Since I am trying to manage my time more, I thought I would try shortening my blog posts to feature 5-8 games a post, usually fewer. It will give me time to really focus on what I am playing and post more frequently. I have acquired so many games and want to feature them all properly. A weekly blog has become a daunting task, so I will post as frequently as I can with as much as I can to showcase the games.
I hope you will all appreciate the new format. Cheers!
There was a new card game that showed up called Atommix. New to me!
This game is going to head to KS in the coming months and I said I would check it out. The artwork is really intriguing and is what drew me in, originally.
The game is still in prototype form and the rules are still in progress. I was only given a sample of cards, enough to cover all of the elements. Right now there are several versions or levels of the game to play. Each version adds on to the previous set of rules. Game one is very basic - you are simply trying to match symbols on the cards to try and get rid of your cards first.
Michael and I tried the 2nd level of difficulty since the first seemed pretty dull. The 2nd level wasn't that much better since you want to try and match several symbols. With later game levels, there are different events that will happen depending on the symbols you match.
It was hard to really get a good feeling for the game without all the cards. I am not sure there is a good mix of cards without them all. It is harder to match the symbols and really play the full game as intended. I would try again with more advanced rules, but it doesn't much excite me.
I got to check out the new HABA game called Honga. New to me!
The family line of HABA games is really impressive, and I have been enjoying it immensely. Karuba is one of my favorites in recent years, so when I was given the chance to try Honga, I jumped.
This is a perfect family-weight game for kids and casual gamers. Mechanics that are introduced in this game are easy to grasp and offer a lot of thought and planning. Hand and resource management in this game is presented in a very welcoming way. Your goal is to get the most points at the end of the game from trading with other tribes and ascending the temple track.
On your turn, you will select a card from your hand of cards and place in the middle of the game board. The hands on the cards will tell you how many times you get to perform the action that they are pointing at. For example, if you point 2 hands towards the berry bush then you will get to add 2 berries to your resource board. The catch is that if you don't point at least one hand toward Honga, the sabertooth tiger, he will get angry and start eating your food every round until another player takes him away.
Michael and I found this game very engaging. You are constantly thinking about the possible actions you can select by figuring out where the hands will be pointing and what actions you can possibly take. You want to complete as many trades as possible when you take the trade action so you want to have as many resources as possible when you do it. Michael was completing the trades much easier than I was because he was able to gather bonus cards from the forest action. I definitely didn't utilize that action well enough. I was working the temple track over and over.
Honga was always on the lookout and I certainly didn't want to upset him. There is no way to get rid of him unless another player messes up and catches Honga's attention or you find a bonus card in the forest. I didn't want the burden of feeding him over and over! If played correctly, I suppose it could work in your favor. I will have to try it.
Michael ended up winning this game by a lot. There was a lot I should have done better, and I will do better the next time I get to play.
It was super cute and I will definitely be playing this one again soon. It really makes for a perfect entry level game for any family. I can see this game being used as a gateway into deeper games. There is a lot to like about this one. Clever, clever game.
My unplayed shelf is just insanity at the moment. Any chance to play some off the unplayed shelf, and I will take it. This time Michael and I checked out Destruct 3. New to me!
I picked this up in a recent VFM and was curious about it. This game ended up just being too much "work" to be fun. One player builds a structure and the other uses a destruction piece to try and knock it down. You score points depending on how well you built, or how well you knock over, but it is not interesting enough.
Maybe I am just bad at this game and I didn't like it. While Michael did win, I didn't mind playing it. I would just rather play about any other dexterity game. This has amazing wooden bits and exceptional quality, but it wasn't enough for me to keep it. Happy to have tried it though.
Another one off the unplayed shelf was Shop 'N Time! New to me!
This was a game that just looked so cute. But I was skeptical about it, since the going rate of this game seems to be in the $5 range. Perhaps it was just overproduced like Foreclosed, which is not a bad game. My mom was coming to visit so I wanted to definitely learn this game before she showed up and so we could play with her, "The Shopper". She is the master of all things shopping since she gets all the great discounts.
Before you play the game, you will need to download a companion app which is the CUTEST app ever. Cute music and easy to use. This game offers several different ways to play and I ended up playing 5 games to try them all out. Michael and I just played 1 and then we played all 4 types with my mom. The standard way to play is a drafting game where you are trying to collect enough items to get as close to the depicted value, without going over. (Price is Right Rules).
What keeps this game interesting is that you don't know the actual price of the items and you won't ever know them since the app doesn't tell you! All items are priced according to their year. What was the price of a sleeping bag in 1935? WHO the heck knows!? You have to take your best guess and try to collect items that add up to the targeted total. The only thing you know for sure is that every item is between $0.95 and $6, so there is that.
Michael ended up beating me in the game we played together by just 1 point! It was close. When my mom was here visiting, she completely took us over. She won 3 games and I managed to win the 4th game. She is just too good at knowing prices, or maybe she was just getting lucky.
Of course, it was a huge hit, and I ended up giving her my copy of the game since I am sure I can find it again for a reasonable price. I have to say, this was a big surprise for me. There is a load of fun in this game box and the companion app is just awesome. I definitely would recommend this, especially if you have family members who are totally into shopping and discounts. I had a great time playing.
Michael wanted to check out one of his new unplayed games called D6 Shooter. New to me!
This is a push-your-luck game. You are rolling dice Yahtzee style to try and claim the wanted cards. If you collect enough points in wanted cards, you get to level up. You are trying to level up to eventually become the Sheriff and win.
I lost, and I lost BADLY. I simply can't stop pushing my luck. Michael ran into some rough events that caused him to lose his wanted cards, so the game dragged on and on. I knew I wouldn't win this game from the beginning so it just seemed unbearably long.
The game seemed fine, but it just isn't for me. It was totally ugly too. Nothing attractive about this game that would make me want to play it again.
Since I had a fun time playing Cover Your Assets, I was asked to cover a review of Cover Your Kingdom for the Kickstarter currently happening. New to me!
The gameplay is very similar to Cover Your Assets in that you are trying to control the most value at the end of the game.
In Cover Your Kingdom, players can create 2 stacks of cards on their kingdom board. Each turn the active player can take up to 2 actions. You can play a pair of cards to your kingdom in the appropriate region (mountain or valley), you can match the top card from the discard pile and place both cards into your kingdom in the appropriate region, or you can try to steal the top set from another player's stack by showing a same-type card. The play continues until there are no more cards in the draw pile or in players' hands. This is all very much like Cover Your Assets except you have two stacks instead of one.
One thing that is new to Cover Your Kingdom are the event cards. They are kind of swingy, and several of them I might not use in future games, but some are really clever and add a nice change. One card I particularly like has an action that will move the top set to the bottom of the stack. This offers a chance to dig deeper into another player's stack or can help protect your own stack.
I brought this over to game night and played with Michael, James, and Susan. We had all played Cover Your Assets before, so they were familiar with the mechanics and could easily pick this one up.
There was nothing I could do that would keep cards in my stacks. I could not get a solid set of cards at all. Everything I claimed would immediately get stolen. I almost wonder if the hand of cards should be larger since it would give you more opportunity to protect. I had some great wild cards to try and win them back, but whomever I went after was also holding on to wilds and could easily defend. It was a rough performance for me. Susan and I both ended with 75 points at the end. That is a wicked low score as Michael ended with 705 points. Yah, we got hosed! James managed to keep his 260 points away from Michael the Thief.
I had a great time playing this game. I do like it more than Assets for the theme alone. There is more to manage and plan for with the 2 stacks. It is on Kickstarter now and has already funded. I think the artwork is cute and the little puns are fun. So colorful! I will pick this one to play over Assets, though I think Assets will work better with my family gatherings. I am happy to play either! Cool little game.
All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted. Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way. Thank you.
My eye was immediately attracted to a huge game called Gridopolis Games on the top shelf of the library. New to Me!
My curious nature said I must try this game and Felix and Jan were up for this abstract game. There are actually several different games to play in the box, but we just played the basic game.
In Gridopolis, there are a lot of cool colors and plastic components that you will use to build up a huge playing board. Since the board is 3-dimensional, you really have to think outside the box. The goal is to be the last man standing (or you can play for an agreed-upon amount of time).
Each player will start the game with 6 pawns. Pawns can move in any direction - up, down, forward, diagonally, and/or sideways - as long as you do not move toward your starting row. You can jump your opponents pieces to capture them, even across multiple levels. And like in Checkers, you can continue jumping over multiple enemies as long as you do not move backwards. Unlike Checkers, you can jump your own pawns to help you go faster, but you can't combine jumping your pawns and opponents' pawns.
You can EVEN JUMP OFF THE SIDE OF THE BOARD!! This is called Kamikaze and you are essentially killing your piece if you do. It might totally be worth it to prevent another player from capturing one of your kings. All captured pieces are worth points at the end.
At any time, if a player makes it into another players' starting region, that pawn will turn into a king. Kings can move two times per turn and can move in any direction, including backwards.
You can skip your turn to expand or shrink the playing board. Each player gets three pads, two posts (to place a pad one level higher), and two blocker boxes (to eliminate a pad). There are also hyper-pads that can be used to "beam out" to another hyper-pad.
Felix was aggressive right off the bat and was after both me and Jan. Jan was eliminated relatively quickly because of it. I lost several pawns, but was trying to stay out of the way. I made the mistake of keeping my King alive instead of having one of my pawns doing a Kamikaze. So Felix was able to pick up some extra points. It was rough going for sure!
No one ended up changing the board as their action. It seems too painful to use your whole turn to expand or shrink the board, but I do like that it is an option. Your 3-level board can turn into a 4-level or 5-level board. How crazy is that!? There is a lot to explore with these possibilities.
Felix ended up winning with 8 points. I was behind with 6 and Jan had 5. It was a closer game than I expected. I can see this game going in circles if a few players just have one pawn, so setting a time cap can be a good idea.
I like that it is fairly easy to learn and wicked abstract. If you aren't a fan of the classics like Checkers, Chinese Checkers, and Chess, then I am not sure this is a game for you. It is so super hard to visualize the board in a 3-D way. It will definitely take some plays for me to get used to what a good strategy and initial play might be.
So many ways to play this game and a lot to explore still. I am excited to give this one another play soon.
Another game I was interested in learning was Franchise. New to me!
I remember learning about it last Origins and thinking it was so colorful and was one I wanted to try.
This was a reimplementation of an older title named Medieval Merchant. I've never played it, so I don't know how Franchise compares to that. Franchise certainly seems like a better theme for the mechanics.
In Franchise, timing is everything, which makes this a tricky game. You need money to travel and to secure your franchises in new cities. You have to balance that nicely with the income you receive from your franchises.
Both Felix and Jan were doing well. I was off in my own little world and I thought I would actually win because of it. The main problem with being secluded is that no one is helping you close out regions on the map. You get points for closing regions. I was about to score a TON of points on the final turn, triggering the end of the game. But Felix was able to trigger the end of the game before I could, and he ended up getting all the points.
It was a rough ending for me. Felix was so sure I would win. I might have been able to if I had focused sooner and figured out what I really needed to do. I was so all over the place in the early game and spent far too much money on poor plays. But I have learned from my mistakes and will be able to go into the next play wiser for it. Having a presence everywhere is NOT worth it!
I had fun with Franchise. I don't think it was clever enough for me to own and play frequently, but I would be happy to play again. There are so many other Queen Games that I enjoy playing more. Definitely worth checking out though.
The three of us also checked out a cute little card game called Animale Tattica. New to me!
This game reminded Felix of Tichu a bit. It is a climbing game where you are trying to get rid of all your cards. What is interesting about Animale Tattica is that each player has a unique deck of cards. There are special cards that help your hand and give you cool 1-time effects.
Since I love climbing games, I was really happy to try it out. Felix also enjoys climbing games and quite enjoyed our play. I didn't play my hand properly and Felix was gifted with 2 kings which were BOSS! I would definitely want to play again using different decks to see if any are overpowered.
I don't think Animale Tattica would get much play if I were to acquire a copy, but I certainly enjoyed myself and would easily play it again. I LOVE the artwork!! So cute!!
I was wandering around looking for some games to play and stumbled into a prototype of a recent KS game called Zoo-ography. New to me!
I hadn't heard of it, but I was drawn in by the stunning rainbow colored animals. These pieces were 3D printed and are not the final product (though I kinda like them the way they are!).
Zoo-ography is a drafting and tile laying game. Two of my favorite mechanics! You are using the tiles you draft to create a wonderful park full of animals and attractions. There are common goals to work towards to complete the best you can. The more common goals you complete, the more points you score.
The active player will draft a card from the center field and then choose to draft some animals or play a card to their parks. You can only draft animals from one region and you have to be able to store all of the animals in your park. Animals can be placed in a habitat only if they can share the habitat with all other animals. Big animals each require two watering holes and can be caged only with the same-color big animals or with small animals that are one space away on the color wheel. For example, a big red animal can be caged only with big red animals, small orange animals, or small purple animals. Small animals don't mind sharing habitats with any other small animals.
It is very important that you draft appropriate tiles for your park. You want enough enclosures to hold all your animals and you want certain attractions to help bring more guests to your park. While the game is fairly abstract, it is very easy to figure out and plan for.
In the end, it is not a high scoring game. In a 4 player game, I was tied for the win with 8 points. I thought I had been doing better, but I lost a few points for not having enough visitors in my park. The other girl and I had very different strategies but we still ended up with the same score. That was pretty cool.
Since everyone was learning, it was a wicked slow game, taking more than an hour to play. With experienced players, I could easily see playing this in 20 minutes with 2 players. Despite the slowness, I really had a great time playing Zoo-ography. I will like it a lot better without all the AP players at our table. I am very excited about the final production of this to surface. It is one that I keep thinking about, even weeks later. Definitely fits right in my wheelhouse.
I ended up finding Michael, Felix, and Jan again, and we got to play Inuit: The Snow Folk. New to me!
I have been seeing a lot of pictures of this around FB and Instagram and was so intrigued. The artwork is just stunning and that was enough to make me pull it off the library shelf to try. I love card drafting engine building games, and I hoped this would be a good one.
In Inuit, there is a flop of cards and the active player will add one to the lineup. Depending on the player's abilities, they might be able to add more. Then they will choose one type of card to draft into their village based on how many tribe members the player has assigned to that occupation. Elders draft new tribe members. Shamans add spirits or perform rites. Warriors defeat people in the lineup. Hunters trap animals. Scouts allow you to draw more cards at the start of your turn.
Most cards will have points on them which you will get at the end of the game. You also score points for tribe members anywhere with your color. I think it is really interesting that if another player has a tribe member with my color, I get points for it. But if I have a tribe member without my own color, I will lose points. It is probably still worth it to have tribe members of any color to boost your occupations.
I was behind all game. I focused mainly on the rituals and spirit cards and they were pretty awesome, scoring me a majority of my points. I didn't value the tribe members well enough. I really needed more members in my tribe to get better drafting abilities. I super lost because I didn't have them. I only had 53 points and the winner was Michael with 62.
There is a lot to like about this game. I am not sure it does anything new and exciting, but it is all-around enjoyable and fun to play. Simple mechanics make it easy to learn and figure out. There are even extra cards for more variance and alternate game plays. That is pretty cool. I look forward to playing this one again soon!
So many little Japanese card games I just don't know and I want to know!
This was a super cute card game that demonstrates the I-split/you-choose mechanic. You will get 7 cards and make 3 piles of 2 cards each, discarding 1. The next 2 players will get to select which set of cards they want before you get the last set. These cards must be added to your stash of cards. You are trying to get the max points from each type of fruit. Some want a lot, some want a few but not too much, and some want an exact number. All cards are clearly marked for how many points you get for a set.
It is a very simple game to play. We ended up playing a full 5-player game. It was quick, which worked out since people had another game to play right after.
It was clear that bananas were a problem. So we kept sticking the bananas with people who didn't want them. You obviously can't pick for other people, but if you can make all your stacks have bananas, players have no choice but to take them.
Everything worked out for James this time as he won by a few points. Michael was right behind him and I was right behind Michael. Jonathan and Susan were much further back with 39 each. They were screwed over with bananas.
I really enjoyed this one, and if I see it for sale in the future, I think I might have to pick it up! Very enjoyable little game.
I was trying to find games with short rules because I don't like reading rules. I spotted Glisse Glace in the library and I roped Felix and Jan into playing it. New to me!
I saw this at Essen last year and was curious about it. Very simple dexterity game with adorable penguin figures.
In Glisse Glace, you just have to shoot your disc and try to touch the little penguin's disc without knocking the penguin over. If you manage to get close enough to the little penguin, you get a positive point token. But if you knock over any penguins, you will get a token from the dad stack which can give you negative points. The game ends when one stack of tokens runs out.
It was only a 5-minute game. The dad stack ran out quickly and I had a ton of negative points. But I also managed to get some positive tokens, enough to WIN!! I had a whopping 4 points. Hahah, it was hilarious.
Cute game, but definitely not one I have to play again. Glad to have tried it.
I saw Derek and Chaz looking to play with Tom G and his soon-to-be-published Rail Pass.
Last year, I got to play this game in prototype form with Aldie. I am glad to see it got picked up for distribution and it is looking sharp now. I had a good time playing last year so I was looking forward to playing again.
Rail Pass is a real-time game that is quite puzzly. You have ten minutes to get cubes into their proper locations by loading, passing, and unloading train cars with your neighbors. There are different setups to change the difficulty, but you can also just use less time to increase the difficulty as well.
Since you are under time pressure, it is harder to concentrate and focus on simple things like the conductor rules. Your personal conductors can't travel more than one stop away, and you will lose points if he is out of his region. It is easy to forget with a timer going.
We played a 4 player game. Derek hadn't played before and Chaz played it long ago in prototype form. It was all very familiar to me, so I was ready to go.
It took longer for Tom to go over the rules than to play. We did very, very well, getting the highest-possible achievement because we scored so high. Boom, we owned it. Maybe Tom gave us too many minutes and was being generous.
It is a speedy and clever little game. Very light hearted and enjoyable for a round or two at a time. I could easily play this one any time.
Chaz and Derek had some time to spare so we settled on trying out one of the new Unlock games called Unlock! Tombstone Express. New to me!
Spoilers are short and to the point, but please don't read if you don't want to be spoilered:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The 2 things I enjoyed in this game were the random bullets and the musical challenge.
I didn't enjoy this Unlock nearly as much as the other Unlock games I have played in the past. Overall verdict: #pass
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Well, I didn't think it was possible to find a game I hated more than Coup. Voila! I stepped into a 5-minute game called Murder on the Cosmic Express. New to me!
Normally, I stay away from social deduction games since I don't like them, but I was roped in with the "It's only 5 minutes!" line. In my world, there is always time for a 5-minute game.
In this game, everyone has a hidden role and each role will have an objective. Cool, sounds good so far. The murderer wants the murder weapons and will know what the murder weapon is. Everyone else won't know what the murder weapon is but won't want it. Everyone is dealt 2 weapons. There are pairs of several weapon types. An extra of each type is shuffled and one is randomly dealt to the middle of the table which represents the murder weapon. Everyone closes their eyes and the murderer secretly looks at the weapon card in the middle. Players open their eyes and will have a minute to trade weapon cards with others.
There is literally no incentive to trade with anyone unless you are the murderer. No one knows any information.
Maybe I just don't understand. I really hate social deduction games. I have literally nothing nice to say about this game other than I don't have to play it again. Hopefully, you like it more than I did!
Matt tried to redeem himself from roping me into playing that first failed game attempt with a new Dixit-like storytelling game called Detective Club. New to me!
Detective Club actually has a bit of A Fake Artist Goes to New York going on. The active player will write down a category and play one card that is related to that category. All other players will get to see that category except one player, who will just receive an X. That player will just have to guess based on the other cards they see. Two total cards will be played in front of each player and then players will have to tell their stories involving the category.
The scoring is wonky and works similarly to Dixit, where the active player wants to guess the person who doesn't know but not have everyone guess that person. I dunno, it was weird.
I got in a few rounds before I had to get ready for the closing ceremony. I was happy to have learned it though and had a pretty good time playing. Of course, the artwork is amazing and could easily be played with Dixit or Mysterium cards. I would definitely give this game another try if given the opportunity. It might need more of a scoring system, but just playing for funsies is cool too.
BGG Closing Ceremony!
Afterwards, Michael and I found James and Susan and we played several games starting with World Shapers. New to me!
This game is so gorgeous!! I was just glamoured by the artwork. It is so inviting and just draws me in! I love that World Shapers is a drafting game about the elements. There is even a rainbow card in the game, which I might just auto draft because... rainbow!
In World Shapers, players will be drafting a card to play from a hand of cards and then passing that hand to the next player. You will be playing cards to your tableau for their effects and for their scoring abilities at the end of the game. There are some rare gems that can be used to grab cards from a common supply when you're in a pickle, or more commonly used to upgrade a scoring card that has already been played.
It is a fairly simple game to learn, but quite difficult to figure out a proper strategy to take. I didn't have a clear route for scoring points, so I was having a hard time forming a strategy and not finding any synergy with my cards. I spent my gems too willingly, and I really needed them at the end of the game to help boost my score a bit.
As it turns out I didn't have a nice even amount of cards in my columns. Several cards were not able to score because of adjacency issues. Michael won this game with 37 points and I was LAST with 24. It was a train wreck for me, but I know what happened and I will definitely play better in the next game.
World Shapers is a simple-to-learn game with a lot more depth than first appears. I like that there is a lot to figure out in the first play. It will look great on my table and I can't wait to photograph it properly. I am always up for a drafting game and am very much looking forward to my next play!
I had heard nothing but good things about Dice Hospital so I was cautiously interested in trying it out. New to me!
I really don't like hospital-themed games, but I do enjoy dice drafting games, so I ended up giving this a chance.
The basics of the game are that your dice are your patients and you are taking them into your hospital via a drafting mechanic. These dice are all very sickly and need to be healed before you can discharge them. After you draft the dice and maybe a cool advancement or a new doc for your hospital, you will get to assign your staff to different stations to help heal the patients. You are trying to heal the dice, increasing them one pip each time you treat them. If you heal a 6 to a "7", they are considered discharged from your hospital. Dice that do not get treated during the round become more sickly and will downgrade a pip value. If you are at value 1 and need to downgrade, well, they are downgraded to the morgue. And when you lose a patient, you lose points.
It is up to you to manage your hospital. If you can discharge a bunch of patients at one time, you will get more points, so it is best to have them all go at once. You even get a bonus if you have completely cleared out your hospital at the end of a round.
I was so totally focused. I was getting the combos I needed and some good doctors. I even managed to get my hospital empty once, and those bonus points were enough to win me the game by 1 point! Wooohoo! I did something right! James was trying to recalculate his final turns to figure out what he might have been able to do better. He finally figured out a way he could have won... but it was TOO LATE!
I have to say I enjoyed this game a lot more than I thought I would. It is fun trying to manage and manipulate all the dice. There is a lot of clever planning you have to do, and timing is everything. Drafting the dice is totally important for your plans. I had a great time playing this one.
During Dice Hospital, we played the game within a game called Gameception. New to me!
I have actually had this a while and have looked at it a bunch, but never got around to trying it out. Such a crazy game. You are supposed to play over the course of a game day, scoring cards as you can. Since we were playing only during Dice Hospital, we just handed out a few cards to see if we could score any.
The cards are pretty general and will make a lot of sense at a game day. For example: "someone pulls out their phone to share a video" or "a kid interrupts the game". I happen to go to a regular game day with kids all around, so that would have been good.
James had a card that needed someone to sneeze. So Michael sneezed, and James scored. Easy peasy. I think James ended up scoring like 3 cards.
I DID manage to score my one card that said "another player complains they could have played better" - remember the end of Dice Hospital? OMG it was so funny when I revealed that on James!
Apparently, there are NINJA cards in this game that we didn't play with. With Ninja cards, you have to try to sneak a card so that another player accidentally sees the ninja. If they do, you score. That sounds super cool and I would definitely want to try that at some point.
I had a pretty good time with this and would be interested in trying it out at a game day in the future.
I saw more rainbows in the BGG library and was instantly drawn to Zoomaka. New to me!
Another zoo game in such a short time frame. I like animals in my games so it totally works for me.
Zoomaka is a small-boxed card game that is a pretty hateful set collection game. There are tons of cards in this game and half are animals and half are action cards, most of which affect other players in some way.
On your turn, you get 3 actions to try and make sets in your park with the same type of animals. You will have a bank to hold money, mostly for defending against attack cards that other players use on you. For example, if an entrance card is played in someone's park, everyone has to pay the fee to that player. If they can't, then they have to make up the difference in animals from their own park.
It actually sounds more hateful than it was, but not by much. Still, I had a pretty good time playing this game. It was fast enough where it didn't bother me that I was losing my cards to other players. I found a totally crazy card that made everyone discard their bank cards. Then I played an entrance fee and everyone had to give me many of their animals. I didn't auto win right then and there but I won a few turns later. It might come down to luck of the draw? I don't know.
I would definitely play this one again to see how it holds up. I do think there were too many action cards in the deck, but it works fine as a game. Perhaps not one I will suggest in the future though.
On the final day, we had barely enough time to play a couple of games and say bye before heading out. I was very much interested in learning Blossoms. New to me!
Blossoms was on my must-try list at Essen, and of course, there is never enough time to try everything. This is just a little 2-player push-your-luck game, so I figured Michael and I could knock it out pretty quickly on the final morning.
In Blossoms, you are simply controlling 4 flower pots, trying to add more to the flowers before trimming one flower down for points. You can keep drawing as long as you want. But if you draw a flower you can't place, you can't trim a flower and your turn is over.
Any game with push your luck is an automatic failure for me. I generally just end up busting all the time. I can't control myself! This time I actually managed to maintain a level head, stopping when I thought I just couldn't get more.
What's neat in Blossoms are the little bonus actions that help you manipulate the draws a little bit. You can spend one of your bonus actions to ignore a card that would make you bust. I used that.
While I still ended up losing this game, I didn't get a terribly low score. Michael won with 41 points and I had 31. It could have been a lot worse.
This was such a cute game, and of course, Rebel Games always produces gorgeous games and artwork to boot. I will always want to play whatever game they have next. I will be looking to add this to the collection since I think you can find it relatively cheap these days. Simple and quick fun in a 2-player game!
I was interested in playing the final Kinderspiel game called Fabulantica. New to me!
I got to finally play a game with Bethany and Aron before leaving, so that was cool. We ended up playing a 5-player game. John was kind enough to teach us even after teaching SdJ games all weekend.
The game is pretty simple: you are trying to search towers across the land for specific characters. You will use land cards to move around the map. If you find a character you're looking for, they will want you to find another character in order to complete their card. Once you complete 3 cards, then you are the winner.
You have to rely on your memory a lot. Towers are moving around the board so having that memory is handy. Needless to say, Bethany absolutely hated this game.
Fabulantica was fairly simple and I am sure kids will play it better than most adults. Michael ended up winning, and I think everyone was just happy it was over. I certainly didn't hate it as much as everyone else seemed to! I would even like to play it again, under better circumstances where everyone might not hate the game! Lol, it was cute.
Packing the car!
Final game haul pic! Yeah, I bought way too many games, but I look forward to playing them all!
Shout Out for the these amazing Iron Clays that were just on KS (final day today!). They are a perfect weight and feel just right. Love everything about them and can't wait to use them in whatever games I can going forward.
All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted. Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way. Thank you.
I got to spend Memorial Day weekend in Dallas for BGG.Spring!
After an 11+ hour drive to Dallas, Michael and I made it and got in some late night games! We played a 4 player game of LAMA.
Of course, this game was going to be all over the con because of the recent SdJ nomination. This was the 3rd time I have played the game and, quite frankly, that is 2 times more than I would have liked.
While I love the rainbow cards, this game is just not fun for me. It has been getting compared to UNO and that is exactly it. I mean, it is the same game with fewer actions. I really don't understand the hype for it at all.
Someone won this game and it wasn't me. I really hope I don't have to play this one again.
Rusty had a PnP of Corinth that I have been wanting to try. New to me!
Corinth is a roll n write game that uses similar mechanics to those you would find in Yspahan. A bunch of dice are rolled and sorted into different rows based on their values. If you don't roll all the values 1-6, then some of the rows will not be used. Players take turns drafting a row of dice to use on their player sheets.
There are a few different paths to explore on the player sheet. You can build buildings to help you with other actions, you can try and get the set collections, or you can walk around the marketplace to gather bonuses there.
In our 3p game, I decided to go all in on the marketplace. I was getting extra dice to roll on my turn and lots of end game bonus points. I guess I did particularly well since I was pretty far in the lead at the end of the game with 71 points. Michael had 54 and Rusty had 46.
I really liked this one, but I do wonder about the replay lifespan. If the board choices were different each game, I think I would enjoy it more. I would happily play this anytime and I do hope to own it eventually. I love me some roll n writes!
Day 1 of the con found me starry-eyed in the BGG Library. There are just too many games I want to learn and play, but my first 2 choices were Dust in the Wings and Copenhagen. New to me!
I actually didn't know much about Copenhagen, other than the pretty colors and tile placement. Turns out that Copenhagen is more of a set collection game that reminded the group of Ticket to Ride.
In Copenhagen, you will draft cards from the display and add them to your hand. You will use those cards to claim building tiles to place on your building board. Ideally, you will place the tiles so that you are filling up the rows and columns of your building. You will get double points if the row or column has only windows in it. You will also get a special tile, a new skill, or a refresh of your skills if you complete a row with a shield symbol or build over a space with a shield symbol.
Super quick game, almost too quick. We played a 4 player game with rules in under an hour. You end up playing through the deck of cards 2 times, and when the stack runs out for the second time, the game is over, or if someone hits 12 points. Very fast and very low scoring game!
I was going for a middle column with all windows for some big points. It really worked well, but then I was left with a split board which was hard to plan around. Still worked in my favor as I won the game with 10 points and the tiebreaker since I was tied with Jan. Michael and Felix were tied with 8 points, so it was a close game all around.
I had a really great time playing this one. Could easily be played any time since it is so fast. I hope it runs across my table again soon! I quite enjoyed it!
(not really the game, but I just wanted all the red pieces)
Felix and Jan hadn't played Hadara and it was available to grab, so we played it.
Man, I love this game! I am definitely getting better each and every time I play it. I wonder if it is luck of the draw with purple cards though. I got a pretty decent one early and it shaped my whole strategy.
When I asked Felix if he liked 7 Wonders, he said not really, so I wasn't sure if he would enjoy this one. Turns out he really enjoyed it! Yay! I like finding games people like! But I crushed them allllllllllllll mwaahahahaha. I got 203, Michael 180, Felix 176, and Jan 144. Maybe it is my time to retire from this game. I don't think I will be able to beat that score!
No, seriously, I love this! It is another game that I could play at any time! I find it is really easy to explain too, even though Michael was doing most of the rules explanations.
Side Note: The BGG copy of this game had THE WORST card sleeves EVER. They were the wrong size and cards were facing different directions. It was a hot mess, and I hope I don't have to play that copy of the game again.
Dust in the Wings is a fairly easy abstract game where you move butterfly meeples around the board to claim scoring cards. At first, I thought the movement would be like in Five Tribes, but you never actually remove the butterfly meeples from the board. Works similarly though. You will select a square with butterflies and drop them one at a time in adjacent areas to where the previous one was placed.
The space where the final butterfly lands is the space you get to evaluate for the scoring cards. Some cards require specific butterfly combinations. Other cards require patterns of butterflies in the columns and rows. It is pretty easy to score something each turn.
This was less than exciting to play. I didn't really have any connection to what I was doing, or why. You can't really plan for your turn since the whole board essentially changes with each player's turn. The whole experience was fine playing it, but I am not sure I have to play it again. Nothing really grabbed me. I even think I won that game!
I saw Lincoln and asked if he wanted to learn some Kinderspiel games with me. It was my goal to learn all of the Kinderspiel games since I hadn't heard of them before the SdJ nominations. First up was Go Gecko Go!. New to me!
Go Gecko Go is a simple race game. You are rolling dice and deciding which animals to move. The bigger animals can carry little ones on their backs, so ideally, you will stack them all up and move them at the same time. There are logs in the way that will be an issue for high stacks of animals, so you will have to plan for those. The main issue with this game is that it is a roll-n-move game, and you might simply never roll a red in order to move the red animal. You are at the mercy of the dice!
There were a good 3 or 4 turns at the end of the game where I was just trying to move my red guy one more space to win, and it wasn't happening. It gave Lincoln and Christoph time to catch up, but I still managed to get that final push to win the game. I totally kicked butt!
It is a cute enough game and I could play again, but I am not rushing to find an opportunity to. I certainly don't need to own it. I like a lot of what was happening with the movements and different actions, but not enough to keep my interest for more plays. Happy to have learned it.
Next up was a game I had no idea about. We played a 3 player game of Tal der Wikinger. New to me!
To my delight, this Viking game is a dexterity game! You are using a boulder to try to strike down the pins in the middle of the table. The colors you knock over will determine which player tokens will move along the docks. The docks are a track where you score points. You only score points when a player has jumped off the end of the docks, and you don't want to be the one falling into the river at the end if you can avoid it.
This is a really cute game that I could play at any time. I ended up teaching Eric the next day how to play because I liked it so much the first time. I am so very bad at it though. I am so bad in fact, that I ended the second game with 0 points. I had 0! It was rough. I probably deserved it though.
There is definitely more strategy in this game than it first appears. deceptively devious. I quite enjoyed this one and look forward to playing again sometime or maybe even owning it. Definitely my favorite of the 3 Kinder games.
Since I was flying solo for a while, I needed to pick out games I could easily figure the rules out for. I hadn't had the chance to learn Men At Work but figured I could pick that up easily enough. New to me!
I hadn't played this one yet since I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. The components are top notch, and that's really the reason I wanted to check this game out. Love those little hard hats!
Men at Work is a pretty simple dexterity game. It is not simple to place the beams and meeples on the board, but it's simple to learn. Each turn you will flip a card and perform the action by placing beams or workers. You are trying to place on the highest position on the board in order to earn rewards. You have 3 safety certificates and will lose one if you knock over the structure. The game can end if one player gets 4 awards or if all but one player loses all of their safety certificates.
The 3 of us playing were reallllllllllllllllllly bad. The structure kept getting knocked over, so the playing field wasn't getting any bigger. I think I might have been the only one to manage to get an award. But I still ended up losing because I knocked the structure over 3 times. The beams are wicked challenging to play and are very slick. They were sliding all over the place.
Anyway, I am happy to have tried it, but it is far from my favorite dexterity game. I would be fine playing it again, but it just feels a bit uninspired for me. meh.
Since One Key was in the game library, I figured the group would enjoy a game.
I convinced Felix, Jan, and Dan N. to play since it was going to be a 5-minute game. I was wrong about that. We did pretty well and then lost, but we played 3 more times.
Needless to say, this was a pretty big hit with the group. We all got to play as the master clue giver once, and we ended up winning 2 out of the 4 games.
I do think 4 games in a row is too many, but I was happy to play again. I still think I am terrible at this game -- I can never tell what people are thinking with the pictures and clues they are giving. I suppose that is half the fun.
I saw a color game on the library shelf. After I saw it was Disney themed, I had to play it. So I checked out Color Brain: Disney Edition. New to me!
Color Brain is a memory type game where you have to recall the colors from Disney films. For example, you will have to remember the colors in Tinkerbell's dress or Ursula's tentacles. Stuff like that! Very simple game where you play until a player hits 10 points.
Michael read the rules and we recruited Derek P. to play. I thought for sure I would be the best at this game! Turns out I am really unfamiliar with a lot of the recent Disney stuff and I simply had no idea or I would have really close answers but not exact ones. For example, I would think something is a teal color, so I guessed blue, but it would be green.
Anyway, Derek was amazing at this game and destroyed us in both of the games we played. There is a catch-up mechanic where you can remove some of the colors from an opponent's hand for one round. We both used it on Derek, and it didn't help us one bit! In the second game, I did slightly better, but it was still a killing. I think I had 6 points by the time Derek ended up winning.
I had a good time playing this one, but it really made me question my true Disney fandom. Maybe I just don't know as much as I thought I knew.
There were several games I reeeeeallly wanted to learn at the con, and I only got 1 of them played: Comanauts. New to me!
I was interested in trying Comanauts out to see how intense it actually was. This was supposedly the next step up in the Stuffed Fables genre. Let me tell ya, it was a big step up!
Comanauts is a cooperative campaign-style game. You are working your way through the different levels and trying to defeat the subconscious thoughts. Each player will get 3 avatars to use to try to defeat the inner demons. If an avatar fades away you will assume a new one. There are a lot of different paths to take and navigate through, but there are clues to help guide you as you find the inner child or as you defeat some of the demons.
Michael, James, and I played through the first part of the campaign to see how it would go. Turns out I picked a pretty badass avatar to begin and I never lost her. James was on his second avatar by the end, and I think Michael might have been on his second, too. I basically took SHAME down in the final stage. I had some major blows that just destroyed him. We totally won that game. We got seriously lucky working our way through some of the levels though. It could have been a lot worse.
I had a great time playing this and will definitely be on the lookout to get a copy and start the campaign again. Seemed like a lot of moving parts so it definitely takes the Stuffed Fables core and brings it to another whole level which is quite interesting. It is hard to not read ahead though! I look forward to playing more.
I saw this at Essen and was curious about it because of all the fabulous colors! That was the extent of my knowledge. LOVE the colors - they are a party for my eyes.
Festo is a pretty standard cube pusher. There is nothing overly special about this game. You are placing meeples in hopes of getting majorities and bonuses. You basically want a whole bunch of cubes to turn into food dishes. Lots of variety in the types of dishes, and you want to make different types for more points. Each round an event will be revealed, and those rules are then applied for that round.
I think it was getting to be too late at night since everyone was super AP. I was being super snappy and not really analyzing my choices because I just wanted the game to be over. I had some really lucky event cards that were in my favor. But to my surprise, I didn't demolish everyone. I felt I was in a very strong lead, when in fact, I was not! I won but only by a couple of points!
Even though the game was like 2 hours (should be 40 min), I still found enjoyment in it and I would totally play it again. Nothing really makes it stand out, but it was a solid and fun game.
Lincoln was telling me all about this one at the last BGG.CON and it has been on my mind ever since.
Match Me is a cooperative game where players have the same hand of 10 colors. There are 5 rounds, and each round the active player will give a clue corresponding to a category they are given. Each player will then select a single color from their hand of colors they think correlates to the clue given. If I have to give a clue about Movies, and I say "The Incredibles", do you think red? I would put red, but other people might think black or yellow. You won't know until the final round is complete and you reveal the answers.
This was so great playing with the full player count of 6 because there are just so many opportunities to screw up. It is awesome when you actually succeed. I played in 2 games and we epically lost both games. We were playing with Ken who was in from Japan, and there are a lot of cultural differences there, which adds an additional layer of complexity.
I had such a great time with this one though. The game seems near impossible, so I an determined to play well! I simply cannot wait for the US printing to be released called Colorful! I very much look forward to playing this again soon!
Jon knew how to play and we gathered 4 people around the device. There is only one rule in the game: Don't Be Last. When the light in the middle turns green, hit the button. If you are last, then you will get super shocked.
THIS GAME HURTS! Basically, I lost and I got majorly shocked! WTF, GAME? OW! I think I hit it too soon and it turned green and I lost. It might have just been a mind trick. I have no idea, but I am never playing this one again. TERRIBLE!
Why do people like this?! I just don't get it.
After the Storage Sale, Eric was interested in playing Amul.
YAY! I could get my revenge from our Gathering game of Amul! Eric, Michael, and I were all familiar with the game, so we could easily jump into a 3 player game! BOOM!
Okay, it wasn't as easy as BOOM. Before we could play, we had to separate the cards out according to player count. With more players, you will add in a larger variety of cards.
During setup, we forgot that we had added the small "Tea expansion". With this expansion, you either have to take out a few cards or some of the cards at the end won't get played, which means that you can't have perfect knowledge. I would prefer to play without perfect knowledge, so that totally worked for me!
Turns out I didn't get the revenge that I wanted. Apparently, Eric is just too good at this game! He won this game just like he won the first game we played with him! I was sooo very close though, just one point shy. He ended with 68 (but his PERSONAL BEST is 74).
Lots of fun playing this one and I am glad he asked us to play again! It is a super cool game, and I look forward to more plays once it is released!
All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted. Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way. Thank you.
We just played the intro game so I could get a feeling for it, but Michael knows the system pretty well where he could do a jump start for us.
In this game, you have your adventurer and go off to locations. These locations are stacks of cards where you might find loot or encounter enemies/monsters. Ideally, you take on whatever you encounter and possibly build up your deck to be something awesome for the next game. Your objective is to close each location to corner the villain to win the adventure. As you play through the various adventures you will evolve your character and take on harder quests.
So in our intro game, I chose to be the fighter. I love playing the brute force and just beating up on everything. I tried selecting locations that had closing abilities that matched my character well enough. I learned how to use my cards to gain more dice to roll for specific challenges. Michael was really walking me through it because, man, there is a lot of reading. Very small text and a lot of it. Learning the terminology can be tricky, but by the end of the intro game, I felt better about it.
I mean, we demolished the locations, but I am guessing you are supposed to. It is possible we got lucky with finding the Villian a bunch and it made it easier to close locations.
Pathfinder was more interesting then I thought it would be. I will definitely want to play through some scenarios to see how I like it after more plays. I certainly like the mummy theme better than the other themes out there, though the pirate one could be fun.
Michael and I got to play through a couple of stages of box 0. We played the first 2 chapters, and even after opening the character decks and looking through all of the options, we landed on the same exact characters we started that first intro game with.
We had an easy go of it the first scenario. We got some lucky finds and was able to end the game in just 11 turns. Had I KNOWN better, I might have spent more time looking for weapons. My dude is all about weapons and kicking ass in a ninja style mode. He is pretty badass. Anyway, I really wanted to up my game with some sweet weapons. I didn't manage to get any cool toys for my deck, but I figured there would be more opportunities later.
On to the next scenario, and our obstacles became harder and MUCH fewer weapons were available. Not only did I fail to find an awesome weapon, but I LOST one of my awesome weapons to the cursed box! What the heck!? I still managed to find a torch in its place, but it is so super lame in comparison.
Scenario 2 was a beat down for sure, but we survived by the skin of our teeth. We only had a few turns left before the timer would have devoured us!
I did feel scenario 1 was much different than scenario 2. I was starting to feel the goals of my character and which locations I would be pulled towards. I don't need spells so Michael would hit up the locations that might find spells. That sort of pull. I was in need of weapons and they were scarce. I hope they will show up in the next scenario. And NO MORE CURSED BOXES! grrrrrr
I had been interested in giving Disastles another play since the first time didn't really go well.
In the first play, we had forgotten to shuffle in the treasure cards, and that really messes up the consistency of the deck and possibly points you can have at the end of the game.
Michael and I tried 2 players and played the basic game with all the treasures mixed in.
I spent the whole game just trying to make all the connections happen so I wouldn't get slammed with damage. I got a cool card early on that said I could take one less damage, and it saved me a few times! Michael had taken plenty of damage, but he still managed to get a ton of end game points from the treasure cards. I never lost a card from damage but still didn't have enough points to win the game.
I could start seeing the different links I could make. It was hard to really get the links going well enough for me to benefit from multiple activations, but I did get some cool bonuses.
Michael won with 24 and I had 16. So yeah, treasures are really important to have mixed in. I don't know how we forgot to have them for the first time. Provided we all survive, how else were we supposed to score points? haha, I won't forget that again!
It went a lot better this time around. I am not sure it really holds my interest for that long, but it has some clever card manipulations. I do think the cards should be square since you will be rotating them 90 degrees - the rectangular shape makes for a lot of awkward space shifting. For me, it just works as a game and I could play again.
I don't know if this can qualify as new, but it is! It adds in enough base cards to permanently create all of the characters decks, and it comes with dividers for all the characters. There are also dice! You can use the red dice for health counters for your players or minions. There are also gems you can use in place of some of the cardboard tokens like charges.
So, we played against the Crooked Mask. Michael ended up playing as Xaxos - I mean XAXOS because he is a character to play.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Of course, he was gonna go all evil on me and become corrupt. #typical
We were getting a beating this game. Damage upon more damage. We had pretty weak cards to buy that didn't really ever allow for us to heal. It was a rough go and we saw our demise! Michael was the first to die and I was soon after. Turns out Crooked Mask was a murderer! We will have to take him on again soon!
Still working through all these new Mystic Vale expansions and loving it. The more I am playing this game, the better I am getting!
Behold, this expansion adds a ton of new advancement cards and Vale cards. Okay, that is not the most shocking news, as you would expect that. But this expansion adds negative points! You can now collect negative points from both types of cards and from new relic tokens. In the base game, you have boring old blue orbs that will be used for an extra mana point. Well, all of those orbs are now replaced with cool new relic tiles that have super awesome activations, but they are all worth negative points at the end. You could choose to play vanilla, but why would you!?
OMG have I mentioned that I just love the artwork? I am in love with the art on the Leader and Vale cards that are added. Just stunning!
Poor Michael has to deal with all my awesomeness. We played a 2 player game and I just had it going on. I was swimming in the spirit symbols and collected maybe 10 vale cards. It was A LOT! I had all the right synergies and just seemed to make it all work in my favor (an on-going pattern when I play this game). Maybe I should join a league and win lots of tournaments.
Anyway, I took home the win with 75 and Michael had 47. It was wonderful!
I love mixing in all these new and awesome expansions. It changes the game up each and every time. Been really enjoying it. Michael seems to enjoy it too, even though he loses game after game after game.
I went to a local meetup and we played a few games starting with Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia. This was a shiny newer edition then the original KS I backed all those years ago. The game didn't change though. I had forgotten many rules but it all came back to me very easily.
Years ago, when I started gaming, I loved everything I played. I still love a lot of what I play, but it is harder to impress me. Replaying this one cemented my feeling on the game. It is interesting but I feel the only way to win is if you pursue the Icarite resources strategy. That strategy has literally won every game I have played. I never go for that strategy since it seems OP and I want to try and win a different way.
We were playing a 5 player game, and of course, the guy who used the Icarite resources strategy won. And by that, I mean it totally dominated by a lot! Everyone else had 4 or more stars left to place.
Derek ended up with my original KS copy of Euphoria and I am cool with that. I certainly don't mind playing it, and maybe the new expansion helps to add more workable strategies. I would be willing to give it a go. I am not really seeking it out though.
Crystal and Daniel have been bringing around their edition of Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done and I have been meaning to play my copy. New to me!
I was super excited they knew how to play and teach this game since it helps saves me a step when playing new games. They had a nice fancy Deluxified copy. Later in the week, I got to teach Michael in a 2 player game, so I have those pictures also mixed in below. 2 times in 1 week! Woo!
Crusaders is totally a euro game. You are controlling your own little action board and upgrading different actions and moving across the land trying to conquer and build. Fortunately, you don't get to fight other players! You are simply trying to get the most points by the end of the game. The magic happens in about 60 minutes even with teaching.
You will be using a wheel with actions (randomized each game). Those action spots hold tokens that are used in a mancala type manner. I immediately relate this wheel to Trajan, but it works a bit differently. On your turn, you will select the action you wish to take, and count all the tokens on that spot on the wheel to determine the strength value of that action. After you take the action, you will drop each of those tokens one at a time in a clockwise mancala style manner.
An interesting mechanic is that you can choose to skip your turn to upgrade one of those action spaces to have 2 available actions. From then on, if you use that space, you can choose either action OR both if you allocate at least one token to each action. If you choose to upgrade, then you can choose ANY space to distribute the tokens from, following the basic rules.
Oh, there is a bundle of actions you can take. Traveling will let you move your knights around the map. Building allows you to build in an empty area and pay the cost of the building. Crusades allows for you to attack an area with a faction disc on it. Muster allows you to build up your armies. Finally, Influence gains you points. Straight up points!
Every player will get to draft 1 super cool power for the game, often giving them an upgraded tile. This helps form a strategy or at least give some direction as to what to do.
You play until the points run out. Each action will usually give you points along with your action. The pot slowly dwindles down until the end when the points get eaten up quickly from all the high-point actions people are taking.
The game is very simple. I was able to explain it to Michael with little to no reference to the rulebook, basically only to see how the game changes with 2 players vs 4. You do use fewer points and the backside of the game board, which is designed specifically for 2 players.
When I played at the local meetup, I absolutely crushed everyone. I was going heavy with buildings and influence and I got 91 points! The 3 other players were close to one another, all around 60 points. I wonder if the influence strategy is just too strong.
When I played with Michael, I also managed to win using a similar influence strategy. I changed it up a bit and went crusading a bunch. I still spent most of my time collecting lots of points on the action spaces. I got to start the game with 3 upgraded tiles! It was crazy and awesome, but it meant for fewer tokens on my wheel. Didn't seem to much matter - I got 101 points to Michael's 79. I had it down.
This game certainly packs a lot of punch in a small time span, and I like that a lot! Much to think about and try to accomplish. I like the actions you get to decide between and when the perfect time to upgrade might be. There are a lot of clever plays that have to happen in order to get everything accomplished. I look forward to more plays!
I had only just learned this a few weeks before and loved it so much! I was so excited to get it back on the table and teach some new players.
Everything about this game is really straight forward and easy to teach. Everyone caught on for the most part, however, I did most of their scorings each round since it was a challenge figuring out some of the features that were scoring.
I had played before so I obviously had the upper hand and won this time with 97 points. And I can't wait to play again!
Cartographers is a game for me. And I think everyone else really enjoyed it as they asked me to bring it again to the next meet up! I can't seem to get enough of it! Drawing my own little map and trying to make lots of points from common goals is like someone made this game especially for me! #moreplease
Oh Hey! There is a new edition of Lost Cities. New to me - ish!
Of course, I know and love Lost Cities already. This new version comes with a 6th color! MORE COLORS = MORE BETTERER! As with any rainbow, you need to have purple, so they added that lovely color into the game. (Maybe a 7th color will come soon - perhaps orange? One can dream.)
The new version plays out the same as the old version except you add in that 6th color. And to me, it feels exactly the same, except I go for more colors than I really should. There is always that tension mid game as to whether you should start a new color or not, and I almost always do. With high risk comes high reward, right?!
Wrong. Michael ended up winning 2 out of 3 games and I won the middle game. To be fair, we both epically lost the final game since we didn't even get half our score from the other games. It was pretty much a train wreck of a final game. I was still happy we got to play 3 times. I am constantly reminded of the classics and how I wish I played them more (*immediately thinks of Medici and Through the Desert - oh hey, same designer, fancy that*).
I think if you love Lost Cities, this is a chance to love it even more! Totally recommended.
The game is technically new to me, but I have played the first edition of this game. I always felt the first edition just didn't work because it didn't really work as a semi-cooperative game. It is hard to really "work" with people to get your goals met AND to win the game. So I am glad that they changed the game to be fully cooperative in the new edition. I am so pleased they decided to rework the rules to make this happen.
In CO2 Second Chance, the players are working together to meet their personal goals and the common goals of the table. Each round, each player will get a number of turns depending on player count to plan, build infrastructure, or build a power plant. These are the main actions. There are a number of smaller bonus actions to take as well if you have those abilities.
Everyone is trying to build up the world with power plants, but each round there will be a massive pollution wave if we don't build up enough alternative energy sources. The whole game involves managing that control of pollution, keeping it at bay the whole time. It is quite a challenge to keep the pollution level low. As the game continues, it costs more and more points to bring pollution down a notch. It can be a tricky balance.
Michael and I were definitely slow to build, but we were doing everything we could to manage the pollution track. We actually did that fairly well and balanced each other out. Michael focused on his goals a bit too late in the game, and we were already past target with the common goals. It was certainly hard to manage it all.
We weren't able to complete the required 7 of 10 common goals, but we did get 6 of 10! Michael and I both completed our personal goals, so we weren't far off and with a different flop of those cards it could have been a different story.
I thought we worked together especially well at the end of the game and we think we have figured out what we could do better for the next time we go to play it. It is definitely not an impossible feat, but it is quite a challenge, which is super for a cooperative game.
This game is ranking pretty high in my book right now. Easily my favorite Lacerda game. I liked it before, but now I love it. It has the right kick now, and I very much look forward to (losing) my next play!
I wanted to show Michael the customizable dice game Dice Forge. I figured he would enjoy it, and I have to decide if I want to buy the expansion, but obviously, I just want an excuse to get more games.
I always enjoy playing Dice Forge. There is something nice about the different cards you can acquire and then trying to optimize which dice faces you want. It always seems hard to invest in the gold faces since money becomes useless later in the game unless you are playing with the gold mini-game.
Michael figured that out a bit too late, but he did end up with a complete mini-game for the full 25 points. I was too busy collecting gems and high valued cards. I was rolling pretty well and rolled my points a few times and even a multiplier of the points which I was able to use twice, thanks to the one-time ability I had.
Yah, I won that game and got barely over 100. I think it was enough for me to want the expansion! I guess we will see what happens!
I wanted to get a few games off of the unplayed shelf, so we started with Sheep Dog. New to me!
This is a 2 player game of bluffing. One player gets to play the wolf (me!) and the other gets to play the sheepdog. It is a simple game of just trying to catch or save the sheep. If the wolf ever claims 7 or more sheep in 6 rounds, she will win.
There are 4 quadrants A, B, C, & D where the sheepdog will push around the sheep to try and keep them away from the wolf. There are a few different phases and a guess as to where the wolf is lurking. It is all a mind game in trying to outsmart the wolf and know her location to try to stop an attack.
I thought this game was pretty cute. But I was having terrible luck. I kept going for the big flocks or medium flocks and Michael could guess me nearly every time. Eventually, I went for a smaller herd and it worked in my favor. I ended the game trying to go big or go home, and Michael just sent me home. #jokesonme Michael for the win this time.
Such a cute small box game. Really light and easy to play. Not sure there is much staying power, but I would be happy to play it again.
Oh man, I got this game over a year ago. I had no idea what it was other than that it was advertised as a one-minute game for 2 players. How hard could it be?
Super easy speed game. I already love speed games, so I knew I would be BOSS at this game. I think I lost only 1 round since I was nice to Michael. I let him take cards from me that were clearly mine... yeah, it was generous of me.
I love this game for the small package and the quick gameplay. I think it is worth the price it costs these days. I just don't think people enjoy speed games as much as I do though. I will play this ANYTIME. I will have to play this with Kim the next time I see her - I know she will like it!
It is hard to believe this came out in 2016! Why hasn't this been released in the US? I duno, but it is fantastic. It really puts all of the other Bohnanza games to shame. I ended up selling Bohnanza last year and was feeling a bit sad about it, but now that I have this, I have zero regrets.
This is a fantastic 2-player game with a lot of tough choices and an interesting offering mechanic. On your turn, you must play 1 or 2 cards from your hand, just like any Bohnanza game. When you place a bean, you can plant it in any empty field or to an existing bean field of equal or ONE step higher than the most recent bean played to a field. But if you do, the value of the beans in that field changes to the most recent card you played.
You are trying to create patterns in your fields so you can collect extra points throughout the game. The really interesting dynamic in the game is in the offer phase. In this phase, you will draw 3 cards and the active player must make an offer to the other player. If that player doesn't want the offer, they can make an offer of their own. You can offer from the newly displayed beans or from the beans in your hand to try and "organize" your hand better. This offer can also be a bluff, but you will have to pay a coin if you are caught on the bluff. It really adds a lot of tension to the play.
I ended up winning since I just kept on completing the awesome bonus pattern cards one after another, and those add up! I have to say I loved this game. The Bohnanza line has really come a long way. If you are a fan of 2-player games then I don't think you could go wrong with this one. If anything, it can be a bit long. But this game is going to remain in my collection for sure!
There is always time for a quick 2-player game of Drop It.
This game is just fun. Who doesn't like dropping wooden pieces? Those people are just wrong.
Michael and I played twice since it was already set up and he lost pretty badly the first game. Though, I had some rough luck the second game. My pieces were bouncing and just getting me 0 points after 0 points. There were some close calls as you can see in the pictures below. The yellows were not touching and the circles were not touching.
We both won a game, so that was an unsatisfying ending. We probably should have played best of 3.
I found a buyer for it at BGG.Spring since I hadn't played it in like 3 years. I did want to play it again before passing it on. Man, this game is so pretty. Everything just POPS and is so attractive.
There is a lot to like about Steam Time, and if I am being honest, I will likely pick it back up one day because I am drawn to those colors.
It was good playing with Michael who hadn't played before. He was just exploring and seeing what was fun. I went for contracts and ship upgrades. I am always drawn to the ship upgrades because income is income. Free stuff! There is a nice balance in this game which keeps it attractive.
I ended up winning by 15 points or so. It was a fair amount, but within reason. Michael liked it a good deal since he likes the engine builder games. Again, I am not sad to see it go, since there are so many games and this one kinda just fell away. I would still be happy to play it when requested and I will likely own it again sometime.
There was a new arrival I wanted to check out called Cassiopeia. New to me!
This is a light engine builder game that uses cards and has a worker placement mechanic. This is a straight up race game! You are trying to colonize all of your planets first. If you colonize them all first, you win!
All of the cards in this game are double sided, and will likely be flipped over at some point. There are specialist cards that are lined up, and players will assign their meeples to the specialists to use their actions. The specialists are never reorganized and are totally random each game. What is cool about them is that whenever one gets selected and used, it will be flipped over in the next round and a new action will become available. They will generally have a similar flavor from front to back, but it will be different. Other specialists that were not selected will get bucked up, making them more juicy for the next round.
You are mainly trying to colonize your planets with the resources you acquire from the specialists and other already upgraded planets. The cost to upgrade a planet is on above the planet card directly to the left. As soon as you upgrade any card in your line, the cost at the top of the card will be higher, making the card to its right more difficult to upgrade. Ideally, you will be wise with your upgrading and colonize from right to left in your line. However, the planets have on-going benefits that might cause you to build chaotically, depending on the rewards you are given for different actions.
All in all, it was pretty simple to pick up and learn. Michael and I played a 2-player game and it moved along nice and brisk. I went for the chaotic strategy of just upgrading anything I could when I could. You are allowed only one upgrade a turn, so the game will last a minimum of 7 rounds. I think I missed only one round that I wasn't able to do an upgrade. Michael didn't look for the really good resource bonuses from the upgraded planets, and just didn't really have a plan. This left him a few planets behind me, and pretty early on. I think he failed to see the "race" in the game and was focused more on finding better actions to take. So I easily won this one.
I was kinda sad to see attack cards in the game. Michael never chose to attack me, and he should have. I did attack him once and got some of his resources, which helped me. I think when I play again, it will be without the attack cards since you can randomly not play with them. I just find them to be pretty mean.
It was a fine solid game, nothing wrong with it. I think the most interesting thing about the game is the flippable cards, but I am not sure it is enough to give the game enough legs to stand on and stand out. I would easily play this again, but probably wouldn't request to.
When I saw the title of this game, I had a feeling that it might be a card game with lots of attacking other players. Yeah, I was totally wrong, as this is a puzzly drafting tile placement game. Puzzly tile placement - sign me up!
In Tasty Humans, you are trying to eat up all the humans and get your belly full! There are objectives you will gain along the way to help you focus on eating up all the right people and parts for points.
At the start of the game, players will choose a monster they wish to play and will draft a starting goal. Each round the start player will draft a card from the display of 9 cards. Some weaponized humans will fight back if you attack their neighbors. For example, all of the swordsmen directly adjacent to the human you chose will deal damage to you as you eat up his friend. Any damage done to you must be taken before you eat up any of the tasty human parts. The damage tokens are placed in your belly like everything else and will be a nuisance.
After you take damage, if any, you will collect the parts you get to eat and drop them into your belly in the specified polyomino shape. You can turn the card any which way and the pieces will all fall in from the top. If a column is already full then you just lose out on whatever might have been put there. The way the pieces fall is the important part since you are generally scoring for specific patterns depending on your scoring tiles. At the start, you know only the one tile and can start planning for that. As the rounds go on and on you will get more and more scoring titles to plan for. My first scoring tile was for hands in the same row and column as that tile, so I did pretty well getting lots of hands to score since I had that tile the longest.
After you eat the body parts, you will apply any special effects of the humans you ate. If the human card is green there will be some effect. For example, the cleric will heal you once, allowing you to remove a damage tile from your belly!
Each unique monster will also have their own special scoring bonus. For example, my Legendary Dragon scores 5 extra points for every 2x2 grid of the same body type. Each tile can only be scored once in this way, but I still managed an extra 15 points at the end of the game.
After the start player drafts a human, the next player drafts. Players draft in turn order until everyone has drafted, then drafting will snake back to the start player, at which time more scoring tiles are drafted based on the humans you ate. You continue playing until a single monster fills up his belly!
I was taking a LOT of damage from the swordsmen. We had an unfortunate flop of starting cards with a lot of swordsmen and archers, and they never clear out until you eat them or you find a Captain card to help you clear a row or column of them. It is hard to place those damage tokens in the belly since you don't want to ruin any potential spaces for good patterns for scoring, but you also can't place damage tokens next to one another or you will get a lot of negative points at the end of the game. I really needed to eat up a wizard, since he allows you to swap 2 tiles in your belly, which would have been very helpful for me!
No matter how many negative points I ended up getting, I still managed to score all my scoring tiles better than Michael managed. I also worked on my dragon's bonus points and did fairly well. I got 61 to his 50. I am sure we will both do much better next time.
I had a great time with this one. It can be a bit abstract and AP prone since you want to select the best card and not get so many damage tokens. There is also a solo mode option which I want to try out. I really like the puzzle aspect to this game and I just learned that the designer also designs puzzles. I really look forward to exploring this one more.
This is perhaps one of the earliest roll n write games. Surprisingly, it's not half bad. There are even 2 modes to play. The first mode is very basic, and you have to build in a certain order. The back of the sheet is the other game mode, which is much more Catan-like, where you can choose which way to build and what to build next. I will hand it to them, it does feel like Catan. Now, I would rather just play Catan, but this wasn't bad.
I am surprised we played both boards, but we did. Michael won the first game and I won the second game. I knew right away I wouldn't want to keep this game. Roll n writes have come a long way since this, and for me, it just wasn't that much fun. Now, had I discovered it years and years ago, it might have been a different story.
While reorganizing my shelf, there was a bugger game that wouldn't stack properly, and fussing with it only made me want to play it again. So, we played Papering Duel.
I played this before Essen last year and found it to be punishing but interesting. Revisiting it now, I found a lot of similar issues. There are a lot of cool concepts in the game, but too many strict rules. For example, in order to draw a card, you have to make a pattern. If you use two cards to make a pattern then you still only get to draw one card. It should simply be that you fill your hand to 3 after your turn.
Too many restrictions, which makes a game less fun to play. I might try to house rule it the next time I play to see if it works a little better.
I ended up winning this game. Michael got screwed with some cards in hand that didn't help him deconstruct what I built and would also build him one of his own. It was pretty harsh. I could play this again, but I am not rushing to.
There is a new game from HABA USA coming out called Snail Sprint!. New to me!
I am always attracted to the bright fun colors that HABA games offer. This is a racing game as you might expect from the title of the game. Each player starts the game with a hidden goal card with 3 of 6 snails pictured. Your goal is to get those three snails to the finish line first! If your snail wins 1st place, you will get 3 points, 2nd place will get you 2 points, and 3rd place will get you 1 point. In the end, you add up your score based on the snails on your card.
Snail Sprint is a clever roll and move game. On your turn, you will roll both dice. You will select one of the colors you rolled as the snail you move, and you will move that snail to the next space with the other color you didn't select. For example, say I rolled yellow and blue. I could choose to move the blue snail to the next yellow space or the yellow snail to the next blue space. The catch is that if there is a blue snail in front of the yellow snail without any intervening blue spaces, the yellow snail will actually land on TOP of the blue snail, locking Blue down until Yellow moves again.
I love that this game uses the TIN BOX as part of the game board and the snails are magnetic. They will be climbing up the game box walls and then coming down the other side.
At the start of the game, you want to be sly about what color snails you prefer. If your opponents figure out that you want Green to win, they are not going to help you move him along.
In our 2 player game, it was clear we both wanted Yellow to finish, and Yellow won the race by a long shot. It all came down to the other colors. Blue was waaaaay in the back at the start for most of the game until someone finally rolled double blue and he had to be moved.
I wish I had games like this growing up. I love it! It is probably one of my most favorite racing games since I don't generally go for that genre. This plays out quickly and I get plenty of choices. It is so stinking cute! I could easily play this anytime!
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Epic Final Game of Aeon's End: Legacy. It was awesome and you need to play. Is that all that needs to be said? Maybe... Maybe not. This is a potential game of the year or at least #top10.
One of my favorite aspects to this game was when Michael and I were deciding on which cards to keep in play, collaborating on what we think we might need for the next scenario. We spent a lot of aftergame time talking about strategies for the next game and how to improve our characters. I love that I have a character for general Aeon's End play now as well.
I will add more in the spoilers. Don't read if you don't want to be totally spoilered...
Game recap spoilers:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Xaxos thought he could just show up and defeat us. But he was wrong! Epic Chapter 8 I thought would be our demise, but we managed to hang on by a thread and kill Xaxos! I am nearly sure I managed to deal ALL of the damage this game. Michael was feeding me Breach Collisions (since that card allows you put it on top of another player's deck when you buy it). It was awesome! He was the gem power and I was the destruction.
There always seems to be a turning point in any game that will suggest that we need to stop worrying about the minions and just focus on destroying the nemesis at hand. If you focus too much on killing off those minions then you will lose sight of the main goal of killing the nemesis and you'll run out of time. But if you start focusing on the nemesis too early, the minions will slowly kill you off. There is always a balance and finding that balance in the group play is crucial.
This is a 2 player card game where you are trying to play cards from your hand to try to match the table value without going over, Price is Right style. It is almost a game of chicken, trying to call the scoring round at the right time.
It is a beautifully produced game but there was nothing there to really hold my interest long. Michael ended up winning that one but I just didn't care!
This turned out to be a dud for me. I can see how if you were playing this one a lot then you could learn your opponent's behavior and use that to your benefit, but man, I just didn't care enough to get to that point.
Michael was interested in playing another new game called Dig Down Dwarf. New to me!
This was never on my radar. I didn't know anything about it, but apparently, it is a push your luck dice rolling game. You are trying to collect the gems in the middle of the table by rolling specific patterns on the dice. You can hold and re-roll like you can in Yahtzee.
I did pretty well this game. I managed to roll what I wanted most of the time and got some really good sets. Maybe I just rolled better? Or I got lucky when I needed to? I won with 89 points to Michael's 46, so it was no small defeat. Crushed it! Mwahaha!!!
For me, Dig Down Dwarf was more fun than I was anticipating it would be. The dice are really terrible quality, but the game has had a reprinting since the first edition, so maybe they fixed that. I love the gems and they are worth the price of the game all on their own. Use the gems for another game, even. But all in all, it is not a game I really care to play again.
This game is BANG! dressed up as Captain Marvel. If you are familiar with Bang then you will know how to play this game straight from the box. There are no real changes to the play at all.
It has been years and years since I have played Bang and never really cared to play it again, so I might not have played this had I known going in. I am still happy I did though.
We had a game with 7 players!! I am surprised we were able to round up so many people for this game. It was also great that no one was right out disappointed that this was just a rethemed Bang. It really makes for a better game when there are no players actively hating on the game. So we played with a good group of players.
I was dealt a Skrull card (aka Outlaw) so I was out to kill Captain Marvel (Sheriff). I had a cool power that gave me +1 distance from people. I was tough to kill. To my right was another Skrull and he made it known quickly that he was trying to beat on Captain Marvel. So I ganged up with him right away to try and help him kill her. Didn't work in our favor and we were out pretty quickly. There is player elimination and it was a while before there was a final verdict, but the good guys won in the end.
This was a fun experience. I definitely like this theme better than Bang, and we had a good group to play it. But I still don't think that I like this type of game in general. I am bad at bluffing games and I generally just don't like them. I just can't lie, EVER. Not a keeper for me.
While waiting for the Captain Marvel game to finish up (since I was dead) I ended up playing a 2 player game of Blokus with my Skrull buddy Eric.
I LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Blokus and would play every day if I had the chance. I love Trigon most of all.
Since I am not a big fan of 2 player Blokus so much, I suggested we play 2 colors each. I think it works a lot better alternating like that.
I was so out of practice though and I just didn't plan or block efficiently enough. It still ended in a close race and I think I was only like 5-10 points behind him in the end. I held up a good fight for as long as I could. I simply can't wait to play again!
A recent acquisition I wanted to play was Nessos. New to me!
Nessos is better with more players, so I felt that game day would be a good place to try it. We ended up with 5 players.
This is a simple bluffing game to try and collect cards for a high value. Some cards are curses and if you get 3 of those then you are out!
The whole time I was playing, I was reminded of Cockroach Poker because it has a similar passing mechanic, but Nessos is just not as fun. There is that element of bluffing I am not good at, but I found it wasn't too challenging in this game to lie when I needed to. I would never pass up cards, though, so I ended up pulling curses that other players had fed me. I held on for as long as I could, but I ultimately met my demise with curses. George ended up winning this game.
Cockroach Poker is so much better. I do like that there is one winner in Nessos, and it has solid mechanics, but Cockroach Poker just seems to be more fun and you have more laughs when you play. I don't think there is room in the collection for both games. Happy to play either if requested though.
I got to show a group how to play Dungeon Academy. I was happy to get this one to the table again. We were waiting for dinner and it is a pretty quick one so I thought it would be a perfect fit.
Turns out I was wrong. Pizza showed up just after the rules explanation, and it derailed the whole game. Some folks took breaks for food while others kept playing.
We had a 4 or 5 player game, depending. Rules were easy and people seemed to understand the concepts and their abilities well enough. I had an easy character that gave me points at the end of the game, my favorite!
James was on fire though, and he managed to do a bunch of killing this game to win. Not only was it his personal best, but he also had Top Score of the players. I have to hand it to him!
It's a cute and simple game. Really enjoying it.
A game that was a pretty big hit at Essen and on my radar a while now was finally about to get played called The Boldest. New to me!
I had no idea this was an auction game hidden in disguise! This was to my delight as I LOVE auction games! It is a push your luck auction game too!
The Boldest is a deckbuilding game where you are trying to gain objects and weapons and people! Some are just for points and weapons are used for possibly gaining better objects later. People are really what help you gain majorities and build up your deck, however.
The main board will hold a bunch of cards that are randomly dealt out each round. These cards will be objects and weapons. There is a different region on the board where you will recruit new people to your deck.
In order to get all of these cards, you will have to plan wisely. There are 4 types of actions you can choose to plan for. Each player will have to take some number of one type of action card and place those card/s face down on their player mat behind their screen. They have to plan for three phases and won't be able to change them once the player shield is removed.
There is an order to the actions. Warriors will go first, then techs, then archers, then cooks. The top 2 players for each action will get to perform that action (in a 5 player game) in order of whoever played the most. All of these 4 actions will be played out in each of the 3 phases of the round.
Your goal is to not get shut out of an action because someone else "outbid" you and you didn't use enough guys. If you do get outbid, then you will get your cards back for the next round. Otherwise, the cards that were bid will be spent/tired and sit out a round before returning to be ready to use again.
Since we were playing a full 5 player game we were able to have the top 2 players in each category perform the actions. Several people still had to sit out on actions because everyone tended to go for similar actions at the same time. I had plenty of actions, but I wasn't gaining the proper cards to make it worthwhile. I was all set up for amazingness, but the cards that I was able to claim at that time were garbage. All of the good cards were taken prior to my turn in the round so nothing seemed to fall into place for me!
James had done it again this game and totally took the win with 61 points. It was a close call since another player had 60 points just behind him! I was soooo very far off with 35 points. I suppose I did get my personal best, so that is something. I really gotta get my revenge.
I quite enjoyed this game. I am not a fan of the artwork at all. The dull colors and drab tone to this game are really off-putting for me. I did enjoy the cute water buffalo though - that side eye is wonderful. I found Brienne too. I am not usually one for programming games, but this worked well for me. The gameplay is quick and will be easy to teach for the next play. I look forward to playing again soon!
I had the chance to play the adorable game called Antler Island. New to me!
Such cute stags and deer meeples (doeples) in this game. In general, you are looking to move your stag around the board and eat some grass, grow some antlers, and hit on some does. You must participate in at least one fight if you hope to win the game though. Fighting means taking on another player in any given area of the map. Super easy to learn and play game.
We ended up playing a 4 player game. One of the players is named Buck, so we had a lot of fun with that, and of course, we let him go first.
I simply cannot believe all of the laughing we had during this game. At one point in the game, about 4 does were in a space and Michael moved in to mark his territory. I wanted some of that action! I moved in, but Michael said he was a lover, not a fighter, so he ran away and left me with one doe, which he said was the ugly one. From then on, I was known as the Stag with Deer Goggles. I mean rly? I guess I will take what I can get.
I am pretty sure Michael made it to the top of the scoring track and managed to win it all. I was tied but didn't have the biggest antlers for tiebreaker, so I didn't win that time.
I can't say the game is that great but it certainly makes for a talking point if nothing else. I had a good time playing, but it won't stay in the collection long.
More on the roll n write front, I got to try out Bloom. New to me!
This is a reimplemented version of Bukiet, which I got to play a week before this. The rules are about the same with a few changes.
In Bloom, you are trying to deliver as many bouquets of flowers to customers without messing up their orders. Several dice are rolled and players will take turns drafting them and you will circle the corresponding number of flowers in a group on the sheet. If your flowers don't match the color of the die, or you circle too few flowers, you will upset the customer and will get negative points. You are trying to sell all of the same colored flowers on your board and all of the flowers in a given region on your board. The major rule difference is that in Bukiet the player with the most negative customer feedback gets hit with some more negative points.
Michael and I just played a 2 player game and it was wicked fast. I went for a strategy I wasn't sure would work but I took ALL of the highest dice possible. I had a ton of negative points from my customers. I planned my board well enough where I could fill 2 fields and 2 colors in the final turn for a ton of points.
I absolutely crushed him this game, and I immediately felt that high valued dice are too powerful. There has to be more incentive to take a lower value die, but there isn't. To top it off I was taking all of the negative points for unhappy customers, but it didn't even matter. I think I ended with a score in the 20s and he had around 11 points. When I play this game again I will incorporate the Bukiet additional rules, where the player with the most negative ticks gets another -3, and the player with the fewest gets +3. It wouldn't have helped a whole lot in this game, but it would have closed the gap some.
I am definitely on the fence with this roll n write. I think there is an OP strategy, but I will have to try it a few more times to really see. It is colorful and I love the pretty dice. I am certainly happy to play it any time, but I just think there are other roll n writes that I enjoy playing more.
This box is GINORMUS! It is meant to be able to hold all of the expansions and keep it easy to sort and play. I LOVE this huge box! Not only is it a box, but there is an expansion in there as well. You can now play with up to 6 players and there is a night and day phase if you choose to play with 5 or 6 players, where 2 people are taking their turns simultaneously. You will find new dividers and suggested playing decks if you care to sort through all of the cards and sort them into piles to create better-themed games or games that are well meshed together.
Conclave also adds in a new card called a Totem. These Totem cards will give players a seriously OP ability, much like The Voyages of Marco Polo characters where each power is so freaking awesome you don't know which character to choose at the start of the game!
We were each dealt two characters and two totems. First we chose the character, then we chose a totem that worked well with our characters. This worked out wonders for me in our play. My character wanted lots of curses in my deck and my totem gave me an on-going green tree, which meant that I could have SO MANY CARDS IN PLAY. My turns were super epic and the whole game took forever since I was just trying to get my curse lands in order. So many cool new advancements and vales too. There was a lot to take in.
Michael never found his synergy and I managed to take home the win this time. I ended with a whopping 85 to his 30. Whoops!
I think Conclave is awesome if you love the base game and already own several expansions. It is not just a box of holding, though that is probably enough reason as any to get Conclave anyway. I think it is pretty cool! I would recommend checking it out. Seriously loving this game a lot recently!
LOVED Legacy version so I figured I would enjoy this one as well. Michael and I started out small and just played the introduction game it recommends in the rulebook. The gameplay is exactly the same as Legacy without the story and the planning and upgrading a character in each chapter.
You still get to play a mage and there are plenty to choose from! Each mage has a starting card that is unique, and you will fight the nemesis in the same way.
We were able to easily come together and fight well together. The cards automatically felt weaker than in the legacy game we had just finished. But this was an intro game after all. I thought it was pretty funny that Brama is a character you could play. Michael has a special old-lady Brama voice from when he was reading the cards in the Legacy game. Makes me laugh.
Regardless, it was a wonderful start and a new love for me. This series of games has been eye-opening and wonderful. I can't wait to start opening all the expansion packs and then eventually try the War Eternal game and New Age! All that goodness awaits me in the future! I can't wait to get there! #MOREPLEASE
Recently stumbled into a Portal and it brought me back to Imperial Settlers. After all those Imperial Settlers games I played at The Gathering I felt it was time to try this one again, this time with only 2 players.
I think Imperial Settlers is meant to be played as a 2 player game. I didn't feel so terribly attacked and ruined as I did in that first play I had. The game still felt a bit long, but we were just remembering the rules and making sure we were playing correctly.
I was playing the Barbarians and Michael was the Egyptians. He had a ton of cards he was able to build. I was just struggling to gain points from my Barbarian cards. I did pretty well, but the final points from my cards weren't great. Still, it ended in a close race with Michael winning with 53 points and I had 49.
This was a great game for us to play. I was able to revisit it with a new take and felt it worked a lot better for me as a 2 player experience. It is certainly one I want to revisit more and to try out the different factions and see how they all intertwine together. I can see why people are loving this, but I still think I like Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North better though. Time will tell which will hold out the longest!
I was ready to go insane so Michael and I took out Tides of Madness. It had been far too long since my last play of this and nearly forgot how to play.
Michael started off strong and took points instead of discarding an insanity marker. I told him he was making a mistake, foreshadowing his demise. He managed to get a ton of points in that first round where I was just playing it safe. Come the second and 3rd round, I hammered him with insanity cards, also taking too many myself. We were neck and neck and it could have been anyone's game. Alas, Michael went INSANE!! This is the only way I ever win this game, by forcing my opponent to go insane.
The sanity mechanic is why Tides of Madness is 100x better than Tides of Time! I didn't stand a chance at winning this game! Super fun and clever game, I am glad it made it to the table!
I was missing the Gathering and all the gaming hype and buzz, so Michael and I decided to play a game of Hadara that we learned there.
This is such a fast game with 2 players. It was like I blinked, and it was over. I can never seem to pull it together in this game. Always one coin short or one step behind. I look over and Michael has a million combat and I am barely fighting or feeding my people. I tried to get LOTS and LOTS of income and that really helped me this game. But I still ended up losing a few cards which ultimately cost me the game. Yep, I had to lose cards due to the feeding costs, and then I was DOOMED!
Still ended up in a pretty close race with Michael winning at 197 and I was 187.
Can't wait to start showing this game to everyone! It is just so good!
High noon struck on May the Fourth, so we had a game day at Russ's. Russ always hosts a May the Fourth Be With You/Cinco de Mayo themed game day where a lot of space-themed and Mexican/Western-themed board games are played.
This is a party game for 3 to 8 people. IMO the more the merrier! The goal of this game is to knock out all of your opponents by taking away their 20 life points. No, there is no player elimination, because when you die, you become a ghost and can still participate in the fight, though you cannot win at that point.
Each round, one player will yell 3, 2, 1, Draw! And all of the players will use hand gestures to show the action they are "aiming" to take. There can be quite a group think with some of these actions since the first action on the list is Posse, which is a thumbs-up gesture. With Posse, if the majority of the survivors are thumbs up, then everyone else not in the posse will lose 5 health. You don't want to mess with the posse!
The Saloon action will allow players to gain health, provided no one else selected the same health value as they chose. You can choose to hold up 2, 3, or 4 fingers, and if you are the only one with that value, you gain that much health.
If you choose Shot as your action, you have to direct your finger-gun shot at another player, and they will lose 2 health!
Ohh, the Lasso action! Full body movement required - these rules were added by me! If you are the only one who chose the Lasso action, you will rope in the current Ally card in the center of the table. These Ally cards have a range of abilities and powers and are usually highly sought after.
The Dynamite action, with a hook 'em horns gesture, will blow up your neighbors, causing them to lose 3 health.
Finally my most favorite of all of the actions: the Power Shot. With this action, you will point all of your fingers at any player and they will lose 6 health. But be careful, since your Power Shot will be disrupted if you take health damage from a shot or from Dynamite.
If you die, you are suddenly turned into a ghost (which happened to me - see photo below) and your actions become a bit more limited. You can still perform Saloon actions to try and stop others from healing, or the Lasso action to stop players from gaining an Ally card. You can also take the Shot action and target players to lose 2 health.
All of the actions are clearly written on a player aid for each player, and Boom, you are ready to go. It is all very clear and straightforward and makes for a great start-of-gameday choice.
I was trying to lay low, but of course, I was all about the power shot. I kept attacking across the table since it is just easier. I got Russ a few times and he ended up being a ghost pretty quickly. It was clear what my intentions were so I became a target. James had me good, see the pic below. He was able to cause my final blow and I was ghosted.
It wasn't much longer before the game was down to 3 survivors and all of the ghosts were in it for the kills. Michael somehow beat the 7 of us down and took home the cowboy championship. What the heck, I was not ganging up hard enough, it seemed.
This game is super easy and is more fun than it has any right to be. Lots of laughs, but you have to have the right group. I would be happy to play this again and I do think having a full 8 players makes it even more fun. I don't think it will be hitting the table very frequently, but I am happy to keep it around for a while.
The Rivalry expansion offers a few sets of modules which all incorporate new customizable dice. For now, I will just explain the Orb module. In this module, each player will have their own yellow orb die that they will roll each and every turn and apply whatever bonus they get during that round. There is a new "6th" action to select: the research action. It is represented by the $ symbol which was introduced in the Roll for the Galaxy: Ambition expansion. The rules from the Ambition expansion no longer apply for the $ result when using the Rivalry expansion. Since this is a new action to take, dice with the $ symbol can now be placed in the appropriate slot. When the Research action is selected in the round, you can use research points in order to upgrade your orb die.
The orb die is basic at the beginning, offering reassign, explore, and immediate upgrade actions. As you upgrade the die, you can become more focused and hone in on a strategy that works with your settlements and developments. For example, I was building a lot of developments, so I upgraded my die to have a few -1 and a -2 to development costs that turn when it is rolled. Oh, I was so happy when -2 was rolled!
There are 18 possible dice upgrades that you can purchase. Some are more costly and will require multiple upgrade actions. So many strategies and paths to take when upgrading that die.
The Rivalry expansion also adds in a number of new starting tiles and even more dice. There are new player shields with all of the new actions, and there is a new action selection board as well. The game is now longer because there are more points to be acquired or you have to have 15 tiles instead of 12 before the game will be declared over.
It took a while for our 5 player game to get going with this new expansion. We had to recap some of the players on the base rules before even diving into the expansion rules.
I was starving for dice all game. I should have focused more on upgrading the orb die sooner. But I never seemed to have any $ symbols and I was often rolling only a few dice each round. It was a slow crawl. But I eventually found some developments that allowed me to generate $ for various actions. More importantly, I was able to develop a tech that allowed me to put 2 used dice back into my cup if I used them for the development action. Everything worked perfectly after that!
It still was not enough for me to secure the victory, however. James swooped in and took the win that game with 88 points. I was a mere 68 points for 2nd place. Those many turns with so few dice really had me hurting.
I had a super awesome time playing this game! OMGGGGGGGGGG The ability to customize dice is always so appealing! I am choosing my own fate! I love that so much. It makes me 10x more excited to try the "deal" module since those are also custom dice that are used in a common pool by everyone. I can't wait to see how it plays out. Seriously loving this expansion!
All right, I didn't know much about this game at all but figured I wouldn't like it. I was judging a game by its cover and title - totally not fair, I know. Hey, I still played it since I am willing to give anything a shot once, depending on the situation.
So we played this edition of the game with the "revised" combat rules. It was a mishmash of rules and the player abilities we didn't take into account. I am not sure I got the full experience of the game but I definitely got the flavor.
I had no idea this was a game of luck. You are trying to find a pathway to get to the center of gold in this dungeon of unfortunate events. Each tile that unfolds before you will have a different course of action. I think there is even a fall to the pits of doom and die instantly option. This is, after all, the game where everyone dies.
Our game was not out of the ordinary. Michael managed to die pretty quickly with all of the monsters that he encountered. He never made it to the dragon's lair for some precious loot. I am not sure what happened with James, but he was running around in the dark afraid of spiders. Eventually, he died in the catacombs. Tim and I were the lone survivors and the only ones who made it into the lair and managed to steal from the dragon. I had A TON of loot in the end, but I was never able to actually leave the dungeon before the dragon awoke and unleashed.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was like I was in a recent episode of GoT!!!
That was the end of the adventure - everyone died. Apparently, this is how every game goes!
I suppose we had some laughs and the game was certainly much better than I anticipated it would be. I don't think it really gets me excited to play, but I could be convinced to play again. I enjoyed my time and my series of unfortunate events.
Oh, it was a pretty rough going game. We got distracted by the dinner rush and interruptions from various people. Eventually, we got through the rules and started playing. It took a long while for everyone to wrap their brains around what was happening and what a good strategy might be.
I was trying to keep everyone on track with their goals and strategies. It was hard to maintain and I did some damage to James and Russ early on with a double tick. I am not sure I won anyone over with this play.
Final scores brought Daniel the win with 75 and I was pretty far behind with 55 and Russ 40. James got his personal best of 6. It was not a fair or easy game for James. I just hope he didn't hate it. I doubt I will be playing this game again any time soon! Still a wonderful game - but I will generally pick Teotihuacan to play over this.
I have been avoiding this game since it hit the market. I dislike the theme and the political commentary that goes along with playing it. It really is not my sort of game. It would probably be better with a Harry Potter or Game of Thrones theme and I would try again if they did that.
To celebrate May the Fourth we used a Stormtrooper as the round marker.
As it stands we played a 6 player game and I was a Liberal. I didn't trust anyone else and ultimately I sided with Russ for everything. We actually made a pretty good team, since he trusted me. Early in the game I was the Chancellor and was given a Fascist and 2 Liberal policy cards. He had no choice when I handed him two Liberal cards. I think at that point he knew I was a good guy. No one else knew that and next time I teamed up with Russ and passed him a Liberal and Fascist card, I would know for sure which side he was on. The Liberal card happened to win us the game when he was President, so it all worked out in the end for us Liberals. Michael and Tim played, but no one believed they were good. Anyway, apparently, they were. I still think all 4 other players were on the Fascist side and Russ and I did all the work.
Not a game for me, and I really don't want to play it again.
We were at 8 people now, so we split the table into 2 groups of 4 for a game of Trapwords.
It had been a few months since I last played it but I got through the rules pretty easily. As it happens I think both teams were able to finish in round 7. We ended up playing round 8 just to see what would happen with tiebreakers. Turns out the red team was even more awesome! Aka my team!
I think Trapwords makes for an excellent end-of-the-night game and really holds any number of players pretty well. I do think having 8 players is hitting a high count, but everyone still had fun and got their turns to give clues and make guesses. This game is just always a hit!
Michael and I recently got to play a bunch of new games and we started with Artline. New to me!
Any game with an art theme I am immediately attracted to and want to play. A theme usually doesn't do much for me, but as an artist myself, I am particularly interested in it.
All I knew of this game was that it had lots of cards and was pretty abstract, and of course, that it had beautiful artwork.
In Artline, you are trying to get rid of your hand of cards first. You will take turns playing a card to the common tableau of cards, finding similarities among the images in the rows and columns.
The game starts with a card in the center of the table. The first player will look at their cards and find something in common with the center card in order to play next to it. For example, the center card has a dog and a card in my hand has a dog, so I can play my card to the right and say, "This row contains dogs." So everything in that row now has to share that feature of dogs. You can't play in that row if there is no dog, and even if there is a break in the row, it is still considered to be that same row. No other row or column can have the same feature, dogs, so you would have to come up with something else in common in order to place above or below those dog cards. You aren't allowed to specify the actual type of artwork as a feature, i.e. Impressionism.
If you manage to play a card at an intersection sharing features in both the column and row then you will not have to draw a card at the end of your turn, otherwise, you will have to draw a card. There is also an option to discard a card and draw one if you really have nothing to do, which might happen as you start having fewer and fewer cards.
This game is pretty simple, and Michael and I could easily jump into playing it. It is very interesting to see your hand of cards and try to make connections to the images so you can sort of plan for the future, but you are also actively looking at the board for new opportunities.
I had a lot of outdoor scenes, which was a feature for a row in the tableau. That "outdoor" row happened to intersect with a column with the feature "indoor". I didn't see all of the artwork, but a card would have to be both outside and inside to play at that intersection, and I didn't find it. I was also holding a few nighttime cards and I wanted that to be a feature, but I never got around to using that.
I somehow managed to win this game, but I gave Michael tons of opportunities to place his cards. He just didn't have the common features he needed to go out first. I was having a harder time with fewer and fewer cards, but I managed it somehow!
This was a very cute and clever game. I loved trying to think of clues outside of the box and be a little sly. It will be staying in the collection for a while since I am drawn to the theme and it is an easy game to pull off the shelf and play with any level of gamer. I am thinking of those really late night game nights when players don't want to think or learn difficult games. That is the time to bring Artline to the table!
One of the goodie bag games from the Gathering was Bugs on Rugs so we decided to try that. New to me!
I am impressed they managed to make bugs look so cute. I knew it was possible since I did see the movie Bugs, and they were cute in that too. I can say I don't like bugs - please kill 'em now!
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I tried to avoid taking all of the spiders - because of SPIDERS!
There was a recent designer diary on this game which I found particularly interesting. So I was happy to try the game and see that show up for more insight on the development.
This is a drafting card game where you are trying to get sets of cards and score lots of points. Each bug will score differently depending on the requirements.
Each turn you will display #players x2 +1 cards, so in a 2 player game you deal out 5 cards. Starting with the first player, they will draft one card, and then the next player, and it will be snake style drafting until all players have 2 cards. The remaining card will have an activation effect that will happen as soon as it gets added to the rejection line. Each bug will have a different effect. For example, you might have to give the player to your left any card. So the last player to draft will have a difficult decision to make, taking the card they want versus taking a card they don't want but possibly getting a better activation effect. Tricky, tricky decisions, but that is what makes for a clever game.
The deck of cards is stacked with a final round card placed appropriately for the number of players, so you will have approximately the same number of cards drafted at the end.
In our play, I was all about the different rug colors and scoring big for the firefly cards. I was also trying to collect a large number of beetles and make sure to have an even amount of them for 5 points a card. Those are really the cards that won me the game. I was nervous a few times when the activated events caused disruption of my hand. It just meant I was getting too attached to the cards I had.
The gameplay is so quick and it was over before we knew it. You are getting all of your sets in order and just when you think, okay a few more, nope! The game is over and you are scoring!
I thought this was a clever and charming little game. Really cute for kids and families. I would totally play this at any time. Really enjoyable game.
A super nice game I picked up was Rebound. New to me!
I love nice wooden editions of dexterity games. This one is huge! It works in a similar way as shuffleboard. You are trying to roll these discs and rebound off of the boards to get the disc into a scoring region. You have 3 discs to get as many points as you can, and if you can knock your opponent's discs into the pit, that is even better.
Super easy dexterity game that Michael and I played a few times. We were just playing to 10 points since we didn't really find "proper" rules for the board we had. 10 points worked for me. I super lost both games we played, but I did get better. Unfortunately, I got better but Michael got better-er.
Happy to play this game whenever, but I think I will always choose Crokinole over this one. There is a lot more skill and strategy in Crokinole.
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This is not a game I figured I would like, and The Gathering is a perfect place for me to try games like this. Keyforge is a 2-player competitive game where players have their own unique deck of cards. The catch with this game is that every deck of cards is totally unique. Each package will be all-encompassing for anyone to play. You can't customize your deck in any way - you get what you get. Of course, the base game will have the same base decks of cards, but every pack you buy afterward will be a unique experience.
The game is pretty straightforward. You have a hand of cards and you will place heroes into a line up in front of you that will stay there until they are killed off by the opponent. Your goal is to gather lots of aember and forge 3 keys before your opponent does.
I really hated this game in the first 3 turns. But I wanted to give it a fair shot and we were able to finish the whole game. There are some extra rules for those who really get into the game, or you can give a handicap to players who have a stronger deck since that is inevitable.
Around mid-game I was hating it less as I was piecing together what I should be doing. I think the saving grace for Keyforge is being limited to selecting only 1 out of your 3 factions to use each turn. That is truly THE interesting part of Keyforge. When you pick one faction, then you can activate all the heroes in your line up and play all of that faction's cards into play, otherwise, you can't! You might have an amazing line up of heroes but no matching types in hand, so you'll probably have to choose a different faction to use that round.
Yah I ended up losing horribly. I do think I managed to forge 2 keys though. Michael crushed it. I was just happy it was over. I ended up not hating it, but I still don't find it compelling enough to buy it or really even to play again. It was fine though. Not really my cup of tea.
I quite enjoyed Herbaceous in the past, which got me interested in this follow-up game that involves dice! The dice game gives me a similar feeling to the card game but without the same sense of urgency.
Herbaceous Sprouts is a set collecting, dice drafting game. At the start of each round, cards are placed in a drafting row. Dice are rolled and placed on each card. You will select one of the cards, then take whatever actions the card allows you to take. Finally, you will try to fill up the flower beds before the other players do.
It is all very relaxing and easy to play. With Herbaceous, there was a lot of pressure to pot my plants first and get those big points. I didn't really have that tense feeling in this game. Yes, you want to get to plant first, but you don't have a whole lot of control, since turn order matters most with the dice you get to draft. This game also felt a bit longer to me and lackluster. Beautiful production with amazing art, but it didn't grab me.
The scores were close. Mike Y won this game with 33, Michael had 31, and I had 28. Mike Y said it was his least favorite game that he learned that con. He said he still enjoyed learning and playing with us though.
I would be fine to play it again, but I don't think I am the target audience for this game.
In an effort to make Mike Y happy with an exciting roll n write, I taught him how to play Twice As Clever.
He said he didn't like roll n writes so much, so perhaps it was a poor choice. Regardless, we played, and he had a decent time. He did admit that this was his new favorite roll n write out of like 3 titles. Hey, I will take it!
I got to play this game a couple of times at the con, and I ended up winning both of the games we played. I feel pretty special, but I have played WAY too much on the app - so I have a leg up on the competition. When we taught Luke how to play, he was really excited about this game. We all had pretty high scores in the mid 200s. The pic below - that is not bad!
I love this game each and every time I play it. It ended up being my game of the month for April. LOVE IT! It could possibly be my favorite roll n write of all time. So happy to play this game whenever!
Last year I had the pleasure of playing the expansion for Keyper in prototype form. I wrote about it here: CLICK HERE! This year I wanted to play again! Richard Breese and I went head to head using this new expansion to be. Not much has changed since then so we basically just got to playing.
I can't even recall the last time I played Keyper, it was months ago! I figured I would lose wicked bad.
During our play, I discovered that there was no rule about selling sea creatures from the ship. So I gave some suggestions to Richard as to how I thought it should work. He agreed, and we gave it a try.
As it turns out, I had a crazy amount of in-game scoring because I was shipping left and right for bonus points (my favorite strategy). I had over 100 points, and Richard barely had any. So I started to wonder if my sea creature suggestion was overpowered.
I thought for sure I absolutely crushed him, but Richard had a TON of end-game points. Still, I barely won, 185 to 178, which is wicked close and leads me to believe that what I thought might be OP wasn't really all that OP.
We got some insanely high scores. Though, I don't know what a good score might be using this expansion. In the base game, it is usually like 120 or something.
It is always a great pleasure to play a game with Richard, and it's even better when I can beat him at his own game! I hope he can release the expansion by Essen this year!
As you have read, I got to play a bunch of roll n writes during this con, and Boomerang was a surprise hit for me. New to me!
We played 4 players and Nicole was kind enough to teach us. She particularly likes it as she is from Australia, which was cool to learn.
Boomerang combines 2 of my favorite mechanics: drafting and marking my player board with a writing utensil (aka draft n write). I LOVE DRAFTING CARDS! Why haven't these 2 mechanics been combined until now?? I duno, but I love it.
In Boomerang, you are trying to fill in tourist sites on your board and gain bonus points for completing territories first. Each card you draft shows a location in Australia. Cards might also display activites, wildlife, and collections. There is a lot to try and collect each round, but you want to try and focus too.
I wasn't able to get many bonus points for completing the territories first and I wasn't doing very well with the set collections either. Michael absolutely ran away with this game and scored a whopping 153 points. I was second with 124. I knew I wouldn't win, but I thought I would at least be close enough to throw stones (or a boomerang) at the winner. Nope, not even close.
Boomerang is an all-around wicked clever game and I had an amazing time playing. I have to play this game again soon! I loved it!
SUPER TOP SECRET PROTOTYPE I CAN'T TALK ABOUT NOW!
Makes me so sad that I can't tell you about how awesome this new game is - hopefully coming soon!!! It is just AWESOME! I can't wait till I can tell you more!
Oh! Wait! I CAN tell you something about it!
Spoiler (click to reveal)
It was so good, I had to play it twice.
I finally got to play a game I have had on my unplayed shelf for a while now. It's called Bukiet. New to me!
Not gonna lie, I bought it for the colors! So pretty! Luke from Portal Games joined in for a 3 player game with me and Michael. It was handy to have Luke at the table since the game was in Polish and Luke knows Polish! We did find a Polish-to-Spanish-to-English translation that we could use for most of the rules though.
Bukiet is a really simple dice drafting game where players are trying to fulfill bouquet orders for customers. If I draft a 4 yellow die then I can circle a group of 4 yellow flowers. Whites are wild and count as any color.
Customers are happy only if they get the right number and color of flowers. If you circle the wrong color flower or too few flowers, you will make the customer unhappy for -1 point for each mistake (I would be happy to have a bunch of different colored flowers, but I guess I'm not their target customer!). If you have the most unhappy customers then you will get hit with even more negative points, though if you have the least you will gain points.
Your goal is to be the fastest to circle all of a type of flower. The faster you are, the more points you get. You also want to complete flower beds for bonus points. Michael ended up winning our game with 27 points. Luke and I were nowhere near that!
Bukiet seems really simple, and I am not sure there is that much to it. I know I can play it with the family though since the rules are very easy to understand. I still love all the colors and I would be happy to play again.
Luke was interested in showing me and Michael how to play ArtSee. New to me!
Turns out I played this game in a really early prototype phase and it has changed considerably.
In Artsee, you are controlling an art gallery and you are trying to get visitors into your gallery to see all the lovely art. Each time it is your turn, you will play a card to create a gallery or expand an existing gallery. Other players will get a bonus if they have a matching color gallery. The card you play will have a left or right arrow which will look in the direction of the arrow and score for artwork of the matching color. It might be pointing to one of your own galleries or to a neighboring player's gallery.
It is a pretty easy game to pick up and play. There is no limit to the number of galleries you can have. I ran into the problem that I was trying to focus too much on expanding one gallery and other players were benefiting from my card selection and even leeching off of my nice deluxified gallery for lots of points. Other players were playing a lot more wisely and not helping me in the slightest.
I super lost this game because I wasn't playing hateful enough. Michael and Luke actually tied for the win. I was much further back so I don't recall if there was a tiebreaker winner.
It was a cute game and the art is lovely. I would gladly play this one again.
The more I play it, the more I love it! And I finally got in a game with Joe R! He is always one of the hardest people to get to play a game with. Michael and Derek were both learning this game. Poor Derek had some bad allergies, but he was looking a little broken by the end of it. Always such a good sport though.
It was a bit slow going, and apparently, I am not a great explainer for this game. *shrug* I tried! I am really bad with the theme when explaining this game, so perhaps Joe should have taught it.
At the start of the game, I teased Joe about always losing, so of course, he had to go and win the game! Ohhh man he had an epic final turn. I thought Derek would come out of nowhere and just take us all down, but he didn't really get the best final round. He had it rough the first few rounds but had a really great come back in round 4 taking over the map.
All in all, it was a REALLY close game. Joe had 149, Michael had 147, I had 141, and Derek had 137. That is wicked close. It could have been anyone's game. On the plus side, I think everyone had a great time playing.
Here I am, thinking if this needs to be in my #top10 somewhere. It is THAT GOOD.
In an effort to play an average of 5 new games per day, I needed to play a couple of fast, new games, so Michael and I played a quick game of Push It. New to me!
Riley had been bringing this around to game day, and I duno why, but I missed out on playing it. That has been haunting me ever since! What the heck, Riley!?
Push It is a super fast dex game where you just need the discs and some table space. Each player has 2 discs, and they are trying to get the closest shot to the center push it disc. You get one point if you are the closest and a bonus point if you have both of your discs closer. I think it was first to 5 points wins? Or that's how we played it.
Boom! I crushed this game. I don't even think Michael scored any points. It was a skunk! Maybe I have been playing too much Crokinole. Anyway, I can see the appeal to this game. Bring it to dinner and play while waiting on food or just casually anywhere. It didn't do much for me in terms of dex games. I would always choose to play a number of other dex games over this one, but for portable games, this works well. I could easily play it again.
Dan had another game to show me called Meander. New to me!
This is a puzzle type game where you are creating a board that marbles will travel on. Each turn, you will draw and place a tile on the board trying to create pathways that work well for you and screw over the other player. Ideally, your path will make the marbles land on the other side in a scoring position. But there are dead ends and spaces where they can land that won't score you points.
I am apparently very good at this game. I was making perfect paths and ruining Dan's paths. He was not doing that to me, but he probably thought he was. All of my marbles made it to the other side with no problems! I think Dan only scored 2 out of 5.
It was a cute game and I could easily play this one again. It was harmless. I don't think it was that exciting but I enjoyed my time!
Saturday got eaten up with a lot of Flea Market time. You can see in the final haul picture (at the bottom of this blog post) that I might have gotten too many games! On the plus side, that should keep me busy for a while.
Eventually, we got to play some games, and Michael read the rules to Würfelwurst. New to me!
This is a silly little push your luck dice rolling game. On your turn, you will roll all the dice. The black dice have numbers (and one sausage) and the white dice have animals. You will keep one or more dice and then roll the rest again. Each time you roll, you must keep at least one die. You will score the number of ONE type of animal multiplied by the lowest number on your black dice. The sausages count as a 1, but if you roll all sausages, they count as a 7!! Here's the catch: you can score each of your animals only once.
Anyway, it is a cute push your luck game. Probably best with 2 players since it is a game where everyone playing will just be watching the active player. I dislike games like that since there is just a bunch of downtime and nothing I do will really affect the other players.
Michael ended up winning this game since he had a few killer rolls. It was cute though and I would be happy to play again. I won't be looking for the chance to, however.
Dan had a new party game called Hintegers. New to me!
I think there were 6 of us playing this game. The more people playing, the more fun you will have, definitely! The goal of the game is really simple: you are trying to get rid of your hand of numbered cards first. Your cards are numbered 1-10. The active player is given a choice of categories. They will select one of their cards and will give a one-word clue that relates to their number. Everyone else will choose one of their cards that hopefully matches the clue giver. Whoever matches the active player will get to discard their cards (along with the active player if at least one person guessed correctly).
Example category: Movies. I would play the number 4 card and give the clue "Fantastic". Likely that clue is too easy, because you ideally want only one other person to match your card.
I am simply terrible at this game. Not only am I bad at trivia stuff, I am also bad at math. Not entirely true, but I don't have a lot of math trivia knowledge. There is room to be clever though. I was trying to be clever with my clues, but I was more confusing than clever. I tried and I had fun, and that's what counts!
Dan won this game. I think I managed to guess 3 clues correctly, but I was in far worse shape than many people! It was a cute game and I could play again. This game is just another reminder that I swim with smart people.
We had 5 players, and Megaland was on my list to try out. New to me!
I figured this would be a mixed bag for me, and I wasn't wrong. I really enjoy push your luck games like Diamant, but they tend to outstay their welcome. This has a similar problem, or maybe our play just went too long.
I can't help myself but push too hard, so I just ultimately fail. I managed to increase my life a lot, but that doesn't get you any points. You have to build up your card engine and generate points that way, and to do that you have to leave the adventure with lots of goodies for rewards before you die. Yah, I never left the adventure soon enough and would always be defeated by the monsters.
Erik was the only sensible one in the game and would often leave the adventure early and collect the few rewards he had. Yah - that is the sign of a real winner. He absolutely crushed us. I am nearly sure I had no points at the end of the game.
It was a cute game and I like that it is available at Target. I would have LOVED this game growing up, and it makes me super happy that kids can get into gaming playing games like this. I can't say this is one I would want to play a lot, but I would be happy to play it again.
In an effort to learn some more games, I spotted a 2018 Essen release that I was interested in trying called The Tales of Ki-pataw. New to me!
I am always interested in learning Japanese games and this one looked crazy cute. Scott joined me and Michael for a 3 player game.
Not knowing much of anything about this game, I knew Scott would appreciate playing as the Capybara character. So super cute, and under almost any other circumstances I would want to play that character. However, there was a photographer girl, so I HAD to play as her.
Tales is a simple pick-up-and-deliver game where you are running around the board trying to complete goals and contracts and race to the finish. Each player will have their own objectives to complete and whoever can do that first will win. There are alternate end conditions if you partner well with other players and manage to complete it together. I think there is a bit of time traveling happening in this game, and there is a LOT of back story if you are into all that.
There are also elements of deck building that are happening here. You are using a deck of cards to move around the board and complete contracts with cards.
My goal was to visit the places and take some pics and get back to the train station. But I was a very slow, very cold, very hungry, lost little girl, and with such a small hand of cards, I found it very difficult to move around. Scott was a ravenous Capybara and wanted all the food, and he was moving really fast after he ate! His goal was to basically visit all of the locations and eat a lot. Michael was moving very quickly too. He was a time traveller from the future, and his goal was to find the most perfect eggs to eat.
Michael went straight for his objectives. I was trying to work with Scott to pull off a cooperative victory, but we kept getting in each other's way.
It was a cute game and with a few more turns I know Scott and I could have won. But Michael swept in and overtook us for the win.
There are different ways to play the game with more advanced variants, I think. I would be interested to see what the game offers. It was a cute game and pretty interesting. I love the artwork, of course.
The ice cream social was happening, and it was time for a Filler game. New to me!
Filler is a clever title, but might get lost in conversation, or perhaps easily remembered, hard to say!
This is a super light card game about filling up some pastries! All of the cards have a time stamp and players will select one card to determine the turn order. The earliest card gets to go first. There is a line up of cards each round and players will take turns filling the pastry orders. You will use cards from your hand as ingredients to take pastries from the line up of cards. What is interesting is that, when you take a card, it goes into your hand so you can immediately use it next round for filling ingredients.
You play round after round until the deck of cards is depleted. If you have no cards in your hand then you have to spend your whole turn taking all of your cards back into your hand. A lot of the cards will have end game scoring points and there are set collection bonuses to look for as well. In the end, you just add up your points.
We played a 2 player game and it was super cute. I had some killer turns which got me the win. There were a few cards that allowed you to fill another pastry order, which gave me more cards, which gave me more bonus actions. It all worked out very well for me.
I found this game to be very charming. It is light and easy to play. I like the unique starting hands and the different time stamps. It is really cute and I could play this anytime.
I didn't know much about it other than I had to play it. It is a roll n write (flip n write) game about creating a map! There are monsters that will come attacking your lands, but you are trying to map out your land the best you can to score the most points.
There are 4 scoring cards that will give everyone goals to work toward in the game. There are 4 seasons, and each season, two scoring cards will be used, so each card will be scored twice during the game (a la Isle of Skye).
Cards are pulled one at a time and players will have to draw that shape on their map. Some cards will give multiple options. Players will use the scoring card goals as a guide to place the shapes in specific spots on the map.
Each season, a monster will be shuffled into the mix. If a monster card is drawn then everyone has to pass their map to another player who will draw that monster shape on the board in the most inconvenient spot they can find in hopes that the player will take a lot of negative points or screw up their positioning for other scorings. The monster is then discarded from the game.
Each card will have a value printed on it. Once the value of the revealed cards reaches a target value, the season will be over and scoring will happen. Then the next season begins with another monster shuffled in. The person with the most points at the end of the 4th season is the winner!
I love me some multi-player solitaire games like this where really any number of people can be playing. No wonder it was a huge hit for me. I think we ended up playing this game with 6 people. I got to name my map and draw a sigil and create a cartographer name. All these things should involve colors and rainbows and apparently waffles.
We had a pretty nice game and we only ever saw one monster card show up. I ended up losing a bunch of points from that monster but I still did pretty well. There were some good points to be had from scoring complete vertical and horizontal lines, so I was working on that most of the game. I guess that ended up being a winning strategy since I managed to knock it out of the park with a 143 score. I think I left everyone else in the dust around the 120 mark. Maybe I just know how to make maps.
I simply can't wait to play this game again! I am in love! I will have to use colored pencils next time. How pretty my maps will be! I can see it now! Love love love this game!
One final quick game before we called it a night! We felt we couldn't go wrong with Quick!Quick!Quick!. New to me!
The speed is literally in the title - QUICK. It took longer to read and try to understand the rules than it did to play. Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too many rules for a speed tile laying game.
In Quick!Quick!Quick!, you are trying to rescue people from a disaster by placing tiles in a grid. You have to make sure all of the requirements are being met for the tiles you are placing. There is a lot going on and a lot of wishy-washy rules about storing unused tiles and small bonus tiles.
We played it, and I think I won, but I am not sure anyone really won. It was definitely not quick, or even quick enough to have "quick" 3 times in the title. I can't say I had any fun playing this one. Perhaps I should have called it a night after Cartographers.
Anyway, it was one more game to learn, which made it an even 50 New To Me games for the convention. #goalsweremet
It was such an excellent con and so many wonderful games were played and wonderful people I got to play them with. One of the best weeks of the year! Loved it!
All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted. Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way. Thank you.
The first game I got to learn one morning was a new prototype from Bezier Games called Silver. New to me!
This game is in the vein of CABO (second edition) where you have a bunch of face-down cards and you are trying to get the lowest total value of cards among all players. Everybody will start out by looking at 2 of their cards. Each turn you will draw a card and choose to activate the power on it or swap it for another card in your line discarding the one you swap out. If you have multiples of the card you are discarding, you can discard all of the same value from your line. Because you can start getting matches and discarding those matches, it really makes for a better game than Cabo.
When you think you have the lowest total, you can call for a vote. If you have the lowest, you score 0, but if you are wrong, you score the points in your village plus 10. Everyone else scores the points in their village. The winner gets an amulet that will protect a card next round.
We played the full game of 4 rounds. I was simply terrible at it but I tried my best. It can still be attacky which isn't my favorite, but it was less harmful than Cabo. There are more actions and even some powers to help protect a card if you win the previous round.
We were playing 4 players and the guy who I didn't know ended up winning. People should have been attacking him like I was. I always seem to end up a target.
I had a pretty good time playing this one. With games like this, I think I would generally like it best playing only 1 round to make it a filler game. I would be happy to play this one again.
A game I have played before! Woooohoo! It had been a long while since my last play of it but I recalled most of the rules well enough. Michael was still learning but Toni ended up explaining it for us.
I still very much enjoy playing Krass Kariert and I am glad it is gaining in popularity. Last year it was available to play but it wasn't a hit. So weird how games come and go.
I did particularly well this game. I wasn't playing easy, I was giving all the hard punches to Mary and she kept losing her tokens for it. I managed to knock her out pretty quickly. It was over in 4 rounds because of that.
I love card games and Krass Kariert is unique enough to remain in the collection. It is great. I want to play more card games.
Looking around the room, I wanted to play a new game. I ended up finding Incubation.
This game has the cutest baby dragon art. Of course, I am attracted to the cute baby dragons - who wouldn't be!? There were no rules in the box because it was a late-stage prototype, but we were able to find Sean who taught us the game.
Incubation is a very simple set collection game. It is super simple, so it seems like it is perfect for kids to play. You roll 2 dice on your turn and collect the resources, or you can choose to reroll the dice for a different result. You are trying to hatch your baby dragons for points. When you collect resources, you have you use them or they disappear - you can't store them.
There are common goal cards you can try to claim if you hatch the matching dragons. There is a wheel where the water, fire, and gold tokens will gather for bonuses when you hatch an egg.
We ended up playing with 4 players and Carlos and Walter were super nice about it. I am not sure they wanted to play this game, but it was still good times getting to play with them.
Maybe it was my excellent rolling technique, but I managed to win this game with 60 points! Michael was second with 48 so I basically crushed them alllllllll. I am Steph Hodge, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons!!! (I wish!)
Incubation was super cute, but not really one that I want to play again. I would peg it great for the families out there with smaller children. Not as much strategy here for hardcore gamers.
I don't really know the story well at all, but from what I know now I think I would have liked this game better if it were made into a fully cooperative game. The artwork had me curious to try this though, it is just stunningly beautiful.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is really a cube pusher game. You are trying to get lots of points in lots of different ways. There are several rounds and the Scarlet Pimpernel is trying to get from one location to another. You aren't working together to get him there, but individually trying to get points by helping him get there. There are a lot of moving parts, but it comes together. There is a game to be played here.
Even playing with only 3 players, I felt it was too long. I can't imagine playing with 6 players. It would just be a drag I suppose.
All game I was trying to figure out a strategy and plan for the future rounds. I did a pretty good job of it. I ended up using all my cubes and locking in majorities so my tiles wouldn't get taken away. I was placing my cubes on paths I knew he would have to take so I could capture those definite points. It all worked in my favor since I managed to win a very close game, 56 to Michael's 55 to Dan's 53.
After playing, I was a bit ho-hum on The Scarlet Pimpernel. I still don't feel like I accomplished anything, and I have no real desire to go back and play again to figure anything out. If requested in the future, it would take a lot to convince me to play again. I think it was a fine and solid game, but just not for me.
There was a new game from Matagot that I was looking to try called Dungeon Academy. New to me!
This is a speed puzzle type game. You are rolling dice in a Boggle type manner. On the dice, you will see monsters you have to defeat and potions that will help regain your life as you are going. As soon as you see the dice, you must create your enter and exit plan as fast as you can. Ideally, each path you make through the dungeon will kill off a ton of monsters. The more monsters you kill, the more points you get. But every monster will take some of your health and mana. If you are the first person to exit the dungeon, you will get first dibs at the rewards at the end of the round.
There are 4 rounds in the game. Each round you will get to score bonus for one type of monster, so you have to plan each round carefully and get the best possible bonuses you can. Players have unique abilities they can use in the game and the treasures they find will also help them along the way.
It is a pretty fast game and 4 rounds just flies by. We were playing with 4 players and it was no problem explaining the rules and playing. As the rounds go on you will incorporate different dice which might pose a question as to how to kill a dragon or what a symbol might mean, but once you play a few times to be familiar with the symbols, they won't hold the game up long.
Turns out I am a true dungeon master student. I won, but it wasn't by a lot. I won by a single point! 33 to Michael's 32. Close call! I was the slowest in each round too. You can still get a treasure being the last one to finish, so it might be more beneficial to take your time.
I had a lot of fun with this game. I have played it a few times since my initial play and with a bunch of people. Everyone has enjoyed it a lot. It makes for a good filler game and people can step in or out just to see how they can do. I look forward to when it will be released.
Mary was talking about a weird trick-taking game she played called Auf falscher Fährte. New to me!
I really wanted to try it out and I got to play it with Michael and Derek. I don't know if 4 players would be better or not, but 3 worked perfectly fine. This game is so freaking bizarre. At the start of any round, each player knows the trump color and pitches any card face-down to the stack. This stack will be a combined value that will mean either you want to have the most tricks at the end or you want to have the least amount of tricks at the end. BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THE VALUE - not until the fifth trick, anyway. You look at your hand and hope you pitch a card that will help you either collect all the tricks or not.
Poor Derek was getting a rough break. There is a catch-up mechanic midway through the round where the player who is losing the current hand can change up the trump color, which should help them regain some control over what is happening in the round. I like that mechanic a lot. I am not sure it helped Derek at all though. We only played a few rounds since we were going to go to dinner, but I still had a great time playing it.
Michael ended up winning with 8 points and I had 7 so it was a close one. This game immediately went on the wishlist. I think it is just a wild game and I love the uncertainty of what cards you should be playing.
This was definitely one of the weakest roll n write games that I learned during the Gathering. This is very much like Can't Stop Express and other games like it, but it just isn't as good.
You are trying to fill in the lines of numbers by combining pairs of dice. Other players will get to select one pair from the rolled dice as well to fill in the opposite side of the sheet when it is not their turn.
Anyway, there really isn't much going on for this game at all and I can't say it is a roll n write game that you should check out and play. There are just so many better games out there.
Dan ended up winning with 17 points. I was definitely last since I didn't really complete any rows that would have gotten me lots of points.
At least I played it and I don't have to play it again!
Now was the time for the epic 7 Wonders: Armada war between Me and Stefan, and Dan also joined in for a 3p game.
I should have just hung on tight to my championship title from November. I thought I had it pretty good, but I was playing for a card that didn't show up in the final round since I forgot the card distribution. Whoops! #MistakesWereMade
Stefan just ran away with the game this time. He had the best board: Alexandria for all those resources.
It was a shameful showing from me. I can't believe I played so poorly! I scored about what Dan scored! The HORROR!
I really need a rematch. We need more players next time too.
This is a new game coming from Portal Games later this year and it is pretty simple to pick up and learn. You are trying to gain resources to craft buildings and to be able to place and use those buildings on your land. You are trying to get the most points to win the game.
Players are given a board and some buildings to work on constructing. Three resource dice are rolled and then players in turn order will draft a role for the round to give them a special bonus. Bonuses might be to gain one extra worker or an extra gold for the round. A worker die is also rolled that will give you a number of workers that you can use in the round. Workers can use an available resource die or maybe harvest from the fields you have unlocked.
You are also trying to build buildings that will give you bonuses. The buildings are really what give the game character and will keep me interested in more plays.
I did get to play this game a few times and it felt like there was a dominant strategy with the 8VP building. I was able to build 4 of them. I won both games using this strategy. It wasn't even really a close finish either. I don't know if that is a dominant strategy or I just got lucky.
There is also a solo mode to this game, and with that, a set of tons and tons of unique buildings. In the basic game, you will be playing with the same buildings over and over. I am nearly sure I would get tired playing this base game over and over. What will keep me interested are those extra buildings that will offer variety in the gameplay.
I had fun with this and I want to see where it leads for future plays.
I had the pleasure of getting to try out the new expansion for Underwater Cities. New to me Expansion!
I love the base game and I was looking to play this new expansion. It was still in prototype form and there is still a lot that I didn't get to see that is in the works.
This expansion adds a bunch of new cards for each stage of the game and some new player boards. I was asked not to get into too much detail because nothing is absolutely final yet. Every player did get to start with a unique starting ability and resources, so that was an especially awesome addition to the game.
I played a 4 player game and it went on for far too long. But that's not a fault of the expansion. I told myself I would never play this game with 4 players, but it was unavoidable unless I bailed on this game. I was most interested in learning the expansion, so I stuck it out.
I was trying hard for diversity in each of my cities, but there were no special cards that helped my strategy and it wasn't enough points for me to have a winning score. I think I was in the 80s and the winning score was over 100 points.
The expansion adds a lot of cool materials, and I am very much looking forward to the released game. It is definitely going straight on the wishlist! Any fan of the base game will appreciate the expansion.
We had some time to kill so we were going to play 2p Hanabi, but Dan joined in and made it a 3 player game.
We were playing with one variant for the rainbow wild cards and it was the one that created a new suit. It wasn't the hardest variant to play with and we did pretty well. I would say we won the game, but I don't really remember our ranking. I do know we didn't blow up!
It can be a challenging game when playing with Dan. haha It was still fun though and I think I might pick up the deluxe copy since the tiles are so friggin cool! Really like that nice quality they have.
We were waiting on Derek to finish up a game so he could join us for dinner, so Dan decided it was time to try out the abbreviated game of MeM. New to me!
The quick version of how this game went was that I want to burn it. The fair version is that I promise Dan I will try the full-length version before burning it.
In MeM, there are stones in various colors and you have to basically draft stones from the board to your own personal board while matching a pattern still on the board. If 2 green stones are next to each other then you can draft 2 blue (or any 2 matching) stones and put them next to each other and be okay. There has to be a matching pattern still on the board at the end of your turn or you lose.
I lost almost immediately. This is a visual game that I was just not grasping well enough. I would try the full game, but if it is like the short game I probably won't like it. I'll make sure to have a torch handy.
Luke from Portal games was showing off some new games, and he had a copy of this, but only for a 2-player experience. Michael and I sat down and Luke taught us how to play.
There are a lot of similarities with this game and Imperial Settlers. They are individual games set in the same universe, but they are different standalone games. This is not an expansion for Imperial Settlers.
Each player will have their own faction with a unique deck of cards. One faction might have better raiding and exploring abilities, and another might be better farmers. It is pretty easy to figure out which strategy to take on if you know the game and look through your deck beforehand. However, you are not guaranteed any specific cards because all of the cards are shuffled before the game starts and you probably won't get through all of them. These cards will be played for their building costs and can be activated anytime after they are in play.
Empires of the North works in a similar way to Imperial Settlers where each player takes an action in turn until all players have passed. Players have a couple of action discs that are placed on a circular action board. Once an action disc is placed, it can be activated once more on an adjacent space. So you will have essentially 4 actions with the action discs each season, but you have to plan wisely so you know what the second action will be with each of your discs.
There is an explore action you can take that will allow you to go off and raid or settle new areas. If you are using weapons to settle, then you aren't using weapons to attack the other players. That's nice.
My deck of cards was all about harvesting and generating a lot of in-game points from my cards in play. Michael was doing an exploring strategy which gave him a ton of end game points from the places he settled and bonus cards that he managed to play.
There can be a fair amount of attacking in this game much like Imperial Settlers. Michael was mean and killed off a lot of my cards that would have given me a lot of points, making them unusable in the final round.
If I had been able to end it a round sooner, I would have crushed him! I was soooo far in the lead, but just a few points shy of being able to end it the round before. Knowing the game now, I needed to build a card earlier to help generate those few points I would have needed. In any case, he was able to win this game by just a few points. I was robbed of that win. I will have to catch him next time.
I had a great time playing Empires of the North. I do think that it works very well with 2 players, and I don't think I would enjoy it as much with more players. I like that the box will come with so many unique decks to explore. It will be a hit, I know!
Eric Martin was available to show us how to play Black Angel. New to me!
This game was my most anticipated game of the year, so of course I was eager to try it. Despite being a prototype copy, the look of this game is show-stopping. I think about 5 people stopped by our table to just look at what was happening on this board. It is stunning!
We ended up playing a 4 player game with Eric, Michael, Derek, and me. I was surprised that Eric wanted to play again after he had just taught a few others. But he did, and he ended up playing 4 games of Black Angel in 2 days since so many people wanted to play it.
The main idea is that we are robots in control of the Black Angel, a ship that is riding through space. There are aliens attacking and the ship is taking damage. We can try to repair the ship as we go, or we can send out our shuttles into space to try and collect points for completing contracts on planets. Dice will act as our workers for the actions we select.
When playing, you can feel the influences from games like Troyes with the dice mechanic and Solenia with the board-moving mechanic. There were a bunch of other new mechanics used as well. For example, each player has their own board and can buy technology tiles to fill it. Tiles are pushed in and eventually pushed out if enough are placed in that row. Columns and rows can be activated with cards from players hands to get those tiles' bonuses.
The real heart of the game lies with the dice worker placement. You are using the dice you have or paying other players to steal their dice to take actions. The actions you can take with the die depend on the die color, and the value of the die will determine the strength of the action. Yellow dice can be used to purchase technology tiles, red dice can be used to repair the ship, green dice can be used to attack the aliens, and any die can be used to explore space.
I think the hardest thing for me to understand was the exploring space action. There are a few different options you can take when you explore space, and it was hard to visualize and grasp for me. I was also having a hard time trying to figure out how to gain points. There is no real direction to take to get points. I figured I should get the tech tiles and load up on bonuses from the grid. All I wanted to do was that, but there was never a time I could do it. All of the yellow dice were very low, and the technology space was always damaged, which meant that I couldn't get the tiles with the yellow dice that were available.
Eventually, I managed to find a way to get some major points (9) and then the game was over. Black Angel reached its destination. The game could have also ended with the alien deck being emptied, so I can see that working as a major strategy, just allowing the aliens to attack. Regardless, Eric won with 31, I was 2nd with 27, and Michael 26. I don't recall Derek's score.
This is a hard game to review. Maybe my expectations were too grand to begin with. Maybe I hyped it for myself too much. I felt the mechanics were forced together, and not elegantly. I do think that if I play again, I will have a better idea on what to do, but there is still no clear path for a strategy. There can be a bit of group analysis. Black Angel is not a cooperative game, but the ship is being attacked, and you can help stop it or repair it, but why? There is not enough incentive in destroying ships or repairing locations, and worse, you're allowing your opponents to profit by enabling them to use those repaired locations.
Black Angel is a beautiful production and I know it will sell out at GenCon. I hope people will love it more than I do. For now, I am fine with it and I could play again. But I would always choose to play Troyes over this.
There was a new Stronghold game I was invited to play called Amul. New to me!
Amul is an Arabian themed drafting and set collection game. There are only 9 rounds and you get to play only 9 cards. The element of surprise is at the end when you reveal your hand of cards for scoring.
It is a pretty straight forward game that will play with up to 8 players I believe. The more players, the more cards you will have in the game. You will always play through the entire deck of cards and have an appropriate number depending on players.
There are two ways a card can be played: either by having a table icon, meaning it must be played to the table, and/or the card will have a hand icon, meaning it will be scored at the end of the game if it is still in the player's hand. Each player will have a hand of cards and will toss one face down to the middle of the table. The cards are revealed and then drafted in player order. After each player drafts a card they will play a card from their hand to their collection face up in front of them. Some will give immediate actions to draft from the marketplace or to complete a contract from the palace.
At the end of the game you get to play those final cards you have in hand and figure out who has the best score by adding all of the different cards up. There are so many different types of cards with different scoring mechanisms, but that's what makes a cool set collection game.
Since we were playing 6 players and several of us were learning, I didn't realize how valuable the military cards were. They give you priority in the later rounds for turn order. Since I was really far from the person in the lead with the military, it meant I was going essentially last in the final 3 rounds. This was detrimental. You don't want to be drafting cards late in the turn order with 6 players. I didn't get ANYTHING I was looking for. Yeah, I totally didn't win that game. Eric ended up winning, and spoiler alert, he was the one with all the military. Doh! I know better now. I need those military cards!
I'm always looking for a good drafting game, and I've found a great one with Amul. I very much look forward to playing this again sometime soon! #shouldnthavegoneforthecamel #buonocoreforpresident
Break to see the falls!
Dan had been wanting to play the final chapter for the game Woodlands for a while.
We usually find that we are teaching this game, so we usually have to play the easier levels. Turns out we were going to teach Michael, but he's pretty smart. He was fine picking it up from the final chapter.
Turns out we were playing this game all wrong from the very early chapters. The rules are ambiguous so it wasn't really our fault. It was painfully clear in the final chapter that we were playing wrong though. The "new rules" messed with my mind, so I was way outside my element.
I had too many attack cards played on me. One round, I was playing with an upside-down map, and the rules were confusing to me, so it was just a train wreck. I don't even know if I got any points! I super duper lost this game. Newbie Michael was the end winner, go figure.
What I learned from this play was that I really need to go back and play the easier levels with the alternate rules. We were just playing the game on super hard mode before, which I liked, but doesn't work in the final chapter since it is just too hard and not workable. S'all good.
I saw a stack of new prototype games from Asmodee. Since I am always looking to learn new games, I pulled out One Key. New to me!
I am a fan of Libellud games. They always have such compelling artwork. I was curious to see what they had in store with this title.
One Key is a cooperative game in which a silent cluegiver tries to get their teammates to guess the selected image by giving them clues using other image cards. Of course, the cluegiver can't talk, so the teammates have only the powers of deduction, trying to make connections when there might be none to make!
There is a snazzy app that you can download that will make fun sounds and music as you play. Definitely a clever addition and super cute to use.
When I was giving the clues, it was so hard. Derek and Michael were not on my wavelength at all. They were making connections on cards that I was not seeing and I just felt really dumb for not making those same connections. We ended up losing about halfway through the game. Whoops. We had to play again. This time I asked Michael to be the cluegiver, and Derek and I were working together to figure out the clues.
Derek was on point. I was not buying it at all, but I went with Derek's instinct and we ended up winning the game. It was pretty crazy how much Derek was on Michael's wavelength. I don't know how he did it - I was leaning a totally different direction. Goes to show I am just terrible at this game!
I had a great time playing this one though and I really look forward to playing again!
There was a lot of talk about a new prototype called Folding Space. New to me!
We found Bobby, who is one of the designers, to teach the 4 of us this game. Folding Space is a set collection, space battle game. You are trying to jump from planet to planet collecting items. If you end your movement on a planet with no one else you get to take one item. But you really want to end your movement on the same planet as another player, which will initiate a combat. The winner gets a bunch of items and the loser still gets a couple of leftover items.
The game has a folding board mechanic using boards that are similar to those found in the game Keyper. The boards in Folding Space have a bunch of icons that relate to combat cards and movement. Players use these boards to try and gain majorities of different symbols. It isn't a timed mechanic, but it really is, because when everyone else is done, they'll start the countdown, forcing you to finish quickly.
There is a space seagull that will issue a whole lot of negative points to players who really overshoot their opponent in combat, so you want your battles to be close. Otherwise, you might be sorry. This was a pretty harsh mechanic.
I just didn't feel a compelling reason to have the folding boards in this game. I was trying to hard to find the best possible solution with my folding board but it never seemed to work. I never seemed to win the majorities I was going after. I really like the folding boards in general, and I think they should be in another game that focuses more on the boards. But in Folding Space, there seemed to be too many mechanics to really make the boards worthwhile.
I ended up winning by a long shot with 48 points. I think everyone else was in the 30s. I was trying my best not to conflict with anyone. I didn't have the combat cards I would need since I wasn't winning those majorities, so I just tried to stay clear of everyone and do my own thing. It seemed to work.
For me, this game just doesn't get me excited to play. It was pretty easy to play and I can see it being a casual game for casual gamers. I just didn't feel like I had a lot of control over what I was doing or getting. It was fine and I could play again, but I am not rushing to.
The BGG Show!!
Stay Tuned for Part 3! Turns out Part 2 was too long so I needed a part 3...
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I had the greatest pleasure of attending The Gathering of Friends this year and played 81 games, 50 of which were new to me! There is a TON to talk about, and I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences!
I made the trek to the Gathering by a 14 hour car ride with Michael who was also driving, so I didn't have to fly and I could bring a bunch of games! On the drive, I ended up playing Tears of a Goddess with Michael. I would read out the options for him to choose and it was a pretty fast adventure. He was making all of the wrong choices and ended up not finding any of the sprouts and died pretty fast. It was really interesting to see him take a totally different path than I originally took. He had a different special ability that he was not able to utilize like he wanted to. I will have to go back and try the final specialization and see if I can do better than my first attempt.
Such a great way to pass time. I think it works really well for a car trip!
The critical first stop after check in: Cold Stone Creamery