Games & Llamas

A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.

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Week 17: Vinhos of Lisboa

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone...

I've been quite quite busy these days. I'm trying to change my job (and this is means that quite free afternoons turns into interview afternoons) Trying to push forward our prototypes (We have 5 designs at the same time) and trying (but finally succeeded) to move our webpage llamadice.com to a better hosting. And because of that, creating content to it (the Games and Llamas is now in Spanish too and it's easier to me to write in Spanish rather than English).

But. BUT. I cannot let you down because I think that I've built a thing here on BGG and to me, is quite rich to interact with people from another countries and different points of view around the world. So, I'll try to keep this updated and here's the gaming week 17 !! (And hopefully, the 18 and 19 in a few days)

Saturday
We were that busy with prototypes that from the end of week 15th to this day we couldn't play anything that wasn't a prototype. But we played a beast to get our gaming hunger fulfill: A Lisboagame. The tightest game we played because when you're knowing more and more the rules, you see the mechanisms underneath it and the game becomes magic. These two weeks had been "Lacerda's wekks" more or less



When we finished the Lisboa, we played one game of Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King just because the game is awesome and we have the expansion waiting for playign and I don't like to try an expansion when I can barely remember the core rules. The game (I don't know that it deserves the KdJ award) is very good and in every game if it I think that I could play again immediately.


Closing the Saturday, a 2 player game of Medina. Yes, it is not its best number but this game makes me feel so anxious in every turn that I prefer to play it with two hahah. It is a little bit expensive but when you finish the game the board looks amazing.


Sunday
Before playing something finished, we spent the whole morning tweaking and applying the changes in Aalsmeer because we have an interview with publishers next Tuesday. It seems fixed at the moment


Keeping the Lacerda's flow of gaming, we played a game of Vinhos. To me (I didn't played Kanban yet) the best game of him. All of them are amazing but this one is the best. The only thing that I don't like is the scoring with the wine fair. The next game we'll try the variant in wich you score the fair points instead of the majorities.


From one heavy game to another: We played again Clans of Caledonia a.k.a. the Terra Mystica/Gaia Project I'd love to play every day. Ultra-tight game and very tense till the end. I love this game so much!!


Another game of Isle of Skye, because the expansion, you know.


And for ending the night properly, a couple of abstract games that I adore: Azul and Kingdomino. Kingdomino always played 7x7 if two players. Azul with the colorless side(but I prefer the restrictions of the colored side).


So the game of this week was...


I hope to bring to you the logs of the week 18 and week 19 in this week , but one thing is for sure, this friday I will post something that finally can do <3
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Mon May 14, 2018 2:59 pm
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Week 15: Protogallerist

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

Truly busy week As we develop more and more prototypes I don't have the enough time to update the games we play... and we play less due to this.

This is the report of gaming from the week 15 instead of week 16 because during week 16 we only played our prototypes and it was only work (we’re moving the website to another hosting and it is being a pain in the a**)

Anyway, despite being the small week in gaming terms the last game of the week was awesome and a small package arrives at LlamaDice HQ!

Monday
We start the week nicely playing one game of Familienbande with 2 players and it was nice! The game is pretty random but... who cares? The game lasts 15' and you laugh making the couples with that ugly people. We're considering to make a 2018 variant in which people from the same gender could marry and adopt children.



What happened between Tuesday and Sunday
A package from Spielmaterial finally arrived! We ordered a lot of components for prototyping in 23rd March and it came on (10th)Tuesday.

We bought the (probably) best meeples in the world!! \m/


And a lot of houses and different kind of material because this year is going REALLY well in publishing/designing terms and we must to take the chance. Well, we HAVE TO if we want to keep designing things.

So we reconsider many decisions of Aalsmeer and play more games of RAWR! (I love this game and we are considering seriously leave it for 2 players since with 2 players is pretty neat!)


Sunday
Finally we play something big! The masterpiece from Vital Lacerda: The Gallerist. We didn’t play this one for a while and it was amazing as usual. I think that Vinhos is the best from him but we hadn’t tried Kanban (but it is in its way from Amazon now!!)


Then a quick game of Pueblo because it is awesome and it could be played at 2 in 15’.


So, the game of the week is... -pretends to surprise someone-


See you in the next post but… I don’t know when it will be. Happily, we have a couple of meetings with publishers ! All the hard work seems to worth a little
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Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:00 am
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Week 14: Knizia Station

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

The last weeks were awful due (mostly) for an incredible pain of a toothache mixed with a lot of non-gaming related things.

Anyway, I feel fine know (with a lot less money on my account T___T )and finally I can take a little time off to write our gaming weeks!

So let's begin with the 14th week of the year and then the 15th tomorrow!

Week 14
Monday

Since qe want to get Super Games Land done by the weekend in order to test it with our friends, we spent the whole gaming time tweaking a little bit the game. It was really nice despite not being the kind of game we usually play. It is a good exercise design a game for other people tastes rather than yours


Tuesday
And because we cannot stop desinig things when we have an idea, this is another run (this time with a colleague of my job) of Flatiron. But it has the same problems than the last test... And it remains too similar with Pagodaso we're going to take a step back and reconsider some desiginig deccisions.


Friday
Finally we found some time to play something not designed by us hahaha And it was truly great! We played our first game of Chimera Station! I love the balance in upgrading your workers with the parts and the feeling of a "race" to get the most points with every choice. I cannot wait to play it again!


Saturday
But duty calls and we played the last tweaks we made on Monday and they work like a charm. Ready for the Sunday!


But when we design Fondue! and Super Games Land, we dismissed a mechanism of card selection that we loved it and we wanted to use it in other game so... we had design RAWR! A game about dinosaur bones (yeah, the cards shows only dinosaurs but we before of get the exact idea that we have, we must to work a little bit in the mechanich)


We played like 8 games this day because the game worked awesome! And it is fairly quick with 2 players

After lunch we played for the first time Londonwith the stunning beautfil edition of Osprey Games. I love the simplicity of the game with the tough decissions of when to run your city or open a new stack. But... probably Shei didn't get the game and she lost 118 to -7 with the huge point lost due the poverty. Next time will be better thought.


A game of Azul(which I don't have any pictures because it was so fast!) And another play of Pueblowith the obstacles in random mode


Then, a play of one of my favourite relaxed games of all-time: Kingdomino. You may say that 2 plaers it is not its best number but if you play with the 7x7 variant, the game becomes more interesting!


One game of Samuraiin wich Shei won by just one piece! Awesome game that it doesn't seems that it has 20 years now!


And of ending the day, a game of Iron Curtain that is played in 15' and it feels like a mini Twilight Struggle. Really nice!


Sunday
We started the session with our friends Patri & Javi playing our two new prototypes (They play everything we design) We started with Fondue! in wich I won by just one point! The game works like a clock and it doens't have any weird situation and the flow is fast. We're very happy with this design.


Then one game of Super Games Land that worked as expected! Javi spent the whole game bothering me and playing by himself and he won by far! Good strategy


They didn't played Puebloso we played a 4 player game of Pueblo with a rotating tray from Ikea and the game experience goes up!! I still don't know why Restoration Games or Super Meeple don't publish this one


Then, two Knizias in a row. First playing Samuraithat it is awesome how you can feel the same with two players and with 4 in a majority game. I don't know what is the best design of Knizia for me but some of them are practically tied for the first place.


And Modern Art, the game you must own if you like bidding games. It is elegant, it is tense and it has some memorable moments during the game.


To end the day, the taught us Familienbande, a game that we heard of long time ago. It was fun but a little bit too random (even with the correct rules) but as I said, was really fun


And the 14th week of the year was over and the game of the week was...
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Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:00 am
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Week 13: Five trips to the Pueblo

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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Is anybody there?

Since we coming back from NYC everything was a nightmare in gaming terms! Too many things to do with our prototypes and a lot of work to move forward. We are a little bit more relaxed but we still having a ton to do.

Wait what? The weekly log of the 13rd week at the end of the 14th? Yeah! (A really bad toothache and infection in the gums left me without forces to do anything ) BUT, here’s the report of that week and I’m writing the log for this week so… the next wednesday (or thursday) you’ll read a new one!

Tuesday
We started our week playing one of the games we wanted the most. This game has been on our wishlist since we played it 3 years ago. Thanks to our friend Paco that lent to us we finally played it with two players and play as many time we wanted: Pueblo, from Kramer & Kiesling.

We always have been played with 4 players but we played two games in a row and it was really really good. We love this twisted design <3


Wednesday
For having a decent start of the holy week (since we decided to pass the whole vacation cleaning and tidying the house) we played something before dinner. We choose La Granja designed by our friends Ode & Mike because there was so many time since we played it for the last time and it is one of our favourites. And we experienced that time because we couldn’t get the same scorings we usually had. Besides the helper cards wasn’t as good as we wanted and the combos weren’t fluid. But still is one of our favourites and never will fly out of our collection.


Saturday
After spending all those days cleaning and tidying the house, when we started with our game room, a pile of old material from prototypes appears and I took this picture. But the quantity of paper that went to recycle was huge hahah


After lunch, two more plays of Pueblo. Awesome game. We really wanted it!!


And after midnight, since it was the last day of the month we challenged ourselves to end every month with an h-index of -at least- 4. So we played 3 plays of Striketo get that number. 2 players it is not its best number but still have great moments.


Sunday
And the seventh day we rested. Look at our tidy-and-shiny collection. It isn’t beauty?


To celebrate it, we played the only unplayed side of mars in Terraforming Mars: Elysium. This time we drafted the cards and it is true that it is more strategic than random if you don’t draft the cards. I enjoyed in the same way drafting or not, it is an awesome game! I totally recommend the Hellas/Elysium[/b] map to get a little bit of replayability.


Then one more play of Pueblobut with obstacles! But placed randomly from the beginning of the game instead of following the rules from the rulebook. It was really challenging!


And the last game was the new tweaks for Super Games Land because we have to get it done before April 10th!


So, as you probably know, the game of the week is…


See you in a few days!
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Sat Apr 7, 2018 11:18 pm
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Week 08: Back in time

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Valdemoro, Madrid
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I originally wrote this post for the 8th week in March 3rd but since I have the text written, I'll post here because I uploaded the pictures too

Since then we traveled to NYC and attended to Protos y Tipos (as you know, the biggest convention in prototyping terms in Spain) and everything went awesome. But for now, I'll leave you with this post:

Two weeks ago...

Hi everyone!

This is a quick update because I uploaded the pictures already, have the text in Spanish posted in llamadice.com, but I couldn't make it to post here and... And I don't know but I feel that I owe you my weekly logs.

As you can read in previous posts, the next week is the week of Protos y Tipos, the biggest convention of prototype gaming in Spain and we're attending with 3 brand new games... and that's a lot of work that suck all the gaming time.

But since we still managed to play something during the week and we have a Game of the Week winner... I feel that I have to make this post.

ANY DAY THAT WASN'T THE SATURDAY
During the whole week we were testing (by ourselves or with friends) all the games we're going to present in the convention.


Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer was rejected by a publisher in the last week and it came back with a list of things that the game should improve... and we tried to do some quick tweaks (because we know the math of the game and they were easy changes) but none of the tweaks worked as they should. We know how to fix them but we hadn't the time to get it done to Protos Y Tipos so... we failed this time It will be ready for Spiel for sure!



Fondue!
The first game we finished to design. A trick taking game with a twist that is for 2-5 players and 30' of duration (aprox) It works pretty cool with 2 and we could test it with 4 and same results. Looking forward to play with 5 in order to see if it still working And it's about of melting cheese! The only problem I see to this prototype is after playing, you want to eat all the cheese you could



Dover-Calais
Dover-Calais is a 2 player game themed in the contruction of the Channel Tunnel between Dover and Calais in 1988. It is a eurogame of worker placement and resource management and I couldn't be more proud of this design. It grew from a simple but meaty mechanic bo action selection that came to Shei in one of our design brainstormings. Is tense in every turn, it lasts 25/30' and the feeling of play reminds me 7 Wonders Duel (they are completely different games but it is the sensation that makes me compare with it).


Super Games Lands - The Card Game
And the last one is a collaboration with an Spanish artist that he is well-known for two comics that are themed in the Nintendo GameBoy and Super Nintendo (a kind of parody comics) and we loved THAT much the aesthetics of them that I wanted to collaborate with him to make a card game that was like playing with a handheld console. And so we did! We finished to design and test (with 2 and 4 players) this game that the cards are game cardtridges and accessories to your console. You spend batteries in order to play your games and the player who played the most wins. It's quite cool to "put the cardtridge" into your console



And this is our cat boss Grunchie that supervised all the work done. He is happy but his face doesn't show that.


Saturday
The only day that we actually play something that is already published.

I give to Shei another surprise (actually I tried to give her the whole present but I couldn't make it to Christmas) so we played the Travel version that I give for Christmas to Shei of Azul but improved by Customeeple with this two fancy overlays <3

It is just awesome to play with it. (We still play the original version but we plan to bring our travel version to NYC)




And by the afternoon, because I played it at RobleCon and I have the rules refreshed, we played one game of Nippon and it was awesome as always. To me, the best design of my favourite Portuguese people




And the game of the week was...



See you this week with the Games & Llamas of the last week that includes less prototyping and more playing in planes and tables!
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Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:38 pm
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Week 07: The drought

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

The worst week in gaming terms so far. The Protos y Tipos prototype fair is in 2 weeks and we’re rushing to have our prototypes the most polished as possible, and all the time we spend in this, we’re not playing.

Wednesday
We have a typical St. Valentines date with wine and cheese, but not the ones you can eat and drink We played the last tweaks of Fundue, the trick-taking game about swiss fondues. It worked pretty well but we still to balance the cards.


Friday
The only day in which we played something published. We started a lovely session with Kraftwagen because I played it in the RobleCon and we have to consolidate the rules I refreshed. It is something that happens more times than I like: You read the rules, you play, you put the game on the shelf and then forgot the rules. This game shines with 3 or 4 but is still very good at 2 players.



And after that, the surprise of the week: Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb. It was super frustrating at the beginning but when the game was more advanced in time, it has some astonishing moments that keep you engaged for all the whole game. We loved it and we cannot wait to play the others adventures.


Saturday & Sunday
All work. No published games. We have to hurry if we want to get all the prototypes ready to Protos Y Tipos!


And the game of the week is... (oh-what-a-surprise)



See you next week!
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:31 am
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Week 06: RobleCON

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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Yeah, I know, Where's th post of the week 5? I couldn't make it We're quite busy with our daily jobs and getting ready our prototypes to "Protos y Tipos" (The biggest prototype fair in Spain) and it is in 3 weeks (And also We're travelling to NYC the following week )

I decided to make this post this week because it was really special. This week has been the RobleCON week! Do you remember "Ludicañas" from the last year? We wanted to make it with more people and so we did. We gathered 10 people in a country house to play all that our health allowed us!

Monday

But first, on Monday we played a couple of heavier games than we usually play on Mondays. We started playing one game of Clans of Caledonia. I think that some clans are more powerful than others but I cannot be sure because we only played 3 times. This game is great. It is the improved version of Terra Mystica or Gaia Project. It get directly to the point without any over complication.


And then one game of one of our favourites: Grand Austria Hotel. Honestly, I don’t know how to rank Marco Polo and this one. It is one of the best games that we have in our collection. We love it!


And I managed to win, and this is something very odd. According to the registers, only 3 times happened in 12 times

Friday
Time to Travel to Ciudad Real to have a feast of games!


We started the first night of RobleCON playing one game of Heaven & Ale with 4 people and I can say that this game shines with more players but actually works pretty well with 2.


Then we played one 6 player game of Ethnos and I loved it! It’s the child of El Grande and Ticket to Ride! The only thing that I didn’t like it was the mechanic of drawing cards because there was some point that you only draw blindly and hope to get the card you need. Anyway, it works better with the maximum of players and I cannot recommend it with less than 4 players.



It was super late but we were in the mood for an Altiplano. My friends played it already once but they said that it’s some kind of broken if you go quick to empty the locations of boats and stone houses. At the start I didn’t believe they and if two players wanted to empty that locations, they could do it in a few turns. We’re going to apply one house rule: If you empty any other location, the game ends, but if you empty the boat location, you have to empty the stone houses and barrows location too. The game is amazing and I cannot wait to play it again.


It was 05:40 a.m and it was time to bed!

Saturday

The big day! We started playing one game of Vinhos for having breakfast It was the first game of Paco and Fabi and Fabi wiped out! She understood the game very well and put on our places to the other players. To me is the best game of Vital up to date.


Then one game of Capital Lux that I really liked it! I’m looking forward to get one copy because I love the concept of the game. I don’t know how will work with 2 but with 4 is delightful!



Just before lunch one 5 player game of Honshū and I can finally say that I’ve played it with all player count and it is great at every number.


Before starting something harder, 3 games in a row of because this Strikeis not a feast of games if there isn’t a lot of games of Strike.


Paco and I had spare time so we played Hanamikoji. It’s a super clever game that has some part psychological and some part of deduction and bluffing. It is a gem.


Then one of the best family euro-style games I know: Pergamon. It plays in the same league of Stone Age but shorter. It has good strategy in it and some luck and some interaction with other players. I love it and I don’t play it more I don’t know why.


Paco and Lorena played 1988 Dover Calais and the game wasn't as expected. We have to put a lot of changes in order to change the feelings of the game



Then a 4 player of Nusfjord, another game that I like! But it has a problem (at least for me, because it happened me in my two games) Being the last one in a 4 player games means that you only start once being the first and this is a disadvantage Anyway, I love when Uwe goes minimalist and design a lighter game. There's only one thing that I hate from this game: The ridiculous tiny coins


We played 2 games of Diamonsters, a silly but fun game of hunting monsters… for saying something. Basically you compare all the numbers played and all the equal values go off and then the higher wins (but 1 beats 5). If I find it at a reasonable prize I’ll buy it!


And for continuing the card games with numbers, two games of Star Plus, another korean gem. It is quite clever and the gameplay is great.


And after this two card games, one game of Stone Age! I love this game so much! Yes, it is random sometimes and the luck practically decides the result of the game but it’s soooo nice to play it that I don’t care. Lovely.


After dinner, one game of Kraftwagen that was on our shelves for 2 years before playing it again. This game is just awesome. I love it so much and I think that I don’t play it more is because the obtuse and confusing rulebook and the quite ugly gameboard. If the game board was painted by another artist and it was more artistic than has a prototype look, it will be more known.


And the heavier dish on the table was Wealth of Nations. A old-style euro-game of trading resources, using resources and producing resources. I liked it a lot! I wouldn’t say no to another game in a few weeks.


It was super late but we played one game of Samurai (its old lovely version), one game of Cheeky Monkey (because our neurons went to sleep at this point) and 3 more plays of Diamonsters just for having a higher play count on the weekend


And then, again the 5:20 a.m was time to sleep.

Sunday
The first game of this day was Nippon and I could confirm that if its an awesome game with 2 players, it gets better with more! We played 3 people and it is amazing. I’m looking for playing it with 4 to get the full experience. To me, the best game of my two friends Nuno & Paulo.



Then a game of Secret Hitler that I can say that I really liked it but… it is just another secret-role game to me. But very well designed indeed.


4 plays of Happy Salmon were enough to laugh till our throats hurt. I’m jealous of this design. For real. I love it the same way I hat and love Love Letter.


And to end the long weekend, one game of another fantastic family game: Tobago. Sometimes I think in the amount of gorgeous games that are underlooked and this is one of them.


The weekend was over and we had an amazing time with our friends. I made to them a sort of badge to record every play and kept it as a memory from this “RobleCon” and it turned out to be a great idea that everyone loved it. The logo is made by Paco Dana as a favour to me and we’re looking to do this again probably soon than 2019. It is too good to have it just one a year.


It is quite hard to choose the game of the week when you’re playing that much but I’ll give the award to...
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Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:45 am
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Week 04: Raiders & Ale

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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

Yeah yeah, I'm late, but nothing much this week, just 4 plays in the whole time but it was 4 great games!

Thrusday

Finally we managed to play something and since we loved the last play, we decided to play Raiders of the North Sea again. And we loved it again. You can feel that its start is always the same but it doesn't take so much time to start doing more different things.




Saturday
Today we played with our friends Patri & Javi one game that we wanted really much to play: Deus and I really liked it! I felt that 2 players won't be its best number. It is a really good game! I'd love to play it anytime



Then, we wanted to check how it is Heaven & Ale with 4 players (since we always played it with 2) and is amazing how the game changes! The worst part of this is because I don't want to play it with 2 anymore because is way better with 4 (or even 3 I guess) (But eventually I'll play only to get through the cold turkey).

The beer is a mini-expansion from SpielBox


And the last game played was Raiders of the North Sea again. The same thing that with Heaven & Ale; we wnated to see how it works with 4 players. And again, the same feeling. Is way better with 4 than with 2. The struggling of being the first to raid a location or get the enough valkyries before the game ending turns to be quite hard to accomplish with more players. Loved the simplicity and the depth of this game.



And because we gave the award to Raiders of the North Sea the last week, this week, the award goes to...


See you next week!
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Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:20 am
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Week 03: Harder than sawing real timber

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Hi everyone! Until friday we couldn’t play anything but we went to the countryside house that my parents-in-law have there in order to play games from our pile of shame (the same way we did in the Ludic retirement).

Let’s see how our week was!

Friday

I know that I said that we went to the countryside to play games new to us, but we arrived late and we just had energy to play one game that I adore but sadly we only play it a couple of times a year: Trambahn. To me is the perfect definition of a filler for two players meaty enough to keep you inside the game. Lovely.



Saturday

The big day. We started with a game not-so-new to us: Ora et Labora. We already owned this game but we trade it. Why we bought it again? Because we had good memories from it and we saw it in 2016’s Black Friday sale and we couldn’t resist to get it again. And it is a really great game. But I think that this game, despite being 2-4 players, is a game only for 2 because of the duration of the game. It is a classic Uwe game but without feeding. It is really great how you’re developing your territory. If you find it for a reasonable price, go for it!



Then, the monster of the weekend: Agra. I dedicated too much time on reading the manual over and over and I didn’t know what to expect from it and… We didn’t liked so much This is not a game for just one game but it took us like 3.5h to play it with the rules and I felt that it is too much work for the game actually is. I mean, we’ll play it again because most of the times the first impression it is not the good one but I’m afraid that Agra is not a game for us. It is because the feeling that seemed to us underdeveloped (I don’t say that is, just the feeling) or at least that some parts of the game could be easier or less elaborated.



Before dinner, from the complexity of Agra to the simplicity of New Bedford. I have to say that it was lighter than I expected but it was great. And the customer care that Dice Hate Me was awesome sending me the corrected tiles (and, by surprise, some buildings from the expansion I don’t own… yet). I cannot recommend it for two players because despite being cool with 2, could improve the experience of the game. The only “negative” point of it is the theme. It doesn’t bother to me, but if you stop to think… you’re killing whales!



And the last game of the day was Raiders of the North Sea in its Spanish edition brought from our publishers of Aloha Pioha, Ediciones Primigenio. And we loved it! Even with two! It is a really great game of worker placement-displacement and resource management in which you have to gather the enough raid force and the enough resources to raids, spiced a little bit with the luck of the dice rollings… it is gorgeous. I want to play again as soon because the game end was really tight!



Sunday
And the last game of the weekend was Lignum! Finally hit the table this beast of planning. We played with the tactical variant and the expert game (but no with planned work) and I really liked but we felt that is to punishing! A bad step let you watching the firewood burn in your sawmill without any work done. Ah, the production of the game overshadows this awesome game so don't pay attentiont to the illustrations or




We want to give every week an useless award to a game that surprised us or just because we liked it too much, so we start to do this thing this week giving the award of the week to...



See you next week!
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:45 am
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Interview with Andreas Odendhal 'ode'

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone! As I promised, here's the interview we made to Andreas "ode." Odendahl!!



1. Introduce yourself a little
Hi, my name is Andreas Odendahl, but almost everybody calls me „Ode“. I am 40 years of age and live in north western Germany, close to the border to the Netherlands. I work as a personal assistant for a wheelchair driver. I am married to my wonderful wife Claudia and we have lots of pet animals living with us.


2. Are you actually live in a farm (or, at least, with a huge garden)? How many animals do you have (wooden and real ones)?

No, we just have a house and a big garden. We have three dogs of our own and three foster dogs from animal care. Another six cats living in the house or the garden. Two goats reside in our garage and the garden. And then there are six chicken and a rooster – also living in the garden…




3. Ok, donkey time! How many versions of the cards were made during the development of La Granja

Countless. When I was done designing the game I swore to myself that I would never do a game with multi-use cards again. But I am more experienced now. La Granja was not my first game, but it was the first one published and needed to be worked on seriously. I guess I made many mistakes I would be able to not do again. Maybe sometime there will be another game with multi-use cards.



4. Because of Twitter, we know that you have a really fine taste in music. Tell us more about your favourites.


I don't want to bore your readers with too many details about music they never heard of. Let's just say I like guitar-driven music. Mostly independent music like punk, hardcore, indie rock. But I also enjoy all other kinds of music. In smaller doses. Like pop music, jazz, blues, hip hop … sometimes even electronic or classical music. But all of the music I like normally has one thing in common: It is handmade by real people who want an outlet for their creativity. Music produced for the sole purpose to earn money is not my thing.

5. Theme or mechanic? Which goes first?

Life is not black and white. It depends. Sometimes the mechanic is first, sometimes the theme. It is important understand how they both work together and that they do in the end.

6. Show some pictures of the prototypes you have made and didn't get published!. It will be published any new game soon?

Right now I am working on a couple of games. All in different stages of the development.
There is one game called „Vamos a la playa“ which is a game by Harald Lieske. He asked me to join in on the development. I took over and it is quite some time now. I have a couple of new ideas I want to playtest eagerly.




Another game is a team work with my good friend Matthias Cramer. I played his small dice game named „Arriba!“ a couple of times and it has a unique dice draft. This was actually the game that inspired me to try a dice draft for La Granja as well, because before that in La Granja every player had a turn when he would roll the dice for a couple of times and had to deal with the result. I wanted something which is better with more players so I tried the draft.



Last year Matthias approached me and asked if I would like to join in on this small dice game. I loved that idea and I hope we will get there someday. The same here: I need to playtest a few ideas.


7. Which is the step you hate the most during the design of a game?
Wouldn't say I hate it. But what sometimes bugs me is that phase when you know you are not there yet and you keep on trying to desperately get there. In all of my games there was this turning point.



When I was unsatisfied with the elements, the design, whatever. Something is not yet feeling right. Sometimes it is best to put the game away for sometime – in some drawer, trying to forget it for a while. Or giving it to your publisher for some month like I did with the last game. And then, after a while you get closure and then you start working on it with a fresh mind, or some really good new ideas from my publisher, and then I can really feel that this is it! From this point on the development of the core of the game is done.



You know all the elements. Now the balancing part begins, finding the best way the elements intersect. It is a great feeling to finally get to that point.
But before finding that turning point it sometimes is very frustrating.


8. How do you work with Mike Keller? Who's always right? Because in every couple of designers, one is usually wrong and the other doesn't

Mike and I work over a long distance since he lives in Switzerland and I, as I said, in the northern part of Germany. We meet a couple of times a year when he visits Germany for some gamers meetings or to visit relatives. So most of the time is is e-mails, chats, video chat. It is kind of hard to work like this because we cannot discuss stuff on regular meetings eye to eye or just meet for a little playtesting. But I think we found a way. Mike is a very creative guy, full of brilliant ideas.



My job was more to transform these ideas into something that could work for our games and have a general survey on everything. I found this very nice way of working because I could always contact Mike for new ideas and pick the ones I liked best. Because he has lots of them! I just think that it was sometimes quite frustrating for him to work with me because I am so picky…


9. La Granja: No Siesta, probably you have crafted A LOT of dice. It was too painful to do so?
Actually not. No. I have an early picture of the dice when I just wrote the names of the goods on the dice. And it hardly changed since then. I started using symbols later when I playtested the game with other people. But I used big wooden dice without rounded edges. They are actually from an online shop providing school supplies. Which was a great tipp from my good friend Ralph Bruhn who was working on OctoDice for Pegasus Spiele at the time I started fooling around with No Siesta. It's pretty easy to make the dice. Since they are big and have square and plain surface you can easily make stickers for the dice. And since the dice almost never changed I had really not much to do. This is a difference to La Granja, when I also used dice with symbols on them for a long time.



And back in those days I was stickering real dice and most of them have round surfaces. This is a very extensive way of stickering dice when you have to cut a lot of round stickers. I was so happy when Ralph gave me that hint about the big wooden dice from that school supplier. So easy to make custom dice now.



Using dice with pips was a late change in the development of La Granja. Which was good back then because there cannot be too many symbols on the side of a die. Productionwise.



And I needed more symbols to balance the dice in La Granja. The dice in La Granja went to many several changes and it was a heck of work to always change them. Actually finding a better balance by using moe complex dice results and the constant redoing the dice was the reason for me to start using cards for the dice result and dice with pips in La Granja. It is way more easier to just change one card instead of changing one side of each of the nine dice.



That is why I designed the dice for La Granja: No Siesta in very reduced way. Just one symbol expect for the one side – and this side has just two symbols. I wanted them to stay in this simplistic way because this time I wanted to have dice with symbols on them. I just love games with custome dice. Like Octodice, Roll through the Ages, Roll for the Galaxy, Seasons.




I used these easy to make dice for Solarius Mission as well. Since I have a lot of those wooden cubes now I am not afraid of handi-crafting dice any more!



10. Thank you very much and we expect to keep the Llama-Donkey love (but a llama beats a donkey, is a fact)
I don't know if we should really have a competition here. But if you insist I have to say that any donkey would take your llama! No, just kidding... I love all the animals! I am sending you a picture my wife took when we went to an animal park. It shows me and a lovely donkey! But that mule was a beast! Right after the photo was shot he bit me in the arm! Did really hurt! Llama beats donkey Pah! I don't think so!

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Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:35 am
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