1 , 2 , 3 Next »
King of Prussia
I wrote this back in December, but never published it. I don't know why. I cleaned it up a bit, but didn't have to change much which is good because I don't remember all the details. It seems to have been three pretty good days of gaming!
And Now... Games!!!
Saturday, December 2nd
I hadn't been to a Seize Your Turn event in a while so I was happy to be able to spend a Saturday afternoon with them playing some games. Once people started filling in, I noticed a table where Notre Dame was being set up. I own the game but have been unable to get my copy to the table, so I joined hoping to get a better understanding of the rules.
Tim explained the rules, we played. I liked Notre Dame. Perhaps it is not as flashy as your modern game, but I am still a fan of a good old fashioned euro style game and this fits the bill. I think I like it a bit more than Year of the Dragon, another Feld game that got a rerelease this year.
In Notre Dame every player has a starter deck of nine cards. Each round you draw three, then draft by selecting one and passing the other two, then passing one of the two you receive. Then you play the cards which allow you to put cubes on areas of your board which give you your actions. The cubes add up, so adding a third cube to a spot often gives you three times the actions of adding the fir... you know what, forget it. This ain't no rules explanation!
Notre Dame Play Rating: 8/10
Next I pulled out Merlin. I got my KS copy a few weeks ago, and had just opened it to go over the rules the night before. A few people were interested in playing it, but were in the middle of other games. We got a three player game together, I went over the rules and away we went.
Now, the thing about some games is that there are a lot of little rules to explain. This is the case with Merlin. The rules are pretty straight forward and easy once you know them, but I felt like I had to explain a bunch of little things before we could start. Once we started everybody had it down and the game went smoothly, so I guess that's a win for me as a teacher. Sometime I think I may over explain things though.
I loved the game! It had the right amount of thinking involved where I was constantly engaged but never overwhelmed. There was just enough luck mixed in, which I know some people poo-poo but I enjoy a bit of luck in games.
The people I played with both enjoyed it, although one said the dice rolling wasn't his favorite, even though he knows he can could adjust the dice a bit. I understand that, and it is the most common complaint I hear about Merlin, but it doesn't bother me, I see it more as a puzzle to solve and overcome.
Merlin Play Rating: 8/10
Finally we ended the day with a fairly quick game of Xenon Profiteer. I had played this as a two-player game about a year ago, and appreciated it but didn't love it back then. This time we played a four player game, and I had the same reaction. I liked the distilling, or culling of cards to get a more efficient deck. And once you get past the terminology it's a fairly straightforward game. I just didn't love it. Hard to say why. I'd still play it again.
Xenon Profiteer Play Rating: 6/10
Tuesday, December 5th
Caitlin brought her copy of Flee to Alternate Universes. Since we all enjoyed Fear we broke it out to see how the system worked in a cooperative game. For those who don't know, these games are part of Friedemann Friese's Fast Forward series of games where there is no rulebook, you just open the box and get started playing.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the system. The obvious advantage is that you can get started right away. The disadvantages are that rules can't really get too complicated, and that if there is a question about a rule there's not much to go on.
So Flee. I enjoyed Flee quite a bit. It was more of a puzzle than a game really, and I think I enjoyed it as an experience more than a game I would play again. There were two rules that I think could've been clarified to make our play smoother, and we got to one point and literally had no idea what to do next. We tried one way, determined that that was wrong, then played the other way which seemed correct. I think one rule added to one card would've fixed that issue, but maybe it was just us that couldn't figure it out the first time. Who knows.
I think we won the game. I think we played it correctly.
Flee Play Rating: 7.5/10
After Flee we wanted something quick and easy, and since Dice Town went over so well the last time we played, someone suggested it and the rest of us agreed. As usual it was a great time. We were laughing, stealing and cheating, and Caitlin got to use her (really awful) sheriff voice. There was more stealing cards in this game than in either game before which made for some very funny moments.
I did better than usual by coming in second place, only losing to Brett by one point, 37 to 36.
Dice Town Play Rating: 9/10
Wednesday, December 6th
My normal Wednesday night group was cancelled so I made my way to Gamer's Heaven in Phoenixville PA. They are mostly video game players and Magic players, but a group of board gamers has been meeting there on Wednesdays, and they get a pretty good turn out.
I arrived a bit late, and there was only one other person who wasn't already playing a game. Neither of us had a good two player game handy, but we decided Merlin would work best.
I have to say that it worked fine, but the game is definitely more interesting with more players. Still, it was a good game and we both enjoyed it. My opponent won by stealing Excaliber on the second to last move of the game, taking away my five point bonus and giving it to him. Since he beat me by two points, 64 to 62, that cost me the game.
Merlin Play Rating: 7/10. I still really like the game, it is just probably better with three or four players.
We finished Merlin at the same time a group finished a game of Dominion. Two players joined us and offered to teach Dice Forge. I had heard good things about Forging Dice so was happy to give it a shot.
Dice Forge uses the dice building mechanism that Rattlebones tried to introduce, where faces of a die can be replaced with improved faces to customize to your play strategy. I never played Rattlebones but heard mediocre things about it. I am happy to say that Dice Forge was a hoot!
On a players turn, everybody rolls their dice and gets resources. This is important both for game reasons (otherwise it would take forever to get enough resources) but also for enjoyment reasons, as it keeps people engaged all the time. Well done!
On your turn you can either spend gold on replacement dice faces, or spend sun rocks or moon rocks to accomplish tasks which give you either a onetime bonus or an ongoing bonus, or just points.
We all had a really good time. In fact, this is one of the few games that I think might actually be too short. I would've loved to go a few more rounds! But the fact that it is fairly quick and short probably works in its favor.
Dice Forge Play Rating: 8/10
Looking for a quick game to finish the night off, we picked Magic Maze, a game I thought was fascinating, but wasn't sure about playing. Games like that are hit or miss with me, I either love them or they stress me out. Magic Maze, I'm happy to say, is one that I love. We played a five player game. My job was to move pawns "up", which I must say I handled with great aplomb.
We ended up winning. We had pretty good teamwork, and it was the first scenario. I had a blast playing, and bought my own copy the next day.
Magic Play Rating: 10/10
Magic Maze After we Exited
This was a really good week for gaming. I taught and played a new game of mine that went over pretty well. I learned the rules to a game I own but hadn't played. I learned two new games that I really enjoyed, and I played with a variety of people, all who were really nice and fun. That pretty much check
And Now.... The End!
King of Prussia
This last weekend I went to Las Vegas for the same reason everyone goes to Las Vegas... to watch hockey!
Every year I travel to some distant city to watch my Philadelphia Flyers beat some unlucky foe in a match of hockey, and this was the first year that Vegas had a team, the Vegas Golden Knights. I have to say, if you have a chance to go to Vegas, go see the Knights. Yes, the tickets are a bit expensive, but they put on a heck of a fun show. And the Knights are pretty good so far too.
I also played a lot of Black Jack. If I tracked Black Jack on BGG it would be my most played game of 2018 so far, and I would rate it a 9.2! With the exception of one unlucky game where I got cleaned out of all my money, I did pretty well! I think I ended up winning about $60 over the entire trip. Can playing a game of your precious Gloomhaven do that? I think not.
I also ate a lot of crepes. There is a place in NYNY called 48th and Crepe that makes delicious crepes.
But enough of that nonsense.
And Now... Games!!!
I didn't take many games with me for space purposes, but since I was traveling alone and thought I may have some times where I'd want to be in my hotel room and relax, I threw three solo games in a 5x8" box. Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game, Friday and Unlock: House on the Hill all fit quite nicely, and I probably could've fit a fourth game in there if I wanted to.
Travel Box. Burgundy: Dice, Friday and Unlock: House on the Hill.
I ended up not playing them very much, but it was nice that I had them. This will be a staple of my packing going forward.
I played one game of Burgundy: Dice one night before going to bed, and did pretty well. I really enjoy this game, making me rethink my anti-roll and write stance. I still haven't played it with other people, but I do enjoy it as a solo game.
CoB: Dice Play Rating: 7/10
Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game
I also played the Unlock! game, which I had borrowed from a friend. This was the first Unlock! game I had played, but have played two Exit: The Game games which I really enjoyed, and was looking to see how this compared. I really enjoyed this one. I liked that they put a quick tutorial in with the game, it really helped.
I finished in just about 5 minutes over time, but I think I double penalized myself two or three times. By that I mean, I put an incorrect code in, then when it was wrong I hit the penalty button. Then I realized that it was probably penalizing me automatically? I'm still not sure. But if I did give myself extra penalties then I won in just under the time limit.
It was quite enjoyable, so much so that I expect to buy more, especially since they work well solo. I did have one small issue with one clue, but can overlook that. No spoilers, but a quick look at BGG forums tells me I wasn't the only one with this issue.
If I had to choose, I'd say I like the Exit games more because there is more puzzle solving, and the different puzzles give more variety than the card deck does. But it is close, and I'd like to play every game in both series. Unlock may work better for me as a solo game, and Exit more with another player or two.
Unlock Play Rating: 9/10
Unlock: House on the Hill
When I travel I do like to visit a local game store or two. Before my trip I had narrowed it down to two stores, Darkside Games and Little Shop of Magic. Since I didn't have a car I only made it to one of them, and I chose Little Shop on Saturday because they were having a game night that night, and also because Darkside looked more like a Magic: The Gathering store. Maybe I was wrong about that, and next time I am in Vegas I will check them out too.
But my visit to LSoM was great! It's a cute little store on the second floor of a strip mall. The store is clean, well stocked, and everyone was super friendly. They even gave me a King of Tokyo promo that they were giving away!
Everyone was already in the middle of games when I arrived so I looked around the store for a while. I wanted to buy something, but space was an issue. I settled on another Unlock game that looked interesting, The Nautilus' Traps. I also picked up two dice with the store logo and a yellow game bag, because I like yellow.
Soon some of the games were ending and more were starting up. I asked if I could watch the rules explanation for A Feast for Odin even though I didn't want to play. But then another table invited me to play a five player game of Rock Paper Wizard that they were just starting.
RPW was quite a bit of fun! It reminded me of Crossing but crazier. My first play of Crossing fell a little flat, but Rock Paper Wizard has more going for it, and we all had a good time playing.
Rock Paper Wizard Play Rating: 8/10
After Wizard ended (and Feast was still in it's rules explanation phase) we played Nuns on the Run, another game I had heard of but never played.
Nuns is like other hidden movement games, like Scotland Yard, Whitechapel or Fury of Dracula but instead of everyone chasing one player, one player chases everybody. It is an interesting twist on the genre. I thought I had it made as my novice, Angelica made it through the inner and outer gardens, and the Nuns were nowhere near me. Then another novice got spotted and the nuns moved my way, pretty much blocking me from getting in the Chapel, where my key was!
Finally the nuns went the other way after a different novice, and I ran through the Chapel and got my key, just as two other novices got back to their cells with their blessings. I had no idea they were that close! Another good game!
Nuns Play Rating: 7/10
Two of our players had to leave (and the other table was still playing Feast) and we had time for one more quick game. Kelly (I think?) had a copy of Harvest Dice to demo. She hadn't played either, but it was simple enough to figure out.
Roll dice, pick dice, place veggies in garden, feed your pig. There have been a TON of write and roll games recently, and I have been avoiding most of them. But I enjoyed Harvest Dice. I think though that I'd rather play Sagrada than HD.
Harvest Dice Play Rating: 7/10
Final Score. I lost, but it was close. I had the best drawn vegetables.
So that was the game portion of my trip to Vegas. Other highlights were riding the Big Apple Roller Coaster at NYNY, playing giant Pac-Man, loudly singing the Philadelphia Eagles Fight song with hundreds of Eagles fans who were there for the Flyers game.
It was an awesome trip overall, and I can't wait to go back.
And Now.... The End!
King of Prussia
I find myself backed up with game night write ups. Playing so many games at PAX Unplugged, and writing three posts (Day One, Day Two and Day Three) took longer than expected. So instead of writing about every game I've played since my last non-PAX Game Night blog I'm just going to hit some highlights.
Tuesday, November 14th
I brought Dice Town to Alternate Universe and it got picked as the first game we played. We played five players, Caitlin, Eric, Brett Travis and me. We had a great time playing, Caitlin made sure she was always the sheriff, mostly so she could keep talking with a bad western accent. It worked out pretty well for her, I think she won.
I love this game even though I think I came in dead last both time I've played it. It has everything I like in a game: Dice rolling, Poker, Laughter, Lying, Cheating, Stealing, and speaking with bad accents. I love the poker chips I used to replace the paper money, I would highly recommend people do this.
Dice Town - One of my Better Rolls
I've had a copy of Oink Games' Fake Artist for a while and never quite got it to the table. Part of it was that I don't care for Spyfall very much. But I do like Telestrations and games of that ilk. Also with my game groups it is sometimes hard to get enough players for a good party-style game.
Finally however I got it played, and it went over great. Everyone was laughing and having a good time, and now it's a permanent game in my bag.
For those who don't know the game, it's a drawing game where everybody except one player knows what you are drawing, and that one player has to fake it. The first player can draw a line, or a shape, then passes the paper to the next player who draws their line or shape. You need to be able to show that you know what you are drawing without giving it away to the fake artist who will have a chance to guess at the end to win.
We had some pretty funny pictures. It was a great way to finish off the night.
The Little Mermaid. Sort of.
Tuesday, November 21st
This was the first Post-PAX game night, and if you thought we would be tired of games (or each other) you would be mistaken sir! Travis brought Potion Explosion to play, or as Suzanne Sheldon calls it, Poesh Spoesh. Thanks Suzanne, now I can't NOT call it that!
Travis trounced us, but I came in a respectable second place with 60 points. I really like Poesh Splo... er... Potion Explosion. The tactile feel of the marbles, the sorting contraption, and the gameplay all combine to form a very satisfying game that lasts just long enough.
Wednesday, November 22nd
When I went to PAX I decided to bring a few games just incase there was a time when we wanted to play a game but didn't have access to one. Hint: There was never a time we didn't have access to several games. Most of the games I brought were small and light. But I REALLY wanted to play Orleans, so I lugged it around PAX most of the weekend and never got it played.
I took it to my Wednesday night game group, Casual Gamers, and finally got it played. I have played before, but this was the first time I got to play my copy, so yay, another game off of my Shelf of Shame.
Jenn Craig and I played a three player game, and after a long and extensive run down of all the rules we started. It went well, there were no rules I got wrong so play went smoothly and pretty quickly.
I love the bag building mechanism in the game, and all the different things you can do on a turn. I came in third, which I attribute to the fact that I was spending energy on teaching and guiding the game, and not on the fact that I may be a bit rubbish at playing it.
My Orleans board. Things did not go well.
We also played a game of Queendomino. I enjoy Kingdomino quite a bit, and was hoping to try its big sister. I liked Queen quite a bit! It added enough to the basic tile laying formula to make it interesting without losing much of it's small game charms. I didn't quite pick up on the advantage of building towers and taxing with knights, but I look forward to trying it again.
The dragon never got used in our game. It didn't seem advantageous to us, but with more plays it might. If I bought Queendomino I would use the Dragon piece in Rhino Hero Super Battle.
Thursday, November 23rd
Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving this year was a simple affair. I went to my parent's for early dinner (lunch basically) and enjoyed heaping piles of mashed potatoes, corn and green bean casserole. They asked me to bring some simple games that they would be able play. I took two new to them games, Kingdomino and Timeline, as well as two games they had played and enjoyed before, Qwirkle and Rummikub.
We gave the new games a shot, and they both worked out great! We played two games of Kingdomino and a game of Timeline and we all enjoyed them. I was glad to have games available that they could learn and play easily.
Then we watched the Dallas Cowboys lose, which is always fun.
Tuesday, November 28th
I was eager to finish our playthrough of Fear with my Alternate Universe game group. We started at PAX, playing two sessions there, then had a third session last week. We were near the end of the deck and I really wanted to see how it ended. I was a little nervous about one aspect (don't want to spoil by saying what) but it turned out not to be an issue.
Fear ended with Matt being the eventual winner, which was mildly disappointing because he didn't play the first three sessions and was just filling in for our previous fourth player who didn't show up tonight. I was happy with how it ended, and would like to try it with a new group. I'd also like to try out the other two in the series to see what they do differently with the system.
After Fear ended we broke up into a group of three and a group of two. I was in the group of two and wanted to try out Matt's new copy of the new version of London. I had played the previous version once a few years ago, and don't remember loving it, but that was early in my game playing days and I may not have picked up on it very well at that time.
I really liked the new version! The art is great, and the gameplay is easier than I expected. I got off to a good start, but just like in real life debt caught up with me, and I found I had too little money, and too much poverty to overcome and I lost by about a dozen points. I'd like to try it again with more players.
My Poverty Generating Machine
Overall the month was great. Lots of great games, with different groups of people. With the help of both Extra Life and PAX Unplugged, this November had the most number of games played since I began recording game plays! August is usually the biggest month of the year for me, averaging about 40 games played, but this month I played 59 games! I wish I could've gotten one more play in to round it up to 60, but no such luck.
And Now.... The End!
King of Prussia
This is Day Three at PAX. To read about Day One, GO HERE. For some Day Two action, go GO HERE
Sunday, November 19th
I woke up on Sunday morning sure of two things: That I was going to have fun at the final day of PAX Unplugged, and that my Philadelphia Eagles were going to beat the Dallas Cowboys that night. Turns out I was correct on both counts!!!
I met my friend Matt and his wife Kate at the North Star Games booth where they were purchasing a copy of Vegas Wits and Wagers. Good choice! I have a KS copy that I haven't played yet but am excited to try. While we were there we played a game of Happy Salmon. It was a six player game, and Matt Kate and I all tied for first. It was fun! Kate didn't want to play at first, but I think she enjoyed it. Every game of HapSam needs to have at least one person forced to play against their will.
Happy Salmon Play Rating: 9/10
After HS got our blood pumping, we headed to the First Look area. There were a couple of games on my short list to try out, and we decided to wait for Indian Summer to open up. While we were waiting Mr. Thomas Vassel walked by and we said hello and talked a bit. He seemed to be having a good time and was super friendly, even admitting that while he doesn't follow football much, he too hoped the Eagles would beat the Cowboys.
Finally we had out shot at Indian Summer. After a pretty good rules explanation we were off. I really enjoyed it, I think it is better than Cottage Garden, and I really enjoy Cottage Garden.
Using the acorns/feathers/mushrooms at the right times seems to be the key. The game looks great, and even though I had a couple of questions during the game (sometimes the same question a few times) I think the rules are fairly easy and straightforward. I would've bought it there if it was available. If I am still interested in January when it comes out I'll still probably pick it up.
Indian Summer Play Rating: 9/10
My best friend the Badger
We stayed at the First Look area and took a shot at Pie Town. I had first heard of it from the Shut Up and Sit Down live show where they talked about it and gave it mostly good reviews. My friends Caitlin and Travis also mentioned it. Caitlin liked it but didn't think it was worth the price.
I thought the game was okay. It had some good ideas, I would play it again but I wasn't blown away by it. The one different aspect that I thought would make the game interesting was a deduction aspect where you tried to figure out the ingredients to other players' special pies. We ended up not focusing on that because we didn't quite understand the point of it, and we focused on other things, but also because by this point in the con the dry erase markers supplied were completely dried out and unusable.
We ended up only playing half the game as everyone realized that the game was fine, but there was no need to finish it. I agreed, but would still be open to playing again if someone brings it to a game night.
Pie Town Play Rating: 6/10
My secret pie was Banana, Yellow Apple, Green Apple. Blech!
After that Matt and Kate went off to lunch. I stayed behind and got into a two-player game of a new CGE release, Pulsar 2849, with Travis. I can appreciate the game, but it wasn't for me. Travis liked it. The game did grow on me over the course of the game, but it still never really hit the right spot. I missed one major rule during the explanation that affected endgame scoring. Travis did not forget this rule, so he won quite handily.
Pulsar 2849 Play Rating: 5/10
After that I had a chance to play one of the most talked about games, Azul. Azul is a game that has no right being as fun as it is. The tile pieces are great, the game is fun and challenging. I had a pretty good game. I didn't break many tiles, and on my last round I was able to fill two rows in with light blue tiles that gave me bonus points for having all five of a color.
I ended up winning, and may try to pick this game up. I really enjoyed the way the game is like a multi layered puzzle, first taking the right pieces, then placing them on the tracks, then moving them to the right spot. The tactile feel of the tiles is great, but the gameplay is what seals it for me. I can't wait to play it again!
Azul Play Rating: 9/10
As far as I am concerned, PAX Unplugged was a huge success. I played a bunch of great games with a bunch of different people, and had a really good time.
I am especially glad of two things; One, that I did some non-game playing stuff, like seeing the SU&SD and Dice Tower live shows, and two, that I got to play with different groups of people, including new people I hadn't met before.
Next year I will make more of an effort to take advantage of unique opportunities, like a tournament, more live panel sessions, and PLAY EVEN MORE GAMES!!!
And Now.... The End!
King of Prussia
This is Day Two at PAX. To read about Day One, GO HERE
Saturday, November 18th
I woke up, had a good breakfast at the hotel, and got to the Convention Center around 9:45. The doors opened at 10, and the line was about a mile and a half long. Instead of walking to the end we just sat in comfortable chairs and watched as the line filtered through. So many people! We got in by 10:25.
I ran into Jay and Brett from Tuesday Night Game Group at Alternate Universes and we walked around. We all wanted to try out Abandon Planet, Jay because he almost Kickstarted it and me because I saw Girl's Game Shelf play a game of it and it looked fun. We only played a few mid-game rounds, just enough to get a quick idea. I would've liked to have played more of it. Neither Jay or Brett was impressed, I would like to play a full game because I think it seems fun.
I made my way to the first look area with my friend Jenn, and we soon were playing Meeple Circus. I had been looking forward to playing it for a while now. We played a five player game after being taught the rules by a PAX instructor. It was good fun, I really liked it.
I was a little disappointed in the final round, because two of the five of us had pretty lame things we had to do. I had to sing, which was funny, someone had to drum their fingers which was okay, someone had to march their animals around the stage which wasn't great because they only had one animal, someone else had something lame that I forget. I think the final round actions should be more balanced. But I enjoyed the game. Unfortunately though it fell off the "must buy" list for me.
Meeple Circus Play Rating: 7/10 but no longer need to buy.
My Second Performance. With Clown. Jenn's Second Performance. With Camel.
After Meeple Circus I was wandering aimlessly when I decided to check out the PAX app. I noticed that the Dice Tower live show was starting in about 10 minutes so I headed over to see if I could get a seat. I could, and it was fun. They did "Top 10 Games That Need Sequels" and it was pretty funny. Zee cracked me up as always, but Eric had the funniest line. I'd repeat it if I could remember it.
Matt was at DT as well, so afterwards we met up and grabbed Quadropolis out of the library. Since I needed to charge my phone, and there were no outlets inside the hall, We went to a secret spot in the hallway, I plugged in my phone charger and we played a two player game. With rules explanation and game play, it took just about an hour which was perfect!
First you place an architect to select a tile, which is one small puzzle, then you have to figure out where to place the tile, which is a second small puzzle. The catch is that you have to coordinate everything at once, which makes it one big puzzle.
Quadropolis Play Rating: 8/10. I really enjoyed Quadropolis, quite a bit more than Suburbia.
We finished Quadropolis at about 3:55pm, so I went to see if I could get in to see Shut Up and Sit Down's live podcast. I made it in at 4:02 to just miss Matt Lees make a funny Steve Buscemi joke. My seats weren't great but it was very funny and I'm glad I got to see them. I had accosted Quinns earlier in the day to shake his hand as he was trying to rush to the bathroom.
At the Stronghold booth (I originally typed Strongbooth booth) I picked up the first in the Fast Forward series, Fear. While we were waiting for someone to finish reading a rulebook, five of us tried Fear out. It started a little slow, and at first I thought it wasn't going to be any good, but it picked up and was quite a bit of fun!
I don't want to spoil anything, but it is a nice light fun card game, and I would say it is definitely worth picking up. I'm not sure where the name Fear comes from, except that they paste on a ghost theme and it starts with the letter F.
Be afraid... Be mildly afraid....
We played five or six rounds of it before we set it aside to play.... Explorers of the North Sea! Raiders of the North Sea is one of my favorite games of the last year or so, and I've been wanting to try out Explorers and Shipwrights for a long time now. My friend Travis bought both of those games and we were excited to try them out.
Explorers is a light game, but still fun. I enjoyed the exploration part of the game, which is what you hope for when you play a game with "explore" in the title. I also liked the various ways of scoring points, by collecting animals, fighting pirates, forming settlements and raiding.
The game was shorter than I expected, as the tiles got placed fairly quickly. I didn't do very well. At least I had a pig!
I would very much like to play Explorers again, but I wouldn't necessarily pick it up myself. Travis wants to play the Runesaga one day and I would like to try that as well.
Explorers of the North Sea Play Rating: 8/10
After Exploring the North Sea, Travis sat down to read the rules to Shipwrights. The rest of us played a few more rounds of Fear. Fear was still fun.
Finally Travis had the rules down, so we played Shipwrights of the North Sea. This was a hell of a game! I don't know if it was just because we were tired and a little loopy from a full day of playing games, or if we were hungry, or cranky or what, but our play of Shipwrights was pretty crazy!
The game was a lot of fun, probably my favorite gaming session of the weekend. There was just enough "screw your opponents" going on that everyone was laughing and yelling and shaking their fists in furrrrrrrious anger! One turn when someone destroyed another player's half build ship was one of my favorite moments of the con.
The resources were hard to come by, and it was so difficult to get everything needed to build a ship that the entire game was tense and exciting. I ended the game by building my fourth ship first, but they were all low scoring so I didn't win. I think I came in third.
Shipwrights of the North Sea Play Rating: 10/10!!! I really want to play again, to see if the game really is that good, or if it was just a good play.
Shipwriting the North Sea
After Shipwrights ended Caitlin and Mike had to leave and everyone kind of disbanded. Brett and I realized we hadn't eaten all day and ordered pizza. While we were waiting I pulled out a two-player game I had for just such an occasion, Star Realms. I had only played Star Realms once before irl, but have played a bunch on my iPhone.
Brett got off to a good start, and hit me for a couple big early hits. Eventually my strategy of buying outposts paid off, and I was able to deflect most of his attacks while I built up my own. Finally I hit him with 3 big turns in a row and he was done for. It was a well fought, fairly even game. I thought we was going to beat me but I pulled out the upset and hit him for 19 points in the last turn.
Star Realms Play Rating: 8/10
Beyond the rim of the starlight, my love is wandering in star flight.
Day Two Summary
I had a really fun day! I shook hands with Quinton Smith of SU&SD and Chaz Marler of Pair of Dice Paradise, two of my favorite media creators. The Dice Tower and SU&SD live shows were great and I'm glad I made the effort to see them. Finally, I played a bunch of good games with a bunch of different people and enjoyed them all.
I can't wait for Sunday, but I will be sad that it is the last day of PAX. I already can't wait until next year!
Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:57 pm
King of Prussia
oh boy oh boy oh boy! It's finally here! PAX Unplugged is finally here!
I heard about PAX so long ago I can't even remember. I registered within an hour of tickets being available. I requested time of from work months ahead of time. I was a little excited.
Friday, November 17th
I arrived at the Convention Center and got settled in with bag check and stuff, and was all ready by about 11am. The first hour or so was spent walking around the merch hall. SO MUCH COOL STUFF! While I was walking around I was coerced into a game of Happy Salmon against my will!
"Hey YOU!" someone yelled, pointing right at me. "We need a 6th for Happy Salmon! You're Playing!" So I played and had a blast. It was as fun as advertised. HapSam is a game I've wanted to try for a long time, and very strongly considered buying it, but never pulled the trigger. I'm glad I got to play, thanks North Star Games representative!
I didn't get any pictures of Happy Salmon, and hopefully no videos of me playing it show up anywhere!
Happy Salmon Play Rating: 9/10
After spending some of my built up energy with Happy Salmon, I ran into my friend Matt and his wife Kate, and we settled into a demo game of Favelas, a tile placing game about beautifying a town in Rio De Janeiro. You choose a tile with two sides on it, then have to place it on top of other tiles. Sometimes you want to cover up certain colors, sometimes you don't. If you cover a yellow tile with another yellow tile you get to change the yellow die, which affects points.
It was a fun and interesting game. I liked the idea of building tiles up rather than out, and trying to figure out where to place a tile that hurts you the least is interesting. Sometimes you are stuck covering up a tile you don't want to just to manipulate the dice a little.
Favelas Play Rating: 7.5/10
Rio De Janeiro' Beautification Council
The next game I demoed was Flip Ships. I love the idea of Flip Ships. I enjoyed my play, but didn't love it. That may have been because it was a two player game with just me and the Renegade Games representative (who was great at teaching and setting up the game), and might be more fun with some friends and some drinks. Plus I was wildly inconsistent with my flips, which is probably the point, but still frustrating. I'd play it again, but didn't run off to buy it.
Flip Ships Play Rating: 6/10, I want to give it another
After Flip Ships I had lunch. I don't want to talk about lunch.
Then I met up with friends Travis and Tim from my Tuesday Night Game Group to try out Alien Artifacts. I thought it was... interesting. There were parts I liked, and now that I have a better grasp of rules I think I'd like it more if I played it again. Travis and Tim both loved it, Travis went right out and bought it.
I'm sure we got all the rules correct but I don't think we had the strategy figured out. I ended up winning with a score of 13 to 8 to 6 which seems low. All I know is: attacking is good, artifact cards are awesome, and getting attacked sucks.
Alien Artifacts Play Rating: 6/10 but I want to give it another shot.
Next I walked around some more, taking in the atmosphere. I met up with my friend Brett and we decided to check out the game library. They had a ton of games, but many of the popular ones were checked out. We grabbed Dream Home, thinking it would be quick and work with two players. It was a pretty light game with great art, a nice theme, and better than expected gameplay. Not a brain burner, but had some decisions. It was fun, I think I have a friend who owns it so I'd like to try a three or four player game.
Dream Home Play Rating: 7.5/10
Not really MY dream home, but I'm sure it's somebody's dream home.
Another trip to the library resulted in a game of Asking for Trobils. AfT is a game I have been interested in ever since I backed it on Kickstarter, then canceled my pledge. Actually I thing the project was cancelled and relaunched, and I never backed the relaunch? Maybe, I forget.
We were joined by Paul, who we didn't know but was walking by and wanted to play. Then we were joined by two other people and had a five-player game going. Long story short, I really enjoyed it. The look and design of the game is great. The turns are fast and easy, and the game is very enjoyable. Our only possible concern that we had was that the riff-raff cards didn't come into play much, but maybe that was just our play, and in another game they would have more of an impact. I would play it again.
Asking for Trobils Play Rating: 9/10
You don't start Trobil, there won't be Trobil!
The last game of the evening was a three player game of Galaxy Trucker with Brett and some guy named Gideon, who was visiting from Indianapolis. I had never played G Trucker in real life, but I had played the app a whole bunch, so I pretty much knew the rules. We gave a quick rules rundown to Gideon and were off!
Round one did not go well!
I don't think we got any cargo. Pirates shot us up, meteorites bashed us apart, and we were all lucky to even arrive at the end.
Round the second was a lot better, at least for me. My shields and lasers were all placed perfectly and I had a ton of batteries and cargo spaces. I think I got 45 points, Brett and Gideon didn't get very many.
Then came the third round. I was absolutely demolished. I am still reeling from the total destruction of my ship. First almost all my engines went, then a meteorite literally ripped by ship in half, then I lost my last crew member. Three tile sections of my ship continued to float there for a while until I was mercifully put out of my misery.
Fortunately I still won. Round two gave me enough of a buffer that Greg's Space Delivery Service ("GSDS - We deliver... usually") was able to survive the catastrophe that was round three.
Galaxy Trucker Play Rating: 10/10. I loved it. I want to play again.
Day One Summary
That was it for Friday. Highlights were: Meeting Flip Florey of Flip the Table (RIP), finally playing Galaxy Trucker and Trobils, and playing some games with people I didn't know who were all very cool. Great first day.
King of Prussia
Tuesday, November 7th
Alternate Universe Game Night. Matt arrived, and brought his brand new copy of Clans of Caledonia. I had been wanting to play this for a while, ever since I backed the Kickstarter but then dropped out of it. I needed to know if I made a huge mistake not buying it or not. Caitlyn and Brett arrived and we were off!
It was a really good game. Some people compare it to Terra Mystica, and I can see that, but it's like it took the best parts of TM and left the parts I don't like out, like the temple tracks and the magic bowls. It does take a while to set up and go over the rules, but everything made sense.
My clan's special ability dealt with whiskey production; if I let it age a bit I got more money when I sold it. I focused mostly on wheat and whiskey production, with a few sheep and some late game cheese (I love late game cheese!) I fulfilled a few contracts. Looking back I see how I could've done better, so I am looking forward to playing again.
I didn't think I was doing very well in the game but I ended up coming in second place. Good job, late game cheese!
So in hindsight, the game is really good. I really enjoyed playing and will play again if given the chance. However I do not regret not backing it on KS, for the simple fact that I wouldn't get it played much, and the thought of explaining the rules to new players over and over again is daunting. Not that it is hard, there is just a lot of rules to go over.
Play rating: 8/10.
Roughly 2/3 of the way through he game
It was too late in the evening for another longish game, so I pulled out Rhino Hero Super Battle. The game went down a storm! We all had a good time and had a decent sized building built before someone (me) knocked it over. It was really fun and I look forward to playing it again!
I may look into buying a second copy.
Play rating: 11/10
Wednesday, November 8th
Wednesday was Casual Gamer's Game Night. We strted out with a quick and light game, Dig from the Pack o' Gum line of games. It was cute! I liked the art, and the rules were simple and fun. Really good game, I'm interested in trying more from the series. Play rating: 7/10. Good, fun, short.
After Dig we pulled out a slightly heavier game, Simurgh. Brett won this at the Extra Life event we went to at Games Keep. It was interesting. It was basically a worker placement/resource collection game. I'd like to give it another shot, the economics of the game seemed very... strict. It seemed difficult to get many resources, and most actions required a lot of resources. So it seems slow. I am sure with more experience it makes more sense.
We played the quick game, and it was pretty quick. It was a good learning game and I'd like to give the longer game a shot. Play rating: 6/10, good but I want to play the longer game now that we (mostly) know what the heck we are doing.
Simurgh - Red Dragon vs. Yellow Spearmen (note: they do not actually fight in the game)
Next we played my newest game, Dice Town. I loved this game. It's fun, fairly quick, and has just enough lyin' cheatin' and stealin' in it without being overly mean. Jenn won, just edging out Brett. I think I came in a close third.
I really liked the game. I upgraded my copy with poker chips instead of the paper money, which I think worked well. Play rating: 9/10, my kind of game. I really liked it, and will look to pick up the Cowboys expansion.
Dice Town money (chips), dice and gold.
The final game of the night was Brett's favorite game, Unfair. I really like this game too, but am pretty bad at it. Brett crushed us all by some 50 points. Play rating: 8/10, I had fun but felt a little gypped by my Super Attractions and Blueprint cards. I guess that's why they call it unfair.
What can I say in a week when I played a bunch of good games?
King of Prussia
In an earlier blog post (located.... let's see, where did I put that post...here!) I talked about 3 of my favorite gaming accessories. Those were all general accessories that can be used with nearly any game. Today I am going to talk about a couple upgrades to some specific games that I love. I'm a fan of upgrades, and enjoy Chaz Marler's Component Proponent series.
1) Las Vegas - I love love love Las Vegas. It's a great game, all about rolling dice. So much fun. The game came with 4 sets of 8 dice, plus 8 white die for a variant, which is an essential variant in my opinion. There were two problems with this. One, it didn't come with yellow dice and I always play yellow. Two, the game is just as good with five or six players. So I found these dice that look just like the original dice that came with the game, but a bit bigger. The colors match perfectly, but now I have six colors to choose from, PLUS white dice for up to five players.
Original dice on top, new dice below
I can also use the purple dice for another variant that comes with the expansion, which I WOULD BUY IF IT WERE AVAILABLE IN THE US!!!! Sorry. Also, If I wanted to I could use the original small dice and one big die of each color, which is another variant in the expansion WHICH I WOULD BUY IF IT WERE AVAILABLE IN THE US!!!! Sorry again.
2)Castles of Burgundy - a few years ago I bought some small bags for the tiles in CoB. I had a green one for animal tiles, a yellow one for Science tiles, a blue one for boat tiles, and a purple on for mines and castles. I had a different black bag for the black market tiles, and nothing for the building tiles. Lo and behold, a few weeks ago the BGG Store put specialized COB drawstring bags up for sale. I bought them right away!
Old bags for Castles of Burgundy Burgandy's got a brand new bags.
I love them. They are the perfect color, perfect size, and perfect feel. I pulled the game off my shelf for the first time in nearly two years just to play it using the new bags. They are great, and I recommend everyone get them for their copies of the game.
The next upgrade I need for Burgundy is yellow dice and pieces so I can play as my favorite color. I may use leftover dice from my Las Vegas Upgrade for part of this.
3) Dice Town - I just bought Dice Town, and as of writing this I haven't played it. But that didn't stop me from upgrading it! I don't mind the paper money that came with the game. It's plastic like in feel, and works fine. But when I found these western themed poker chips I figured they'd fit right in with the game.
$1 Gold Rush poker chips to replace paper money
I also upgraded the Sheriff Badge card with a real (well, costume real) badge.
I'm looking to upgrade the gold pieces as well. I like the look of the gold cubes from Terraforming Mars, but not the cube shape. I think BGG Store sells gold colored cubes. If I can find pieces in the shape of nuggets but with the fake metal coating I will get them.
4) Storage Boxes - Back to more of a general purpose accessory. While I was buying the bags for CoB from the BGG Store I saw these small plastic storage boxes. They look similar to the ones that came with my KS version of Scythe. I haven't used them yet but they look pretty good and are fairly cheap.
Geekbox containers. Bits not included.
5) Modern Art - I don't have an upgrade for Modern Art yet, but I really really really REALLY want a small wooden gavel for the auctions. We always end up using the cardboard gavel that comes with the game, and it is not as satisfying, and also I worry about it being damaged. I've checked Amazon and haven't found exactly what I am looking for yet. ("And I Stiiiiiiil haven't found.... what I'm looking for!" - Bono)
I am the Auctioneer now! (Image by user takasan)
Sometime small touches add to the fun of a game for me. The sheriff badge in Dice Town for example, is completely useless and some may say it's a waste of $5. But it makes me happy when I play the game. Likewise having a gavel in Modern Art, while not affecting gameplay, would add to my enjoyment of the game. Give me any excuse to play with poker chips and I will take it. Replacing colored cubes with sheep, cows and resources in Glen More was essential to my loving the game.
So it's up to you, but I say if you have a game you love and there is a way, no matter how silly or superfluous, to make you enjoy it more go for it.
King of Prussia
Friday, November 3rd to Saturday, November 4th
This Saturday was Extra Life, a day where video gamers and board gamers and others play games all day, and raise money that goes to help children's hospitals. My local game store, The Games Keep had a 24 hour marathon from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday. I showed up a little after midnight on Friday.
There were some people there already which was great, they all said they were doing to whole 24 hours. I intended to do 24 hours, but then remembered I am not 25 any more. I ended up hanging out for about an hour. The others were already in the middle of long games, so I spent my time reading rules for some games that I had interest in learning and playing.
The four games I read the rules to were Caverna: Cave vs Cave, Sentient, Bunny Kingdom and Kanagawa. After that I hung out for a short time before I realized that my energy would be better spent coming back early in the morning so I went home for a few hours of sleep.
I got back at 7:30 Saturday morning, and the same people were still there! Good job guys! Plus some more people had arrived. I quickly got into two games that I had been wanting to try. The first was El Dorado, the recent Knizia deckbuilding game. It was fairly light, but lots of fun. I really enjoyed it, and pulled off a surprise come from behind victory with all the 5 and 6 jungle cards I had been hoarding for the final stretch. I forget which map we used, but it was one of the difficult ones I think. I'd give the play 8/10, and would absolutely play again.
Who's that all alone in the City of Gold? I do believe that is me!
The next game I got to play was also fun, but there were no late game heroics for me as I ended up in last place. The game was Whistle Stop. I liked the game, and would like to play it again. There was one strategy that seemed super strong, and the person who was dead last late in the game was able to score a ton of points and ended up winning in the last round. I think with more experience that wouldn't happen as much, but it just seemed way powerful. I'd give the play 7/10 because I liked it, didn't love it, but would play it again.
Who's that in last place and stuck behind another train? I do believe that is me!
While that game was wrapping up my friend Jenn showed up. We were waiting for others to arrive so I suggested one of the games I read the rules to, Caverna: Cave vs. Cave. It was a fun little two-player game. I would buy it except I never really get to play two-player games, and I already have a couple of two player games that I like a little better*. 7/10, I enjoyed it but not as much as other 2p games.
Brett arrived, and while we finished up Caverna: CvC, he pulled Bunny Kingdom off the demo shelf, which I was happy with because I had been interested in the game ever since I first heard of it, but was nervous to buy it, not knowing if I could get people to play it. Plus I had read the rules the night before so it would be pretty easy to work through.
We all enjoyed the game. I got off to a pretty good start, creating a small/medium fiefdom that got me a ton of early points. In round two I built a sky tower, but made the mistake of connecting two fiefs that were close to each other, and in early round three drafted the cards to connect them anyway. Brett had a pretty big last round comeback, but it wasn't quite enough and I ended up winning.
As for complaints about the board size, I can see why people may have an issue with it, but personally I don't. I expected the game to be bigger (both board and bunnies) but thought it was fine as it was and didn't ruin the game for me. If the board was 10% or 20% bigger that would not be a bad thing.
I really enjoyed Bun Bun Kingdom. Fortunately Brett ended up buying a copy, so I will play it the next time he brings it to game night. I'd give the play a rating of 9/10, I really liked it, and want to play it again. I may buy it. If I bought it I would paint the bunnies, or at least just draw silly faces on them.
As I was walking around the store between games I saw people playing Terraforming Mars. It looked like they were playing two separate two player games, but it turned out they were playing one game using two boards! I was intrigued. I think that would be too much for me, but bully to them for doing it! I'm not sure how long the game took, it seemed like it took a while. I wish I got a picture of it.
An artist's rendering of dual-map Terraforming Mars
We were joined by Moe, who we met last year at either the Extra Life event or at TableTop Day, I forget which. Nice guy. I pulled out one of my all time favorite games, Castles of Burgundy. I think it has been nearly two years since I had played it last (edit: last play was May 2016, so about 1.5 years). Moe had never played it, Brett and Jenn had, but only once a long time ago (probably the last time I played it!)
At first it looked like Jenn had a comfortable lead, and the rest of us were in a close fight for second. As often happens with CoB, she ran out of steam and ended up in third. Brett had a big final round and trounced the rest of us by 40 points. I came in second, just ahead of Jenn. Moe was in last, but with a respectable score for a first time player. I think we all enjoyed it. I give the play 10/10 for still being a great game.
Castles of Burgundy of Mad King Greg
Brett and I selected Sentient next, another game I had just learned the rules of last night. Even though I didn't have them 100% down, it was easier to figure out while playing since I at least had a basic understanding of them. I liked it a lot. I liked the thinky puzzlyness of figuring out which cards to play where, and how to manipulate the dice. I ended up winning a close game, 76 to Brett's 75 and Jenn's 69. Play rating: 7/10, I would play it again but maybe not select it. I did enjoy it.
DINNER BREAK! We went to Las Vegas Pizza for some slices at 15% off. I had two delicious slices of mushroom onion and cheese pizza, Jenn decided to ruin her cheese pizza by putting tons of black olives on them. She said they were delicious but I know she was lying.
After dinner we went for some lighter fare. First up was Rhino Hero: Super Battle. This soon became the hit of the day, as every other gamer was watching us and talking about the game. It ended fairly quickly, but with a satisfying collapse. Brett, not the steadiest of hands, knocked half of it down while Moe's piece was highest, giving him the win. I was hoping the building would get epically high, but still had a great time with the game. Everyone playing and watching seemed to like it too. Play rating 8/10.
Moe's fiancé joined us and we played a five player round of Campy Creatures. Five players was better than two players, but I think three or four is still the sweet spot. Again, I think we all enjoyed it. I'm not sure what happened score wise, as Jenn lapped some of us and dominated with a score of 62, the rest of us were between 20 and 30. Good game Jenn! Play rating 7/10, really good for a filler, I would play it again in that capacity.
Jenn took her domination victory trophy and left for the night. Brett and I stuck around for a while, and played a few rounds of No Thanks with Philip and Adam, two gamers I had never met before. I have wanted to play NT! for a while, and I love little card games like 6 Nimmt so I was happy to give it a try. I think we ended up playing 3 rounds.
In the first round I got destroyed. I think I ended up with 118 points, which I was informed was not good. I got better though. The second round I scored 46 coming in third place but close to second place, and the last round I actually won with 23 points.
I really enjoyed No Thanks and can see why it is popular. I'm not sure I like it as well as 6 Nimmt but I might pick it up so I have both and add it to my small card game collection with Tichu, Cockroach Poker and Dead Man's Draw. Play rating: 9/10, lots of fun, great way to end a game night. I would happily play again.
Finally we ended the night with a game of Set, another small card game. I always thought Set was a mass market game like Uno, Skipbo or Rook, and it kind of is. I liked it, it was fine. I am apparently very good at it as I ended up with way more sets than anybody else. I would play it again, but again it's not one I would choose to play, or play very often. Play rating 6/10.
Well, that was it for the game playing portion of the night. I think I ended up leaving around 10:30, meaning I was there for roughly 15 hours, plus an hour or so Friday night. I felt great at the end, not too tired at all, but I think I made the right decision leaving and coming back Saturday morning. If the day started at 8 in the morning then went until 8 Sunday morning I think I could've stayed longer.
I expected to buy a couple of games but only ended up with one. I was looking to buy Meeple Circus, The new Mysterium expansion, Dice Town, and maybe Cottage Garden and Whistle Stop. I would've bought Bunny Kingdom if Brett hadn't. Meeple Circus was sold out and I decided Whistle Stop wasn't quite great enough to buy.
So I ended up only buying Dice Town which I am very happy with. I hope to play it this week.
I had a great time! I enjoyed every game I played, and got to play with some different people. I got to play three new games I was very interested it, Bunny Kingdom, El Dorado and Whistle Stop and liked them all. I even got to play one of my all time favorite games, Burgundy and still love it.
Thanks to Karl of Games Keep for holding the event, I'd say it was a huge success!
*Two-player games I own that I love but never get to play: Rivals for Catan, Agricola ACGaS, Bottom of the 9th and Fugitive. I also like Targi quite a bit, but haven't bought it for the same reason.
King of Prussia
Wow, this was a slow month for acquiring games (that's probably a good thing!). I only made one Amazon order for two games that I got fairly cheaply.
Oct 11th, 2017: I bought Rhino Hero: Super Battle. I'm a sucker for this dumb game! It looks a lot better than the original Rhino Hero, hopefully I will get this one played more often.
Update: I played Rhino Hero: SB and it was indeed great.
Oct 12th, 2017: I also picked up Castelli, an old Queen Games game. It looked okay, and it was one that Amazon had listed for really cheap. I got it for $10.25. It looks like an okay game, nothing special. If I play it once it'll be worth it. I do like all the bits it came with.
I thought that was going to be it for October, but a few Kickstarters arrived earlier than I expected. First I received Merlin and Pioneers from Queen Games. I'm really excited about Merlin. I'm less excited for Pioneers, but it at least looks good enough to give it a shot.
I also received the Vegas mat for Wits and Wagers. It looks like a lot of fun, next time I get W&W out I'll give it a spin. It's hella big!
Well, that's it for October! I plan on picking up a couple games at Games Keep's Extra Life event in early November to kick of next month. For some reason Dice Town really interests me recently. I was hoping Meeple Circus would be out, but it looks like not until next year I guess. The other must Buy is the new Mysterium expansion, Secrets and Lies. Oh, and Bunny Kingdom looks interesting. Too Many Games. Sigh.
1 , 2 , 3 Next »