Games & Llamas

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

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Week 45: Losers and speakers

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Whoah!
The Japan post will be the next week for sure (I'm writing it right now!) but meanwhile let’s see how one of the busiest weeks of the year was.

Monday - Friday

Once again, only work during the week. We printed, glued, cut and build everything for Aalsmeer. We even designed a component for the game, in order to not get blocked by running out of money. Like a “Wallace” loan or similar.


Then, we travelled to Quart de Poblet (Valencia) to finally attend to XIII JESTA Convention (www.jesta.es)

Saturday

Every year, the staff of the convention “hires” important personalities of Spanish board gaming world to give a conference/workshop. This year they reached us to do so (despite we do not consider ourselves anyone important here ) and we accepted.



We give the conference about how we bring our ideas to shop shelves and tips that we discovered in that trip. It was an amazing experience that we’ll treasure forever.



After that, finally we could play one test of Aalsmeer with two of the best Spanishs designers that we know (and look up to): Perepau Llistosella (he designed Topoum, 1920 Wall Street, 1911 Amundsen vs Scott, Gardens among others) and Diego Ibañez(designer of Banjooli Xeet, Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft). It was truly awesome. The advices that they can give to you are gold. And they loved the game also so we were pretty happy.




After that, we were nominated with Mondrian: The Dice Game for the “Corona Lúdica: Best Spanish Designer of the year” along with Quest Stories and Topoum. This was the first time that we are nominated in such an important award and we were pretty nervous!



Sadly (and happily because we love him) Pere p won the award with Topoum. It was a really beautiful gala and despite not having won, we had a great time.
After dinner we made another awesome run of Aalsmeer that worked slightly better than the another one, but despite of some parts didn’t work as expected, it was very pleasant and enjoyable.




So the only thing that the losers of the award can do is to take this picture and go off for a drink to a pub (with the winner too, we’re all friends here )


Sunday
Woke up too late, we only had time to play the new game of Perepau (-1900 Something-) that worked like a clock (like everything that he designs).


We left the convention and when we arrived at home, we play for the first time one of the few games that we could snag from Essen: Montana.
Too easy. Waaaaay to easy. We want to play it a little bit more in order to see if there’s more tension in the game that we felt but it was a little bit disappointing (we didn’t expect a Lisboa, for example, but something a little bit more advanced would be nice)


Week over!
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Mon Nov 6, 2017 3:29 pm
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Week 44: Not another Essen post

Isra C.
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Hi everyone!

I know that I said that the next post will be adventures from Japan but since this week (and the following) will be “Essen SPIEL week” for the most of the blogs, I don’t want to get the Japan post sink by the avalanche of “my Essen trip/loot/envy” so let’s see the only 2 games we played last week!

Monday-Friday
Only.Work.Only.Aalsmeer. Testing and testing in order to get it as smooth as we can for the playtesters that will try it in the board game convention JESTA this weekend. So excited! Grunchie helped a lot this time.


Saturday
After a fine nice game of Real Agricola (the season plants are lettuces, beans, peas and onions) and after ANOTHER run of Aalsmeer, we finally played something already made.




We played (again) the first adventure of T.I.M.E Stories. I say again because we played it from a lent copy long time ago. We bought our copy before summer and Jorge & Ana lent us 3 expansions. But when we were going to try it, we didn’t remember well the rules so we decided to play the introductory scenario again.

It’s a really cool game but because of the story, not because of the “time wasting” with the time die.



Sunday
After spend a lot of time in getting the things done to Jesta, we played one game of My Village. This is an underlooked gem of Inka Brand & Markus Brand. I really like the tension of this game and the choices you have every turn. It is a pity that not so much people know it.



Week done! Next week… erhm… Japan? …Maybe? I don’t know so see you next week!
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:04 pm
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Week 43: Flower week

Isra C.
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This week was atypical. We played something but we spent the most of the time designing all the tweaks and improvements for Aalsmeer, but since we played something, here’s the weekly log!

Wednesday

We have been designated this day for design time, but we weren’t in the mood for that so we played a game of 7 Wonders Duel and the first time with its expansion 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon and I have to say that it was really really good! And also we played with the promo 7 Wonders Duel: The Messe Essen Promo Card that turned out to be a good wonder to build. This game is awesome and it is perfect when you want to play something meaty but not too complicated.



Friday
After spent the most of the time working on Aalsmeer and going to the gym, after dinner we played one game of Great Western Trail but this time we tried to set the common buildings in a different order and play with the half of the buildings in its B side. I have to admit that I was skeptical about the replayability of the game but, the game changes a lot depending on the order of the buildings. Totally awesome. Love it!!!



Sunday
We can name this Sunday “Llama Sunday”! Because we spent practically the whole day working in Llama Dice Games things: On Aalsmeer (heavy graphic design work) and on the keynote we’re going to teach in JESTA Board game convention. We’re pretty excited about it but it make us nervous



But Shei took an ace out of the sleeve bringing Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small to the table after dinner. The first games I felt that it was too simple but with more plays, I realize that if you want to make a decent score, you have to be very efficient in your actions. Really nice this one!



Yes, I promised Japan post and I made a weekly log again but… wait for the japan post when everyone will be talking about SPIEL
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Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:46 pm
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Week 42: Real Agricola

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Yes. I admit that I promised that the next post will be our trip to Japan but the week was over and a new weekly log has to be posted! And it is short enough to do it quickly and keep this blog updated. So let’s see how the week was!

Thursday
Thursday was a national holiday in Spain, so we spent that free time in resuming the Aalsmeer design that we paused because of the wedding and The Red Cathedral. We spent a LOT of time tweaking this and that but we set a base to test the next time.


Friday
We planned to play one Aalsmeer to try the changes but instead, we play one game of A Feast for Odin and I have to say that I love this game so much!! This time I tried a complete different strategy that gave me the victory! Even I thought that it wouldn’t work, the game seems to be balanced in order to not always choose the migration strategy.


After that, we went for a walk for our town and entered in an old fabric shop looking for a fabric that could be used like a mat. And we found plenty! A lot of colors, thicknesses and textures! And absurdly cheap! We bought one for our game table in the color of Carcassonne <3


Saturday
We planned to play one game of Agricola but this time in REAL LIFE. A couple of friends had a shared soil for crops and they gave us the chance to be a partner. So did us! We spent the whole morning removing the “old” tomato plants in order to sow another thing. Really cool but painful in the back


Sunday
We used our brand new mat with a game of Terraforming Mars including also the Hellas map! The cards doesn’t slip, the boards stay put… very comfortable!



The satellite is a souvenir from Japan; it is a JAXA Hayabusa 2 of Tomica and we used it as first player token <3



After that was working time! We played one full game of Aalsmeer (it takes only 35’ so it’s not a big deal to play a full game hahahha) trying the new features of the game and making changes on the go. Worked pretty well but we have to try them with more players. We’re in a point that we can write a rulebook for it and make changes.



The next stop for the game will be JESTA convention in November in which we’re nominated as “Best Spanish Authors” for Mondrian. We’re pretty excited about that!!
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Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:29 am
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Week 41: Rebuild Lisboa takes too long!

Isra C.
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Hi everyone!
Before writing up about our trip to Japan, just a quick weekly log about the last week.
We've been in Japan till October 2nd and traveling across October 3rd. We spent the whole Oct 4th & 5th recovering from jet lag and finally playing some games on Friday!

Friday
We wanted to play it so bad but we couldn’t make it because of the wedding and trip and everything, but I’d been reading the rules for a long time (since it came to home) in order to play as soon as possible.
Finally we played our very first game of Lisboa and I have to admit, that this is not a game for just one game. This wasn’t an instalove as was Vinhos or The Gallerist and this issue brought me down because I didn’t liked as much as the other two. We’ll give it more and more plays and if it is doesn’t satisfies us, it would be easy trade in this kickstarter edition



This is not a bad game AT ALL. You can see it through its mechanics and its gameplay, but I hadn’t such euphoric game ending as I had with Vinhos or The Gallerist. And it’s longer and I had the feeling that it’s not as tight as Vinhos.



After dinner, we played another game of The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game but this time I hadn’t the best of lucks and Shei blasted me off. This is a game with a heavy luck factor but I doesn’t care, it takes about 20’ or so


And this was the whole week of gaming! Too many compromises and friends & family reunions so not so much time of gaming!
Next post will be board gaming things about our trip to Japan! Promise!
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Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:44 am
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Week 38: Japan Board Game Week

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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It has been a while since I wrote the last post, but as a few of you know, She and I got married on September 15th, and our honeymoon was planned to Japan.

Is because of that, the week of September 11-17th we challenged ourselves to play every game with Japanese theme in it. And so did we! So let's see what we played!

Tuesday

We started the (as we called it) Japan Board Game Week (JBGW) with the heaviest game of our collection with Japanese theme: Nippon. A masterpiece designed by Paulo Soledade & Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro despite having some majorities scoring on it, it is awesome to play with 2! I always played it with 2 and always loved it.



After that, we played Honshū that it is tue that 2 it is not its best number BUT it is quite fun to play with 2! The more players the better but it still worth the time playing it with 2. Lovely as always.



[size=10]Wednesday[/size]

Do you know when you pre-order something that you want it so bad that you cannot wait? Well, finally Lisboa arrived at home and such a beast! With it came one of our most anticipated games of this year: The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game . And due for the lightness of the rules we will play it later. They came too expansions for Memoir ‘44 and for Quadropolis.



But we continued with the JBGW with a game that has been on the shelf A LOT of time: Edo and we played it with all the modules we have (except the ronin module). How can I say… I know that 2 it is not the best number, but since we didn’t played it in 2 years, and the last time was with 3, it wasn’t that fun as I remembered. Anyway, the modules are not worthy and give thethe game more ways to achieve points that the game doesn’t need. The base game with more than two is gorgeus.



And we finally played The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game and despite of being a roll ‘n write game, it is SUPER FUN! Ligther than the card game and not comparable to its big brother, it worths the try. I insta-loved it.


Friday
Not games played, just my wedding to attend <3



Sunday

We lunched with our family and after the meal it is very likely to play some games! My nephews ask me for playing our games and I can never turn out this. I love playing with them. So we played a 4 player Mondrian: The Dice Game that I was blasted in my own field. Good laughts!



And because we have 20’ left, we played one game of Aloha Pioha and was blasted again. I have to admit that I did my best. They won by themselves. I love to loose at our designs when I play to win.




At night we continued with th JBGW playing (to me) the best Reiner Knizia game: Samurai. Got a lesson from Shei that won unexpectely 2-1. Love this game even with 2.




Then an awful game of Sushi Go!. I really love this game (and I played it dozens of times) but it sucks with 2 players. This is not a game for 2. Anyway, another game with Japanese theme in it!



Finally, the last game of Japan: Traders of Osaka. We didn’t play this since we bought it (2015) and we screwed one crucial rule making the game way easier. Will give it another try soon.




And the last game of the week, another game of The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game It’s addictive!



The next post will be board gaming things about our trip to Japan. We only played a couple of games but stay tuned!
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Fri Oct 6, 2017 9:33 am
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Week 37: Eggs, running tournaments and wedding presents

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

I has been a really a stressful week with all the preps for the wedding, but because of that, we managed to sneaked out of our obligations and attend the biggest board game and role playing convention in Madrid: Ludo Ergo Sum. So let's see how the week was!

Monday
Just the day after of our Castles of Burgundy play we played one of the best 2 player game that we have in our collection: Targi (2 days in a row playing! Unbelievable!)



Friday
We spent all the week working on all the wedding preps but we still managed to release one mini-expansion for free for our game Mondrian: The Dice Game. One year ago, when the game get released, the piece of cardboard that is left from the palette's hole looks like an egg or a coin, we decided then to release a mini-expansion using that piece when the game will be 1 year old. And so do We. Unfortunately we don't have it in English yet, but it will be released in English too. When we can


By the afternoon we attended to Ludo Ergo Sum convention because we had to run a contest of Aloha Pioha, our first published game. This was our first tournament and it was really nice see how your game could be played in a "serious" way. I mean, all of this is pretty amateur but it was amazing.

The winner!


We asked by Twitter if someone of our followers want to try The Red Cathedral (because we're not demoing it anymore till it get released) and the answer were overwhelming! So we arranged a game of it and we did it. It works like a charm the definitive version. It will be kickstarted by Meridiano 6 in Q1 or Q2 of 2018 (or sooner if the artwork is done)


Saturday
Something about Spanish conventions that we don't get used to, is seeing people playing games that you designed. It's coolest thing ever <3
Lovely people playing Ray Master


This day we sorted our sleeves reserve because one of the shops of Ludo Ergo Sum, Zacatrus (also is a publisher) sold sleeves in a lot of sizes only by 1€/package. We do this every year: We list all the sleeves we have and then buy supplies for all the year.


But at least, this day we play a game that we bought on friday in the huge Ludo Ergo Sum's second hand market: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. We played this 3 years ago with a friend's copy and finally we get one. It just that we wanted: A small feeling of Agricola when you don't have the time (or just the strength to set a game of) the play the big one.




Sunday
Last day of Ludo Ergo Sum. We went there only for the gorgeous "rosquillas" that the organization sell every year and get the games that we left there on friday to sell for in the huge second hand market. It went very well (we sold 22/28 games) and to say goodbye to friends.


It is an amazing convention that you should visit if you're in Madrid in September.


Next week is wedding week so I do not expect so many games!
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Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:06 am
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Week 36: More than expected

Isra C.
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Hi everyone!

In previous posts I said that since we're preparing every detail of our wedding, our time of board gaming tends to 0... and that was exactly what happened.

When you see an offer on-line of a game that has been on your wish list for a while, you cannot resist.

It’s been so long that I wanted to get Lignum and with the second edition I thought that it will be the chance to get it. But the price was a little bit high for our standards the Capstone edition (I’m not saying that it doesn’t worth the price, just that is higher than expected) but with the new editions, the older one low its prices, so I bought the first edition finally!
We love Terraforming Mars and we think that this expansion worth it. It’s like Concordia and its maps. The variety is the key. And the fox in the forest was a blind bid. I saw Suzanne Sheldon playing it a lot and it was under my radar.


Tuesday

There’s nothing that a short rulebook to play the game that arrives the same day! We played a game of The Fox in the Forest and it was really good. Nothing outstanding but it is cool what a game with 33 cards can do. Cheap, easy to play, meaty enough, good purchase!


Saturday
Yes, the whole week without playing (all wedding stuff) but this day, our friends gave us a surprise plotting against us in the way they giving us the wedding present. They made us playing games that actually don’t like or play good games with weird conditions.

So we started the session playing Poker, and it was so loooong. I like to play half an hour more or less of Poker but not 2 hours till one of the table got all the chips (The conditions they set) I ranked 2nd with a bad managed all-in in the last time (I was tired of playing and I tried to end )


Because neither Shei nor I won, the next task was winning a game of Clue... They know my weakest point. I'm AWFUL at deduction games. Happily, Shei managed to rank 2nd (She will be to resolve in the same turn of the end) and they told us that because we ranked 2nd, one task was completed.
I can't win even writing every turn of the game


The next task was one game of Dark Dealings in which I must to win and Shei must to be the first at losing. Great game with a strong component of memory (the way you resolve your deck) and I really like the 2 selected cards mechanism, giving you the chance to make a double turn. Great game!

We didn't know why, but Shei actually WON trying to get the worse cards. I missed by little.



The next task was a game of Taverna in which I must to lose and Shei to win. Easy peasy. Losing in Taverna is quite easy and Shei played well (I was helping her giving her coins every time I could). The game is... bland. Not recommended. I mean, nothing wrong, nothing good.



Then, the last task: The both of us must to LOSE (rank last and penultimate) in a game of Turn the Tide and it was a totally brain burner trying to get the 2nd card (the highest) and trying to get out the round asap. It was actually very fun!! Try yourself! We managed to do exactly what they asked for and they gave us our present <3



To end the session, we played one quick game of 6 nimmt! and it was awesome as always. To me, one of the best card game ever designed.


Sunday

After doing a lot of stuff for the wedding, we ended the week playing our favourite game: The Castles of Burgundy because this week we saw on Twitter a preview of The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game and we were so hyped that we must to play something related to it! Shei won by 20 points because she chose very finely all the yellow tiles to score final points. I love this game!



I don't know how many games will be played this week but this one at the end was lovely.

See you next week!
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Mon Sep 4, 2017 1:44 pm
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Week 35: If you think that boardgaming consumes time, try getting married

Isra C.
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Hi everyone!

We hadn't played anything during the week except from the Tuesday because Shei & I are getting married next 15th September and there are a hell of a lot of(lovely) things to do. Besides, we have to set all of our honeymoon to Japan and this is a lot of unexpected work too. This consumes a lot of time!!

Anyway, we managed to play anything so here's the weekly log!

Tuesday

We wanted to play something new from our last on-line order (Haspelknecht, Russian Railroads...) but due to the time we had, better playing something that we don't have to read the rules or learn something new. So we play one of our favourites: Grand Austria Hotel. It has been a while since we played with the "starting" hotels (the side of the boards that is the same to every player and is specifically designed to make a little bit easier the game) and it was awesome!



We've been training for a long time with the other sides of the boards and this time we could manage to do (almost) everything we wanted.

Shei knocked me out as always but hey! I love this game (and get beaten in this game too!)


Then, we played one of our beloved "forgotten on the shelf" games: Pergamon. This game is a totally overlooked game nowadays (I don't know how many attention got in the past) but it is gorgeous! And you could find it (at least, in Europe) on sale (I got mine at 10€). I always enjoy this meaty game. And we don't play it as much as I want to!



Because I wanted to play something else, after dinner I played one solitaire game of... YES. Caverna: Cave vs Cave. I want to play it every week at least!





Sunday

Finally, after a whole week spent on wedding/honeymoon stuff, we played Haspelknecht and... I cannot say anything about it except I got bored. We made a couple of mistakes because the rulebook is not good. It's not bad but it could be waaaaay better.

I don't know. Maybe it was the hype and we expected much more than we got but... we'll give it another try soon (I hope, because re-reading that manual is a pain)



This week seems to be similar to this one so... We'll see how much we play
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Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:44 am
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Week 34: The Game Walker

Isra C.
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One of the lightest weeks since I write this "journal" but I'll try to put some final thoughts about my experience this weekend. So let's begin!

Tuesday

Finally we played for the very first time one of my birthday's presents: Memoir '44 and we had a blast!! We played two times in the same day, switching sides to see how it develops and it was awesome. Even if this is only the first scenario (Pegasus Bridge) and it is the introductory one we loved it (we even ordered two expansions from Philibert, but they will come with Lisboa meeple ) Looking for playing more scenarios!



After dinner one more play of my solitaire drug of the moment: Caverna: Cave vs Cave where I made my personal's best! 51 vp! It depends so much which buildings show and how many gold you saved by the end of the game. I'm not getting tired if it!



Thursday

Finally we played correctly one game of Guns & Steel and it was waaaay better. Really good game here! And not so evident as I thought! The proper combination of cards could give you the win but you have to find your own! A big game with small envelope. Looking for playing again.



And that's it. Yes. Only this.

And now I'm going to introduce you a concept that is widely know in the Spanish board game community: The game walker.

Do you know when you get exited about meeting with friends and you hope to play something with them and you bring a lot of (or some) games but you spent the time doing another things -or just doing nothing just talking- and you come back home with all the games unplayed? Well, if this happened to you, congratulations, you've become into a game walker: You walked with your games and they didn't went out from the bag.
Games that weren't played


We spent the weekend in a house in the countryside making BBQ and hiking and all of this sounds great but it wasn't that great. We've been invited to this but there were people that we already know but not so much. We hoped to play something or do another things different than drink beer and listen crappy loud music. And we didn't.


Yes, we went out for a walk and that was great and we did BBQ and it was amazing as always, but, when you expect to play something, and you were encouraged to bring some games to play with but you didn't played anything actually, you feel that you don't belong there or you was cheated. I tried to suggest to play but nobody wanted.

I know that sometimes you must stop playing and just relax but when you're getting bored and you bring some games but nobody wants to play with you all the relax stuff become a feeling of reject.

I hope next week will be happier than this one but we're spending so many time planning our trip to Japan so... see you next week!
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Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:28 am
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