PEW #1
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First time for us — yay! No direct flight = 6hr drive, a bit longer than we normally do. Well worth it, though!
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1. Board Game: Artifact Stack [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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THURSDAY - DAY 0

After treadmill, breakfast.

A light set-collection card game to get some pre-PEW gaming started. Me, Mary, Ted, Toni, new to all of us.

The deck has some face down cards shuffled in. Place cards in an overlapping arrangement. There are several types in the box; use a subset for each game. Cards do different things, often when you get your 2nd or 3rd of a type (e.g., earn coins, take assistant cards, take another turn, score VP, take card from another player). On your turn, you take an available card from the display: cards with no card on top of them are free but you must pay a coin to take a covered card. Face down cards flip up when taken. Instead of taking a card, you can spend coins (start with 2) to buy an available assistant (several set out in display at start; generally give bonus VP for having cards of some type). After 2 rounds, tally up VP from cards (worth 1 or 2 each; sometimes -1; maybe 4 or 5 if you got the right combo). Add bonuses from assistants. Most VP wins.

The game was OK, a decent filler, but just OK. 5-6/10
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2. Board Game: Majesty: For the Realm [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:2402]
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A fun, simple set-collection game with a bunch of special powers. There are 7 types of cards in the deck (plus some dual cards). 6 cards form a card row. Start the game with 5 workers. On your turn, take a card from the row, spending workers to skip cards from the end (place workers on skipped cards) ... a lot like Vinci. Each card type goes in a specific slot of your village, and has a unique reward (usually VP per card of one or more types, sometimes extra workers, etc.). After 12 rounds, score VP for majorities of each type of card.

Simple, quick, fun game!
6.5/10
 
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3. Board Game: Pulsar 2849 [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:2994]
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Dice allocation game with a space theme. Simple rules, really, but takes a while to explain since there are so many options to review.

Fun, want to play it again, but I think I prefer My Village and Grand Austria Hotel over this one?
7/10
 
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4. Board Game: Iquazú [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:6685]
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Interesting tile display mechanism, reminds me of the slats Dorn used in Diamond’s Club (I think?). Use cards to place your tokens, with the goal of scoring majorities in rows and columns. Majorities will give you points or special power tokens.

Pretty good, I guess. Certainly plays quickly, but just didn’t shine for me.
6/10
 
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5. Board Game: Druids [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:8576]
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Cool trick-taking card game. Same art as Wizard. Interesting game play.

5 rounds, 14 card hands, no trump. Cards numbered 1-12 in 5 suits, plus 2 Sickles and 2 Mistletoes. Some cards out of each round. Random player gets 0 card, which must be led (but you select color, and HI or LOW). Must follow suit if possible (but Mistletoe is a wild 0), no trumps. Highest card of led suit wins trick; winner places cards into stacks by color, with either HIghest or LOWest card won this trick on top. If you took Sickle, your highest value stack is discarded. If any player has 5 stacks, hand ends and they score -3 while others score as usual (value of top card of each of their stacks). Most points after 5 hands wins.

Clever, fun game with interesting decisions of when to push for points, when to try to bust someone.
7/10
 
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6. Board Game: Agra [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:2229]
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FRIDAY - DAY 1

Went up to get a hot drink after treadmill, got recruited into this before realizing quite how long the rules would take (1 hour), let alone the game (2 hrs?). With Ted, Tony, and Greg (teacher). It’s another one of those games of late that has a huge bunch of things you can do, many of which interlock, many involving making goods or converting them to other goods or delivering them to some other location. After finally getting through the rules, it seemed like it was overly complex for my tastes these days.

After the game ... it’s not quite so bad, but it would really require multiple plays to be able to come up with some kind of coherent strategy. I don’t think it’s interesting enough to warrant that much play, though.
6.5/10
 
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7. Board Game: Calimala [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:3185]
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United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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After finishing Agra, I finally went off to get cleaned up after the workout! Came back to join a different group (Jason, Matt, Whitney). This was one of the rules I read in preparation for this.

An OK worker placement game where you take actions to produce and deliver goods, or build things to improve/allow other actions. The thing that makes it interesting, though, is the clever action selection mechanism: you place your disc between 2 spaces, activating both; then, every disc below you also activates! Also, this cleverly ties into scoring: the 4th disc in the stack actually doesn’t activate; instead, it triggers scoring (in order randomized at start of game). So you can try to set yourself up to take multiple actions, timed to target the scoring areas in the most optimal order.

Simple rules, smooth game play ... nice “super-filler” kinda game!
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8. Board Game: Indian Summer [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:3089]
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Hillsborough
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Another game from my rules reading list!

This is sort of like a neutered Cottage Garden (work on personal boards, limited competition for pieces). It’s mostly a solitaire puzzle game with very limited interaction with other players: it’s a race (first to finish their personal board will most likely win), you might need to grab pieces from the supply before someone else takes the piece(s) you want, and you can steal some of the other player’s pieces. The race part is OK, but the other two are just kind of annoying!

5.5/10
 
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9. Board Game: Wanted 7 [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
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Joined 2 more (Mark, Tyler = rules teacher), all of us new to the game.

It’s a fun little card game where you’re basically playing on several tricks at once, all of which will be awarded at the end of the hand. The twists: no trump, must play a higher number (usually), all tricks will award you with a random token (one of several colors, face up at start of hand), and 4 of which give you 1 or 2 VP. Also, the cards themselves may have powers (discard a trick, move cards to a different trick, play on a higher number). And everyone has the same set of cards (1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5) in personal decks; you have a hand of 4, and on your turn will play a card then draw a card. The hand ends when either all 10 tricks have cards on them, or everyone has played all their cards: give 5/3/2/1 VP to players based on sum of cards that won tricks, 2 or 1 VP for winning some of the tricks, and the gunfighter token award for each trick. Reset the board (new set of gunfighter tokens placed), collect your cards, play again; after 3(?) hands, score additional VP from sets of gunfighter tokens collected (all same or all different; more VP for larger sets). Most VP wins.

Pretty good, actually!
7/10
 
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10. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:813]
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Hillsborough
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Very clever spatial puzzle kind of game. Great production.

7.5/10
 
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11. Board Game: Druids [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:8576]
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Hillsborough
North Carolina
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12. Board Game: Fast Forward: FEAR [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:5048]
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This is a lot like Fluxx but with more math. Clever, but I think I might prefer Fluxx!

On your turn, either draw a card of play a card. Hand limit 3. WHen playing, carry out any special rules (from rule cards revealed as you play). End your turn by announcing sum of all cards played so far (in display). Game ends when someone cannot play a card that keeps total at 15 or less: the rest reveal cards in hand; highest sum wins!

Interesting in principle (need to keep high cards in hand to try to win, but also need low cards in order to be able to play without busting), I guess, but not really that interesting!
3/10?
 
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13. Board Game: Amun-Re: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:8696]
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With Mary, Toni, Ted, and Greg. Ted taught. Sort of! We eventually figured it out, then started playing for real!

Like Power Grid Card Game, this does a good job keeping much of the feel of the original game, but in a smaller and faster package. I still suck at auction games, though!

7/10?
 
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14. Board Game: Pioneer Days [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:5397]
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Hillsborough
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SATURDAY - Day 2

Oregon Trail, the game. Fun!
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15. Board Game: Nusfjord [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:2765]
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Another good one!
 
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16. Board Game: Istanbul: Das Würfelspiel [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:3904]
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Toni had read the rules and taught the rest of us - yay! It is a very nice simplification of the base game. Here, you’re rolling dice to try to come up with combinations which get you stuff: gem tokens, money, a market tile (which gives you some power, e.g., extra die, extra money), and possibly a gem! Like the base game, gems generally get harder to acquire (more money needed, more gems) as people get them. And it all plays very quickly.

Maybe I like this more than the original? I don’t love the base game, and this gave a similar feel in less time, with dice!
 
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17. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.76 Overall Rank:676]
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Very nice follow up to Terra Mystica, retheming the game while incorporating several elements from the Fire & Ice expansion and also doing some streamlining and adding some new stuff:
- coins/workers/priests —> credits/ore/knowledge, and now everything is counted on tracks instead of with tokens
- leeching now has range 2, but only your single biggest building in range can leech
- shipping —> range
- cult tracks now combined with digging/shipping tracks on a central board, with cleaner implementation of key requirement (town bonus tiles now double-sided)
- town —> federation, with simpler rules (7 puts, no other restrictions)
- favor —> technology, now randomly assigned to different tracks (so less associated with specific races)
- simplified Terraforming: mostly all (and build) or none, with New Gaia Project as the only multi step procedure (with its own twist).
- randomized end-game VP criteria (like TM expansion)
- power disc manipulation (gain/loss) included (like with some of the TM expansion races)
- modular board
- new power-type actions using new resource (Quantum Cubes) to activate

Look forward to trying the other races!
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18. Board Game: Otys [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:3858]
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Weird game where you have to sequence actions while trying to plan for actions, associated with specific locations, moving around semi predictably. We got a rule wrong, maybe 2, but still good. Kind of fun, but weird!
 
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19. Board Game: Doodle Rush [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:9041]
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Everyone gets a card listing 6 different things. Simultaneously, under a 1-minute timer, everyone draws as much as possible on 6 little dry-erase boards. Then, under the same time limit, everyone simultaneously tries to guess everyone else’s things! Repeat twice more, then score: +1VP for each of your correct guesses, -1VP for every one of your pictures unguessed. Most VP wins!

It’s Concept + Pictionary — loud, light fun!
 
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20. Board Game: Long Live the Queen [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:7900]
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SUNDAY - Day 3

Last day, with a long drive ahead! I woke up extra early for some reason, so was still able to do one last run on the iFit (Cuzco -- cool! -- then a Google Street View of Angkor Wat). While waiting or M to wake up, I got one last game in with Toni.

This is a cool little quick-playing 2-player game. Each side arranges their cast of characters in secret positions across from each other, in spots numbered 2-12 (Princess at center 7). Each turn, roll 2d6: both players deal with the character at that space (flip up if face down, or activate if face up). Activated characters do a variety of things (give you a red/yellow/blue token, either from supply or the other player; force the other player to discarda token; allow you to swap adjacent characters; flip one of the other player's characters face down; etc.). The first player to either collect red, yellow, and blue tokens (3 each), or flip the opponent's Princess face down, wins!

An interesting game of tactics and bluffing, with a little probability/luck management thrown in. 6.5/10
 
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