Laughing Myself to Pieces

Join me as I journey through board games, enjoying myself every bit of the way!

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Harvest

Cindy Pastorius
United States
Maryland
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While at PAX Unplugged I was able to receive a review copy of the game Harvest designed by Trey Chambers and published by Tasty Minstrel Games. I was very much looking forward to this game as it is set in the same universe as Harbour, a game I enjoy, and it has a theme I enjoy, farming! I was thrilled to receive this copy and have played it several times since!


Harvest can play 2-4 players and in my experience takes from 30-60 minutes. Each player starts the game with two workers in their color of choice, a random initiative card, a random character board, and the resources stated on that character board. I love that each character board is unique and their names and abilities fit what the type of character is. One of my favorites is that there is a character named Gus who is a beaver and his job is a structural engineer. It makes sense and is so clever!



Each game consists of 5 rounds in which you will complete your actions. Typically you will have two actions to perform, unless your special character ability states otherwise. However, a lot of the cards that you can utilize will allow you to take advantage of some of the actions without using a worker. The town board and the action cards for that round have all the actions that you can perform in that particular round. The town board actions never change, but the action cards will refresh each round with one card per player.





In Harvest you are acquiring seeds, planting the seeds, tending them to make them multiply, and then harvesting them to allow room for other crops in your fields. Each field is only allowed one type of crop so it's important to either add more fields to your play area, or continually harvest and plant new seeds. In order to plant a seed you must have the required number of fertilizer. This number is equal to the number of silver stars on the seed side of the chit. Once a seed is planted it is flipped to it's crop side. When you tend, for every one crop token you plan to add to the field you will need water equal to the number of gold stars. However, if you have an elixir token this satisfies all of the water requirement for one crop. I think some of my favorite tokens ever are in this game! The seeds are so clever in their designs (their names are snap peas, scarrots, phantom peppers, plumpkins, and rockali) and the fertilizer, water, and elixir tokens are just so cute!!




This game has a really unique and interesting determination of first player for each round. At the start of the game you are given an initiative card. These cards are numbered with 1-15 and each round three initiative cards are displayed for choosing. The person with the lowest number card will get to pick which number they would like first. However, players will take actions in order from lowest to highest numbers. The initiative cards all have some sort of bonus on them that you receive when you select it, the higher the number the better the bonus. But sometimes you may want to purposefully select a low number so you can take an action first in the round! It's such a clever system and I love that you have to weigh the pros and cons between getting a great bonus or going first.


The building cards in this game are double sided and act as fields on the other side. You have the opportunity to buy new buildings throughout the game and they may give you end game points, an in-game ability, or possibly both! I especially love that these building cards have such amazing flavor-text on them. It never ceases to provide us with great amusement when we play this game and read the text on those cards.




Overall I really enjoy Harvest. I find everything about this game to be endearing and just adorable! I always have a great time playing this and just get so excited at all the fun bits and tokens. The names for the plants are just fantastic and all the flavor text and little details that went into creating this game are wonderful. If you haven't had a chance to check this game out yet, I highly recommend that you do so.


Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Mon Jan 8, 2018 6:27 pm
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The Necronomnomnom - A Cookbook of Eldritch Horror

Cindy Pastorius
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Maryland
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While walking around at PAX Unplugged I happened upon something very unusual. A Lovecraftian inspired cookbook! I am not one for the Lovecraftian theme in games, but this cookbook instantly caught my attention!

The Necronomnomnom is one of the most creative and clever ideas I've seen in a long time! It is currently on Kickstarter and can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1366211550/the-necronom...

The cookbook was even given a feature on the Food & Wine site where it received high acclaim! http://www.foodandwine.com/news/necronomnomnom-kickstarter

The Necronomnomnom contains numerous recipes, including appetizers such as Sunken Mu, Sacrificial Lamb, and Atlach-Nachos; main dishes such as Cthulhu Andouille, Deep fried Deep One, and Elder Thing Parmigiana; and even desserts such as Moon-Beast Pies, The Mounds of Tindalos, and Nyarlathotapioca. All the recipes are written in such a way that they are full of puns! They are also all well tested and delicious recipes. They actually had a sample of their Bill Slater’s In-bread Pudding at the con and it was very tasty! It looked so gross (like there was blood all over it) but it was just red food dye! And it was a very tasty bread pudding! The pages of the book look like pages out of a sacred old text!

Photo from Kickstarter page


The cover of the book is very unusual but very fitting of the theme! It looks like some creature's close up shot of the face and you can see all the details of its leathery skin. It has amazing detail and, though it's totally not my style, is incredible!

Photo from Kickstarter page


If this kind of book interests you, its Kickstarter campaign ends on December 9, 2017! They have both a digital and physical version of the book. The digital version can be backed for just $15 and the physical book for only $30! You can get both versions for $45 if you would like.

Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Mon Dec 4, 2017 6:49 pm
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PAX Unplugged Recap w/ PICTURES!

Cindy Pastorius
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Maryland
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We've been back from PAX Unplugged for a week now and I'm finally ready to recap for you guys! I caught the Con Crud and have been sick with a cold for the past week so my mind just hasn't been very focused lately. So other than catching Con Crud, I really enjoyed PAX Unplugged! It was much different than Dice Tower Con, but it was still a very enjoyable experience!

Collin and I arrived in Philadelphia on Thursday evening, and since we didn't decide until late to attend the con, all the hotels nearby were booked. We stayed at an AirBnB we found about 2 miles from the convention center. It was a cute little place with very nice hosts! That evening after settling in we played a couple of games, Okey Dokey and Port Royal. Both fun and quick card games!


Friday morning before the doors to the convention center opened, we found a cute little diner next door and played Circle the Wagons while waiting for our food to arrive.


Collin was working at the Catan Studio booth doing demos of A Game of Thrones: Catan for a few hours so I got to wander around on my own!


I played in the Clank! tournament, however, one of the people that was in my game had never played before. I ended up having to teach him and the other players and I basically guided him through the game. So that was interesting, but hey, at least I still got a chance to play Clank! I didn't win though... =/

Once Collin was done working, we grabbed some lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. I had heard marvelous things about this place and was so excited to check it out. I was not however thrilled with how crowded it was. I'm sure a lot of it was because there was a convention going on, but still. Goodness gracious it was a mad house. The food we got wasn't bad though. So after lunch we walked around the vendor hall and got to look at new games and demo some! One of the games we demoed was Harvest by Tasty Minstrel Games and I must say, I enjoyed it! A full review will be coming soon of this one!



Collin was really excited to play Circle the Wagons with Flip the Table cohost Flip Florey. While he was playing a couple rounds I had the chance to chat with Jason Tagmire about the small pocket-sized games Button Shy has to offer! He is a really great guy that I'm glad I had a chance to meet and talk with. After walking around a little bit more we met up with Jen (Board Game Librarian) and her husband, Matt, to play a game of Clans of Caledonia! It was fun getting to meet them and play a game together. I love that this community here on BGG and Instagram has allowed us to meet new, fun people also into board gaming. Clans of Caledonia is another game I'm really enjoying and will post a review of soon!



After we finished our game we said goodbye and Collin and I ventured out for dinner with our podcast cohost, Chris. We ended up finding this cute little pizza place and had delicious New York style pizza! Then we headed back to the convention center and played some more games. We played Stop Thief! and Castles of Caladale before we decided we were exhausted and needed to head back to the house for sleep, it was almost midnight after all!





Saturday was our big day at the con! We had the whole day just to walk around and check out vendors. We got to see lots of great stuff and demoed some good games! One of the first games we demoed was Pie Town by Renegade Game Studios and we actually were taught by Mandi (Board Game Pin Up Girl) from The Dice Tower! Mandi is adorable and I'm so glad we got a chance to meet her! Pie Town is a great little game with a fun social deduction aspect to it! It also has the CUTEST components and custom dice!! This is another game I'll review soon!




After lunch we made sure to check out The Dice Tower Top 10 live! I always enjoy hearing these guys live. The list they did for this event was Top 10 Games You Wish Had a Sequel. All those guys are so much fun and they make me laugh so much! Poor Eric gets picked on so much, but I know it's all in good fun. Afterwards I got to take a picture with Zee! We met at Dice Tower Con because I was "the girl with the laugh". Hehe!


After the Top 10 we walked around a bit more until the vendor hall closed. I was able to demo Harvest Dice by Grey Fox Games which captured my heart before I even tried it. Cute little dice, roll and write game, farming theme, and an ADORABLE pig first player marker (that's a promo) - yes, please! The only bad part about the demo was that I was playing with an 11 year old kid and he was very much flippant with his turns. Playing with kids isn't bad, playing with this kid was annoying.


I got to meet up with my Instagram friend, Travis (soloboardgamer), and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him and walking around the vendor hall together! We got a chance to demo a copy of Capital City by Calliope Games. This wasn't one they had out for demo at their booth but it was one Collin and I saw on the GenCon preview list and have been interested about since! We asked if they had a copy for demo and they pulled out this "hidden" copy and we played! A full review of this game will be posted at some point here. I've collected a long list of games to review from this con!!


Once the vendor hall closed on Saturday evening, Collin and I headed out for dinner just the two of us. We ventured to find sushi, but we ended up at Chili's instead. That was one crowded restaurant. And it took FOREVER for our food to come once we finally were seated at the table. I think we were in the restaurant for over two hours. But one nice thing, Steph (punkin312) was able to join us since it was taking so long. We really enjoyed getting to catch up with her! And then once we were done eating, we headed back to the convention center and played some games with her. We played in the FUSE tournament and it was just two four player teams against each other! Our team (Steph, Collin, a guy named Chuck, and me) lost horribly! Steph had never played FUSE before, but she definitely didn't slow us down. Our team was just rolling terribly for the cards we were all working on! The tournament was played best total score out of three rounds. We lost the first two rounds and managed to win the third one with a score better than the other team. However, their overall score (since they won all three rounds) was significantly higher than ours. But it's alright. It was a fun time anyway!

After the FUSE tournament Steph, Collin, and I walked over to the Hot New Games area hoping to find something new and exciting to play. We ran into Sara Erickson from Renegade and she joined us for a game of Otys. I enjoyed the game but I don't think I fully experienced it with how tired I was! We started playing around 10pm or so and the game just took a bit longer than it should have because we were all so tired. I definitely want to play again. And since we were playing on a prototype made of foam board (it was a nice quality prototype) I'm curious to try out the final version of the game! After Otys the convention center was closing so we all parted ways and went to bed!

Sunday was the final day of the con and I woke up feeling crummy. But we still ventured over to the convention center despite having to leave early anyway. I'm glad we did because we got to say a final goodbye to Steph and other folks we'd met and we picked up a couple more cool games and chatted with some pretty awesome vendors! We also got to play Magic Maze with a nice couple while waiting in line to enter the exhibition hall! That was a lot of fun! They really enjoyed the game.


We came away from this convention with quite a lovely haul of games, promos, and accessories! We even picked up a full table sized play mat that is just gorgeous (it looks like a galaxy!) and it's excellent for our table. Overall I'd say it was quite a successful convention. My only regret is that we didn't play nearly as many games as I would have liked. I feel like had we not spent so much time eating (we were on average away from the convention center for an hour and half for food) we could have gotten much more gaming time in! I definitely want to go back next year!


Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:03 pm
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Heading to PAX Unplugged

Cindy Pastorius
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Maryland
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Collin and I are heading to PAX Unplugged this weekend and are so excited!! This is only the second board game convention we've attended and I can't wait! We attended Dice Tower Con over the summer so this will be a really new experience. Dice Tower Con, though a LOT of fun, was much smaller than this will be so I'm not sure what to expect. I do know it will be FUN though!



We've packed a few games to bring with us, though I'm sure we'll be trying out lots of new ones through vendor booths and the game library. I'm really looking forward to trying some of the games on my Want to Play list.



If you are heading to PAX Unplugged this weekend, I'd love to meet you! Send me a message and let's meet up. Want to play a game? I'm down for playing games with new friends! Just let me know and we'll make it happen!

Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:37 pm
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Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

Cindy Pastorius
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Maryland
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One of my favorite games is Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure by Paul Dennen and published by Renegade Game Studios! I first got to play this game at my FLGS when someone brought it and wanted to teach it to a few folks. I was hesitant because I'd not really played a deck-builder at that point and I'm usually not too keen on fantasy themes. I gave the game a shot though and LOVED it. I immediately wanted to play again, even though I had done so horrible (or perhaps that's why I wanted to play again so I could redeem myself!). I finally acquired Clank! myself and love playing it as much as I can.


In Clank! each player has an adventurer that is traveling through the dragon's lair to collect precious artifacts and make it out before the dragon catches you. You have a starting deck of cards with which you draw five from and play those five on your turn. Each card has a different effect on it. In your starting hand your cards allow you to acquire new cards using skill, move using your boots, or "stumble" causing you to add clank (noise tokens) into the Clank! area. Throughout the game, when you acquire new cards, they will get added into your discard pile and then eventually shuffled into your draw pile when it becomes empty. Each turn you will play five cards resolving the effects on each one. To acquire more cards in the game, thus building your deck, you use your skill tokens to purchase new ones from either the Dungeon Row or the Reserve cards. The cards you buy can have swords on them which allow you to fight monsters, skill tokens which allow you to purchase new cards, boots to help you move through the dragon's lair, a special ability (such as teleporting!), coins to purchase items in the marketplace, or they could just give you points at the end of the game. When you have finished purchasing cards, the Dungeon Row refreshes from the Dungeon Deck revealing new cards to battle or purchase.


As you are traveling through the dungeon, your goal is to collect an artifact and get back above ground before the dragon kills you. The artifacts range in value from 5 points - 30 points, however, you may only carry one artifact unless you have purchased a backpack from the Marketplace. The artifacts are scattered throughout the dragon's lair and the more valuable they are, the harder they are to reach! While wandering through the dragon's lair you also have the opportunity to collect major and minor secrets which give you some benefit during game play. Some of the benefits are coins, extra skill points, healing potions, and extra boots. You collect a secret when you enter a space that has one on it! In the dragon's lair there is also a Marketplace where you can buy things such as a backpack (which allows you to carry two artifacts), crowns (which give you points), or a key (which allows you to go between locked spaces). Each item in the marketplace costs 7 coins. There are also monkey idols that you can collect for points.



While traveling through the dragon's lair, you must be careful about the amount of noise you make! The dragon has his own special rage track and his amount of rage will increase as the game goes on. Each time a player picks up an artifact or a dragon's egg is revealed (one of the minor secrets) the dragon moves up one space on the rage track. The number indicated on the rage track is how many cubes are pulled out of his bag when he attacks! The dragon will attack when a dragon symbol shows up in the Dungeon Row. Certain cards will have a dragon symbol and when one gets turned over you put all the clank that has been deposited into the Clank! area into the dragon's bag. The number of cubes drawn is equal to the dragon's current rage level. If the cubes drawn belong to a player (there are neutral cubes in the bag as well), the cube gets deposited onto their health meter. If the health meter is ever completely filled that player is knocked out. If you are ever knocked out, you no longer take any turns or add clank to the Clank! area.



Once a player has an artifact and has made their way back above ground, a final countdown begins for all other players to make it out alive! The player who has successfully escaped the dragon's lair will increase the dragon's rage one round at a time and the dragon will attack every time it would be that player's turn again! Once the final round is completed, any players above ground or at least out of the depths (whether knocked out or not) will calculate their total points and the highest scoring player wins!


If you have not played Clank! yet, I highly recommend you do so. It is such a fun little adventure game that gives you this feeling of excitement/anxiety wondering if your clank cubes will get drawn or will the other players be affected more than you. I love that each game is different because you can build your deck any number of ways and focus on a new strategy each time! Will you rush into the depths and grab the first artifact you find and rush back outside? Will you take your time exploring and trying to build up your points, hoping not to be knocked out by the dragon? I just absolutely love this game and will never turn down an opportunity to play it!

I am also very excited to try Clank! In! Space! which was announced and released at GenCon this year. I am so sad I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet because combining my love of this game with a really fun theme of space is right up my alley! I really hope that I can acquire a copy of Clank! In! Space! soon!!

Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 7:02 pm
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Trekking the National Parks

Cindy Pastorius
United States
Maryland
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Collin and I have a goal of visiting all of the US National Parks and exploring them to enjoy the beauty of our country. So I think it's very fitting that my number 2 game of all time is Trekking the National Parks by Bink Ink!


Trekking is a very fun game where you are traveling around the United States visiting the National Parks. You have two actions that you can take on your turn and you may mix/match which actions you take. You can collect trek cards, collect park cards, or move. The goal of the game is to have the most points and there are different ways to earn points throughout the game.

Each park has a colored gem on it and you collect the gems when you make a stop in a park. The gems are then added up at the end of the game and the person with a majority in each particular color will win 5 bonus points per color!


Each park also has a corresponding parks card that you can only collect while at that particular park. The parks cards each have varying score values based on how difficult it is to obtain the card. There is also an end game bonus of 5 points for collecting the most park cards.


In order to move around the board or collect park cards you must collect trek cards. These cards have both a number and a symbol on them. The number corresponds to movement and the symbol corresponds to what is needed to collect parks cards. You must move with exact numbers in this game so you need to be strategic about which trek cards you collect! To collect a trek card you may draw from either a face up row or from the draw deck. When moving you can go as far as you'd like with one action but you must turn in trek cards to equal the total value of your movement. You may not move through parks or stop in parks where other players currently are so you must plan accordingly!


The final game round triggers when either all of the gems from around the board have been collected or when the last face down park card has been turned up. Players will then count their collected gems and collect the applicable bonuses, then they tally their points and the player with the most is the winner!


A mini expansion that is included in the game is the Postcards. The postcards are other National Parks that were not included in the regular park deck due to size constraints on the board. These parks are indicated on the board by a small red diamond shape with their name next to it. The postcards allow you to collect more points throughout the game. As one of your two actions you may draw a face down postcard and add it to your hand. The postcards have symbols that you must collect (via the trek cards) to be able to complete that postcard. But be aware, any postcards in your hand that you have not completed by the end of the game count negatively to your score.


I love that Trekking the National Parks is such an easy to explain and easy to learn game. And I think it's so much fun getting to "travel" to the different parks in the game. It has quite a good bit of player interaction, too, since you can be blocked by other players when moving, someone else could take the cards you are hoping to collect, or someone could take a colored gem you need to get a majority!

The production quality of this game is top notch! The gems are beautiful and made of a nice thick glass-like material. The artwork on the cards is great! They use actual pictures from each park on the park cards and postcards. They also have cute graphics for the symbols on the trek cards. I think one of my favorite features though is that the meeples you get to use during the game are chunky and solid and they are even wearing little backpacks!! The game even comes with a booklet filled with information on all 59 of the US National Parks. It's a great resource for learning a little bit more about our country's great landmarks!



If you haven't checked this game out yet, I highly recommend that you do! It is a quick, light, and fun game that can be enjoyed with anyone! If you've played this game, I'd love to know what your thoughts are. Do you enjoy it as much as me?

Now, go play a game and find joy in your everyday!
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:11 pm
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Something New

Cindy Pastorius
United States
Maryland
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Welcome to my blog! For those who may not know me, I'm Cindy and have been playing board games my whole life. I didn't discover the world of modern board gaming until around 2014 though. I get a lot of 2 player games in with my husband Collin, and we will play games with our friends when schedules allow.
Collin Pastorius
United States
Great Mills
Maryland
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I have a very eclectic taste in games and am usually willing to play most anything at least once. I tend to really enjoy dexterity games, euros, and games with animals! Collin and I are also currently very into games that have a Western theme or idea behind them. Some of my favorite games are Carson City, Trekking the National Parks, Clank!, Gold West, and Stone Age. You can check out my current Top 10 in my profile.

I love to laugh and find joy in even the simplest of things. At Dice Tower Con 2017 Zee Garcia pointed me out during one of the live shows for my laugh. I'm not ashamed. I want people to be happy and if I can have a part in that, my life is much better for it!

I hope that my blog can be a place where I can inspire you to try a new game or perhaps revisit an old one. I hope you'll be blessed by what I post and find some joy in your everyday!

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Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:18 pm
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