comeback in the end though so it was well done.

I still didn't score anywhere near my final scores in the other 2 games I have played of this. I blame the lack of sleep and my inability to focus towards the end of the game.

Still freaking love this game and will love to play it more and more!















The final game of the night was a 6 player game of Trapwords.

I have been itching to play this game again since the first play. I needed to redeem myself from the last play. This time I was teamed up with Tim and Star and it was just a joy! We were playing against Joe R and Ray and another whom I forget his name. It was a table full of people I knew and it was a bunch of fun.

It is always so hard being the clue giver, and I am always one to mess up. I feel so proud when I actually do something right and there was at least one round where I didn't screw up! I got the word "eel" and I said clue words like Ursula, Creature, twins, and Tim got it with ease! YAY! Disney for the win!

I later got the word "railroad" and I couldn't think of any clues to give. I wanted to say words like "Russian" but I was 18xx and they didn't get it at all. Bah! Was at a loss for words and clues to give.

This is such a great game and I am so happy to be playing it more. It is a perfect end of the night game. Everyone loved it. #success

OH, I should mention that our team actually won!! The blue team made it to the final boss sooner than we did, but we had great success before they could! YAY! I won this game. It was a bit of redemption from the last play where we barely made it off level 1.












The final day of LT and I was immediately pulled into a game of Forum Trajanum.

I played this in prototype in April and I wanted to see how the gameplay has changed since it was still in development then.

The major difference was that you can use a white worker to ignore one of the cards that was revealed at the beginning of the round. Yes, this was totally needed and yes this makes a big difference. At least that was taken into account and fixed.

The game overall didn't change or feel different. I think it is an all-around okay game. I don't mind playing it. It didn't make me as frustrated as the first play did.

I managed to secure the final rounds end goals and get big points. I was way behind all game but I was going for a different strategy than most.
I was able to win the game by like 5-10 points and I think it shocked a bunch of people. Haha I was planning for that all game though!

Everything seems to constrained and it is just not as smooth and interesting as Feld's other titles. I would still like to play again. I think there are some interesting mechanics.



















Derek had a new game called Outback. New to me!

Dan played it a while back and was willing to teach us. It was a 4 player game and is a pretty easy dice rolling/ push-your-luck game. You are trying to create groupings of same type animals and score big points. There is a base and advanced mode. We could handle the advanced mode and decided on trying that one.

The downfall with the advanced mode is that there are 6 more spaces and thus making the game last so much longer. I would recommend the base side if and when you play.

It is still a cute game and you roll 7 dice on your turn trying to collect like animals to place onto your board. They have to be available on the jeep to take them though. The game ends when someone has filled their board.

Yah I totally filled my board first and got a ton of bonus points in the game. I crushed them all to bits! I must have gotten some lucky dice rolls.

This was a fine game. I was definitely not wowed. It was fine and I could play again, but I am not jumping to.













The final game of the con was Orbital. New to me!

Dan was willing to read the rules and we had 4 players to try this new tile laying game. You are looking to collect the most points by connecting the groups of tiles and filling up your board the best you can. The game ends once someone finishes their board.

On your turn, you can spend money Mancala style until you reach the tile of your choosing. If you don't have money then you have to take the first available single unit tile and place that. If there is money on that tile you get to keep it!

All the different types of builds score differently. Like the houses need to be supplied by yellow and blue. Theaters score for being next to parks. Supermarkets like to be next to houses. Lots of different patterns to try and make and majorities to win.

I like that the game comes with a bunch of different maps for playing with.

Overall, the game is pretty simple. I don't think there is anything specific to make this game stand out in a crowd, but the gameplay is fast and easy. I was still fun to play and puzzle out. I ended up winning our play of it. I thought I would win by a landslide but turns out the majorities thing really scored well for people and everyone was right around my final score. It was a close call for sure!

Look forward to trying this one again. I do think it needs bags to hold the tiles in so you can pull them out randomly when you have to.

It was a good way to close out a wonderful con. LT is always a great time and one of my favorites for the year.













Now On To BGG.Con!!! I gotta play all the games I missed out on...




New to the Collection:
Hounded
To Court the King
Guildhall Fantasy: Alliance
Arcane Academy
Century: Eastern Wonders
Urban Sprawl
Welcome to Centerville
Oath of the Brotherhood





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




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Back From Essen! Time to PLAY! Underwater Cities, Pandoria, Solenia, Nemeton and New Expansions for Feast for Odin and Caverna!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!







Happy Halloween!




Back from Essen with all the games. It is to be expected that I play all the games right now! I did my best to play them all on Saturday's Game Day. I didn't actually get to them all though.


Fortunately, there was a Thursday night Fungroup that I could attend and play just a few of the games I wanted. We started the night with Brikks. New to me!

Of course, I was very much looking forward to playing this game. It is the new Wolfgang Warsch title AND it is a Roll n Write game! I was so anxious for playing it!

Your goal for the game is to get the most points. You can get points by completing rows and more points the higher the rows are. It is very much like Tetris. If you are the active player you roll both dice and then have the option of rerolling them just once more though. You will take the number and color and locate the shape. Everybody must draw this shape on their boards as if it fell from the top down. You cannot rotate the piece. If you are familiar with Tetris then it will be familiar.

Every player has the same board (which might get old after a few plays), and there are small dots on them. If you color a red dot with a red brikk then you will get a bonus of 2 energy points, allowing you to circle two bubbles on the energy track. You can spend energy points (filling in those circled bubbles) to change the shape in the row. There are little X's found in some of the bubbles. As soon as you acquire an X you get to place an X in the points row. The more Xs, the more points. You can also collect Xs if you manage to complete multiple rows at the same time with one piece. Cunning planning will be good for you here.

So yeah, it is a pretty straightforward Roll n Write. Not a fav by a long shot but it is one that I would happily play. It is certainly staying in the collection (even though I keep most Roll n Writes, it is actually NOT an automatic thing).

In our game, I managed to complete the topmost row for a 4x multiplier to get a large 20 points and that was easily enough to win the game. Destroyed everyone, in fact. I wonder if that is an always-winning strategy? I duno. Later that weekend I got to play it again and it was okay as a 2 player game. I think we messed up the initial shape placement. We took the same starting piece and our game totally ended up being the same for several turns, maybe half the game. I broke off and eventually did something different. It ended up giving me the game too. I won by 1 point. I will take it though. Need to read the English rules sometime and see if we have been playing wrong.

Will have to play more and find out! Still enjoyable.










Riley recently picked up Reef and was interested in playing that. I played it last in April and was a bit underwhelmed with it.

Very simple pattern building game. You are trying to build patterns on your board and score big points for them. I am happy to play this game, but it will never be a game I request, much like Azul (basic - still have to play Stainglass). The quality of the game is great but overall play is just meh for me. Everything is just very uninteresting. Maybe I feel like I am not doing enough, I am not sure. I generally like easy abstract games with low player interactions, but this was just dry.

Our play was very meh too. Nothing exciting ever happened. I think someone scored 15 points for something. Riley got a ton of end of game points that allowed him to win by a couple points over my score after I ended it. I thought for sure I was going to win too! Good job on his part. Cute, but unexciting game.














The final game of the night was going to be Trapwords, but I was missing the deck of cards! It is packed away in some other game I suppose! I gotta find it soon! We ended up playing First Contact. New to me!

I got to host the demo at Spiel for BGG and had a great time so I was definitely interested in trying out the full game. You want a bunch of people for this game for sure, in order to keep it silly and interesting. The game is very clever and there are 2 sides, the Alien side and the Human side, and there will be a winner for each side! If you have seen the movie The Arrival - well you will totally understand this game. This is exactly that movie! You are playing as an alien trying to communicate to the humans in your language. Or you are a human trying to communicate with the aliens in your language. This game was also inspired by this particular movie! The theme really shines through since we were talking about this movie a lot during the game.

Each side has different goals to try and meet. You win as the alien if 3 of your items are located for you by the humans. The game would then immediately end and the humans would then evaluate how many items they were able to locate for the different aliens. Whoever located the most will win as the human.

There are a couple phases to the game and Phase 1 is the human phase where each human gets to select 1-5 cards from the center of the board that should probably have something in common with one another. The aliens have to collectively decide what that feature is and look to the alien chart for a proper symbol to use in association with the word. The humans get to infer the meaning of the alien symbol and take notes behind their screens without discussing among themselves. For example, Riley the human picked a shiny scarab. We the aliens decided on "valuable" and wrote the alien symbol for "valuable". But I really wanted to choose "fly" as our word since the scarab was the only thing on the board that could fly. The humans then decided what our symbol meant.

Phase 2 is the aliens turn. Each alien gets to write some symbols down to try and have the humans locate the objects the alien needs. The red alien gets to go first, but the red alien has fewer objects she is looking for, thus making it harder for the red player. She writes down some symbols and the humans get to guess what she is referring to, and whoever finds one of her items gets a red token, and that item (or items) is then marked with a red token on the playing field.

So I suppose you could really win in the first round. For example, the green player has more objects they are looking for (but goes last). If three of them happened to be "food" items, and that clue was given out, and everyone guesses a different food item, the game could be over fairly quickly. You just have to play again!

I was learning the game from the rules and I am not the best under pressure like that. But, we made it through and I think I fully understand the game now. There is an optional starting rule with the humans each knowing hidden information about the aliens language. Then you as an alien can include those symbols to make them guess correctly. I think it would be a lot of fun.

We had a great time playing and we had a ton of laughs. I think this game is best with a bunch of people like that. 5-6 players. Maybe 2 aliens are better with 4 and 5 items each. I wonder if the green alien with 6 items just usually wins. Just seems too easy. Hard to really say though. I very much enjoyed this game and look forward to playing a bunch more in the coming weeks. Definitely will be a good Con game for LT and BGG.
















Saturday was Game Day and I had my cool new shirt from Mr. Meeple!




Since everyone was showing up early we decided on playing a fast game of Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition.

I still have yet to play with the special rule for this edition or the blue edition. How will I ever be able to play the blue edition when the red edition is just so RED! I know, the dilemmas are hard at times.

This is such a clever game. I quite enjoy it. I love Roll n Writes and this is just the best train Roll n Write game that I know. Far surpasses Steamrollers and Sunflower Valley. I really feel like I am doing something in this game. I have to make some hard choices and I get a cool gridlock pattern at the end of the game. It is very puzzley and a fun game to try and solve.

I am simply terrible at it too! I wonder if I am so bad at it because I was distracted by people showing up, or if I just am bad! Everyone seemed to play a lot better than I did.

You get to score the outputs for your different lines and I just had too many different lines for the roads and trains. Riley and Nate both had all outputs for the same track and scored a TON of points. Yeah I was super far behind at the end of this game.

I really can't wait to add in the special advanced variants for both red and blue editions. I will have to play again soon to see how that works! This is a really cool Roll n Write. Very much enjoyed it.









Wystan was here and he had offered to read the rules to some games. First on the table was Pandoria. New to me!

This game looks so beautiful and I was instantly drawn to the cover! I didn't know much about the game though, but I knew you place tiles on a board. You are looking to score the most points in this game. There are a few different ways to gain points but the main way is from the board that is being created.

Each turn the active player will do a number of things. In Step 1, she must place a double tile to the main board connecting at least one other tile, or she could place a castle tile which is just a simple space tile. After any tile is placed you check to see if a region (a group of spaces with the same color) is totally enclosed. If it is, then all druids that are located in that region are removed and handed back to the appropriate players. In Step 2, the active player may place a druid on the newly placed tile, either region. In Step 3, the active player can choose to play a spell card or construct a building. This is super important since you might get an awesome combo with the next step. In Step 4, everyone scores the region that was just enclosed. You look to see how many of the given icons are in the region and you get to multiply that by however many druids you have surrounding the region. So there might be a forest region 6 hexes big that was just enclosed, and it has 8 total wood icons, so you would score 8 wood per druid that is next to the forest region. That can be quite good, and you could combo it with a wood scoring building card you have in play. Boom, you will be rolling in it! There are lots of resources - wood, coins, magic, points. Ideally, you want to surround the points regions and gain lots of points.

That is essentially the whole game. It is not a complicated game and you get the hang of the turns really quickly. The interesting part is in the cards you get to use and how you can use them. They are multi-use cards and you have to be selective. If you are playing with advanced rules you get to have a character with special abilities and this really changes up the game. I was able to play my special meeple first which is essentially worth 2 druids while everyone else had to play all of the small druids first before the special one. There is a difference in the starting resources so it kind of gives you a focus and strategy on what you should look for and do during the game.

For me, there was just too much take-that. I would set up a play for the next turn, but before it got to be my turn my druid would be off the board since someone enclosed the region. It was vicious, and it made for a very slow slog to start the game. You have to play that way though, otherwise, people will just score lots of resources and get a far lead. Of course, that happened in our game and 2 players were very far in the lead at the end of the game. Nate and I were fighting for 3rd. There was not much we could do to keep up with them. Then they both scored a bajillion points for a very large points region. It was just a mess of a game for me. I can take a fair amount of take-that in a game, but it was just too brutal for me and you can essentially never score anything if people don't want you to. I suppose that is why you have castle tiles since you are never kicked off of those spaces. There are exit points around the board that will make a region never close. You really have to plan for that.

I didn't dislike the game, but I just didn't find it all that interesting either. Far too long for what it offers. If I played again I would insist on 2 or 3 players. Maybe that would cut back on the take-that part of the game. In the end, I just don't think it is a game for me.























Shrey was great and read the rules to Underwater Cities. New to me!

I was very much excited to learn this game since has is a cool theme and is by a designer I enjoy, Vladimír Suchý. He has done other games like Pulsar 2849 and Shipyard which I both really enjoy. This game was compared to Terraforming Mars so I was interested to see how true that really was. TM is not really a fav of mine and I would rather do my own thing. This game offers me my own thing.

The quality of the materials is okay. The actual player boards are very flimsy. The cool domes are awesome though.

In the game, you are working to collect lots of points. Most points will win. You will generate points a number of ways throughout the gameplay and a lot of endgame points from the special cards you collect. The game is played over 10 rounds and there are 3 production phases in the game where your cities will generate resources. The first 4 rounds are a bit long since you don't really have an engine yet, and you need those resources badly!

Each round you get to place 3 markers on available spaces and you get to take that action. You must also play a card with the action. If the card matches the color of the action space, you may also activate the card either before or after the space's action. Spaces offer you the opportunity to build cities, tunnels, factories, gain resources. There are a couple high-demand spaces that everyone will want, so turn order is often sought after. You definitely want to combo the cards with the actions to the best of your ability. As the game goes on you get better and better card decks and even better abilities. Your engine will develop, and you will be producing more and more resources.

I love that there is player interaction with the main board and worker placement, but not involving your personal city you are creating. Your cities can't be destroyed. Because you are doing your own thing in this game, I am much more drawn to this game than TM, though I find them very different games. You may be building up a collection of cards that will trigger at different times, like TM, but the overall feeling of the game is very different IMO.

We were playing with 3 players and I think that is the right and perfect number for the game. It was me, Felix, and Shrey and it was a great game! We are all pretty fast players and the game flew by, especially at the end, once we knew what we were doing.

The whole beginning of the game I never saw a yellow card, and I realllllllllllllly needed to take a yellow action. You can always take an action and just discard a card, but it seems wasteful to do that. Always take a bonus! So I ended up doing other things and trying to optimize my cards. It can be a bit of luck of the draw, but there are actions to give you more cards and you are always getting cards at the end of the turn. You must always discard down to 3 cards before your next turn though. There are a lot of cards and so many strategies to try out.

Felix was mostly in the lead all game. I wasn't scoring many in-game points at all. I was working on a heavy end-of-game strategy. I ended up in 2nd place though, maybe 10-15 points behind him. He had more end-of-game points than I thought he would so I was nearly expecting to win that one. It was pretty close. If it was a long game, it certainly didn't feel that long. It was a solid 90-120 though.

I simply can't wait for my next play of this game. Even writing all of this out, really makes me want to play again. So far this is my favorite Essen release, that I have played in the past couple weeks. Again, I recommend it with 3p. Very excited for this game!




















Next up we played the other game Shrey read the rules for called Nemeton. New to me!

This was getting a lot of buzz at Essen and was high on the Geekbuzz so I was definitely interested in trying this out. There are some cool bits in this game. I knew you were supposed to be expanding a forest but I didn't know how that all connected to the gameplay. Turns out you are playing this game over a number of rounds and each player gets a stack of tiles they will eventually play through. You are trying to collect lots of points from making various potions or from completing goals first. There is a set collection aspect for collecting different types of animal tokens.

In the game, you place a tile on your turn. Then, if there is the same type of land tile in a straight line from the tile you just placed, you get to fill in any empty land tiles in that line with leaf resources. For example, if I played a water tile, any water tiles I see in any direction with no disconnect will automatically fill in all spaces leading up to and including that water tile with leaf resources. Then you will flip the tile you just placed and see if it is a special tile that will bring out landmarks and special locations. Once you do all that, you get to move your druid 2 spaces in a straight line. There are special tokens you have that will be able to alter your movement as a one-shot deal until you re-activate them.

There are several different things you want to be doing in this game. It is all pretty easy to understand and figure out. The gameplay is just far too long for what it is. There is a lot of not wanting to help others, so you end up doing very limited actions to produce the resources. There's not much reason to do one thing versus another. It is all just slow moving.

I felt very unaccomplished in this game. Everything was just so slow, and by the time I was ready to acquire the potions, they would be gone, or I couldn't make it to the right place. Things were just difficult to deal with and moving around the board was annoying. There were some interesting ideas in this game, but I was over it by halfway through. It was just not a game for me, I'm afraid. I think it would be better as a 3 player game, or even 2 players. Maybe it was just how the board ended up and all of the figures were towards one side of the board. It was just terrible placement and perhaps hindered the game experience. I could be convinced to try it again, but I think in the end this game is just not for me. I was mostly just bored with the game. I didn't find enough clever plays to keep me interested with what I was doing.




















Next up was a game I was super excited to play called The Great City of Rome. New to me!

Card placement with city building - both things I love! I was asked afterwards if it reminded me of Warsaw: City of Ruins, and it does a little, but the method of getting tiles down is different. You are trying to get the most points and you are building up a city that is confined to a specific formation. You are never overbuilding your buildings in this game though.

To start, every player has the same 2 cards in their cities and each player drafts a card to their hand. Each round you will be acquiring a new card to your hand and then playing one of those cards to your city. After 14 rounds you will have constructed a 4x4 grid city.

Going in clockwise order, players will get to place their pawn on an available space in the emperor row. The emperor row has 3 brick spaces and 2 gear spaces. If you play in the first space closest to the emperor, you will get a brick or a gear and you will get to draft cards first. If you play in the last space you will gain all 3 bricks and both gears, but you will draft last. The emperor row will change from round to round.

Once all players have placed their pawns, turn order resolves and the player closest to the emperor gets to pick an available city card to add to their hand, then they can play a city card and resolve any effects. You always get to build only one building and builds require 1-3 bricks to build. You can always pay $2 per brick to make up for lost bricks, but each $1 is a point at the end of the game. Also, you get to activate any gears buildings you already have in play if you have 2 gears from the emperor row. You can pay $1 per missing gear to activate them all as well.

It is a very simple game to play and there are a few mid-game scorings that will be evaluated and that you can plan for. There are a lot of cool buildings that are sought after and big culture end-of-game buildings that might score you a lot of points. This definitely falls in line with Warsaw but there is no direct conflict between players except for the critical turn order.

I had a great time playing. We were playing 3 players and we were all going for very different strategies. I was trying to build up some strong residential areas to score for the colored buildings. Shrey was going for one big massive region. That ended up winning him the game. I thought I won the game but Shrey miscounted a region so he ended up winning... Boo!! It was a close game though and just a few points off. You really have to watch for the card placements since adjacency totally matters. Chris was going for the aqueduct strategy and it wasn't clear to him or me that they had to be placed so specifically. But, it makes sense since they score so many points.

I am very pleased with this game and look forward to many more plays! This game is totally right up my alley.



















I was interested in playing Walls of York. New to me!

I got the basic overview for this game and it was pretty easy to sight read the rules for this one. It is Roll n Write: The Board Game. You aren't writing anything but you do roll a red die and place walls on your board. Your goal is to get the most points.

There are 2 rounds in the game and each round you have to please the king by making an enclosed area of the kingdom with his requests. To find out what the king wants, you place 3 dice into a special dice tower so they each fall under a specific banner. Your objective for the round is to make your walls enclose a number of structures equal to the die rolls. So if a 3 is under the yellow farmhouse banner, your walls have to enclose at least 3 yellow farmhouses.

You then roll the big red die that has the wall formation that everyone must place on their boards. But you want to enclose as few Vikings as possible, because you will get -5 points if you have the most enclosed. If you happen to finish your walls with the king's requirements, then you can start collecting coins when the die is rolled. So you really want to finish your walls early and then start collecting coins. You also get any coins you enclose as well. Coins are the only way you score points.

The round ends when everyone has completed the king's requirements. You do this for 2 rounds and see who has the most money.

It is simple and quick to play. The whole dice tower setup is very cool. Each player is supposed to set up the same board as everyone else. I wonder if that just makes the game too similar. It felt okay in our game. I don't think the players were particularly enjoying it so much. I liked it, but I like Roll n Writes. I am not sure it will stand out over time, but I am certainly enjoying it for now.

In our game, 2 people were tied for Vikings in round 1 and they both got the -5. I had the most in round 2 so then I had to lose -5. I would have so won that game though if I did something different. So, instead of taking the rolled walls you can simply take 1 wall. And I could have completed my wall faster in round 1 and started collecting more coins faster. I know for next time. I am nearly sure Wystan won that game since he didn't take -5 points at all.

Cool game - I look forward to more plays.













One of my most anticipated games to come out of Essen was Solenia. New to me!

Wystan offered to read the rules for this one and I was very much looking forward to playing it so that was awesome. There are a few different ways to play the game and we just played the basic game. (I very much look forward to playing the Winter advanced game!)

In the game, you are trying to get the most points. Each player has a deck of their personal cards (which are the same for each player) and you will first shuffle those and always have 3 in hand. You will play through the entire deck of cards and then the game will be over. Each turn you will select one of the 3 cards from your hand and play it on the ever-changing board. The number on the top of the card is how many things you will collect when you play it. So if I play a 2 card on a wood space I get to collect 2 wood! If you place in a surrounding space to the airship then there is no payment; otherwise you have to pay resources for the number of spaces away you want to place your card.

If you play a 0 card then you must the airship forward one space. The board furthest behind the airship will then activate all of the cards on it, and the bottom half of each card will give resources or points to that card's player. That board then immediately flips over and moves to the front. The board is ever rotating through the night and day like the airship is flying through the day and nights. It is super cool.

To get the most points, you should take the action spaces with the stars and use your collected resources to fulfill the different contracts. Your card has to be in the appropriate time of day or night in order to fulfill the night or day contract. Then you claim that tile and place it into your personal supply and that will provide a permanent benefit for you all game. My favorite is the constant resources that will be given when fulfilling contracts. That is really cool.

In our game, I was not syncing my bonuses well enough and I was moving the ship along too fast by playing all my 0's early. I should have been gathering resources better to make larger deliveries for more points. I am nearly sure Wystan won - he was well synced with his deliveries and bonus points at the end of the game.

The game is pretty simple and I know the Winter side of the game really adds a few more alterations and sounds wicked cool. I am very much looking forward to playing that next time. I had a great time playing this game. I think the movement of the boards is awesome and actually reminded me of Steam Time a bit. There is a purpose for the day and night sides and it is very clever. Everything about this game is beautiful including the gameplay. Lots of fun!






























Star and Ray were interested in playing Gingerbread House. New to me!

This was a game that was just too cute not to pick up at Essen. The quality is amazing and the art is adorable. I love all of the fairy tale characters in them. I really really like that. It is a very simple tile-laying game from the designer of Barenpark and Gizmos.

You are trying to get the most points in this game. Each turn you get to place a tile from your available 3 tiles. When you do, you will be covering up 2 other spaces and you will get the bonuses of those spaces you just covered. You must always play your tile overlapping 2 different tiles. If you ever cover 2 of the same icon, you get +1 of that icon you just covered.

Some of the bonuses are just tokens you are collecting to try and trap the fairy tale characters. The other spaces are special actions that you can get to claim a character or gain a staircase, etc. Staircases are free to place to make your placement of a tile easier.

Once you complete a floor, you get to claim an end-of-game bonus card for points, so if you see one you want, you want to make sure you fill your board asap. You can get 3 of these goal cards, so you want to fill the first 3 floors as fast as you can! Whenever you trap a character card you get a magical wild tile that is just a single space which you place immediately.

I really thought I would win this game too. Yeah, I ended up losing by a few points since I didn't get a lucky deal in the last turn. I was so close though! It was NEARLY perfect for me. So I was just a few points behind the winner. Not really sure who won, but it was likely Wystan since he always wins.

All in all, the game is fairly simple and a great family game. Super cute theme and perfect for the holidays coming up. I plan on keeping this for a while and playing a few more times anyway. It is super light, and not as puzzley as I hoped it would be, but I still had a great time. Seeing all the different fantasy characters was totally enjoyable.

















Star read the rules to one more game I was very interested in playing called Horticulture Master. New to me!

I was so excited to get this to the table since this might have been the most beautiful game to come out of Essen. It is soooooooooooo gorgeous. This artwork is so inviting and I want to show my grandmother who just loves flowers. She would never play but she appreciates great artwork like this style.

In the game, you are looking to get the most points from the different tiles you collect and make a garden from and maybe some bonus points from the animals that wander in as well if you are so lucky. This is a set collection game using cards in order to claim tiles and build up your garden. There are cards you will claim on your turn from the market of cards. You do have a hand limit of 5 cards, so you simply can't hold on to EVERYTHING. You get to buy tiles for your garden and a lot of the tiles offer bonuses. The tool cards also offer bonuses. Bonuses might give you an increased hand size or allow you to take an extra card that is connected. You are essentially collecting the element cards to help grow your garden. You can also use your already existing tiles to upgrade into a bigger and better garden tile. You will still get to keep the tile you are upgrading for the points on the back.

This is an easy and relaxing type of game much like Cottage Garden. I do like this game more than Cottage Garden though. I feel like there are more choices in how you are managing your hand. I like the art more too. We had a hard time with 4 players and it seemed to go on for far too long. I think it will flow better with fewer people for sure. I think most people playing the game weren't really into it. My take is that it would be better suited for the not-so-serious gamers. I think Ron ended up winning this game, because he collected a bunch of cute animals.

I am definitely interested to play again soon and see how a second play will go. I think it will be a lot better than this first play since we had a hard time with the rules. So much love for this artwork!



















The final game of the night was 7 Wonders w/ 7 Wonders: Armada.

I need to play this game all of the time in order to practice to beat the Repos team at BGG.CON! I gotta win this time, for real! I got my butt handed to me at Spiel and it was a mess. I will do better next time for sure. I was told I get to pick my board, but I think that is just too much pressure so I will take what I am given.

This game went particularly well though. It was a 5 player game and everyone was familiar with 7 Wonders so it wasn't hard bringing them up to speed on the expansion. We didn't include the other expansions, but it still worked out really well.

I was playing the Manneken Pis board and copying the other players' wonders. It was pretty interesting and I haven't played that board in a very long time. I did much better than the last time I played, but I wasn't good enough. Ron still ended up winning. I really thought I was doing well, but I should have known better than to think Ron would get resource cards. Blah. I was sitting next to 2 boards that both had the blue glass as the starting resource on the boards. It was a mess. Oh and the photo below shows how bad that one hand of cards was. ALL GREY CARDS?! What's up with that. I made do, though.

Love this game so much and it continues to be in my top 5. I love love love it.

















Sunday I got to playing a quick new Roll n Write game called Qwantum. New to me!

In the line of Qwixx, but I think actually a little easier to understand. You roll a bunch of dice and have to take the value of the white dice and the value of one color of dice that was rolled. You put the value into the appropriate row and then the next value in the row has to be higher. There is a line on the sheet and after that point, you have to get lower than the previous number.

You get to score each column when completed and you score the second lowest value in the column. You just want to get the most points in the end.

Super simple dice game and not terrible, but not that exciting either. After playing like 60 Roll n Write games, it takes a bit to impress me. This is definitely easy enough for my family to play, which is nice, but just not that exciting either. I would much rather play Qwixx Big Points.

I really thought I had Ron this game, but I had a few really terrible rolls in the last few turns and it sunk my game. Didn't feel good to have some unlucky rolls at the end determine my victory. I was very much in the lead all game, but he just totally got some lucky rolls and I got some unlucky rolls. Ah well, I will definitely be playing again soon. Not sure it will stick around for the long haul though.









Monday night games! I had my heart set on playing one thing only and it was A Feast for Odin w/ A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians. New to me expansion!

OMG THIS GAMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It is just AMAZING! What else do you need to know? I think that is the best review I can give at this point. If you are a fan of Odin, then this is a no-brainer. I would definitely not recommend this expansion to new players. It totally adds in a lot more bits and options and just overall things to consider. Even playing with 3 players it still took us over 2 hours to complete.

So many cool new spaces and boards. I loved my new exploration boards. So clever!

Oh hey, I won this game! I beat the guys! I felt wicked smaht and proud. I guess I have to retire from playing this game again. NOOO!! I loved it so much. The whole time I was like, I need to get some pigs and horses, but, yeah, that never happened.

There is a whole new column of actions and if you take one of those actions then you are essentially passing for the rest of the round. But, the actions are just so cool! I got to go be a thief with my Knarr and grab some sweet loot! It was amazing! #KnarrsForTheWin

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I simply can't wait to play more and more and more.
















The 3 of us were really looking to play Tichu and we had some time to kill before Marsha was freed so we played a hand of Linko!.

This is always a good one to pull out and play when you have some time. Mostly since you can always play one more hand if one hand wasn't long enough. The length to this game is variable.

Of course, I was playing pretty well and had a massive set in my hand. I played at just the wrong time and it was overplayed. I could have gone out! I totally misplayed and yeah, it wouldn't have mattered but I wouldn't have lost, for sure.

I always seem to lose this game. I duno why that is. I must get bullied on by everyone. What the heck?! Still so much fun though.










The final game of the night was Tichu and I got to team up with Geoff... What you need to know about Geoff is that he used up all his good Karma to kill Ron in the last Tichu game - so we had to work really extra hard to do well in this game.

We were doing very poor most of the game. Eventually I finally got a good hand and called Grand and made that with ease. I love calling Grand - it is my favorite play in the game and always keeps the game interesting.

We managed to actually have some good hands and caught up to them in points!! We were over 900 and they were in the 800s and BOOM I got a KILLER final hand. I had 3 aces and 2 kings in my initial 8 and I just HAD to call Tichu. Geoff passed me the 4th ace. Marsha lays down a 10 card straight 1-10 and wished for an Ace. NO EFFING WAY!!!! I had to lay out my Ace Bomb. There was nothing I could do! I had to! Oh, it was a nightmare. I just couldn't maintain the lead and I ended up losing the Grand call and we were then hosed. They ended up winning the game. Boo I felt bad for losing it, but my hand was just too good not to TRY and call.

It of course makes for a fun story. I love this game so much and it will forever be in my top 5 favorites. Always so much fun!














Wednesday night was LT Day 0. Pre-Con gaming! I am always up for some Pre-Con gaming! We had pre-planned to play the highly anticipated Caverna: The Cave Farmers w/ Caverna: The Forgotten Folk. New to me Expansion!

Caverna is my #3 fav game! I was very much excited for this expansion even if it meant variable player powers, which I am not usually into. There are a TON of races to choose from and they are all crazy. Each race will substitute in 4 new building tiles. I have no idea what all of the races do but I was playing as the Elves. The Elves were super cool! I could plant vegetables in the forest, I could furnish caverns in the forest. Most importantly I got to start the game with 2 purple crystal fruits. There are 2 new resources: the purple crystals and the mushrooms. They are super awesome and super hard to come by. The downfall to the Elves is that they take tons of rubies to actually place into the caves. They really don't like going in there so to play any tile in there I would have to spend 1 ruby per space. It was super harsh.

This game was going AMAZINGLY for me. I thought I had it in the bag. I planted a ton of resources before the first full harvest and was just off to a killer start. By the end of the game, I had acquired 30 sheep! I was also getting 1 point per 2 sheep and yeah 45 point in sheep alone. That is awesome. The major problem was there were not enough buildings that were scoring me lots of points at the end of the game. So many tiles were switched out for less than ideal buildings for me. It was not great. The final 3 turns of the game, I was at a loss for what to try and do. I had a ton of extra rubies that I turned into sheep and that didn't really help me all that much. It should have been better.

I thought I crushed it but Riley was also having a really great game. Yeah, no, I came in 3rd. Ron somehow managed 103 points and Riley was like 99 and I was 97. It was super close between us all. Derek had his best game yet with about 80 points and Star doesn't want to talk about his score.

Riley was overhanging with the Humans and getting a ton of endgame points from his vegetables. Ron was the Mountain Dwarves and I have no idea what he was doing. Everyone was on their own path doing their own things. It was crazy. I have to say I had a great time playing this game and seeing all the new tiles and strategies forming. I very much look forward to my next play.

IT'S AWESOME!


















We decided to play one more before calling it a night. We picked out Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra. New to me!

I have been eyeing this delicious looking game for a while and was itching to try it out to see how it might compare to Azul. I am pleased to tell you this is very similar to Azul but also 100 times better. It really opens up for more opportunities and less "screw you" moments in the game. This is the game I wanted Azul to be initially.

You are still trying to get the most points. You are still drafting tiles like you would in Azul, but you are placing them into your windows. In the game, there are 6 rounds and each round you are able to score bonus points for completing windows with a specific color. Each player has a little figure that starts in the leftmost window, and when you claim tiles, you can place the tiles in that window or any window to the right of that figure. If you place to the right of the figure, he then moves to that new window location. If you ever fill up the window with the 5 tiles you need, then you claim one of the 5 tiles and place it in the lower window on your player board. There is room for 2 of these tiles. Each of the Larger windows are double-sided and will flip over when completed.

If you don't want to claim tiles, then you can simply reset your figure to the leftmost window. This is a brilliant feature and really makes me happy. Azul is just so mean and will often leave me frustrated with a lot of negative points since I generally get screwed over. Because you have the opportunity to reset, it leaves a lot more flexibility and less screwage. Changes the game completely.

In our play of the game, I ended up taking a lot of tiles from the middle and getting some negative points, which didn't help me at all. It meant I got to go first a bunch though. I was very very bad at scoring the bonus colors in each round. I wasn't even paying attention to it. I was trying to, but it just didn't work out that way. I should have planned better. Ron was swimming in points all game and he ended up winning.

The scoring is very nice, and really makes you think and try to plan ahead, but you are at mercy of which tiles are handed to you and how you can best make them work. The game is drop dead gorgeous and wow the colors are amazing. Everything about this game is great! This fixes everything that didn't work for me with Azul and is loads more fun. Simple and elegant and one that I will be playing for years.
















Awesome Meeplesource.com Rainbow Dice!








If you were wondering how we packed the games coming back from Essen, here is the unpacking video



New to the Collection:
Hero Realms: The Ruin of Thandar Campaign Deck
Facecards




Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph




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


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Thu Nov 8, 2018 2:19 pm
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190,000 People or Games? Yes. Steph's Awesome Europe Trip Overview of Essen Spiel!

Steph Hodge
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New Hampshire
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