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A collection of game night sessions and other gaming subjects that I hope folks find interesting (because I do!) :D

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Game Night January 24 - Four Fun, Quick German Games

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Serengeti
This week's Game Night we started out with Serengeti, an auction card game where players are trying to buy cards to make sets, but there's more to it than just that.

Players receive 10 coins each. The remaining coins are placed aside to make up the bank. The cards are shuffled and placed in a face down stack in the center of the table. A start player is chosen and the game begins.

Each round, a number of cards will be flipped from the top of the deck and shown face up. The pattern of cards will start out with one card, move to two cards, then three and then repeat the pattern with 1, 2, 3 over and over.

In the first round, the starting player will start the bid for this card. As in other auction games, bids will go around the table until everyone has passed. If on a player's first turn to bid they choose to pass, they receive 2 coins from the bank. The player who wins the bid will then split up the total bid between the players equally. Any remainder is returned to the bank. For instance, in a four player game, the winning bid is four coins. Each other player than the winner receives one coin and the fourth coin is placed in the bank.

The player who won the auction will now flip two cards off the top of the deck and start the bidding. Here is where the game begins to change. When bidding, players have forbidden numbers that their bid cannot end in. For instance, if the player who won the previous auction won a 2, he may no longer bid 2, 12, 22, etc coins. As players continue to obtain cards, these forbidden bids will continue to grow and players may be in situations where they will need to bid multiple coins more than they have without the forbidden numbers.

These cards also may provide players with larger payouts. Whenever a player wins an auction with a bid, players who own the card with the number of the bid receive the payout. For instance, our player with the "2", if someone were to win the next bid with 12 coins, all 12 coins would be paid to the player holding the "2".

If multiple players own the card, the total is split between the players equally based on how many of the card they hold. Let's say one player has two "2"s and another has one "2", for a winning bid of 12, the player with two "2"s would receive 8 coins, and the other player would receive 4.

Players will continue to bid on cards until the deck has been exhausted. At this time, they will score based on how many cards of a set they have collected. The player who held the most coins at the end of the game receives 3 bonus points. The player with the highest score wins. For ties, the player with the most cards wins. If still tied, the player with the most coins wins.

Serengeti may just be the most clever bidding game I've yet to play. I love how when players gain a card, their bid can no longer end in the number displayed. As the game plays on, this can really change how bids may normally have gone. Also, payouts work in an amazing way, which again makes people think twice about their bids, hoping not to pay out their entire bid to one player. It fits the same niche as a game like No Thanks! and shares (or may even excel) in having a very clever mechanic to keep the bidding interesting throughout.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Kreuzwort
Next up, we played Kreuzwort. In this dice game, players are rolling dice and trying to build words on their own personal crossword board.

All players receive a sheet with a 5x5 grid and something to write with. The five dice are set out on the table and play begins.

Players will take turns rolling the dice. After rolling, they will check the dice to see which dice they will receive a letter from. One of the dice has two colored arrows on each side. Depending on how this die rolls, the players will choose between the letters on those colored dice. For instance, if the die shows an orange and white arrow, players will choose either the letter on the white die or the letter on the orange die. Whatever their choice, they will put the letter anywhere onto their grid. The next player rolls the die and the game continues.

Players are trying to build as long a word as they can on their grid. Being able to complete a 5 letter word will net them 10 points. Players will also score for shorter words in case they just can't get the right letters to show up.

The white die has a special "?" on it that acts as a wild. When the white die is available for use and the "?" shows, players may place any letter of their choice on their grid.

Play will continue until all 25 spots have been filled up on their board. At this time, each player will score their boards depending on how long of a word they have put on each row and column. After scoring, the player with the most points wins.

Kreuzwort is an excellent alternative to games such as Scrabble and adds in a neat element of rolling dice instead of drawing from a bag to pick letters. While it's solitaire, it's fun to go up against others and seeing what everyone does with the letters that have come up throughout the game. Since each turn there are two choices of letter, everyone's end game boards can look completely different and still find success with their own strategy. I also think the addition of the "?" wild roll is great and can come in handy when it's available. I really enjoy it and can see it going well with any player count.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: King Up!
We then moved on to King Up!, a bluffing game where players are voting for the successor of the crown.

Players choose their color and receive a "Yes" vote card in the color chosen. The "No" vote cards are split up equally among the players. The character tokens are placed near the board. The goal cards are shuffled up. The game begins.

The game takes place over three rounds. To set up each round, each player receives a goal card for the round. These cards have six characters on them. Players will score points at the end of the round based on where these characters are out on the board.

After receiving their goal, players will take turns placing one of the characters onto the board in any room other than the throne room. When placing characters, no more than four tokens may be placed in the same room. Once all players have placed equal number of characters onto the board, any leftovers are placed in the "0" room.

The starting player goes first. On their turn, a player will move a character up one floor on the board. For instance, a character in the "1" floor may be moved up to the "2". Players must keep in mind the rule that no more than four characters can be in the same room.

When a player moves a character into the throne room, play stops for a moment in order to have a vote. The player whose turn it is receives the crown (to remind players of whose turn is next). Now, all players look at their secret goal card and choose a "Yes" or "No" vote card based on if they'd like the current character in the throne room to be king.

Players now reveal their votes simultaneously. If all players choose "Yes", the round ends and players score. However, if any player has voted "No", the character in the throne room is removed from the board and is out of the game for the remainder of the round. Any "No" votes are discarded and "Yes" votes are taken back into hand.

The round will continue until all players have voted "Yes". Players now reveal their secret goal cards and receive points based on the position their characters on their goal cards are at on the board. The King provides 10 points and points are distributed from 5 to 0 below him or her. After scoring, players set up for the next round.

The game will last three rounds. Once scoring has completed at the end of the third round, the player with the most points wins.

King Up! is a voting game which adds in a small heap of bluffing which can really turn things on their head. The game is generally chaos no matter the player count, but seems to play better in the 4 or 5 player range. As much as I enjoyed it, which I did for the most part, I felt as if there was something missing. When we finished our first game, we were like, "Is that it?". And even with further plays, yep, that's pretty much it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Würfel Bingo
We ended the night with Würfel Bingo, a game in which players are trying to score the most points by filling out their Bingo boards.

All players receive a bingo card and a dry-erase pen. Players choose whether to play on the 5x5 or 6x6 side and place their board accordingly. A start player is chose and handed the cup and the two dice. The game begins.

On their turn, the roller will roll the dice. Players then total the dice and place that number somewhere on their board. Throughout play, players are attempting to build up twins, two twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, full houses, and five-number straights (with or without a 7) so placement becomes more important as the game goes on.

Once all 25 (or 36) squares have been filled up on their boards, players score each line (including diagonals). The scores for each line are added up and placed on the "Round 1" area. Players play two more rounds and the player with the most points at the end of the third round wins.

For the 6x6 board, additional combinations include 3 twins, 2 triplets, six of the same, big full house and six-number straight.

Yahtzee meets Bingo? That may be the best way to describe Wurfel Bingo. It's a lot of fun to watch how players who all share the same numbers wind up with such different boards at the end of each round. It's also nice that there are both 5x5 and 6x6 boards available allowing the game to change up from time to time. And I love any game that lets me root for the dice to roll a certain way.



From gallery of joeincolorado




So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time bidding for treasures, creating cross words, voting for the king and creating bingos with dice. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:11 am
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Game Night January 17 - Blocking Wizards in Montego Bay

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Montego Bay
This week's Game Night we started out with Montego Bay, a game where players are loading barrels onto ships as they head off from the harbor.

Players start out by setting the board on its correct side for the player count (2/3 player or 4 player on the other side). After doing this, set up begins by shuffling up the barrel tokens and placing them out onto the center of the board in any random order. After this, players will choose their color and place their large and small workers in their starting buildings. All players receive a deck of ten cards which will be used to move their workers as well as 16 barrels of their color. The starting boat is placed out on dock 1 and the other boats are shuffled. Depending on player count, players will pick the yellow or red side of the boats to use for the game. Three boats will be placed out on docks 2, 3 and 4. The remaining boats are split up into two equal stacks and set aside. Turn order tokens in each player's color are shuffled and placed out to mark the order of turn for the first round. The tally man is set out on his starting box. Lazy Jack and the money are set aside. Finally, the players place their score token on the beach. Play begins.

Every round begins with seeing if players are able to use Lazy Jack. Lazy Jack gives players a third worker for one round. If a player has three coins, he can hire Lazy Jack. If several players want to (and can) use Lazy Jack, the player with the fewest points gets priority over the others.

Next, players will simultaneously choose one card for each worker (a big and small, and a third card if they have Lazy Jack this round) and place them face down onto the table. If a player has Lazy Jack, they show the movement card they chose and move him first. Otherwise, in turn order, players reveal their card and move their worker.

When moving, players move their worker the number of spots displayed on the card in the direction of the arrow and place their worker at the spot once running out of movement. If vacant, this ends their movement phase. If another worker is at the location, that worker is moved across from the spot to the other side of the board and the spot will now belong to the player who just moved. If the spot across from the board is not vacant, the moving player must move back to the next free space moving opposite the direction of the arrow.

Once all players have moved, play moves to the loading phase. In order from the location of the tally man and moving in the opposite direction of the arrow, players will take the action as displayed by the spot they ended movement on with their worker.

For barrels, players will move the number of barrels shown on the board onto any vacant spots on any boats. For broken barrels, players must move that number of barrels off the boat (if they have any to move). For silver coins, players take one coin from the supply.

At any time, if a player has completely filled up a boat while loading, the boat immediately leaves harbor and points are given. The points are listed on each boat. For majority, players receive the higher total listed and so on for 2nd most and 3rd most (in four player games). The score token is moved along the score track on the beach. The player who placed the final barrel in a boat prior to scoring receives 1 additional point. After scoring the boat, the other boats move ahead up to the next dock and a new boat enters dock 4.

Once the tally man has made his way around the dock, he moves back onto his box. Now, the boat at dock 1 is scored and leaves harbor. No players receive the one bonus point for being last to load this boat. After scoring, all boats are moved forward with a new boat entering dock 4.

Before starting the next round, the turn order token in the back is moved to the front of the line and all tokens move backward. So, in a 3-player game, the worker who went last will now go first in the next round. Whenever the first stack of ships is emptied during the final phase of the round, the turn order markers are shuffled and placed back out randomly setting up a completely new turn order for the 2nd half of the game.

The game will end once there are 3 ships or less at the harbor after the loading phase. Any ships left at a dock are scored. If all boats are gone but a player still has barrels to load, they are delivered to the tavern for some victory points, majority receiving more points than those with less barrels. The player with the most victory points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most coins wins.

Montego Bay is a light, family style game that not only looks beautiful, but plays well too. Now, there's not much for strategy here as it's mostly a guessing game, but that doesn't make for a bad time. While there is the chaos of movement on the pier, there is strategy which exists in placing barrels on the boats. As for player count, playing at any count other than three is going to make for a less enjoyable time, but the game does function at 4 (extreme chaos) and 2 (though barely). While it's not a game I'll return to often, it's one I can see myself enjoying each time it comes off the shelf (as long as there are three to play it).



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Blockers!
Next up, we played Blockers!. This is an abstract game where players are trying to have the fewest groups of tiles on the board.

Players start out by setting out the board. Everyone receives tiles in their player color and a tile holder. Players shuffle up their tiles and set out 5 onto the holder. The game begins with the starting player.

On their turn, a player must choose one of their five tiles and place it onto the board. Each tile has either a letter from "A" - "I", a number from "1" - "9", or one of nine symbols. When placing the tile, it must be placed in a spot on the board that matches it. For instance, when placing a "1" tile, the player is able to place it in any vacant spot in the "1" row. After placing their tile, the player will draw a new tile onto their holder and end their turn. There is one "Blockers" tile which acts as a wild and may be placed anywhere on the board.

When placing a tile, players may wish to (or have to) move another player's tile off the board. When doing this, players cannot break up their opponents' groupings, but are free to pull tiles they won't split up a group. When taking the tile, the replace the removed tile with their own and hold on to the removed tile for end game scoring.

Players will continue playing until all tiles have been drawn. At this time, each player receives one last turn and will end the game with four unused tiles. Players will now score one point for each of their groupings on the board. A grouping can be multiple tiles or just one. They then score whichever color tiles they hold majority in. Their final score is the combination of these two scores. The player with the lowest score wins. In case of a tie, the player who had the fewest total captures wins.

Blockers! is an excellent abstract game which I feel should belong in everyone's collection. It's such an easy game to learn, but it really takes a lot to master it. I really like how the "capture" mechanic works and can be a big decision on whether to take advantage of it or not. While the components are limited, they're functional and the board is made so well, I could imagine playing this on a bumpy road and not running into many issues with jostling pieces. Seriously though, there's an excellent abstract strategy game here that I feel has been overlooked. It plays well from 2 - 5 and certainly plays different at each count. Lovely little game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Wizard
Moving along, we played Wizard, a card game where players bid and take tricks, hoping to match their bids to make the most points over several rounds.

One player takes the score pad. A player is chosen as dealer and shuffles the 60-card deck. He then begins by dealing one card to each player. The top card of the deck is flipped (this card shows what suit is trump) and the game begins.

The player to the left of the dealer will begin by stating their bid. Players are bidding on how many tricks they believe they will win. For the first turn, they'll bid "1" or "zero". These bids are marked on the score pad. After everyone has bid, the player to the left of the dealer plays. As in other trick-taking games, the opening card marks what suit must be played for the turn. If a player does not have the suit, they play another card of any suit, possibly the trump. After everyone has played a card, whoever won the trick takes the cards and starts the next turn.

Players will play out the round until all cards have been played. At this time, players go around stating how many tricks they took. If they matched their bid, they score 20 points plus ten points for each trick they collected. If they missed their bid, they lose ten points for each trick they collected from their bid amount. For instance, if a player bid three and took two tricks, they would score -10. The same score would occur for a player who bid three and took four tricks.

After scoring for the round, the player to the left of last round's dealer becomes the dealer this round and deals out one extra card from the previous round. For instance, in round 2, the dealer will deal out 2 cards to each player.

The big thing that changes how the game differs from just a regular trick-taker is in the addition of the Wizards and Jesters. The first Wizard played in a turn will always win the trick. Jesters can be considered the lowest card in the deck and will lose a trick if played. However, if all players play a Jester, the player who first played will win the trick.

When Wizards show up when showing the trump for the round, the dealer will be able to choose the trump suit. When Jesters show up, there is no trump for the round.

Play will continue until the final round where all cards are dealt out to the players. After completion of this round, final scores are tallied and the player with the most points wins.

Who would've thought adding 8 cards to a deck would create such an interesting game? Wizard is a basic trick-taking game with betting which changes one thing: The trump can be trumped. It's one of the most unpredictable card games I've ever played. As someone who grew up on card games, I don't know why this one never hit the table. It's now going to be permanently in reach of my person everywhere I go. I really like it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing August. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for July here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - August



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time loading barrels in chaos, blocking opponents from grouping up, taking tricks with our Wizards and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:36 am
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Game Night January 9 - Karuba Wasabi Climbers

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Wasabi!
This week's Game Night we started out with Wasabi!, a game all about assembling sushi.

Players will start out by setting out the board on the table. Ingredients will be set out to one side of the board, making up the kitchen. Recipe cards will be placed above or below the board. Bonus cards and wasabi cubes will also be set to the side. Everyone receives a menu, a bowl and ten tokens in their color (representing points for recipe completion). Each player chooses three ingredients (other than Rice or Maki) and pass them to the player to their left. This will be the starting ingredients. Players will then choose a starting player who will choose three recipe cards and place them in his menu. The other players, in turn order, will do the same. The game now begins with the starting player.

On their turn, the player will play an ingredient onto the board. Depending on player count, players will be limited to sections of the board (in four player games, players use the whole board). After placement of an ingredient, the player will show if they have completed a recipe from their menu. If not, he will choose a new ingredient and play will move to the next player. If the ingredient creates a successful recipe, some things will happen:

When a player finishes a recipe, he will pull the recipe card from the menu and show it. The player will take the token matching the ingredient count of the recipe and flip it to its point side. If the recipe was completed in order as stated on the card, players will receive a bonus of wasabi cubes as dictated on their token.

Once the player has scored his recipe, he can then choose one bonus card. The player will then fill back up his menu to three recipes and ingredients to a total of three. Play will move on to the next player.

Once a player has made recipes for his tokens of one count (2, 3, 4 or 5), he can no longer make recipes of that count.

Bonus cards change how the game is played. There are five bonuses each with a different action players can take on their turn upon playing the bonus card. The bonuses are:

Stack: Allows player to place their ingredient on top of another ingredient already on the board.
Switch: Allows swapping of two adjacent ingredients
Chop: Allows the removal of an ingredient to be used on the player's turn or placed back in the kitchen.
Spicy: Allows placement of two ingredients
Wasabi: The player receives one wasabi cube. The card is placed onto the board, covering up four spaces. Until it is removed, players cannot interact with the covered spaces and if any ingredients are covered, they cannot be used to complete a recipe.

Play will continue until either a player completes all 10 recipes or all spaces on the board have been covered. For the latter, players will count up their chip totals along with one point for each wasabi cube. The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most wasabi cubes wins.

Wasabi! is like Scrabble, but instead of creating words, players are creating sushi. It's overly (and awesomely) thematic with the menus, wasabi bowls...heck, even the board resembles the sushi rolling mats. Simply great presentation, but it doesn't end there. There's a great game in the package. While some players may get caught up in a tad bit of analysis paralysis, for the most part, turns go by fairly quickly. Great game with excellent gameplay and a really fun theme.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Karuba
Next up, we played Karuba. In this game, players are racing to discover treasures and reach temples before their opponents.

All players receive a board, four explorers and four temples (one of each color) and a set of tiles in their chosen color. The gems are set out in the center of the table. The temple idols are then set out in a stack from high to low. There will be as many idols as there are players.

Players will now take turns around the table setting up their board. Starting with the first player, he will choose an explorer and temple of the same color and place them onto the board. Explorers must be on the beach and temples must be in the jungle. Also, temples must be spaced out at least three tiles from the location of an explorer. Once each explorer/temple has been placed out on each player's board, all boards will be the exact same.

Now, one player is chosen to be the leader. This player will flip over all his tiles and shuffle them. The other players will set out their tiles face up in order to grab them as they are called. Play begins.

For each turn, the leader will take a tile and call out its number to all players. All players will now either set the tile on their board or discard it.

Players are free to place tiles as they wish with no need to worry of blocking roads due to their placement. The only rule for placement is that the tile cannot be placed in any other direction but with the number facing correctly towards the player. When placing a tile with a gem on it, players will place the appropriate gem on the tile (either diamond or gold).

When discarding a tile, players are able to move an explorer a number of spaces equal to the exits on the tile. For instance, for a tile that has a road heading north to south, players would move two spaces. Players can collect gems when moving, but must end their movement on the tile they wish to collect the gem from. They can then place this gem on on their board on the face of the explorer who collected the gem.

Explorers must head to the temple of their color. Players will need to be careful of their placement as they may accidentally block progress of an explorer.

When a player reaches a temple, they take the topmost available idol from the table. If multiple players reach the same color temple on the same turn, one player will take the idol while the others will take the next idol along with crystals equaling the total of the idol.

The game will end either when a player has reached all four temples with their explorers or when all 36 tiles have been called by the leader. At this time, players will count up their idol totals along with their gems (1 point for diamonds, 2 for gold). The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player who placed the most jungle tiles on their board will win.

I love Haba, so maybe I'm biased, but Karuba is an excellent game. To have all players start out the same, with the same goals and the same ways to reach those goals and then see how everyone goes about creating their paths is simply amazing to me. The game's almost like Bingo, but you're creating your Bingo board as you play. I love it, I really do. I haven't been this enamored by a game in awhile. This one really takes the cake.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: The Climbers
Moving along, we played The Climbers, a game where players are climbing up a structure they are slowly taking apart and building back up throughout play. It comes in a snazzy orange shoe box.

Players start by setting up the blocks. The two long, gray blocks are placed vertically and adjacent to each other on the table. Players now use the remaining blocks to build around the gray blocks, making sure no parts of these blocks are visible. When building the structure at the beginning of the game and throughout play, players cannot create gaps in which a block is being used as a sort of bridge. Once the structure is built, players randomly take a climber of any color along with its matching circular "blocking" token and a short and tall ladder. The game begins with the starting player.

On their turn, the player takes a vacant block from anywhere on the structure and places it in a way so that they may (hopefully) move their climber up and up the structure. When moving their climber, players can only move up (without ladders) one step. A step would be considered half a cube. Players are only able to move onto blocks of their climber's color or gray blocks. Multiple players can stand on a gray block (up to four total on one block).

During play, players are able to use their ladders to go up larger steps that equal two or higher steps. Their short ladder can go up two steps and their long ladder can go up to four. Once used, ladders are taken out of play.

Players may also use their blocking token once per game. After taking their turn, they place the blocking token on any block of their choice. This block cannot be used during their opponents' turns during this round.

Players are always allowed to pass if they are unable to move up or simply do not wish to. For the end of the game to occur, all players would have to pass. At this time, the player who is highest up on the structure wins.

The Climbers is an abstract game that not only looks great, but plays great. It's a heck of a thing to have so many moves at the beginning and watch as those moves slowly slip away as the structure grows in height. The only thing that's a little unfortunate is that not all the pieces are perfect in that sometimes when the stacks grow, they tend to lean a bit. This doesn't necessarily break the game, but can result in a possible crashing of blocks and unintentionally end the game. Otherwise, a really great game with really nifty components. I love those ladders.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing July. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for July here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - July



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time making sushi, searching for treasures, climbing and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:53 am
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Game Night January 2 - The South Sea Great Heartland Museum Caper

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas
This week's Game Night we started out with Carcassonne: South Seas, yet another take on Carcassonne gameplay with a twist of collecting resources and turning them in for points.

Players will shuffle and set out the tiles face down. The start tile is placed in the center of the table. The resources will be separated and the fishing boat tokens will be set aside for later use. The ship tokens are shuffled and placed face down. The top four tiles are flipped face up and laid out. Players receive four islanders in their chosen color and the starting player begins the game.

On their turn, a player will draw a tile and place it next to another tile, being sure it doesn't break any rules for placement. After placing the tile, the player is able to place one of their islanders onto the tile in any chosen spot to represent one of four jobs the islander will perform: Shell Collector, Banana Picker, Merchant, Fisherman. If a player is able to complete a job, they receive their resources and the islander. At the end of their turn, the player can turn in their resources for a point ship to be scored at the end of the game.

Shell Collectors are placed on roads. Once a player completes a road on two ends, they receive as many shells are on the completed road. Banana Pickers are placed on islands. Once a player completes an island, they receive bananas. Merchants are completed by placing eight tiles around it. Once completed, the player takes the highest point ship available. Finally, Fishermen are laid down on their side in the seas. If a sea region is completed or a fishing boat is placed touching the sea region where a fisherman is, players collect fish for as many are in the region. After fish are collected, players will place a fishing boat token on any group of two fish in the region.

Players will play out the game until all tiles have been placed or if all ships have been taken. Players will now score the face value of their ships and receive one point for every three resources they still have. The player with the most points wins.

Carcassonne: South Seas is another of many games which take the basics of Carcassonne and tweak them ever so much. The tweak here is collecting resources to be used to gain points. I enjoy not only the art, but the flow of play. The only thing that some may not like is that there is more hidden scoring than in other versions of the game. You're generally not going to have much of an idea of where your opponents are in way of points which may change how players place their tiles. All things considered, I really like it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
Next up, we played The Great Heartland Hauling Co.. In this game, players are truck drivers moving loading and unloading products across the country.

Players start out by setting up the board using the map cards. For a four-player game, all cards will be used to make up the board. For less players, the board will be using less cards. Once the finished map board for the game is completed, players will place five resource cubes on each city, being sure to match the product for that city card. All players will choose a color and place their semi in the center starting city. They will take their score cards and a score tracker, placing the tracker on the $5 spot. The resource cards are shuffled and five cards are dealt to each player. The deck is placed down with the three top cards being placed face up to the side of the deck. The game begins.

On their turn, a player must move their semi at least one city, but may move up to three. Movement can either be used with the "gas" resource cards or by paying $1 for each city moved to. Players must end their movement in a vacant city, but may move through occupied cities to get to their final destination.

After movement, players may do one of three things. The first thing is they may load their truck. When loading, players will discard cards from their hand matching the product they are loading. They take the cubes from the card and place it onto their truck represented on their score card. Players can never have more than 8 resources on their truck at any time.

Secondly, players may unload their truck. After moving to the city that accepts the product they want to unload, they will discard cards for each cube they are unloading, placing the cubes into the city they are currently at. Players will then move their score cube up representing how much many they made from unloading.

Finally, players can discard cards from their hand, spending a dollar for each discard.

No matter the action the player takes, he must draw cards back into his hand, a maximum of five in hand. When drawing, players may either take cards from the deck or from the three face up cards. If taking a face up card, it is immediately replaced with a new card from the deck.

Players will continue to play until one player has reached the total that triggers the endgame (different for player count). All other players get one more turn and then players tally up their final scores. Players who still have products in their truck lose one dollar for corn or peas and two dollars for cows or pigs. The player with the highest dollar total wins.

I haven't played many "pick-up and deliver" games, but if they're all at least somewhat like The Great Heartland Hauling Co., I think I'm going to have a good time. As for Great Heartland, what a neat idea. From the building of the map to moving trucks around, loading and unloading product, it's just a lot of fun. It's one of those games where you feel like it's going to take forever and then all of a sudden it's the end of the game. It's a whole lot of management as well. You can end the game, but if you've got a lot of product left in your semi, you'll probably lose due to the penalty. It's a great little game.



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Board Game: Clue: The Great Museum Caper
Moving along, we played Clue: The Great Museum Caper, a hidden movement game starring the characters from the classic Clue game. To be fair, this game is pretty much a classic as well, being 25 years old this year.

Players determine who will be the thief. This player's goal is to collect as many paintings as they can (or collect three if playing one game) without being caught and successfully escaping the museum. The other players will be trying to stop the thief from doing this.

The players trying to stop the thief will set up the board by placing paintings and cameras onto different spots on the board. They must place at least one painting in each room, but are free to place the other paintings in any room they choose. When setting up cameras, the players will want to be sure they can see multiple areas as during play, players will be able to access these cameras to gain knowledge of where the thief is. The locks are shuffled and placed on the doors and the windows randomly. Finally, the players will choose a color token and place them onto the board.

After board setup, the thief will set up the shield and take a paper that maps out the museum. He will then mark the spots of the cameras as well as the paintings. The game begins with the thief taking his first turn.

The thief marks an "E" on the spot they are entering the museum. Then, the thief is able to move up to 3 spots in the museum. Movement is marked in secret by the thief on his paper. After his move, the first non-thief player will take his turn. The thief will then go after him. Players alternate turns in this order: thief, player 1, thief, player 2, thief, etc.

Thieves are able to collect paintings and disconnect the cameras during their turn. To do either, they must end their turn on the painting or the camera they are interacting with. Paintings are removed from the board after the next thief turn. This means that if a thief stole a painting on their first turn, after their second turn, they will remove the stolen painting from the board. This way, players will have some knowledge of the thief's position, but won't know exactly where he is. However, when disconnecting a camera, the thief doesn't need to let the players know until asked about the camera.

Players, on their turns, will roll the two dice. They can then move up to the number of spaces on the die and then will take the action marked on the other die. This can be one of three actions.

The first action is represent by an eye. Players can either ask if they can see the thief or if a camera can. If asking for themselves, they simply ask the thief "Can I see you?". If not, nothing happens. However, if the thief can be seen, he will place the gray player token onto the board at his location. From this point on, the thief is visible and may be captured by the players.

If asking if a camera can see the thief, players must state the camera they are using and ask if it is still powered. If it is, they then ask if the camera can see the player. If yes or no, the player says so and play continues. The thief does not display his position in these cases. If the camera has been disconnected, it is removed from the board.

Players may also roll a "Scan" action. When this happens, they gain knowledge of all of the cameras. If any are disconnected, the thief removes them. If any of them can see the thief, the thief tells the players which camera sees them.

Finally, players may roll the "M". This is the motion detector. When this is rolled, the thief must state the color of the space he is currently on. To avoid this, the player is allowed to block the motion detector up to two times per game.

The thief is able to shut off the power, thus disconnecting the motion detector and the cameras, by ending their turn on the "P" representing the power room. The thief does not inform the players until they have to due to a player's rolled action.

The thief and players will continue playing. The thief is able to try to escape at any time by using one of the locks. They will flip the lock over and, if it is an "O", they are free to escape. However, if it is "L", they are locked in and must find another exit. If a player ever ends his turn on the thief, the game ends with the thief being nabbed.

Players are able to play multiple games, with players switching the roles of the the thief. The thief who collects the most paintings wins the gaming session. Otherwise, players can play one game with the thief needing three paintings before being able to escape.

Clue: The Great Museum Caper is my first try at hidden movement and what a great introduction it was. I feel like the game is more balanced towards a full four player count, but works very well at two and three. I love the dynamic of thief versus captors and the flow of the game works really well. There's also a good amount of luck in that thieves may find themselves caught almost immediately just depending on how things turn out. At the same time, a thief may be able to clear out a whole side of the museum without even being seen. I like it though. It plays quick and, after one game, everyone wants a shot at being the thief.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing June. If you want more information on our journey, please check out the most recent post for June here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - June



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time in the south seas, loading and unloading trucks, stealing paintings and stopping disease from overrunning the planet. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Mon Jan 4, 2016 7:06 am
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Game Night December 26 - King of Gravikub

Joseph Peterson
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Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Rummikub
This week's Game Night we started out with Rummikub, a classic game where players are collecting sets of tiles and laying them out in runs and 3 or 4 of a kind.

Players all receive a rack. The tiles are laid out on the table face down. Players take turns picking one tile and whoever's tile has the highest number will go first. Now players shuffle up the tiles and everyone takes 14 tiles into their rack. The game begins.

On their turn, a player will try to place tiles from their rack onto the table. When first starting out, players must play out a set of at least three tiles (if the table is empty). These tiles can be a run of the same color (1,2,3 in black) or a 3 or 4 of a kind (three 7s in blue). If a player cannot play, they will draw a tile and play will move to the next player.

Generally, as the game continues, players will be adding tiles to sets already placed out on the table. Players are allowed to manipulate the tiles as they see fit in order to play tiles from their rack so long as the new sets they create have at least three tiles in them and follow the rules for runs or "of a kind". If when manipulating the board, the player is unable to follow the rules with a set, he must place the tiles as they were previously and draw three tiles.

The game will continue out in this manner until one player who has played all of their tiles. This player receives a total of points from the face value of their opponents tiles remaining on their racks. Each opponent will receive negative points from the face value of their own tiles remaining on the racks. Players can play one round, three rounds or play to a set score. The player with the highest score at the end of the game.

Rummikub is classic. I can remember playing time after time every time our family would get together. I no longer own the fancy version we used to with the heavy tiles and large case, but bringing out the plastic one is still pretty fun. One of these days, I'll need to track down that old classic case, if only for the posterity. Oh, and it was nice to reunite with the creepy smiley face joker tile again. More nightmares for me.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
Next up, we played the game Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension. In this game, players are racing away from a black hole, trying to be the first to hit the warp gate and escape the dimensional rift.

Players choose their color and place their spaceships into the black hole in the center of the board. The derelict ships are placed out on the yellow spaces. The round marker is placed on Round 1. Everyone receives an Emergency Stop card in their color. The 26 fuel cards are shuffled and dealt out on the table. Cards are dealt face down, three per player, so in a three player game, nine cards would be dealt out. After these cards are dealt, one face up card is placed on each face down card. Now, players will take turns picking a set of cards, starting with the youngest player and going around until each player has six cards in hand. The game begins.

Players will be playing simultaneously. Everyone will look at their hand and choose one card. Once everyone has chosen a card, they will all show the chosen card. Players will then move based on card played, starting with A and going to Z. So, if four players played a B, R, C and Z, players would move in order B, C, R, Z. Players will play out their remaining cards, moving after each play. Once all players have used their six fuel cards and moved, the round marker is moved to the next round, the cards are collected, shuffled, and dealt out for the next round. From here on out, when choosing cards, players will choose from last place to first.

Let's talk about movement. When playing a normal fuel card, players will move towards the nearest ship (opponent's or derelict). This means a player could move forward or backward depending on distribution of the ships on the board.

There are three different types of cards to be used in movement. Most of the cards are basic movement and players will move as described above. Other cards are the Repulsor and Tractor Beam. When playing a Repulsor, ships move away from the closest ship. Tractor Beams move ships toward the player who played the card. During all movement, the number a ship moves is stated on the card. For Tractor Beams, opponents move the number of spaces on the card.

Once during each round, should a player feel his move wouldn't be a good one, he can play the Emergency Stop. This allows the player to stay put during this one session of card play, but would have to move no matter what for the rest of the round.

Players will play out multiple rounds until either a player is successful in reaching the warp gate or until 6 rounds have completed. If a player reaches the warp gate, they win. If the game lasts 6 rounds, the player nearest the warp gate wins.

Gravwell is a racing game with one of the more fun ways of getting around the board that I have experienced. I really like the way the mechanics work as it's all about sling-shotting yourself across the galaxy. It takes a round or so to get your head around how the mechanics work, but once you get it, it makes for a really interesting game. A good play can quickly turn into a bad one depending on the position of your opponents. I really enjoy it.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: King of New York
We ended the night with King of New York, a game using a lot of the core gameplay from King of Tokyo, but has enough going on to make it different enough.

Players will set out the board. Building tiles will be shuffled up and put into stacks of three and set out into the different boroughs on the board, three stacks each. Players choose their character and take its standee and board. Power up cards are shuffled, three are dealt face up to make up the store and the remainder are placed to the side. The energy cubes are set beside the board as are the dice and the game begins.

On their turn, a player will roll the dice and keeps the ones they wish to hold onto. Players can roll up to three times or may stop once they've saved all the dice they want for their turn. After rolling, players take the actions based on their rolls. Players must then enter Manhattan (if it is vacant) or another borough (long as it has no more than two monsters). If a player was already in Manhattan when starting their turn, they move further in along the track. If a player started in Manhattan, he would have received some rewards depending on where he was in the borough.

Actions are a bit different than in King of Tokyo and allow for some more things to be done on a turn. Like the original, there are energy, hearts, and attack claws on the dice. Rolling energy gives a player cubes and hearts let them heal (unless they are in Manhattan). Attacking allows a player in Manhattan to hit all other monsters and players in different boroughs to hit the monsters in Manhattan.

Rolling buildings allows a player to demolish buildings in their borough. Depending on how many buildings were rolled, they may be able to demolish multiple buildings or a large building requiring multiple buildings rolled. Players receive the reward on the building they demolished (healing hearts, points or energy cubes) and the buildings are flipped over to show military units. These units can be taken out in future turns.

The two other sides on the dice are either stars or skulls. When a player rolls three stars (or more), they receive the "Superstar" card. This allows the player to earn 1 point +1 point for every additional star rolled on the turn where they obtained the card. For future turns, if the player has kept the Superstar card, they receive one point for each star rolled.

Rolling skulls will hurt players if less than three have been rolled, one heart of damage for each skull. However, once at least three skulls have been rolled, players can take the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty gives you three points as long as you have the card however, once it is taken by another player, you will lose those points.

Players will continue playing until one player has made 20 points or only one monster has survived. The player with the most points, or final survivor wins.

King of New York takes all the stuff from King of Tokyo and ramps it up into a more "gamer game". This isn't necessarily a good thing. While it's not a bad game by any means, I think I'll stick with King of Tokyo. It's easier to play and get into and just more fun at its basic level. New York will come out once in awhile though if I play with folks looking for a little more substance, but Tokyo will be my go-to when in the mood for monster Yahtzee.



From gallery of joeincolorado




So, another Game Night in the books, fun as always. See ya next week. Thanks for reading, commenting and thumbing!
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Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:02 am
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Game Night December 19 - Star Wars Edition - When rolling the dice, "May the fours be with you"

Joseph Peterson
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Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!
This week's Game Night we started out with Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!, a game where players are aliens trying to escape their planet which is set to explode in just a few days.

Players start out by setting up the planet. This is done by setting out the planet core in the center of the board. Around the core, four exit points and four lift off points are set out. This results in a fully formed circular planet. Players choose a color and place their aliens in the core of the planet and the Garglore is placed in the lava in the core. The moon is placed on its starting spot at the top of the board. The sun is placed on the day track on the number representing the number of players playing. The deck is shuffled and each player receives two starting cards. The game begins with the starting player.

On their turn, a player has two move actions and can play as many cards from their hand as they wish. The objective is to get aliens to the lift off points, fulfill the point's requirements, and escape the planet. Players are free to use their move actions and cards in any order they wish.

For the most part, the game really takes place on the lift off points. Players who reach these areas may access the launch pads once they pay the resource needs to do so (fuel and screws). Once resources are paid, players remain on the launch pad until all resource needs are fulfilled for launch.

For instance, the Jetpack lift off point requires a player to play a number of gas cans based on the moon's position. Once this requirement is fulfilled, the player is free to lift off instantly and return the alien to their play area. However, a spot like the Rocket Ship requires six screws and six fuel as well as a full moon in order to launch. Lift offs never require the full number of aliens on a launch pad, only the full resource payment. Let's explain how the moon comes into play.

After each player has taken their turn, they'll move the moon counterclockwise one spot. Once the moon makes a full rotation around the planet, the sun is moved one day down until the point of explosion. However, the moon is important to how many of the lift off points work. For instance, the aforementioned Rocket Ship is only able to launch on a full moon. What this means is that the moon must be in position directly above the lift off point and all resources must have been played (six fuel, six screws). Other lift off points, the Satellite for instance, allows players to launch no matter the position of the moon. And the Jetpack changes the cost of launch depending on the moon's position. As you can tell, the moon is pretty important!

Action cards can come into play during the game and vary greatly. There are cards which can move the moon, provide an extra move action, cause all lift off spots to be a full moon or a new moon or even move the Garglore. The Garglore is a mean dude and will cause a lift off point to be unable to launch until he returns to the lava. These action cards are plentiful and can change the game quite a bit throughout its course.

Players will continue moving their aliens and launching off the planet until one of two things occur. If a player is able to get all ten of his aliens off the planet before any of his opponents, he wins. However, in case the planet explodes, the player who got the most aliens off the planet wins. In case of a tie, the player with the most resource cards wins.

Lift Off! is a great gateway family game which is absolutely gorgeous (quality and artwork) and just feels nice to play through. It's a little mean-ish as players can really mess over their opponents, but it's all in good fun. I like that players don't have a lot to think about on their turn and so there's not a large amount of downtime between turns, even in higher player count games. It also has some great variants, particularly the one which has players cooperate to get everyone off the planet before it explodes. Good game with some amazing artwork.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Meteor
Next up, we played Meteor. In the game, players are working together to take out the meteors heading for Earth, but they've only got five minutes to do it!

Players set up for the game depending on player count. The meteor cards will be shuffled up and a number of them will be placed out face down to make up the meteor shower for the game. The resource cards are shuffled up and a number of them are dealt out to each player. The five cards representing each day are stacked one to five with five on top and the five hourglasses are placed in close reach. When players are ready, a player will flip over one of the hourglasses and the first round of the game will begin.

The objective of the game is to destroy all of the meteors before the final day. To do this, players will be working together to build rockets to launch them up to the meteors to blow them up. Players will also be building technology which can provide them with good things like obtaining additional resources or even being able to speak to each other (your first few games you're allowed to have this ability automatically, or anytime you wish to add it at the start).

So, while the timer is running out, players are throwing out cards from their hand and communicating what they want to do, hoping their fellow players have the resources needed to build a rocket or a technology. Once a technology is built, it is placed out in the play area showing it is complete and is then active. When a rocket is built, it is either held onto for later or immediately launched. When launched, players choose the meteor they want to take out. If successful, the meteor is removed and play continues. If unsuccessful, the rocket is lost, but information is gained. I'll explain.

Meteors are all face down so sending off a rocket gives a random chance for success. When a meteor is chosen, it is flipped over and checked to see if the attack was successful. If the number on the rocket matches the number on the meteor: success. If the rocket number is less than the meteor number, information is gained, but the rocket is lost. If the rocket is a higher number than the meteor, this means success, but it also means the day is lost and players immediately lose any time left on the sand timer.

Many meteors have an action that occurs once it is destroyed. This can be to add additional meteors to the array, can take out one of your technologies and a whole slew of other bad stuff. Meteors also might have requirements aside from just the number. For instance, a meteor can be yellow. This means only rockets created with yellow energy can destroy the meteor.

Players may run into issues where their cards just don't work out and can't make rockets or technologies. When this happens, players can "retrofit". This means taking four cards from their hands and discarding them to obtain five. These four cards can either be all the same, such as four number 2 rockets, or different, such as a 1, 2, 3 and 4 rocket. The five new cards are distributed as evenly as possible between the players.

Players will have five days to destroy all the meteors. Once a timer runs out of time, this is considered the end of a day. The day tracking cards are moved to the next day and a new hourglass is used. Remember, this can also occur if there is an overkill. Players will be able to draw two cards (more if technology is unlocked) and play the next day. The game will end either with the players successfully taking out all of the meteors or with the fifth day ending and meteors taking out the earth. There are also plenty of cards which change the game to make it more challenging for those advanced players interested in such things.

Meteor is a hectic and fast-moving game with just a little bit too much going on for my liking. I'm the kind of person who likes to take a moment or two to consider strategy. With Meteor, a lot of the time you feel like you're just throwing out cards and hoping for the best situation to occur. I can see the joy that people would have from this game, but this definitely is not my type of game.



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Board Game: Carcassonne: Star Wars
We then moved on to Carcassonne: Star Wars which takes the basics of Carcassonne and changes things up a bit, adding some dice into the mix.

Set up is pretty much the same. The scoreboard and the starting tile is set out. The other tiles are shuffled up and placed in stacks so all players can reach them. Players choose who they wish to be: Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, Luke Skywalker, Yoda or Boba Fett. Depending on who a player picks, they will be playing as a specific faction. These come into play occasionally. Players take their meeples and place one of them on the scoreboard at "0". The starting player will begin.

As in regular Carcassonne, on their turn a player will take a tile and place it. After placing, they can put one meeple on a road (trading route) an asteroid field (castle) or a planet (cathedral/monastery). The only thing removed from this version are farmers (I guess there's no farming in space). If a player completes any of these locations, they receive points based on how many tiles making up the area. For each faction symbol in the territory completed, even ones that don't match their own, players receive two points. They then move their meeple back in front of them for use later on.

Let's talk about the changes. The big change is combat. Combat can come up in a few different ways. Most often, players will be fighting over ownership of planets. When a player is first to claim a planet, he places his meeple there. From here on, any player who plays a tile around the planet and is able to place a meeple on the tile can move their meeple to the planet and cause combat.

Players involved in combat will receive up to three dice to fight with. One die for using a regular meeple, two dice for using their large meeple, or three dice for using their large meeple and attacking or defending a planet which matches their faction symbol. Once players have their dice, they roll. The player with the highest number amongst all dice rolled wins and takes or keeps control of the planet. In case of a tie, each player receives one point each. Whoever loses the battle will get points based on how many dice they rolled.

As I stated above, combat can happen in other situations too. When these battles occur, it will be when a tile is added causing two separately owned trade routes or asteroid fields to join. When this happens, players receive dice and battle. As for planet battles, players can receive up to three dice. The player who wins the battle maintains control of the territory and the player who lost gets points based on how many dice they rolled.

Play will continue until all tiles have been placed. Final scoring will then take place. Trading routes and asteroid fields earn one point for every tile. Planets receive one point for the planet itself and another point for each tile surrounding it. For any realm, faction symbols earn two points. The player with the most points wins.

There is a variant for four players in which the Rebel Alliance (Luke and Yoda) fights against the Empire (Darth Vader and the Stormtrooper). The game plays the same, just allows for shared play and battles only to occur between opposing teams.

Carcassonne: Star Wars takes out farmers and adds some basic dice combat without making the game all about combat. It's a nice change to have some situations where players will fight over territory, but I like that it's never mandatory and doesn't come up a ridiculous amount of the time. Each battle has a chance to change the outcome of the game, but battles never seem to be the deciding factor. Quite enjoyable take on Carcassonne that doesn't drift too far from the basics.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger
Moving right along, we played Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger (Attack of the Clones). In the game, players are Jedis working together to defend Geonosis and escape the ambush alive.

To set up, players will set out the board on the table. The Threat cards are shuffled and set beside the board. Mega-Threat cards are stacked in round order with 1 being on top down to 5 at the bottom. The gunship is placed on the first spot of the round track. The Force Marker is placed on the "1" of the Force Bar. Each player receives a Jedi player board and a Jedi figure of their choice. Players need to be sure to have the board on its correct side for number of players. Each player receives dice with sixteen dice being distributed for play (evenly for two and four player games, three player games have one player with six dice and the other two players with five). Each player chooses a spot around the pillars on the board as their starting spot. Players must place their figures in different numbered areas and cannot share the same area.

The first wave of droids are now added into the arena. Players will shuffle the Area Tiles and stack them. Four tiles will be drawn and all droids level 1 will be placed out on the areas stated on the tiles. Now players do the same with the level 2 and level 3 droids. Any hex which is already occupied with a Jedi does not receive a droid. Leftover droids are placed in their supply areas on the board. Once all 12 Area Tiles have been filled with level 1, 2 and 3 droids, the game begins.

As it is a cooperative game, all players will play together. Players can fail their mission at any time if one of these three things occur:

One of the droid supply areas empties
The Force marker on the Force Bar reaches "0"
A Mega-Threat card is not completed

The game takes place across five rounds. Each round has different phases which are marked by the gunship. Once a phase has ended, the ship is moved to mark the next phase.

Each round consists of threats being added to the board, dice rolled and actions executed, areas being filled with droids, threats being checked if they were fulfilled, and filling new areas with droids. I'll explain in short how each phase works.

Each round begins with new threats. The Mega-Threat for the round is placed in the red framed area and three regular threats are placed in the other three spots on the board. These inform players of the mandatory and side quests available for the round.

Players will now roll their dice. Each player takes one dice and all players roll simultaneously. Everyone can now use their die either to take an action from their player board or to place on a threat. If players place on a threat, they simply move their die to the chose threat card, place it and await for the next die rolls to occur.

Players who place a die on their board can do several different things depending on where they place their die. If placed on the left most side, they can do combat which allows them to move around the board taking out droids. Players remove droids based on their combat total. For instance, a player with 9 combat (rolled a six + 3 from their board), can remove that sum of droids from the board. In this example of nine, a player could remove three level 3 droids, or maybe nine level 1 droids or some mixture of 1s, 2s and 3s. When attacking droids, players must be adjacent to the droids being removed.

Continuing with board actions, players may generate force by placing their die in the central part of the board. Depending on the roll, players will gain up to three force. When generating force, the force generated is moved on the board using the Force tracker. Players can never have more than 10 Force.

Each player also has special abilities marked on the right side of their board. These can be force generation or Force Push. For Force Push, players are able to remove droids from any part of the board as stated by their special action. They are not required to be adjacent to these droids during removal.

Players are free to "Use the Force" to change the total on their die. For each space on the Force Track the marker moves down, a die value can increase or decrease in value by 1. For instance, a player who rolls a "5" can use one Force point to change the roll to a "4" or a "6". Keep in mind, players cannot drop the Force to "0" or they will lose.

Once all players have placed their dice, everyone rolls their next die and does their placement. This continues until each player has rolled all of their dice and placed them. Once the phase ends, the gunship is moved to the next area on the Round track.

Next players will fill areas. Any partially filled areas on the board that remained after the dice phase are refilled with droids matching the same level droids which remained. Once again, if a Jedi is located on a hex, a droid is not added on that hex.

Players now check the threats. If the Mega-Threat requirements were not met, the players lose. If all threats were fulfilled, nothing happens. However, if any of the normal threats weren't completed, players will either lose Force or must add new droids to the arena as depicted by the threat card.

To end out each round, new droids will enter the arena. As with the beginning of the game, players will add droids however, they will add them according to the Gunship space. If at anytime the draw pile runs out, all of the tiles are shuffled back up and used to form a new deck. If when filling an area it is already full, the tile is discarded and another tile is drawn to fill the area. Keep in mind, if any of the droid supplies are empty, the game is lost.

Players keep playing through all five rounds if they can. Winning results in players being able to move the Gunship all the way through each of the five rounds and ending on the final space. Players can then count the number of droids of a level with the fewest left in the supply and then look up their Jedi rank.

An expansion is included in the game which includes R2-D2 and C3PO. In this expansion, players are fighting the droids and trying to put C3PO together as his head and body have separated. This must be completed in order to win the game when playing with the expansion.

Star Wars: Angriff der Klonkrieger is a great cooperative game which takes the events from the battle on Geonosis and puts the players in the roles of the jedis Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I think my favorite thing about the game is watching after each round as the battle arena gets filled up with more droids, hoping the supply doesn't run out. A really great game that I wish would have had an English release, but am glad it's not mandatory to be able to enjoy.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continued play of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, losing once again. We'll have to see how the second game of June goes. Either way, for those interested, I'll post a write-up next week about how it all went down.



So, that's it for this week! The Force was certainly with us as we launched off an exploding planet, launched rockets at meteors, battled each other for control of the galaxy, worked together to take out droids, and got horribly decimated by diseases. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:49 am
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Game Night December 12 - Islands, Quilting and Diseases

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Atlantis
This week's Game Night we started out with Atlantis, a game where players are escaping from the sinking city Atlantis, collecting treasures on their way to solid ground.

Players begin by creating the paths they will use throughout the game. There are A tiles and B tiles and they are placed to create one complete path from Atlantis to solid ground with some of the tiles being stacked in piles of two. Between where A tiles end and B tiles begin, one tile of water is placed. Each player chooses a color and places their three meeples on Atlantis. Everyone receives one bridge. The starting player receives four cards and each player after her receives one additional card. Play begins.

On their turn, a player will choose a card from their hand to play and move a meeple to the next closest tile resembling the figure on the card. Once they have made their move, they take the closest vacant tile behind them and keep it. These tiles will count as points for the endgame. They then draw one card and play moves to the next player.

When moving, players have some rules they must follow. If they land on an occupied space, they must play another card in order to move ahead to the next vacant spot. When crossing over water, players must pay the lowest cost between the two tiles where the water lies. For instance, crossing water between a "5" and "1" tile, the player would pay one. This cost is paid either in cards (1 point each) or in tiles (face value). This value accumulates when crossing over multiple bodies of water. If paying with a tile, the tile must equal at least the cost to cross over the water. If higher, change is not provided and the tile is lost.

At anytime on their turn, a player may place their bridge over any body of water which means the water is now free to cross over. This means it's free for both them AND their opponents. Once a bridge has been placed, it cannot be moved for the rest of the game, but it does continue to cover the body of water even when tiles are removed creating larger areas of water to cross over.

To make a move onto solid ground, players must play a card which does not match any tiles currently in front of them. Once they land on solid ground, they take the tile closest behind them and will then be allowed to draw additional cards at the end of their turns (one more for each meeple on the solid ground).

When one player has reached solid ground with all three of their meeples, this signals the end of the game. The player who reached with all three meeples first will draw four cards. Now, each player must make their way to solid ground. During this phase, they do not play any cards, but they will count up their cost to cross over water. All players must then pay what they owe for crossing over water, either with the cards they had leftover or their tiles.

Once all players have reached solid ground with all of their meeples, players count up their scores. Cards are worth one point and tiles are worth face value. The player with the most points wins.

Atlantis reminds me a lot of Cartagena (Leo Colovini being the designer of both), though there are definitely more differences than similarities. I like the idea of moving to the next closest color of a played card, and that multiple meeples cannot be on the same space. I also think it's great that players take the tile behind them to slowly sink Atlantis. There's good strategy either rushing to the new land or slowly working your way, picking up big point tiles on the way and I can see either working depending on how the game plays out. It's a really good game and this design really works well.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Quilt Show
Next up, we played Quilt Show. In the game, players are quilt makers, collecting fabric and exchanging them for patterns. These patterns are used to create their quilts to take to the show to earn prize money and win the competition.

Set ups will change depending on player count, but the game pieces are the same (just in different quantities). Pattern tiles are shuffled and set out in face down stacks. Each stack contains the same patterns in different colors and worth different points. The top tile of each stack is flipped on top of the stack. The hourglass tokens are set out in the middle of the table along with the large red one. The fabric cards are shuffled and each player is dealt four cards each. Six cards are dealt out face up to the middle of the table and the remainder of the deck is set aside face down. Players take a shield to hide their tiles during the game as well as three tokens numbered 1, 2 and 3 which can be used during the quilt show. Play begins with the start player.

On their turn, a player will either take fabric cards or exchange fabric for pattern tiles. When taking fabric cards, players may take three from the display, three from the face down stack or they may take one from each (one display and one face down). When taking from the display, a card from the face down stack replaces it immediately.

When obtaining a pattern tile, players will exchange their fabric cards. Each tile is worth 2, 3 or 5 points and players must exchange a number of cards depending on their value: one card for 2 point tiles, two cards for 3 point tiles, and three cards for 5 point tiles. After taking a tile, players add it behind their shield and take an hourglass token. Players may exchange fabric cards for multiple pattern tiles however, once one pattern is taken, it is not replaced with a new one until the next player's turn.

Players will continue in this manner, either taking fabric cards or exchanging cards for pattern tiles until the final hourglass token (the big red one) is taken. At this time, the quilt show will begin.

To start out, five award tokens are randomly placed out in order from highest prize to lowest. Players will now build quilts if they wish to compete in the show this round. When building a quilt, players take their pattern tiles and create different patterns. Quilts must either be all the same color with any type of pattern or all the same pattern with different colors. Also, quilts must be at least 1x3 in size, but may go up to even larger sizes. After making their quilt, players may place one of their point tokens onto it, increasing the value of the quilt by the number on the token.

Once players have completed their quilts, they remove their shields and show them off. Players receive points based on the values on each pattern tile contributing to their quilt. Players receive award money based on their quilts' scores with the highest point quilt receiving the highest money total. In situations where there is a tie, players add up the values of the prizes for the win and split it between the tied players. For instance if two players tied for 1st and 2nd place and prizes for those places were 14 and 12 thousand dollars, both players would split 13 thousand dollars.

Once all players have been paid their prize money, any used pattern tiles are placed out of the game and the next round begins. Players will now play a second and third round, each with a quilt show at the end of the round. Once the final quilt show has completed, players add up their total winnings and the player with the most money wins.

Quilt Show is like Ticket to Ride for Patchwork fans. Well, less Patchwork. It's really very Ticket to Ride-ish, but that's not a bad thing by any means. I think the idea of having each round end with a quilt show (while not only being the reason for the title) also breaks up the game quite nicely. Just when you think you'd like something else to do, there it is: quilt show. While I wish there was maybe a couple more things to do to break up the monotony that may occur, it's a good game that runs just a little bit too long for what it is.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Maori
Moving along, we played Maori, a tile placement game where players collect island tiles to create their own landscape, trying to collect the most points to win.

There are some variants with the game, but I'll be explaining the base game rules. Each player receives a board they will use to create their landscape. Players will choose which side of the board to use and place their board accordingly. Everyone also receives 5 sand dollars each. The tiles are shuffled up and stacked off to the side of the table. Sixteen tiles are taken and placed out face up in a 4x4 array in the center of the table. If a volcano is one of these starting tiles, it is replaced for the time being. The boat is randomly placed out next to one of the outer islands making up the 4x4 square. The game begins.

On their turn, a player must move the ship at least one space and no more than the total of boats on their board (everyone starts with two). Additional boat movement can be purchased with sand dollars. When moving the ship, players are moving one space for each tile. On corners, players will move on two sides of the corner tile before continuing on, for instance top side and then right side and then move to the next tile.

After making their movement, players are able to take the tile closest to the ship and place it on their board or place it in storage. Each player has one spot of storage off to the side of their board. No more tiles may be placed into storage as long as one remains there. It can be placed at a later time. Once a tile is taken from the array, it is replaced with a new tile and play moves on to the next player.

Players don't have to take the closest tile however, if they choose one on the same row where the ship is, they must pay sand dollars depending on how far away the tile they want is, one, two or three dollars. Again, once a tile is taken, it is replaced with a new tile from the face down stacks.

When placing a tile, players must place so that trees, huts or sand dollars are facing the correct way. This means no sideways or upside down items on a tile. Also, players cannot place a tile that does not match with one adjacent to it. This means any islands with open land cannot be placed adjacent to another tile unless it closes or extends the land.

Players don't necessarily have to take a tile. They may skip the phase entirely or they may manipulate their board. They can either add a tile from storage onto the board or they can destroy a tile by removing it from their board.

In rare situations, a volcano may replace a previous tile. These volcanoes can never be picked up but instead act as blocks in the grid. For instance, if a boat stops at a volcano, they would be unable to take a tile since the volcano blocks them. Or, if a volcano were in the center of the square, players could only take a tile as far as the volcano tile, and none behind where it lies.

Play will continue with players adding or removing tiles from their board. Once a player has filled his board with tiles, this signals the end of the game. Each player after him then has one more turn to try and finish their island or make changes as they see fit. After these final turns, points are tallied. Just before counting totals though, any incomplete islands are removed from the boards.

The player who has the most sand dollars gets to count them as one point each towards their total. The player who has the most boats on their board gets to count them as one point each towards their total. For ties of sand dollars or boats, all players involved in the tie get to count them. Trees count as one point unless on an island with a hut which they would then count as two points. If a player is able to complete a lei, it is worth 10 points. Finally, for each empty space, players lose one point. After all points are totaled up, the player with the most points wins.

Maori is a pretty neat take on tile placement games. I love having that boat moving around, allowing players to be limited to what they have access to at any given time. I think that the volcanoes which may show up add a pretty neat element, blocking the ability to obtain tiles located behind it. It's also just a lot of fun to build islands and move that silly boat around. The variants also add just enough to not overly change the game. Good stuff.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. You can read about it here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - May



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time escaping Atlantis, competing in quilt shows, building our islands and taking care of diseases. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:00 am
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Game Night December 5th - Catching Up

Joseph Peterson
United States
Round Rock
Texas
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Hey folks. Just playing a little catch up. It's been a rough couple of weeks. Court cases, doctor appointments, physical therapy. But in the meantime, we've been playing games. There just hasn't been much time for me to update the blog. So, be prepared for a few updates over the next couple of days, including a special Top 10 Designer Re-Re-Revisit. Thanks for sticking in there! And without further ado...

Board Game: Around the World in 80 Days
This week's Game Night we played just a couple of games. We started out with Around the World in 80 Days, are traveling around the world in as few days as possible.

To start out, players set out the board and set up each city with a red and blue token. These tokens provide first and last players who arrive there awards (and occasionally add a day to their journey, which is bad). Players then shuffle up the travel and event cards and place them where they go on the board. The detective is placed in Brindisi. Then, each player will pick their player color, place a token on the scoring track and their meeple in London. Each player receives 3 travel cards, a betting slip in their player color and a gold coin. A starting player is chosen and the game begins.

Each round, the starting player will take cards from the travel deck (one for each player plus one) and place them out on the bottom of the board. Players will then take turns taking a travel card and taking the associated action.

Gold coin: The player receives one gold coin.
Balloon: The player can travel with the balloon.
Event card: The player receives the topmost event card.
Detective: The player moves the detective anywhere but London.
Starting player token: The player takes the start player token and will be the start player for the next round.
Travel card trade: The player may discard up to 3 travel cards from his hand and draw the same number from the travel deck.

After taking a card and taking the action, the player may move to the next city if they can (or wish to). When traveling, players must match the mode of transportation on the board (either train or boat) unless using a balloon or an event card.

When travelling using cards, players add up the numbers on the card(s) and move that amount on the scoring track. If using the same mode of transportation for travel (for instance two trains or two boats), and the player plays the same number card, they move only that number and do not add the numbers. For instance, playing two "five" trains means the player would move five days on the score track, not ten. This only works for same transportation so playing a "six" train and "six" boat would still amount in 12 days of travel.

If a player is using a balloon (either from their chosen action or an event card) the player will play as many cards as normal, but will replace one of the played cards with the roll of the dice. For instance, let's say a player has a "seven" and "eight" boat. They use the balloon action and choose to roll for the "eight" boat. They roll and get a 3. They can then travel and take 10 days instead of 15. Also, should a player wish to re-roll, he can pay one gold and do so.

If a player is the first to travel to a city (or last) he takes the action as stated by the bonus chip. While this is normally a reward (gold coin, travel card or event card) it may be a "+1". Players who are unfortunate enough to get this "bonus" simply add one day to their travel on the scoring track.

If a player travels and ends their turn at the same location as the detective, they must add two days to their travel. Players do not lose two days for leaving a location with the detective or if the detective is moved to their location.

There is one special travel leg to cross from Bombay to Calcutta. This travel will take 12 days. However, if a player has an elephant, they may be able to cut this time by up to 5 days. Playing the elephant event card allows the player to roll a die and then add 6 to the number rolled.

Event cards: Players may use any amount of these they have in hand on their turn. Most of these are positive effects which help out the player. However, there are two cards in the event deck, the Storm and the Delay, which are negative. When one of these cards is drawn, it must be shown and players then take the negative effects. They must add one or two days to their travel (depending on the card). Then, all event cards are shuffled back up. This includes any event cards players have in hand. After shuffled, they are placed back on the board for use in the future.

Once a player has finished their turn, he must reduce his hand to six cards. This includes both travel and event cards. It would then be the next player's turn to take a card and its associated action.

Once the round has ended, players discard the card remaining in the display for the unchosen action (this won't happen in six player games). The display is then reset by the new start player and the next round begins.

The game will continue until the first player arrives back in London. The player will place their betting slip on London (marking they are the first to arrive) and keep their score token on the scoring track at the amount of days they took to arrive back in London. From here, the game changes for the other players slightly.

Each round, players still remaining in the race lose a day. Also, the display is only filled up with cards equal to the amount of players still in the race plus one. The game will continue until all but one player has reached London (unless the player can reach London on the same turn as the player before him). The player who arrived in London in the least amount of time is named the winner. In case of a tie in days, the player who placed his betting slip first is the winner.

Around the World in 80 Days is a pretty unique and quite enjoyable racing game. I like that there's a couple of things going on. You don't necessarily want to be the first to get back to London, you just want to take the least amount of days. On that same note though, you don't want to be last to London, because you can lose (unless you can get into London on the last turn). It's definitely best for more players (at least 5), but it still works well at lower player counts.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Carcassonne: Winter Edition
We finished the night with Carcassonne: Winter Edition, a winterized version of the original Carcassonne, with a small "Gingerbread" expansion which changes up the game ever so slightly.

All rules of Winter are the same as the base game with castles, roads, cathedrals and farmers. However, I'll explain how the Gingerbread expansion works.

At the beginning of the game, the Gingerbread Man is placed in the castle on the start tile. The Gingerbread Man will score for players either when the castle is completed or when a new Gingerbread tile is drawn.

When scoring the Gingerbread Man, players receive one point for each meeple in the castle. In cases where the castle was completed and scored, the player who scored the castle then moves the Gingerbread Man to an incomplete city. In cases where the Gingerbread Man is moved due to a Gingerbread tile being drawn, players will score their one point for each meeple and the player who drew the tile will move the Gingerbread Man to an incomplete city. In cases where there is no incomplete city available, the Gingerbread Man is set aside until a new Gingerbread tile is drawn.

All other rules from original Carcassonne apply, but this expansion adds a fun little bit of variety to the game, and made for a pretty thematic atmosphere given the "Christmasy" vibe the game gives out. Though we live in Texas and it's not too wintery at the moment.

From gallery of joeincolorado


So, that was it for that week. Like I said in the intro, time has been sparse, but we've still been able to get some games in. I'll post this past weekend's games soon and then hopefully I can get back into the weekly updates as normal. Thanks as always for reading, thumbing and commenting. See ya next time!
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Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:24 pm
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Game Night November 28th - Cherries, Bamboo, Cacao and...Viruses.

Joseph Peterson
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Round Rock
Texas
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Board Game: Cherry Picking
This week's Game Night we started out with Cherry Picking, a game where players are trying to collect fruit, ladders and baskets to make the most points.

To start out, players set up the deck of cards for the player count, removing cards as needed. Once the cards are set up, the six tree cards are placed out in the center of the table. The deck is shuffled and six cards are placed face up, one under each tree. The remaining cards are dealt out. Everyone receives the same amount of cards and any leftovers are set aside for the round. The game begins.

Players will look through their hand and choose a card. Once everyone has chosen a card, they will reveal them all at the same time and take turns collecting the fruit or item underneath a tree as dictated by the card they played. The card taken is replaced by the card played and each player then places the card they took in their score pile.I'll explain how each card works now.

Ladders: If a player plays a ladder, and they are the only one to do so, the player will have first choice of any fruit or item under any tree. If multiple players play a ladder, they must all place them in their score piles and forego picking up any items for this play.

Mixed Fruit: These are the wild cards in the deck. If one player plays this card, he gets to go after a player who played a ladder. Like ladders though, should multiple players play mixed fruit, they must all place them in their score piles and forego picking up any items.

Regular Fruit: There are six different types of fruit (cherries, bananas, pears, grapes, pineapples and oranges). When a fruit is played, The player takes the card under the tree matching the fruit he played, replaces it with his card, and places the new card in his score pile. If multiple players play the same type of fruit, they take turns with the player who played the highest value going first.

Baskets: Finally, there are baskets numbered from 0 up to 9 (or less in a lower player count game). Players who play baskets will always go last and, like with regular fruit, the player with the highest value basket will go first if multiple players played baskets.

So, each turn, when cards are revealed, they will each take turns starting with ladders, then mixed fruit, then regular fruit and finishing with baskets. Players continue to play until their hands are empty and then they will score for the round.

All cards score their face value. Ladders are scored based on how many ladders are in the score pile, with the number being squared. For instance, 4 ladders scores 16 points, 3 would score 9, etc. Bonus points can also be earned. Players who collect one of each type of fruit score 10 points. Players who collect four of one type of fruit score 10 points and collecting five of one type of fruit scores 20 points. Fruits can be used to create multiple bonuses. Mixed fruits (which are worth nothing) can be added to a set to help a player get bonus points, however each one cannot be used more than once.

After scoring, players will reset for the second round and play through it and a third round. Once the third round has completed and all scores are tallied, the player with the highest score wins.

I'm usually not too fond of blind-bidding type games, or auction-style games in general. However, Cherry Picking has changed my mind quite a bit. I really love how the game works out. After a couple plays, the ladders, fruits and baskets all make sense and work great, specifically the baskets. Being able to go last can honestly be the best move on many goes. I was also quite surprised by how close the scores were even when people were going for different objectives. For instance, I was trying to collect the highest point cards while also trying to get a "fruit salad" bonus. On the other hand, one of my opponents was focused on collecting ladders. We both wound up with extremely close scores for the round (47 and 48 points respectively) and even the end scores proved extremely close with everyone within 8 points of each other. It's safe to say I enjoy this great little card game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Takenoko
Next up, we played Takenoko. After some comments from last week's entry telling me I missed out on the Bauza Japanese trilogy, I decided to make up for it and get it in.

For those of you who follow my blog, particularly my top 100 games list, you know I love the game (it was #73 this year). After this play, I can say it moved back up a bit on the list. I think I forgot how much I really love it.

I won't go into how it all works (I believe I've done that before in the past), but I can tell you, it's a winner. I remember it being one of the first games I played after getting back into the hobby a couple years back and being kind of overwhelmed by it, which is funny to think about after returning to it once again. It's really quite simple and so much fun. The mechanics feel right and work well and the game grows and moves beautifully. It's truly a wonderful, thought-filled game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Cacao
Moving along, we played Cacao, a tile placement game where players are harvesting and selling cacao.

To set up the game, each player receives their own board. This board will track water collection, cacao and sun tokens. Players place their water carrier meeple on the -10 spot on the board. Everyone then gets worker tiles with one or two tiles removed for three and four player games. A plantation and 2 coin market tile are placed out onto the playing area. The remaining jungle tiles are shuffled and stacked to the side. The top two tiles are removed and placed face up near the stack. Sun tokens, coins and cacao are placed aside for use during the game. The game begins with the starting player.

All players will draw three tiles from their stack of worker tiles into their hand. On their turn, a player will play one of their tiles onto the playing area so that it is adjacent to at least one jungle tile. Worker tiles and jungle tiles can never be adjacent and so the playing area creates a chess board type of look as the game plays out.

When placing a worker tile, players may place them in any way so that their workers are adjacent to jungle tiles to receive as many actions or rewards based on how many workers are present on the side touching the jungle tile. Once a tile is placed, jungle tiles are filled in as needed if two worker tiles are facing an unoccupied jungle space. Once these steps have been completed, players can then take their actions for the space.

All workers who are adjacent to a jungle tile receive the action or reward of the tile (and multiple actions and rewards for multiple workers facing the tile). Here's an overview for each tile and what it does:

Plantation: These tiles can show a single or double plantation. Players will take one or two of the fruits from the supply for each adjacent worker. The maximum a player can hold is five cacao.

Market: These tiles can show a two, three or four coin market. Players will sell one cacao for each adjacent worker for the price shown.

Gold Mine: These tiles can show a one or a two and players will take one or two gold for each adjacent worker.

Water: Players will be able to move their water carrier on their board one space for each adjacent worker. Players can proceed as far as the "16" spot during the game and, at the end of the game, will score however many points for where their water carrier is.

Sun-Worshiping Site: Players receive one sun token for each adjacent worker and may have a maximum of three on their board at one time. When the jungle tiles have run out, players may turn in one of their sun tokens and build on top of one of their previous locations. They will then receive the actions and rewards based on their new worker adjacencies.

Temple: During the game, temples will have no effect. During final game scoring though, players will score points based on having majority of adjacent workers. Majority receives six gold and second receives three. When there are ties for first, the six gold is distributed evenly to all involved players and second place receives no gold. For second place ties, three gold is distributed evenly to all involved players.

Once all players have played all of their worker tiles, the game ends and final points are tallied up. Everyone will score their water carrier, their coins and their temples. For anyone who has leftover sun tokens, they are worth one point each. The player with the most points wins the game. Ties go to the player who has the most remaining cacao fruits.

Cacao is an excellent tile-laying game that uses the mechanic in a unique and excellent way. Having knowledge of what tiles are possible to be used and combating with your opponents' placements are key strategies to pulling out a win. Possibly the only thing I have against the game is if you don't follow a pattern when handing out rewards for tiles, you can get a little lost and may have to backtrack to make sure you scored everything properly. However, long as you take the same steps each time, this can be heavily negated. I'm definitely a big fan of this one.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our continuation of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, losing just our second game. I'll have a report up next week as per the usual.



So that's it! Another awesome Game Night. We had a great time picking cherries, growing bamboo and feeding a panda, harvesting and selling cacao fruit and being over run by diseases. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:32 am
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Game Night November 21st - Abraca-nabi-kaido-Salmon-Pandemic Lega...what?

Joseph Peterson
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Round Rock
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Microbadge: Green Bay Packers fanMicrobadge: Breaking Bad fanMicrobadge: 2015 "100 games X 1 challenge" participantMicrobadge: Platinum Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: 2015 Secret Santa participant
Board Game: Salmon Run
This week's Game Night we started out with Salmon Run, a deck building/racing game where players are salmon trying to reach the spawning pool before the other salmon.

Players start out by setting up the modular board, being certain to have a start and finish, but being able to set out any other boards between them. Bears are placed out on bear paw spaces. Each player chooses a fish color and sets out its token on the start space. Cards of different types are set out face up by the board (making up the community area) and will be picked up throughout the game. Each player receives a starting deck of 11 cards. Everyone shuffles their cards, draws four cards into their hand, and the starting player begins the game.

On their turn, a player can play up to three cards from their hand. Players are attempting to move through the river and will want to be sure to use their cards appropriately to swim through the hexes. Whenever a player moves through a hex with a symbol, they take the appropriate card from the community area and add it to their discard pile. If a player plays three swim cards on their turn, they must take a Fatigue into their discard pile.

Players are allowed to "jump" when moving their fish. These jumps are sometimes necessary in order to get over a waterfall. When jumping, players play two swim cards and leap to the spot marked by their second played card. Any spaces with symbols jumped over also allow players to take appropriate cards.

Players are not limited to playing only swim cards. They may also play other cards which change how the game works. For instance, players may play a "Bear" card. This allows them to move a bear up to two spaces on the board. If a bear reaches a hex with a salmon, the player must take a fatigue into their deck. There are other cards like this can also force players to discard cards from their hand or even move backwards to follow the current.

Players will continue playing and building their deck throughout the game. The first player to reach the "Spawning Pool" triggers the end game and play will continue until play order reaches the start player. If no other players reach the spawning pool, the player who did wins the game. If multiple players reach the pool, the player with the least fatigue wins.

I tend to enjoy deck-building games and I like the ones that add a little more to it than just the cards. Salmon Run adds just enough theme and board elements to make the experience a pretty good time. I like that each game can be different based on how the board is set up and how cards come out and are used. At the end of the day, it's nothing great, but it's still enjoyable.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Hanabi
Next up, we played Hanabi. This is a cooperative card game where players are working together to build the best firework display.

Players start out by setting out the eight clock tokens. The "bomb" is set up by stacking the four tokens with the longest fuse being on top and slowly getting shorter as the stack reaches the bottom. The cards are shuffled and each player is dealt four cards (five in 2 or 3 player games). When players lift these cards into their hands, they must be sure to not look at them and need to face them towards the other player. Throughout the game, whenever drawing a card into their own hand, players must never look at their own cards. Play begins with the starting player.

On their turn, players may take one of three different actions. The first action players may take is to give information. When doing this, they spend one of the clock tokens (placing it into the box top for tracking purposes) and give advice. Advice must be specific either to the number of one or many cards in one player's hand, or the color of one or many cards in the player's hand, pointing each one out. For instance, if a player is holding two yellow ones, a white two, and a blue two, I can say, "This card and this card is yellow." When referring to those cards, I could also say, "This card and this card is a one." Or I could say, "This card and this card is a two" or "This card is blue" or "This card is white". It's up to the player giving the information to figure what would be the best advice to give for the specific moment.

The second action players may take is to play one card from their hand. Players will not want to blindly play a card from their hand. It's important to have at least some knowledge when playing. If making a successful play, the card is added to the array making up the firework display. A new card is drawn from the deck. However, if a player plays wrong, the card is discarded and one token is removed from the bombs. If players make this mistake three times, the game ends in a loss.

The final action players may take is to discard one card from their hand. When discarding a card, it is placed aside and replaced with a new card from the deck. Also, one time token is added back into the pile to be used in further turns.

Play will continue in this manner until one of three situations occur. As explained above, if the bomb explodes, the game is lost. If the players are able to play all five of each of the five suits in order from 1 - 5 out to the array, they win with a perfect show. Finally, if the draw deck is exhausted, everyone will get one final turn and the game will end. In this last case, players will score their display based on the top card in each pile. Depending on their score, they may have a very forgettable and awful display, or a wonderful, memorable one.

Hanabi is a frustrating, but satisfying cooperative game. Having limited knowledge all the way throughout makes for an interesting experience. It's almost as players learn a language as they play, and multiple things can be discovered on one single clue if given at the right time. I like it and look forward to exploring it further.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Tokaido
We then moved on to Tokaido, a beautiful game using one of my favorite mechanics, a time track.

The board is set out and cards are placed out on the board in their allotted spaces. Each player chooses a color and random turn order is decided with their player tokens at the start of the movement track. Their score tokens are placed on the zero on the score track. Each player receives two travelers and chooses one of them to keep for the game. Each traveler has a different special power that can be used depending on where they land throughout play. After picking their traveler, they place their colored cardboard circle into the card and receive starting money as determined by the chosen character. Play then begins with the player at the end of the track.

The game is simple. The player last on the movement track will take their turn and move to any vacant spot, always moving forward down the track. Each spot has a unique action the player will take, usually resulting in gaining points or money. I'll explain a couple of them:

The temple: Landing here allows the player to donate one, two or three coins to the temple. Each coin donated is worth one point. At the end of the game, whoever has donated the most coins receives 10 bonus points. Players with lower amounts donated also receive bonuses, though not as much as the most generous player.

The farm: Landing here nets three coins from the bank.

The souvenir shop: Landing here allows a player to reveal three souvenir cards. Players may purchase any number of the souvenirs for the price listed (one, two or three coins). Players are wanting to collect the four different symbols on the cards, each one netting them more points.

There are more spots in the game, such as ones which allow players to build out a beautiful panorama. The first to complete any of these panoramas receives an achievement card worth 3 additional points. There is one for each of the three panoramas. Keep in mind that, depending on the chosen character, some of these spots will provide additional awards or change cost of purchasing items.

Throughout the track are several inns. Stopping here is mandatory. Whoever is first to stop at the inn places their token at the front spot of the inn and draws food cards (one for each player plus one). They keep these cards secret from their opponents and, if they wish, they may choose the food they wish to buy. When purchasing food, players may not purchase the same meal they had previously. Purchasing food nets the player 6 points. As other players reach the inn, they can then look through the remaining food and choose one dish they wish to buy. Again, they receive 6 points.

The game will end once all players have reached the final inn and choose their meal (if they wish to do so). Players then receive three bonus points based on whoever had the most of each type of card (Souvenirs, Hot Springs, Encounters) and whoever spent the most on their food at the inns. In case of ties, multiple players receive the bonus. Finally, players check the donations, receiving bonus points depending on how much they donated throughout the game. After scores have been tallied, the player with the most points wins.

Tokaido is a very "zen" experience. Traveling down that long, winding road, stopping at temples, farms and inns along the way...it all feels very nice. There's no real confrontation and everyone is free to do their own thing, long as a space is open to do so. Everything flows so well and builds up so beautiful, especially in the way of gaining those panorama cards. I really dig this chill game.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Abracada...What?
Moving right along, we played Abracada...What?, a deduction, memory type of game where players are competing wizards using their spells, or at least trying to.

Players set up the game by placing out the tracking board. Each player chooses a color and places their scoring token on the board and receives six cardboard tokens representing their lives for each round. The 36 spellstones are placed upside down in the center of the table. Each player chooses four of these spellstones and places them out in front of them, facing away so they don't see what they are, but their opponents can. Four spellstones are placed aside as "secret". In a game of two or three players, 12 or 6 spellstones will be revealed and placed out on the board. The game begins with the starting player.

Players are trying to determine the spellstones they have in front of them by looking at what other players have along with what information has already been revealed. On their turn, the player states a number of a spell, hoping to have the one stated in front of them. If they don't, they lose one life and play moves on to the next player.

However, if they're successful, the tile is pointed out to them and placed on the tracking board. They will then take the action of the spell they were correct on (usually giving them life or taking life away from their opponents). Players can then end their turn or they can state another spell number, long as that spell number is higher than the one they previously asked about. So, if a player starts out asking if they have a 7, and they do, they can only ask about an 8 if they choose to continue their turn.

A round will end either when one player is able to remove all four of the spellstones in front of himself or if one player dies. Scoring will then occur for the round. If a player is successful in removing all four spellstones, he will score three points. If a player wound up killing himself, the survivors score one point. If a player is knocked out by another one, the player who knocked him out gets three points and all survivors get one point. Rounds will continue until one player reaches eight points and wins the game.

When looking at Abracada...What?, it sounded kind of like competitive Hanabi which I thought might be neat to try out. However, it's really just an overproduced guessing game. There's so much knowledge that isn't available to the players from the beginning, and by the time information does come out in the round, you're probably already dead or wishing you were. We wound up not even finishing our game as the rounds were taking so long to finish, and after four rounds, the highest scoring player only had 4 points. We really didn't care for this one at all.



From gallery of joeincolorado




Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
We ended the night with our fifth game of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, successfully completing April. I won't spoil anything here, but if you're interested on how it went for us, check my other blog post here: Spoiling Pandemic Legacy - April



So, that's it for this week! We had a great time racing to the spawning pool, creating a beautiful fireworks display, traveling Tokaido, guessing spells (though that wasn't really very fun ) and saving humanity. As always, thanks for reading and thumbing and commenting! See ya next week!
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Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:02 am
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