All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

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Gathering Part 3 of All the Games!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

Time for Part 3 of The Gathering of Friends!

Find Part 1 here: Gathering Part 1 of All the Games

Find Part 2 here: Gathering Part 2 of All the Games!


KeyForge: Call of the Archons has been a hit with many people and it was time I saw what this game was about. New to me!

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.


Still on the hunt to learn more games and I found Herbaceous Sprouts. New to me!

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!



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! heart 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.


Late one night I managed to round up some players for a game of History of the World.

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.


There was a game I noticed at the last minute that I had to play called Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale. New to me!

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!


New to the Collection:
Instead of listing everything, here is a pic!
Highlights include:
The Quacks of Quedlinburg
Dungeon Academy

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

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.
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Fri May 17, 2019 12:00 pm
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Gathering Part 2 of All the Games!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

Time for Part 2 of The Gathering!

Find Part 1 here: Gathering Part 1 of All the Games


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 that was getting played a lot was Krass Kariert.

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 was very interested in learning The Scarlet Pimpernel. New to me!

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.


Dan was up for learning one of my new games called X: Ganz schön knifflig!. New to me!

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.


I was excited to try more roll n writes and I managed to play Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write twice! New to me!

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.


I got to try out the new Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North. New to me!

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...

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

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.
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Mon May 13, 2019 5:16 pm
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Gathering Part 1 of All the Games

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

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

Then so many goodie bags!


YAY! We made it to the Gathering and it was about 8 pm by the time we got to actually sit down and play some games! First up was a new Uwe Rosenberg game called Second Chance. New to me!

This is a roll n write game (flip n write) where you are trying to fill up your board. We all started with a different pattern on our boards. Each round we would flip up 2 cards for everyone to select 1 of them to use on their board. Once you get so far into completing your board, you might not be able to take either option. If this happens, you must try for your second chance by drawing the top card from the deck. If you can use that top card, then you can keep playing. Each player who takes a second chance will get a unique card. If you can't draw the second chance card pattern for your board then you are done. The player who fills their board will win or the player with the fewest empty spaces will win.

Of course, I was flipping those second chance cards left and right. The game actually ended with the deck running out of cards. I was able to fill in the majority of the grid and had the fewest leftover squares. Mwahaha, I won the first game of the con! It is always a sweet victory when I can crush Dan at his own game.


Dan had another game for me to learn which was Draftosaurus. New to me!

This game recently came out and I was very much interested in it. You get to draft amazingly cute dinosaur meeples! I see googly eyes in my future! It is cool that you can play either side of the board and get a different gaming experience.

In Draftasaurus, you will be drafting dinos into your theme park. The active player will roll the dice and everyone will have to draft a dino into an appropriate area into the park, hopefully creating the sets they are looking for. You will gain lots of points for completing those sets and regions.

I don't think I was hate drafting well enough as Dan managed to win this time, and that is just not okay. Albeit, he had played before, but it still seems wrong!

It is a fairly simple game but I quite enjoyed my time playing. I ended up buying it from Beth at the con! I can't wait to play again and grab some colorful pics!


So, more from the roll n write category, we decided on playing a couple of games of HexRoller. New to me!

The colors in this game are awesome. I wish there were really colorful dice too. There are a couple of different colored dice which don't mean anything but MAY mean something later if they do an addition or expansion for the game.

HexRoller is a fairly simple game where you are trying to complete as many regions of your board as possible. There are several small goals to work towards as you are filling in the board. Each round you will select 2 different numbers to take from the common dice roll. If there were three 4s rolled, then you would have to use all of the 4s in order to use that number. Ideally, you will fill in the different hex regions on the board and you get to score those. But you will also score for the links you make on your board.

It is a clever game and choosing the numbers to take each round is quite a challenge. It is not always wise to just take the highest values. We had to play 2 times since I did just so poorly the first time. I think Dan managed to win the first game with 71. I insisted we play again, with the alternate board and that time Michael was able to take home the victory with 54. It turns out the alternate board scores a lot less! I think the bonuses are fewer, or we all just played really badly, or we rolled badly. It was rough! I have to say I had a great time playing this one!


Joe H joined us to play a speed game called Sherlock Express. New to me!

Dan got this game under the impression it was a light deduction game but it is really more of a pattern matching and speed game. Each turn the active player will flip over their top card and it will have 1 feature on it. That will give an alibi to the cards in the middle of the table sharing that feature. This proceeds until there are only 1 or 0 cards that don't have an alibi. You are trying to deduce the cards fast and you want to slap the card with no alibi when there are only 1 or 0 options left. The first player to claim 5 cards will win!

I thought I had this in the bag. I am still master of the speed games, for now though. I had my work cut out for me though as Joe H was able to keep my attention as we ended up tied 4 to 4 and it was a close race. I was able to secure that final card though for the win. I don't know if this game won any of the hearts of the players, but I had a good time playing. Not one I would bring out often enough to keep in a collection though.


Dan had another game for me to try called Shadow Blocks. New to me!

This is an abstract speed game. Everyone is shown an image of a card with multiple shadows. Players have to use their blocks to create a structure on their boards that will match the shadows. Each image will have 3 shadows but you will create one structure that will create all 3 shadows in order to get a point. You are trying to just complete these structures faster than the last player. 3 people will get to score each round in a 4 player game.

In our game, I thought I would win this easily. If you get ahead though, you will be handicapped with harder cards until players catch up. It was also unfair since I found a card that doesn't work. Well, we studied this card long and hard but the only "workable" solution required a zero-gravity environment. Technicalities, and I blame my loss because of that card.

It was a cute game, and I could see playing it again, but it didn't really hold my interest very long.


Over the 9 days of playing games, I managed to get in 9 games of Tichu. What more can I ask for?! I love this game and would play it daily if I could find a group to play.

On the positive side, I think I got Michael very interested in the game. We ended up being partners in all of the games and I helped train him. In general, we won 5 of the 9 games! That is awesome!! The first couple we ended up losing because I was being dramatic with my calls as usual. I was able to calm myself and hold back even when I might have wanted to call Grand. Regardless, I still called Grand a bunch since I really enjoy the challenge.

The later the game is being played, the less likely I am to call Grand. I guess my conservative side kicks in the later it is. We had some epic games and some insanely long games due to just bad hands and not scoring many points.

Here are a bunch of pics of the different hands of cards, most of which were Tichu calls. I love this game and will always want to play it!


Early the next morning I saw Dominic looking for a game to show off his new KS success Oceans. New to me!

I was hesitant to learn this one since I didn't have fond memories of Evolution. Dom assured me it was different and not as vicious of a game. I get drawn into these games for their artwork alone. I just love the look of this series and I love the ocean creature theme too.

In Oceans, you are creating species which will have up to 3 traits. You are managing a hand of cards and using those cards to upgrade your species. You will only get to feed one of your species per turn, though. What's cool is that other species might be able to trigger off of your feeding. Ideally, you will have cards that benefit from each other and they will be self sustaining. After you feed one of your species, then all of your species will reduce in life. If your species loses it's last life, the species disappears.

I felt like I had no hope to protect myself in Evolution, but in Oceans, I feel differently. Yes, there are still a lot of attacks that will happen in this game. But you can easily defend your species by upgrading their traits to have protection. I didn't have a difficult time finding the protection cards. I didn't feel like I was getting attacked a lot, and when I was attacked, it didn't seem that harmful.

There is a strong engine builder game here and so many combos to create and experiences to be had. There are many different event cards, so you will have a different game each time, considering you only use 2 each game.

There are also deep water cards that have many unique traits. I was still wrapping my brain around the entire game to really utilize the deep water cards, but I saw their value. They cost POINTS in order to play them, so they better be worth it. I didn't get any of them in play until really late in the game and by then it was already over for me. I couldn't keep up with the points the other guys were claiming each round.

There is a lot of strategy packed into this game and every choice you make really matters. This is a game I would definitely want to explore further. It is no wonder that this game did extremely well on KS so kudos to North Star for another success!

Of course, Dom was able to crush us into the ground, which he should since he has played it a couple of hundred times. I was so far in last place and was nowhere near them. I need to up my gameplay!


Michael hadn't ever played Scythe before!? Well, now was the time to correct that. We ended up playing a 5 player game. We were using Derek's awesome game with painted minis and a crazy centerpiece factory.

It had been a while since Scott and I had played, and Erik was re-learning the game, so Derek ended up teaching. Unfortunately, Michael ended up picking the blue faction. I should have reassigned him to another one because blue is the worst one of them all and I have only had a miserable time playing the game with the blue faction. It was a rough play for sure, but he was able to get the mechanics down and play the best he could.

I was playing green. I have played green before, but maybe only 1 time before. I was collecting a TON of in-game points. Scott was playing red, and he overtook the factory and tons of land. It ended up being a close race between us, and I thought I might actually win this game. Scott ended up winning with 62 and I was 59! It was a close finish for sure. It could have been anyone's game.

Love this game so much, so I hope it will get played again soon. I really miss playing it. I think all the expansions really deterred me from playing it as I am not a big fan of the expansions so much.


Lexi and Will were looking for a game and they were really interested in learning to play Chronicles of Crime. I knew Scott wanted to play this game too, so the 4 of us sat down for the first case of Chronicles of Crime: Noir.

I had played the tutorial of this game and was familiar with the different actions that were added. Since I felt the expansion really didn't change the base game that much and everyone was learning, it wouldn't matter to them which version we were playing.

It worked out pretty well. Everyone was contributing to the investigation. We were piecing the case together slowly. There were a few standstill moments trying to put the pieces in the right spaces. That is the hardest part of the game. There are no real directions and everything is really open-ended. The smallest details might be doors to the answers we need at the end.

By the time it came to solving the case, we thought we were on the right track and knew everything really well. Not so much. We only managed a score in the 50s (out of 100). We ended up reading all the answers to try and figure out what we did wrong. I still have no idea how we could have gotten some of the answers, so beats me!

I still have fun with this one, but the cases can be long and totally draining. This was definitely one of those cases. Still happy to play this game though and maybe I will get better at it! #unlikely


I had been wanting to play Subtext since my first 4-player game. This time I got to play with a full table of 8 players.

Okay, I think 8 players is too many. Having only 1 turn to be the active player is not enough. There are also fewer chances that you will get paired with the active player.

In our game, Michael ended up being paired with the active player 4 or 5 times. I never got to be. Most of the rounds had an obvious connection. I thought it would be harder to make the connections but it was still kinda easy to. I think everyone just plays too literally. Joe H was playing really abstract and just would draw a line. Is that a candy cane? Sled? Shoe? He would just respond: yep. Maybe the idea is to be very vague and not obvious about what you are drawing.

I think Joe actually ended up tied for the win that game. Being vague for the win, apparently!

I still love the game, but I think I need to find a group to play with semi-regularly and maybe it will feel different. I think 5 or 6 might be the sweet spot for this game.


It is possible I like Chili's - the restaurant. I go there frequently to get some yummy chips and salsa.

While going to dinner, there were a couple of games of The Mind that were played.

I am always happy to play The Mind, and it is so easily accessible. You can carry it anywhere and play anywhere.

Michael and I won a 2p game once, and that was easy breezy. It is always so easy to win basic Mind play with Michael.

It is more difficult when you add in Dan and Derek to the picture. We made it through Round 4 or 5 with them before the food ended up coming and we decided to eat. It was neither a win nor a loss since we didn't get to finish playing!

Sad it only ended up being 2 games of The Mind. Should have been 20!


Perhaps my favorite new game of the con and easily the biggest hit of the con was a new game called Hadara. New to me!

I missed out trying it in prototype form last year, which was probably for the better, since I would have had to wait A YEAR to play it again. This game is brilliant! Light but meaningful civ building game. The gameplay is easy to understand and there are simple steps to follow.

Hadara is played out over 3 eras. Each era has a phase A and a phase B.
In phase A, players will be assigned each of the 5 colored stacks once, taking 2 cards, selecting 1, discarding 1, and proceeding to the next stack. You can either buy or sell the selected card. If you choose to buy it, you have to pay coins but will get a discount of 1 coin per card that you already have in the matching color. If you choose to sell it, you will get a few coins.

Cards that you buy will be added to your tableau. Most cards will have icons for the different resource tracks and you will adjust the tracks accordingly. The tech cards (purple) are special and have different ongoing abilities. These cards really offer you a unique position. You won't see all the cards in a game, so there will be a lot of variety each time you play.

Once all 5 stacks have been depleted, players will gain income based on their income level (yellow). Each player will have the chance to conquer villages based on their military level (red), raiding them for money or settling them for resources. Afterwards, you will have the chance to build statues based on your culture level (blue), which will give you victory points and/or resources.

Then you move into Phase B! This is when players will take turns selecting the top card from any of the discarded stacks that were made in phase A! As before, you will either buy or sell the selected card. This continues until there are no more cards in the stacks. Players will get income again and check for colonies (military) and statues (culture). In Phase B, there is a new feeding step, however. You must FEED. You will have to have enough food (green) to cover the number of cards you have in your tableau. You can't have a civ game without having to have feeding costs at some point. Cards that you can't feed must be discarded. Finally, you will have the chance to buy some medals for end game victory. Money is precious and buying these end game medals are worth it if you can afford it, but it means going into the next round with less money, and getting those extra cards in your tableau might be critical. It is tough to say which is better, but that's what makes Hadara a great game.

You do all of that 3 times and then the game is over. It moves along really quickly and you are constantly making tough choices on which cards to buy or which cards to try and hold out for.

I ended up playing 3 games over the week and 2 of those were back-to-back. We loved it so much we decided to play again!

I had some killer tech cards in the first game, and so I was expecting to see them in the second game, but not so much. I actually didn't even see those cards in the 3rd game either! One of the tech cards gave me a bonus $1 when I sold a card. I loved having that ability and so I was doing pretty well that first game. But Michael ended up winning.

I was frustratingly close to getting my final statue in the second game and was sooooo very annoyed that I couldn't make it happen. I might have actually won the second game had I been able to get that +1 blue advancement. It was a huge bummer. But Michael won the second game as well. He clearly understands how to play. I had the last laugh, however, as I won the third game a few days later.

Really loved my plays of this, and I very much look forward to playing it a lot more. It's fun to plan out in your mind that you know you want to buy a certain green card that you discarded in Phase A so you need to sell this red card for the money you will need to have. There's a lot of thinking going on but it plays so fast and smooth. The bright bold colors make me happy. It really stands out on the table and invites you to play it. I suppose the one criticism I have is the player aids. They are amazing, however, they add one small detail to the back of them that could easily have been put on the front. I don't understand that at all. Nitpicky, but someone mentioned it in ALL of the games we played.

Easily one of the best games of the year! Can't wait for more!


I need to double check my games of the month but I think I learned like 20 roll n writes. It was a non-stop roll n write fest at the Gathering and I was in heaven. We played another Uwe roll n write called Patchwork Doodle. New to me!

The games are actually pretty similar, just different mechanics on getting to a similar ending. You are trying to fill up your board with polyomino shapes. This game resembles Patchwork with the shapes all laid out in a circle. You will roll the die and this little yellow guy will move around the circle, and you will have to select one of the pieces next to him to use. It is pretty simple. There is some mid-game scoring and some bonus actions you can use to help you make it work better.

Dan was teaching the game to me and Michael as he had played it before. He was saying in his other games it was just too easy to fill in the whole grid, and they were all tied in the end. Well, that didn't happen in our game. Michael and I were going for big areas quickly, but we weren't able to fill in the complete grid by the end, so Dan actually ended up winning - slow and steady wins the race. He did fill up the board for huge end-of-game points.

This game was cute and I could play again, but nothing really wowed me about it. I think I like Second Chance better because there were more choices to be made. They are both good, but I still prefer other roll n writes though.


Oh a really big hit for me was a small card game called Ohanami. New to me!

I am actually surprised I managed to play it only 3 times. I loved it so much, I wanted to show everyone how to play! Steffen Benndorf, the designer of The Game, brings us a competitive card drafting/laying game.

In Ohanami, there are 3 rounds. At the start of the round, each player will be dealt 10 cards. You will select 2 and pass the rest, select 2 more and pass the rest, and so on. Every time you select 2 cards, you will add them into your tableau. You can have up to 3 columns of cards, and you can only add cards below the bottom-most number or above the topmost number in each column. All of the numbers must be in ascending order once they are placed though. If you play a 30 and then above it a 60, you are eliminating all of the chances to play 31-59 in that column. That might be fine if you have space in the other columns.

There is scoring after each round, but not everything will score each round. Some colors are worth more at the end and some colors are worth more the earlier you acquire them.

It is super simple and easy to play. I loved playing it the three times I got to play. It makes me happy putting all the numbers in order. Situations where you have to decide how many numbers to lock out can be interesting. Like, okay, I will lock this range of 4 numbers, that isn't so bad! But the next card you want to draft is in that range you just blocked out. #typical. I love those kinds of choices. There is a lot of memory to this game if you want to take the time to try and remember the cards you are passing.

It just so happens I won all of the games I played of this! Maybe this is a true calling for me. I think I just understand it well. Winning is not the reason I like it so much, but it is a nice boost for once. Ohanami is on the high end of favorites that I learned during the Gathering. This is on the wishlist! I need to get it!

I wonder if I could combine 2 decks and make it an 8 player game!


More from the roll n write bunch. We played a game of Rolling Ranch. New to me!

Cute animal dice. Each turn, you'll roll both dice and try to fill in your farm pens on your farm board by drawing the animal from one die on a space that matches the number from the other die. Or you can take the materials from both dice, which can help you build buildings that score you bonus points or gain you special abilities.

Turns out I was the best farmer since I managed to pull out the win in this game as well. I think the other players were just happy it was over. I am not sure this game really won anyone over. It was cute enough though.

In general, it is a pretty standard roll n write. Nothing really outstanding here, but it was good. I would, of course, play it anytime, as I would with any roll n write. I don't think it is necessarily better than others, though I did like it more than Harvest Dice.


Another game I saw being played all the time was Silver & Gold. New to me!

This is just one more roll n write I got to learn! Silver & Gold comes with little map cards that you can write on, which is super awesome! Everyone starts with 2 maps. Each round, a polyomino shape will be revealed and you have to make Xs on your maps to try and fill in the islands for points. You might get a few bonuses when you fill things in, like a free X somewhere, which is helpful for smaller areas. Every time you fill a map, you will draft a new one from a pool.

Silver & Gold is a fairly simple game to complete as many maps as you can. It is definitely one of the better games in the genre that I learned over the week, and everyone was talking about. It has a nice quality to it.

Michael ended up taking the winners title for this game but Dan was right on his tail only 3 points behind. I was like 20 points behind so it was just not happening for me. I needed to get better islands and have better luck with the polyomino cards. There is some planning to be had in this game and I had a good time playing it. Onto the wishlist it goes!


Res Arcana has been all the rage on BGG and across social media. New to me!

I had to play it before it was no longer all the rage. I honestly didn't know anything about this game going into it. I knew it was beautiful. The artwork is stunning and the bit tray is a nice touch. A very lovely production.

Res Arcana is an engine-building card game where you are trying to create combos. Acquire resources, use card abilities, attack others, and gain monuments.

You are dealt a set number of cards for the game. These cards are your deck. You will get no more and you will just have to make do with what you get. You will get to choose 1 character to play out of 2 choices. You will want to match your character's ability to your deck of cards as best you can. Your goal is to get 10 points first.

It is supposed to be a fast game, but our game took a million years, or it seemed. Perhaps I should give it another try, and if it shows up, I will. I am also thinking it will be better with fewer people. I could attack people, but otherwise, it felt like a solitaire experience. I wasn't paying attention to what anyone was doing.

I am pretty sure Dave won this game since we somehow let him build up a proper engine and eventually take us over. I was just spinning and getting nowhere all game. There was nothing meaningful for me to do. This has a lot of small actions and small points. I like big actions and big points, so I was a bit disappointed.

I think I would like it better if it played out faster, which I am told it should. Maybe it takes a few games to wrap my brain around. Not sure it is my type of game though.


I picked out Noctiluca to try out. New to me!

I didn't know much about this game other than the purple box with lots of dice. It is an abstract game where you try and gain dice to match your card patterns for points.

The dice are rolled and laid out on the board. Each turn, you will look at one row or column and grab all the dice of the same value in that line. You can place them on your cards if you have the room for them. If you can't use all the dice then they are drafted around the table for other people to use.

That is basically all there is to the game. You are trying to complete as many of these cards as you can for their points. You don't want to give dice away to other players - that only helps them. Of course, since you don't want that, it really makes for an AP prone game. With so many dice on the board, the options seem endless, and you are just staring at the board hoping to make the best play.

Everyone in my game was just like, okay is this game over yet? No one was really taking the time they should in order to find the best match for their cards, which is fine by me. I didn't know it was going to be so AP anyway.

There was just nothing special about this game at all and I have no idea who ended up winning since I just didn't care. This was just a super boring game. Happy to have tried it but I won't return to play this one any time soon.


I was ready to play another new roll n write game called Dizzle. New to me!

This was another roll n write hit of the con. I saw it being played a bunch and with good reason.

Dizzle is a dice drafting game where you try to fill in your board the best you can. You can get points by completing columns and rows and other puzzly connections on the game board.

Each round, all the dice are rolled and players will take turns drafting dice. When you draft a die it will have to go on a matching spot next to an already existing die or next to an X space if it is the first die you are drafting. If you have no legal play, you can pass for the rest of the round or try to push your luck by re-rolling all of the available dice. But if you can't make a legal play after re-rolling, then you must lose a die from your board back to the pool of dice for others to then draft away.

Of course I am just terrible at this game. I will ALWAYS choose to push my luck even if there is only 1 die available. I will never choose to stop before I must. Therefore, I always lose my dice. I am never lucky enough to roll a number I need.

I still find the push your luck mechanic very fun. When you re-roll, you are changing the dice that everyone was already planning on drafting. It is definitely an interesting strategy.

In the 2 games I played, I didn't even come close to winning. I was so far in last place. Turns out Michael won both of the games we played. Seems like he knew when to stop, or maybe he was just rolling really well!

What I really like about this game is that it comes with 4 different gameboard "levels", so you get to ramp up the difficulty as you go along. I thought the basic board was okay, and I wasn't itching to play the game a whole lot after the 1st play, but then I learned there were different levels and objectives and I really wanted to try them out. So the second game we played level 2 and I liked it a lot more.

Dizzle is now on my wishlist since I want to see how the other levels will play out. I think I will like it a lot more after a few more plays. I just have a hard time controlling myself and pushing my luck too far.


Another top hit of this con was Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal. New to me!

I accidentally stumbled into this one when I was searching the tables for games to play. I was like, "ohhh this looks interesting, I haven't heard about this one. Ohhh, it is by Wolfgang Warsch, of course, it is." Ridic how many games he is just pumping out!

Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal, which translates to The Taverns in the Deep Valley, is a deck building & dice drafting game. You are trying to get the most points from the cards you are claiming. Each round you will roll dice and draft around the table. The dice will be used to serve customers for their money, which you will use to buy cards that will help your intake of customers and services. You might use the dice to upgrade your pub to do similar but permanent features. You are really trying to attract the nobles to your establishment and if you upgrade the pub then you will be gaining those customers, and the more nobles you have, the more points you will get at the end of the game.

This game is cool and comes with a bunch of modules so you can mix and match them for different experiences.

Michael and I took on very different strategies and I managed to have a KILLER turn bringing in like 6-7 nobles at one time. When you claim cards like that they are automatically added to the top of your deck which really helps your pub. Having all the nobles together is actually really great, and was a fine strategy to have on my part. I worked hard to get that one killer turn. Michael was slow and steady all the way and he managed to win 92 to my 91. Nooooooooooooooo! It was definitely a close call.

I am surprised I only got around to playing it the one time. I really wish I had been able to play it again as I really loved my first play. I screwed up a few things and I know I could have won if I played slightly differently. I can't wait to try out the game again with the different modules.


Picked out a quick game to play called Sushi Roll. New to me!

Sushi Roll is very much like the card game but more random since you are rolling dice. I like that feature, actually. On your turn, you will roll the dice in front of you, draft one, and pass the rest. There are tokens that allow you to steal dice from other players and there are re-roll tokens so you can try to complete that set you were working on. The scoring works basically the same though.

I do think if you like Sushi Go you will enjoy this one. I was glad to play twice since the first game I played was just 2 player and we were learning. Turns out we played slightly wrong - when we taught a larger group, we figured those rules out.

I did like it more with more players so I would suggest playing with more than 2 players. It can be a bit confusing with 5 players though. Whose turn is it? Are they stealing dice? Can we draft our dice yet? Our 5 player game lasted about twice as long as our 2 player game did, so I guess it is beter with 3 or 4 players.

The dice are easily the best thing about this game. BIG CHUNKY DICE! It is super cute and I am sure kids could pick it up easily. I would be happy to play it again but I won't suggest it.


Dan has been trying to get me to play Vinci for a while. New to me!

I love Small World, and I will give credit to Vinci and History of the World for paving the way for Small World. Vinci plays out similarly to Small World but it is not as elegant. But I absolutely love love love History of the World and prefer it over both Vinci and Small World.

If you know how to play Small World, you basically know how to play Vinci. In Vinci, you will get 2 faction bonuses when you draft a nation/ability so you will get that same randomness you find in Small World.

Vinci ended up longer than I would like and it is wicked ugly. By the end of my play, I was soooo over this game. Dan won pretty handily - maybe since he played before? Maybe I wasn't beating up on him hard enough? I duno, but I was just not invested in the gameplay enough to care.

This is certainly a game I never need to play again. I can't recommend it to anyone - unless you like old cardboard chits. #notforme


Dan and I had a few minutes to kill so we played a 2 player game of Pearls. New to me!

Pearls is a new, simple, set-collection card game. The bigger the sets you collect in your hand, the more points you will get and possibly bonus points as well. Nothing challenging about this game, and it is more a filler game anyway.

I am glad I got to play with Dan, because that means an easy win for me! I had some major sets that scored a lot of points and I was able to end it with basically no cards in hand. I had the right timing all around so everything was falling into place for me.

Nothing really special with this one but I am happy to play it again if requested. Not one I will request in the future though. Happy to have learned it.


When I learned there was a prototype to play for a new The Voyages of Marco Polo, I had to play it! New to me!

There are still a few balance issues, but it will hopefully be released at Essen. They still don't know if they are going to make this an expansion or a stand-alone game. It could really be either, but having it as expansion means it wouldn't fit in the base game box with the other expansion. But this might give them an opportunity to make a BIG BOX version for it.

Anyway, the game was being called Marco Polo 2, so they are still working on the name as well. It doesn't matter to me since I wanted to play whatever HiG was showing. They never let me down with their games!

This game still feels like the original game, but there is a whole new board to explore and there is an ever-changing marketplace. There is a new resource: Jade! It is used all over the place now. Players still have hidden objectives to give them the incentive to go certain places on the map, but there doesn't seem to be as much pressure since you will just want to visit as many places as you can to get more points.

There is a new feature with the different sigils you can collect that can give you bonuses and make it easier to move from location to location, but they are working on balancing those bonuses. I am very interested to see what the final product will have.

The way you get contracts has changed from the original. In this version, some location spaces have contracts. You will receive a contract the first time you visit. Afterwards, you can use the contract action to get a contract from any location you have visited. I liked this method a whole lot better.

In my play, Michael was learning the basics to Marco Polo from scratch, which was pretty cool. Nikolai was remembering the basics of the game. We were all figuring out what might be a good path for each of us to take. Of course, there were new mechanics in the game and all-new character abilities, so we were trying to best optimize those abilities. I had an amazing jade ability. Every time I completed a contract, I got a jade, but I also got 1 VP ANYTIME I collected a jade. So I was getting tons and tons of points from collecting jade in various ways. It was awesome and possibly my new favorite character. They are all my favorites - amirite?

I think Michael had the ability to claim a location bonus every time another player collected one. So that tile you get when you first go into a location, like 2 gold or a free move or a bonus die... yeah, he would also gain those things. He was also getting an income of a jade. Dan was playing a traveler character. In the original, it is expensive to place dice but cheap to move along the routes, but in this new version, it is cheap to place dice but expensive to move along the routes. The more dice you use and the higher the values, the further you can go. I felt it was easier to move in this game than the original. Dan was having a very hard time with his character though. Nikolai was getting a TON of resources from his character ability where he got bonuses for each roll he made.

Everything seemed pretty great and I want to play with all the abilities! Our game ended in a pretty close final scoring but I managed to win with 105. Michael was right on my tail with 102! Dan and Nikolai were in the 70s. Needless to say, Michael picked up the game rather quickly and got some great combos early with his player ability.

Can't wait for this one to hit stores!


We had some time to kill before dinner so we decided to learn Pulp Detective. New to me!

I had been curious about this one since its release at Essen, I think it was. The artwork is interesting and I like trying to solve cases. I really can't say I had any fun playing this one though.

In Pulp Detective, you are given a set of victory conditions, like you might need to find 4 clues and catch the bad guy. You are using dice to match symbols on cards to get the card's bonuses. It is hard to do since you only have a single roll of the dice to try and hit all the matching symbols to secure the bonuses.

This is a solo game at heart and we were playing it 2p as a 1-player game, just alternating turns. It worked fine doing that, and there were other rules for 2p that I am not sure of at this time.

In our game, we didn't even secure 1 clue that we needed. We were really close to getting a few though. With very little luck mitigation, it was really hard to manage. We did get some bonuses which helped us get a few re-rolls, but they didn't end up helping. We tried!

It was just a huge MISS for me. Maybe other people will have better luck, but for the amount of time to learn and play the game, I wish I picked a different title.


We decided on another quick game to learn called Palm Island. New to me!

This is a small boxed solo game, but there are cards and variants to play with 2 players.

This is definitely an interesting game. You have a deck of cards you are working through over and over and over. I think you go through the deck of cards 8 times and then the game will be over.

Each card has 4 possible faces (top and bottom, front and back), but you are always looking at the top part of the card. At the start of the game, all of your cards are Level 1 cards. As you play the game, your cards can be upgraded by rotating them 180 degrees or by turning them over.

The top card of your deck is always available. Many of the cards will give you resources. When you gain resources from a card, you will turn the card 90 degrees so that the resource sticks out the side, and place the card at the back of your deck. You can have a maximum of 4 tapped resource cards. You can pay costs by untapping those resources, always keeping the resource in position in the deck. Other cards are buildings that give you more and more points as you upgrade them using the resource cards you have on tap.

Michael and I each played the solo game at the same time and compared scores. I ended up winning that game, which was awesome. It is really hard to tell how well you are doing, and there were a few times I ended up losing some resources since it hit the top of the deck and I didn't use it in time!

Palm Island worked really well playing 2p as a multi-solitaire game, and I could easily recommend this for trips. It would be a perfect game to play on a plane. There are other variants you can play with 2 players but I haven't been able to explore them yet. I will be looking to pick this up soon.


One night we spent 5 hours learning and playing the new Vital Lacerda game called Escape Plan. New to me!

I generally proceed with caution when stepping into a Lacerda game since they are usually not my jam. They often have too much going on for me to enjoy fully. But this game has an awesome theme and I've been curious to try it out. I love the idea of trying to collect all the monies and escape the town. It is a great theme and the production is TOP NOTCH.

I will start by saying that learning from the rules is hard, but once you get going, the game flow is incredibly easy, and I feel like I could go in and teach this game no problem after playing it just one time. Even with my incredibly long first play (which is usually a deterrent for me), I had a great time learning and playing this game. I know it will be a much faster game the next time I play it.

Escape Plan is played over a number of days and turns. You will basically get 9 actions in the game to do EVERYTHING you want to do. There are ways to obtain a few bonus actions, but I only managed to get 1 bonus action, giving me 10 total actions in the game. Every action matters, so plan wisely.

In Escape Plan, you are trying to get around the city to the different areas to claim as much cash as you can before you ultimately have to escape the city. If you don't end up escaping the city in time, then you automatically lose no matter how much money you've collected.

Each player will have a secret goal card that will give them values for each destination if they manage to hit those spaces and collect their rewards. Of course, there are cops roaming the streets, and to leave a location tile, you always have to evade those cops or they go shooting you in the leg. If you get shot, you might have to visit the hospital or clinic to heal up.

There are opportunities to recruit gang members that will help you evade the cops with their distractions. You will also be able to hire allies (putting them "in your back pocket") that will give you special abilities to help you evade, to move cops around, or to get places faster.

Doing bad things will increase your reputation. But reputation can end up hurting you, since players with a lower reputation can move cops closer to your location. You have to watch out for situations like that.

Despite my long play, I had a great time playing this one. We were playing with player abilities. My ability allowed me to easily break into lockers so I didn't need keys - that was awesome. I didn't use that nearly as much as I should have. I was trying to do too much too fast and it all got jumbled. I needed to really focus and I wasn't doing that so well.

I thought I was doing REALLY well and that I might win, so I was a bit sad to learn I didn't win. Michael ended up winning this game with $472,000, and I was actually not far behind with $421,000. Derek managed to grab $262,000, and Doug the Boss had $227,000. It was quite a range of scores. Michael was able to get extra money from having a bunch of allies in his back pocket. My reputation was too high, and I lost a lot of money for that.

There is definitely a lot going on in the game, but it still seems easier to teach than most Lacerda games and falls in line with Vinhos. It plays out faster than his other games too, which is nice. I learned a lot in this first play and I am eager to get it to the table again soon. I had a really great time playing and I know I will like it more and more with each play. This is a really cool game.


The BGG Show!!

Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
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Tue May 7, 2019 1:25 am
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gaaaaaame (Second Edition)

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

I am playing catch up from a few weeks of gaming.
It was my Birthday on March 12! Yay! I got to have some delicious cake!


Looking for a couple of quick fillers, I ended up teaching Fold-it to a bunch of people.

We ended up playing several rounds but not really keeping score. It was mostly used as an activity. It can be a tough game for people to wrap their brains around.

I am still happy to try and plan everything out. I certainly did the best and then demonstrated how each card was to be solved. So, playing this a bunch, you pick up a few tricks! Gets easier with time.


There was interest in playing Ninja Dice.

OMG what is happening!? I haven't played this game is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo very long! It is as fun as I remember when the KS was first delivered to me.

NINJAS READY ROLL!!! I was going to see how long it would take me to say cute in this blog post, but I mean, this game is just so cute!! I am so happy I got to play this again.

Of course, I lost. My dice would never cooperate with me. People were stealing from me left and right. I couldn't complete a mission. I must push my luck too much or just roll very poorly. I was a very clumsy ninja. ninja


At game day, there were people looking to play Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I was able to teach this with ease as we played a 5 player game.

Half of the fun of the game is naming your castle at the end. I have to say, Firestone was pretty good, but not as grand as the Purple Phallus Palace. whistle So funny. The purple tower was named after all the purple rooms inside. We were able to stack them high! Firestone was more of a mixed bag and we had a lot of points from the sleeping chambers.

I had such a high-scoring purple palace, but my lower score of Firestone is what won me the game. It was a very well balanced game for me, for once! I was shocked since I never actually get to win this game. Always happy to give this game a whirl.


I had seen a new game called Haven at BGG.Con in Nov that I was interested in trying out. New to me!

Haven is a 2-player game and was in the play-to-win section so I wanted to give it a try. In this game, you are playing cards from your hand to try to claim lore tiles. Each of the normal cards has a lore value and a combat value. After enough cards have been played on one side of a lore tile, the cards are revealed. Whoever has the higher lore value will claim the lore tile, and whoever has the higher combat value will place a token on the map wherever that lore's elemental is. When one player has a majority of spaces around a region, they claim the region. At the end of the game, points are scored for lore tiles and for regions.

There is a lot of back and forth with the card majorities as most duel games go. This feels somewhat different because the player's decks are slightly different. There are also special cards that you can only use 1 of each turn and they will give you a bonus of some sort like counting a card as a wild type or you get to take 3 actions this turn. Different things that will give you an advantage.

The artwork is pretty great as Red Raven Games has that distinct look and feel. There was one card I had to take a picture of because I am sure the inspiration was from Princess Mononoke. It totally gave me that feeling anyway.

I totally kicked butt with the forest people. I had barely any areas on the map since I kept losing the combats. But I ended up with nearly all of the lore tokens. Even though they are all just worth 1 point, it was enough to put me about double over my opponent.

This is a game I would happily play again. I enjoyed my time trying to figure out the right time to play a card or whether I should trigger a reveal to happen. Definitely things to consider. Though I am not the biggest fan of dueling games, this is one of the better ones as well as one of the prettiest!


Another play-to-win game I had wanted to try for a few years now was King of the Dice. New to me!

I am always up for learning new push-your-luck dice games and this has some adorable art that just sucks me in. I am fairly sure HABA hasn't ever let me down either. I love their games all around.

In King of the Dice, you get 6 dice to roll on your turn Yahtzee-style (up to 3 times), and you are trying to match the cards on display. Each of the cards has a color and a value. If you match a card on display, you can take it, and if the card's color matches the town color, you also get to claim the town card for points. After you claim one the cards in the display, the other cards fill the gap and a new card is revealed. Players take turns until the cards run out, a town stack runs out, or the penalty cards run out.

I had an extremely lucky first roll and I managed to hit a 6 die straight in one roll. Boom, just like that, I collected a 7 point card. I was henceforth the target for the game, so a lot of the special attack cards were aimed at me. Yeah, it didn't end well for me and I was the epic loser, about 20 points from the lead player.

I might have lost the game but I WON the play to win! It is a game I took home! Wooooohoo!


Another play-to-win we tried was a 3 player game of Little Drop of Poison.

I had played this game years ago. All I remembered was that it was a bluffing game where you want to try to kill the Rat/Weasel king and maybe some other players along the way.

Little Drop of Poison is a 10-minute filler type game. Perhaps not the best with 3 players. We had a good time though. Ganging up on other players instead of the King always makes for a good time full of laughs. You can't take this one too seriously and it is so quick anyway.

I ended up winning this time around but it was a close one. I had some very lucky pulls and managed to cure myself before dying a few times.

I could easily play this game again. I am not sure I would request it though!


I had been wanting to try out Gunkimono for a while and since it was a play-to-win, this was my chance. New to me!

Gunkimono is an older title that was rethemed and reprinted. I never got to play Heartland so it was all new to me.

This game sort of reminds me of a dominoes type of game. In Gunkimono, you are placing tiles to create colored regions on the board that will score you victory points and/or honor. Gaining honor allows you to race to the top of the different honor tracks for big points. As you place tiles, you are also trying to actively destroy other players regions in the process. The thing about the tile placement is that you can never cover a space with the same color on top. You have to carefully craft your regions the best you can.

The game is very abstract, which doesn't bother me. It was more bothersome that I couldn't ever seem to find a tile I needed at the time I needed it. Of course, by the time the tile showed up, I no longer needed it. I ended up really far behind with no real catch-up mechanic, so the rich got richer.

For me, the overall game was mediocre at best. I could play again, but there was nothing exciting about it at all. It looked swanky but the mechanics were dated and bland. I just don't think this was a game for me and I will unlikely return to it in the future.


I got to play another game of Robotech: Ace Pilot.

This time we played with 4 players and it just dragged on and on. It just didn't work for me at all, so I can't recommend playing this with 4 players. For me, this is a much better 2 player game.

During this playthrough, I was not invested in anyone else's turn. When it became my turn, I evaluated which pilots were available and hoped for the best. I just didn't care at the end of this play and I simply have no idea who ended up winning but I am sure it wasn't me.

It is a fine game but I definitely won't be playing with more than 2 players next time.


There was a tournament for Crokinole. I love this game and when I play I am reminded how much I still love it.

There were a bunch of boards, some with various designs. There were a lot of hand-made boards that needed to be finished or waxed better because they had rough surfaces. It certainly made for tough playing.

I won my first 1v1 match and lost the second. In the team rounds, I got to the semi-finals. I think I had a lot more experience than most of the other players. But I am still way out of practice.

For 5 games of Crokinole, it certainly took up a lot of time, and that's one of the major reasons I don't enjoy tournaments so much. There is a lot of waiting around for other games to finish so you can proceed to the next game.

I still had fun participating, but I am not sure I will want to dedicate so much time in the future to do it again.


There was a Skull King event that I wanted to go to.

It was a super late game, and no one except me knew how to play the game, so I was doing a lot of hand-holding this event. Weak. I love this game so much, but I hate hand-holding in games. Explaining what a trick is 4 times is just not cool.

All in all, it was a miserable time and I just was done for the night. I love Skull King, but it is sad when people are just not getting it.


The next day, I played a 3 player game of Majesty: For the Realm.

This is such a great filler game. The artwork is stunning and the gameplay is interesting. I love drafting games in general and you get a set number of cards to try and do your best.

Majesty: For the Realm is a game I could play anytime, and this time I ended up teaching it. I think it went over pretty well too.
The winner won by a lot, so I was really battling for 2nd place.

We found out partway through that the deck wasn't prepared correctly. Everyone was expecting a few more rounds, but after we fixed the setup error, the game ended quickly. It was my mistake for not preparing it myself. I will do better next time.

I am super excited about the expansion I got to play in prototype form last April. I was thinking it was going to be released at Essen, but maybe this year? I hope!


It is always a good time to play a few games of Avenue.

Avenus is a Roll n Write game that I won't ever get tired of. I could play anytime, anywhere. It is easily in my top favorites of the genre so I bring it around when I go to different game days.

I got to play 2p and 3p. I am not even sure if I won. I won because I got to play - how's that? I know I definitely lost the 3p game, though. I was begging for a 3 card for several rounds and it never came up, so yah, all hope was lost at the end of that 3p game. It just makes me want to keep playing.


It is always great to play a game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods. This time was just a 2 player game, but I need to get in my practice because the first expansion is coming. I am so ready for it!

This game didn't go according to my plan. There was a cool end-of-game scoring tile that got me 9 points if I had workers who were level 4 and 5, so I did my hardest not to ascend my workers. But my opponent wasn't ascending much either, so the game went on for way too many rounds. I was also using a lot of locked abilities and that action doesn't level up your workers either.

I let the game ride on too long and ended up losing because of a final blow in the last turn. It was rough but the scores were 211 to my 193. SADNESS AND DESPAIR!


I have heard so much about Onirim and I recently picked it up. New to me!

Onirim is a solo or 2 player game about managing your dreams to find your way out before the darkness gets to you. So you are managing your cards in your hand to try and unlock the different colored doors. If you can unlock all 8 doors before the deck of cards runs out then you are a winner! Seems easy, but yeah, it's really not.

I ended up playing this game 3 times in a row. The first game I just played solo and ended up finding all the doors I needed and won the game. That was just basic mode though. The second edition game box contains all the mini expansions, so I had to test out some of those.

We lost both 2 player games because it is just that much harder. Instead of just finding the 8 doors as you normally would in a solo game, you each have to find 4 doors in one of each of the colors. When we threw in expansions, we had to do the same thing, but it was harder since we had to not only each find each color door, but find in a specific order. Man, that was super hard.

We came close in both of the games we played, but mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn we have some work to do.

Very good solo game and I would totally recommend it to anyone who plays solo games. Even the 2p coop mode was lots of fun and very difficult. I look forward to seeing what more of the expansions add to the mix. I suppose I should try and win with what I have already tried and failed at...


At a recent game day, folks were waiting on food and my go-to game when you are unsure on time is always Linko!. A round isn't that long so you can always play another or finish up quick.

This time we were playing with 3 players. All my cards were mid-range, so I was eating up what people were laying down, trying for big hands and big plays. It only really paid off in the final round where everyone was playing wicked cut-throat. We nearly got through the entire deck. I think I scored like 23 points that hand. It was not enough to win me the master of the night, but I came in a solid #2 place.

Love Linko so much. It is also super cute! Yay!


I was looking to play History of the World or Vinci, but we settled on Small World with Small World: Realms. New to me Expansion!

I really love this game, but it is not surprising since I love HotW so much. I didn't even know this Realms expansion existed, and it is just awesome!! You get to make your own map! I love that they are like hex tiles with different regions. They really really make the game better. The variety of everything in this game is super. You will never play the same game twice with this expansion.

I had forgotten the river rules from the underground expansions so we just played without the water rules. We were also playing with a bunch of character expansions - I don't even know which ones. Tons of new characters and abilities that I hadn't seen before and most were awesome, of course.

I was doing pretty well all game until I had a two really bad turns that got me 2 points and 0 points. Not even my one 16-point turn could make up for that! I ended up in 2nd place with 100 points, with the 1st place score at 120! Yeah I was pretty far behind. In my score-tracking app, it was my personal best though.


We managed to get in a game of Tichu. This was a teaching/learning game for most players, so I wasn't being crazy. I did manage to call a few times and the first few rounds were just killer. I think we started off with a Tichu and a 1-2, so yeah, it was a solid start for us.

Midgame went a little sideways but we had a strong finish for the win. It was great, and even as a teaching game I love it so much. I hope I get to keep playing it whenever I can. I expect at the Gathering I will get to play it like at least 5 times - but hopefully more.


The final game of the night was Canasta Caliente. New to me!

Now I think the only difference between regular Canasta and Canasta Caliente is a hot pepper card that is worth like -100 points and allows you to draw up to 11 cards.

Its been years and years since I played Canasta online and I couldn't tell you the rules before I played this game if I tried.

Canasta is basically a partnership set-collection game. You have to get so many points in order to place your cards down initially, but then you are just trying to get sets of the same numbers. It is actually quite easy, a lot easier than I remember it being when I played online.

We played the first few rounds incorrectly, so we had to start over. You are supposed to play until 5000 points and we were about halfway through before we called it quits. I am sure we will pick up where we left off since my team was in the lead when we ended. But I am fine leaving it at that.

It is great to play some card games. I love partnership games like this. I hope we get to play some Pinochle soon. #goals


New to the Collection:
King of the Dice
Canasta Caliente

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

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.
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Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:18 pm
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Steph Hodge
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
Fold it

Ninja Dice

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Haven (new), King of the Dice (new), Little Drop of Poison, Gunkimono (new)

crokinole x5 Skull King



Teotihuacan, Robotech, Omnirim (new) x3, Linko, Avenue, Small World (New Expans), Tichu, Canasta Cliente (new)
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Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:27 pm
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TotalCon! All The Games and All the Fun!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

I took a pic of all of the Convention badges and pins that I found recently. I know there would be more if I actually had them allllllll.

oh. Here is Fables - the best graphic novel series ever. At least for me.


Recently I got to try out an older title called Intrigue. New to me!

I mean, it is pretty crusty at this point - but not as crusty as most of Joe R's basement collection. laugh Anyway, this was described as a pretty mean spirited game and to not take it too seriously.

Each player has a manor, and each manor has five jobs in it that can be filled by other players. Each turn, you will collect income for the different jobs that are occupied by one of your ten tokens.

To place one of your tokens in a job, you have to bribe the owner of that manor. There is a catch though. The owner of the manor will take your money and they can slot you in any job they see fit. They might say, "oh yeah, if you give me THAT much money I will give you the best job", then take your money and put you in the worst job.

There are a lot of interesting choices to make and enemies to make as well. As the game continues, the job slots will be filled and you will start competing for the jobs that are already filled, thus giving the owner of the manor dueling bids. The owner gets all the bribes and decides which person will get the job. There is a lot of backstabbing going on in this game for sure.

In our game, I really thought I would win for sure. It was really hard to tell what was happening, but I thought I was doing a pretty good job gauging who was making what and who was the richest. Yeah, not so much. Dan and Geoff TIED!! They each had $150,050 and I was at $150,020 Just $30 away from being tied with them!! Man, it was a close game.

I actually quite enjoyed this game in the end and would gladly play it again. It is quick and devious. You can see the evil glimmer in everyone's eyes when playing which is always fun.


I got to play an awesome game of Medici.

Playing this again just makes me want to play it over and over. I love this game so much. I was just not pulling the cards I needed to get to the top of the tracks. I did manage to get there by the last round, but it was already too late for me.

I think I managed to come in 3rd place. It didn't much matter though. It only makes me want to play more auction games. I wish more were being created. They can be a hard sell, but when done right, it is magic! Love that mechanic and this is the best of the crop!


The final game of the night was another fav where Dan and I absolutely kicked some butt in Tichu.

MOAR! I WANT MOAR! We should have played 2 games of it. I have been loving my new cards. They are just so pretty!

I had a Mega Bomb in my hand...



The first game of the con was going to be a solo game of Dimension but Joe R was available to play with me.

I got to play this a few years ago as a demo at GenCon, I believe. I really like the idea of this game, but I think Uluru: Tumult am Ayers Rock does it better.

Joe hadn't played before so I taught him how to play. It is fairly abstract, but that is why it is so fun. Trying to puzzle out the different combinations to work is just fun for me.

I was so winning all game but Joe ended up gaining a few extra points in the final round that gave him the winners title. #math


A highlight and game I was hoping to play a few times during the con was Blackout: Hong Kong.

Star was interested in playing and I taught Jon how to play. He was prepared though and had studied up on the game with tutorials so he only had a few questions. That was awesome! I love teaching games where people mostly know the rules! So easy! I don't have time for tutorial videos though. Not really my thing to do (I gotta write a blog and all).

I am getting much much much better at this game the more I play it. It was not really a shocker when I won the game in the end. I mean, I crushed it. I was working my deck near perfectly and getting good combos with my cards. My bonuses were nutso - and awesome.

Really been enjoying this one and I am curious for my next play if I can play as well scoring 141 this game. I haven't seen a score that high before. #goals


There were a few people looking to learn Fine Sand.

I was happy to teach and play it. We ended up playing 2 times since the first game was really to wrap their brains around what was happening and how to play. I really enjoy playing this game twice in a row because you can change up the decks and see how all the next cards mesh while you are already warmed up with the play. It really makes a better game for me.

I ended up winning both games, and I think it was since I am more familiar with the cards from playing more. I look forward to going through the deck again with the same group of people so we can all grow with the game together. Right now I am playing with a mix of people and usually teaching the game when I play it.

Loving it so far though.


Over the next few days, I managed to get in a few games of That's Pretty Clever. This is a great filler and has been requested a bunch. I was really hoping someone would have Twice As Clever to play but no one did.

I ended up winning the first game I played against Star, but then later in the week, he took the win when we were playing 4 players. The 4 player game was not great since I was teaching it and it was late at night. I don't really enjoy it as much with 4 players.

I have since bought the Twice as Clever app and have taught myself how to play. I have played about a couple hundred times now and just love it! I can't wait to play against real people! More on that game when I do, but I recommend the app.


Riley had a game I had been wanting to play called On Tour. New to me!

This is a roll n write game where you are trying to tour the USA with the best possible route to score the most points. Each turn, three map cards are revealed. The map cards each display a region of the US. The two D10 dice are rolled and all players will choose 2 of the 3 map cards to write the two possible number combinations. For example, if 2 and 4 are rolled, all players will write the number 24 in one card's region and 42 in another card's region. The map cards will then be replaced and another turn is taken.

The game will end when all of the locations on the board are filled up. The catch is that you have to make a connecting route in ascending order. There are ways to score bonus points along the routes, but the more spaces you hit, the more points you will get, generally.

It is a pretty solid game. I was definitely stressing out because I needed a very specific number range and it was not rolled in the final turns. So it totally went the wrong way for me.

I had a pretty good time playing this. But I was definitely more interested at the beginning of the game than by the end of the game. Great production quality and interesting gameplay, but probably not one I have to own. I would play it again for sure.


Next, we played a 4 player game of The Quacks of Quedlinburg. Riley hadn't played this before and I felt he would really enjoy it! We decided to play with the backside of the player boards.

Riley is just like me - we will push our luck each and every time. Despite busting over and over and over, I managed to push the potion droplet to completion. Because I did so well with that I was able to score quite well at the end of the game. I ended up 2nd place to Adam who was just 1 point ahead of me! I will just surrender and know that I will never win this game.

Still having a great time playing this one! Good times.


The final game of the night was epic! We had 4 players for a game of History of the World. I can't seem to get enough of this game. I also wanted to play another game with Joe and Len so I managed to convince them to join in.

Oh, it was a tricky game. I was always hitting up 1st or 2nd in the round and I never got a last-first advantage. It was pretty funny how Joe would always seem to roll really terrible. He did manage to find a card that scored him battle victories for rolling so low, and that was really great for him.

It didn't much matter though, because Len ran away with the game. But I had a pretty decent final turn and scored nearly enough to win. It was a super close match with Len on top at 155, I scored 154 and Matthew was 152. Joe was a losah at 123. I still think that was the closest game of HotW that I have played thus far. Just talking about it makes me want to play it.


The next day, I found Lexi and we played a few games. I picked out a play to win game called ROLL for Your Life, Candyman!. New to me!

I like the concept of play to wins in general. I think it is good for publishers to support some conventions with their titles. It really gets people focused about playing their games, or at least getting their games noticed, which is great!

This game is so cute it is hard not to want to play it. This is a speed dice-rolling game. You are trying to destroy the other gingerbread men at the table. In order to do that, you have to roll all 4 of your dice until they show the same symbols. If you do this faster than the other players, then you grab the candy cane and take the appropriate action of the symbols you rolled. The action might be to destroy another players arm or leg, to protect yourself, or to remove another player's protection. In order to attack the body, you have to get rid of the arms and legs first, and all the protection has to be removed. If you remove someone's protection, you get to claim it for yourself, and it will give you a power of some sort.

It is a pretty fast game that plays out in about 20 minutes. I ended up reading the rules and we played pretty quickly with 2 players. Lexi wasn't really rolling the best, and I seemed to get the matching 4 symbols right before she did. I ended up with about double her score.

It is a cute and harmless game. I am not really one for real-time dice throwing games like Escape. I could play again, but it is not high on my to-do list.


Lexi hadn't played Russian Railroads so I ended up teaching that game to her and Chris who stopped by and was interested in playing.

Two people who hadn't played RR! I am not a big fan of the base game, but I was still happy to teach and play it. I really do love the game and think it needs more love and a reprint. Bring back German Railroads!

The game went well and seemed to go by pretty quickly. I was totally focused on Lexi and Chris understanding the game versus my actual strategy and playing of the game, but I still managed to win. I did well with the industry, but there was still some competition for that and it wasn't totally easy for me.

I gave some strategy tips at the beginning of the game, which Chris chose to ignore, but by the end he was fully understanding what I was talking about. He ended up going top track by the end of the game and had a strong late game top track score. If he had focused on getting the white tracks out sooner, he would have destroyed us both.

Awesome game and one I will happily play.


Star and I signed up for a game of DinoGenics. New to me!

I actually didn't know much about this game other than you are making a dinosaur park. I am so into the dinosaur-themed games and was intrigued by this new title hitting the scene.

This is a worker placement game where you try and build up your park by gaining DNA samples to create dinosaurs, build up your cages for those dinosaurs, gather hotels for holding more guests, and building lots of buildings. There are a lot of ways to score points in the game, but they are mostly coming from the dinosaurs you are holding each round. Points are cumulative, and the longer you have a dinosaur in your park, the more points you will end up earning since there is a full scoring at the end of each round. The more common the dinosaurs, the fewer points you will earn. Creating dinosaurs will also gain you reputation, which is really great for determining turn order, and you want to go first, so you want that best reputation.

Each round you will get to place 3 guys until the halfway point where you will automatically gain a 4th guy (at least for a 5 player game). There will also be an event that was revealed the previous round that will then be active in the current round. You will always have one round to plan for that future event. I like the events because it changes up each game and you can't really know for sure what will happen.

Since we were playing with 5 players, the game went on far too long in my opinion. I knew it would be a problem for me before I sat down to play, but I wanted to play with Star and Nate, so I ended up trying it anyway. I would definitely advise not to play with 5 players. The rounds get muddled since turn order is always changing, and it is hard to keep track. Spaces fill up quickly and you can't really plan for locations to be available on your turn.

All in all, I had a decent time playing the game. The mechanics are fine and the gameplay is fine. But there is nothing outstanding at all.

I found one card to be insane and it really hindered my enjoyment of the game. The card allows a player to take a 50/50 roll to copy another player's dinosaur into their own park. I literally spent 9 actions over 3+ rounds trying to find the right cards to create my awesome dinosaur. Then another player took just one action to copy my dinosaur - just like that. I can understand if there was like a MAX dino to copy, but my highest valued dinosaur... so freaking mad. If I were to play again, I would consider removing it because, even two weeks later, I am still ticked off about the situation. Anyway, because of that, it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Besides my sour experience, I think the game is adequate. I would definitely play again with fewer people and without that card. It seemed to have very strong runaway leader problem, though - Star was winning all game and totally took home the win. It's not the worst game I've played, but I don't think I would request this.


Next up was a 3 player game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods. Star taught Matthew how to play and we got to it.

I like this game with 3 players - it is very snappy. However, it is a beast to teach because there are a lot of small rules that can easily be overlooked.

This game, I was trying a new strategy collecting masks that didn't work at all for me. It was a mess. I just couldn't collect enough to make it worthwhile. I think this was because Matthew was pushing the end of the game so quickly. Star was working on that too because he had a sweet tech that allowed him to double boost his guys if he paid cocoa. Yah, it was an accelerated game and it was just too fast for me to push the mask strategy. Star ended up winning that game with 158, and I was 153, so I wasn't too far behind. It was all around a low scoring game compared to my others.

Still loving this and I can't wait to try out the expansion!


Another play to win game was Istanbul: The Dice Game. I got to play this game last summer on the BGG Cruise. It was cool enough where I thought, "oh I wouldn't mind winning that". I ended up teaching 3 people how to play.

It is a cute push your luck game. It can somewhat drag with 4 players though. I anticipate it being better with 3.

I got a major rule wrong, so a few rounds into the game, we decided to start over. So this game took a bit longer than I might have liked, but I think everyone was enjoying it.

I thought for sure Nate would win this game, but he wasn't able to secure the win the round I thought he would. I managed to collect 2 final gems needed to win the game in the round before 2 others might have won.

It was pretty good and I could play this again, but I don't think I will request it in the future though. I didn't win it.


The next morning, Riley and Nate were around so we ended up playing a 3 player game of Rococo with the cool Jewelry Expansion.

I really like the expansion for this game. I think it really gives you more to focus on and goals to set for yourself. There are even a few different modules to the expansion so you don't have to focus on all of it, but some of it will really work out for you. I like that it also adds in a bunch of new cards that you can work to try and claim.

This game I was all about trashing cards from play. I was collecting so many cards and then trashing them using an early card that I got from the row. I had a ton of decorations and I collected a lot of jewelry tokens for some heavy end of game scoring.

All of this ended in my favor as I won the game with 87 points. This was much higher than Riley at 69 and Nate at 68. I was feeling pretty good. I think I did so well since I was collecting a lot of in-game points as well as end-of-game points. #toteswon


We picked up a few more players so I thought it would be cool to play another play to win game. We ended up playing 2 games of Skull King.

I can't seem to get enough of this game. There is something so compelling and interesting and will always put a smile on my face each time I play. The first game we played was just with 4 players. Everyone was so cut throat and trying to screw each other up. It was hilarious. Jared even had to leave at round 8 for a tournament, but he still managed to tie me for the win at 40 points. Too funny!

In the second game, we picked up 3 more people for a 6 player game. It was pretty awesome. I love playing this game with 6 players. It is just total chaos and so much fun to see what people bid and what happens. This time I played much better and ended up winning with 240 points. I am pretty sure everyone had a great time playing though.

I will always play this game if asked. Love it!


We played a 5-player game of Kerala: The Way of the Elephant.

This is always a great go-to game for 2-5 players that is quick and easy to teach. Everyone seems happy when they are playing and no one has ever disliked this game. It is a solid choice when selecting a game to play.

Riley ended up winning this game in the end. He had a final score of 47. I think he just picked up a bunch of elephant points. I was going for more 5-point bonus tiles and I couldn't quite make them work to my advantage because of tiles that were in the wrong places. It was not optimal for me, but I love trying!

Drafting games are always high on my list of favorites. I am glad we had the chance to play this one.


Next up we played a 5-player game of Lords of Vegas with Lords of Vegas: UP!. New to me Expansion!

This is awesome. I have been wanting to play this expansion for quite some time now. The expansion adds the ability to play with 5 players, but it also adds tiles that you can buy to make your casino higher. By increasing the height of your casino, you will generate more points. I think this was a clever addition to the game since the property color tiles run out so quickly, and you can't generate those high points that you would need to get to the next bracket on the score chart. This will allow for that to happen. Now, these new tiles are not cheap, so you have to make some money first before renovating your casinos.

It was a fun play and I know I definitely lost this game. I was doing well in the early game but then lost momentum mid-game. I also kept losing my money when I gambled it away in another players casino. Jared was in the same boat as I was, so we ended up losing that time.

So fun to get this game played. I am glad Riley brought it around.


Four of us played 3 games of The Grizzled. Several were learning the game so we just played the base game.

We had to play 3 times because we were just so bad at it. The first game we lost almost instantly. It was just a train wreck. It can be difficult explaining this game, so playing out a few rounds to show how it works, is usually easier. It was a disaster from round one though. We ended up playing the second game better than the first, but it was still a train wreck. By the time we got to the 3rd game, it was much much better. I think we played out like 5 or 6 hands that game before losing.

In the end, we lost 3 games in a row. It was pretty sad, but we had a good time. This game is so difficult! I hear there is a campaign game now. I MUST check it out! I have to know more about this game! Love it!


Next, I found myself playing a 3-player game of Ludus Senatus. New to me!

We had a 4th player who was teaching the game, but he decided to sit out.

In this game, you have 3 hidden cards that will read Yay or Nay. Each card will also have an action on it. Each turn, you will reveal one of your cards and perform the action on it, or you will place one of your cards in the council area (in the middle of the table), then draw a card to replace it. You are trying to get the majority of votes in the council to match the majority of votes in front of you. When enough cards have been placed in the council (7 in a 3-player game), the votes will be tallied. If your vote matches the council's vote, you get 1 point, or 2 points if you are the only one to match. First player to 5 points wins.

It was a pretty simple game and I think it is going to KS this week. I could easily play this game again. There wasn't much to it, but for a small 5-minute game, it was fun with an interesting reveal at the end of each round. I would gladly play this one again.


Chris and Derek wanted to show off their updated version of Comic Auction! I learned this game last TotalCon and really enjoyed it then. Man, the game has come a long way since then. Derek and Chris have really refined and developed the game to be a great auction game. I really hope they find a publisher for the game. I do think there needs to be more auction games out there. I think publishers are too scared to produce auction games. Maybe the general feeling is that the auction mechanic is not good? I don't know, but I love the auction mechanic.

In this game, you are collecting comic books. This game is great because of the interesting choices that you have to make. Do you hold on to a set of comics until they are more valuable, or do you sell them to get more money to get other comics? It is clean and simple.

I ended up winning this game since Jared made a pretty critical mistake in the game early on and gave me lots of money (evil laugh). Loved it and looking forward to a final product sometime.


The final game of the night was Dinosaur Island with Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid. New to me Expansion!

Wow, there is a lot of expansion in that box. So many new modules and of course Derek taught us each and every module. We played with the whole shebang. It was a lot to take in.

We had to draft a couple new things at the beginning. I ended up getting a special worker that could gain me excitement for learning new recipes for dinos. My excitement this game was through the roof. I WAS SO EXCITED! I also ended up drafting a tile that gave me hotel space for my guests and it was just one more addition that would allow me to keep guests overnight. After playing the game, I know now that was a terrible combo and it didn't work well at all. I had all the guests from being very excited, and I didn't have enough room in the park for the hotel guests and all the excited guests. #mistakesweremade

There was a blueprints module that gave everyone a blueprint of a park and if you managed to match enough of the features, you would gain a few points at the end of the game. I kinda felt this was just an add on, and I focused much too heavily on it for so few points. Again, #mistakesweremade.

I can't even remember everything else that was included, but the water dinos were seriously awesome. Awesome in that they totally make you re-think making them. I had some seriously crazy water dinos that were just insane. They drew in so much excitement to the park, but I was so far over the threat level I was losing like 10+ points a turn for having them in my park. It was just a mess. Even though I was gaining each round, it was not enough to make up for the 0-point dinos at the end of the game.

It was a rough balance for me all game, and I was having a hard time making it work, but it was certainly fun playing. I will have to pick Jon Gilmour's brain a bit when I see him next. I want to hear some stories about the balancing of some dinos.

It was so much fun exploring the new additions. I very much look forward to my next play!


It was the final day of the con, and I was sad to see it come to an end. Fortunately, Shrey was able to come that day and we got in a few great games. While waiting for everyone else to show up, Shrey and I played a game of The Mind.

We are pretty good at this game, and we made it easily to rounds 10/11/12, but by the end of the game we had a bunch of friends just hanging out and talking to us, so we were losing focus a bit. I think we ended up losing on the final round by one life, however, it is hard to say. I think my app says we won the game, so I could be remembering it incorrectly.

Regardless, we did very well, and it was a good filler while we waited for everyone else to show up.


Next up, Star, Shrey, and I played a game of Underwater Cities.

I was so happy to play this game again since everyone knew how to play already! No teaching required! We ended up playing with the advanced boards, which are super easy to add into the play, and we got going.

I was getting all the combos this game. My combos and end-game scoring cards just soared me into first place with an incredible score of 147. I mean I am getting really great at this game. I am finding combos and actively seeking out the best end-game scoring cards I can.

The 3 of us did a very good job taking the Special Card space this game. I think that space should be taken every turn because those cards are WORTH IT! If that space is not taken, then everyone is playing wrong. It should always be taken because those cards are just too good to pass up.

It was an awesome game and I can't wait until it gets a US printing for everyone to be able to play it. So good!


We didn't have Joe C, but Star was willing and wanting to play Ginkgopolis with me and Shrey. You know I am always down for a game of Gink!!

This game Shrey was doing a very good job of hate drafting cards away from me. I was just not getting the cards I needed or wanted to generate in-game points or end-of-game points. It was all pretty lousy for me this play.

Shrey won this time! Star was very out of practice and handed Shrey all the good cards, I am sure of it. haha I kid I kid! maybe.

It was awesome and I am glad Shrey took the victory. I can't win them all... it was super close though. Shrey 71, Steph 69, Star 64. Good times!


Shrey brought along Yokohama.

I always seem to be left out when this game is being played so getting it to the table was awesome. We were playing with only 3 players.

We included a little mini-expansion promo which was kinda neat. If you complete all of the objectives, you get to gain a promo bonus token which might be a flag symbol or a foreign agent.

Shrey and I were doing very well in the game. I was racing him all game for all of the goals. The major problem we had was that no one wanted to end the game. He could have done so a few times, but chose not to. It was a mess and the game went on far too long. Because of how long it took, Star was able to build up his engine, and he totally took home the victory.

Shrey and I just needed that game to be like 3 rounds faster for either of us to win. It would have been pretty close. Since that didn't happen Star totally crushed us! whoops! It was awesome - I am always reminded of how much I love this game whenever I play it.


The final game of the con was a 3-player game of Fuji. Star had to take off, and Shrey and I convinced Randy to join in. Shrey and I were both curious how this would play with 3 players since we would all be actively trying for different cards each round.

Let me tell you! It was a SUPER DIFFICULT GAME!! We were also playing on level 3 difficulty and taking a lot of damage on top of competing against each other.

I am actually surprised at how well we managed to play. I thought we were dead in the lava on turn two. We were just not having much luck. Mid-game we ended up doing better, but by the end of the game, it was, "okay baby this is it, all or nothing". Haha, it ended up in doom and despair, but we managed to try our hardest. Shrey and I made it out safely, but Randy barely got caught. But this isn't an every-man-for-himself game. We lost!

This is the first time I've lost this game. Makes me want to play it again right now! It was a lot of fun. I think Randy had fun too, which was important. We always seem to get in at least one game at TotalCon, since he is mostly tied up in the train games. Glad we could make it happen.


TotalCon was fun since I got to play with some friends I don't normally get to see. I picked up some great games in the flea market on Thursday (list below). I got to play some play to win games, though I wasn't lucky enough to take one home. Thanks to everyone who played a game with me!


New to the Collection:
KUNE v LAKIA: A Chronicle Of A Royal Lapine Divorce Foretold
Scratch House
My Fair Princess
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Deck-Building Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Deck-Building Game
Time's Up! Title Recall!

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

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.
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Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:46 pm
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BGG.Con 2018 ALL THE GAMES!!! Ginkgopolis, Escape Tales The Awakening, Gugong, Reavers of Midgard, 7 Wonders Armada, Victorian Masterminds, Captains of the Gulf and So Much More...

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

Off to BGG Con and got some Gelato! Yum!


During BGG.CON I played 44 games and 16 of them were new!

Perhaps the best game of the con was The Mind. I ended up playing 16 times with 2 wins. I always have such a great time playing this game.

It would have been more wins but Michael and I just played most of these games starting with the dark mode since we easily win the game at 2 players.

We did try the promo Level 13 card and yeah we beat that with ease too. Most of the games we played were in the dark and we were SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO very close to winning dark mode. We make it to level 10/11/12 all the time and we were one life short of beating level 12 in the dark. It was crazy and I thought for sure we would get it by the end of the convention. We didn't get to play as much as I might have liked but I am glad we got to play when we did.

It is so great and one game I just love. It will likely be my game of the year. LUV IT!

The first game of the con I scheduled a play of Escape Tales: The Awakening with Michael. New to me!

This is a game I knew I wanted to play and I knew it would take a long time to play so I wanted to make sure we got into it bright and early on the first day.

I was not wrong. It took 5 hours to play it and then a bonus hour to work back through all of the puzzles we missed out on.

This experience was awesome and I can't recommend it highly enough if you are a fan of escape-room-type games like Unlock/Exit. This was more of a choose your own adventure and there are a bunch of different outcomes.

The puzzles were interesting and there was really only one puzzle we just could not figure out. Spoiler... it's a single word, and if you have played it, you will know:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Easily one of the best new games I learned this con and look forward to more in the series. I hope it does well! I think it got picked up for North America so we can look for it in the coming months.

Next up was one of the BGG giveaways called PUSH. New to me!

This is a very simple push your luck game to collect the most points. On your turn, you will be pulling cards from the deck in hopes of not busting. You are making stacks of different colors and numbers. You can stop at any time and collect the cards from one stack. Some cards might have pictures of dice and the player who collects that card must roll the die and kill all of the cards they have collected in a certain color that was rolled. Instead of flipping cards, you can bank all of one color you have previously collected.

You are just trying to keep all the points and cards you have collected and whoever has the most will be the winner.

Super easy game to play and teach. It plays out in like 5-10 minutes and is a great little filler.

I had fun playing with Michael and Russ. I am nearly sure I came in second place, but I am not sure. It was pretty close. I could easily play this game again. It might not be exciting but it wasn't bad.

I was interested in learning Gobi. New to me!

Michael is very good at reading rules and we ended up playing 3 players. This game was pretty easy and I got the overview during the Essen livestream. It is a pretty easy tile placement abstract game. You are trying to make long connections from market to market in the same name. You get bonus tiles if you make a connection and if the connections are 5 or longer then you get a better bonus tile.

I ended up playing again later in the week since I could easily teach it and Mark and Nathan were carrying it around to play. Worked out.

In both games, I absolutely destroyed my opponents. Perhaps this game is my calling and I am just meant to win it!

It is not really a game that stands out amongst the rest, but I think it holds its own. I had a fine time playing. Good choices with the bonus tiles you are taking to use in a future turn. I could give or take this game. It didn't wow me, but I would play again.

Later after dinner in the BGG room, we played a few large party type games and the first on the table was First Contact.

Man, this game is super hard to explain. I am just not good at it. On the plus side, by the end of the game, I think everyone was good with the rules. It was a huge hit of the con for several and it makes me happy to know that my teaching of this game was then used for others to teach different groups and so on and so forth.

So it was a bit of a rough playthrough of this game. It was a full 7 players and like 3 or 4 onlookers trying to figure it out. Because the game is played in 2 phases, it can be really confusing for the human side to figure out the alien side and vice versa. You really have to play around and just hope people can figure it out by the end of the first round.

It went pretty well, we went through I think 4 rounds before there was an Alien winner. It was me and it was technically 2 human winners with the same score, but I handed it to the player who matched my color more since he was more helpful towards what I was doing.

Great game, I think I will keep it to 6 players for the next game though. Happy to keep playing this one.

Next up was another 7 player game that was the talk of the con called Belratti. New to me!

This was getting a lot of post-Essen talk from friends I know and I was very interested in trying it out. It is a picture association game like Mysterium. There are artists and curators. There are 2 images flipped up and the artists have to select cards from their hand to "match" the images that were revealed. Once the artists agree on a number to toss in then there are 4 fakes (Belratti's) mixed in and the curators have to decide the real pictures vs the fakes. They are trying to not pick Belratti's photos.

Very simple social game to try and get a lot of correct answers before Belratti gets away with 6 fake images.

So cute and clever game. The artwork is simple and the concept is simple. Might be a bit long for what it is, but it is group dependent because there can be an argument for any of the images out there. You just have to find that connection.

In our game, we had glasses on the table and I had a telescope in my hand so I used that and of course, it was selected for glasses. Makes sense. You look through both of them. I liked that answer.

I had a great time with this one and I am pretty sure our team actually ended up winning. It is likely you will win though. Cute and interesting. Look forward to my next play.

The final game of the night was Victorian Masterminds. New to me!

This was a game that Ron had played a few times and was able to teach me, Nathan, and Mark how to play. In the game, you are working to build up your airship and gain points in various ways. It is a very simple worker placement game. All players have gears that have specialists on them. Each turn you draw one and place it in a location. If the location ever has 3 gears on it then they are flipped over and revealed and executed in order. This is basically the whole game.

Man, this game is beautiful. The production is top notch and if I ever owned this game I would really have to take the time to paint the minis cause it is just fantastic.

The game is easy to pick up and learn. There is some take-that, and there is the mechanic of relying on others to activate the spaces you occupy. That does sting the rating a bit since I really dislike mechanics like that.

Our game had an abrupt ending, which is fine. I don't think it would have been abrupt had I played before, knowing that a quick ending was possible. Ron absolutely destroyed us, having played 2 times before.

It was a cute game. Not sure it is one that I will be owning but I could play again.

Ryan Bruns was interested in learning one of his newly acquired games called Captains of the Gulf. New to me!

This is the new Spielworxx game by Jason Dinger, who happened to be at BGG.CON and happened to be available to teach us his game. He didn't play but he walked us through the rules and we got a lot of back stories and all of the connections to the game. It was pretty cool to have him explain it.

I have no connection to fishing or the theme at all, but the game is pretty thematic. You are fueling up your boats to head out to sea and gather creatures to bring back and turn into profit.

The main mechanic of the game is how will you best use your multi-use cards from your hand. You are simply going around a rondel taking actions and using the cards in hand to help guide your direction. It is pretty simple and the icons were okay. There is a better player aid posted on the Geek if you have the game.

We had a long game and it dragged a bunch while we all figured it out. For me, that hurts. It was really hard to know what to do in the first several turns and I am sure people were accidentally cheating because it is really hard to know what is happening on everyone's player boards and the money they were paying and the fish they were collecting. It is very easy to get lost or caught up in what you were doing alone.

I think I ended up winning by a few points but it was a close game among all players. Every $1 really counts and you want to spend your money sparingly. I did fairly well on the different harbor ports and their corresponding tracks which gave me a lot of end game points.

Our play was a long one. There are a lot of good things about this game and the overall mechanics are good. The problem is the massive amounts of upkeep and fiddliness with maintaining the ocean and the different events and repopulations. It is just so easy to forget something small that might impact the game. It is not an elegant game or streamlined at all. It feels very clunky. With that being said, I enjoyed the game and could play again. I think it would run a LOT smoother with a second play, but it still doesn't change the fiddliness of the ocean population.

I think this game will be received fairly well and I think will show up on tables in years to come.

Next up I found The Golden Sails in Ryan's bag. New to me!

This is a new game coming in 2019 from Mayday Games and Hobby World. It is a simple set collection card drafting game. You are trying to collect different sets and gain lots of points.

Each player is given 5 different pirate cards that they will allocate onto the cards that are being collected for sets. There is a display of cards to try and collect, and each player will draft 1 of them each round. All of these cards have 5 possible outcomes and most of them are a specific set collection. For example, the red side has different icons and you are trying to get as many different ones as possible. For the green, you need chains of numbers. Purple is a wild action or misc benefit. Brown is an attack on the different players adjacent to you. Some of the colors will score differently per game you are playing.

It is a very easy game to pick up and learn. I love the bold colors and art.

In our game, I got a pretty good score, but there was one critical turn that I screwed up when I could have gotten a bunch of points for the green connection. I missed out and picked a lesser option. Besides, Ryan is from Mayday and he trounced us. It was like he had played several times before.

It was a lot of fun for a 15-minute filler. I love drafting so it works really well for me. I look forward to playing more! I actually have a copy and will have to play again soon!

I have been playing and teaching a lot of Brikks and it was a game that Ryan wanted to learn.

I taught it and I am getting better at teaching this one. It has been going pretty well. The game continues to not excite me too much but I certainly enjoy playing it well enough.

This time I didn't manage to get the top row filled, again. I honestly must have gotten lucky the first game I played. I have tried to fill the top row each time since and it is just not possible. I need to save 5 dots for the occasion to allow me to fill it up for max points.

I didn't win this time - it was Ron... of course. Happy to play it, but would rather play Rolling Japan or Avenue.

Next up I managed to score a copy of Chronicles of Crime from the library.

Michael and I played the 1st case part 1, since it was one that I skipped over when I first played it. Man, it was very different and very difficult.

We were just terrible at this one and scored a 57/100. Quite laughable though. We just missed something totally. We didn't read the results so maybe we or I could go back and retry it again. By the end, we were on the right track but it was really hard to figure out. It was supposed to be easy mode too!

This is such a cool game and really immerses you in the story. I just don't think I am cut out to be a crime detective. I look forward to part 3!

We also took out Oziland. New to me!

It was on my games-to-try list mostly for the colors and theme alone. Love Wizard of Oz and tile-placement so yeah it was a must play. There are a few modes to playing this game and we just tried one where there was a common space to lay tiles. You are playing tiles to try and enclose regions and gain ownership of the different character tokens.

Once someone gathers 3 characters then the game is over and they win! You can steal ownership of another players character if you complete another section with that character symbol.

It was a very simple tile placement game and really nothing special. I didn't find I was making interesting choices. I did enjoy the Wizard of Oz theme and the bold colors but it wasn't enough to keep me engaged with how the board was unfolding.

I do remember winning this game though. I was just lucky enough to pull another symbol and was able to win the game before Michael could win. It was more of luck of the draw vs any sort of skill.

In the end this game was just not for me. I think it could be good for casual gamers or non gamers. It is easy and quick. Not one that I feel the need to play again.

The final game of the night was A Thief's Fortune. New to me!

Michael was great and read the rules for us to play it. It was just a 2 player game for us to learn it. I was curious about this one ever since getting the demo on the BGG livestream at Essen.

It is a combo card drafting game. You are trying to create combos in your tableau area to gather resources and victory points. There are location cards, people cards and event cards. You first draft them at the beginning of the round and then try to put them into play the best you can.

It is a pretty simple card game and we were able to learn it fairly fast. I think it would be quite a long game with 4 players and I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. 2 players worked well and kept the game snappy and at my pace.

The art is cool, but Michael didn't feel the theme came through. The name of the game suggests you are stealing things, and in the game, it didn't really give that impression. I am never really into theme anyway so that didn't bother me very much.

I totally got ahead of him early and stayed there. He was never able to regain the lost points and I just won! I had so many leftover resources and I never was able to find cards that I could use them on to get lots of points.

I could play this again, but I think it was a bit forgettable.

Friday morning we were waiting for the 9am game we had scheduled and had a little bit of time so opted to play a quick game of Illusion.

Russ hadn't played this game so I explained and then proceeded to whip butt! Maybe I was just manipulative for Michael to try and call my "lies" which were not really a lie. Hey, I can be good at this game sometimes!

I was also doing a pretty good job calling when there was an error in the lineup. I think we only played 4 rounds before it was over so it was super quick.

Love this game. One I have played a whole bunch this year.

The game we had scheduled at 9am was Strasbourg. I basically saw Nathan sign up for it and was wanting to play a game with him. It was a 5 player game and I think 2 people were learning including Michael who also joined in!

I love this game, I don't think it gets played nearly enough. I love the card mechanic in this game. I think it works perfectly well with 5 players too. I don't get why people don't want to play this one more. It is classic Feld and should not be overlooked.

We had a great game. I was totally focused on what I was doing and it ended up paying off! I was screwed over with one of my goal cards but I managed to make 3 others because I had an awesome final round. I played very sparsely each round and had a really large final round, acquiring everything I needed to make my goal cards work out. I even could have kept the final 5th goal that I ended up pitching at the beginning of the game. I should have gone big or gone home!

I won by a long mile and Michael ended up coming in second. I am not really sure what happened to everyone else but it was a lot of fun. So glad we were able to play this one.

After that, I went off to play a few more games with Nathan and I ended up teaching Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra.

This has been getting some love everywhere I look. We invited a lady and a guy to join, and we got to play the first round, and then the lady ran off. Something clearly happened - dunno what. It was weird. So the guy followed her. We found a couple of other players and I re-explained it. Very weird.

This game went pretty well. Everyone caught on really fast. I think I managed to win because I was doing really well with bonuses per round and lining them up. But it was really close so it easily could have been Nathan who won. It was a few points away from me either way. I didn't take many negative points and that might have saved me.

Been loving this game. I hope to play again this weekend. Great game!

Next up we ran into Mark and he had read the rules to Passing Through Petra. New to me!

I was interested in this game since J Alex Kevern is the designer and he has some designs I just adore so I like to see what's out there. This one is a drafting and set collection type game. It is a race to get your cubes allocated to different locations and completing goals.

There were a few cool things happening in this game. I honestly am just not a fan of racing to finish and that is the biggest turn off for the game for me.

I was able to get my last cube down a turn later than I anticipated, but I was still able to secure the win. I am thinking Nathan could have snuck in a win if he was more focused. I think he was less focused on the cubes and more about getting the proper goal cards completed. They like playing a trick on him or something.

I liked the tug of war that allowed you to take the different actions. That was clever and I was kicking myself for some of the things I was essentially forced to do in order to take a different action in the later round. Tricky.

In the end, it was an interesting game. But I simply don't enjoy race games like this. It is not my favorite end condition. I would play again though.

Later I was lucky to pull Michael, Barb, and Jeff aside to play a game of Fuji.

I was so happy I got to learn this the week before and was looking to play it again. Barb had played it the day before, so she was familiar with the rules. I taught Michael and Jeff how to play.

Since this was in the main ballroom, we kept getting interrupted. Apparently, Barb and I are popular and attract attention. #remindertonotplayinthemainroom haha We still had a great game though.

We won the base level on easy mode with flying colors. I have now won the easy mode twice. It is time that I played the next level up. Definitely, the next time I play will be level 2 difficulty.

Love this game so much. It is fun to try and escape. This is gonna be super popular when it hits North America distribution.

After that Michael and I learned the rules for Scorpius Freighter. New to me!

This was on my to-play-and-learn list because it is a Euro in disguise. I was put off at first since it was space and asymmetric, but having played now, those are very small aspects of the game. It is very much a Euro game.

You are selecting actions on the 3 rondels and doing any number of things. You want to get storage and factories and resources and contracts. There are so many things to do. There are really cool combos you might be able to create and generate. You are working all game to gather the most points as possible by fulfilling contracts and maybe upgrading your crew members.

Still so much to explore with this game. It all plays out super quick too. Once one of the rovers makes it around a track and gathers its 4th cube (with 2 players) then the game will be over.

I had such a great time playing this game that I picked up a copy. It is definitely one I want to explore further. I think there are a lot of good and tough choices to be made and different strategies to try.

In my game, I was the one crossing the line on each rondel and I would have to pay the cube fee and it was just killing me since Michael would just ride the rewards. He ended up winning this game probably by a lot. I just couldn't get the contracts filled or the larger paying ones. I actually remember it being semi-close ending, but I know I definitely lost.

Can't wait to play again! I quite enjoyed this one.

We also tried out an Exit game called Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure. New to me!

I won't give anything away, but I absolutely hated this game. Maybe I was just tired and unfocused, but it was near impossible to figure out one of the puzzles and we ended up just giving up after that. It was not clear at all what we had to do even after the hints.

I was very discouraged and it was just not fun. So if you like the Exit games I hope you already played this one. I just can't recommend it at all. Maybe you are smarter than me though.

Good Luck!

Russ was willing to teach a game he just learned called 5 COLORS. New to me!

Well, any game with color in the title has to be a game I try. This is a new Japanese game so I was instantly interested.

This is a fast card game where you play through the deck of cards and try to score as many as possible. You always have a hand of 5 cards and the first time you play you will select two of the cards to play simultaneously. From there you will select another, and then one more, each time revealing the cards after everybody has selected. Once each player plays their 4th card, we evaluate the table, and if 6 of a color has been played, then they are canceled. Otherwise, the color that has the most in play will score and players take those cards and put them into the score pile.

Very simple game and easy to play. Could be a great filler. I didn't find there were that many options but it was cute.

I recall the scores were really close and I think we were all within like one of each other. Pretty sure I got screwed over in the final hands and didn't win. Must have been Michael or Russ who won!

Good fun game! Would play again for sure.

There was another game I was itching to play called Knapp Daneben!. New to me!

This was a game I got the rundown for at Essen, but it wasn't yet available. I had to play it!

I love Roll n Writes so much and this one is a lot of fun. It wasn't loved by everyone at the table, but I certainly enjoyed it. I was happy to see English rules in the box since I didn't remember the rules from the demo I was given on the BGG livestream.

It is a pretty simple game to learn with a few different ways to score points. You are trying to make connections of numbers when you fill in the board. Each player is their own color and will have to use their colored die with another colored die each roll.

I like trying to make the tough choices and make it all work. I was holding out for the perfect number, and then it was the last 5 turns then 4 then 3... yeah I never found the perfect number or else I would have won!!! Yeah, I wasn't so lucky. Pretty sure Ron ended up winning that game.

I will be playing this again soon! Snagged some sheets to laminate! Love it!

A major highlight of the con for me was the 3 players 7 Wonders + 7 Wonders: Armada CHAMPIONSHIP!

I DID A BUNCH OF PRACTICE FOR THIS! It was only 3 players and it really isn't my favorite player count for this game. We played it super quickly though since we were all wicked familiar with the game.

I was doing extremely well all game. I was on point and working with what I was given. I fought for military and ended up with a ton of end game points for the military.

I absolutely destroyed the boys in this one, 96 to their TIED 76. It was an ass whipping, as you can see from the sad faces below. I will be crowned champion until the next time in April and we will see about that then.

Seriously amazing game and I love it more and more with each play. The best expansion for this game. I love it so much! I want to play this every week/day, this game is just so great! I hope it revives 7 Wonders for people. I want to play it more.

On Saturday I got a few games played but I was mostly walking around and seeing what was up. First game of the day was a short demo of Reavers of Midgard. New to me!

I was drawn into this game for the colors alone. I enjoyed Champions of Midgard and this looked to be even more Euro-y so I was interested. I believe it is a 6 round game and the most points will win.

We played through 2 rounds and I got a very good feeling for the game and could probably teach it or at least the big main mechanics of the game. It is a fairly straightforward worker-placement game. You only have 1 worker and with every action, each other player gets to perform a lesser value of that action. It is funny since I don't generally like that mechanic, but I think it works here since you can always take something - somewhat of a pity prize, but you can still take it. There are a lot of strategies to try out and try for.

I love the different dice you get to collect and roll. The dice are really currency/resources.

This game really impressed me with its fast play. I had a great time and I know the Kickstarter just finished so that is exciting. Will be coming next year!

In our play, I absolutely crushed them all. Mwaahaahaa! I had a couple lucky rolls but you can mitigate your rolls by spending specific tokens, so I did!

This is the type of game I just understand and go for the hidden goal I was given. I love that it gives you an objective right off the bat and that you can claim more along the way. Lots of good stuff happening here. I can't wait to play again!

I found Nathan and Mark later and we played a game of Trick 'n Trouble. Newish - but not really.

I technically haven't played this newly released game from Frosted Games. I do own Familiar's Trouble and have played several times. For me, the original artwork is so much better, but I get why they made it more streamlined and bigger.

So I explained the game. I knew the rules already and it was super easy to play.

We were really terrible at this game. We did only 2nd level up from worst. Haha it is still fun to try. I told them we would fail the first game. They weren't interested in playing a second game though. I think we got like 29 points and you really want 50+. It is still fun to play. I am not sure they are the cooperative type of gamers. I am curious as to what they thought though.

I love it!

After the closing ceremony, I promised to meet up with Jerry and play a game. He invited me to play as the 4th player for Yellow & Yangtze. This was great since I have been meaning to play this game again since getting it, just no time! So many games and no time! I need to bring it to Monday group and get it played more.

I quite enjoyed my first play and was looking forward to another play. Thankfully, there was another teacher and I didn't have to recall all of the rules. If there was a player aid, I could have easily taught it. I really need to print one out.

All game I was doing minimal work, but I was desperately trying to get yellow cubes since those are the wilds. It ended up working out really well for me, except I still managed to come in second place.

There were a few big battles that happened and takeovers that were inevitable. Poor Jerry and Smoox, who were just not doing very well at this game. We kinda picked on Jerry a bunch though in the early game and I think that hurt him for the rest of the game.

I still think everyone had a good time playing. The scores were 7/6/4/4, so I didn't do half bad, but it just wasn't good enough. I always feel like the scores are just so low for the length of the game. Haha it isn't even a long game, but winning with 7 points hardly seems worth it.

I had a lot of fun with this and look forward to the next play! It was really great to finally play a real game with Jerry and Smoox. I just always talk with them and playing a game was so much fun!

More promises were filled with the next game being Ginkgopolis. I promised the Meeple Realty guys Thomas and Tommy I would teach this game. Everyone knows how much I love this game. I am only willing to teach it once during any given con and you have to catch me at the right time. It is not really a great game to teach over and over, but I feel like I am getting a good rhythm down.

It was great this time though since these guys really know games. They picked it up with ease and instantly loved it. It wasn't even one round before they declared they loved it. That made me really happy, of course!

Maybe, hopefully, they will do a reprint in 2019 and then they will make an amazing insert for the game. I want an insert so badly for this game! #1 after all!

Of course, I crushed them at the game with a score of 84 I think, and they were in the low 40s, so basically I need a 40-point handicap when I teach the game.

Love it and was so happy to play with them. It was a great time! #Bestgame!

Sunday I expected to play more than one game, however, I got caught up with lots of talking and visiting of friends so I only played the one. Nathan promised me to play Gùgōng. New to me!

He had played before and was willing to teach. It was really the only game I wanted to learn going into BGG.CON so that was awesome that I was finally able to check it out. I was told by several sources that I would enjoy this one so my interest was high.

Yeah, it is a middleweight Euro game with lots of choices and paths to take. It is easy to declare a game with these features to be one I should check out.

There is a lot to love about this game. You are using cards from your hand as actions and the values help take the actions. If you play higher than the card already in place, then you don't have to pay an additional fee.

Ultimately you are just looking to get the most points over a number of rounds. You have to make it up the temple track fully, and if you don't, then you simply cannot win!

In the game, Nathan absolutely destroyed us. There was a critical rule that was missed that the 1 card beats a 9 card, and it would have changed my first round pretty dramatically, but I won't fault him for missing that rule. It was totally fine. We even played on the wrong side of the board, not realizing that there were 2 sides to the board anyway.

I had a great time playing. We just had 3 players but it was snappy and the choices were good. I very much look forward to TMG's production coming early 2019. Solid game and I have been thinking about it since!

Aldie Say Relax Play Games

Meeple Realty Terraforming Mars tiles coming 2019

Grizzled upgraded pieces!

Game Haul!

New to the Collection:
Word Domination
Unlock! Squeek & Sausage
The River
The Table Is Lava
The Table is Lava: Coconuts edition
Burgle Bros.
Imhotep: A New Dynasty
Rise to Power
Scorpius Freighter
1st & Roll
Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr
Now Boarding
Cave Paintings
Cul-De-Sac Conquest
Thwarted! A Game of Super-Villainy

Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!


I made a FB group for the blog if you are on there and want to chat up some games! Check it out!

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.
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Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:11 pm
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Lobster Trap! 20+ New Games Played Including Blackout Hong Kong, Discover, Fuji, Manitoba, Crown of Emara with SO MUCH MORE!

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...

Hia Everyone!

The week before BGG Con - I might as well go to a local con LobsterTrap and during this con I learned 21 games and played 36! Pretty awesome.

Day 1 of Lobster Trap (LT). We got there kinda late we stopped for lunch and went down after traffic died down. We actually arrived at a great time since Dan was looking for a game and he enjoys reading rules. Geoff joined me and Ron for a 4 player game of Manitoba. New to me!

Every LT I make a point to play as many new games as possible. There are a lot around the room that I haven't been able to play before so I want to check out as many as possible to see what I need to acquire. The LT stack of games from Essen this year was on the smaller side, but there were a few that I really wanted to check out that I didn't bring back from Essen. Since I didn't know much about Manitoba, I figured it would be a good place to start.

It is a pretty standard euro-type game with collecting of the resources and figuring out how to best score them and maintain your resources. I think the key different mechanic here is the disc selection. You get to select any action from the 5 available action discs but you are possibly giving other players a better opportunity if you use most of the stack of discs to find the action you want instead of just the top of the stack leaving very limited options for others.

In our game, I was trying hard to collect the buffalo and of course, Ron was doing the same thing. I didn't manage to gain the major points for that and he did of course. We were still clearly doing mediocre strategies because Dan ended up winning by a long shot. He was the only one to get to the end of the white track and it got him a sweet bonus at the end of the game. Not sure if that was the main reason, or he just played better. Geoff and I felt a bit hosed because we were going 3rd and 4th in the game and going first at the beginning seemed to be a pretty big bonus.

In the end, I didn't dislike the game. I just felt it was okay. Some interesting things happening in it and I definitely it was worth playing, but I felt it is not one I need to own. I would play again for sure.

Next up was the other dlp game that just came out called Valparaíso. New to me!

The box would remind anyone of Concordia. The gameplay is very different. There are actually a few mechanics in the game that are very interesting, but the overall feeling and play of the game was just not there for us.

What I liked was the card management. You get to select your cards each round and the order in which you play them. A bit of programming, but you can always pay some cost to play a card before it is scheduled to activate. This is really helpful if other players ruined something you wanted to do causing the board to change before you could execute your actions you were hoping to. It is just a nice feature to add to a programming mechanic.

The actual gameplay was a bit unexciting and mundane. Nothing we haven't seen before in other euro-type games. Why do one thing v another? I duno, just try to get points. Geoff was having a hard time since he went off and built a house in the middle of the road. This would be good if people actually walked by and he could tax them, but no one went by that house or paid the tax so he was annoyed that he should have done something else with that house. There are too many travel options to make building that house worth it. There is also a trading mechanic where you might get points at a location for trading in cubes, and if someone does it before you do then you get stuck with whatever trading action is available next. You just might get screwed out of those points you were planning on.

All of Geoff's issues weren't that big of a deal for me, but the game still didn't excite me at all. Nothing about it was fun. I don't even remember who won the game, it might have been me- I did pretty well! But I just don't recall what happened in the end. I also just don't care! Not a game I care to play again, but it was fine at best.

We needed a better game than the previous 2 so we ended up playing Tichu.

During LT I managed to play this game twice. Yay! Love this game so much. I was teamed up with Ron in the first game and then later in the con I was teamed up with Mark.

In the first game, Ron and I were all over the map. First negative then high positive. We were not doing great early then we did well later in the game. There was one hand that I got 2 bombs! But one of the 5s was needed for both bombs so that was super lame. I think Ron called Tichu that hand anyway and we were able to succeed.

Ron and I ended up winning that first game. Where Mark and I had a totally different game. We were just getting the worst hands possible. I wish we could be able to call anti-Tichu and take 0 tricks or something lol. We might have won the game that way! On the plus side, it was a super fast game that we lost super hard. It was just a mess. I had a couple of great hands that Ron and Geoff had a million bombs to play over Boooo- I should have won at least a few of my Tichu calls.

Love this game I wish I got to play it more than twice.

next up I found a few folks who were interested in learning Realm of Sand.

It is a game I haven't played nearly enough since acquiring it and I was more than happy to teach it! I simply love this game. It is so easy to play and there are so many thinky choices. I wonder if I like it so much because I can visualize it and play well. I generally have won all the games I have played!

Wystan was just not having it though, he really disliked this one. He is not a visual player so much and the tile-placement is just not his thing. I get that, not everyone likes the visual puzzles.

I was off to a weak start, as I normally am since I plan for bigger and more interesting cards than most people, and I think that does me a lot of good in the long run. Worked out for me in this game and I ended up beating Felix by 1 point! I hope he still enjoyed the game!

Shrey was available and he was awesome to read the rules and teach Ceylon. New to me!

The game was on my interested in trying list, and I had the chance to so I was definitely wanted to. Learning from the rulebook is so hard and so many times rules are missed and I never blame the reader since I wouldn't be better at that job at all. Even if the rules are missed I still get the basic feel for the game and can generally know where I stand on it. This time we missed a rule and it was critical. We got a major rule wrong in this game, so I won't comment too much on this gameplay. The major rule we got wrong was that the tech tokens can be spent on any action, not just the card actions of the card you just played.

The game is pretty simple you are playing cards to take actions and providing actions to other players when you do it. Each card will have 2 different actions you take one and the others get to perform the other side of that card. My major problem with the game would be fixed with the correct rules for the tech tokens.

I was just never drawing the cards and actions I needed and I had a ton of tech tokens that were useless to me that would not have been. My enjoyment of the game would have greatly increased, but it would still not be enough for me to play again.

All in all, it wasn't a wow game for me at all. Nothing that interesting was happening. I can't fully say since we played incorrectly so I will just leave it at that. Not really interested in playing again. I will take my victory and retire.

Haha, it was pretty great since we were cleaning up the game and I forgot about the area control of 4 regions and getting 10 point bonus which put me in the lead for winning the game. Totally forgot I was trying to do that but knew I was trying to do it. 10 points to go from 3rd to 1st. #worthit. I WON!

I was interested in trying out a new game called Fertility. New to me!

I got the rundown at Essen and it seemed like a pretty simple tile placement game that I would enjoy. I was looking forward to trying it. It is very simple and I ended up reading the rules from the box, even though I mostly knew how to play.

Each turn you will play one of your available tiles to the main board and collect resources for the matching sides you can line up. You also get wheat if you place next to a field location. You collect the different goods and you can buy a market tile if you have resources. You get to then place your collected resources on the different market tiles you have available for the specific resources. You are trying to fill in the market tiles with goods for points and different scorings. All goods not used are then wasted. Wheat is just super huge points if you don't spend it on purchasing market tiles.

It is a pretty simple resource management game that plays in about 30 minutes so it is a great little filler. I have a copy of this game so I look forward to playing again soon.

In our game, I am nearly sure I won. I got a LOT of wheat points and totally did well with my market scores. I think Joe liked this game, and I was happy to get in a game with Joe anyway. He always plays like 12 hours long games, so he is difficult to get to game with. When I do, I bring down his average for the number of hours a single game takes to play.

Several people were interested in learning Brikks. I ended up teaching everyone how to play and we looked up the rules for starting shapes. I was definitely playing that incorrectly, so now I know. I also learned there were different modules for the gameplay. That is crazy, I didn't know! So the starting shape has to be from column 1 and all players have to have different shapes.

We played, and my impressions on the game still holds to be the same. It is just a fine game that I am happy to play. It can be a bit long and if people aren't focused it will be worse.

I don't even know if I won that game. I did pretty well but got screwed in the final turns for the top row I was working on. Just no idea what happened! #istillloverollnwrites

The last game of the night was Trappist One. New to me!

This was a super rough one. Learning this was convoluted and overly complex. Actually playing wasn't so bad and simple, once we deciphered the rules.

Unfortunately, this was just a total miss for the whole group playing. We were just like why are we doing this, to get this in order to do that. We didn't have a focus in the game and it was just all very long and drawn out. I don't think it was the worst game I learned at the con, but it was near the bottom of the list if I were to rank them.

The artwork is the only redeeming feature of this game. It is simply gorgeous! I wanted to try this one because it was so pretty. Playing it, on the other hand, was just unbearable. This is not a game I care to return to playing in the future. I have no idea who won, but maybe we all just lost.

Yay Friday morning we agreed to meet and play a 3 player game of Ginkgopolis.

Super excited to play this game, it is my favorite after all... I was happy Lynda was able to learn it the night before. I didn't have to teach it!! Wooooohoooo!

It went pretty well and I think we played under an hour which was awesome.

Perhaps the game was a bit unfair since Lynda was a newbie and Star rarely gets to play. Maybe I needed a 40 point handicap. haha I didn't quite get to the score of their combined scores but it was close. I won with like 86 and they were both in the 40s.

It is possible I should have done some hand-holding in this game. I was trying, but I should have tried harder. I was barely awake at like 830 in the morning, so yeah, I will blame that for my unhelpfulness.


We found 6 (!) players for an epic game of 7 Wonders & 7 Wonders: Armada.

I was super excited to play this!! I actually got to play it twice!! I really needed to practice before the game at BGGCon. I still have yet to win this game. I am just terrible at this expansion, so it seems.

I was doing a bit of hand-holding with these 2 games though since I was teaching. In each of the games, we had 5/6 people so it was a lot to handle and with almost everyone knowing the base game. I tried to find only people who knew 7 wonders but I still managed to rope in 2 newbies who had played maybe once before. I left it up to other people to explain the base game while I set up the expansion.

Both games went incredibly well and it was very well received. Yay! Spreading the love of 7 Wonders continues. The first game I went for Science and it wasn't going according to my plans and the second game I didn't go for science and I still managed to make it to the top of the green track with help of my wonder and a few cards.

I really like the boat tracks- makes the game so very interesting!

Mark was seriously hate drafting me in the second game and so I ended up tied with him for 2nd place. Joe ran away with science and took the win that time. In the first game, I think Steven ended up winning and Lynda and I were duking it out for science. Both excellent games and I can't wait to play more and more.

So Brian was saying how great Crime Hotel was. New to me!

Ron read the rules for us and it was a 4 player game. This is a trick-taking deduction game. You are trying to figure out where the murderer is in the hotel. You have a hand of room cards that are being played down and the winner and loser for each trick will able to guess where in the hotel he is. You won't know until the end of the round for sure though.

It is a cute game. Ron was not enjoying it at all. I don't think he got to make any guess- at all. He was always in the middle of the pack each trick and it didn't let him make a guess. I think by the end he could in the final turn.

It didn't bother me, I thought I was doing pretty well. There is no real way of knowing if you are correct but you get to guess columns and rows for smaller points.

I thought it was pretty cute. John ended up winning our game since he was the one to make the lucky guess. I thought for sure I would get it, but noooo. haha

Not a game I would request, but I could play again.

Next up was a super easy to learn game called Trellis. New to me!

During Essen I was super attracted to this game. It is simply gorgeous and there is tile placement. Your goal of the game is to get all your flowers down first- if you do then you win! Simple as that!

Each turn you select one of the 3 tiles you have in hand and play it to the playing field. You have to connect at least one vine and ideally, you extend your own vines. If you extend a vine color someone else already started they get to bloom and drop their flower down on the new tile. You get to claim a different vine and make that whole vine bloom allowing you to drop a flower on each tile with that color vine it connects to. Because you helped another person you get to select 2 vines to do this for.

I am pretty sure that is all of the game. It is super simple and one my family could easily play. It takes like 15 minutes to play too. We picked it up and learned it and played in 15, so yeah pretty cool. Not for the heavy gamers out there. I can't say it is the most interesting tile placement game, but it was harmless. I will definitely be playing again I can't just let Ron win and call it quits. I need my revenge.

I found the new card game Fool!. New to me! (sorta)

I say sorta because it is really Foppen. Had I remembered that picking it up to play I would have put it down immediately. I realllllllllllllllllllllllllly dislike Foppen and this simply doesn't change it enough. It changes it to work with more people and maybe with max player count the game would be better, I don't know. I hate the you lose the trick mechanic and you have to sit out the next trick. I sat through 5 rounds of this game.

Never again. Who is the fool now?

I needed something better and Scott was done with his game so Shrey, Chris and I pulled him in for a 4 player game of Fuji. New to me!

This game was awesome. I got the brief demo at Essen and was interested. It is a co-op game and everyone is just trying to stay alive and make it to the golden area on the game map. The Volcano erupted and you have to just survive before it gets you or you die from too much damage. You are trying to survive by moving to locations.

You have a collection of dice you are rolling and the locations you are trying to move to will have different symbols for the dice on them. Like it might show a red 3 and blue 4. If you try to move to this location you simply have to have more VALUE with your exact matches than your left and right neighbors value. I might have 2 blue 4s and 1 red 3 for a value of 11. Chris to my right might have 1 red 3 for value 3 I will have more value and be OK. You not only have to have more but you have to have moved by a specific amount in order not to take damage with the movement. If Chris had value 12 then I would not be able to move at all. We can not discuss what values we have or give too much information before deciding on the spaces we are actually moving to. We just have to speculate and hope for the best. We might even get some rerolls after we decide if we are moving, then it is a real hope and a prayer to not screw over your neighbors with the rolls!

It is lots of laughs and good times in this game. Clever items you can use and fun trying to understand what other people are throwing out there.

We were playing the game on novice or beginner and we didn't have a problem beating it. It could have been a problem if I was caught in the corner one more turn, but I made it out. They had played twice at the last game day and lost both times, so it just might be harder. I look forward to trying the next level of difficulty. Looks so hard!

Hey Jess and Edward showed up to play some games and we checked out a new prototype for Ragusa. New to me!

It was really a rough going start to figure out the rules to this game. It is still in development so I am going to hope they fix it up and make it crystal clear what you need in order to do all the things. So whatever you see in photos is not final.

In the game, you are placing 1 house a turn to gather resources and hopefully produce them into something else later. You might try and trade them away for points or exchange in the market for points. It all comes back to points. You want the most points.

It just felt like we were doing something wrong all game, so I don't want to comment too much on this one. I think it needs a lot of development work before it should be considered done. Most everyone at the table didn't or couldn't perform their final action since there was just nowhere to go because we couldn't meet the requirements for placing the final house. In a 9 turn game, not being able to take your final action is just weird and lame. Something seemed off- so I hope they fix whatever that is. In a game with a score track of like 100 we didn't make it very far.

Hey, I still managed to win the game with about 30 points. I got extremely lucky with my initial endgame scoring card that was giving me 4 points per ore I was making. I made as much as I could.

Shrug, I duno, we will see what happens.

Next I ended up reading the rules to Rebel Nox. New to me!

This was a trick taker I was very interested in learning because I love trick-takers and this art is amazing. In the game, you are looking for your team to get a number of points depending on how many are actually on your team! The number of people on your team might be ever-changing each round.

The gameplay is also pretty great! You get dealt 9 cards and there are goals you are working towards in each trick. 6 tricks will be won in the round and. There is the rebel team and the loyalist team, and you never know who is on your team, and your team will likely change in the game. Each of the locations will have an effect on it and the lea