Games & Llamas

A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.

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Our 2018

Isra C.
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Hello everybody!!

I cannot tell you how crazy was the end of 2018. As I warned in later posts, I was going to change my job and start in a new (and more demanding) workplace that probably will shrink my free time between tasks.

And it was like that. Between the Ramen release in Essen Spiel 2018, all the work for other publishers and getting ready the files for Special 14 (which will be published by Ludonova in Q2), Aalsmeer(will be releases in Essen Spiel 2019 by Ediciones Primigenio), 1988 Dover Calais (that will be on crowdfunding-verkami by Looping Games in the first half of 2019 and released in Spiel 2019). And a signed contract for a major publisher that I cannot reveal yet but, 2020 will be as awesome as 2019 probably.

That was a hell of a work in the "business" part of Llama Dice, letting all the weekly logs on hold because before all the business, we are players. The last year was awesome in business terms but also awesome in gaming terms.

And that's what I'm going to tell you right now: I'm going to summarize the remarkable games we played in the last year. The order of the list is by number of plays and alphabetically (since BGG do it in that way) but is not in preference order (Because -spoiler- Underwater Cities is one of the 2018's best and it's at the bottom hahahah )

Ramen
What can I say about our little baby? This game gave us a lot of joys and we're very proud and happy with it. There are plenty of things that could be done better but everybody I know that played Ramen they liked it.


Diamonsters
This little game is amazing. As amazing its rule book because is quite obscure for a such a simple game. Honestly I don't know if we're playing in correct way but, in the way we play, it's a really cool game.


Ganz Schön Clever
One of the best from 2018. Very addictive and I cannot say anything more that didn't say before. Looking for playing the 2nd part of it this 2019!!


Aalsmeer
Signed with Ediciones Primigenio this will be our BIG eurogame in the market. We cannot wait to see this mid-weight eurogame being played by core gamers.


Carpe Diem
One of the best games in 2018. The game is just amazing. I could play this forever but BUT the graphics are just wrong. There are many flawless faults in the graphic design that if it's not because is one of the 2018's best, It would be traded.


Pikoko
One of the surprises in 2018. This hanabi-trick-taking game generates super fun situations when everyone bid the same amount on one player, and they cooperate, but when the bids aren't the same, the war starts. It's really great.


Circle The Wagons
I hate this kind of games like this one or Love letter because I didn't design it. It's the perfect example of how to design a re-playable deep game with just 18 cards.


Coimbra
I think that I'll buy everything these people design. The only thing that I don't like about this game, is that the feeling of the game is really dry. I mean, you make points and stuff like every other eurogame, but in this one you're not aiming for something "thematic". Just move around the map and pushing your discs in the tracks. BUT, it's very addictive and you're thinking all the time.


Twenty One
We bought this game in Spiel despite reading the bad reviews and low rates in BGG and I can admit that this game has a very high luck factor. If you keep this in mind, it's very fun! And a bit more depth than it appears in a first game. This game will be one of the mandatory games for traveling


Brikks
The first reading of the rules was a bit confusing, and we don't know how to play after reading them. But once you know how to play, it's just great! It is probably the best approximation of playing Tetris in a tabletop game. We apply a rule that I actually don't know if it's right: Like Tetris, even if the piece touch the bottom, you can still move fast in one side.


Hokkaido
After reading the rules, we thought that it will be Honshu AGAIN. But it isn't! Yes, it has several similarities but when you're playing, you're getting different feelings. I even think that I like it more!


Pulsar 2849
A beast of optimization. You must do a lot of things in a few turns but you eventually manage to do it. It is dice action activation and I love this mechanism. Vladimir Suchy is becoming one of my favorites designers!


Team Play
A little surprise bought in Frankfurt during the vacations of the last year. It's a teamed set-collection game with hidden and common objectives. The luck factor is high but it's really fun.


Walking in Burano
One of the best family games I've played this year. I bet that if this game gets published in a bigger box and by a big German publisher, it will have more attention.


Chimera Station
This tricky game looks really fun and relaxed by its appearance with the drawings and the aliens and that, but inside, is a really cool worker placement eurogame of optimization. You evolve your workers adding parts and performing more powerful actions. Awesome!


Railroad Ink
When I saw this game in Spiel, I didn't like it. It's because the stuff you draw in the boards is ugly. Yes ugly. These roads and rail tracks looks like cigarettes and tv antennas. BUT inside there is a really cool game that, like twenty-one, will be with us in every one of our travels.


San Marco
We had one designer friend (Diego Ibañez) that always told us that we should buy San Marco one day. In the Spiel mathtrade we bought one for a friend that at the end he didn't want it after playing it, so we kept it. And it's one of the best majorities games I've played. The card distribution mechanism (like Hanakimoji) is a delight. I can recommend this game forever!


1906 San Francisco
I love the 19xx series of Looping games and this one, for me, is the best of the series. This mancala-action selection mechanism drives me crazy. You should try it!!


Broom Service
A nice surprise! I played the card version and I didn't like it at all. We bought this one in Spiel at a bargain price of 10€ and I don't regret it. I liked the 2 player version despite don't thinking that it could be great!


Caverna: Cave vs Cave – Era II: The Iron Age
A really good expansion for the amazing base game. Basically it adds a 4th era that doubles the length of the game but in a good way. The only thing that I dislike it's the fact that the expansion isn't fully integrated with the base game. Only when you finish the base game, you start to play the expansion (but with the things you achieved in the base game) Nevertheless, it's one of the best expansions I have.


Cerberus
A wonderful surprise that works extremely well with non-core and core gamers. In the beginning, you think that you are not to cooperate with others, but when you see the Cerberus heads you better start cooperating. It's a The Island game a-like where your ugliest person shows up


Ceylon
Light Eurogames always have a place for me. This is one of the best examples: Simple, deep and with practically 0 time between turns. It's amazing.


The Colonists
This is something like Christmas for me. My wife and I go to the countryside (a house my parents-in-law have) to play during a full day the 4 full eras. It's possible to play only once this game in a year but still enjoy it like a big event. It's something that every eurogamer should do once at leats. 4 eras. One day.


Imhotep Das Duell
A super cool surprise! I have to thank OsirisGOLAD for translating the rules into English: This a really cool 2p game!! I love it and I'd buy any expansion to make it even more replayable. Very well done Phil!


Kitchen Rush
More or less, the funniest game of the year to me. I mean. I worked in a restaurant for many years while I was studying my career and this is exactly the same feeling (but in a fun way). I love it to the most.


Men at Work
Awesome. Without Doubts. Regretting not getting a copy in Spiel. Will do the next year as we did with Junk Art.


Newton
I hate these people. IT'S AMAZING. We don't have a copy yet but will do in a moth or less (we have passed our monthly budget on games!)


Piepmatz
Super cool with an awkward theme. I mean, who can even imagine that the birds kick themselves to get seeds? This is more or less an abstract game with a theme that could be another thing but... it's a really great game!!


Reef
Will get a copy soon too. We played in our FLGS and loved it. It's not the same as Azul but it's a game that always wins in every situation in our house.


Underwater Cities
With Newton, probably the best game of 2018. Deep, highly strategic, with many combinations, productions TM-like... ah, I played 3 games and I cannot wait to play it more.


Welcome To...

The best card & write I've ever played. Wanted to get a copy, but we hadn't the occasion yet. But will play every time we can. And super awesome artwork!!


The Voyages of Marco Polo: The Secret Paths of Marco Polo
This is a very good example to make a mini expansion that really adds something cool. These secrets paths allows you to cheat the map in Marco Polo. And that's awesome because you can combine it with your travel-objective cards. Worth the money paid.


And that was our 2018. We had played 670 plays in ~280 different games with an H-index of 9. I think that I cannot complaint with this.

I don't know the periodicity of this blog since we must do A LOT of work for the game industry, but, I'll try to report once a month at minimum.

Thank you all for reading this!

PS: Someone came to Ediciones Primigenio Booth at Spiel and said that he recognizes me thought my avatar because he read sometimes the weekly logs. Please say hi if you read this <3!!
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Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:34 am
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Games & Llamas: You Will Know What I Played Last Summer Part 4

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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And finally, the last part of this series.

It had take me a lot of time but I think that It worths the effort

Rajas of the Ganges
Finally we could play this game from one of our referents to look up! Markus & Inka present here a race of two tracks of victory points that you must balance a little in order to not get out of the game.

I liked it a lot but for reasons I don't know I didn't connect with the design. But if I see at a good price is higly possible that I buy it and give it more plays in order to try to connect.


Rialto
For me, is like a hidden gem of Stefan Feld (but I don't know if the term 'hidden gem' is applicable here because the game is widely known) but it is very underrated.

If you want to play a majorities game but not to play El Grande (which, you should, and then, this one) you can play this one and have a great time. I like it a lot! Even with 2 players.

But this time the Doge track was too overpowered in ties... Will play it again with five players and warn everybody that this track is the key to win (or, at least, that was my feeling in this game)


Roll Player
This is kinde Sagrada on steroids. And I love it. I wish it was a little bit cheaper for a game with this weight, but the game is really great!!

The theme is awesome for me but, yeah, you can forget all the theme part and still have a really decent euro game.


Samurai
I cannot tell more good things about this game. This game is perfect. And it is awesome how enjoyable is for 2-4 players. This one should be a must in every collection


Scythe + Scythe: The Wind Gambit
Scythe for me is something funny. Almost never want to play, but when I do, I enjoy it a lot! That's why is still in our collection. We played with the Wind Gambit expansion and it gives it a really nice touch to the game. We didn't use the zeppelins that much but the change of game ending added a awesome touch.


Sherlock 13
Some of you know that I don't like deduction games like Clue or any kind because I feel stupid among the players, and I don't like to feel stupid. But this one is easy enough for my poor deduction skills and pushes my brain in the good direction. This is a decent deduction game.


Space Race: The Card Game
Got it secon handed and I liked it. But I have to admit that is still in our collection because 3 reasons:

1) The theme. THE theme I love it and how it is implemented.
2) It has a small box
3) The games are really quick!

This is not a bad game at all but having Race for the Galaxy in our collection is probable that the chosen one will be RftG.


Strike
The best family dinner game EVER. Try it! Try to taught it to your family after having a birthday dinner. The y will be ask you for more! It is just a bowl and 31 dice. And that's the awesome thing!


Taluva
One of the best abstract games that we have in oour collection. Played with more players and liked less (I think that I like to have more control of the situation) but is still good with 4.


Terraforming Mars + Terraforming Mars: Venus Next + Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium
We didn't played this game in a year! We decided to play for the first time with the Venus expansion and it was really really great!! It was that great that we have left mixed all the cards from the expansion with the core game. From now, we'll play it combined always. The H&E expansion we had played it before and it is something that is good to have. Sometimes you play with one map, other days with another.


Ticket to Ride: New York
Ok, so you have the biggest cup size of Starbucks Coffee but you don't have space in your stomach to drink a gallon of coffee. You still want for it? Just take an expresso.

More or less is this TtR, a TtR in 10 minutes (or 12). Liked it a lot but... but too quick!! It should last, at least, 20/25'!


Tinners' Trail
This game is so good!! We have interest in it because it has A LOT of wood to use in our prototypes, but as we always do, we always play the games we're going to use for prototyping. This one won't be for prototypes I guess! I liked it a lot!


Viticulture Essential Edition + Tuscany Essential Edition
We traded our copy long time ago because we didn't liked it at all. I wanted to give it another try with the copy of our friends but... still a big no for me. But despite a huge no for me, I can credit the success for non-core gamers. It's truly beautiful!


Vinhos Deluxe Edition
After the huge no, comes the incredibly huge yes for me BUT I didn't like so much the new artwork for this edition. The components have a great production but I didn't like how it was drawn the boards. It's more confusing than the original one and for once in this hobby, I'm glad to not own the deluxe copy: More shelf space & worse (quite pretty, but more confusing) artwork.


Welcome To...
One great surprise! I loved the artwork when I see pictures of the game. It's a roll & write but with cards! And works lovely well! If I have to comapre with a similar game, this is way better than Avenue just because of the replayability. Will snag a copy asap!


Wendake
The last game of this series is Wendake. I have Placentia Games in quarantine zone since Bretagne (A game that I loiked but the development of the game and the redaction of the rules were really poor) and didn't jump in in the kickstarter. Glady one of our friends did and could tried! And I loved it! The core mechanism is gold. But, the last 2 rounds of the game didn't liked them. Why? It would be an instabuy for me if the game longed a little bit less was a little bit shorter. Those 2 extra rounds are the dessert after a large meal that makes your stomach hurt for hours (you know, dessert is good, but sometimes you had enough with the meal hahha)

Anyway, if I find it at a reasonable price will get it to give it more tries at home.



And that's all folks, here's the winners of those weeks. This week I'll talk about the Week 39 and Essen Spiel misc.


Cheers!
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Mon Oct 1, 2018 8:40 am
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Games & Llamas: You Will Know What I Played Last Summer Part 3

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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The third part! Only 1 left! Phew!

Kanban: Driver's Edition
What can I say about Vital Lacerda? This is one of his masterpieces and in the first game I didn’t get as much fun as it offers this design. But, with a second game (we had played 4 times already) you dig more and more in its mechanics. We have the old version but as far as I know there aren’t major changes (only esthetics)



Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road
We saw this little game in Spiel in 2015 but it was in German and it is unplayable for us. With the Holy Grail version finally I can get my hands on it and it was lovely. I loved a lot the core mechanism and in situations like this, I hate myself for not having the idea before. Very recommended.


Kingdomino
A must. I didn’t tried Queendomino but if Queendomino shades the selection mechanism of this game, it won’t please me. (I’ll try Queendomino this week I guess!!)


Kitchen Rush
The best discovering of the summer so far! I liked THAT much that I’m looking for a copy to play it with all my friends. I worked in a kitchen for 4 years when I was younger and this is the same thing BUT FUNNY. Oh man, I’ll treasure the moment when I played this for the first time forever.


Kraftwagen
A hidden gem from one of my favourites designers, Matthias Cramer. This game has the amazing selection mechanism of Glen More but with a part of the game that drives me crazy: The selection of buyers that could mess with everyone (even yourself). If you have the chance to play it (or buy it, it isn’t expensive) go for it!


Last Will
The point of the game to get rid out of your money it’s the best! In most of the games you have to get as much money as you can but in this one you don’t. I admire Vladimir Suchy because he can make really good eurogames but all different among them!


Lisboa
I talked before about it so it won’t be long. This is not a game for just only 1 play. The first game probably overwhelms you, but the second one will amaze you!


London (Second Edition)
Elegant, absurdly beautiful and addictive. I played a lot of games of Martin Wallace and… and I think that this is my favorite. Well dome Osprey Games!!


Magic: The Gathering
Played a couple of plays with Shei. I liked it a lot because it was my first non-classic card game of my childhood and I didn’t played it in ages but Shei didn’t liked it. Better for our wallets!


Medina (second edition)
It is curious but this game wasn’t designed for 2 players but I like it more with that player count than with more. It is a little bit expensive for an abstract game BUT, it is that pretty and has that many wooden chunks that you don’t think in the price when you’re playing it!


Mombasa
We didn’t play it in about 2 years and I don’t know why! This is an awesome game! We played it with the mini expansion that grants something to the player who has the most counting guys because I think that is mandatory for this game. To me, the best Andreas Pfister game to date.


MONSTArgh!
Little game for a friend of us in flavor of Arboretum bit lighter. Liked it! It will be published soon in Spain.


Nations: The Dice Game
I liked Nations rather than Through the Ages but we traded Nations because it was to punishable to the weakest player (snowballing effect) although I didn’t say no to a game of it. This game is nice but it ‘lacks’ the same thing of its big brother. If you don’t get certain dice or advance in certain track you’ll be punish by the game. Anyway, it was really nice to play!


Nippon
The best game of our friends Nuno & Paulo. This is the second time I play it with 4 players and I can say that is amazing for any player count. To me, it is at the same level than Vinhos in the WyG top list (and they both are Nº1)


Onitama
Really decent abstract game! I liked the fact you won’t move the pieces in the same way always! Even it changes among plays because only 5 cards are used in every play. But to me has two big ‘but’. I hate the neoprene board. It is original, but I dislike it a lot. And the plastic figures are quite ugly to me. To me it would be better with cardboard and wood/bakelite as usual (but these two things are the no-no only for me, because the game is great!)


Prosperity
A not-so-old game (2013) but it feels like it is from 90’ because of the gameplay. I liked it a bit but not so much. We played it because we bought it by 2’5€ and wanted it to try it before using its components (a lot of tiles and black discs) for prototyping purposes.


Pueblo
This is one of the greatest abstract games ever! If youhave read this blog you already know what I think about this game Hopefully in Spiel 18 we will snag a copy from a Dutch fella that will sell it to us!


Pyramid of Pengqueen
This game is really fun! I played as the Mummy and I think that it will be funny as the adventurers for sure! It would be great with our nephews!


Qwinto
To me, better than Qwixx. But Qwixx is better for larger groups and for families (We had lovely memories playing Qwixx with our families)


See you next week!!
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Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:31 am
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Games & Llamas: You Will Know What I Played Last Summer Part 2

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Previously on ‘You Will Know What I Played Last Summer’ …


Belfort
Long time ago, we played this game with 2 and 4 players and we loved it. With the pass of the time, the 2 player version, even being clever, I don’t like it that much. It’s a pity because I like all of the aspects of the game. Will play again with more players or finally will trade it to rest in a shelf that will appreciate it.


Bellz!
Silly toy game with a powerful magnet and metal jingle bells of the color of the players. You have to take all the bells from your color before every player. Silly but really fun.!


Bora Bora
This is one masterpiece of Stefan Feld and I love it. I still prefer CoB or Aquasphere but Bora Bora is one of the greatest. The mechanic of suffering every round to do a lot of things in order to not screw the final scoring is delightful.


Bunny Kingdom
This is Kingdom Builder on steroids. We played it at 2:00 a.m. and probably this affected my opinion but I didn’t like it at all. It is pretty, has a great production and it seems that hasn’t many luck factor due to the drafting. But for me was a little bit boring.



Carson City with Carson City: Horses & Heroes
We hadn’t play this in a while (like, in 2 years) and it is as great as always. BUT. The last time I played with 4 people and I loved it more. Will trade the first expansion and keep Horses & Heroes because the horses give to the base game a really nice touch.


Cheeky Monkey
If there’s a family reunion, there are nephews. If there are nephews, there is Cheeky Monkey. It’s a winner in this kind of situations.


Clans of Caledonia
This was the first time I played with 4 players. And it was AWESOME. I loved CoC but this time I enjoyed the suffering of being isolated on a corner in the map. This is one of the greatest games in 2017 so far. If there will be an expansion I’m in.


The Colonists
Our 4 full eras of the year. Once a year Shei & I go to her parent’s village and spent a full day playing this masterpiece. We relish this eurogame as a gourmet meal during all day. Taking breaks for lunch or even coffee while discussing things between eras. I mean. I won’t play this more often than a couple of games per year but, this one or two, are like a tradition to spent a full day with my wife playing a thing.


Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
This was the last game of Stegmaier that I have to try and… didn’t like it that much. The luck factor losing workers all the time gave me a sensation of chaos that I don’t like in a resource management. And this is another race to get rid of something. No, this gameis not for me but at least wasn’t an awful experience.


Familienbande
This is a homemade copy of this game for giving as a present to a friend. His nickname is “Vander” so I remake all the cards and box and stuff to call it “FamilienVander”. And also I improved the scoring track (stacking discs are waaaaay better). Finally I experienced the bad luck of not drawing the cards your trait needs. Anyway, the game is pretty fun and it gets played quickly. Hopefully I’ll find a copy in Essen Spiel.


Five Tribes
I cannot say anything more about one of my top-3? top-5? games. To me is one of the greatest in our collection and never get tired to play it. Yeah, I know that it could be very frustrating with AP-prone players but, the 80% of the games I play with 2 so there’s not so much AP there. (It helps that Shei and I don’t overthink our decisions)


Food Chain Magnate
I can admit that this is not a “only 1 play” board game. I can admit that despite having an ugly artwork is pretty functional. I can admit that not having a back cover the box is irrelevant. But I cannot admit the ultra-hype with this one.
Yes! Is good! But I cannot say (to me) that is one of the greatest of the decade, or, one in a million. I liked it but it went quite down on my wish list. And I won’t pay 75€ for this, obviously.


Glory to Rome
After a couple (or three, I cannot remember) years without playing it, we finally play it again. This was one of our first games and it aged well. Probably will play soon in order to play the expansion or even play with the building actions (yes, we didn’t played with the abilities of the buildings before)


Grand Austria Hotel
As I said about Five Tribes, this is one of my top too. The way this game makes my brain work is awesome. We only have played with two but I think that it could be nice with more players (but with the variant of sequential turn order, not catan-like turn order).


Hab & Gut
Another impossible-to-find game. I loved how the information is shared between players and the aspect of giving too much money or not. I liked overall but, to me, has a horrible design failure. For many people, being eliminated from the final scoring if you have been the greedier player, is a rule that they love but to me, is the worse. The feeling of “whoah! I’ve spent an hour or so for actually doing nothing” doesn’t work for me. It was a different feeling if the player participates in the final scoring but only with the half of the money. Yes, it is ‘practically’ the same but the same feeling. Anyway the game is pretty cool to me despite that annoying rule.


Hanamikoji
Hanamikoji is one of the greatest discovering from 2017 and I love to played it with Shei. It is one of the cleverest games I know. The possibilities of this little gem when you play the cards are amazing. Do you remember the feeling of playing Love Letter for the first time? This is something similar to me.


'Tiger' Jenga
We bought this non-branded version of Jenga in a shop called Tiger (people from Europe will know) because of the wooden blocks for prototyping purposes. But, as always we do when we bought a cheap game for materials, we give it a try and that was fun. It’s a Jenga anyway


This is the second part of You Will Know What I Played Last Summer and there are 2 more to go! I hope to finish them before Essen Spiel because I want to do a Spiel report from there!!
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Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:30 am
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Games & Llamas: You Will Know What I Played Last Summer

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Whoah… what a summer!

Now, with September started, I think that I should talk about all the games I’ve tried since the end of June, where my last Games & Llamas post didn’t warned that I’ll take a break from writing in English. I didn’t take it from writing in Spanish (since it is waaaay easier for me) and I owe you one (or several) large post.

The total amount of games played between the last post and TODAY is this:

(86)


I don’t know how I’m going to do this so, let’s try! I’m going to try to say something about all of them in number of plays order (just because BGG sorted it this way). So I’m thinking that I’m going to write in rounds of 20ish different games per post since I have 86 different games in that picture (and I’m not counting different prototypes!)

Unpublished Prototype
We had played A LOT of prototypes but certainly more games of Special 14, a That's Pretty Clever like game of roll and write that we have the proud to tell you that will be published by Ludonova in Q1 /Q2 of 2019.



We played several games of Ramen that will be released at Spiel18 and we’re ultra-excited to see if the people will like it or not. It’s frightening but it is awesome every time a game from us is published. You can show some love for the game in the Essen Spiel Preview (We’re still in the first page of hotness) and in its BGG page.


We started more designs but, since Ramen will be on Spiel 18 and we’re finishing the games that are actually signed with publishers, we had to stop creating new ones. That’s a lot of work!

Unusual Suspects
Or as we called it: “The Racists Detector” hahahah It is awesome how the people’s (and your own) prejudges blend with a mechanic of guessing. I enjoyed it but 7 games in a row was too much and I won’t will play it again in a while.


Avenue
We bought this game during our vacation in Lisbon and we’re quite happy with it. It is quick and it gets played smoothly. Probably will trade it because there’s no variation in the sheet and because we tried “Welcome to…” and we loved it with just one game.


Isis & Osiris
An old abstract game with a memory component that I really like it and it works awesomely well with kids that are learning basic math. It is possible that will be traded in a future but I have to admit that I had some invaluable memories with my nephews.


Azul
No, I’m not going to say anything more about the best game of 2017. We even played our handmade travel version and it gets awesome in every game of it. It is perfect. I don’t know how to think about the new version of Sintra glasses but surely I’ll check it out at Spiel.


Fuji Flush
I like more Abluxxen but Fuji Flush had become one of my favorites when we are more than 4 players playing card games. The first games of it wasn’t good for me but with more plays it gets better more and more.


Lowlands
This is a nice euro-sheep-game with workers with a certainly amount of action points. I liked the part of the dike but I don’t know… there’s something that doesn’t fit in my taste. Nevertheless I enjoy playing it trying to optimize the board to fit more and more sheep on it. And I have to admit that if it this game has the artwork of Klemens Franz it would be nicer to me. BUT, it is pretty anyway.


Pikoko
One of the best trick-taking card games I’ve ever played. And it is absolutely lovely! I don’t know when but surely it will be widely available soon! It is soo good! It is a kind of trick taking game but playing in the way of Hanabi and trying to guess how many tricks a player can win in the round. It is awesome.


Pocket Mars
A really decent filler about Mars (but it could have any other theme, you know) that it gets played superfast with multipurpose cards. I mean, this is not the greatest game of the world but I do like it a lot! I have to try its solitaire mode because sounds good.


Santorini
I’m a beast at this game. I usually win despite the god I have dealt. A lot of replayability and awesome production. I’m glad it gets widely available because it is an abstract game with a theme I’d love to play.


Team Play
A lovely surprise! We bought this hidden gem in Frankfurt last December because it was really cheap. It is a team game about doing collections of cards with no theme but its gameplay is really cool. You can pass cards to your teammate in order to help him/her to complete the general collection target or his/her hidden personal collection. Really nice.


X nimmt!
The advanced version of 6 Nimmt! that it is better for 2 players to 4 players. 6 Nimmt! with two or three players isn’t good but this is. Try it if you can because I love it! I don’t know why it is not so popular than 6 Nimmt!.


Aalsmeer
This two games of Aalsmeer has been the best so far. I was playing and I wasn’t thinking all the time “this game is a game designed by you and Shei, you know the game and you know everything of it”. I enjoyed this two games like it was a game from another designer. I think that is the best feeling in the designing world It will be published by Ediciones Primigenio for their 2019 Spiel Release (At least, that was they told us)


Caverna: Cave vs Cave
A game that I always wanted to play. It is the best 2 player version that Caverna could ever have. The way you took the actions and the way you develop your cave is something that I love. Really looking for the expansion this year!!


That's Pretty Clever
It has become one of my favourites Roll and Write games. I’m really excited for trying the new scoresheet for the next year!


Ginkgopolis
If you take out the theme of it (It could have any other more interesting theme) and get familiarized with the iconography, this is an awesome game. I hope that it gets a reprint because it is impossible to find now. To me, is even better than Carson City.


Heaven & Ale
I played this game again with only 2 players and it gets played really quickly. I prefer to play it with more players (it gets more interesting) but overall I love the mechanism of deciding when to score or when to earn money.


Hive Pocket
The only game we played in our vacation in Portugal. We played it in the apartment while having coffee after breakfast. It is always packed in our suitcase when we travel.


Labyrinth: The Card Game
Awful. We bought it from a sale and it goes directly to the For Trade list.


The Oracle of Delphi
We played this the last year at 4 players and we liked it but it wasn’t an insta-love. But we found a copy at a bargain price and we had to try it again. I liked it more with more plays. I think that the luck factor is really high in this one and if you cannot get the right rolls you could be out of the game pretty soon. We’ll play it a little bit more before decide if it will go to the trade list or not.


Orc-lympics
It is a card drafting-fighting game with some nice ideas in it. We only played it with two players but it seems not to be its best player count. Will try with more players.


Patchwork
A game that is always enjoyable. I understand the new express version (for kids and elder people, not for casual gamers). This game is one of the greatest gateway game to introduce new people into the hobby and it has to be in every collection.


Race for the Galaxy
It is amazing how the years pass and this game remains fresh. It is that good that it doesn’t seem that it is 11 years old. Despite the awful iconography, the gameplay is awesome.


San Juan
This is the Race for the Galaxy for people that are scared to play RftG. It is kinder for non-core gamers but for core gamers could be a little bit soft. I like it anyway and I would play it when I’m in the mood for light games.


Zero!
This was the first game I liked of Knizia and we play it anytime we can. It is super-random because if you don’t have the cards, the only thing you can do is trying to get rid of them but it is a game I love so much. And it was bought in a special store and played once with special people


6 nimmt!
The best game you can play for 5-6 people. If you’re more than 6 I’d choose Fuji Flush but it is one of the greatest games ever.


And with these 30 games, the first part of “You Will Know What I Played Last Summer” is over. There will be 3 more (You now, I trid to make a trilogy for the history is so long and it must to have a 4th part).

See you later!

PS: Anyone of you will attend Essen SPIEL??
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Tue Sep 4, 2018 12:15 pm
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Week 25: From Monza to Biosphere

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!
I’m not that busy this week and I can brought you the weekly report a little bit earlier than the last week!

Thursday

As I said last week, we’re going to participate this year in the GenCan’t contest with Waffle Hassle, a card-drafting game of 18 cards about making a waffle We think that is ready to be submitted to the contest!


Saturday

Big day here! We started playing our prototypes in our home because we want to have it ready for Spiel (and for a prototype convention in Valencia in a couple of weeks). The mid-weight eurogame we’re designing flows and plays well but if we’re honest with our work, we’re not close to have a version to show to players. Keep working!



And more tests of Waffle Hassle (in solitaire mode too) to start writing the rules, the print and play files and all the things to put it online for you.


We finished the prototype session early (that what it happens when you only have to test a big game) so we played the last (of the frist three) Exit game we have: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin. And it was amazing as usual. We love this series and we’re going to buy anything that our beloved Markus & Inka do.


We travel to the Madrid mountains to play until Sunday with our friends Ana & Jorge (and a friend of them, Paloma and their lovely daughter J). Because J wanted to play with us, she decided to play Isle of Monsters. An easy “combat and resource management” game for kids (although I think that there are a few rules not so trivial for kids) The art is outstanding and I want a game illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya for one of our games (someday...in our dreams...) I liked it despite all the randomness, but I think that is pretty cool for youngsters.


Before dinner a couple of card games that I really wanted to try someday. We started with Herbalism, and I realized that is a deduction game... and I don’t like deduction games! I feel stupid when I play those games (despite enjoying them a little bit if I’m honest) The artwork is amazing and the game I have to admit is pretty cool but... It’s not my cup of tea


Finally I try High Society, the new edition illustrated by the Medusa Dollmaker a.k.a Fallera Mayor of the illustrators. I liked a lot the game but it is really tough! In Modern Art you get income from cards and you can be playing the game the whole time but in this one... if you spend too much, better not spend more if you won’t get out of the game. Anyway I can recommend it as an alternative to Modern Art.


After dinner, we played one full game of 1920 Wall Street, one game of the 19xx series from Looping games! I love this tiny boxed but awesomely good designed games. The next one will be 1906 San Francisco(rebuilding the city after the earthquake) and the next one... 1988 Dover Calais!

In this game you’re buying shares from primary products before the bombing of Wall Street in 1920. With a kinda-mancala-moving system that I love. If you have the chance to buy it (it cost only 20€) do it and you won’t regret it.


And then the heaviest game of the night: Biosphere. An area control game with dice that acts like markers that has “expiry date” and dies in a determined number of turns. I liked it very much but it was a brain burner for me. In this kind of games I prefer El Grande for simplicity but this one was really great.


Ana & Jorge have a huge board game collection (over 800) and they have weird games like this Zendo that I didn’t heard of it before. It is a clever guessing game that made me feel stupid in the same way like deduction games hahaha. It is cool but it requires a lot of games to get the point.


When everyone went to bed at 4:00a.m Jorge and I played a couple of games more. We played Space Race: The Card Game because Ia have it in my pile of shame and the rulebook is a little bit messy for me (now I played, the rulebook is nice, but at a first approach is not that easy). I liked the game a lot because (mainly) the theme. I’m a enthusiast of everything about the space race and modern spaces programs (I cried a little with the Falcon Heavy launch ). The game is a kind of Race for the Galaxy in which you select a card to play a phase and get cards from the center of the table and try to combine their actions. RftG is a better game for sure but in this one I can say that Valentina Tereshkova is in my team!


And one game of NMBR 9 after going to bed because is an amazing game that I can play it forever and it could be played in 10’.


Sunday

When I woke up, J had put in the table Penguin Trap and I played with her this incredibly funny game. We’re looking to get a copy to play it with our nephews.


Then, J wanted to play Leo and so did we. Is a funny memory cooperative game that (for me) it isn’t easy to beat. We won but it wasn’t easy! I liked it.


And finally I play Monza! A game that I really wanted to play because my youngest nephew love cars and races (but not so much bard games) and this one could be the game that hooks him up


We say goodby to our friends and return to home. Since I played Space Race: The Card Game but Shei didn’t, I taughted her the rules (as I said, now is easy to teach) and play one quick game. The game is played in only 7 rounds and the cards you get can tell a history at the end of the game. I think that we’ll play it a lot this summer.


And the game of the week is...


See you tomorrow because we’re going to release Waffle Hassle to blind playtesting here!
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Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:47 am
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Week 24: Waffles in Arle

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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So, with a little delay, here’s the post for the 24th week of the year!

Monday

I said that Pulsar 2849 will hit the table more often and I wasn’t wrong. Another game of this gem that, in my opinion has be underlooked in the past Spiel. If you like games like Grand Austria Hotel, The Voyages of Marco Polo or Lorenzo il Magnifico is a really good addition to your collection. I love how the elements interconnect between them.


Wednesday

As a few of you know, we’re going to participate in the GenCan’t contest again this year. The last year we design a Roll & Write game about Terraforming Mars (and you can download it and play it here!) and this year the contest is a little bit different: Is organized by ButtonShy games too and the winner will be published by them. So we’ve design a 18-card game about making waffles! We called it Waffle Hassle and we think that it has all the ingredients (you got it?) to be a decent microgame!


Friday

We finally started a proper session of gaming with Signorie, because we wanted this weekend to play a lot of games that we haven’t played in a while (almost a year!). The game is fantastic but after a few plays with two and with four I prefer it with more players. Anyway, this is more or less the seal of quality of What's Your Game?: Good even with a lower player count.


After that, a game of Blueprints! We haven’t played it in almost 2 years! And it is gorgeous! I prefer it too with more players but you have a decent game with only two. The only thing that I dislike about Blueprints is its cloth bag. Too many loose blue threads in the table after every game hahaha


To end, one of the greatest games of Stefan Feld: AquaSphere: A beast of optimization and planning. I could say that The Castles of Burgundy is the best game of him but probably I’d say that AquaSphere is the second.


Saturday

After a busy morning, we keep playing games that we haven’t played for a long time. This time: Fields of Arle, a big game of Uwe Rosenberg that is slightly different from the other games of him. We have played only 3 times but I feel that it isn’t as replayable as the other games of agriculture. I don’t know, probably we won’t play it again in a while so replayability won’t be a problem hahah


A quick game of one of the best card game I’ve ever played: Honshū. I love this little game and the middle-draft of every hand. And I only lose once in all of my games


Another game of Azul, because a week without Azul seems a wasted week. I’m trying to be creative with the pictures of Azul because we played it that often that my phone is full of the more or less the same pictures hahah


Sunday

Working day in another game we’re designing, a middle weight eurogame of resource management, dice/worker placement, action selection and area control. We’ll see what we get from it but the first run of it were good enough to have a good start! And the final game of Special 14 in order to test the last tweak. The game is ready to show to people!


So, as I said the last week, the game of the week has to be…


See you next week!
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Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:07 am
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Week 23: Raccoons and Ginkgos

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Since I’m synchronized with the Spanish posts on llamadice.com I want to keep this here! So let’s see how our gaming week number 23 was!

Tuesday

There’s a new game Spanish game line about a series of mini games about a mystery called Q. We played Sherlock: Last Call. There are 3 in the market but there are several more announced. It came as a small deck of cards and you throw “clues” to the investigation or discard fake trails. Then, there’s a resolution of the mystery and you can check your guessing level with a scoring. Not a game for us and I got bored a little bit. I’m not the target but I can see an awesome selling rate. This is a good social game for casual players.


Wednesday

I wanted to play something but Shei was too tired for anything, so I played one game of Finished! and I almost achieve it! I see certain patterns in cards that worked better than others. I always try the combo of put the 48th card under the deck without passing to the past area in order to not to discard coffee. I’ll try till get it!


Saturday

If you spend the whole week taking decisions in your prototypes instead of playing them or playing games there’s no so much to say about the gaming week. Fortunately, we spent a lovely evening with our friends Javi & Patri.

We started with one of the forgotten games of What’s your Game (along with Reef Encounter, Fairy Tale or OddVille, that is pretty good that game!): Asgard. This is a game that you can’t judge with only one game but... I think that the 7 games that I have of this publisher are better than this one. I mean, this is not a bad game at all but it hasn’t a mechanism that keeps me wanting to playing again and again. But finally I played it! And I enjoyed so it was nice!


Then we tortured our friends a little bit with our prototypes Rawr! and Special 14 and they worked awesomely well. Particularly Special 14 that was its first try at 4 players. I think that we can have it ready for Spiel 18!



And then, a game that we didn’t played it since March ’16 because we were lazy about learning the rules again but this is one of the greatest games that we have in our collection: Ginkgopolis. This is a huge abstract game with a “city building” theme in disguise. When you play ths game for the first time you think: “Yeah, ok, I’ll do this with no reason but I’ll try...” and when the game is over, you see how good is. It should be published again because is awesome (But its theme doesn’t help to bring it to the table)


And two light games for ending the evening. First one game of Perudo that actually I enjoyed a lot (I was the first kicked out the game but I still liked it) I can craft a copy of it since we have a lot of dice for prototyping but I’ll get a copy when I see it at a good price.


And the last game was another game of the Q series: Sherlock: Death on the 4th of July and same result with more people: I got bored but I think that the idea of the game is pretty good and it will sell very very well.


Sunday

And finally we played our first game of Pulsar 2849 and it was AMAZING! Despite the theme (I don’t know why, but with eurogames of dice placement and so I dislike space theme) 8 rounds to do whatever you can. The dice drafting mechanism is quite good and it adds a layer of depth in just “Take the best dice and deal with it”. I can recommend this game to anyone that enjoys Marco Polo, Grand Austria Hotel or Lorenzo Il Magnifico. I think that it will hit the table very often.


Then a quick game of Pueblo with the gyratory stand from Ikea. This should be included in the game because is sooooo cool to play spinning the board trying to get the best position for your pieces.


And another game of Ginkgopolis that actually work pretty well with 2 players! But I think that its best number is 4. We had to play trying to get the rules in our minds and playing it again soon. This is a master piece!



And to ending the week playing a game unplayed from our shelves: Dale of Merchants, game that we played the last year a couple of times and I didn’t liked so much... but we saw it on Amazon at a awesome price and we couldn’t resist. This time was better BUT I won’t play with the raccoons again. My eurogamer soul cannot accept that someone can steal you a good card just because he or she can.


And because I know that Pulsar 2849 will be in our tables the next week the award of the week goes to...


See you next week!
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:15 am
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Week 22: Concordia big and small

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Yes I said on Monday but I speed up the things a little and here's the write up of the 22th week of the year!

Tuesday
Sometimes, when we start a new prototype, I want to try it out as soon as possible to see if it worth spend more time on it. So I brought the first version to my job to play it with my boss. It worked well but there is some work to do though!


By the afternoon Shei and I played a game that I love: Village. I like the simplicity of the gameplay. But the simplicity you get when you already know the game because it has a lot of things to take into account for newbies.


Wednesday

Polished some edges, we played a couple of times the new prototype that we call it “Special 14” (Don’t ask why) and it worked pretty well. Nevertheless, some modifications will be done aiming more simplicity and better flowing.


Friday

Not every day your country politicians give you good news. To celebrate the destitution of our awful commander in chief we played a game that summarize the feeling: Genial (like Cool! In English) And I also celebrate it with a proper gin & tonic (Please Mr O’Connor, I only have two gin bottles in my bar: The good one and the regular one and this time was the good)


And after that, a game of Azul because, you know, I could play this forever.


Saturday

Did I mention that I love to play light games while having coffee? Ganz Schön Clever & Portuguese expresso (pingado for a proper definition) is one of the best combinations I could have.


We’re considering to trade First Class but before trade it, we want to try all the modules. We played E+D and I’m not sure if we will play C (Orient Express module). I don’t like the chance of not getting any point in the whole game. I don’t know why we thought on trading it because I like this game a lot.


We played (with permission of Castles of Burgundy) on of our top 5 games: Concordia. We love Mac Gerdts for making such a deep game so simple. We played with the expansion Creta and it was a nice variation! I like a lot the island region that allow you to take the bonus you want.


One of the acquisitions in Club DA2 was Finished! I liked a lot Friday so I wanted to try this one. I cannot believe that the guy with the green hair sold me a game about sorting a deck of cards. And I wanted to sort them!! A little bit fiddly in the order you move the cards and so, but is nice for a half an hour.


Sunday
We spent the whole Sunday morning working on our prototypes. One of those moments that you want to play but if you want to get published, you have to work! I can see a “demoable” version of Special 14 soon. It is being fun to develop it! We are polishing Rawr! to reduce the frustration feeling a little bit more. I think that we get it!


Yes, I like to play light games while having coffee but sometimes I want to play something meatier! So we played one game of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. But Since we have the first expansion, we always play with it. Without it... you won’t feel any feel of replayability. Nice game when you don’t have the enough time (or space) to play its big brother.


Nothing more for this week! and if you payed attention to the text, you won’t be surprised that the game of week is...


See you the next week! Finally, I'm up to date!! Yay!!
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Fri Jun 8, 2018 7:38 am
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Week 21: Sagrada Maria

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!
Again, our prototype duties had trampled me and I couldn’t make the post for the week 21. Now I’m trying to write them up at once and post it in two separate posts because I REALLY WANT to catch up with you. I think that the post for the 22th week will be posted on Monday.

The 21th week was quite special for us since that weekend was the anniversary of one of the greatest gaming clubs in Madrid: Club DA2. Typically we go there to test prototypes with core gamers and non-core gamers but this year, we only brought with us Rawr! and Fondue! just in case the feeling of the gamers were propitious. We went there for gaming!

Wednesday

It isn’t usual having a free day in the midweek but this time, we played one of the greatest Kickstarters we have backed: Clans of Caledonia. This time Shei smashed me with a quite fine optimization of the money and acquiring the right contracts in the right time. This games is a blast and I hope to meet Juma at Spiel this year!



Saturday


Finally the big day! We went to the club and started to play two games that I really eager to try!
We play one game of Sagrada and I loved it. Despite playing with strangers I enjoyed the game a lot. Sometimes, when I take my first turn in a game, I already know if I’ll like it or not. This was one of these times. I wonder when it will be available in our country or if I have to wait till Spiel 18.


Then another game from Spiel 17 that I really wanted to try Meeple Circus. I like this kind of dexterity games despite being an eurogamer and my expectations met. At the end, your scoring doesn’t matter, you have had great silly fun. I still prefer Junk Art but this one is pretty good.


Prototype time! Manu Palau taught us his new version of his successful Spoilers and also we played Rawr! with them (Still need to adjust the frustration) and then go to lunch!


When we came back to the club we played one prototype of one of the members that was quite good for being his first game. Then more Rawr! and for popular request we played one game of Ramen (former Fondue!) with 5 players (its maximum) and it worked awesome.


Finally, we played on of the hyped games on my wish list: Santa Maria. And I was a little bit disappointed. It is not a bad game at all. It is good and the mechanics blends so well, but I got that hyped with this one that the expectations in this case didn’t met. Anyway, I got a really good time playing with those strangers and I’ll play it again when I have the chance!


More Rawr! test with different people applying the changes from the other tests. Still a little bit frustrating.


And for ending a perfect day another hyped game: Clank! In! Space! And it was really good. While the owner was tauhting us the game I said a lot of times: “Like –Star Realms/Ascension/Trains/Dominion- right?” Because it has all the good things about those deck builders but well blended. A little bit long for what I expect from a DB but probably because we are all newbies and spent too much time on the board. I want to try the non-space version.


Sunday

While breakfast, Shei told to me that se need to rise her monthly h-index playing one game of Hanamikoji so... voila! This is one of the simplest and meatiest game for 2 players that I know.


One of the things I like the most is playing light games while having a proper Portuguese expresso. Ganz Schön Clever has become one of the perfect games for this purpose.


We saw on Twitter our friends playing The Castles of Burgundy and we wanted to do the same so... we played it! My favorite. I hope someday Alea publish a deluxe edition of it with thicker tiles and absurdly big dice or whatever. They have my money on advance


To ending the week, one game of Torres but this time interiorizing the rules of the king (if you don’t pay attention to the location of the king in every round, you probably will lose. At least with 2 players) I want to play it with more players because it will be better with more players.


But Shei said... Do you want to play an Azul? So Torres wasn’t the last game of the week. I cannot say no to a game of Azul. If it won’t win the SdJ award it will win in my heart.


The game of the week, because met all the expectations is...


See you on Monday!
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Thu Jun 7, 2018 7:04 am
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