All the Meeples of the Rainbow.

A photographic journey through board games...
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The Count to Essen Begins! Still With So Many Amazing Games!

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

Hia Everyone!

In case you missed it... Selling gaming 2019 gaming calendars! You can check out cheers!

Fun group Thursday! Last Thursday I had the pleasure of hitting up some games with the fun folks!

We started the night with 6 players and Most Wanted.

I was excited to play this game again and have the large group! we finally played the game with the second stage of rules so we played with the full 5 card poker hands and that was way more interesting than the first basic play mode without the straights and flushes. #definitelyrecommend

So we were playing and there were big points to be had when you went all in with your 5 cards. It did speed the game up faster too having so many people and so many cards being used. Seemed to fly right on by!

I was hanging out in the loser zone for most of the game and I managed to have a good hand eventually, which brought me back to mid-range with most everyone.

Eventually, we were all like within 6 steps and the final card was turned so whoever had the best hand would win the game. Turned out to be JOE was the winner this time. I duno how that happened. Joe doesn't win games.

We were waiting to see if Jess and Ed were coming so we played another fast game and this time it was Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents. This is such a cute game and plays out in like 10 minutes!

Make some interesting lines and then create art. It is pretty creative. I ended up playing again later in the week and found my drawing to be sub-par both times, I know I can do better! There is a timer so the pressure is on to draw something quickly.

It is still a fun challenge even though Ron always wins. We had fun categories though and we had to draw Help and we all went to like water scenes and we had Wish and juice. Ron's wish was clearly the best with genie.

Super cute and fun game. Happy to play it.

next up we were going to play Dom Spec but ended up playing 3 player Small World.

It had been about a million years since I played this so I was pretty excited to play again. I have no idea why Ron doesn't like it so much. This game Riley, Scott and I played.

It had been so long for all of us and we all forgot the rules. Riley reviewed it and I remembered more than I thought I would. We were playing with a couple small expansions I couldn't name them.

Having just played History of the World, I can't help but compare the games and they are just so similar. More on that later in the post though.

This was so much fun to play though. I am really drawn to these mechanics which could be why I enjoy History of the World so much. I like that you have to do your best each round but you still can score from past races that you have control over still. I like that you score at the end of your turn, each turn. So interesting.

I really want to play this one more. It was a super close game though and I think I might have won by a couple points... or WAIT nooooo Riley won by a couple points. I remember now. Dang! 3 points! It really felt like I was going to win that one all game though. Boo, I will have to try to get him back later.

Great game!!

Jess and Edward showed up and we played a couple games of Neos.

I love this game and it is shocking that I hadn't played it at all this year! So glad Ed was just "oh what's this?" I said we will play right now!

The first game was a learning game and everyone wanted to play again right after.

I ended up winning the first game and he won the second. I was so bummed in the second game because it was Disney HQ night and I was gliched out of the game on round 2. I was less focused on the game after that. I will blame that- even though I got the same score, I think.

This is a very fast card laying pattern game. Simply wonderful!

We ended the night with a play of Space Park.

I got to play this once before and was looking forward to another play. We were playing 4 players and I was teaching everyone. The game is pretty simple and I think I recalled all the rules correctly, provided I was taught correctly to start.

I still stand by that this is one of the prettiest games and artwork. Quality game components and simple ruleset makes it very attractive. I havent tried solo mode but it also has that.

In our game Edward was on point and just chugging at the goal cards. I wasn't getting the opportunity to complete my own and the ships were always so far away. My combos weren't working so well either.

I needed like one more turn in the game to get everything I wanted to played and I might ahve won. But, Ed was able to end it a turn earlier and win the game with 20 points. Fun times playing.

Saturday was game day and I had a few new games I wanted to check out the first being Triky Trail... not yet on BGG. New to me!

This is a simple and quick card game that will be on KS soon. There is a lot of geographical trivia in this game. Oh Boy, it certainly makes me look foolish! So there are several decks and I was given the Africa deck I think you will get more in the game box when you get the game though and you select a continent to start the game.

The game is pretty straightforward in that you have a hand of cards and you are looking to get rid of all your cards first. You can play the speed way or we played the static way of just playing a card on your turn. When you play a card you can play it to match the number of the card of the suit of the card. With speed, you can go out of turn and play these cards. You might also play a joker card which will then tell the next player to do something like miss a turn or draw some cards or the really hard one of trying to guess which nations flag you are looking at. Lemme tell ya, I am not familiar with Africa's different collection of flags. Oh man, was I terrible!

Lots of different actions you might get on your cards so that keeps it interesting. I think this game would be wonderful to help educate kids or me in geography since, I am, just that bad. It was pretty standard in terms of gameplay though. I can't say it offered anything new or exciting, but I enjoyed the art and knowledge it provides. I would have loved to play it in 8th grade when I was learning more about Africa. I might have done better with North America... maybe.

I am pretty sure Dan won this game, I know it was definitely not me. A pretty cute game so be on the lookout on KS.

Dan had a game for us to play called Tubyrinth. New to me!

I am always happy to play more Polyomino games. This is a speed game with 8 rounds you play each side of the boards and there are 4 boards. Everyone has the same pieces and you are trying to connect the water ports using as many of the pieces you can for a pipe network.

Pretty simple, yet so very difficult to play. I was barely managing to get the completed pipe. I think I might have completed 3 of them- one for each of the pictures below since I was so pleased I actually finished the pipe! Nothing to be that excited about, but I was proud.

It was a cute game and I could definitely play again. No problem. I liked it and Ron probably won or maybe Dan. It was not me at all.

For a 5 minute filler while we waited on others, we played a game of Ticket to Ride: New York.

Always happy to play this one since it really is a great game. I love trying to make the paths and cut people off. 4 players is super tight and they all cut me off pretty quickly in this game.

I was struggling to complete my routes but I managed it and picked up an extra.

Ron completely destroyed us as per usual. What the heck. unimpressed.

I got a couple shipments in the mail and was anxious to get some of the new polyomino games played that I got first being Arraial. New to me!

I saw this on the Essen preview list and was immediately interested. The pop of colors and of course the polyomino shapes I was drawn in.

This game plays out much like Tetris, except you have to control a little of the shapes you are dropping. What's interesting is the center dial that has 3 cards on display and when you draft them to your board they get dropped in the way they are displayed, but you can spend one of your 3 actions to rotate the dial and therefore change the orientation of the pieces.

When you are able to complete a row you get a white meeple to your party line and that line actually gets bumped upward one row! This is great because there are 3 rounds in the game and after the 1st and second rounds are completed then the party line drops a couple rows, and if it is ever broken by the line of tiles then you lose the party line and can't collect white meeples any longer. When the round is over you do get to score whatever white meeples you did collect though so you might not have to lose all your white meeples if you ever break it.

There is a sort of largest area for each given color blocking too. Now, whenever you connect a second matching tile so, red next to red then you get to collect a red meeple. You only get to do this one time for each grouping. If you add a 3rd red tile to the group you don't get another red meeple. Ideally, you make 2 red sections and then join them with a 5th tile and take largest red area. You get a DOUBLE meeple for taking control of the largest region. Each meeple is worth 1 point at the end of the game and double meeples are worth 2. That is all in the way of scoring, so it is a fairly simple game.

The art is amazing and the colors are bold. Totally eye-catching and just makes you want to play. I am of course amazing at this game and totally destroyed everyone else playing. I did incredibly well and managed my rows very well. I was more into getting the rows completed than getting the colored meeples. Of course, I wanted to get the colored meeples. I was using my 3 actions whenever possible to take the tiles. Other people were rotating or not using the tiles effectively.

I am excited for this game and very much look forward to playing again soon. Dan had compared it to Sweetstack and he is not wrong, but this game is far less take-that. Sweetstack is all Take-that, but it is also amazingly fun. I really enjoy both games.

Next up I was very much excited to play the new EmerorS4 game called Realm of Sand.

Not really new to me since I played it at GAMA a few times. Some of the rules have changed since then. This game is really a cross between Patchwork and Splendor. You are placing tiles to your board in order to try and create patterns from the center display of cards. You want those cards to gain discs and other benefits but mostly to collect points. Some cards have sand timers on them and when a player hits 10 sand timers then the game will be over.

This game had everything I love. It is really a game made for me. I love everything about it. I ended up playing twice on game day and the second time was with the advanced sides of the player boards where everyone had a different board they were using and different powers they could activate in the game, given the opportunity.

Again, I might just be master of the polyomino games like this since I managed to win both of the games I had played. I really thought I was a goner for this second game though since I managed to nearly fill my board before completing any cards. I choose to ignore the discs (even though I got some anyway), and just go for the mid-range cards and points. Totally worked out for me and my power was to look at a few cards and keep one to myself, so I could have a hidden card I was working on all to myself. It was awesome!

Seriously loving this game and I know it will be a huge hit for all the peoples. So wonderful! #MOAR

Another game I recently got was Mutants. New to me!

This was an early prototype copy I believe but really nice quality with finished art. This is a very cool deck building game where you are trying to cycle through your deck quickly to freeze cards before the shuffle. Now all the frozen cards will act as your score at the end of the game.

What makes this deck building game more interesting is that each player starts the game with the standard basic deck of 12 cards and their own personal set of mutant cards that they will shuffle separately and form 3 stacks. These will be upgraded cards and you can get those into play for better powers and points if you get to freezing them.

You might mix your genes together and create a mutant and that will go into your active space. Next turn you will move that mutant to the right or left kicking out whatever card was previously there. Whenever you put into play you get an initial action to do. Whenever a card leaves play you get a leaving action. These actions might give you power and you want a lot of power and be in the lead at the end of each round. The round will end when all players have no more actions to take. So it is different than a general deck builder in that you don't simply play out a hand each turn. You just take one action and play continues until you are out of cards. You get to score points based on your position and the current round. The game is pretty interesting and the gameplay is fast and pretty simple.

It took a long time to get going for how simple the game actually is. We missed a key rule for the first 2 rounds but was able to correct it for rounds 3-5. The major rule we missed was if you are at the top of the power track and gain more power, you actually knock all other players down the track instead. Critical rule!

There can be a bit of take-that with the advanced mutant cards, but I think it is all in the game I like how everyone has their own decks to recruit new cards from, I think it is clever. I also like that all the mutant cards are different with different abilities. I can see drafting those at the start of the game if you play enough.

In our game, I was doing pretty well and I had big plans on how to get more cards into the frozen area. This worked for me really well and I scored A TON of points from what I was doing. I was losing each round though and getting very minimal in-game points so my frozen cards were just not enough to bring me into the lead at the end of the game. I am nearly sure that Kim won this game. But, I can't remember, prolly was Dan but he doesn't win games so that can't possibly be correct.

It is interesting to see what Mutants will be available and how you can best use them to form combos if you can. I think there is a clever play here and I look forward to playing this more times!

Next on the table was another EmperorS4 game Discovery: The Era of Voyage.

I have played the original game back when it was first released. You can read A LOT about it here: Japanese and Taiwanese Games Played and Everyone Has a Great Time! Review for Emperor's Choice! so check it out!

It has been on my wishlist since that time playing and I am super excited that EmperorS4 is making it more widely available and therefore Deep Water Games will bring it to the US. This is exciting times!

The gameplay feels much like a Splendor or Century Spice games with collecting resources and turning them in for control of regions and more bonuses for the actions you take. A very fast game where you are trying to collect points and drop your influence tokens as most efficiently as you can.

I LOVE the art of the game and the ease in how it plays with tight decisions and movement restrictions.

In our game this day I had forgotten the directional restrictions rule, and I was not planning as well as I should have. Chris was all about getting the in-game points from the one location that provided them and he was just pulling in the points left and right. He ran away with the game easily.

I was just trying for area control points and everyone was out doing me in all directions. It was just a disaster for me. We played with a random display of cards and we probably should have used the standard basic one for the game, I like mixing things up though. This is a game I am pleased to share with everyone now that I have it!

We had a bunch of people and I managed to convince Dan to try out Poetry Slam even though he walked in the house in the morning and said no. I also convinced Shrey and yeah he was less excited, but I might have twisted some arms.

Kim was excited since she loves word games and this is one of them. Dan went over the rules since I forgot a few of them. There are definitely too many rules for this party game, and this party game is awfully thinky. It is a game that sits in the middle of a party game and strategy games, sort of like Decrypto.

We played out the whole game and had some laughs doing it. There were definitely some clever poems in the works and worthy of the snap tokens. Hey, I even managed to get some snaps! Huzzah! I wish I could remember all my poems. but I know one of the words was Wheat and I gave a clue that was basically Catan related, eventually someone got it, so that made me feel good. My poems aren't really the best. There were several rounds where Shrey just choose to not create a poem. One round was particularly funny though we had to use the letters J & S and of course like all of us thought Jester. Dan's poem was great and Shrey used Dan's poem too... I had a totally different poem that involved Joffrey cutting peoples heads off... they got it too.

Kim had a great time playing and this was totally a game for her and my old HS gaming friends- would have been fun growing up with this one. I am glad we played it out. Pretty sure Kim destroyed us. I totally didn't but had fun trying!

With the 6 players we played another current fav- Cosmic Factory.

Sad about the name change- and now I have to actively remember the actual name!

Still always a great time to play this one. The rules that alter the play each round really keep it fresh with new goals and different drafting strategies.

I still always go for the asteroid paths and do my best there. Dan gets frustrated with that plan since he always seems to get screwed over. This is not directly my fault... he just picks bad tiles.

Love this game and happy it keeps coming back to the table.

Shrey and Chris were up for playing a game of Trajan.

I am usually up for this if requested since I hardly get to play it and I really enjoy it. I usually win too, which might be why I like it, unclear at this time.

This game was pretty good. I ended up getting a +1 for the voting action so I would boost 3 times when I took that action as a bonus. I only managed to activate it twice though, but it was effective and I was far, far in the lead at the end of the game. Like maybe 40-50 points above the others due to the golden tiles I collected and the points they gave me.

I wasn't doing well with the feeding costs but it didn't seem to matter in the end. It was really weird but the first feeding we all needed 3 fire and I had none to provide so I lost 15 points. Everyone else didn't do well but I lost the most there.

Still a fun game!

Shrey had Q.E. with play testing for a 5 player expansion. We tried it out with 5 players.

The scoring changed a bit, but it was mostly the same. Some new things were added like a once per game viewing tile and you can see the winning score.

This game is interesting because you are bidding on tiles with whatever value you see fit. You might win if you bid the most- but you really want to psych other people out.

This game I totally went to bidding town and went really high. I thought others were going high and they were and I just bid too much. I would have won, maybe... if I didn't bid too much. yep, I was the big loser this game.

Still a fun game, kinda glad I didn't back it for 85 bucks though. That was just too much.

Earlier in the night I wanted to play History of the World but couldn't drum up the right crowd, but by evening most of the crowd was gone and it was down to 4 of us and we took it out!

I was really glad to get this one back to the table so soon. I was really wanting to play it. Having played it and then Small World I was ready to have my hand at this again. The comparisons to Small World are so totally there. This is like the next step from Small World if you have some major small world fanatics. You have the powers you are drafting and the races/ nations you are drafting. You get to score at the end of your turn for what you did and what you have still remained on the board. You don't don't want to remain attached to anything you have done in the past. It really is a brilliant mechanic and the more I am playing it the more I am loving it.

This game I started out weak and played super weak for the whole game. I mean I was barely keeping up with the leaders. Shrey was so far in the lead though there was little to no chance of catching it. I was drafting first nation each time and just picking the wrong things. I ended up taking Mesoamericans since I was the only one up in the Americans and wanted to maintain control and it seemed like a solid play even only getting 4 armies. Turned out to work out and no one bothered to come after me since I was so far behind. I maintained full control for the big points at the end. In the final turn, I was like at 80-90 points and I managed to pull super far with the Brits. I ended up 2nd place. I literally shocked EVERYONE with the number of points I was able to gain at the end of that game. I was just shy of Shrey by like 5-10 points and zoomed past Dan and Ron. I even surprised myself with how well I managed to do in the final round and I think I got over 50 points, it was just insane!

Oh, so much fun with this one. Be on the lookout for BGGSHOW this week I will talk more in depth about this experience. Totally loving this game.

Last game of the night was Bob Ross: Art of Chill Game. New to me!

This was cool and I was obviously interested in all of the fabulous rainbows found in the game. I am clearly not the most chill person in the game group. I am most eccentric probably. Your goal of the game is to get to the end of the chill track and win by being most chill.

In the game, you are collecting different paints and brushes to try and paint the current painting on display. you can complete the same region as another player but you will get fewer bonus points. Before your turn, you have to roll the die and then perform the die result, which might be great like draw a card for free, or get a bonus action. Most of the time it is BOB and you have to draw his card and there is a new rule in place until it is covered up and then you move him along the Bob track. If he reaches the end of the Bob track then the painting is complete and you reveal a new painting.

Really simple game and I think great for the Target crowd. Casual gamers and families, this is a great game. As for gamer games, this just doesn't quite scratch the itch for this time of the game with this amount of invested time. I would happily play it again even if Ron ended up being the most Chill in the game. I thought for sure Shrey was more Chill... haha

I love all the rainbows!!!

Sunday I had the pleasure of photographing senior photos and the Dyer family. It was a great day! Then they all came to play games after!

First on the table was Amelia's pick, that of PitchCar.

This was great since I hardly get to play this one and I generally do pretty well. I wish I had more of the expansions, but I don't really play it enough to warrant getting those.

Anyway, Ron and I started in the back of the pack, and Scott was winning almost all of the first leg of the race. Amelia came up from behind and totally took over the lead for most of the 2nd and 3rd laps. She totally crushed us!

I managed to pull ahead of Ron who was ahead of me most of the game, but I came in a second place which was awesome!

Always a good time playing some PitchCar.

Since I had just taught Scott the other day we ended up playing Bob Ross: Happy Little Accidents with everyone since it plays 6 players.

It didn't go over as I might have hoped. We had easy categories so it wasn't all that creative, or so it felt. It was fine though. I was happy with my clown that I created.

I was still nowhere near the winner. Again, Amelia for the best drawing and got nearly all of the 3 point tokens. She is a pretty clever gamer, for sure! Still had a great time playing, but it wasn't requested a second time so we moved on to the next!

When I talked about it at game day Shrey suggested I pull out Decrypto.

Yeah, this game is a bunch of fun and works very well with 6 people. The biggest problem with the game is the AP since it is hard to think of creative and tricky words for clues to give.

We were on to the boys when we played and we guessed correctly at the same time and the pressure was on to guess correctly before the boys could. We were so close but it came down to a 50/50 guess for 1 number and we were off! Nooooooo the boys had us that time and we could taste the victory.

When we tried to pull the words together for a common clue we did okay. We weren't far off. That is always my favorite part of the game. Trying to guess the other team's actual words!

Super glad we were able to play this. I think everyone had a great time playing. I will have to bring that one to Thanksgiving!

Scott remembered a game I took around last year and was interested in playing it with the fam so we played a 6 player game of Slide Blast.

Of course, I am always up for some tile placement games! They are having so much fun on the waterslide! You always have a selection of 2 tiles and you are trying to move your meeple as far down the water slide as possible and if you move another meeple you get a bonus token! So help your fellow sliders!

It was cute and of course, Ron dominated us this game. He was getting all the best tiles and made huge connections with his path. I duno how he does it... I bet he shuffled the stack of tiles. mmhmm.

Everyone picked up the game pretty fast and we were off and playing in no time. Super cute game and I was happy to have it around for such an occasion. Worked out perfectly.

A game I knew would be a crowd pleaser, and I was correct, was Flying Kiwis.

It is only 4 players and Ron opted to sit out and there was some alternating of the players. But we ended up playing 6 times! It is so fast and just simple fun to flick these kiwis!

Amelia was a pro from the start. In less than 5 moves she had a connect 4 and won the first game before we barely said start. Dang, that was fast. She easily won the majority of the games after that too. I think I only managed to win 1 time and tie once. I was definitely in poor performance mode this time.

Still, a fun game to sit and flick kiwis at the opponent across from you.

I thought the fam would appreciate the innovative Fold-it.

I was not wrong again! The first few rounds of folding the napkin was a challenge for them. But they were catching on and by the end, they were all pros. You really have to see how it works a few times and then bend your mind backward and figure it out.

I didn't do half back having just played a few weeks ago. It is a cool puzzle to try and solve. One day I might actually win this one!

The final game of the afternoon was New York Slice. This is always a crowd pleaser and one my family always enjoys playing. It was a good suggestion to end the afternoon with since it was a great inspiration for the Dyer family dinner, see below...

It was a nail-biter of a game. Ron was being super mean to Scott though and ended up with a mere 9 points. Poor Scott!

I was trying to go for the larger numbers and it ended up biting me in the bum. I had a decent score but the winners for this game went to Ron and Kai for a tie victory.

Super cute game and one I am always happy to play. Easy rules and easy teach. Good times!

Inspired Dyer Family Dinner...

New to the Collection:
Discovery: The Era of Voyage
Realm of Sand
The Badger Rainbow Deck x2
Star Girl x2

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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