Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I used to do in GeekLists, but it has been a long, long time since that was he norm. I'll also be commenting on games on occasion, though I can tell you that I will be behind the curve because I just don't get to play the new games as soon as some people do.
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Games played in March 2012

Bobby Warren
United States
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La cheeserie!
Riding along with the current trend of companies producing dice games, I played a lot of them this month, including three new-to-me dice game takes on existing games which I like.

I've also decided to join in on the Alea Big Box Challenge, the Alea Medium Box Challenge, and the Alea Small Box Challenge with my timeline being this year. I had already picked four of them as the "Game of the week" to try and get them played, and been successful with two of them. So I was off to a slow start with only those two and Castles of Burgundy played. This means I will have to play the three alea games I've never played, and to break out (and actually open) the solved game. On the last weekend of the month I was able to mark off a couple more games played, so I am down to needing to play 21 of the 26 released games in the next 9 months.

I played 37 different games a total of 73 times with 10 of them being new to me and eight of them being games I played in February. I played four expansions (to two games) a total of 11 times with none of the expansions being new and only one of them being played last month.

Without any further delays from cranky servers or mindless meanderings from me, here are the games I played in March.

7 Wonders
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/12

I taught Dave and Patty, the owners of my FLGS, how to play and Patty won the game. I came in last place by a significant margin and Dave came in third with Steve, another first-timer, coming in second a point ahead of Dave. As it was a learning game, it took a little while and I was surprised I didn't miss any rules because there are so many things to cover, even though it is basically a simple game.

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/10

Mike bought a new set a while back to replace his well-worn set and we finally broke it in. It was odd playing with cards that were slick and clean and that didn't stick together, stick to the table, or stick to your hands. Did I mention it was well-played? I suspect the old deck saw well-over 200 games and that the cards have a protective coat on them sufficient to survive in a landfill for a million years.

This game went like many of our other games. Hilary once again proved she is the Bean Queen.

Castles of Burgundy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/12

When I knew I was getting a copy of the game it had been a while since I played and I really didn't want to read the rules. I found the How to Play podcast and Ryan covered the game January. I listened to the podcast and that made it easier to read the rules and then I listened to it again the night before I played it and it helped a lot when it came time for me to explain it. Now, if he would only cover Macao...

I wanted to play this and was setting up the game to show Nico because it looked like we might be the only ones at the store. As I was setting it up, Rick arrived with it in hand hoping to learn to play. So I ended up teaching them how to play so we used the beginner boards. Rick was near the lead most of the game, but I scored a lot of points near the end by being the only one to fill in both five-space areas, which I would guess you need to do when everyone is playing the same board.

Mike and I also played another two-player game, which he won by one point! That was a blast and I was then ready to try out the non-beginner boards, which happened the following weekend.

Matthew, Amelia, and I played a three-player game using the non-basic maps. I had board 2, which has an eight-space building area. Matthew grabbed lots of bonus tiles and managed to be the first player most of the game, so he ended up winning a close game. I should have tried closing up some of my smaller areas earlier in the game, but I was too focused on completing the eight-space area, which I did manage to complete for the 36 points plus the round bonus. given the choice, I will pick a different board in the future.

Times Played: 8
Last Month Played: 11/11

Expansion Played: Prosperity x3, Hinterlands x3, Cornucopia x2.

Mike hadn't played with the Hinterlands cards yet, and I had only played a couple of games with them. So we mixed those with the basic set and played a few games. Mike won all three times we played, though the last was a tie so I was able to look victory right in the, umm, navel for one of the games.

We played five more games the next week, first there were three games with Prosperity mixed in the original cards. We split the first two games and tied the third. And we played two more with Cornucopia, the last of which we had the same score, but I won the tiebreaker. What's with all the ties? The game has to be broken!

Dragon Rampage
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

I did not enjoy this game. Roll some dice and then wait 15 minutes before taking another turn. Until then, there was nothing for me to do. Boooooring.

It seems like being critical (both positive and negative criticism) of rules has become a thing for me. Now I didn't read the rules to this, but when the game ended we couldn't find a rule which covered what to do when two of us being furthest along the escape route. Do we both lose five points when the dragon is killed? What about the next space which had two more people? If we both lost five points, would they lose three points?

The game also probably should have had reference cards which explained end-game scoring, but that's no concern of mine since this poopy conglomeration will not be played by me again.

Elder Sign
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/12

The first night of back-to-back nights playing this had the push-over known as Yig as the "Great" Old One which our fearless band had to defeat, and things looked good when I was dealt Amanda Sharpe. After that it was all downhill, from having a green die locked in the initial card draw to all kinds of bad things happening to us. Both Mike and Hilary lost an investigator to the cause and we then went to the battle at the end. But this was Yig. A pushover, right? We couldn't lose to him, could we? Yes, we could.

The second game had to be better right? Mike said he would burn his game if we lost to Yig again! I was confident we would recover, but then the GOO was dealt out. It was the greatest of them all, Cthulhu. It appeared that we were in for a fight, all right. The game started slowly for us. There weren't many chances to gain elder signs and the situation looked bleak, but then I realized that doom tokens were also not being generated. So it looked like we had a long, hard fight ahead of us. But then a path appeared to R'lyeh, and we quickly completed that adventure and gained the three elder sign reward for it. Then the challenges just fell in line and we smacked Ol' Squidface right back to his dank, dark hole with only two doom tokens on his skanky 'ol card.

So we lose to the wimpy Yig and soundly defeat the one which has an entire mythos named after him. Who'da thunk that would happen?

Later in the month we played another game and pulled Yig again. This time, we slapped him around as soundly as we did Squidface the previous game. All is right in Elder Sign once again.

Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/08

Familienbande might have ended up as one of my "Games of the week" at some point if it hadn't been played.

It's a card game where each player is trying to make sure their genetic trait of choice is the most prevalent in five generations. The players don't know which of the five traits the other players want to be dominant and there will always be at least one trait which is assigned to no player.

The game's negatives are the creepy pictures and the scoring markers being significantly bigger than the spaces used to track the score. The large markers means it can be difficult to keep an accurate score during the whole game, but if there is a question it can be recalculated by checking the cards played.

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/10

When I saw it had been almost a year and a half since I played this I was a little surprised. I would have bet that I had brought this out to play sometime last year. Michael picked it up because he thought his daughters would be able to play it, and we went ahead gave it a play since Mike and Nico hadn't played it.

The important thing I remembered was it wasn't about getting either of your racers off the board quickly, but getting them both across the finish line before another team crosses it with both of their racers. I held back one of my racers back while one moved ahead. As the path cleared behind the trailblazers I kept my second racer close to the pack. As others made their dash, I used my forward racer to send them into the currents which pushed them back. I positioned it to do what I could to stop someone from winning, while preventing someone else from moving it into the backwards-flowing currents. I then made a dash with the second racer, which finished a turn ahead of my lead racer which gave me the win.

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/11

Neither Nico nor Michael had played before so I explained it, with Mike's help, and we went to restoring the fresco for the church. We played with the three (essential!) expansions which came with the game, but didn't use any of the others because of the new players. Hopefully, I will get it played again soon with people who have played so we can break into the expansions.

Gosu: Kamakor
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/12

I was surprised that this was not a stand-alone game. I didn't see on the box that it said it didn't contain the rules or the basic tokens (activation and advantage) to play the game.

I haven't picked this up and will likely not be doing so since both Mike and Nico have it and I'd play it with them when I do play it in the future.

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/10

The second play pretty much cemented my desire to never play it again. It's a big game of chicken to see who will use their wild cards first. With two players there are too many cards out of play to be able to build many natural sequences or sets. We abandoned our game after a few hands and moved on to something else.

For two it's a stinker. Maybe it is better with three, but it can't be that much better and I would rather wrangle a fourth for Tichu or play any one of the dozens of games that play well with three.

Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/12

I enjoyed it more with three players than with two, but still the fiddliness of set-up and resetting each turn is a strike against this getting regular play. As it is, I don't put all the tikis, surfers, hula dancers, and kahunas on their tiles because they just get in the way during the round set-up and during play.

The first game was against Kevin and Anne, and both Kevin and I got the Pele god tile and were moving about the island at will. In the end, he played just a little better than I did and ended up with a slight victory over me with Anne not too far behind.

The second game was against Matthew and Amelia. Making trips to the islands was not a focus for anyone in the first two games I played, so I thought I would see how that worked. Before I could make a move to go hopping islands, Matthew and Amelia both started making island trips, so I decided I would do my best to fill as many villages as I could and get the Kahuna scoring at the end. I looked to be doing poorly the entire game, but when end-game scoring happened I jumped into first place.

Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/10

Back, after a long absence, jokes about protecting your worm!

Kevin and Anne are now looking for a copy because it is something they could play soon, if not now, with their four-year-old if they help her with the math.

When recording the playing, I saw that there was a group order for custom dice from Chessex. I managed to track down a set of the dice since placing an order might have been difficult because I would only need eight dice.

These dice were used later in the month when I taught the game to Alex and Nico and proved to them that I was the worm master!

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/10

This nice two-player set-collecting game hasn't hit the table in a while and that's a shame.

Each player is trying to collect sets of cards to turn in for points. They want to wait as long as possible to score them because the more scored of a type, the better the bonus points. However, the first scoring tokens of each type are worth more than the later ones, so the players have to balance timing with the number of cards scored. I had it rated as a six but upped that to a seven.

Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: New to me

There are two boards included in this small box. One plays as a light family-friendly filler, and the other is a little harder, but still plays as a filler. I prefer playing on the harder side, but either one is a fun playing experience which plays like Keltis Light with dice instead of cards.

King of Tokyo
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/12

Five players. Rick and I were eliminated after two turns and then Nico took a while longer to best Amelia and Matthew by making it to 20 VP.

Knights of Ten
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: New to me

I really like this two- (or four-) player trick taking game which I talked about in an earlier post. At that time it was only available from the publisher and, for those in the Phoenix area, the Game Depot my local FLGS. I heard they were picked up by a bunch of outlets at the GAMA show in March, so look for it at a store near you in the coming weeks.

The rules can be found on the company's web site, along with a video showing how to play.

Martian Dice
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

Packaged like Zombie Dice, with 13 dice, like Zombie Dice, and fun, like, you know.

The biggest difference is this one has the active player rolling all the dice to start, and trying to score by capturing higher life forms from the Earth to study. Y'all know what I mean: Humans.

And cows.

And chickens.

And politicians. (Okay, no one considers them to be as smart as a chicken and even the Martians don't want to probe them...)

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/10

I had forgotten that this didn't work quite as well with four players because so many goods are pulled out of each round that you just don't know what might be coming up. That takes away some of the angst I feel when I know there are two or three of a commodity I really want just waiting to be made available, while trying to decide if I should bid on another lot.

The game still works, it just isn't as fun for me.

Mystery Rummy: Al Capone and the Chicago Underworld
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/11

Both Mike and I are still hoping for an English-language reprint of this (and Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper) with normal card stock. The thick stuff chosen for this release is hard on the finger tips when shuffling and I am still a little afraid that I will bend a card or two while trying to shuffle these monsters.

Mike handily beat me in the first game. I was trying to make a comeback by going out early in the last hand, but didn't notice that he had enough to win. Not that it really mattered, because it would have been near impossible to beat him at that point since I doubt I would have been able to complete the Al Capone meld before he went out for the hand.

The second game was mine, all mine! Victory! Was it skill or luck? I know which I think it was...

Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/11

Amelia had bought this and since Michael was there I suggested she crack it up and let him explain it while I set up the cards and thoroughly shuffled the paintings.

In the end I still had my same complaints about the game. First that the bonuses for multiple artists is pretty random and that it is little more than a math puzzle when it is broken down to it's core. I still like the game, but it is not something I want to play on a regular basis.

The three of us tossed around some ideas for making it possible to see pairs of artists more likely and I will type them up at some point and post them in the variants forum.

Power Grid: First Sparks
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/12

I'm 4-0 playing this, maybe I should retire? Michael will likely become the master soon, so I am enjoying my success while it lasts.

I felt bad after the fourth game. I explained it to Amelia and Matthew and I didn't do a good enough job of explaining how fast the game can end. On the fourth turn I had the food to expand from five to ten areas, and after getting "Speach," I had enough food to expand into three more areas and end the game well in front of them.

When I explain games I do my best to explain any tricks or pitfalls which could happen to beginning players. Luckily, I don't think this soured them on the game because they are fans of the original game.

Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 2/12

Expansion Played: Rise of the Demons for all games.

The go-to game when Mike says, "What do you want to play?" and I respond with, "I don't know/care."

We still only play with the two-buys-a-turn option and the culling rules as listed in the rule book. Mike, Nico, and I all now store our dice in non-segregated bags. The basic dice are in one bag, the creatures in another, and the spells in the last bag. Sorting them does not take that long and it is faster to set up and put away than it was when the dice were in individual bags, or using the Plano solution mentioned in the forums. Why didn't the Plano solution work? It was hard to get the dice from the little sections in the container, especially for those of us with elephant fingers.

Roll Through the Ages
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/11

It's been a while since I mentioned that our end-game condition is different than in the rules. We play until all monuments are completed and (not or) at least one player has five developments. It's how we learned it from the publisher.

Rum & Pirates
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/07

A game I last played almos five years ago, this is a fun and fairly quick action point and victory point collection game. Michael, David and I played this. Michael had played before, but that was at least as long ago as I had played and it was new to David. Both seemed to enjoy the game. It's something that might get played more often if I hosted gaming at the house, but it's not a game I am likely to take along too often to try and get played. It's a good game, just not a really good game.

Saint Petersburg
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/10

Another game which just doesn't get played as much as it should. I still haven't bought the expansion, which is more because I just don't play the game that often these days.

San Juan
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/11

We played this with both mini expansions from the Treasure Chest, which add something to the game without changing the way it plays. It was a four-player game and no one seemed to be able to get any kind of engine running and I ended up winning by tiebreaker with 27 points, which is a low winning score.

Space Hulk: Death Angel: The Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/11

Again, it was a long time between plays so I was fuzzy as to what we were doing to begin the game. We lost to the bugs, but it was still fun. We just need to play it more often.

I picked up the first two print and play expansions when they were released, but won't pick up the others unless we play it some more. Heck, I haven't even broke the shrink wrap on my copy.

Speicherstadt, The
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/12

I taught this to Michael and Amelia. After we finished the first game they wanted to play again because they had a better idea of how it would play out. This is one which I will likely bring out on a regular basis because it is easy to teach and yet has some depth and agonizing decisions.

I would make the case that the name and the uninspiring box cover are a reason this is a fairly unknown gem from Z-Man games. If you were to rename it for the U.S. and/or overall English-speaking market.

Summoner Wars
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 7/11

Mike and I played two games.

First up was his Shadow Elves against my Benders (no, not Kevin and Rhonda). Mike played aggressively and I was able to tie up many of his units with my Deceivers and ended up finishing off the dirty Elvish faction.

The next night we played again and I stuck with the same faction while Mike tried out the Mountain Vargath. It looked pretty good for me and about half way through the game we realized most of their common troops had two wounds and we hadn't been doing that. That mistake would have changed both of our strategies but we decided to just finish off the game as played to that point and doing things correctly from that point on.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

David brought this on his quarterly (or is that semi-annual) visit to play board games with us at the store. Neither Michael nor I had played before. I was the first player to lose a figure to a shark because I made a foolish choice to sink myself because I didn't know better. I recovered after that, losing only two more figures to the seas and scoring all the rest. The three that I lost? a 1, a 1 and the third 1.

It's a fun game and the next time, if there is a next time, we see David, I would like to play it again.

Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/12

This was the first time playing this for Matthew and Amelia, so I just pulled some basic maids which would work well as an introduction to the game.

Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me

The new card layout is nicer than the original version and the minor rules tweaks which were made do improve the game. I am now considering whether or not I should sell of my original cards because I find the mix of cards in this set are good enough for me right now. Sure I would like to have more options and I am not opposed to mixing the sets, but I don't think I would miss the cards from the prior sets that much.

Ticket to Ride: Asia
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

Back when I played the Legendary Asia map, I said, "Mike and I also looked of the team map and suspect it will play well with two or three players instead of using teams, which I can't see ever doing." I was wrong, which you might have known I often am if you have read my recaps in the past.

Matthew and Amelia had played this before and picked up the map. We were looking fro a game with four and this met the need. Matthew and I teamed up against Amelia and Rick and while it looked like our initial tickets wouldn't mesh together well, we ended up making all of them and pulled out a fairly convincing win. The partnership rules worked really well and I would be willing to play this again, though I still find non-partnership TtR slightly preferable.

Unpublished Prototype
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me

A fun set-avoidance game which it looks like will be published as part of the Gryphon Games bookshelf series. I believe the designer is from the Utah board game design group and that this game won a competition.

Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

This might be better suited to having the theme from Le Havre or At the Gates of Loyang, but it is still a really good "involved" filler game. By involved, I mean that each player has to pay attention to each other player's turn because the dice rolled may be used by anyone to fill their orders.

Zooloretto Würfelspiel
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me

Much like Keltis: Das Würfelspiel, this game does a good job of giving the experience of playing it's namesake game while being a fun filler. I will be laminating score sheets when I get it because the score pad could end up being used fairly quickly.
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