All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

A photographic journey through board games...

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Got to Learning a Bunch of New Games Incl. Wendake and Automania while Revisiting CO2! Also Castell! With Photography!

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

Hia Everyone!

Monday night Ron and I choose to not go to Joes to play games but go to see I Tonya in theaters, it was pretty good too. If you wanted to see, I have been keeping track of all the movies I am watching this year. Steph's On-Going List of Movies Watched 2018. Lots of good ones so far! My list of movies to see is quite long so this is an exciting geeklist for me. It also means I will likely play less games this year, but we will find out!

Before the movies Ron and I got in a game of Dice City & Dice City: All That Glitters. New to me Expansion! I picked this up for a decent price but was offered a pretty cool trade so I wanted to play it one final time before shipping it out. I didn't even know it had the expansion in it and that was an added bonus. I am pretty sure this copy of the game never was played before, but it was open.

It was actually the first game of the first Essen that I played in 2015. It is a dice rolling action taking game. You get 5 colored dice and you have to roll them and place them in their correct spaces. Those are going to be your actions. You can choose to discard dice to do other things as well so you have a few options but you are essentially gathering resources to get upgraded buildings and new and interesting buildings. The fighting mechanic seems to be an after-thought though.

In a 2 player game Ron and I didn't even fight each other and focused mostly on just loading up bout boards with buildings and victory points. We could have gone full on army mode and started attacking each other but meh. I don't really like that mechanic anyway, I prefer less interaction if I had to choose one or the other.

The new expansion adds in gold which can be used as wilds and there are buildings that will come out that uses them and you can buy a new common building. It seemed to mesh with the base game very well and we didn't even know that it was an expansion until half way through the game.

In the end I won! Wooohoo! With Ron ending it and not realizing quote how much VP I had on the side or on my buildings. I think I won by under 10 points so it was pretty close. We found the game to be good but nothing worth keeping, so trading it away seemed to be the best option. I would still happily play this game again since I think it is a solid game!

Tuesday night Ron and I had a few games on the mind and we played brutal game of Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends first. This game rarely sees the light of day because it is so brutal. Makes sense that we took it out around Valentines Day.

Oh man I had this game down! I was killing Ron left and right and he couldn't get in a single play for his cards. I thought for sure I could just totally destroy him in this one. I got 3 cards and some legendary out but it was not enough.

He picked off my legendary so fast, he had just the right cards to do so. It was super frustrating. I wasn't able to get more than 5 points from my cards when I ran out of cards in my deck. This triggers the end of the game and we each had one more turn. Ron managed to like wipe me off the board by that point though. There was not much I could do. He won since he had 5 points in cards and a few legendary pieces on the board.

DAMN and here I thought I had it in the bag!

I felt it was necessary to play 2 games of Cha dango next.

Because I was feeling silly, I went live on Instagram and got some laughs.

It was silly and Ron was the winner for both games. Mostly because I was trying to not make the camera fall over during the video and not focused on the cards.

This is the game we were supposed to be evenly matched in and I totally failed! It was good times though.

Wednesday night was Valentines Day, but we still played Charterstone anyway.

Derek and Riley didn't seem to mind meeting that day so it worked out for us. This was games 9 and 10 and I ended up winning both of them. It is clear I have figured out some serious combos and have used them to my advantage. I am not sure there is anything anyone can do now to catch me in this campaign.

We will have one more session to finish the whole thing and I will keep you posted- so until next week to see what the final verdict for this game is.

I am not sure everyone is enjoying it but I don't think anyone right out hates it... We will have to name Ron's charter on Tuesday when we finish it.

Spoiler (click to reveal)

I asked the guys to stick around to play a Unpublished Prototype I was looking at for Renegade and they didn't mind. We played that really quick since it is a fast abstract type game.

It was fine, but being an abstract, I have to say I think it works better as a 2 player game in general.

Thursday night Ron and I broke the shrink to Valletta.

This is a game I learned last April when it came out and have been super interested in playing it again. It was for sale at GameSurplus for $20 and I had to have it! It is a super cool deck building game with interesting hand management and goals.

You are working to build buildings by playing cards from your hand. You have a hand of 5 cards but you play 3 each turn to collect resources or use cards for special actions. Then you draw back up to 5. When you build a building for the first time you will also acquire a card from the building you just built which usually has something to do with the type of building it is. It is all very clever and interesting.

This game I didn't know about the 2 player variants that we should have been using since they aren't in the rules but make the game better, so we will have to do that next time.

This game I managed to get the better combos and more buildings. I was able to get all my houses down and upgrade them for max points. I think I took Ron by surprise and got 10 points more than he did! It was awesome!

perhaps I am just amazing at this game which is why I love it. haha no, but it is fun and I look forward to playing again soon!

Friday night I was just interested in something faster and this is one I am trading away so I thought I would give it one final play. We took out Caverna: Cave vs Cave.

Every play just feels the same and every play I feel like it should be better than it is so it has always been a let down.

Maybe I can never figure out a winning strategy because I tend to try the same one each game without meaning to. I duno, but I always lose. This time it was within 10 points of Ron so it wasn't so bad but still doesn't change my mind and am happy it is being traded away. I hope others find it more interesting than I do. Of course I would rather just play Caverna...

Sunday game day we started with a 3 player game of DragonStone Mine!. New to me!

I really wanted to play this game because of the amazingly awesome gems included in the game. You are trying to collect stacks of gems in a particular arrangement of one in each color or a full stack of one color. You are spending gems to get more gems from your stacks on the available cards you have.

It is quite a simple game and the main reason I liked this game at all was because of the gems. It had some interesting cards that you could work on and gain actions from, but mostly I liked forming rainbows.

In the game I did incredibly well and destroyed the guys playing, so I am sure that helped my opinion of the game as well, but not by much. I had 6 perfect spokes and while they also finished their spokes, they didn't have perfect ones scoring bonus points.

I won this game with 66 points, and now you can view my amazing gems!

I had one more letter to finish off playing the alphabet with the letter X so Dan brought around an old abstract game called Xeno. New to me!

Hard to be cult of the new in '88 when you were 2 so just catching up to this title now. Cult of the old?

This is a 2-player abstract game much like Checkers but on a ball. You are using Velcro pieces. There is not much else to explain this game but you can either move one space or jump an opponent capturing his pieces in a stack. If they jump that stack later they just take the top piece to be captured. It is fairly straight forward abstract game.

I ended up being terrible at it and Dan won. I guess I can't think in a 3d sphere format. Reminds me of that crazy looking chess board in sphere form, so I am sure I would be awful at that.

I had a good time playing this one and would play it again if requested but not really my thing. Hey, I finished the alphabet!

Next on the table was Automania. New to me!

Dan was interested in learning this one and Riley was happy to provide me with a copy. I had been hearing good things about this one for a while and was interested in learning it.

Pat joined us for a 3 player game. In the game you are taking actions with your workers by placing your meeple in a location. You might gain a contract from the location or you might produce a car from the location. But, the first thing you do is take a tile from the row you just placed in. The tile you take might be to upgrade one of your production lines for a car, or it might be a manager in the factory helping to give better quality to your car. There are 4 rounds to do this and make some great cars for the different markets. There is the US market which will have a different demand than the European market. The markets will change each round so you want to cater your production lines accordingly.

Players will have the chance to get some goal cards to try and complete for extra points along the way. In the game when you make a car you will value it and gain quality points and at the end of the round you will sell it in the appropriate market.

The game is pretty easy to understand and works better than Panamax, but it is a lot less complicated than Panamax. You are trying to manage a similar line up though while planning for the future.

I quite liked this game actually and was happy we got to playing it. I absolutely planned my way to victory here and got well above the person in second place. It was maybe 30-40 points higher and that is pretty significant. I wonder how I even did that, but I was always planning for having just enough money and never felt dire need for it. I took points where I could and finished contracts too. All around I just played the better game and ended up really enjoying this one.

I would gladly like to play this again. I am happy to own it for now and hope I will get to see some more plays soon.

Oh perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day was Count Leery. New to me!

Hisashi Hayashi and this amazing art, but I still was left saddened. It is a speed game where you have to recognize a combo and do the action or say the word associated with the pattern you are working with for the game. So, in our game we had a card on top like red 5 and then we flip a card like 4 black and would have to know to look at the black column under the 5 and do what it says. clap twice or say "5". something like that. You have 5 seconds to do it and then pass the stack along. If you don't do it or do it incorrectly then you gain the cards. Least cards at the end wins.

I won with no cards in the end and Dan was second with 2 cards. Ron messed up a few times and Pat did too. Once people got into it then we had a HUGE stack and the end and no one ended up claiming that so we were playing a sort of easy game. There are harder patterns and math patterns to figure out if you wanted a more complicated game.

For me this was a total miss unfortunately. I really wanted to love it since it is super cute- super super cute! I love the art work, I just wish the game play was different.

Next up we had 6 players for a big game of Powerships. New to me!

This game just came in the mail and we all got a copy so it was time to play it! It actually plays up to 7 players! Super crazy. I am sure it plays totally fine with 7 too.

The game is super easy which is great and could easily be a gateway game. It is a race game and on your turn you can rotate your ship 60 degrees. Then you can recruit one die or discard one die or none. Then you choose to roll the one you just got or not you can also roll all of your other dice as well or leave them as they are. This is basically the game and you are racing around some track markers and the first player to get to the finish goal wins.

We played through the whole game and got everyone placed. Dan won by a long mile and it took us like 10 turns longer to catch up to him. I mean it was a strong runaway and there was nothing we could do. On the upside the rest of us were closely grouped together and finished together. I ended up in 4th place so it was not great but still not the worst!

I had a fun time with this game but you really have to take into account the randomness of the D3s. You have some control but I was going for that sure thing and when I went for random in hopes and it was a failure each time that I then had to deal with.

I don't mind a bit of randomness but I never end up getting a luck hit, it seems.

Regardless I look forward to playing again soon.

Star was awesome and brought along Wendake. New to me!

I had been interested in this one since Essen and was glad to finally get it to the table. I honestly didn't know much about it other than Derek said it was heavy. (literally)

In the game you are trying to balance 4 tracks of vp. 2 tracks are used as a unit and the other 2 are used as a unit. What I mean by that is 2 of them will directly relate to your score at the end. rituals and military are a unit and if you score 10 points in rituals and 25 points in military than your score will end up being 10 for that unit. You want to keep all of your tracks balanced, especially the tracks in one unit since you will only be scoring your LOWEST of the 2. Then you will also score your lowest of the other 2 tracks as well. The best you can do is get 25 on all tracks and score 50 points (plus a possible 1 extra for a token not used).

It is an interesting scoring system which I enjoyed. I liked the action mechanic too. It was very weird and fiddly though. You have 9 action tiles and you have 3 actions to take and they must form a line. You can go diagonally. The 4th action must be to take turn order. You only take one action at a time and will activate the tile you selected. There are a number of actions to gather resources, add canoes, move, rituals, masks, I duno but you name it and you can do it at some point.

Once the round is over the bottom 3 tiles slide off the board and the 3 actions you selected (if not the bottom) get turned around. All tiles have the ritual symbol on the back of them. Each player then gets to select a new and upgraded action tile to replace one of the tiles just removed from the board. They shuffle the 3 tiles and put them face up in the now empty spaces at the top row.

The actions are forever changing and you have to plan around that and the new tile you just picked up.

The weird part about this game is the area control and attack mechanism. It feels like a personal attack and you can choose not to fight and just take control. The whole thing felt very weird to me and not really my style. I am still confused by it.

Regardless, the rest of the game worked out and I ended up being very good at the end and won by a fair margin. I think I had like 37 points to Derek and Stars 25 points. It was a pretty significant lead.

I do want to play this again, the overall mechanics were pretty straight forward and easy to understand. There was a lot of mash up of mechanics though and might not be streamlined enough for casual gamers to just grasp. It is probably worth checking out if you like managing your resources and planning carefully your actions.

Star took a break and Derek and I played a game of Hanamikoji.

I am always happy to play this game but if it runs 3+ rounds I get a bit tired of it and it outstays its welcome. This game ended up being 3 rounds. Derek and I were TIED but I won the tie breaker since I had won the hearts of 4 geisha's. He had the most value though with 11. Either way we were going to end after that 3rd round so I was happy it ended. I was even more happy that I won.

Haha Derek talked a lot of pre-game and said he always won on the first go around. Well, he clearly never played against me. He certainly made me work for the win though. I always have fun with this one. Great game.

I really wanted to play Castell. I also didn't want to teach it and Derek and Star were interested in playing so that worked out! We could play in about an hour and it was awesome!

This game I made up for my mistakes that happened in last weeks game, so that was really great. I was able to get in most all festivals without worry since I had a wide eclectic group of athletes. I managed to pick up a bunch of casteller value tokens for lots of end game points. I got in all of the regions for max points too.

This game just is awesome each and every time I play it. I just love the puzzle aspect of it and it is better and better each time. I can see this being 10/10 with some more plays I really love it. I am happy it finally comes out this week so everyone will get the chance to try it soon. I plan to teach a bunch of new players during TotalCon this week and whenever someone wants to learn. I would advise learning with 3 players to keep the game pace nice.

CO₂ is a game I was interested in revisiting because I ended up selling my copy. It is also on KS right now so I wanted to see if I should back that in its place.

So, I liked my first play of CO2 enough to keep it around in hopes of playing again, but I had it on my sell list at the cost I paid for it. It is right on the fence for keep/sell and it ended up selling. Now, I like that the new KS has a co-op mode, since I think the game, if tightened up, could be a very good co-op game.

This was a 4 player game and Dan walked us through the rulebook and Derek was the only one playing for the first time. The time before I was just playing 2p with Ron so it was a different experience.

In the game you sort of have to work together to complete summit goals and stop the pollution. It is not a friendly game though and you really don't want to be helping other players. Derek put it a good way and said he was "riding Dan's coattails" and this is essentially the game. You are using other peoples planning and installations to create factories. it is HIGHLY annoying when you do the leg work and other people just ride in and take claim for the factories. It hardly seems worth it, most of the time since the rewards you get for the leg work are just not that great.

With a lot of time dedicated to this game, it is hard not to be frustrated when people keep building your builds over and over again. Needless to say this game did not win me over in its favor.

The game has some really nice ideas and mechanics but all in all it just doesn't work for me. I suppose I like building what I started and not having people swipe my stuff from me. It would be nice as a co-op since we would all be working together.

I am pretty sure Ron ran away with this game in the end and Derek and I were somewhere close to one another in the points. Dan was very far behind. I am really happy I got to play it again though and confirm my feelings on it. I will definitely be on the look out for the co-op mode though when the KS comes into play.

Dan had one more game left in him to play and I suggested Shitenno. I have this in my collection because I really enjoy it. It is a mix of I split you choose and area control. There are some clever plays you have to make in order to come out successful in the end.

I love the vibrant colors and the art in this game and I really like the play, but you need 3 players in order to play the game or I would play 2 players with Ron. It hardly ever gets played because it gets forgotten about.

This game I was using my powers and my cards wisely and managed to use them to complete the requested locations. I got a lot of bonus tiles, which meant not getting the most points. With the bonus tiles I was able to create more combos and end the game a turn earlier than Ron and Dan wanted. I was also getting a lot of +2 points because of the benefit of the drafted character.

Everything worked in my favor and the little bit of area control in the end wasn't enough to have Ron beating me. Dan and Ron got most of those awarded points, but I got 1 area for 6 points that gave me the ultimate victory! It was enough to win! Woohoo!

Awesome game! So glad we played!

Sunday Ron and I got to playing the epic The Colonists.

This game is so big and so long. We ended up bypassing the 1st era and got our starting $ to build our own custom set up. I like this a lot more than playing through era one with the spaces being blocked left and right. You are just in efficient and with the alternate set up you can really gain the start you want.

Perhaps I picked not the best starting tiles but it was fine. I seemed to have a good start but it declined drastically as the game went on. Ron managed to pick up 6 Theaters and had a crap ton of yellow workers gaining him $12 a round. I mean he was like 75 points ahead of me at the end of the game it was just a mess.

I still managed a score of 350 or something and he was up in the 400s somewhere. It was a really terrible loss for me, but the thing about this game is that I just don't care. I had a great time trying to figure everything out with the colonies on hand and what could work best for me.

I think what I really need to work on is getting my board covered by the end of the game. I play a close game and always keep my builds limited in case I find one I really want so I have space. But, Ron actually remodeled a building this game and tore it up so it can be done. I really wanted another community home but I couldn't manage it by the end. I could have had another couple of red guys on the board, it would have been great for end game scoring.

Again, I just love this game and Ron doesn't piss me off as he would in Civ. Top 10 for sure and one where the time just flies by in a blink. Love it so much though.

Final game of the weekend was Grand Austria Hotel.

This game is very slowly growing on me. I want to love it more and more and each game I like it only slightly better than the time before. After the first play I knew I wanted to give it another shot but it was a sour rating for sure.

Eventually I learned that it is really just best with 2 players, but even then I still want something different. It never really wows me. I generally win too, so I clearly understand the game just fine. Ron leaves the game angry since he ultimately fails when playing against me. I should like the game just for that, but still I am just so-so on it. I want to love it which is why I keep playing it.

This game we were off and Ron had a decent start and derailed half way through when he couldn't need the statue requirements. I made and gain bonuses for all of the statue requirements. I was doing a great job with the goal cards. I managed to complete all 3 of them and first. My hotel filled with cool guests that gave me plenty of awesome benefits and it was definitely working in my favor. I nearly lapped Ron in the final score, so he was less than impressed.

In the end I enjoy the game, but it is still not one of my favorites, or go-tos.

New to the Collection:
Summit: The Board Game + Summit: The Board Game – Yeti expansion

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


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Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:02 pm
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Big Games This Week With Arkwright, Biosphere, Castell, Clank in Space, Harry Potter! So Much More!

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

Hia Everyone!

Monday night I was really in the mood for a 1 and done game that took all night. I guess, and the answer it was Arkwright.

This is such a doosie. This is a big economic game that I actually really like. It requires a lot of brain power and math. There were at times where I needed a calculator. It worked out in the end for Geoff. He was big man on top with all his monies. This is such a tough game to manage everything. Even Ron has some AP this game.

I think this game is super hard with 3 people since there will have to be overlap in teh industries at places, but not necessarily all places. I was doing very well for the first part of the game when I was all alone in the lamp factory and making some money. I too ambitious and hired workers to my warehouse and I really should not have done that. I ended up spending far too much money on workers that were on their phones all day doing nothing. It was a mess and I ended up having to do an immediate sell share action at one point for fast money and it hurt super bad!

Ugh- stupid workers. Ruining my game play and taking my cash money!

I suppose the important thing here is that Ron ended up losing the game so there is that! Geoff also has more plays than we do. I don't think I would want to play with 4 players because the downtime between turns can be just far too long at times. 2 players might be good and I own it so it is something Ron and I should try out sometime.

Tuesday night called for games 7 and 8 of Charterstone.

Again, I won't get into the happenings of this game just my overall feelings. I have been very into and finding the combos and possible points. I have been doing this very well and winning each and every game.

Poor Riley is not really enjoying it as much and the king is being very rude to him in particular. Stupid King of Derpville.

Anyway, I am excited to play the final 4 games and I think it will be fun to see what happens and who actually ends up winning this game. (me!) I will be disappointed if it isn't me having won 5/8 games but it is very possible I won't be winning it.

I would still recommend playing this one if you find a good group!

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Derek had wanted to learn Roll for the Galaxy. It had been over a year since the last time I played this game so it was time we got it back to the table.

We just played 3 player and I was going hard for developments and tiles in general. It was not good enough as Ron was shipping for big points and totally crushed Derek and myself. It was quite a take over.

I really do enjoy this game, and there is something very cool about it. I am really not a big fan of the dice behind the screen mechanic, however and it is the main reason why I don't play this game more.

I am not sure I ever won this game, but if I ever did it was probably only once and it is a super tough game for me to win. I think I just push my luck too much and go for the hard tiles to complete etc.

I never generate enough points early enough or something. I still like a challenge occasionally though and I am glad Derek had wanted to play it.

Wednesday night Ron and I got to playing 2 player game of Keyper.

This game is a very cool 2 player game and I like that we played in under an hour. I was trying hard for a boat strategy and it was mighty difficult because you get so few chances to collect the same colored meeples. In the 2 player game you do start with an extra meeple though and it is pretty good.

What I ended up finding was that you score about 10-20 points less than in the 3-4 player game and I think that is because it is very cut throat with 2 player. haha well at least between Me and Ron... We don't like to help the other player at all unless we get a direct benefit.

This game my boat strategy ended up letting me take the victory! Woohoo! My score was still like in the low 90s when I have always made it over 100 points in past games so it was, at least seemed, a lot less than normal.

I have really been loving this game and I can't wait to play it again, it is just awesome.

Thursday night was fun group and Dinosaur Island.

I ended up teaching 3 people and it went over very well!! I ended up winning by just one point. Jeff nearly caught me in the end. Those dang hooligans got the better of many of my rounds. I pulled at least 1 each round (besides the first) and it was terrible. Still though, 1 point! Woohoo!

I think Joe and Riley enjoyed it enough to the point where they would play again, so there is that. I can never tell if Riley likes a game anymore. So hard to read!

For now I am totally loving this each time I get to play it and I love showing new people this game as well. I definitely think the medium game length is the best, but I have no proof of that having neither played short or long yet. haha

Still happy to play this whenever I get the chance. Great game!

Jeff and Riley took off after that game but I still wanted to play another game so I talked Joe into playing a 2 player game of Rajas of the Ganges.

He hadn't played this one yet so I ended up teaching it which proved to be slightly more difficult than I anticipated. This was because last I played 2 player with Ron we played with advanced rules and tokens and I didn't know how many workers etc. The rulebook is not exactly laid out how I might have done it. Worked out though and we played.

Joe figured it out easily enough, the game is not hard so it played out pretty quickly too.

I like this game with 2 players. I think the board is nice and still gives you tough decisions when you have to spend so much money on buildings.

Joe asked me in the end how I managed to keep getting the dice. I just shrugged and went over the different small but effective ways of getting dice here and there. Ever die matters and it is critical that you don't forget to maintain them!

I ended up winning but Joe was going to win perhaps in the next round so it was pretty close. I have been enjoying this game a lot. There are a lot of nice things about it.

Saturday was game day and not so many people were around early so when Wystan and Scott got there we ended up playing a 3 player game of Heaven & Ale.

This was a game I didn't end up picking up at Essen and I definitely liked my play back in the prototype form. I think enough people around me own the game where I don't feel the need to have it as well.

Scott has it and pimped out his copy of the game and why wouldn't we play with his copy anyway?! It is pretty awesome if you see the images below.

This game with 3 players is super hard. You get 2 less rounds and it just feels harder. This was the first time I played this game and didn't win. I was trying a new strategy that totally failed me. I didn't get any large values and you really need to get those 4s and 5s to maintain some income and higher bumps on the tracks for the good.

Oh it was so epically bad for me this game. I mean I am pretty sure Scott doubled my score. I think he won, but it could have easily have been Wystan. They were both doing noticeably better than I was. It was just super terrible for me.

I have to say I like this game a little bit more than before, but I still don't feel the need to own it, but I am happy to play it when it gets brought to the table.

At this point 5 people were ready for games and I managed to convince the masses to play a game of Timbuktu. I have no idea how it happened and I knew a majority learning wouldn't like it.

To my surprise of the 4 people I was teaching 2 liked it and 2 didn't which was better than my anticipation. To be fair Derek likes all games, basically.

While no one was actively complaining in the game, I could tell it wasn't a fast favorite either. I could see the wheels turning in Wystans mind as he was trying to remember the cards he just passed me, but he was having a hard time remembering the information you really want to remember in this game. It is a deduction and memory type game, so if you are not invested in the game play you will just fail at the game.

Scott was not so much invested in the game and he was losing a bunch of goods, but I think he was trying to remember. Derek was doing a great job hanging onto his goods and ended up winning this game! He did a great job. I was a mess and kept trying to take the 50/50 shot and educated guess and would always end up failing, it seemed. So I was with a rouge camel pretty early on in the game.

I am still happy we got to play it though and had a great time playing. Perhaps people will be willing to play it again, next year or something. I do quite enjoy this one.

It was getting tough to pick out a game to play and the first game we could all agree on was Biosphere.

We had all played before, even! So that was a nice surprise to not have to teach this one. It just means I have been playing so much recently!

This game I totally set myself up for failure. I misplaced the initial dice and I thought I could do what I wanted to in 2 turns before all my dice died off, but I was wrong. I was super dumb. whoops.

Yeah I couldn't keep up with the demand and Shrey was just taking over the board little by little. I was sure he would win and he was less sure. But I was right in the final round he was able to get the final 2 goals needed to end the game.

I think if we ended up going another round several people would have qualified for the end game so it would have been a blood bath for tie breaker.

the goals were particularly harsh this game and some were just super hard to complete so combined made the goals even more hard since you had to try and focus on the less difficult ones. 5 Players and this board gets crowded quickly!

Great job Shrey!

Shrey and I played a quick Prototype game that I have been asked to try out but I can't talk about it. But it happened! I nearly forgot about it since I didn't take any pictures! It passed some time while we waited for Adam to show up anyway!

I have been wanting to try out Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle &
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion
again since the first plays Ron and I failed so hard.

This time Ron wasn't playing and it was me Shrey and Adam. Shrey was learning for the first time and Adam had played a few times before.

This game I was playing with Ron! Yay I never get to play as Ron Shrey was Neville and Adam was Luna (new to the expansion). We had a bit of a rocky start in this game and nearly got all tokens on location 1. Somehow we managed to control and maintain that back to zero tokens there. This saved us. Our game play was long, but manageable! Slow and steady won the race. We actually beat this first level probably because we never saw Bellatrix! She is the worst!

We did it with a bit of a lag at the end when we had to first finish the encounters. This was a drag because Voldemort was making us discard a card, and we needed to get a specific 6 cards in play in order to win so it was rough for a few rounds but eventually Shrey managed to get it and we could start attacking him. We totally won that game almost with ease by the end.

I felt the game lasted a bit too long, but I am excited we won it and perhaps they will be willing to play the next installment for BOX2 of the expansion. Woohoo!

Joe showed up and it was his first request to play Clank! In! Space!. This was cool because I have been enjoying my plays of this with him and it is becoming more and more enjoyable!

This was a wreck of a game though and joe seemed to be in and out in a matter of no time (though he still clocked in at 27 percent game time). He was the only one to make it out alive this game. We all died with very little hope. I was wreckless and got a lot of cards that were conditional to other cards in play and gave me a lot of clank in the process. I pushed my luck and nearly survived, but Joe just made it out too quickly! Sad day for the rest of us left on board.

We could not even score! I don't think Joe even counted his score at the end since he was the only one standing. It was a lot of fun.

So a long long time ago I bought The Prodigals Club because I liked my play at Essen 2015. I hadn't yet played my copy and Shrey read the rules and wanted to play so I was excited to get this one played again. To my surprise, Adam had played a few times before as well. Shrey explained the game and mark was also learning.

The set up is kind of a pain with all the cards etc but we figured it all out and we ended up playing with all 3 modules. If you aren't familiar with this game it is in the world of last will and the premise is that you are trying to lose all your money and reputation and votes. Of the 3, you want to be as low as possible and your highest low score will be your ending score to compare to the other players.

I really like the idea of trying to lose everything you have in order to win and not gain lots of vps all over the place. Here you want to LOSE vps all over the place. It is too funny and very clever.

The game can certainly get a bit AP with the actions you are choosing from. I found our game was a bit long, but that was okay since we were all kinda just figuring it all out.

I really thought I had them all good and well and it turns out Mark had enough cards up his sleeve to carve out the win in the last second. He ended with 7 points and I was just 8 points! Ughhhhhhhhhhhh I couldn't get rid of the money I needed to get rid of! It was so sad! Pretty close though with Shrey at 12 and Adam at 15 points.

All in all this was a lot of fun and I am happy to have it in my collection. I will have to try again with Ron as a 2 player game soon, I suspect I might enjoy it more with fewer people.

Final game of the night was a 3 player game of Castell. Shrey was willing to try it again and I talked mark into learning it so I taught the game and we played.

Ohhhh boy this time I royally messed up and should have gone right when I went left and ended up costing me the game. Had I went to a different festival then I could have gotten all the tokens for that one and the next. But, because of the the way they were laid out I picked the wrong festival and ended up missing that second show along with everyone else mind you.

It was a sad sad story and I ended up last place by 1 point. I think Shrey might have come out on top for this game. I was just so kicking myself at the end though.

I have no idea if they liked it at the end. It is so hard to tell and it is probably not the best game to play LAST during a long epic game day, but what do I know- I still wanted to play! You do have to use a lot of brain power for this one though and it can be a bit tiresome to those just learning at the end of the night.

So much planning! I LOVE IT!

Sunday was a fast game day at Joes and we ended up getting there and everyone was in games, but Eric showed up soon after and we played 2 games of Cities.

YAY CITIES! I love that he likes that game and that I can get this game played more and more. It really is just amazing and I love it so much!

The first game was a nightmare of tiles and I was planning for big scores and pulling all of the wrong things, so it ended up with me last. I didn't even break 50 points it was embarrassing!

I managed to make it up and win the next game with close to 70 points though so I felt a bit better about the situation in the end! TOP 10!

Joe was selling his copy of Cat Hills and I had to have it! So Ron gave him $$ for it! haha WAT it is valentines day and all, I suppose!

We ended up playing it because it held 5 players and that is how many we had. Dan taught the game to Eric and Ron who hadn't played before and we played this quick game.

You only have to play 1 hand in the game and i explained it in last weeks post, or 2 weeks ago.

I had to have this game because of the adorable cats. I mean they are just amazingly cute! This game I did alright but I still didn't manage to get all my houses filled up and I even had some left over for negative points so that was harsh. I did pretty well and still managed to stay positive for the game though.

This game is lots of fun and I look forward to playing it a bunch more!

Joe had another Japanese game he wanted to try out so we gave 京都エクスプローラー (KYOTO EXPLORER) a shot. New to me!

Oh boy did I really not like this game. I am very glad to not have purchased it from the BGG store. I did see it though. It is a very simple game where you are going to end up with a line of cards you just want the best possible line you can get by forming different sets of cards for various points. On your turn you can look at a few cards or take a line.

Really, though, I just took a line of cards because I was less than interested in the game from the rules explanation. I waited a round before doing that but I don't think it is a great 5 player game since the cards get moved around and things change. Eh for a 5 minute game I suppose there is some choice, but really , not really.

I didn't win but I didn't lose either. I think Dan ended up winning since he got 2 full sets and values so that totally won it for him.

This is not one I have to play again though. Harmless if I hard to though.

Next up a Monday group classic of Through the Desert. Definitely one of the easiest 5 player game to get played with these guys. During this game we decided to name the camels after muppets so that was interesting. Very weird.

I am happy to play this one because I really like a challenge and this is always a good one. It is fairly abstract and I like that as well. I made a point to get my guys together so I could start forming a wall and barrier and it totally worked. I got about 20 points from the different barriers I constructed. I didn't hit enough palms though and just didn't get enough points to win this game.

Joe and I ties and Eric got about 10 points more than we did! Dan was somewhere far in last place. He didn't put on a good game here and I think he got like 10 points.

Again, I am always happy to play this game and I quite enjoy it!

Somehow I managed to get wrangled into a game of Pit. HOW!? HOW did this happen?! We played over Christmas break and somehow I am playing again?!

Yeah this time we played for realz and 5 player 5 hand game of PIT. Man I just don't really like this game. I think it is because the box is so old and the HORRIBLE Orange and Brown 70s colors is just so off putting.

Anyway, I ended up with -60 so I am pretty sure I lost that game. I was just happy it was over when it was! The more I play this the more I don't ever want to play it again. Maybe if it were the colors of the rainbow it would be better.

Next up was the fast game of Mamma Mia!. I still have yet to see the movie though.

I always like playing this game. It is fun to try and see what you can come up with for the pizzas and which ingredients you will have in your hand at the end of the rounds. It is so suspenseful!

You have to try and remember what people are doing and play your pizzas appropriately. Who doesn't like a good game about pizza anyway?

This time I did pretty well for the first round and then proceeded to fail for the next 2. It didn't help that I was always at the short end of the stick with Ron ending it to my right, so that didn't help.

Dan seemed to take home all of the pizzas I think he might have scored each one or missing only a few if any! He played a very good game of Mamma Mia and we were all shocked, really!

Always happy to play this one!

One of Joe's favorites is Africa. New to me!

Not a game I have ever played before and it held 5 players so we gave it a shot. I mean I wanted to just listen to Toto's Africa the whole time, but I didn't pull out my playlist.

Man I just hated this game. It is a total luck fest of randomness. I have no idea why Joe would rate this game a 9, it really makes no sense, and if you look below I am sure he will enlighten us on that.

Before the game begins you set up the board with a bunch of face down tiles on each space. In the game you are working to uncover them and find groups of animals and place temples down and collect gold. But you are totally at the mercy of what you flip over. I didn't find any control there and then when you think you have a good place someone comes by an ruins it for any decent move.

Oh man this game couldn't be over fast enough. I just really didn't care for it at all. I made no choices in this game.

In the end it worked out for Ron and he had a considerable lead over me who was last place I think. We were just happy Ron won the game over Joe. It was fine, but not a game I care to play again.

Next up was a game called Jericho. New to me!

This is a small card game where you are trying to build up the walls only to have others knock them down. This basically had the same problem as the previous game. There was nothing you could do to stop it from happening. You might never draw a trumpet to blow up someones wall and you might never score any points.

Ugh I just hated this game as well. I guess Sunday wasn't my day to find new and interesting games. I was surprised I managed to get any points that game. Somehow I did but still Dan nearly got the score of all of our scores combined. He absolutely destroyed us this time. I wonder if this was because the rounds ended on his turn each time and he basically got the final say? I don't know but I do know there were a lot of problems I had with this game and I don't care to play it again!

Happy to have tried it, however.

For another light card game we decided to play a game of 6 nimmt!. We played until 66 points and after the first round we figured it would be pretty easy to get Dan to that score.

I did well the first round and less well the next few. Dan and Joe both got over 30 points in the first round, but Joe managed to control the points in the rounds after it only grabbing a few.

This game you don't want the points. I am not sure anyone particularly enjoys this one but me, but I really enjoy this game. I think it is always fun to see what cards will happen and who will get that huge row of points?! So much fun!

I don't remember who won but Dan lost so does that make us all winners then? I thought there was only 1 loser!

We finished the afternoon with 2 games of No Thanks!.

Oh boy I am always terrible at this game, and this time was no different. The first game was particularly bad, however. I ran out of chips to toss in and everyone took advantage of that, so it was wicked lame. I think I ended with 68 points, I mean it was reallllly bad! I super lost.

The second game I ran out of chips again, but I at least handled it better or got extremely lucky. I still ended with like 20 points, but much better. Joe H got an amazing streak of cards and chips and ended the game with a negative score infact. It was like -6 or something. I mean he was just killing it! Taking all of out chips because they were high values and we didn't want that card. He schooled us! Incredibly lucky, perhaps...

Great way to finish the day!

On Friday I ended up bored and going Live on Instagram with Steph's Hodge-Podge of Gaming Episode 2.

New to the Collection:
Hunt for the Ring
Pulsar 2849
War of the Ring: Warriors of Middle-earth
Terraforming Mars: Venus Next
Cat Hills

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


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Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:52 pm
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Are you Gonna Eat That? Not in Your Dreams! Weekly Re-Cap With Photography!

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

Hia Everyone!

OMG Monday night games was awesome! All the new Japanese games I got to play and MORE! We got to start the night with Little Town Builders. New to me!

If you are familiar with The King of Frontier than this game will look right at home for you. Same artist and company and it is a game I had to have when I saw it. It is easy to get me to want to buy things... Regardless, Jeroen Doumen is the bestest and ordered me several Japanese games and when he was traveling to the states he brought them over! This was one on my list and it was crazy expensive especially in Euros, BUT WORTH IT!

First off I find this game easier to play than King of Frontier, this is because it can be a bit of a pain to try and figure out the buildings in that other one, but this one has few buildings and they are all pretty easy to understand with out much text on them. This game is also just easier to play.

On you turn you either place a worker to build a building, or place a worker on an unoccupied space on the board and collect resource and activate buildings if you want or are able. Other players buildings cost 1 coin to use in addition to any other costs on the tile. You always have to feed your workers at the end of the rounds 1 food per worker either fish or wheat. You are just working to get the most points.

Simple game and it is great! I kinda wish it was the same sized box as the other one, but that is okay. I totally won that first game. woohoo! I beat The Joe Huber!

I had a great time play and am happy to have acquired a copy for myself. I ended up playing it again over the weekend. Very cool!

Joe was interested in playing a few other Japanese games he brought along and I most certainly wanted to learn them! Next on the table was Rattaneer. New to me!

This is a new Hisashi Hayashi game so I was definitely interested. This game has adorable rats in it. You are trying to collect goods and hide them away for points. There is a line up of actions 1-10 and if you place on the 10 action space you have to hope everyone else played accordingly. Each space needs to have another token of some sort occupying it in front of your tokens for it to activate If I place on 10 and no one did ANYTHING on 9 then my 10 action would be useless and I would get $1. You might be able to hire crew members though for possible more things t place down to get that range you are looking for, however.

There is definitely a lot of push your luck and guessing on what other players will do. It can be tricky for sure!

I had a great time playing this but I think it ended up being a bit long for me. Ohhh I was so winning, but I got screwed over pretty hard late game and messed up so Joe ended up beating me by a few points. It really should have been my game though I had it in the bag!!! Nope sadness!

I would definitely play this one again, you really need 4 or 5 players I think to make it slightly more interesting and competitive. I don't think it is one I will have to own in the future though. Happy to play it again.

So the next game on the table was an AMAZINGLY CUTE GAME called Cat Hills. New to me!

This is a trick taking game with the most crazy of the craziest rules ever! You have to set your cat houses and the cards you get will end up going in the pre-determined houses. Once you allocate blue to a house, every blue cat will go in there.

So when you lead you can call suit and everyone has to follow or no suit and no one has to follow. again it is super weird and I am not going to go into detail because I don't even know if I fully understand this game. But the game last one hand of cards and it is amazingly complex and hard to figure out.

You could just play blind to see how it all works in one game then try harder the second game. But, I sort of figured it out and John had no idea and played super poorly. Because Johns poorly played cards it damaged my score significantly. I was counting on cards I ended up not getting. He was in the negatives for scores sooooo yeah. I didn't do half bad and still came in second to Joe who totally crushed us.

It was amazing fun and I have no idea how to find a copy of this game, but I will be on the lookout for sure!

I got to play with Eric and Ron next and we played a 3 player game of Byzanz. New to me!

A re-do of an older title being published in the US. Dan said he still had his older copy of the game and was happy to see it was the same artist who did the artwork.

This is a fairly simple and sound auction/ set collection/ hand management game. You are using your hand of cards to bid on the flop of cards and your bid cards go to the market. Once everyone collects a flop of cards reverse turn order gets to take from the market. You have a strict hand limit of 7 cards but at any time you can discard 3 cards of the same type. You score the best one and the other 2 go out of the game. 0 can be used as a wild or in a set of 3 0's you get 5 points for the scored 0.

Whomever got last pick in the round before gets first bid at the new flop. You do this for 8 round and whomever scores the most points will win.

Oh man, in our game it was crazy. We all ended with 36 points and because Eric had more cards in hand left over at the end he won the tie breaker by 1 card. Yeahhhh 3 way tie in a 3 player game. Totally uncool. I will have to see if that will happen again in the next game!

Everything about this game feels like a classic. I would happily play it if ever requested. Simple and fun.

Since Eric likes Cities, we ended up playing that one next! OH HOW I LOVE THIS GAME!

We will have to play more frequently so Eric will remember how to play better and better and better.

It was an amazing time and I love this game more and more. I really need to get it played more so Eric will just have to accept my offer to play each week for starter games. lol

I ended up winning by maybe 10 points... Yeah Eric and Ron got somewhere in the 50s and I got 66 or so. You can check my work though...

Simply love this one and need more victims.

Final game of the night was a pretty fast whip ass game of Tichu.

I am always happy to play Tichu when we can. I was teamed up with Dan this game and it totally worked out for us. I was getting killer hands and we were just crushing Ron and Geoff the whole game. They would keep try and call Tichu or grand and we would set them.

We would give them a bit of hope and get out of the negative point zone before taking them down again.

It was a harsh game for them for sure. I think Dan and I had bombs each hand, or it felt like it. There was one hand that Ron still managed to go out before us even though Dan and I both had bombs, that was impressive for him. Still didn't matter in the end.

Dan and I owned it!

I ended up selling Sheepland, so I wanted to play it one last time to make sure I wasn't making a terrible mistake.

The game is nice, it is very simple but it really just doesn't hold up to other games and it is one that I enjoy and would play again, but don't feel I need to own.

Ron and I played the 2 player game and there is a bit of a different set up where you have 2 shepherds so you have a bit more control over what is happening. It is very simple and quick game of herding the sheep around. You are trying to buy tiles from the stacks that will gain you the most points from the sheep. The black sheep is on the loose and will be wandering around if able based on the die roll. But, The shepherds will be able to move the sheep around to their adjacent fields.

It is a very abstract game and you need to manage your money and try not to waste it on buying the land tiles that will score very few points.

Ron is very good at this game only because I am so terrible at it. I ended up like 20 points behind him at the end of it and it was an embarrassment. It is definitely cute though.

All of those sheeples need some googly eyes I should have pimped it out for the next guy.

So I think I generally enjoy What's Your Game games better than Ron, so the only time we really play them is when I request them. This time I requested ZhanGuo. This is such a great game and it is so simple to play, really, even with all of the possibilities and actions.

On your turn you are either playing a card to the tableau or to the main board for an action. So simple, and brilliant! Maybe I like these WYG Games because I generally win!

This time I nearly lapped Ron. I did Super amazingly this game. I think Ron forgot about the end game area control aspect for each region. I score for Each region and the small bonuses for the common goal tiles.

This game has such interesting use of cards and it is super clever and I am always reminded how much I love this game after each play. The game just plays our so well and timing is everything! I can't recommend this game enough! Always such a joy!

Wednesday night was our weekly game night for Charterstone.

I don't really want to spoil anything but the pic was pretty awesome and I knew I picked the right charter when I saw I got my card #312! It was meant to be!

Man I have really been playing this game pretty well and winning half of the games! I can't tell if that means I am winning the campaign or not, however.

We screwed up something with Riley's charter so I fell badly about that so he is sort of behind and I don't think he is enjoying it as much as the rest of us.

Try not to screw it up in your game, everyone! Pull all of the cards you need to when the time comes! That is all my advice.

Saturday was game day and Scott showed up and immediately wanted to play Little Town Builders.

Since I played it earlier in the week it was fresh on the mind and I could easily teach this game. The game is pretty simple and Scott and Ron picked it up easily.

I think I ended up losing this one because I was teaching and some other people came in so I was chatting and not paying as much attention to this one. Ron ended up winning the game with lots of building points and in game points.

He was helping Scott gain last minute points so Scott ended up coming in second place leaving me in last place! It was crazy and I will have to find my revenge next weekend.

Pic from Scott!

Kim and Joel showed up and I Ron sat out while we played 4 games of Flying Kiwis.

This was a game I knew Kim would love and I was not wrong. She absolutely took to this game and wanted to play over and over and over. After 4 games she still wanted more, but Joel was about fed up. Ray joined in on Game 4 so we called it after that.

Scott ended up winning the first 3 games, 2 of which were won by 4 in a row/square the 3rd was because of point value. In the 4th game Kim and I ended up tied for the win. It basically means I won them all.

Always a fun time to play this game. Really hard to do well.

I knew Ray wanted to learn Raiders of the North Sea, and I knew he would enjoy it so I offered to teach. Kim was also learning and Shrey showed up so he joined our game.

I taught this one and it is more set up than it is to explain this game. We didn't play with any of the expansions this time, but Ray said he wanted to play again next time with them.

Kim picked up the game pretty easily though didn't have a focus and found it hard to get a lot of points. Shrey knows the game pretty well and I think has played more than I have so he was doing very well. I made a rush for the fortresses since I had a gold discount on fighting them, but I did it too fast I think. It really caused the game to speed up and end quickly. Shrey triggered the ending in this game and I just wasn't ready with my final raid, so the last turn I sat and did nothing, I might have gotten a point or 2 but it was lousy.

I feel like I still won the game but it was definitely either me or Shrey and it wasn't by a lot at all. It probably means Shrey won the game. I mean I think the winning score was like 40 points. It was SUPER low scoring.

We all had fun and Shrey said he would run the full runesaga campaign with me sometime. So I will have to work that into a schedule at some point.

I totally forgot to take pics so that was a fail. I had a video for a whil eon Instagram, you obviously need to follow me over there!

Ray had a game for us to learn called Fantasy Realms. New to me!

This is an extremely fast filler like 10 minutes so don't believe the box lies! lol It is wicked fast and clever card game. We ended up playing 2 games, and both games I destroyed them all!!! Clearly means the game is excellent.

I actually quite enjoyed my time with thsi card game. You are trying to create the best combos of cards with the conditions of the cards either scoring you more points if they are met or losing you points for other various reasons. It is all conditional to what cards you have in your hand and the points you will get at the end.

The value of the card is indicated on the top left hand side each card and then you get the bonuses or penalties listed on the cards themselves.

on your turn you either take a card from the middle pot then discard one to the middle. Or you can draw from the deck and discard one from hand to the middle. Once there are 10 cards in the middle the game ends! Super easy and super fast. You just have to play instead of trying to figure out what all of the cards do.

I quite enjoyed my time with this game and will have to look into getting this one at some point. Very nice!

Ray also just got another game, I suppose FF came out with a new edition of Kingsburg (Second Edition). I own the original and the expansion but we still played with his copy with the expansion.

Kim had to learn and Shrey hasn't played it in 4 years. It is a super easy game to understand and play, the trick is remembering all of your on going bonuses like end of each round, or end of summer etc. Flip the event card stuff like that.

It was cool and I played particularly well this time. I always managed to beat the monster in the end and even with my roll of 4!!!!! I still came out on top. I had a starting card that where I roll a 1 I get a resource form the card and later a point if I took all items from there. Of course my card was empty before long and started getting what little points from my 1s. So there was that. It helped!

I won that time. I really do enjoy this game, but it always seems to run long, which is why it doesn't get played more often. I liked the new edition for what they changed. I do find the dice are hard to read from a distance and they are overly designed, but they are dice for dice.

I had recently been talking about Bärenpark and felt it had been too long since I last played it. I suggested it and people seemed interesting.

I thought Kim would enjoy the theme and I was not wrong. Ray had heard of it before and I think Shrey already knew the game. We played with the goal tiles which might have been unfair advantage for myself. I ended up playing slightly different than normal this game and went for the goal cards first since they were geared around the greenery tiles and water tiles. So I went hard for those off the bat and not for the statues as I normally do. This totally paid off for me though and I was able to get the first place for both of those tiles. I even got second place for the other goal tiles as well.

Turned out to be a great game for me and I was able to secure the winning position with like 112 points or something seriously high. Seemed high anyway.

It is a fun game and I ma happy to play it, I heard there was going to be an expansion so I will have to be on the lookout for that one!

The other table was about finished so I pulled out Okey Dokey. I have yet to win this game with more than 2 players.

This time I was teaching everyone how to play, though Shrey might have played before. It is a very difficult game. Since we only played once it is even harder. Normally I just give a brief overview and get to the point and lose so we can play again. This time we had the chance for one game so I tried to give hints and guides for what we should do.

I hate saying things out loud since I don't want to make all the suggestions or act as the leader for a co-op game. But it was so they could see why such and such is a good idea. Normally it takes a game to see oh we should have done that better.

It worked out those and I think everyone enjoyed it. We still totally lost I think we were on column 7 or something. So we made it further than I was expecting we would.

There is always that tricky line on what you can talk about and what not to talk about. If you talk to much well that is just not going to work. Sometime you just need to mention don't play here or somewhere.

Still a super fun game and I enjoy it. Happy I got to play again.

Perhaps the game of the day was Castell. I am really loving this game more and more. I thought we were going to play 3 player but Adam showed up so we played with 4. I had to teach the rules twice! I am certainly becoming pro at that.

The more I play this game the more I love it. This game ended up being a bit longer than I would normally like with so many people learning there is a lot to take in and plan for so there was some AP. It was fine though and people handled it well.

I had a lot of great plans for my towers and I went all out on the size 4 castellers and went to town and got the best festival. I hardly got any size tokens this game. Turns out I needed more than just 4s to win the game.

Adam had a great final show and managed to collect a lot of in game points so he won this game by about 10 points. It was pretty close though and everyone did well.

I am already looking forward to my next play this weekend! I figured out a few rules we were using are even BETTER than I thought to begin with so I can't wait to try out some new ideas I have been cooking.

Scott took this other great image of me!

We were down to 5 people for the remainder of the night and next on the table was Aladdin's Dragons. One of the first games in the Key Series.

I picked up this game last year and it looked to have never been played before so that was pretty cool.

This is a very interesting closed auction for different spaces. You don't know what people are bidding on the location and it is a fight to the death to gain the control for the best resources and ability to take the actions. This game is very mean, or can be, because the cards you might acquire are very targets and help you dramatically with the game. But you have to use them wisely and you only get one special action a turn if you have the special tiles that allow for it.

It is a tight game and you want the most treasures in the end. I totally misplayed the final round and used my special action to hastily and ended up getting screwed over on a treasure when it should have been mine. The final scores were Adam with 8 and Steph and Ron with 7. Had I got that last treasure from Adam the game would have been all mine!

Uh such a terrible oversight on my part and it cost me the game. It is a harsh game and you can't afford to screw up at all! Every point matters! Fun times I am glad i have it on the rare occasion where you mind the right mix of people to play it.

Next up was something a bit light and fluffy so we decided on Wordsy.

It had been a while since I last played this game and I felt it was a good time to bring it out and show people. I knew Scott didn't mind playing it so I suggested it. Shrey was interested in learning this one and I think Ron explained it.

It was pretty good game to start since the first couple of rounds 3 of us had the same word even! It was crazy how we had the same word. They weren't even like obvious words, I dont think.

I did pretty damn well this game and ended up winning somehow! It was amazing I don't win word games all that often!

Super fun and I think I will have to bring that to the next family event I go to, I think they might enjoy that one.

To my AMAZEMENT I suggested Neue Heimat and this was accepted! We freaking played my copy of this game! I have owned this game for a long long while, it seems and FINALLY we played. It took a while to get going since Ron and Shrey were looking over the rules, but Shrey had played before and Ron and I also had a long while back.

It is tough to get going since it had been such a long time, but it was worth it. This game is just brutal because what you think will happen very rarely happens. I was situated in each of the rows which is not really ideal, ultimately it means 2 will score positive and one will score negatively. You want the best ones to score positive for the most points. I was getting -10 for my negative row and that was painful. Other people got a lot worse though and I think 3 people were sitting with negative scores at the end.

Somehow I banked enough coins in the game and managed my money well to secure the win with 15 points to Adams 10. Close game for sure and man My banked 9 coins saved my butt!

Super high tension auction game and it is just super fun. I am happy they are reprinting it and I am even more happy I got to play it!

I think the perfect 5 player game is Turn the Tide. This is another brutal game, I think we had a theme for the day.

It was amazing fun! I really always enjoy this game and think it is a blast. It might be the best 5 player game! I would have to think long and hard about that but man it is so good. I realized I just love this game and ended up giving it a higher rating I had it 8/10 but really it belongs 8.5/10 somewhere in the top 50. It is so good!

Every decision is painful and critical to your success for the round. I love how everyone gets the same hand of cards it is all around fun.

I super lost this game because I was just not reading the situations well enough and ended up failing one round only to keep drowning the next several hands so my points were very few. Screwed over again!

Ron probably won since he was being quiet and sneaky the whole time.

Super great game!

It was getting late so we opted for something a bit lighter so I suggested Mord im Arosa since this is always a good late night game.

I some how always become the target for everyone. How is that possible, no one knows but man I seem to always lose the hardest in this game. Perhaps I am just bad at it, but that is half of the fun.

I did a short video on Instagram for it and like 5 people asked me about this game. It is definitely interesting to see it being played. Like what are those crazy people doing?! I want to drop things in towers!

But yeah, I super lost this time with having 10 marks on the board. I suppose Adam won this time because I don't think he had any marks on the board- no one could find his cubes!! He was super sneaky!

Good times!

Scott with the awesome pics!

Everyone was taking off but I was really interested in learning Lucidity: Six-Sided Nightmares so i managed to get Shrey to stay for a quick game.

This is a super fast dice chucking game with some interesting art. Kickstarters are going to be filling soon for the backers.

In the game you are trying to get points from the dice you are rolling without becoming a nightmare. But if you end up becoming a nightmare that is no problem you will start affecting other peoples turns and taking their points so you might be able to then collect points and win that way.

First person to 15 points is the winner. There are red dice with has one symbol that could possibly kill you out of the game and there is no way to get rid of these dice one you acquire them.

On your turn you get to push your luck up to 3 times, but you always have to select your first track of pulling 3/4/5 dice from the bag then if you choose to roll again you will be pulling according to the track you already selected.

If you have already collected point you can, on your turn, spend a point die to reroll all of that same colored dice that you just pulled. This will help with hopefully having your dreams turn to nightmares.

If you get too many ZZZ then you have to clear the point track of all matching colors from the ZZZ pool and those dice get thrown back to the bag. You can always end your turn if you didn't do this and remove a nightmare die or a zzz die from a track of your choosing.

If you end up becoming a nightmare then you have a specific power you can effect other players and alter their path a bit, all while trying to gain the points as well. Each of the 4 nightmares are a little different than the other.

In the game I never ended up becoming a nightmare because I rolled incredibly amazing at the end of the game with like 7 points in the final turn and bam I Won. I don't know how I did it but it was super luck for Steph. Ron turned to the blue nightmare pretty early on and started taking our blue dice. Then Shrey turned green late game. I thought for sure I would become the yellow nightmare but with my final rolls it just didn't happen!

It is a very simple 15 minute dice game and I would be happy to play it again. The dice are amazingly cool and it is surprisingly a colorful game despite the doom and gloom look of the art.

Sunday we checked the mail from Saturday and there was actually a game in the mailbox! I was sent over a prototype copy of Are You Gonna Eat That?. New to me!

This is going to be heading to Kickstarter soon and I was asked to try it out. I don't say no to learning new games- I like to play them all!!

Ron and I just played 2 player and it probably becomes a little more take that with more players. In the game you are trying to eat all your yummy food but you are also trying to take other peoples yummy food.

There are 3 rounds Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and each with their own unique deck of cards. You have to deal some out of each round so you aren't playing with the full deck and full knowledge of what is possibly in play.

You have 6 empty plate tokens that can be used on your turn if you play at least one card and perform an action. These are 6 for the entire game so you have to use them wisely.

On your turn you are playing at least one food card face down in front of you. It is most likely going to be sweet or savory and it will have some number of points. But you might try and trick people and play a rotten card in hopes they steal it for some negative points. The drink cards are always placed face up, no one wants to steal your drink.

There are also action cards to be played on other people or to help prevent your food to be saved. There are the "are you gonna eat that?" cards and you select a food stack from another player and they either have to hand it to you or play a "yup" card and tap the card. It is important to tap the card because if it happens again it will automatically get eat by whomever claims it.

There is the "gross" card you can play on someones card and they must discard it immediately unless they have a "devour" card to eat it up right then and there.

You are always able to play 2 cards from your hand as a wild action so you can always possibly stop an attack, or ask for some extra food. But you also have those 6 empty plate tokens which are a free "are you gonna eat that?" action.

This is essentially the game in the nutshell and Ron and I are pretty cut throat. I was trying to take away all of his yummy food. Didn't end up working all of the time but it worked most of the time. At Lunch, however I got a lower score than he did, but I made it up at dinner. I think i managed to find all of the sweet sweet deserts! I have ice cream and cake and all the amazing foods.

I have to say though Breakfast was my favorite with Pancakes and all those carbs. haha Breakfast is the best meal of the day for sure! In the end I was victorious! Perhaps I am just drawn to Ice cream and pancakes. Critical to any day.

We had a great time playing this one and it is cute and fun for the whole family. I could easily bring this around to my family's get gatherings. Simple to learn and play and the art is just adorable and wonderful. Happy to play this one again, and look forward to trying it with more people. I think kids would have a great time with this.

I was in the mood for something a bit heavier so I suggested Gaia Project. I wanted to play this one again after the last game we played. I actually think it works very well as a 2 player game and it is really all about optimizing at that point. A single point can easily lose you the game.

In both games we played so far it ended up super close between me and Ron. This game I was playing the back side of the red board and they work a bit differently with the city scoring. they score for one city still but get a city tile each 7 values worth in the city. It was very interesting. I made a point to go up the knowledge track this game and I got all the way to the top for an extra 9 knowledge. It helped me out a lot in the final round. I did a whole hellava lot that last turn. I was probably even AP for a bit.

Still worked out though. I managed to beat Ron by like 10 points or something. I have no idea how I did it but it happened. I pushed ahead in the final stretch and managed to come out on top. It was pretty cool.

This is a game I want to play more, but I am just afraid how I will react with people. It is difficult for sure. perhaps 3 player is best for me anyway. I love the game but I don't at the same time. So weird!

To lighten the mood a bit we played 5 games of DropMix. we tried on Party mod for 3 games because I wanted to see how ti played. Turns out we were terrible the first game and we were learning what we had to do. But we figured it out and played better the next games. It wasn't as much fun to me as the vs mode.

So we moved over to the Vs mode and I tried with my normal deck of cards and was totally winning!Somehow I still always lose to Ron's deck of cards. So then the game after I asked to play with his deck of cards and sure enough I won that game. I duno, I think his deck of cards it rigged to win each and every game. Is this how Ron always wins every game? I wouldn't doubt it. He just gets the best of everything!

I think the music in this game is great and I have been enjoying it. I think the key is to just leave it set up and play it here and there just for fun and some cool music.

Final game before Ron took off to watch the Superbowl was Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn.

I like this as a 2 player game but I think I like with more people better. There are more opportunities with the bigger map. This is so direct conflict.

This game I found out the benefits of reinforcing your units, makes it harder for Ron to move in and attack your cities, which of course, he did!

What a jerkface! Ugh I totally lost this time around. We really needed to combat each other and I was all culture and he was all military so I was so hosed! I had to figure out another way around it. I was like 2 or 3 turns away from ending it when he was able to end it so there was no hope for me at all. Too bad! I was doing alright!

I have to say I am enjoying this one a lot. It has been a fun game for sure. Still won't ever replace the other one- they are totally different.

So I was silly and decided to just do a new show when I have time I might just always go live on Instagram or if I ever figure it out, Youtube. I know what I want to accomplish, but the technology just doesn't seem to be with me. Instagram works incredibly well, however. I posted the footage, I will try to get better at repeating peoples questions so it isn't so blind for everyone. I hope you are entertained. I was!

This is Steph's Hodge-Podge of Gaming Episode 1:

New to the Collection:
Santa's Renegades 2016
Little Town Builders
Count Leery
Era of Voyage: the DICE
Are You Gonna Eat That?

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


If you like what you saw, please thumb!

All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Thu Feb 8, 2018 3:48 pm
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Steph's New to me January 2018! ***Happy New Year with New Goals ***

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

Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2018!

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

Last year I completed a lot of cool landmarks and you can see all of the games I played here:
Item for Geeklist "Explore Diversity 3 - 100 x 1 Challenge 2017 Geeklist"

This year I am keeping a running total of my games here:
Item for Geeklist "Explore Diversity 4 - 100 x 1 Challenge 2018 Geeklist"

My friend Derek and I worked hard the past several day coming up with a cool and colorful rating system for All the Meeples of the Rainbow. I think it came out pretty damn cool!

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)

January List

Disclosure: Not going to issue a rating for the Renegade Games

1-3. Unpublished Prototype:

The first 3 games I played this year were Prototypes that I can't really talk about but I am still counting as new games! It also counts towards my goal of 300 new games this year!

--/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

4. Tybor der Baumeister:

Clever drafting game and very simple. Plays pretty quickly and is right up my alley. Can't help but compare to Royal Goods and I like this one more. They are different types of games though but when I have to choose. I look forward to more plays!

7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

5. ¡Adios Calavera!:

2 player abstract game. I got a quick demo at Essen and decided to give this game a chance. I have to say I was very impressed! After seeing Coco I can appreciate the theme too. Very clever and fresh abstract game that I really enjoyed! Totally recommended!

8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

6. Cappuccino:

Really cool plastic rubbery cups in this game. It is a pretty fast and somewhat interesting abstract game. 4 player is too cut throat so I am thinking it will be better with fewer people. Didn't wow me and I knew the outcome too fast to care about the ending to the game. Not so interested in playing again.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

7. DropMix:

Super fun and wonderful music. Totally happy to own this one now and look forward to playing it more. I want to try with party mode and just freestyle. Really fun to play around with.

8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

8. Amis Cube:

Speed puzzle game. You are basically trying to make a cube before the other person. Fun to try once but not really the game for me to play again.

4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

9. Yangtze:

Knizia and you can tell. Definitely has his stamp on it. Enjoyable hand management and resource set collection game. There is an auction thrown in as well at times. Pretty simple and fun I would play again.

6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

10. Siesta:

Older title and abstract game. With such a fun title it seemed like a game I should play. An abstract that might be better with more players, But I would want to try. I played with 3 and it worked well. I quite enjoyed this game and look forward to trying it again sometime.

6.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

11. Dead Last:

Party game all of the way. You can't take it seriously at all. It was a fun time and I would play again, but I am not going out to buy it. Min 6 players needed! Gah!

6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

12. Downforce:

Clever racing game brought back to life from Restoration Games. I really enjoyed this title and trying to play your cards optimally is super challenging. I had a lot of fun with this!

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

13. Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game:

I will give this game the benefit of the doubt. We played incorrectly by adding 3 extra rounds, by mistake. My play through was less than exciting. Simple resource conversion game with nothing interesting happening. The theme doesn't do it for me either. Nothing wrong about the game and it is mechanically fine. Overall just not for me to keep me interested.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

14. Castell:

This game is amazing. I love everything about it. The whole time my brain is actively thinking about possible actions and various tower structures. So much planning to do and puzzle out. Easily my favorite Renegade Title and likely going to be one of my favorites from the year. Love Love Love this!

Due to it being my favorite for the month, I decided to Rate this Renegade title.
9/10 After 1 play (Owned)

15. Ingenious: Travel Edition:

Basically the big game in travel form. I like the tiles and I think it works very well as a small compact game. Don't know why I didn't play it before now!

7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

16. The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game:

Surprisingly better than I thought it would be after hearing initial reviews. Not one that I would care to play a lot but I enjoyed it to the point where I would play it again easily. I do with there were different maps for the board.

6/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

17. Loot Island:

Oh boy, This game is much longer than it should be and out stayed its welcome. The card mechanic is nice and you get some clever choices but it is ultimately a pretty light game. Ended up being an hour but felt like 2 hours and that is not really a good sign. I would try it again, however.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

18. Dungeon Rush:

Real time card game to level up your characters and defeat monsters and creatures for points. It was fast and silly and one I would play again.

6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

19. Gaia Project:

Yea I love Terra Mystica, yeah this is an improvement on that game all except theme. I am so over Space themes ugh. Regardless it is one that I want to play again and I recognize this is a great game. I do rate this .5 higher than TM for the tech tracks being awesome.

8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

20. Little town Builders:

Took a chance on buying this one since I love The King of Frontier. This game plays out in the same amount of time and you are placing your workers to gather resources and use buildings. Simple and wonderful and I can't wait to play again. Happy to have it!

8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

21. Rattaneer:

Super cute and interesting game. Clever hidden betting with some push your luck. Felt the game was too long, but I would gladly play again!

7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

22. Cat Hills:

Wow this is a trick taking game with so much complexity and depth. I still have no idea what happened and I can't wait to play again. SO CUTE TOO!!! I quite enjoyed this experience, but if you are playing with people who just don't get it or don't care then you will get hosed easily.

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

23. Byzanz:

Classic card game with really cool auction/ hand management set collection mechanics. Happy to play this one when requested.

-/10 After 1 play (Owned)

New to me Expansions!

1. Port Royal: Das Abenteuer beginnt...:

Really cool co-op version of this game I think it works really well! We played 3 player and won, so I wonder if we were just lucky? I would definitely play this again!

7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

2. Clank!: Sunken Treasures:

I really enjoyed the new boards and water mechanics. Would happily play this when requested. I think if you own the base game this is a great addition.

-/10 After 1 play (Owned)

The Tally

January: 23

Total new to me games for the year 23!



I did a live play through of this game if you were interested:

For those keeping Track I Watched 24 movies in January 10 of which were with Monvie Pass.

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


If you like what you saw, please thumb!

All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Mon Feb 5, 2018 2:08 pm
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Trying to get to 100 Different titles in Jan! Let's see if I can... Including a LIVE play through of Castell!

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

Hia Everyone!

Final days to vote in the Monthly contest! Thanks for the vote!!
Item for Geeklist "2017 Picture of the Year Contest - Huge GG Prizes"

Tuesday night I asked the guys to come over and play some Charterstone.

Oh How I was so interested in playing a few games back to back. I really want to see what happens! We just got some interesting news. I can't really go into it, but I sort of knew about it since I looked a bit ahead in my snooping around. Wouldn't have affected game play or anything.

This game Derek won! It was not as high scoring as previous games so that was interesting. As soon as we were about to start the next game, the power went out on the account of it being cold outside... :-\

Riley and Derek took off after just ONE game! Booooo

Later the power actually came back on and Ron and I got to playing several more games. We started with Seasons.

Ugh this was a rough game of seasons. We each had Thieving Fairies out and basically we couldn't use our gears without it costing lots of crystals and points to the other player. Ugh not ideal when all of your cards are gear activation. Then Ron puts out the bunny! Are you kidding me, Ron. So mean!

I ended up losing by about 30 points this game and didn't break 200. Ron still managed to get over 200 which was lame. I had a fair amount of points in my cards on display so that helped out a lot, but still not good enough! I am confident I will get him next time.

I just wanted a fast light game so decided on Sundae Split.

It is a silly 5 minute game that I have been enjoying. It is fine 2 player because it is all a mind game in what you think the other player will take based on the face up cards.

I did a splendid job convincing Ron to take all of the negatives. It was wonderful and I absolutely killed him this time. totally worked out for me! always happy to sit down and play this splitting game. Works out in my favor usually. mwahaha

I was ready for a game of Subdivision.
I was especially stupid and forgot to take a picture of my final board! HOW is that possible? How am I supposed to remember such an awesome game where I dominated and beat up Ron so hard? Well I did take a picture of the final score sheet so that helps.

Haha this game is always a game that plays out so fast, like 10 minutes or so with just 2 people. It is SO FAST, then it is over and I win, since I always win, and we clean up and I forgot to take a pic. I usually remember right at the end, but not this time.

Regardless, I played a very good game, good enough to tie my last score which was also the winning score. Just saying!

Always a good time to play this one.

I really wanted to roll some dice so I suggested we play a game of Noch mal!.

I had one of the new colored sheets I don't think I had played before. I am pretty sure it was the hardest one of the bunch. I had a lot of trouble completing columns and Ron was completing columns left and right.

I think Ron filled 7 columns before I got one. That was not a good sign. I managed to actually finish the pink, but then ROn finished a color and yeah I knew there was no hope. I slowly started filling up the columns at that points and was near to finishing so many columns when Ron decided to end it. Ughhh I was close since I didn't have any negative points for stars like he has. Oh well it is to be expected, I suppose.

Wicked fun game! Really enjoying the mix up for the score sheets.

Wednesday I knew I wanted to play some games and the first one I saw was City of Spies: Estoril 1942 with City of Spies: Double Agent. I have enjoyed all of my plays of this game. I think it works incredibly well with 2 players, however.

With 2 players you can really get an idea for what the other player is doing and what they might try to do during the round. You have more opportunities to strike too.

one of the end goals for 6 points was have the least discarded tiles, and I knew that was mine going into the game. Ron always find a way to scoop up more people each game. But, He rarely wins, imagine that!

I am much better at the end game 6 handed calculations and picking them is really the whole game! You get points for them and if you can manage to get the bonus tiles the game can be yours! I got 3/4 of them and boom I won that game! it was great! Nailed it!

Technically the second game we played was a new game! We played Ingenious: Travel Edition. New to me!

Sort of unfair though since I have played the big version and it is essentially the same game. I got mine half a million years ago and still hadn't played it. I don't know why, really. Turns out I should have played it sooner since it was missing 2 pegs and had really bad replacement pegs that were not pegs at all. Ron got those

We ended up tied this game and I had the tie breaker!! Wooohoo!

It has been far too long since we played the big game, so I should fix that soon. It is a really nice abstract game that I think everyone should check out at some point in their gaming career, I think it gets overlooked a lot though. Older classic like this tend to.

I have to say I really enjoyed the small tiles though, they are great! So cute! Would make a great travel game for sure.

Thursday night was fun group! I brought along games I was all interested in play and first on the table ended up being A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch.

Joe was interested in playing it and Jess didn't mind so Ron was nice and explained it! Joe is actually a Catan fan and has a lot of the original German titles in his collection.

I kinda miss playing the original. We used to play all of the time, now I can't even remember the last time I played it it was well over 2 years ago at this point, gotta be.

Regardless, I am super excited for this Game of Thrones Catan. It was a pretty long game because we had a wall breech pretty early on then everyone freaked out and started defending the wall. We ended the game with a huge wall defense and it was completely full.

Of course the breeches were stopped so that was not a worry. JOE won this game he told me to remember. He had a lot of hidden points and hardly helped defend the wall at all, slacker. Yep he got 10 points and I was at like 8 points maybe.

It was pretty close, but I needed more Dev cards for sure. Really enjoying this game.

Final game of the night was The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game which is a game I wanted to try out. I was expecting bad from the reviews I have heard. It is also kinda funny since Burgundy is a dice game before this so hmmm.

It is actually fairly straight forward game so it was easy to pick up and play thanks to Ron who read the rules. You are trying to fill in your areas and score points.You get small bonuses if you complete a region and then point bonus if you complete all of a color. The small bonuses are one time effects that might change the face of the die or allow you to take a bonus action using the other pair of rolled dice.

So each round there are 5 dice rolled with one of those dice being a timer. The timer is 1 or 2 and you will mark off on your sheet how many and there are 3 rounds so once the round fills up with timers rolled then it is over. You score better in the earlier rounds for completed areas much like the base game. The other 4 dice are 2 colored and 2 values you have to pair a color with a value and mark it on an adjacent space to where you have marked on your board. They all have certain rules so you do the best you can.

It was actually much more entertaining than I would have thought. Ron and I tied for the win this game, I mean really!? He won on the tie breaker too since he had more bubbles left opened. mmmhmmm likely story.

I would happily play this one again. I liked it better than the card game. Maybe I just like rolling dice!

Friday night Ron and I got to playing Ubongo 3-D.

In my goal to get 100 unique games played I am also seeing about the alphabet challenge. Last year I never managed to get an X game played. But this year, I will for sure. It is funny before this game I just had letters M, U, V, X, Z left to complete for the year. Turns out I like a wide variety of games to cover the alphabet pretty well. I was kinda surprised I hadn't played an M game, so that is something for the weekend it seems.

I always love a good Ubongo game! I always think I can win against Ron, but it just never works out. I do well for a couple round then I just get stuck on a few and end us collecting no gems in several rounds which is not good. Even if you lose in the round but still find the solution, you get a pull from the bag. yahhhh Ron managed to do that each time, but not me!

Steph loses! Boooooo I need to play Riley, I will beat Riley in this one.

Saturday was game day and up first was a 4 player game of Dinosaur Island. (Ha I almost linked in the wrong one!)

I am happy to be playing this one more and more. I really really like it. I was teaching 2 new players and they were catching on very quickly! Ugh I really thought I could end it a turn earlier but because of the Hooligans i ended up drawing I could finish it.

It went a round longer than I anticipated and this was very bad for me. I managed to complete 4/5 goal cards and to my luck the amusement type that was needed among the players was not on display in the final round so they couldn't complete the 5th goal card.

OH MAN, I won this game but Wystan was just 2 points behind me so it was SUPER tight and had he got that amusement type he needed I am sure he would have won that game. Super close and awesome times. I can't wait to play again soon.

Next on the table was a 4 player game of Majesty: For the Realm. Chris and Shrey had just played it earlier in the week and was interested in playing the B side of the cards.

We did that and I explained the game to Wystan since he hadn't played before. It is a pretty simple game to grasp. Wystan had forgotten about the end game scoring for different regions so he told us his score was 50 points and we were like but what about the 49 points from your regions. Hahah so He didn't do as poorly as he thought he had.

It was a fast game and I think I like the A side of the cards better, for the most part.

Oh man Chris was just eating up the points left and right with the Majesty cards gaining over 30 points in one turn towards the end. I was 3rd place with 131 points or something and Chris was over 170 easy. Shrey was still a lot better than me even. Military not for the win this time.

I really enjoy this filler game. It just move so quickly!

Chris brought along a game I was interested in trying out called Loot Island. New to me!

This game came out at Essen and I ended up not pre ordering it since I wasn't sure about it. I generally like their bigger boxed games, but when I looked more into this one it didn't really seem all that interesting. I was certainly happy to give it a play though!

This is actually a pretty light card game and for its weight this game is far too long. I think our game play took 1 hour and it felt like 2 hours. Needless to say it wasn't a big hit. However, I liked everything the game was doing as far as mechanics.

The game runs 5 rounds and each round you have a hand of 7 cards. You are trying to add cards to different locations around this island, but depending on where the boat is, different stacks of treasure will be revealed and only if you are in that location will you gain treasure, maybe. You might not even gain treasure because there just might not be enough. Or if there isn't enough Map cards played then it won't score either. You really want the treasures so you can get the points at the end.

So this is a card game where you are trying to collect treasures in a type of set collection game. Different cards score in different ways, of course. You will gain curses when you gain treasures though and if you have 13 or more curses when the game has ended, well, you are eliminated from the game and can't win. You really have to manage those curses. You can always refuse a treasure card and discard curses instead so it is an option but you really want to figure out other ways to discard teh gained curses.

Each round you have 7 cards in play that you can use. There are small islands to visit by discarding 2 of the same colored card from your hand to activate the tiles. You might be able to move the boat one space, or discard curses. There are a bunch of cool actions to do, but at a high cost of 2 cards! The card will be played on the main island and they have to go in Ascending order so once you play a 6 down you can only play = or great than values. You want to try and start lower so other people will follow. The more cards and people the more possible treasures to show up. Some cards have special actions that if you play a card with one then everyone on that land space will also gain its benefit. Might be to discard a curse, or draw a card. More importantly some cards have the treasure icons and that will boost the amount of treasures found at that site.

Depending on where the boat is looking those 2 island spots will be scored provided they have enough cards (5) or more to score. The one with the MOST cards will get a special bonus for treasures so you want to be sure to be at that location.

It is a fairly simple hand management and set collection game and for the hour playtime, I think it is much too long. 30 minutes would be ideal for this game and I could see playing again.

Poor Chris had no way of getting rid of his 13th curse so he was eliminated from the game. We also played the final round slightly wrong and it would have had different results with the correct rules from the beginning. The final round is scored out differently, so you have to be sure to note that when you play.

It is a game I would try again, but I am not really that interested in doing so. I liked the mechanics and everything, but that length just killed it for me.

I took a picture of the final score, If you were curious! Basically Wystan destroyed us all. I did okay and Shrey did worse. Chris was eliminated!

Next up was Riverboat. I got to play this one in November and was looking forward to trying it out again. Chris played it more recently and was able to explain it better than I could.

This was great since I probably needed a refresher on the rules, but it actually isn't that challenging of a game.

The action tiles tell you exactly what you are doing. This is a game I just can't seem to figure out. I always end up losing atrociously. This was definitely a solid loss for me.

All of my plans were foiled by the end. I didn't want to go to Orleans but I ended up getting like 5 guys in there and being short on a guy in the final round. Also, we played a rule slightly wrong where you take the first action tile and you get the worker. That worked immediately can be placed on your board. That would have been super awesome to know early game especially for Shrey.

It was alright, I will know for next time. I will have to play again really soon.

I think Wystan and Shrey both really enjoyed the game. Wystan totally crushed us. I have no idea what the scores were but I think everyone made it over 50 but I know I definitely lost.

I have to say I quite enjoy this one and look forward to trying it again soon and maybe I will get better. haha probably not. After 2 plays if I am still bad at a game it usually remains that way.

Wystan was interested in learning Biosphere.

I know Chris had played before and I am not sure but I also think Shrey had played before and was interested in learning again.

So, I tried the game with the proper set up for the first round rules and I absolutely hate that so I will not be playing with those rules any longer. It is just too harsh for the game play so early in the game. From now on I will be allowing players to select their starting positions on the evolution scales when they take their first card on their first turn. Otherwise it is just too painful for the 3rd and 4th player to accommodate. I am probably wrong, but because of the way the rules are written for this first round it left a sour taste in Wystans mouth at the end of the game. He and I lost horribly to Shrey and Chris.

Chris was the one who was able to win though gaining 3 goal card in what was then the final round. I think I ended with just 2 and had a pretty good start but then it all fell off as soon as the first dice started dying. It was a harsh game for sure.

I still love it. I am sure Wystan would try it again though.

We needed a fast filler while pizza was being cook and I decided to read the rules for Dungeon Rush. New to me!

This is a new game from Stronghold Games and I really had no idea about it. It is a card game to try and level up your characters and gain lots of precious treasures and points. So, this is a real time pattern recognition game. You have 2 characters with different skills that you will use to claim advancements and points. Everyone will flip 2 cards at the same time and then you must use your left and right hands which match up with your left and right characters to acquire the cards in the middle. You can claim up to 2 cards if you can defeat the cards.

In order to defeat the cards you have to have the match skill levels or better and you must use the correct hand to do it. Once you gain a card they might advance you skill level and you can add that skill to either character card. You have range attack, swords, magic, and stealth for your skills. As the rounds go on the monsters you have to defeat are harder and require more skills.

There is a final boss where you can attack the dragon or the boss for end game points if you meet their required strength. Everyone can do this.

It is a super fast game and easy to take out and play. Everyone sort of rolled their eyes at me when I said realtime, so that was a pretty big drawback. They were still okay with playing though since it was a simple filler.

I like real time game so I didn't mind this one as much as everyone else. Maybe because I always do incredibly well at them? cha dango is one of my favs!! This is neat because you are defeating monsters and the cards you are claiming are then added to your skills. You are actually building up your character as the game goes on. For a 15 minute game that is pretty cool.

I didn't end up beating the dragon for the bonus 9 points so I don't think I won that game, I was pretty good for points though, I feel like Shrey might have taken home the victory though. I would easily play this one again with a more fun crowd like Derek. I will have to bring it to the fun group! Riley will play again if I ask very nicely.

People were playing all over the place and I ended up playing a 3 player game of Würfel Bohnanza.

I am always happy to play this one and Chris wanted to learn it. It is a cute dice game and one of the first dice games I learned so I had to have it. Holds a special place in my heart.

It doesn't stop me from ALWAYS losing. I can not roll for beans at all. Chris took this game and crushed us. It was due to my rolling amazing for his scoring cards and terrible for mine! I think I managed to score like 5 points before the game ended. It was pretty much terrible. makes me laugh though.

Next there were 7 of us all wanting to play some version of Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure. In a super awesome turn out there was a 4 player game of Clank! In! Space! and I was in the 3 player game of Clank!: Sunken Treasures. New to me Expansion!

I have played a couple games of clank/space before but haven't had the chance to play this expansion. Since the MummY expansion was announced and is coming soon I wanted to make sure I played this first one!

If you were unaware of Clank! It is a deck building game, much like Ascension. There is a board you are moving around so you can run to gain treasures and then try to escape before you run out of life. As you are moving through the maze and locations you will make unwanted noises and what we call CLANK! The more clank you make the more likely the dragon will attack you and damage you and your life. You will likely die in your first play, or in my case first many plays.

You will score a variety of points from cards, or artifacts or items you collect during the game.

This expansion adds in some cards and a new double sided board. There are spaces on this map that are "underwater" where you have to watch your movement very carefully. If you are in water when it is your turn you must move out to get air otherwise you will cause one damage to yourself. The movement patterns on the board make it difficult to move around easily if you don't have the right cards in hand and Jess was having a hard time with that.

I had a pretty good time with this game. We had a pretty fast time playing and ended maybe 20-30 minutes sooner than the Clank in Space game, but it was a pretty fast game over all. Scott made it out alive and started that terrible dragon timer and I shortly made it out after him. We were both able to score this game. Jess could not find the movement she needed to get out alive though and ended up dying in the water.

Scott took the victory this game since he was able to claim a lot of points in game but I also didn't do half bad either. I just got a weak treasure.

All in all, this game had a cool pace to it. If I had to choose I would rather play In Space! However. I think Space really has that tension that makes you want to play again.

The 3 of us decided it was time to play a fast game of A la carte. I have played this game a long while back and was interested in playing it again so this worked out.

Jess had a few practice rounds flipping the pancake before we began. Scott caught it all on video that I linked in below.

In the game you are working to collect recipes without adding too much salt to the dish. You are using these little bottles to try and tip the right amount of ingredients into your pan. It is a dex game for sure and you can totally get hosed if you don't do it well.

I nearly won this game by getting 3 gold stars, but my final dish took too many ingredients and NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I was so close! Scott won this game in the end. He was able to finish and take the last recipe and score the most points.

I still did pretty well, but no one tried to claim the pancake. Maybe I should have, but I have been known to miss that flip A LOT. We had several people spectating and trying their hand at the flipping. It it is harder than it looks for sure!

And yes, my Christmas tree is still up. I am just lazy and haven't taken it down. I should probably do that...

Scott posted this awesome video of Jess practicing Her pancake flip!

The other game of Clank! In! Space! finished up and Joe C, having just learned it, really wanted to play again. HE LOVED THIS GAME. I haven't seen him so excited about a game in a long time. I was happy to play it and we actually found 2 others interested in playing for a 4 player game.

It was particularly awesome since Joe decided he was going to use a timer and time his move. In the end he took 27% of the game play on his turns. If you know Joe- is is super talkative and analytical so his turns are usually very long. I am shocked and proud we were able to end the game in 75 minutes. Adam and Joel play at lightening speed, and I am generally pretty fast so we were all really great and this game zipped along.

Oh man was it crazy times. I was killed off but I actually got to score my cards which was amazing for once. I haven't ever been able to score points in this game before. Adam was just SO CLOSE to the gate but I was super amazingly harsh and ended up pulling 4 red cubes from the bag, which killed him instantly. There were a ton of cubes in the bag too, I have no idea how that even append. It was insanity! Those were even the first and last red cubes that were pull in the game even. Oh man it was soul crushing for Adam.

In the end I am pretty sure Joel ended up winning, I can't remember if he escaped. It was a close game though and Joe was also able to score in the end. I don't know how since both Joel and Joe were futzing around in the beginning doing god knows what, while I was busting my ass to get some artifacts.

It was a pretty awesome game and I was happy we were able to play this one. I have a feeling we will be clanking more, now that Joe really loves this one. haha I missed out on Gink though, I would have liked to have played that.

Joe, Adam and I played a 3 handed game of Linko!.

I enjoy this game with 3 people. It feels so cut throat and mean. You have to really get in the mind of the other players and psych them out in order to go out first. It is super fun.

Totally didn't pay off for me in the end, of course. Adam was doing particularly bad, but he had a pretty good come back in the final round. Joe was just all around great at this game and beat Adam and I by over 10 points. He ended with like 39 points. It was a good deal better than our scores. It was still a great game to play and fun filler.

Final game of the night was 7 player Werewords.

We ended up playing 3 games in a row and I was a werewolf with Jess for round one. It was super easy to fool everyone and I knew the seer by the way Star was acting and the questions he asked.

I totally owned that round for sure. Jess is absolutely terrible at this game. haha I don't think she is a big fan, but she ended up being the werewolf in teh second game and lost. The final game she was the Mayor and just didn't know what she was doing but she was also the werewolf so it was in the favor. I should have voted for her because the answer was "northern lights" and she didn't give me the "so close" token when I said Aurora Borealis. yeahhhh I should have gotten credit for that. It was super lame. I ended up losing that game but won the others so I declare that as Victory!

I always have a great time with this game. It is a great game to end the night.

Sunday Ron and I got to playing a few games before the afternoon scheduled live stream event. We first played a game of Karuba.

I love this little tile laying game. It is always a good time where ROn and I think differently about the paths and placment but always seem so neck in neck at the end.

This game we ended up TIED! Ugh we had the exact same score and it was super lame. The winner for the tie breaker is the person with more forest tiles on the board, in which we were TIED again. It was funny too since we both ended up take a turn by discarding a tile and not using it for movement. So I was like oh I could have placed that tile I discarded, and Ron said he had the same thing. So yeah, still a tie.

Ughhh that was super lame there was no winner! Still fun to try though!

Then we played a quick game of Rolling America.

If you look at my finished board you will see one of the guards I used, didn't have to be a guard at all. So yeah it was totally not what I was planning on happening in our game. It also means I could have had a better score

Anyway, I still won because Ron is just worse at this game. I ended with 11 sad X's and he had 12 so it still worked out in my favor!

I love dice games like this. So much fun. Always such a positive start saying I can get perfect and then it slowly turns into wow I suck at this game. Makes me laugh every time!

The highlight of the day was Jess came over and I did a huge set up production for a live play-through of the new Castell.

It took a LOT to get set up and everything in order to make it happen, so Live stream might not be a thing I do very often, but can be occasionally a fun time. I am also sure I will get better at it the more I do it. This video worked out and I did a full teach first. Ron didn't know how to play and the rules are pretty straight forward so it worked out where if he was confused he would ask and if he had the question then others might have the question as well.

What I learned this session was that I needed to turn the mic up. The sound is super faint and you might need head phones to listen to it. We had a good time though. I think at any given time we had 8-10 viewers and people watching. The chatroom wasn't exploding but I think people were enjoying it.

I have a link to view the video if you were interested, see below. I recommending starting around the 3 minute mark after we figured out the sound and stopped goofing around. laugh

Ron and I ended up TIED this game Ugh it was just terrible. I thought I had won but turns out you don't get to score for the left over special action tiles and that is what won me the game. Super lame!

My towers were pretty lousy most of the game and i wasn't being efficient with my performers. I needed more of the same type and bigger base. I missed out on scoring in the 9s festivals and I had all of the 9s! poor planning. I suppose trying to run a live stream and teach Ron and play the game can be a bit of a distraction for actual game play.

We scored the festivals correctly this game since we didn't do that correctly last game. definitely learned a lot from this experience and I very much look forward to my next play. I think this is my favorite game of the month. I realllllllllllllllllllly like this one. It hits all of the right notes for me and so much fun.

The video is 1 hour 30 minutes which is pretty great for a teach and play feature. We made some good timing. I look forward to trying to do another live play through soon, if you have any requests please let me know!

Final game for Sunday was Ron teaching me Jess how to play Gaia Project. New to me!

You might all be thinking how has she not played this game yet? Well, more that I choose to not play it yet. I duno I love TM and space is just not appealing and in the recent (recent being years) plays of TM is hasn't been great for me. It is not the games fault it is my fault. I totally love TM and get why it is so widely loved by everyone. Anyway, I just now wanted to try Gaia out.

Ron did a lot of play testing for for this game and we have had it available for like a year now. I wanted to see how much changed and it I might like it better.

Turns out there is a lot to love about this game. I think they revamped TM for the better in this game. It was actually shocking how much changed and how much DIDN'T change. The technology tracks really work a lot better here and I think makes this game superior. The satellites i am still unsure about but they are the cubes you will use to connect your buildings to form cities. You essentially have to burn all of your power out of the game to do it. And you start with a lot fewer power to begin with. However, there are a bunch of ways to regain power tokens in this game.

I was playing with red which allows for you to get $ income fairly easily. Jess was playing Blue and she was getting some cool bonus with the power tokens and a new action that allows for you to easily colonize the purple planets. There are a few new mechanics that I am still confused about but will have to play again.

Ron still managed to piss me off in this game much like in TM. I think I still feel less angry in this than in Tm so I suppose there is that. There is still so much to explore in this game I have no idea how we actually did as far as game play.

Jess was a mess having never played TM and she just had no idea, I caught on really quickly since I had played TM a lot. Ron still ended up winning with the brown faction which allowed for him to puck up and replace his stronghold for no cost! Oh it was super cheating, and seemed totally OP. Since I was within 10 points at the end, perhaps it wasn't as OP as I thought, but DAMN it was a great power and he managed to get 4 cities.

I am sure I could have won if I given it more thought. This is one I will definitely want to play again soon. I am still not a big fan of space though maybe it it had been firefly themed instead.

I still have a couple more days to get to 100 Unique games played and it will be no problem! More on that next week!

New to the Collection:

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


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Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:55 pm
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7 New Games including Castell and Downforce!! A Bright Light at the End of the Tunnel! Weekly Update with Photography!

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

Hia Everyone!

Ron was away all week, but I managed to get in a couple game events during the week. I spent all of my other time seeing a lot of movies in the theaters with Movie Pass which is amazingly fun times!

Monday night I went to Joes and got in a bunch of games and many new ones. We started with 2 games of Amis Cube. New to me!

This is a puzzle game. You are first making a cube with your pieces that are set sizes. Then you will pass one of your pieces to the next player of the same size and using all of your pieces and this new piece you have to first complete making a 3x3x3 cube. Definitely more of a puzzle game.

Dan absolutely crushed me, maybe because he had just been playing that weekend and had practice. It was good though I like a good puzzle game like this. We played a second time and I asked for help and I just could not get it, but Joe H showed up and figured it out in under a minute, of course. It was cool to play.

Next up Dan had brought along Yangtze. New to me!

This was a very interesting bidding game. On your turn you can buy a good from the river. The higher up the river the more costly. You don't have to buy something though. You can sell off sets of goods for money. Once you refill the river you might pull a ruler tile that might tax or reward you for specific things. Or a temple tile might be pulled. If a temple tile is pulled then you host an auction until there is a winning bid. You are trying to get both sets of different and same type temples for various end game scoring. You keep playing until the last ruler is pulled from the bag.

I was playing my game and I ended up skipping a lot of turns, simply because I didn't see any good value in the goods I would be buying. I was waiting on specific colors and needed all of the money for the auctions and buying the tiles I needed! I ended up scoring one massive set for a large sum of 70 money! This was right at the end of the game so it was super huge and shocking for the other players.

Dan was playing poorly and up bid me on the tiles I needed and I ended up letting him have it, then later he felt badly and let me have a tile basically for free so yeah, I ended up winning this game. It might have been an asterisk game though. Unclear.

I did do well in the end and got a lot of end game scoring for the temples I collected. It was definitely an interesting game and I would certainly play it again. I liked it!

Joe had been talking about Siesta for a while. New to me!

I suggested we give it a go and since Bill and Dan didn't care about it so much we gave it a go!

It is a pure abstract game where you are placing 3 pieces on the board each turn. You have your houses and then the common supply of suns and shadow markers. You are trying to create "siestas" which means casting shadows from different sun points by using your houses. sun house shadow gains you 1 point. Sun house shadow shadow shadow shadow gains you 4 points. But you can gain points in 2 siestas in your turn you can gain a bonus 2 points. The sun will cast shadow in all orthogonally adjacent directions.

This game is super abstract and I am not yet sure if we were playing well or not. Probably not, but I don't really see this game playing out much differently. I feel like each round you are bound to get 5-6 points and not much better unless you set yourself up for more and no one ruins your play. I think there were like 2 rounds where I managed to get 8 points and that was pretty good.

I ended up winning the game. I am definitely curious to try this one again to see if there might be a different play that will cause for some serious consideration. It is a straight up abstract game though so if you don't like that you will probably not like this one.

The we played a game of Ricochet Robots. I had a very strong start in this game and I got like 2 tokens and with the nice rules I should have gotten a 3rd but didn't since we let the ties go to the player with the fewest tokens.

Next several rounds I didn't managed to get anything. and I think I ended in last with 3 tokens in the end. It was pretty well rounded though and people either had 3 or 4 tokens so It was a close game.

Man this game is just awesome and I really like the puzzle thinking you have to do! I really need to find a copy of this game. Always a fun time when I get to play this one!

Final game of the night was the quick Jump Drive. This was a game that was welcomed to the Monday group very quickly and they always are enjoying this one since it showed up.

I am happy to play it, yet I don't think I am very good at this one. I can never find a good balance and strategy. But, this is all okay because, the game is over in 10 minutes.

I certainly don't mind this one and the challenge to try and find the greatest cards. I just never seem to work it out. I had a great card I was trying to get played like all game, but never had the right amount of cards to use to get it in play and it was frustrating. I think I was focused too hard on trying to get that out. It really didn't matter because towards the end I had a hand of 15 cards or something and had to discard down to 10 but all of the cards were value 2 and 1 so they were really not worth anything. I couldn't get any big points and then the game ended. Bill got over 50 points so he won that game.

It was fine and I like it.

New games!!

Saturday there was a party for Drew who was moving and I just had to go wish him well. It was a great day of games with a lot of excellent games that were being played!

First game on the table was a 3 player game of Qwixx. Basic and boring qwixx. Why play qwixx when there are so many better qwixx variants? Well 2 people were learning so it is just easier to play that one.

They were learning so I went a little easy on them. I had the opportunity to close red at the earliest possible time to close a row, but decided not to.

In the end it didn't matter, I still ended up winning by a lot. It ended because Trina had 4 misses and took a total of -20 for that. Whoops! Haha it was pretty low scoring but still good to have played. I really like dice games.

Next up was a 7 player game of Dead Last. New to me!

OH MAN, this is like Cash n Guns with no Cash. haha you are just trying to get on a team with people to knock them out and stay alive long enough to grab some loot. Whomever can get to 25 loot first wins.

Yah, I knew I would be bad at this game but I didn't think I would be THAT bad. Yah I was. Not only did I come in dead last but I got nothing for it! We played 2 games and I was the ONLY person to never get some loot. I nearly got to the battle round once but yah no I still got ganged up on... I should have thought about that. whoops.

It was a pretty great party game though, I had fun playing and it plays with up to 12 people which I think would just be crazy.

Nate won the first game and Ben won the second game. It was definitely anti Steph game where you can easily be the target, but there is an ambush card for that if you think you will be targeted, maybe I should have played that every turn... haha

Good times.

Next on the table was Downforce. New to me!

it is a betting and racing game. I really liked this simple game. I am usually not into race games either but I might end up picking this up since I did really like it.

You don't actually own a car or a color, but you first get dealt a hand of cards. Then the cars are randomly assigned with a power and then auctioned off. You are betting with a single card from your hand and if you with with a bid of 5 then you are deducting 5 from your final total at the end, which can be a lot of points.

In a 6 player game each player gets control of one car. You are invested in your own car a bit and want it to do well so you can get paid more in the final rewards for your color. But during the game you can vote on another car and gain money that way as well.

So this game plays out pretty quickly actually. Everyone has a set hand of cards and each turn the player takes one card to play and then moves each car listed on the card that many spaces. You won't even get through all of the cards before the game has ended, likely. Of course you have to keep the player powers in check too. I like that you are first betting on the cars then you get to race them.

In our game I was given some good cards and they were all leading towards black. I had a pretty awesome hand for black. I didn't realize that there were so many wilds in the deck of cards.

While I had an amazing hand featuring black, I didn't have like any wilds to back it up.

I thought for sure my hand of cards would win me this game. Yeah I was totally wrong! I know now there are a bunch of wilds working against you.

Orange had this amazing power that gave +2 boost when only moving on the straight away. Man that power seemed super OP. This could have been because 2 people were shooting for Orange, which I think was a mistake, but there was no catching Orange.

I managed to get Black in 3rd place so I could manage a few points at the end. I was rooting for black the whole game too until the end when I put down Orange for pity points and I gave up the black hope.

I had quite a fun times with this game and it was no surprise that Mat won this and he was in control of the orange car. I am not even sure I made 1/3 his points.

Next on the table was a 4 player game of Cytosis: A Cell Biology Board Game. New to me!

I just wanted to learn new games, even if this theme is less than appealing for me. Actually totally turned off by this theme and having played Viral gives me the same feeling. I will preface this by saying the games are very different and would suggest playing them both if you like the theme. Viral is area control with hand management. Cytosis is a worker placement and resource management game.

I nearly screamed this game, I held my cool though. I mean for a gamer such as myself, I get it. The rules went on and on and on and on, when it is like the easiest concept and game play. Randy is a big GMT/LONG GAMES fan which have tons and tons of rules. He kept asking questions and not understanding this one. Seriously? I was fed up before we even started playing. We decided to play with the mini expansion and the guy who brought this game failed to remove event cards to modify this game play with the mini expansion. The game lasted 3 rounds too long becuase of this. All around long and a bad experience. So, needless to say, I didn't enjoy this one.

The game is SUPER easy and didn't warrant the HUGE explanation and clarifications. You have 3 workers and place them in locations. You are trying to gain points via creating different set and processing them through the body, or something. You can create enzymes or do alcohol detoxification or something. I mean you get getting cubes and turning them into points. It is the definition of a cube pusher, this game. Nothing was innovative about it. The artwork was very nice, but there were problems with the graphic design for some spaces that were not clear at all, which didn't make sense because the rest of the game was VERY clear.

All in all I could teach and play this game in the time it took to learn it the first time. It was a big asterisk game anyway since we played far too many rounds. I am fine if I never play this one again, but know if I do it will be a better experience next time.

Derek could feel my frustration, I think. He decided to play with me next and I pulled in Mike for a fast game of Kribbeln.

I never win this game! And this was no different, well I suppose that is not entirely correct, since I tied for first, but I don't consider that a win. No I do! Don't take away my win!

Anyway, I am always super happy to play this big dice chucking game! Love it!

Mike suggested we play something with more substance and Derek hadn't tried out Ethnos and wanted to. Mike was looking to play one of the games he brought along so this worked!

I hadn't played with 3 people before and I actually enjoy this game. The more I play it the more I like it. Maybe because I keep winning it. devil

This game we played with the Orcs which I hadn't played with before so that was pretty cool! I managed to get that board filled up for the 20 points. BOOM Then I made my way up the mermaid track plopping down exta discs to make my towers super high. It was all around awesome and I absolutely destroyed those newbs. I am so mean since Derek was actually learning. hahahah It was fun though and I will happily play this game when requested.

Since it was Drew's day he asked me to bring along Dinosaur Island to teach. Thanks to Derek who actually taught it and VERY WELL!

Star also played with us for a medium length 4 player game. This game I worried less about getting Dinos in my park because of the goal cards. I focused SOLELY on those and completely nearly all of them! A few people were able to completely them when I completed them so they got some points. After I boosted my DNA to 15 I THEN started focusing on making the dinos, even at that I was still not losing because Derek had lost points to Dinos on the loose eating visitors on the first turn. Really, I couldn't even go first after not trying to make dinos! haha

It was find I managed to start catching up in the excitement level after a few turns. I managed my security very well and picked up some lab improvements.

Everything was working out well for me this game and I picked up 4/5 goal cards so that was major points. I had a big scary dino worth 7 points too so that helped too. I ended with over 60 points and I tihnk everyone else was at or below 50 so I won by a fair amount. I also cause the game to end about a round earlier than I think it might have otherwise.

Really great game, I will have to check out the long game sometime!

I waited ALL DAY to play Castell. New to me!

Derek read the rules and explained but I had read through most of the rules as well so I knew what was happening. It is actually a pretty simple game with some planning for optimal moves. I did an unboxing video see below.

When I first heard about this game I really thought it was going to be a Dexterity game, which is awesome too and one I would have liked to have played. This is actually a pretty meaty euro game.

There are a set number of rounds and once you get to round 3 you are getting into festival territory. What you are doing in this game is trying to collect a number of Castellers and train them to make very large towers. Depending on your skills you will have a bunch of different options with the Castellers that you have. at any time you can re-arrange your towers according to your skills and within their limits.

the standard base tower is 3 high with a base of 3 wide. When making a tower you use the big guys at the bottom rated 9/10 and upwards to to top most level you can with lower level bodies might be 1/2. You can never have a level with the same number of Castellers to start, until you increase your balance skill. You can also increase your width, and strength to make the tower wider and strength allows for same value Castellers to be placed on top of one another. There is also a skill for base to include as many as you can, and a mix where you can have same height Castellers be in the same level on the tower.

So during your turn, you will do a number of things, recruit 2 castellers from a region you are in, you can move to a new adjacent location, you will also Train in one of the locations depending on what the wheel says you will learn. Finally, if you have a special action token you can do a special action in that location which might be to gain one more Casteller, or take another move action, or put on a local performance. Each region has 2 local performances that can be claimed in the game and if you can meet the requirement of the performance then you can collect that tile and gain some end game points!

Where ever you end up you want to be aware because at the end of the round there will be a festival or 2 happening various regions that are pre determined before the game starts. If you are in that region then you might be able to participate. You first have to be there, then you have to have a tower of 4 levels or higher and have all of the required size of castellers in your tower.

Anyone who meets the requirements can perform and they are judged. You gain points for the height of your tower and points for the number of the required Castellers you have in the tower. If the festival requires Castellers of size 8, and 3 well you will gain points = however many 8's and 3's you have in your tower and however high your tower is. There is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophy for points that gets added to your player board should you place in the festival and if you have the most of a specific number you get to collect the size token as well!

That is essentially the game, and after 10 rounds you will add up your score. Now what is cool is you get to perform in the festivals for a large score but, like Colosseum, you will only score for your best performance in a festival. But, you will get a whole lot of end game scoring on top of that best festival scoring too.

Since we were all learning the game, we really didn't know what a good start would be for this game. We had a few questions about different things but we worked them out and it ended up playing pretty smoothly.

I was trying to collect castellers of the same type so I could possibly have a wide tower and score lots of points for the size tokens. I found out early that balance is super important and you really need that so you can grow that tower to the sky. By the end my tower was freaking huge!! It was super awesome that I could make it all work. Still the best score I got for the festival was 18 and I think Star might have had like 28 or something awesome like that for his best festival scoring.

It was pretty great though, I had a very good game even though I didn't think I was because I kept scoring second place in the festivals. But I had done so many local performances worth a lot of points that it made up for it. I ended up winning with over 80 points which I have no idea if that was a good score or not!

On the plus side everyone really loved it and we are all looking forward to playing again soon. I might end up trying to do a play through live online this weekend. I will see about that!

Really fun theme and puzzling game play really is right up my ally! Super stoked to play again!

I did an UNBOXING of Castell

Final game of the night was Biosphere. Star now has a copy and Derek never got to playing it! It made sense that this would be the final game of the night.

Jess and star didn't get the play mat but I think it was fine without it.

This game it was getting late and I really wasn't paying much attention to it. I was trying too hard for one goal card it was just not working out for me so I kept losing all my dice and it was just a mess.

In the final turn we thought there might be 1 or 2 more turns but Jess was able to pull out the win just like that by completing 3 goal cards in one swoop.

I really love this game and never know what to expect for what might happen. Super fun times and happy to play it.

Sunday Ron came home yay!! We got to playing several games! The first on the table was a game of The Castles of Burgundy.

It was a fast and devastating game for me. Haha I was working on getting pigs then Ron swooped in and took them so I worked on getting cows that worked well. My board was just too difficult to complete the large regions and I missed out on a lot of points.

there was just no catching up to the Ron this time he was well above 200 points maybe 230 and I was stick around 180 or so. It was not my game this time!

For something a bit lighter I suggested we play a game of Songbirds.

Ah man this game is just so great. I totally made it an asterisk game though and mis-dealt the cards so we didn't have one left over. I had an extra card in my hand which Randomly took out at the near end of the game.

Whoops. But, I still got to keep the card I was playing for the whole game and I ended up winning by 2 points. It is so hard to focus on one color because if you get rid of all your red and then the other player goes hard for red, well there is not much you can do!

It is a tight balance of cards and a super awesome game!

I have owned Rajas of the Ganges sicne Essen and only played it one other time, so it was time that I gave this one another play and this time with 2 players.

I actually quite like the 2 player board and play of the game. I think it works very well. There is still a rush to get to the good spaces so you aren't spending so much money and getting the tiles you want first.

I actually played a decent game this time. I don't think I have won this game yet so, Ron was being a bit nice and I knew I could end it but I needed the time to work it out and he didn't complain.

I managed to get my money up and then boost the final fame points to win the game.

This game we were playing with the little tiles that you can customize your player board with. It was super cool to be able to do that. You can get some awesome rewards and you really want to make it to the Brown spaces to get those REAALLLY awesome bonuses. Ron got like 18 money or something crazy from it. Mine was not so good

I still won though and I look forward to playing again soon!

Final game of the night was Quadropolis & Quadropolis: Public Services.

This time I didn't focus on the public service buildings at all and just worried about my strategy. I got a lot of water tiles and factories. I got like 30 points from factories or something crazy like that. It was a cool and fun strategy. In the end I did pick up a few public buildings to get my board covered. I covered the whole board!!

I absolutely destroyed Ron this game and it was great! Not really sure what happened to him but he kinda lost sight or got unlucky perhaps? I totally owned it though and had a great time doing so!

I like the public buildings alright, but I don't really think they are that necessary. I got a lot of points from them, however. It is just how you use them. I think it could really work.

New to the Collection:
Dokmus: Return of Erefel

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


If you like what you saw, please thumb!

All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:43 pm
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Low Key Gaming Week Full of Excellent Games! ***With Photography! ***

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

Hia Everyone!

Photo of the year contest is up and I would love if you would go vote for your favorite images! Here is mine!

Vote for my image!

Tuesday night last week Ron and I decided to play a game of Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn.

Ron needed a refresher since the last time we played was GenCon but I had played more recently and it could easily teach the game now.

There is a pretty easy flow to the game and Ray printed out a few handy player aids.

This game was a close race to the end goals. We had a few different goals than the last time I played so it switched it up a bit. But since there is only 5 goal cards and you use 3 each time, well, that is going to be similar experience soon.

For now I am still very much enjoying this game and will continue to play it when I get the chance. I think he helps that I am actually very good at this game and have won this game and the previous game. I just get it.

So far so good and I think it is just gorgeous!

Wednesday night we didn't know what to play so I suggested ¡Adios Calavera!. New to me!

This game I picked up on a whim at Essen. I really liked the short explanation of the game when I spoke with the guy at the booth and I ended up picking it up. With the release of CoCo it all seems to be good timing on thier part and this game.

It is a 2 player abstract game. where you are trying to move your pieces across and off the board on the other side. You have blockers printed on the board where you might not be able to move through or land in. Each player gets to draft 4 special characters which have special abilities. You set up your side of the board how you see fit and you get to move each piece according to the number of discs in the row it is currently in. My rows are different than Ron's rows since he is going a different way. Every disc means his pieces too if they are in the row I am calculating.

When moving you can use the special ability of the character being moved. You have to be clever and crafty to position yourself better than your opponent or better yet using your ability to do both. Ron kept using the dancer token to move me backwards and him forwards.

Oh man was I just terrible at this game. I felt I was doing alright, but I realized after I lost so badly, that I should have positioned my guy to the other side on my board at the start. They way I had him it made sense for him to move out after Ron started moving his guys then I could have drawn them all in backwards towards his home. Poor planning and something to consider for the next time. At least I figured out how I could have played better.

He got me that time. I have to say I am very impressed with this game and look forward to playing again and maybe testing out the mini promo that came with it. very enjoyable!

We played The Game: Face to Face next. After having played the game the other day with Derek and Shrey, I felt it was time to go head to head with Ron.

Perhaps I like this game so much because I generally win it. I can out wit the Ron at this game and it is always fun to do so. I really do enjoy this one. I like this more than Extreme and I am not sure if I like it more than original but it is a fun twist on the game and would recommend this one to any one who plays 2 player games.

Still has stupid artwork though and a bad name.

This game we went a long time but I was still able to beat the Ron in the end. I think he ended with like 8 cause before he finally could not play. I had like 4 cards left or something super close to running out. If he had a play I would have most certainly been dead the next turn.

In an effort to get a few more games played, I suggested Qwixx: Big Points.

This is my favorite of the Qwixx games because there is so much to consider here. Multiple possibilities each turn and to try and max points. Very clever game.

I honestly have no idea who won this game, I was doing very well all game with the blue and greens but I think Ron might have come back and took the win. I did end up closing the blues but he closed the reds in time so I just have this feeling he won the game.

Always happy to play a fast dice game like Qwixx.

Because I wasn't ready to call it a day we played one last game of Qwinto.

This is always easy to play too. Well any quick dice game is fun for me. I enjoy these types of games a lot.

This time I WON FOR SURE. I got the picture as proof! I managed to close off a few rows and he got some negative points to help me out. Woohoo good close to the night.

Saturday was game day in a few senses of the word. Of course I am talking about Patriots football crapola taking away from my game day. Few folks were around to play during the day so we got in a couple of games.

First on the table was Cappuccino. New to me!

Jess brought this around so we could try it out. It is a simple abstract game to try and collect the most cups. Each turn you take one of your colored cups and stack it on equal level or fewer stack. Whose ever color is on top is in control of the stack. You do this until there are no more possible moves and whomever collects the most cups wins.

The quality is awesome here and is it super easy to play. I didn't mind this game but it was clear right off the bat who was going to win based on the first break down of the cups. Since you can only go directly adjacent to a stack once it has been broken off from a group it is clear who will take majorities. You have to try and again break free into another clump if you want to try and keep them.

For a 10 minute game this works perfectly well and we had a good time. Star won and I think I came in dead last. I was pretty cornered early on so there was not much I could do to get out of it. I am interested in trying again to see how I do after the second play. Always up for learning an abstract game.

We had 5 players and was waiting on one so I suggested we play a game of Las Vegas. I liked this game a lot and we played recently so I was reminded to play again.

I thought it would run faster but there was a lot of socializing going on during the game so it went on a bit longer than anticipated.

This game wasn't going well for really anyone. There were so many ties. A lot of the time no one was taking a card from a location at all. I feel like we discarded min 3 cards per round because people just weren't winning them.

Derek took home a lot of cards and ended up winning the game by a pretty big margin and I think I was second place with about half of that. Not a very good showing from us lot this game.

Next up we split 3/3 and Jess, Pat and I played The Staufer Dynasty. Hey a game Pat already new. I taught the game to Jess and we got to it!

It is super easy to get into this one and try to comes up with a plan. For your first game it is really hard to focus on end game scoring when you haven't played. It sort of sneaks up on you.

Jess did alright with that though. I mean I wasn't winning most of the game, mostly because I was focused on the end game so much. I tried to score in game but I scored only once each round or not at all. It worked out for me in the end when I did about 25 more than the rest because I got like super end games scores. I got all of the 5 locations spaces for 25 points, I made my 18 point pattern, and came in second place for the location for 6 points, but I also had 20 points in treasures.

Super majors points. I think Jess might have liked this one. It might have been a bit abstract for her though so I am not sure it was love at first play.

So happy to have played it though I really do love it.

We had a little over an hour before Jess had to leave so I suggested Hawaii. She hadn't played before and was looking to try it out.

This game went over very well, and I really enjoy it with 3 players quite a lot. The board doesn't seem so crowded and rushed for the good spaces. Probably best with 3 players even. I always end up playing with 5 even though I don't really like with 5, which is probably why I haven't' played this in over a year.

This game went over very well and it was super close in the end. In the final round Jess had miscounted her shells and thought she had a 5 when it was just a 1 or she totally would have won the game. I ended up winning by 1 point, so it was super close.

I got to score all of the rows I had for the full value. I didn't rush hard for the income of goods and that hurt later game but I managed to make it work, even still.

Tight and awesome as always. Jess really enjoyed this one and Pat is always easy going!

Great game!

Jess took off and we were at 5 players so we played a couple 5 player games starting with Libertalia.

I am always so happy to get this game played, it is like a treat! I really like this one and I would have it rated higher if I could play it more!

So many people don't like the game though and it is hard to find willing players. Ron isn't so fond of the game and criticizes the ranked cards blah blah.

We just don't play with the black deck and I think it is just fine the way it plays out. You still always have the option to choose which card you play in anticipation of what other people are playing. You have to use your best judgement which is the fun part of this game. Tough break if the tie breaker doesn't work in your favor, it doesn't matter that is the game.

This game Star ended up winning, because he said he didn't count in the $!0 he started with each round so we boosted his score like 30 at the end... hmmm asterisk game for sure.

Otherwise it was a relatively close finish between the rest of us and I think Derek might have come in second place I can't remember Ron and I had terrible first round but made up points later.

I know Derek ended up liking the game so I hope we get to play it again soon! Love this one!

Easy highlight of the day was a 5 player game of Caverna: The Cave Farmers. I am pretty sure everyone knew how to play I think I did a brief overview of the game before we started since it had been a while for some.

This game Derek went for minimal guys and ended up with only 2 at the end. I was doing that but then decided to go all in on 4 workers with 3 rounds to spare so it was actually pretty hard to maintain them towards the end with the other veggie/wheat strategy I was working on.

Really put a damper on my score and I should not have gotten the 4th guy at all. Ron ended up winning this game with a pretty low score in the 70s I think. I was 68 or something, so that was just not very good at all when I calculated it. I was very disappointed with my performance. All in all it was very low scoring, and I wonder if that was because it was 5 player or not. Unclear!

Everyone had a great time and Star commented how he would be willing to play this any time! That is awesome. I will have to make sure to get this played more in 2018. My #3 game so I am always up for this one!

Mostly everyone took off to go watch football, but Star hung around for a few more games. We played 2 player game of Luna.

He said he remembered how to play and I kinda went really briefly over the rules, but yah I am not sure he remembered a lot. By the end it was all very clear what he did wrong.

We started with the advanced set up and that was probably a mistake. I knew what I was doing so I had a pretty good plan in place.

It ended up in Star getting pretty trapped when most of his guys were in the temple and he fails to have any guys on the boat or wave space to get them off the docks when I started kicking them out of the temples.

He had a solid start to the game scoring lots of points but lost momentum half way though.

I ended up winning by about 20 points so it wasn't that close. Perhaps it will make him want to play again soon, while it is still fresh. I hope he still likes the game!

Final game of the night was a mash up of Dominion: Cornucopia & Dominion: Hinterlands.

I will forever play with hinterlands there are just so many awesome cards in that game that I love. Cornucopia also has a lot of very interesting cards. I love the tourney card that gain you some really special prize cards. SO cool how that all works.

This game I was doing very well with my tunnel strategy, but in the end Star picked up like 5/8 Province cards and totally won the game. I think he beat me by 4 points so it was a close race! Oh many i was just getting very terrible pulls towards the end so got totally hosed in the last leg of the race!

I simply love this game. It is the best deck builder game hands down. Perhaps best with 2 players though. With 2 players the game is fast and not much downtime so you are always engaged in whats happening. Love it!

Sunday Ron and I finally got to try out DropMix. New to me!

Not sure if it is really a game, like several have said. I did love the music though and it is a great time.

I felt totally unlucky in this game though and I didn't quite understand it after the first play, but by the second play it was clicking on how Ron kept getting so many points.

Yah no, I still lost 3 games in a row! How is that possible! Ron is the worst- you really feel like the game is not supposed to be so hard to lose, but yeah no, I seemed to fail multiple times. I think I need some more decks of cards that help me win better... Of course the decks Ron chooses all give bonus points for this and that. Curse him! Always a winner.

I had a great time and look forward to playing again really soon!

Today was just not my day to win games, I decided. Next on the table was Russian Railroads: American Railroads.

I had played German railroads a few times in the past month so I decided to switch it up and play American. This is a great expansion.

I find it harder to get the ? tokens but I still got them all eventually, but in German railroads they are there when I need them most. I was having a hard time getting them settled in this game and I really needed some sooner than others. I could have been scoring a lot more if I were able to get to them sooner.

I thought I was doing better than I ended up doing. I mean Ron completely demolished me. He was well over 500 and I might have been at 400 but I honestly have no idea. He probably lapped me. It was rough going for sure. He got everything he needed at the end and any advantage I might have had totally went away. Final rounds were just painful since I couldn't do everything I needed to.

Regardless, I didn't mind losing I still really love this one. Super hard to manage with the 2p board.

Not really sure what to play next I suggested we play Deus with Deus: Egypt. We used the entire new deck of cards for this game. I actually haven't played base Deus in a while since i have been really enjoying the expansion deck of cards better.

This game I tried to have a balanced board, full of colors and connections. Ron got this amazing jump start card that provided like 18 coins so I was hosed from turn one. It was just insane how OP that card was in the first turn. There was nothing I could do to catch up with that lead though. He got out the temples easy peasy. I got one out and scored a bunch of points. But I was having the worst time trying to find a pink card to try and get the final barbarian village complete. He ended up triggering end of game and I had one turn left and I finally managed to clear the village for a good deal of points but not enough.

This game was pretty low scoring like I got 38 points or something. He was only a couple points higher than me but he still ended up winning. It was very fast, but not sudden.

Really love this game and happy we got to play it again.

I really wanted to win so I suggested Connections. I always win this one!

Yah not so much for these 2 games. We played once and we both did fairly terrible each scoring over 10 points (when you want low score). It was embarrassing so I suggested we play again.

It was a near perfect game for me! I had a pretty excellent score of 4! Yah Ron still played better than me scoring only 2 points! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. Ugh it was very frustrating!

I am supposed to be the one that is good at this game! Not Ron! Boo, I will have to get him next time then.

I wanted a game we could both lose since I was losing so hard all day, I didn't anticipate winning ever.

I decided we should play a game few games of Codenames Duet. We ended up playing 4 times in a hope to complete more of the map we are trying to finish. Ron and I are just terrible at this game.

I had a lot of really great clues that we managed to screw up a lot of the end game. It was rough going. Out of the 4 games we ended up completing 1 though! Woohoo! We actually won one of the games.

It is such a challenging game to try and not guess what you think might be the assassin. Always a great time to try and win though, even though it is impossible.

Next up I felt it had been far too long since we last played Colony.

This time Ron was all out for the big point cards. They were trading cards so this didn't actually work out in his favor though. I never traded with him once!

I was trying to get my income of dice steadily up all while collecting the fall out shelters for max points. Eventually it all worked out in my favor and I won the game! Ron was trying to collect dice for his stockpiles but he needed to spend dice to get the cards, so it was a lose lose situation!

Woohoo I finally won a game legit! Great to bring this one back to the table.

I wasn't ready for the night to be over so I took out Tides of Madness. I should have kept my eye on the prize.

Ron was eating up those madness tokens left and right and if I kept taking whatever cards to make him intake the tokens, I should have just don't that no matter what. He was going to lose but the last round I took one token away from him with the card that says to. Ugh it was terrible and he would have lost! I got seriously a ton of points from the card and the final round, but he ended up winning just by a few points.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO He should have gone insane!

Final game of the weekend was a fast game of Avenue.

Even with the failed second round I managed to complete win this game by a mile. I got a pretty long connection of grapes in the final 3 rounds for lots of points and end game connection to the castles. It was all coming up Steph in this game at the end.

Good way to end the night and weekend. There were a lot of great games play and this was one of them!

New to the Collection:

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


If you like what you saw, please thumb!

All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:52 pm
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Happy New Years Everyone! 2018 and I am Ready for New Adventures! ***Weekly Update with Phtography!***

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

Hia Everyone!

...Continues from last week!

I started a geeklist for all the movies I will watch this year. If you are interested in movies, maybe check it out.
Steph's On-Going List of Movies Watched 2018

First game of the new year was with Ron, Shrey and Jess and we played a game of Riff Raff.

I don't think Shrey had played this game before and Jess was playing for the second time. She loves it, so much that she went out and bought it this week while in Canada! it is that good so I don't blame her at all!

My favorite Dex game out there! Ron had a great start by knocking a bunch of pieces off the boat so we were not worried about him this game. I was the next one to collect pieces but it was only a few and it was FINE.

Jess held strong through the whole game and ended up winning with very few pieces left over! Always an amazing time to play this one. Perfect ring for the new year!

Since I had taught it earlier that day I suggested we play a game of Parade.

Both Jess and Shrey were learning and I was already a pro at teaching it. I didn't realize it was so OOP and hard to find until I looked at this game today. This game definitely needs to get back in print it is so much fun.

zit is a perfect card game with interesting choices to try and not take the cards. Seems easy but there are some very interesting choices to be made and least bad! I love it!

I was playing with the pros this game and everyone was doing a very good job of not taking many cards, This meant I scored more than the first game that day but I still managed to do pretty well.

Jess had very few cards all game and was doing a very good job maintaining the tableau. She ended up winning even with the final cards she had to claim. I was definitely second though because I was doing nearly as well, but couldn't hold out near the end.

So fun!!

To finish the night we played a game of ブレンドコーヒーラボ (Blend Coffee Lab.). We played until 2am and teaching it was interesting since we had only played 2 player before.

The game is probably best with 4 players to be fair, becuase you never get new cards in the round, but that can also be an issue. You NEVER get new cards in the round, so you get what you get.

The first round I had amazing cards and had some great scores. Shrey didn't really score anything because his cards were just terrible. But the round altered next hand where I didn't get good cards and he did. Maybe that is the balance? But you really have to rely on getting half decent cards.

The cards really just play themselves and I don't see many options on your turn unless you are leading the trick which might be next to never. It is a tough game and not really one I care to play again. Which, is unfortunate.

I don't think this won the favor of Jess or Shrey either. Just doesn't hold up against other set collection or card games I play.

Ron of course completely destroyed us. As he does.

On New Years Day Ron and I played 3 Unpublished Prototype that I am not really sure if I can talk about or not. So in the interest of not violating anything. I Won't talk about them.

They were all solid games and ones I would play again. My favorite was an abstract game with some cool area control. Maybe Renegade will produce it... ninja

Oh and I am counting all 3 of those games as New To ME!

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Tuesday night Ron and I played a game of World's Fair 1893.

This is one that I quite enjoy even with 2 players, though better with more. This was getting a lot of buzz over the holiday week and it got me interested in playing again, since it had been a while.

It plays super quick with 2 players too.

This game I was doing very well the first round and managed to get a lot of colored tokens. I simply got the cards needed and secured the correct majorities. Ron of course got more majorities each round and I fought hard to gain the color I needed in the final round, it resulted in me losing all majorities except the one. And because of that, I really got screwed over with points. I had some seriously good sets but it wasnt enough to make up for the lost points for majorities.

Ron won that game, and it was ill deserved for sure! It should have been me!

Wednesday night Riley and Derek came over and we played 2 very quick games of Charterstone.

These were games 2 and 3 and were played in like 90 minutes total. I won the second game and Derek won the 3rd game. Ugh it is like a blessing and curse to win a game because I am sure it is awesome at the end for scoring but you get some good bonuses if you don't win too.

Not to worry about spoilers. I feel like I am doing well overall and I have been planning for the next game for a week now, but seriously, I am looking forward to the next few games I get to play!

I forgot to take pics so you get a picture of the box.

Ron and I still had another game in us to play for the night and we ended up playing A Feast for Odin.

Probably a terrible idea on my part since we ended up playing so late into the night and I was like sleeping before the end of it.

I didn't want to do the whole exploring thing this game so I let Ron do it. I ended up getting one island and a bunch of houses, but the island I didn't do anything with, basically at all.

I had a very weird game and I didn't feel like I was doing well, simply because I managed to screw up snaring like 3 times before actually succeeding and I had all the bonuses for it.

I did alright in the end about 119 points and Ron was only like 5-10 points ahead of me so it ended up being rather close and not at all what I was expecting. Again, I was like sleeping so had I been a bit more awake I think it would have gone over a bit better for me.

Always happy to play this one in the end so, it worked out.

Ron was home for the day on Thursday because we had a major snow storm happening. Because of this I managed to talk him into some games for a few play through videos I am working on making.

Ron and I did a play through and teach of Sentient. My favorite Renegade title!

I was trying very hard to pay attention to the game and to what I was saying so it was all make sense. I am trying to get better at making videos.

Ron was off camera and thinking hard on how to screw me over. He did the normal Ron thing where he you win Steph by 2 points and I am woohoo!! then he was like oh wait I have 5 more points to count I win HAHA. Really Ron, Really?! It is all on camera so I suppose we could go recalculate but I think he is right. Boooooo super lame! I hope to have this video for next weeks blog!

We did a quick play through of The Fox in the Forest while we were at it and had all the cameras readied.

This was pretty easy to teach and play through. We did 2 hands of cards because I am just terrible at this game and Ron absolutely destroyed me. Pretty much got the point across though and we will see how the video turned out later. Perhaps next week when I have a bit more time to get things together.

So yeah, Ron won this game too. I like this little trick taker game. Easy to play a few rounds when you have some down time.

Later that night we got to playing Fields of Arle with Fields of Arle: Tea & Trade. I still don't have the actual expansion just the PnP that I have had for a long while now. I am waiting on the English copy of the game.

I tried to not focus on any of the expansion stuff to see how it would go for me. I ended up buying a new building that got me lots of tea when I traded in animals so I made sure to have lots of animals on hand. I wanted to get the upgraded tea to get the bonus actions.

Ron was all in on the boats and ditches for making the sheep breed on the grassy fields. I didn't get any boats to help ship goods, and went hard for the carriages.

I actually ended up with a pretty good score and thought I might have won, but only because I was well over 120 points. I wasn't sure how Ron actually did but he was looking kinda sad. No it was all a facade because he won this game and had me thinking i had, again. I don't know why I fall for these traps but I always do in hopes that I actually might win a game! haha He was just over my score. He won by 1/2 a point! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? It was sooooooooooooooo lame.

One day I will win this game again!

Friday night we got in a few games and the first on the table was Sagrada. I wasn't in the mood for something crazy long or anything and this fit the bill.

Ron tried to screw me out of points and he did a good job towards teh end. The abilities were not that great this game and I couldn't really use them to my best. The first roll of the dice was actually pretty terrible I ended up using one of the abilities in the first turn. I am not sure I have done that before but it allowed for me to play my die not adjacent to the other die and that helped me out a lot so perhaps it was sort of useful.

I worked too hard on getting my rows to not have duplicate numbers and it didn't actually work out all that great for me. I should have focused harder on my personal goal to score more there. I did pretty good, but Ron still won by 20 points or something.

Remember that time I thought I was good at games, I don't know when that was...

next on the table we played 2 games of Twenty One. The first game we played how we thought it was supposed to be played, then Ron looked at the rules and we were making it a lot more complicated than it actually was.

To my delight when we played the second time I actually won the game. I had a lot of good luck and good dice rolls.

I am pretty confident we got the rules correct, probably for the first time ever, and need to play again soon so I can retain the rules properly. You must always take something even when you aren't rolling and you must complete the row before moving into the next row, and you can't simply skip a number in a row if you don't want to. You have to specifically skip a turn to mark a number off completely.

It was interesting and I do like this dice game quite a bit. I like it more than a number of dice games. I need to laminate it still.

First game on Saturday was Topiary. This has been my go to filler game at the beginning of game day. I have been quite enjoying it and this it fits the timing perfectly. Star joined in and he had played before. I forgot to mention the end game scoring again, and it wouldn't have helped me, but might have helped Star.

Ron and Star tied in the end but we had forgotten to score the left over tiles in hand and Ron ended up getting a bunch of points for that so he ended up winning. I am really glad this is now widely available I think it will find several good homes to be in and I know it will be an overall positive response. I really have been liking this one a lot.

Several people had been showing up and I ended up playing a 4 player game of Carcassonne: Star Wars with expansion.

To my surprise, everyone already knew how to play and with a few rules review, we were off and playing!

There were a lot of space battles happening, but Craig was getting super awesome pulls and finding a planet almost every turned it seemed like! He was gaining a lot of speed and a lot of points from those planets.

I was building up a large territory and then in the last second I had an invasion and ended up losing my rightful points. This put a major setback on my score and I ended up finishing last place i think.

Craig definitely won that time. He had broken the 100 mark and we were all around 90s or so. It was pretty close considering.

I love this carc game it is one of my favorites!

Pete had showed up and we played a 5 player game of Flatline. This game is so much fun and was okayed by everyone who would be playing with 2 people learning.

It is easy to teach this game since you can just do a run through of the first round and by then everyone basically understands the game.

It went over pretty well. We might have cheated a bit when we had more than 4 green cards in play, but it wouldn't have changed the outcome. I don't think that has happened before so I didn't realize we had too many in play.

Didn't matter we were playing the standard version and we still lost! We were doing pretty well and managed to get all of the patients on the board we were about a turn away from success. One day I will win on standard mode! It will happen!

We broke off into separate groups and I ended up playing a 3 player game of Santa Maria. Star had played before and I taught Shrey how to play this time.

It went pretty fast once we got going and faster than other games I have played. This time I went hard for making the roads with the people walking Star actually filled up his board. I was nearly complete by the end. I messed up my turn and really had hoped to do one more thing in the second round. I spent my last $1 and I needed it for one more action and couldn't sell the goods I needed to. It was all mis-played!

I did very well this game but Star did slightly better and beat me! It was a great game. Shrey ended up enjoying it and I liked it more. It is a very cool game and I am happy to have it!

We had a bit of time before the other tables broke up so Shrey took out his Port Royal with expansion: Port Royal: Ein Auftrag geht noch.... New to me expansion!

This expansion allows for co-op play and you have a set number of rounds and each player is a card off the round deck. You have to each collectively beat and meet the displayed cards. We had to reveal several ship colors in one pull, or collect specific sets of characters.

It actually worked quite well as a co-op. You want to be buying from your teammates to give them money and plan for the objective cards.

We won this game! It turned out to be rather easy and we got some lucky pulls. It all came down to needing 3 differently color ships to be pulled. You had to do it twice as a single person in order to fulfill the card. I did it once but then tried several more times. Star ended up fulfilling the card as the final card we needed.

We still had 3 or 4 rounds left we could have tried so we did fairly well in our first game. Perhaps it was too easy?

I would definitely play this game again and thought it worked rather nicely! I quite enjoyed it!

Perhaps my highlihgt for the day but actually perhaps not! Regardless the next game on the table was a 4 player game of Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn.

This was awesome! Finally playing this game again since GenCon. And this time I got in a full game. The card management is wonderful and the game play is tight. I quite enjoyed my time playing this game.

A few people were learning and Ray offered to read the rules and explain it to us. There are a lot of nit picking rules in this game so we were referencing the rule book a lot. for combat and attacking city states etc.

It was a rough start for me since on the first turn I built a city and just a few turns later a barbarians attack and I lost the city just like that. There was no defending I could do and boom lost. It was terrible. I felt like we might have played that wrong, so I will have to go back and look into it further. I shouldn't just lose a city without being able to put up a fight.

The goals were pretty clear once we got going. I was off and running to get the 2 yellow wonders early so I wouldn't have to worry about that if my cities got taken over. We also needed to have 5 mature cities and be have 15 adjacent tiles next water.

Oh man did I come out of no where and drop down 6 culture tokens so I became mature in 3 cities and managed to lock up 15 locations next to water in the same turn. and boom I won the game. It could have been detrimental to my plans had craig decided I was a threat and attacked me. I needed exactly 6 tokens to make it all work and that 7th one would have cause me to be another turn. Oh man it was just awesome and they didn't see me coming.

They all needed another round to really make it work. It was a close one but really good. Can't wait to play again!

Because Kim enjoys fun and so do I we found some suckers to play Happy Salmon. I happen to really enjoy this game and it is super hard to get takers to play this one so I am glad Kim enjoys it enough to want to play each week!

haha we had a great time and Ron recorded it for us! I added it below so you can enjoy.

Hey spoiler. I won!! woohoo!!!

This was my other highlight for the day a 3 player game of Keyper.

It was awesome and I love this game more and more. It is just super awesome. This time It was me, Ron and Shrey with shrey learning. He was a bit hesitant because, like me, he doesn't really enjoy the key series so much.

Turns out he quite enjoyed this one like I do and would play again. It is a bit different than the other key games in the best possible ways keeping the charming art style.

This game I tried to hang on to my white guys and I ended up gaining a few more through the game play. This game I decided to go strong for gems and end of game scoring using those gems. It worked amazingly well, but I didn't max out one of the tiles with gems. I needed a few more. I got some end game winter season festival scoring which helped in my score as well.

Ron was working on getting all of his buildings up and running with lots of points and Shrey started shipping a bit late.

Turns out we were all really close in the final scores but Ron was the only one to get over the 100 mark. I believe Shrey and I tied for 2nd or last with like 97 so it was super close. I like that the game play is so tight and every point matters in the end, no matter the strategy you are going for. Such a wonderful game!

Shrey was interested in learning Kreo. I am not sure he knew much about it actually. It is a co-op and Ron went over the rules pretty easily.

Poor shrey got dealt all the monster cards that he had to deal with during the game play. The timing just didn't work out for us this game. In the final round I ended up going last and I was the one with the planet card in hand so yea we got the planet card down but it was the final card played so we were 4 elements off from winning this one.

This game is super challenging for a co-op and I haven't ever fully won this one. I think the best I have gotten to was ending the game with planet card and 2 elements.

Shrey really liked this one and I think he would play again and request it. I am always happy to play this one. It is one of the few CMON games that I rather enjoy.

Next game I was sitting down to play with Shrey and Derek who both had not played Otys.

I really do keep teaching this game over and over. One day I will play this game and not have to teach it. Maybe. I really want to try with advanced rules and alternate tiles to see what they do.

So I ended up teaching this one to them and by a few rounds in they were catching on and understanding the mechanics.

I managed to secure the win in this game but it was a close one and I think they might have caught up to me in the next round. But I just barely hit the 18 mark and it was going to be questionable if someone had used an X to move things around. It happened to work out for me this time though.

I have been loving this game. Everyone I teach has also really enjoyed it. I am pretty sure I have taught everyone so, next time I should be able to play with different tiles.

Maybe I am actually getting better at this game, or maybe, I will start losing as people play it more and more. haha Still happy to play this one.

Next up Shrey and Derek were looking for a fast sort of easy game to play and I took out Colors of Kasane. I remembered most of the rules, but I needed the set up and explanation. Neither of them had played before and being able to compare it to Wind the Film was nice.

You can't move the cards around in your hand so it helps to explain that.

They bought caught on pretty fast and the game moved very quickly. 3 players is a good number since you play 3 rounds and it all works well.

I really do need to sleeve these cards though. The box is pretty tight, but this is my grail game so I better take good care of it!

I lost this game super hard. I was not getting the melds I was after and I kept getting burned card after cards. I still managed to get a decent score but Derek absolutely destroyed us this time. He got some pretty good melds to work out and he was up around 20 points and Shrey right behind. I think I was only about 14 points. This game is amazing!

They wanted to play one more game after that so I suggested The Game. dereke had never played this game before so I explained, probably poorly, but it is not a hard game to play for mechanics.

We actually did a fine job the first game. We managed to get through the draw pile and have about 7 cards remaining before we ended up busted. We were so close we felt the need to play again! So, we played a second game.

This time we were majorly unlucky and we could get a 10 jump to save us if we tried. At one point Derek had to make a 30 jump from like 80 to 50 or something totally insane like that. It was terrible.

We ended up with about 1/4th the deck remaining before we lost. There was no hope for us that game.

Joe was still around and Ron had to help out Shrey with his car so Joe and I played 2 games of Big Boggle.

I had just played the other week at a holiday party and was itching to play again. Since we needed something fast this fit the bill. I am not sure Joe actually knows how to play the game, but he still gave it a shot all while saying are you sure you can go diagonally? haha

Yah needless to say, I totally destroyed him in those games. But, it is always a great challenge. This is a classic game that I still love. I am happy to play this anytime.

Final game of the night was my fav Ginkgopolis. Joe was interested in the expansion, but we just talked about it at the end. I am thinking next time we play we will add in more of the expansion bits.

We did play with the hold a card rule that is pretty great.

Ohhhh this game was a tease. I was doing so well and the tiles were getting eaten up left and right. the game seemed to be over super soon. It was crazy how fast it was. I only managed to get down a couple engine building cards and a few end game scoring cards. I mean I felt we had half the turns as normal. It was a pretty low scoring game as well.

Of course the final round of the game Ron plops down this terrible tile that adjoined my 2 blue cities into one large one. So not only was I not scoring double for each city sector but now I had to share points with Ron!

It ruined me! A game I might have won I ended up losing by a few points to The Ron! Joe was a complete miss this game, I don't know if he remembered how to play the game. He might have been sleeping. He actually showed up at like 2pm and the sun was out so, this is very unlike Joe and confusing. It made for late night Joe to be rather humorous.

Always so excited to play this one!

I recently put a bunch of games up for sale on the market place and ended up selling a few. I wanted to play Dragon Castle once more.

This game Ron explained the "advanced" game play where we had some on going powers and end of game bonus scoring. we used an alternate board set up with the same rules applied to the game.

Man this game has such amazing quality and artwork and I would choose to not sell a game because of this. For me though, the game play is a bit of a yawn. I would happily play it again sometime.

I ended up winning this game because I managed to get a lot of good end of game scoring points and some rather large groups in game. Ron was just a few points behind me in the end though so it really could have been anyone's game.

Sad to see it go, but, Didn't feel the need to hang on to it, I hope it finds a better home.

Another game I was on the fence about was The Sanctuary: Endangered Species. This was perhaps the biggest disappointment artwork. Looking at the cover you are immediately engaged and pulled in wanting to know more. After that what is in the box is just super sad.

I played this 3 player pretty soon after Essen and found it to be okay. I wanted to try one more time before shipping it out. Ron and I played a fast 2 player game. I definitely liked it better the second time playing as a 2 player game.

It is just smoother and faster with 2 players even though there are more rounds. I felt like there was less screw over to happen with 2 players. I would be curious to see how it plays with 4 players, perhaps.

I don't mind this game but the set up is terrible since you have to specifically get all the right cards int eh right piles and the overall play for the game is just longer than you want it to be.

Happy to have played it again, but all in all it doesn't bother me that it has left the collection. It was fine. I would play it again if it showed up but it wont be one that I request.

This game Ron had a lot of multipliers for his penguins, so he ended up winning this game by a lot. He ended up getting more animals than I did, I tried to focus in but it didn't work since I was also trying to gain trees and lakes for the parks. the cards were not falling in my direction though and everything had a bad timing.

Ron liked the game well enough too. Happy we got in a final play.

Next on the table I wanted to test out the 2 player game of Noria.

I haven't decided if this is one to stay in the collection or not, it is really debatable. I like what it is doing in the game play but the rules are just terrible and horrible. Reallllllllllllllllllllllly bad. I played a few months ago and thought I could easily jump into the rules and guide Ron in how to play.

It only lead to a miserable game play because the rules are that bad. I had a hard time finding the answers I needed and having a clear path for explaining. Eventually, the game moved super fast and it was over before we knew it.

It works really pretty well with 2 players actually and we zipped through. There were times Ron was so frustrated with the game play he was looking in the rules for answer with little or no luck. I felt badly, but not too badly since he ended up winning. He even apologized.

All in all it was not the best play through but we talked it over and he felt he could easily teach the game after our play through. It really isn't that hard of a game, but the rules complicate it or something.

We both sort of like it and sort of not like it. We need to play again soon to get our true feeling wrapped around. So i am looking to try it again soon.

I needed to take some pictures of Raiders of the North Sea so I suggested a play of this game.

I really like this game the more I play it. We were not playing with expansions this time since I needed photos of just the base game for the Amazon pages.

I have to say it plays a lot faster with 2 players and no expansions. I felt we got maybe half of the turns than when playing with the expansions.

This game I actually won! Woohoo!! I took a commanding lead when I was all about the raiding and picked up some nice plunder along the way. I ended up not sending offerings to the chieftain since i needed the gold to go one more raids later.

I had a pretty solid ship of crew that lead me to glorious victories!

There were a couple of raids I was just show 1 or 2 military attacks on to get more points so that was sadness, but I pull through and stay ahead this game.

Pretty fun game. happy to play it more frequently now. I love the art and colors of this game it really pops!

Monday night we went to Joes and I convinced the guys to play one of the prototypes that I was asked to play again with more people.

Didn't go over that great and We will see about it. I still like the game but needs some more work with more players.

Next up I teamed with Ron in a game of Tichu.

It is always an amazing day when I get to play Tichu! Ron knows me and I know him and it makes this game easier and more difficult all at once.

Geoff is working on an app for people to download. He wants to record me saying grand! or Super Grand Tichu! with some sound effects for when it is successful or not. Hhaha I think it will be hilarious and I hope he does this!

Oh man I made one grand call this game and I should have made a second. I had one amazing hand and Ron ended up calling Tichu before me and I probably should have over called him. I had an amazing hand and there was no way for me to get the lead back to him as much as I wanted to. In an effort to not let Dan go out first, I ended up going out first over Ron's call. it was tough on my part to decided to do that but oh well.

We were still miles ahead. All the way until the final round where we needed only 5 points to break the line and Geoff and Dan took the win by just a few points. It was sad and I mis-played a hand or 2 and I know what I could have done otherwise. It was a bummer! We totally should have won that game. Boo!

Final game of the night was Tybor der Baumeister. New to me!

Yay more New to me games! This has been sitting on my shelf since Essen so it was about time that we got to playing it.

Dan read the rules and we played this fast drafting game.

You play the game over 4 rounds and each round you are drafting 5 cards to your tableau. You are recruiting for builders or for their player set collection and bonuses. When you have a builder in front of you, you can spend your turn to kill a card from the hand and you builder card to actually take a building from the center supply. They all have points on them and 3 extra points if you get the upgraded building. some buildings work towards the set collections you are working on or some give additional points for different types of building you have been collecting.

This game is my type of game. I love drafting and I love the ease of play. For me this works a lot better than Royal Goods. I understand it and I feel like i an building up to a goal I have. Works a lot better and I quite enjoyed it.

It didn't go over great with everyone, but we all agreed it was better than Royal Goods.

This game, I am pretty sure I didn't win. I didn't do that badly and managed to get a lot of points. I think Ron had an ill deserved victory, however. He was playing a card ability a bit wrong since it was supposed to be a one time deal and he was doing it each time. It is a major asterisk game for sure.

I can't wait to play again! For me, this is a keeper!

New to the Collection:
DragonStone Mine!
Tataraba and Forest
Dungeon Rush

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


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Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:35 pm
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Awesome Week To End 2017!! Happy New Years With All THE GAMES!

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

Hia Everyone!

This is probably my longest post eva!

First up- I made a Top 25 from 2017 of the 400 games I learned. It took a lot of my blogging time which is why this is so delayed!

Steph's Top 25 Games Learned in 2017

If you want to help and vote on my favorite picture from December, I am proud of it and thinking about putting it up for photo of the year- still considering that though:
Item for Geeklist "Best of December 2017 Monthly Photo Contest! Win Geekgold!!!"

Oh Man Christmas week into New Years means that I get to play all the games all the time! It is how it should be in life -everyday! I played about 50 games (well more) that I am talking about individually here... I am sure Ron is sick of me, but because we had a lot of time together we got to play lots of cool games. My friend Simon was in town and he joined us for lots of cool games!

Tuesday after Christmas was a friends day Simon was coming and Kim and Joel stopped by for some games. We first played Topiary.

I have been really enjoying this game and think it plays well with any number of people and it is super quick.

Kim and Joel didn't mind it while we waited for Simon to show up.

I think I am getting better the more I play because I totally destroyed them this time. They didn't even break 50 and I was well over. Ron didn't try hard enough to screw me over.

Great game and it is going to be available in a few weeks!

Simon showed up and in an effort to finish my Top 50 games played in December, I requested we all play Outpost.

To my delight, it was not a total disaster. Joel and Kim figured the game out quickly and I helped out Simon along the way. There was no real "runaway leader" until the very end when I had secured a major plant before anyone else could then there was no catching up to me, but by that point the game was over in a few rounds regardless.

It lasted about 90 minutes so it moved along nicely. No one felt terrible about how they played or anything and it was actually received very well. This made me super happy and it means they might be willing to play it again soon!

I don't get it either, but I quite enjoy Outpost and will always look forward to playing it. Weird, I know, but yay Outpost! Huge Economic game that requires a lot of math and recalculating weird numbers. Definitely a turn off for a lot of gamers I know.

Helps that I might have won too.


Because Kim was amused with the title Happy Salmon. We ended up playing this game twice. The first time was with all 5 of us.

Joel ended up winning the first game mostly because he cheated and just threw his cards down without really trying.

Ron pretty much hates the game like Joel did so the second game we played was just Me, Simon and Kim.

We were all loving it, of course- and I could have kept playing because I enjoy this one so much! It is just silly goodness!

The second game Simon was able to win. This game is super hard with 3 people since you want to be the one matching everyone each time. If the other 2 people just keep matching then there is nothing you can do!

So fun! Stupid Ron and Joel for hating such awesomeness.

I suggested Terra Mystica, but I don't play with the expansion and Joel said forget it if he can't play with the expansion. We decided to play The Voyages of Marco Polo & The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice. New to me Expansion

I was excited to play this game with the new expansions. I hadn't yet played it and I have seen it being played like 5 times in the past 2 months! I honestly wouldn't want to play this game normally with 5 people, but since you can, we ended up playing with 5. I was just eager to play the expansion.

The new Venice expansion adds in a cool new board that makes putting your houses down much easier. It is strictly for house placement and new spaces to do that. You get more houses to place, however. There are a few new boards that provide addition actions or benefits if you claim them for the round. There were also a few characters thrown in the mix as well.

I ended up playing my favorite character that gives gifts! Oh how I love that random stack of treasures that is usually my downfall in this game. It is so wonderful though.

This game I said to myself I wasn't going to worry about getting ym houses down. I always strive to put them all down. Yeah, of course I didn't listen to myself and ended up getting all my houses down.

My big mistake was letting Joel take a space before me. I was going to try and accumulate more $ before going to the space to turn in for points in the final round but of course Joel went there and ended up scoring 30 points from that. It was detrimental for me. I would have done better. Sure enough Ron still won the game though I would have been better off in the end with that space but still would not have won be the game.

All in all I quite enjoyed the expansion. I will always play with it from now on. I don't think I will play with 5 people again though. Never say never but I hope to never. It just runs much longer than it should.

I can't wait to play again!


In order to knock out a few more in the top 50 I wanted to play Meeple Circus.

This game is just so much fun, I have definitely been enjoying my plays of this, but it is losing some shine.

We still had a good time even though it is not really Joel's type of game, but he amused me and my goals.

Simon had a good time and we all laughed at him and his "it hurts it hurts" comments when his pieces all came tumbling down. My guys would just not stay up! I was too ambitious for my own good!

Ron ended up winning this game but Kim put up a good fight and was a close second.

Always happy to play this one! probably won't be in the top 50 for too much longer, but enjoyed it while it was here.


That night we all went out to dinner at my favorite Chilis! It was slammed packed.

Once we got back from Dinner I asked Simon if he was interested in playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig.

He had remembered playing this one last year and agreed! I had to play it for the Top50!

I have to say I win this game like 75% of the time, I guess for some reason, I can do spacial puzzles such a this along with appropriate auctioning. It works for me!

I love this game but decided the expansions aren't needed and I can get rid of the game completely since I purchased the Polish edition.

This game went very well for me and I had some pretty epic hallway placements that really helped me secure the victory.

All of the end game bonus cards I was collecting were the wrong things and I was picking those poorly, but because I had so many of them all of the small points added up. I ended up winning the game by a good 10-15 points. So it all worked out! love this game!


Since I knew Simon would love it, I suggested we play Ex Libris.

I guessed correctly! He absolutely adored this game. He got to play as the book worm and everything!

This game i tried a strategy of only playing on 2 shelves and man is that a hard one to follow through with. Each game before I was like oh I will try it then never ended up following through so this was a real accomplishment this game!

I have no recollection on who won this game. I know I did fairly well but Ron might have done better. I was just shocked I was able to follow through with the 2 shelves. And I got a cool pic of all the little meeples.

I Still needed to learn several games before the end of the year so I could make the 400 challenge I set for myself. We decided to play a game of Aquarius. New to me!

This is a card game that has been sitting on my shelf for a long while now. All of the pretty rainbow colors made me trade for it a while back. I was finally convinced to open it up and give it a play.

Ron insisted that I played the retheme version of this game with dragons. I had no idea about what he was talking about and don't think he was remembering correctly. I was not in that game. But, yes it appears to resemble the dragon game a lot.

I ended up winning because I had the perfect cards and players didn't activate their action cards fast enough to switch hands or anything. It is a pretty simple card laying game so it all worked out very well. Some mean cards makes you switch goals and hands of cards so we didn't see much of that this game since it all happened so fast.

Enjoyable, but not one I will get excited to play again.

Ron read the rules for Tiny Epic Galaxies. New to me!

I have to be honest here and say that I am generally not a big fan of the Tiny Epic games they have always underwhelmed me. But, this one had all the best ratings for the geek so I thought I had to check it out. I actually still like Quest more than this, though.

This one has a cool dice mechanic where you get to take actions based on the dice you roll and you get re rolls with the luck factor, but it is still dice.

You are using the dice to take actions which might be to fly one of your ships to another planet and advance to try and colonize it. Or you might spend culture or energy to advance your tech tracks. You have a lot of fun actions and there is definitely game here. I advise heavily on playing with 3 or 2 players because any more the downtime will just be unbearable.

You are racing the other players to collect 21 points first. It starts off pretty slow while everyone attempts to raise their tech which give more ships and dice as you level up.

In our game it ended up being pretty close and Simon was about to win the next turn but I was taking control of 2 planets and was able to secure the victory points needed to win. I think it came as a shock to both Simon and Ron since I was helping both of them try and fight each other ahhaha on the side I did my own thing, very suspiciously, of course.

We had a good time playing but had it been much longer I would have lost interest. I would definitely play again, not sure I need to hang on to it though.

Next to hit the table was Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics. New to me!

This is a drawing game and each round you are creating a story with with pictures and minimal words. You get to score for specific guidelines and will do better if you meet the guidelines.

As the game goes on the rounds provide more details and themes you are trying to incorporate our constant obsessions. Where as each round the themes coming out are different. You get more and more boxes to make your stories longer.

The game starts off pretty easily with only 2 boxes and you have your obsessions. So mine were Nail care, surveillance Equipment, Desire for Justice. I were to get bonus points if I could connect everything at least once in the frames. Throughout the game you will always get these points for these obsessions when used. You can also only use word bubbles 3 times in the frames even when you have 8 boxes to fill! The Theme cards have guidelines and general points, some might have points for whomever writes the biggest bubble or used the most rainbows (I liked that one!!)

I should have used marker when drawing my images because you can't really see how my drawings actually came out! They were amazing if I do say so myself.

I particularly like the office white collar theme when 2 girls having a convo about getting a manicure and then the jealous one shot the other. Haha that was fun.

My titles for the strips were quite excellent too. The boys didn't bother to write a title... I should have gotten bonus points for that alone!

1. The Tragedy of the Missing Nail
2. Everyday Office
3. The Rainbow Nailer
4. Downton Chronicles

My pen name was Scripted Punkin

Ron was not so clever as I, nor Simon. While they both scored higher than me in the final scoring, I really won the game, if you know what I mean.

The game ran a bit long because we were giving 8 minutes per round, but you really need time to come up with a concept and plan out and draw everything! This is quality stuff!

I had a pretty great time playing this game and look forward to fining other who would want to play. This game won't do well with a lot of people, especially in my group, but I will be sure to find a few takers to play again! I had a great time coming up with concepts and stories. I try to be witty which is my downfall.

Cool game.

Simon and I then played 2 games of Codenames Duet.

I told Simon about this game earlier in the year and he of course plays it all the time. His skills did not help us this time as we tried to go to Paris, but we tried and tried again.

We just did not sync up this time too well. It was OK though we tried and that is what counts! Maybe Ron and I will make progress in that map this year, so far we are just not doing very well and picking what seems to be the most challenging ones.

Joe and Derek showed up and we got a 5 person game of Scythe & Scythe: Invaders from Afar & the NEW Scythe: The Wind Gambit. New to me Expansion!

This was very exciting news to finally play with the Wind Gambit expansion. I had been looking forward to this for a while and Derek got his copy all nice and painted for us! Fully equipped with cotton ball clouds! Those ships really stand out and are super cool! Each game they might be doing different things.

For us this game the ships were carriers and could transport 2 workers. When you take the move action you can move the ship up to 3 spaces across any land types for 1 movement point. It is an easy way of getting around and you can be safe in the sky!

The game also gives a new ending condition when met. We had the ending where if all of the encounters leave the board then they are immediately refilled- if they are all removed a second time then the game will end.

This game I was hoping for MORE ENCOUNTERS!! Bah, but people weren't playing for the encounters, which was dumb, so yes they eventually refilled but then the game ended.

It was just a mess for me this game. I was red and just tried something new with the ships and it didn't work that well for me at all. I ended up passing several turns in a row for $2 because that was the best option. I was hoping the encounters were going to clear sooner than they did, but Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooope.

We were all playing the base characters and Ron was internal Blue the whole game. Ron took some guys and his airship to the middle and built a mech and sat there where no one challenged him all game. His military was high and he had a ton of cards. I had high military but could nto have beaten him. Joe made an aggressive early move to get his military stars then we all beat up on Joe, mostly because it is funny to do this and we could. Simon was black and he didn't know the game well enough and I should have helped him a bit more.

Ron took home the victory this game and I was a distant 3rd. It really should have ended 3 turns earlier than it did which is why I did so poorly.

It was an interesting game and I look forward to exploring with the expansion more. And now I hear there is a new expansion announced. #mewants!


Derek had wanted to learn Photosynthesis and Simon already knew this one.

Joe was on a phone call so we 4 played this game and I explained. I like how simple this game if to explain and play. There is something really great about this game. Simon had recently gotten this game as a gift and so I was proud that he already knew the game. I mean it is a game about trees and he is a botanist... makes sense.

Ron and I were neck and neck until the very end. I was just barely screwed over and needed 1 sunlight to chop the final tree down. Ugh it was heartbreaking! I would have stomped on Ron score had I just ONE SUNLIGHT! It was a mess and super sad. Ron ended up beating me by a few points because of this.


While Joe finished up his phone call there was a very fast game of Sundae Split.

It is a pretty great filler and super easy to teach so always enjoyable to try and outwit some folks.

This time I out witted NO ONE. I NEARLY got Ron to take the known information so I could have the glorious hidden ice cream worth so many points. Ugh he decided to take the unknown and yeah, that was basically game.

I had so many veggies at the end of it and boom super lost that on. Always happy to play this one.

Perhaps I knew it was a bad idea but we all wanted to see Joe C play Feelinks.

This game you are randomly matched with people and you are playing your answers and trying to guess theirs. You get points if they manage to guess yours and bonus if you both guess correctly.

Of course we played this and no one was able to guess what Joe would pick for any of these. he likes to really KNOW the question at hand and the whole story behind the question.

So each question Joe would pose 30 other questions to help justify and get clarity for his answers. It is so Joe to do this.

Needless to say I didn't lose! Ron completely won this game. After reading the rules we found out we were playing slightly wrong. You are supposed to only play one round- so one each picking a question. We played until someone made it enough points to run the track so it was several rounds before the end. It is such a fun game though and always interesting to see what people actually thing about a subject.

Derek had to leave but I convinced Joe and Simon to play a late night game of Ticket to Ride: Märklin.

It had been YEAR since I played this and even longer for the TTR base game. I played and acquired this during my first trip to Essen 2015 on the tour. I liked this TTR the best I ended up getting rid of the base US version of the game.

There is a nice gamers element to this one and you have to work on multiple routes to scoot your passengers along and collect bonus in game points.

I ended up completing 10 routes (or more..) this game and completely dominated everyone. I was nearly lapping the last player even. Oh man it was such a runaway game. Everyone decided to play this game like they would the US map and you really can't do that. You want to get trains down and the passengers down so you can score big points on the board. But to do that you need tracks. I started laying my tracks early and often and managed to secure about 60 points from passengers.

I had a great time playing this one as you can image. I am pretty smug. It felt good to win by a hefty amount though. I had a great time revisiting this game. Good times.

The next day I found myself explaining Gentes to Simon and Ron who hadn't played before. Simon was interested because there was a tree on front.

This game just didn't seem to make much sense to Simon and he was having a difficult time figuring it out. Ron did okay and basically understood it and could turn around and teach it if requested.

This game I had a pretty strong combo of cards and managed to get the bonus for playing 8 cards first. The income I got I was able to use effectively. Simon and Ron found it pretty easy to acquire coins and was never really short on Money. I had managed to get rid of all of my cubes from my home board and that game me a ton of extra actions which was awesome.

Having played before gave me a leg up for sure and I did end up winning the game. Ron ended up liking it fairly well so that was good. I am glad I was able to retain the rules so well and easily teach this one. I am still happy to have it and play it. I do enjoy the mechanics of game and look forward to playing it again more!

Simon really wanted to play Rainbow Rage. How could I deny him that? He was shocked that the rainbow cards were out of order, HOW DARE THEY!?

Hhaha I explained it was the game. I had the same feeling when I saw the cards as well. But, it is a speed game after all to collect parts of the rainbow!

I stomped on Simon this game. i had that rainbow completed the first chance that it could be. He was like buh wha? I left him in the dust. He managed to get a few pieces but I had this game locked in since it hit the table.

I am just faster!

Next I taught Simon how to play a few key games from the year that I thought he should learn. I was not wrong, he ended up loving them!

First on the table was Sentient. My #4 game of the year. I just love everything about this game because it is so interesting. It can be mean if you start really getting into the game and plotting out where to go so people won't get majority bonuses at the cost of you not scoring a card. Might be worth it in the long run. There is a lot of depth in this one that might not meet the eye in the first play.

Simon saw it an immediately started screwing me over as best he could. I showed him a bit of meanness back when I took control of the factory that he needed and it cost him a good deal of points at the end. This was enough for me to squeeze out a victory only by a few points though. It was a tight race until the end and well played by Simon!

Always happy to play this one.

Next up I knew a game Simon would LOVE was Sagrada. Again I was not wrong. He absolutely went crazy for it and it ended up being his favorite new game he learned with me.

So yeah, this went very well and we each scored about the same for the objectives. I did much better with my secret color goal though and ended up winning by a fair amount. He was able to complete all of the goals though and nearly completed his window to perfection.

I hope he enjoyed this one enough to go out and buy, since I know he will get to play it. Very cool game.

FunGroup!! I brought Simon along to Fun Group and the first game we played was 4p Yokohama.

I was teaching Simon, Jess, and Scott how to play for some it was more of a reteaching.

It went over very smoothly and Simon said he understood this game a lot easier than Gentes which I think is funny because I think Gentes is the easier game to teach and play.

This is fairly straight forward and the TMG version helps with icons and keeping it clear. I was able to get out all of my houses as I normally do.

Because no one really fought me for control of the Church I got some easy points there.

I ended up winning but it was a pretty close game in the end. It was a very low scoring game. I thought I was able to end it a turn earlier but I needed like a buck or something which prevented me from ending it, but I did manage it the turn after.

It was a great time and I just love this game! I really should play it more, it hasn't hit the table in quite a while.

Most people left after that game but we had 6 players for a game of Show Manager.

I was teaching several people how to play and this game is a classic and easy to explain so it was not a problem. Simple drafting/ push your luck game. You are collecting sets to put on the plays and trying to get the best score for each play. It is best with 6 players!

This game I did surprisingly well, not like the last time when I managed to get the best score ever and destroy everyone, but I did alright this time.

In the final turns my really good shows got out beat and out beat again! This really put my score lower than I thought it would be.

Jared ended up winning this game, I call blasphemy! It was a good game though and we all had a good time.

Friday I invited Star over so he, Ron and I could play and EPIC GAME of The North Sea Runesaga. New to me expansion!

Oh man was it ever epic! This is an expansion that is played over the course of the 3 games in The North Sea Trilogy! You start with Shipwrights of the North Sea and then play Raiders of the North Sea and finish it off with a game of Explorers of the North Sea.

This would be the first time playing all of these games back to back. What Runesaga does is tie the games in because you are trying to collect runestones each game to become the epic victor and Chieftain at the end of the saga. Each game there will be 3 common goals to try and accomplish and whomever does a goal first will claim a runestone. In the first 2 games if you get one then you will get a small bonus in the next game when taking an action you might get a reward of sorts.

The Runestones also have symbols on them and if you collect 3 identical symbols then you will get to claim a special inscription runestone. There is one for each of the 3 symbols to be claimed as soon as someone manages it.

At the end of each game the winner will get 2 face down runestones to add to their pile and second place might get one if it ended up being a "close" second. These runestones all add up at the end and whomever has the most will win.

In Shipwrights of the North Sea, Star was learning it and Ron and I had just played recently so it was easy to teach and play. We played with the mini expansion board which you are supposed to play with. This board certainly helped the game out a lot and offers some more actions you could take on your turn. Definitely use it if you are playing the game. It should be apart of the basic rules.

the game went on longer than it should for sure. I was not getting the materials I needed to set my sail out, and I was focused on trying to get the building runestone which worked out. If you are working to get builds though you are not working to get ships and ships is how the game ends. So, while you don't have to focus on ships it might make the game last longer.

Ron won this game and got a bunch of Runestones. I got one and the benefit for the next game was when going to the treasury I could draw a card after I take the action which works out since you are discarding a card at that location in Raiders. It was a cool power I used several times.

So the next game Raiders of the North Sea we ended up playing with Raiders of the North Sea: Hall of Heroes & Raiders of the North Sea: Fields of Fame. New to me expansions!

These expansions were new to everyone and I read the rules to Hall of Heroes and Ron read the rules for Fields of Fame. Both expansions add in quite a bit of material and now this game plays up to 6 players adding 1 additional play with each expansion. Wow that is a lot of people and I would probably not suggest playing with so many people. The expansions add in lots of col features, like in Hall of heroes once a space is raided a quest gets added and on the new board you can go and claim the quest by spending cards from your hand and there is a small set collection element and bonus end game scoring for the quest tiles. I actually liked this expansion quite a bit, but will tack on a good chunk of time to the game play. Fields of Fame brings new tokens to the bag called Jarls and you will have to have a face off with a Jarl after you do a raid at a site with one. This can be a bit of push your luck and I was super unlucky. It is a cool expansions that adds another fame track which will get you a lot of end game points. There is also a few more spaces to raid. This expansion doesn't tack of as much time as Heroes did.

We were all relearning this game, but once we got going it was all very familiar. It was over a 2 hour game though and for 3 players that is quite a lot of time. It was because no one was really focused on raiding as much as other things. I was doing a lot more quests and exploring the new expansions than I was at raiding villages. You need to raid villages to progress and end the game!

I ended up losing pretty badly. This was because I was terribly unlucky with the Jarls and kept losing to them and it was just not good for me. I should have been more secure when taking a space with the Jarl tokens. Star was going to win but then Ron FORGOT that he was going to win and actually won that game. Ron was a jerk Star still managed to get the close second place though.

Ron actually had to leave for a family get together but Jess showed up for the final game in Ron's place. Ron was already at 7 runestones and far in the lead in the epic game.

Jess showed up and we got right into Explorers of the North Sea. I ended up teaching the game to both Star and Jess and we got right to it. This is a pretty easy game to pick up and play so it was all pretty natural for them to understand and play.

I did much better this game than the last game so that worked out. i was just trying to get a 3rd outpost on an island for the last runstone so I could then get another runestone for the set collection. NOPE I was just a tile short of this and man I was SO CLOSE. It wouldn't have meant becoming the ultimate chieftain but it would have been a lot closer in the end. I also got SUPER ripped off in the end with the tie breaker of Explorers. Start and I tied for 55 points but because he had killed more vikings he won the tie breaker. I think that is super dumb because those viking ships are all random and to kill off your guy isn't always an option. Ugh that was annoying. Cost me a runestone!

Jess didn't managed to help Ron's Runestone score but Ron still managed to win the epic game with his 7 runestones.

I had a great time playing the saga and I have to say I quite enjoyed the runestone expansion. The Riaders expansions were nice addition. I have to play the game more often and not in a long epic sitting like this. I think everyone had fun so many I can do a live playthrough of it all one day with Ron could be interesting.

When we were waiting on Jess, Star and I played (very badly) a game of Sapiens.

I picked it mostly because I hadn't played all year and it was right there. I had forgotten a lot of the rules but it was easy to recall.

Once the game was about over I looked over at Stars board and I had failed to notice earlier that he was placing his dominoes all wrong. You can't touch mis-matching sides and he had been doing it all game. We just decided to call the game with no score. He would have won had we kept playing - mostly because he was playing incorrectly.

It was fine though my bad. I had done insanely well, but we still had tiles to get through and there was nothing I could do but sit there while he played since I had no legal plays. It was a bit weird.

I don't mind this game, but I am not sure I have to hang on to it.

After our game of Explorers I knew Jess was interested in learning Path of Light and Shadow. Star didn't know anything about it but he is always interested in learning new games.

This game is pretty straight forward to teach once you pay it. I didn't have a problem and was able to teach based off of the player aids. It is just the combat that is tricky but there are player aids that explains it all pretty well too, that is nice.

It was bit of a slow game with everyone reading cards adn trying to figure out a strategy and what to do. Star picked Mercy track early and stuck with it pretty well. I was trying out cruel and went with it. Jess was a bit of a mixed bag. Because she couldn't commit fully and quickly she ended up not playing as well and scoring as high.

I still managed to absolutely destroy them so it goes to show experience with this game will definitely help you. I took over a few territories early for some fast early points. Since I was evil it was only easier as the game went along to gain other areas as well. This scored me a lot of points. I might have double lapped everyone in points which was a pretty high scoring game.

On the plus side I think everyone enjoyed the game and they will both play the game again. One of my favorites from the year.

Star had one more game in him and Jess is always up for another so we played Otys.

they had both heard (from me) that this was a cool game. I really enjoy it and they were both interested in learning it.

Super easy to teach this one and it is just that one diver that no one can remember that mimics another players board. I always teach this game with the alternate rule where you pay the player when you use that ability and then your diver has to float to the top unless you pay a battery to keep it. I think it keeps the game interesting and no one has questioned me on it yet.

This game was a neck and neck experience. I managed to break out the win just barely on my turn hitting the 18 points and I thought for sure someone would be able to score a big card at the end and pass me. Turns out they both needed one more turn to secure the win, so voila! I win!

It was a great game! One of my favs from the year too.

Final game of the night I ended up teaching Jess how to play the classic The Castles of Burgundy. She hadn't played! How is that possible!?

I had to correct that and in the middle of the game sometime Ron showed up. She picked up the game pretty easily enough and we played though.

I went for the animals this game and did pretty well with them. I managed to complete 4 regions for big points and had some end scoring buildings. Jess had all of the end scoring buildings I wanted, but she didn't have the buildings to support a major comeback. She was basically winning the whole game until the final rounds where I took the lead. She ended up probably 30-40 points behind me in the end.

She loved the game though so I think that is a success!! It is quite an awesome game for sure.


Saturday Ron and I played a few games before seeing a movie and going to a holiday party. We started the morning with a fast game of Star Realms: Colony Wars.

This game was not on my list of played games for the year and I had to rectify it by playing it!

We had like all of the cards meshed together and needed to first sort them all out which was a pain. I really need to try and keep then separated, I think someone else played my copy and put it back all wrong.

I am not used to these cards at all so I didn't know what I was looking for or hoping for. We clearly need to play this game more.

I could not get a combo so save my life. Don't do the rainbow deck like me. I kept buying these puny (spelling?) bases that didn't do anything for me, so they were essentially clogging up my deck and I will have to try and avoid them next time.

Ron got killer hands towards the end and managed to pluck me out of existence with ease. That was a bummer.

He got me! Boo!

Since I had managed to miss playing KLASK all year it was time that I went head to head with the Ron in this game.

Oh man it was a mess for both of us. We were tied all game and there was even one round that was uncleared. I took a pic, but I definitely got the GOAL before the rest happened. My pawn flew across the table and I got magnets tacked on so it is a bit unclear who won. I declared I won though.

I am pretty sure I ended up losing this game but it came down to the final round we each needed one score to win. It was a close one. It should have been me!

I went to see The Greatest Showman it was great! Wonderful music!

That night we went to Joes for his annual holiday party. There are a lot of families that show up and we get to play a bunch of party games.

We started the day with a 7 player game of Telestrations. We actually played 5 times. It was a great time, this game is just so much fun. You have to really get creative with your phrases though to keep it changing as the clues get passed around.

Half of the fun of this game is to see what the phrases turn into at the end.

The kids enjoyed it and we all had some laughs. Some really talented artists in the group. I particularly liked my penguin and potato clue.

But I also later said "the greatest show" since I had just seen the movie. I liked the tent drawing.

Gotta play this game more!

Next up we played a 7 player game of Dixit with Dixit: Odyssey. Odyssey allows for your to play with up to 12 people and can be a bunch of fun. I have the expansion but haven't opened it yet.

I did pretty much the same as always. Really badly. I was 7th place this game. I mean everyone just played a better game than me. I had all the worst cards for the clues that were given. Though I had a good one once but everyone had a good card for trapped. So, alas- Steph continues to lose this game. I had a great time playing this one.

Ron reminded me that Dominic had won this game. It was close between several people though and I was like half way back.

Next up was a 4 player game with Ron, Derek and Joe and we played a fast game of Qwixx gemixxt.

I hadn't played it all year so it was about time I did! We played with the funky color sides of the board. Always happy to roll some dice with Qwixx.

This game I was marking a whole bunch of things and playing pretty well. Ron rolled snake eyes on his turn and I closed the blue row and Joe managed to close the Green row! Noooooo So it ended then and there. With the final tally I did really well!

It was an even sweeter victory because I beat the Ron by 1 point!!! Boom!! Happy to have gotten to play!

In an effort to keep Riley and his GF Nancy around I asked for them to play a game of Pit.

Not my favorite game but they hadn't played before and it is a game people should play at least once. I think I own it somewhere in the basement

It was a fast game with no bull or bear cards so it went pretty quickly. I got a lot of fast sets and spent the next 5 minutes looking for one card.

But, Ron still managed to ring the bell first and get the cards he needed for the complete set.

I am pretty sure I didn't convince people to like this game. I don't mind the game and am happy to play it once a year.

The kids wanted to play Big Boggle. I nearly brought this game to the party so we could easily play so I was delighted when it was suggested.

Since it was with the kids I let them play for 3 letter words and I stuck to 4 letter words with Scott. I did very well but Lauren was doing very well too I think she caught up to me in points in the final round since I was just having a harder time.

We played 4 games and I am reminded how much I truly love boggle. Oh I wish I played this more and Scrabble. There was a time when I just LOVED Scrabble and studied words and man I read the book Word Freak and saw the Documentary Word Wars. I love word games so I am happy to play them when I get the chance.

In an effort to complete the Top 50 I asked Ron to play Tribe when we got home. This was such a shocking and interesting game the first play and I was looking forward to playing again.

It is a game that I want to love so much but the complex rules and scoring keep me from playing with other people. There is a delicate nature to the pieces so there is that factor as well.

Even when we were playing again, I was in the rules the whole time looking for the correct rule to the play. It is quite a pain to get it all correct. There needs to be a new rule set to the game to make it more playable. I just love the look of the game so much. It is more interesting to see the formations you can create with the figures.

It reminds Ron of Telestrations in that you play for the fun of it not the scoring. This is pretty much true. I got a lot of cool pictures! I really do love the game, but it is not intuitive.

Still planning on keeping it around and maybe I can think of a better scoring plan.


Sunday was game day and the last day of the year. I had to get in as many games as I could that I rated 8 and above that I hadn't played in 2017. I did a pretty great job too!

I started the morning with a solo game of Coffee Roaster.

I waited far too long to pull the final batch so I didn't do as optimally as I would have liked. I had forgotten to use the flavor bonuses early game so I could have done better with those.

It turned out okay though, I still managed to get a decent score for intermediate victory.

This game is super great solo play and keeps you interested while you are playing. If you play solo games at all I think you would really enjoy this one for a quick press your luck fest. Glad I got to play in 2017.

Several people were showing up and i pulled in a 5 player game of Parade. A really wonderful card game where you are trying to take the least amount of cards and points at the end of the game.

You are playing cards to the end of the line to try and stay protected. It is super wonderful and I am so happy to have brought this to the table again.

It was a bit rough start to the game because I had forgotten how it all plays out. It came back soon enough.

Kim and I did very well this game and Joel and Ray did realllllllllllllllllllllllly badly! It makes it easier when other people do badly I had like 2 cards for the final count before we had to play cards from hand. Kim was doing well all game but in the final turns picked up a few extra cards so I still ended up winning.

It was so great I ended up teaching it again later that night (Jan 1) so it will show up in next weeks blog.

We had a bunch of people so I suggested Polterfass. One of my most favorite push your luck dice games. The dice are barrels and are just the coolest!

I am just not very good at this game. I started off the first round with -13 because we all guessed too much and I simply asked for too much beer. Yah, not my best play. I made up some ground in the next few rounds after that but it was already a lost cause for me by that point.

Kim took us all by surprise and won that game! I was glad she won and not Ron or Dan, so that was awesome.

Nicely done Kim! I still lost.

Another on the list to play was Loony Quest. I really like this game and we don't play it nearly enough. I really want to try the expansion out which I have had for who knows how long -SUPER LONG. So hopefully by playing this game I will respark some interest in trying out the expansion soon.

Several people hadn't played before but we played world 5 anyway and Shrey jumped in mid way through but he was fine since people were still at 0 points.

Level 5 was proving to be hard for some folks to grasp.

I did pretty well and there were several rounds where I was the only one to score points. haha But once I started getting bugs and bananas thrown in my direction I lost momentum and that damn fly is so annoying and screwed me up super bad and I score 0 points that round.

I think I still ended up winning the whole thing but it was a close one for whomever was second.

It was lots of fun and I like the one where you have to remember where to make the dots then you cover the image. That is so much fun! I love seeing how badly everyone does! Or good!

I had really wanted to play Trajan. I played it last December with Ron and it was forever ago. Ron doesn't particularly like this game because I always win.

I ended up teaching Shrey and Ray how to play. Shrey had last played it Jan 1 2013 so it had been a long while for him. I thought it was interesting that he had played it almost 5 years to the day.

This game is just so great. There is a lot to love about this one and it is super thinking. You have to plan out your movements with the pawns and where the colors go. It can be super tricky. I love each individual action you might be able to take and how ti all comes together. There is so much awesomeness in this game.

Ray pulled out into an early lead catching a lot of points with shipping goods. I focused on the house actions a bit and Shrey was handling the Military. I picked up several end game scoring tokens for the influence track but they ended up not scoring as much as I might have liked. I got a lot of final round points for the set collection and final boat shipments I made and that was enough to win me the game. I don't think it was that close either. I think Ray got a bit diverted and Shrey might have as well.

It can also come down to where your pawns are and if you can take the actions you need/want to take. It is crazy how fast the final rounds are when you start having to take a 6 or 7 action move and bang half a quarter is over.

Love this game!

I HAD TO play Mombasa next. It was the final game of the #top50 I had to play to complete for the month.

It was teh girls table this time and me Leanne, Jess, Kim all played Mombasa.

No one had played before and I taught the game. They were a little glassy eyed by the end of the explanation but I think they handled it pretty well. I tried to help them with their hand management and ideas for play.

Several people worked on the white track and I stayed away and did my own thing. No one really focused in on something specific. I think Jess made it the furthest on a few track since she was bumping them the most with her bonus spaces. She wasn't pushing out the companies though so it wasn't necessarily helping her.

I made sure to pick up some cards that gave me some shares in the companies that were doing well.

The book track is really the most difficult to explain in this game but I helped the through it as the game went on. A few rounds before the end of the game i managed to get my book track space and gem track space available to me so I was plying 5 cards per turn and that was really great for me.

I don't think the other ladies were able to play more than 3 cards, until the final round when I know Leanne was able to.

I ended up scoring about 50 points in books because the last turn was weird and I couldn't do much else so it turned into a book fest with some minor expanding. No one thought to go heavy on the company expanding in the final turn so I pretty much had final say for that. It worked out for Cairo.

I was able to mold the win this time with 133 points. Jess managed to get just over 100 for second place.

I think people liked it, well I know Jess liked it and Leanne is super easy to please. Kim might have been overwhelmed a bit with it and probably didn't enjoy it as much. Everyone hung in there though through the end.


Shrey brought along a new game I was itching to play since I saw a pic on Instagram. This is the new GMT game called Welcome to Centerville. New to me!

There is a reason I don't post any top games of 20XX becasue there is always a possibility that I will like something MORE when I learn it on Dec 31. You have to wait all the way through DEC 31!!!

This was my #400 New to me game I learned this year. What if it had been my BEST GAME Learned? This is why I waiting until Jan to post my list.

Oh man when Shrey was teaching us and in the first few rounds of the game I was totally digging this game and I felt that it would make the top 25 list right off the bat.

By the end of the game I was like opposite that, so for me, right now, this game had a large range of mixed emotions. I really want to play again soon.

So in this game you get to roll the dice on your turn. You get up to 3 re rolls, but you can't re-roll the dice if it shows a timer. The time is what advances the round marker and there are 3 rounds.

With the dice you are trying to get sets of symbols to help get more presence on the board in different areas. You want to get status in the different city areas, you might want to claim parks and tree areas or status on that track to get points. There is also different offices you want to control which give you bonus actions and majorities. Sometimes your dice will have education and you will get different job status tokens which will score at the end of the game.

Needless to say, you are trying to do different things and have majorities in different areas to get max scoring points for reputation and for your wealth. You have 2 scoring markers one for each reputation and the other for wealth. Whichever token you score the least with will be your final score. You want to try and be rounded in your areas for victory.

In our game I was working to gain control in the offices, but kept getting bumped every time I blinked. It was royally annoying. Meanwhile, Jess was building up her empire in the city areas and there was nothing we could do to drop her down. The final round I think she scored max for each city quarter and just completely dominated us all. It is noted that you should not let one person do this or you will all lose terribly. I am nearly sure Jess lapped me in points or was wicked close to. Shrey was a distant second place.

It was apparent going into the 3rd round that we needed to stop Jess, but there was nothing we could do if we couldn't roll the right dice. There were other things Shrey and I wanted to do and Kim was just doing whatever she wanted so she wasn't really paying much attention.

Anyway, once Jess demolished us it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for the game. But, I do want to give it a fair second shot and added it to my wishlist- or maybe Shrey will bring it back. I definitely want to play again because it has a lot of stuff I like in it. I have my doubts though.

Jess had never played Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. Shrey didn't love this game but was willing to play if we added in the expansion which I really enjoy. Kim was already getting tired (I didn't think she would make it until midnight...) but she learned along with Jess.

The game is not very hard but learning pretty later after an already hefty day of games can be a bit much. This game dragged a bit and I think it was getting to Jess a bit. Between Jess and Kim who were like falling asleep it went on a bit longer than it should.

I think by the end Jess was starting to get it and understand what she should be doing but I am not sure it was enough to convince her to like this game. It was very unclear.

I think Shrey liked it well enough with the expansion but still not a fav of his.

This game was a bit harsh with the penalties of the expansion. Trying to get up the tracks and having to pay an extra resource or collecting a skull and having the cost of moving down a god track. Ouch! I planned well enough to meet all of the minimum requirements and managed to not get hit with negative points.

I was the only one to pick up a wonder for end game scoring and did pretty well with that and ended up in my normal 75 point range without The Ron in major far ahead lead.

Regardless I love this game and I am glad we played it. Might not have gone over so well so late at night but still glad we tried.

Final game of 2017 was Thebes. To my surprise Shrey had never played it and it was a game he should definitely play. Everyone should definitely play this.

So I went over the rules pretty quickly and they aren't hard you just have to get into them and start. I timed the game length pretty well since right when we were done it was countdown to the new year!

Oh man my luck in this game was poor. First pull I had like 5 pulls and they were all sand. Jess had a similar first pull experience. Shrey was the lucky one that was getting all the cool treasures!

My luck turned around the next set up pulls but I was still getting all middle of the road values. I am actually not really sure how many of those treasure points I had. I managed to head back to do more research and I won 3/5 majorities so that scored me a bunch of end game points so I didn't lose by too much.

Shrey was the only one collecting the sets so he scored pretty highly and won the game. Jess was right on his tail though and came in second. It was a great way to end the year in this push your luck game.

Why must I always pull so much sand!!

NEW YEARS To Be Continued... Next week!

I challenged myself to play my top 50 games before the end of the year!

So far I am 50/50 complete


New to the Collection:

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


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All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Fri Jan 5, 2018 2:11 pm
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Steph's New to Me December List!

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

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

This year I have made the goal of learning 300 365 400 games!

December List

Disclosure: Not going to issue a rating for the Renegade Games

1. Montana:

Solid euro game to manage and convert resources into other resources. You are racing to place your tents down faster than any other player and whomever can do that quickly enough wins! Nothing much interesting for me happens in this game. It was fine to play and I like the look of the game better than the actual game. I would play again.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

2. Gauner raus!:

Interesting deduction game where shared common knowledge to try and figure out what people are holding in their hands. Look forward to playing again soon.

7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

3. Coldwater Crown:

Not really into fish but this game place was easy and nice. I didn't find it complex at all, so perhaps too easy? For 2 players the game play dragged on far too long. Perhaps it is more interactive with more than 2 players but for me that player count didn't work. Not really interested in revisiting this one.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

4. That's a Question!:

Simple Party game. Got some laughs from it, not sure it stands out from other party games but I would play again for sure.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

5. Fast Forward: FORTRESS:

Not a game for me. Just played the basic first level of the game to see how it works. Not interested in playing it further. I didn't find many choices in this game.

4/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

6. Professor Evil and The Citadel of Time:

Vibrant colors had me interested in this game. It is extremely hard co-op game and I had a great time playing it. If you are a fan of co-op games I think this is one you should check out.

6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

7. Legends of the Hidden Temple:

Brings back memories of watching the show on TV. Nostalgic for anyone my age for sure. The games are all very simple and follow the structure of the tv show well. Series of mini games that needed more development.

3/10 After 1 play (Owned)

8. Shipwrights of the North Sea:

Comes with a mini expansion that you have to play with, so be sure to play with it. I like the card drafting aspect of this game. Can be a bit harsh which is why you need to mitigate that with the common board for additional actions.

-/10 After 2 plays(Owned)

9. Tokyo Highway:

Wanted to love this so much more than I do. Got my favorite picture from the year, however! In the end abstract dexterity is something I enjoy, but didn't work for me in this game for some reason. I felt there was nothing I could do to catch up. Didn't care either way so I just found it boring, I suppose.

5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

10. Dark Castle:

very interesting 1v1 game where you are trying to know the hidden information, but you are also trying to set collect gems. Reminded me of Mystery of the Temple a bit, but this is only 2p and faster. I quite enjoyed this one.

7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

11. Blend Coffee Lab.:

This was a pretty big disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were raised because I love Wind the Film and Coffee Roaster so much. Game play is awkward and I felt I didn't really have much choice and was at the mercy of the cards handed to me. Just doesn't work like I want it to.

4/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

12. Carcassonne: Gold Rush:

Well I am a sucker for Carcassonne. I really enjoyed this one but not as much as some others. I like the hidden scoring aspect of the mine tokens. it basically plays out like Carc though so you know what you are getting into.

7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

13. Charterstone:

Just played the first level of this game. Not much to report yet but I am pumped and ready to go with how it turns out. Rating this one High because I have high hopes!

8/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

14. Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama:

I love Avenue - therefore I love this. Simple as that. I don't need all of the extra added rules that aren't needed.

7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

15. Family Feud:

Simple party game for the family who hates games. Played a bunch on Christmas and it worked okay. Crap components but all around enjoyable.

5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

16. Aquarius:

Simple abstract card game. I think there was a re-theme after this released, which I didn't play. This was a find game, not sure I have to play again but harmless.

5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

17. Tiny Epic Galaxies:

Seemed to be everyone's favorite of the Tiny Epic series. I like rolling lots of dice, so that worked for me. I thought it was clever, but nothing really captivated me enough to want to play again. I still like Quest more.

7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

18. Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics:

Wow if I could draw this game would be so much better. I have interesting ideas and my comics were genuinely better than the others, but man I can't draw! I had a great time playing, though a bit long. I would try and play again with gamers who like to draw and come up with stories.

6/10 After 1 play (Owned)

19. Welcome to Centerville:

Final New game of the year and I am super mixed on this. I really like what was going on in this game. Right off the bat I was like wow this is awesome. As the game went on, it was clear that there was a very big runaway leader problem and there was nothing we could do. Knowing what I know now, I wonder how that will change for my next play. Interested in playing again.

7.5/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

New to me Expansions!

1. Five Tribes: Whims of the Sultan:

I quite enjoyed this expansion when I played. Adds a lot more meeples and tiles. Man the board is HUGE! It also means the game will likely not end due to running out of meeples which is great. I only play 2p so don't need the 5th player color but man I really liked what this had to offer.

8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

2. The Voyages of Marco Polo: Agents of Venice:

Really don't want to play with 5 players but happy it supports 5 players nonetheless. I like that you can get your houses down in another way and it opens up more spaces. Very enjoyable expansion!

8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

3. Scythe: The Wind Gambit:

More awesomeness for Scythe, don't mind if I do. Interesting use of flying ships and I really enjoy the end game might switch up. Needed for any Scythe player.

8.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

4. The North Sea Runesaga:

You need all 3 games of the trilogy to play this. Shipwrights, Raiders, Explorers. It is an epic and will take a long time to play. had a pretty good time playing it though and if you are a fan of the trilogy then this is a great addition. Easy rule and fun to work towards goals while playing the games. Small bonuses are awesome!

-/10 After 1 play (Owned)

5. Raiders of the North Sea: Hall of Heroes:

Very cool addition to the game to add quests and a new action space. I liked all of the additions for this expansion except the time. Made the game a lot longer.

-/10 After 1 play (Owned)

6. Raiders of the North Sea: Fields of Fame:

This adds in the Jarl board and it can be quite punishing. I think it is a cool addition to the game and gives some more strategy and opportunity for fame and VP. This doesn't add that much time by adding it to game play.

-/10 After 1 play (Owned)

The Tally

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

Total new to me games for the year 400!


Just posted:
Steph's Top 25 Games Learned in 2017

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

Until next week!

Happy Gaming!!!


If you like what you saw, please thumb!

All images in this post are copyright, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, Unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in anyway.
Thank you.
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Tue Jan 2, 2018 11:49 pm
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