Games & Llamas

A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.
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Our 2018

Isra C.
Valdemoro, Madrid
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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 )

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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!)

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!!

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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