New to you Jan 09 => Best new game you played this month and why
Andy
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Manchester
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What's the best new game you played this month (January 09) and why? Share your experiences of the new games you've played this month.

It would be helpful, if you could add an entry to the list even if you pick the same game as someone else.. since I use the geeklist entries to compile the summaries. Thanks

The Meta List - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/28741
(with summaries)

Forum Subscription thread - http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/297188



Most played Game and More: (coming soon)
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1. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:976]
Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Another good month for new games and total plays... 93 plays of 32 distinct games... 8 new games and one new expansion.

NEW GAMES

A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game
1 play
Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game
Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game

I had the chance to play this game at a convention at the beginning of the month, and I was quite impressed... we played the competitive version, and it reminded me a lot of Talisman crossed with Arkham Horror... Our game was against the Scarecrow, and it was a good laugh... perhaps a bit too slow with 5 players... and more of an experience game than a strategic one.
thumbsupthumbsup


Power Boats
Powerboats
1 play
Board Game: Powerboats
Board Game: Powerboats

I enjoy simple racing games such as Ave Caesar and the old style Formula De, so I was pretty keen to try Powerboats. I was not disappointed.. it was good fun, and the interesting Dice mechanisms (choosing whether to re-roll or keep) were pretty clever. I did really badly in the race however, throwing triple 3 at one point and crashing into an island.
thumbsupthumbsup


Rumis
Blokus 3D
1 play
 
Board Game: Blokus 3D

I'm not normally an abstract fan, but I quite enjoyed Pueblo when I played it, and then this month I got the chance to play Rumis, which I also quite enjoyed... It strikes me as being a little simpler than Pueblo, which for me is a bonus... there's also more variability with the different boards you can play on.

Jet Set
Jet Set
1 play
Board Game: Jet Set
Board Game: Jet Set

I was talked into a game of Jet Set at a game convention by some of the members of my game group... along with a few other guys, making it a 6 player game. Despite being put off by the retro artwork, I was pleasantly surprised by the gameplay... this was 'Ticket to Ride For Grownups' with an economy instead of set collection mechanisms. I totally miss-timed my push during the endgame, and was unable to complete my long route. I finished last by a good margin.
thumbsupthumbsup


Royal Palace
Royal Palace
1 play
Board Game: Royal Palace
Board Game: Royal Palace

A clever worker placement and resource management game that I was fortunate enough to play at a recent meet of my weekly game group. The mechanics are pretty clever, and there is variability in the layout of the rooms... however I don't think it's one I'd play too often.
thumbsup

Steel Driver
Steel Driver
1 play
Board Game: Steel Driver
Board Game: Steel Driver

I played this new Martin Wallace game at a convention at the beginning of the month, and unfortunately I did not particularly enjoy the experience... The game reminds me quit a bit of Union Pacific, with an auction mechanism added to determine who controls which railroad company each round, and an end game cube grab which adds a set collecting element. As with many auction games, I struggled, particularly in the first round, to gauge the values... and it didn't help that the player before me was low-bidding to try and acquire multiple shares per round. There's a good game here... it's just not to my tastes.
thumbsup


Looting London
Looting London
1 play
Board Game: Looting London
Board Game: Looting London

An interesting Knizia set-collecting card game, with a typically Knizia scoring twist. Quite clever, but not one I'm rushing to play again. I was fortunate enough to play the Tatort Themse version... I believe the new Looting London version will be quite expensive and in a bigger box... whereas I'd much rather see it in an Amigo cardgame size box.
thumbsup


Beep! Beep!
Beep! Beep!
1 play
 
Board Game: Beep! Beep!

We played this as a closer for our weekely game night one week, and we managed to fit in 3 plays in quick succession. Crazy free-for-all action that requires excellent hand-eye co-ordination and quick reflexes... good fun, but it's not for everyone.
thumbsup


NEW EXPANSION

Ghost Stories - Guardhouse Expansion
Ghost Stories: The Guardhouse Expansion
A good friend of mine gave me this expansion after his trip to Essen, and I managed to give it a try in a solo game of Ghost Stories. No major change to the game, but it adds in a bit more variability and I can see me adding this in now every time.
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2. Board Game: Heads of State [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:5421]
Board Game: Heads of State
Steve K
United Kingdom
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Once again, attending a convention enabled me to try out a bunch of new games that I might otherwise never have played.

I'm picking Heads of State as the best new game, when really its just the game I'd most like to play again soon. Its a card-driven area influence game with VP awarded for just about everything imaginable. Although I like the game, I wish the token artwork were clearer, and there was more reason/incentive to pick up treachery cards earlier in the game for later use.

Monty Python Fluxx (1 play) - Like Fluxx, but full of stuff that used to be funny (or not) 35 years ago.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game (1 play) - Only a single play, and without any knowledge of the TV series, but the traitor element worked far better than in Shadows over Camelot.

Schwarzmarkt (1 play) - 3-player game. Very dry and abstract, yet quite curious. I need to play it again to form a strong opinion.

duck! duck! Go! (1 play) - Cute little programmed-movement game.

Sorry! Sliders (2 plays) - tabletop curling. Good fun.

Dracula (1 play) - Richly themed 2-player game of hunting, bluff & deduction.

Hab & Gut (1 play) - Buy low, sell high, with partial knowledge about how the markets might move. Eliminating the player that donates least to charity adds a great deal to the game. I’d much rather play this than a game like Owner’s Choice which aims for the same sort of niche.

Risk Express (2 plays) - Risk! With Dice! Hang on a minute ... Reiner does Yahtzee (again) with a Risky veneer. It actually works well for what it is.

Zanzibar (1 play) - 3-player game. More thinky than I was expecting, albeit in an almost entirely tactical way. Capabilities & objectives all short term (a turn or two), yet I found it quite hard to plot even these simple moves.

Plus a couple of expansions:

Power Grid: China/Korea (1 play) - 5-player game of China map. Quite brutal. Hard to achieve plant capacity.

Blue Moon City: Expansion Tile Sets 1 & 2 (1 play) - A few nice twists to shake things up a bit.
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3. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.61 Unranked]
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion
Mikael Ölmestig
Sweden
Halmstad
Halland
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I’ve got a chance to play some good old games for me, so not so much time to play any new ones. I have also improved my comments of the games I have played, even though there are much space for improvement (especially the language). The inspiration has actually been these lists where you have to motivate why you like or not like the game. These comments are not to be considered reviews, since they are not meant to mention too much about the mechanics of the game.

Board Game: Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion


Arkham Horror: The King in Yellow Expansion 3 plays Rating: 8
During the Christmas holiday I read some short stories by H.P. Lovecraft and I got the King in Yellow expansion for Arkham Horror. This of course made me very eager to try it out, and I actually passed upon the chance to play my favorite game (Twilight Imperium: Third Edition) to play it. And we had a blast.

There aren't many rules added to the game, but there is of course more "stuff", which is always good. The best thing is the added story, with the insane play "King in Yellow" which is touring in the city. Not really much you can complain about in this expansion, but makes Arkham Horror even more thematic (not that it needs it more, but I can't complain about it either).

The expansion ramps up the difficulty for us, which we see as a good thing. It isn't really hard to beat Arkham Horror without expansions, but when we played with King in Yellow, we lost. My small complaint is that it makes it too hard to win by sealing gates in the "touring performance" style of game. There are relatively few gates that open, but a lot of stuff that adds doom tokens.

I later played it solo to see how it works with the cards mixed in and my conclusion is that the mythos cards in the King in Yellow expansion are much harder. I didn’t notice any change of difficulty for the other cards (location- and other world cards).

Board Game: Island Fortress
Board Game: Island Fortress


Island Fortress 1 play (playing right now) Rating: N/A
New for me this month is also Huang Di, but I can’t give a rating just yet as I play it online at jklmonline and I must say, I have serious problems with online implementations of games. It’s not that I think they are generally bad, but because I have hard to learn the rules without the board and components in front of me. I think that is a reason why I don’t play many games online anymore (at least not games I haven’t played in person before).

So how’s the game? In the game you are to build the Great Wall of China. Each round you will pick three actions from four different roles where each role has several options. You will recruit workers, get building materials and work on the wall (among other things).

The game is pretty involving with many ways to score. I might find it personally too involving, where I don’t seem to fit the different pieces in the game together. But it could turn the other way around too and be really interesting. Usually I am pretty quick to rate a game, but I am putting this rating on hold and see how it turns out.
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4. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0 [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:271] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! 3.0
Dave Eisen
United States
Los Altos
CA
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Quick, light wargame. Randomness in the troop/action tile draw, but no randomness in the on-board play. That approach works for me. Looking forward to learning the strengths and weaknesses of the various nations to allow a more strategic approach to the game.

Also my first play of Combat Commander: Europe. Light-medium complexity card driven squad level tactical wargame. I'm not really a wargamer, and yet the decisions here were interesting and the game play smooth. I can't see playing this frequently, but I will be picking up a copy to play from time to time.
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5. Board Game: Kamisado [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1375]
Board Game: Kamisado
Dean Rekich
United States
Lyndora
Pennsylvania
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I played 6 new to me games this month, and 5 of them were good, which is a fantastic percentage. The best new game I played in January was Kamisado. Kamisado is a 2 player abstract strategy game by Peter Burley who also created Take It Easy and Take it to the Limit. So far I just have played the most basic version of the game. In the most basic version the person who first gets one of their 8 pieces into the back row of the other player wins. I have yet to learn the more advanced versions, but it sounds like it will add a lot to the game. The game is played on a board of squares of 8 different colors. Other than the first move, the rest of the moves follow a simple yet different rule: you must always move your piece that is the same color of the square that the other player’s piece landed on. At first I had no idea what to do, but I am beginning to see a little bit of strategy after 5 games. The more I play the game I think my opinion of it will only improve.

The other game I liked (in no particular order)


Wasabi: This is a nice light game that is quite fun. I am a *very* picky eater, and thus don’t eat most cooked food, let alone raw food! However, I still like the theme of the game and it works quite well.


Sorry Sliders: I am yet another person who got this game because of the positive comments of BGG. It seems like there should almost be an “I would have never ever considered buying Sorry Sliders if not for all of the good things written about it on BGG” microbadge! A very nice dexterity game for a very reasonable price.


Saikoro: This is a 2 player abstract strategy game I bought directly from the publisher in England. The game involves 62 dice and two player pieces. Before every game you shake the whole game so that the dice are different numbers for each game. Then during the game, the numbers on the dice determine which places you can move on. A nice light strategy game with the bonus that the game board is different each and every game. After playing this and Kamisado I found myself thinking about the game later and thinking of different ways to play, different strategies, etc. Any game that I end up thinking about after I have played is usually a good one.


Scrabble Me: I was in a Barnes and Noble bookstore shortly after Christmas and they had some game discounted. Since my girlfriend and I enjoy word games, we bought 2 different ones. The *good* one is Scrabble Me. In Scrabble Me, each player has their own individual smaller board. Each person tries to make the highest score on their own board. There is a communal Tile Podium from which players take letters in turn. If you do not like any of the tiles on the Tile Podium, you can take your chances and pull a tile from the bag, like in regular Scrabble. The Tile Podium adds some different strategy than in normal Scrabble, plus the game seems to play in a good bit less time.


Which leaves the only bad game being--


AmuseAmaze: This is a word game that did not hit me at all. I see that someone on BGG commented that this might have made a better computer game, and I agree with that sentiment. As it is, I really just wanted this game to end. I can see this appealing to some people who like word searches or word mazes, but this game just is not for me.
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6. Board Game: Uruk: Wiege der Zivilisation [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3163]
Board Game: Uruk: Wiege der Zivilisation
Joe Huber

Westborough
Massachusetts
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It was a good month for me for trying new games; only one that bombed, a bunch that were fun, and a couple that stood out. The close runner-up for me was Crusader Rex, which I found quite interesting and dynamic enough to make me more and more interested as the game progressed.

The top slot, though, goes to Uruk, the only new-to-me game I managed to play multiple times during the month. I'm still not sure how well it will hold up, or if it will grow into a favorite - but I've really enjoyed my first few plays...
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7. Board Game: Halli Galli [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:5540]
Board Game: Halli Galli
United States
Lexington
Kentucky
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I played Halli Galli for the first time this month. It was a raucous, thoroughly enjoyable time!

The game will suit groups that enjoy similar games such as Snorta, Beep Beep, Pit, and Spoons.
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8. Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Decathlon [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:3304]
Board Game: Reiner Knizia's Decathlon
Sheamus Parkes
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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I know, odd choice for #1. But this free PnP push-your-luck dice game takes the cake for this month. I'm just really impressed with the theme integration and the consistent quality of the events. I played Can't Stop again the other day, and it just wasn't the same.


Close behind:

Factory Fun - Kris came through with a nice trade from Europe for this one. I got it played 4 times with my wife, and we enjoyed every one of those plays. It's got such fun spatial bendy goodness. It's also got just the right mix of economics to keep me interested. I'm amazed how well it's designed the more we play it. There's just enough of the right constraints to make it repeatedly interesting.

Middle Kingdom - A rather odd one from Tom. Like everyone else, I messed up some rules the first time through. I then spent some time aggregating some FAQs into this:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/371072

The second play went much smoother. It's just such an odd little beast. I like that none of the decisions seemed obvious. I could see the ramifications, but keeping an eye on victory was tough. My wife just loved the numerous prisoner's dilemma that arose during the bidding.



The okay:

Witch's Brew - I need to give it another go, but it just didn't do much for me the first time. I think it broke down because I could choose my 5 cards for the hand. That just didn't feel right. I'm so used to trick taking games where I have to use what I'm dealt. I think I did very poorly at my choosing. I did just fine at the card play, and the whole "So be it..." gamble was fun.



The bad:

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game - Bah. I'm done with this. Already traded it off. I won as a cylon because the FTL drive got moved back 3 spaces by crises cards. I wasn't really responsible for that, but it won it for me. I lost as a human because I didn't free boomer in the first turn after the sleeper phase. What information did I have to go on? Her pleas of humanity? Riiight. Turns out she was a human and the roaming cyclons doomed us in skill checks without her help. Was I wrong to keep her in the brig? I don't think so. Did I lose because I didn't help get her out? Yes. So in the end, Bah. I don't mind "experience" games to an extent, but I prefer a little more control in my game thank you very much.
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9. Board Game: Unhappy King Charles! [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1856]
Board Game: Unhappy King Charles!
Andy M
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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Excellent new CDG.
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10. Board Game: Blox [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:3794]
Board Game: Blox
Stven Carlberg
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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Best first impression in January was made by Blox.

It's hard to explain why it's such a good game -- just play it and see! As I said on the ratings page:

I give Blox points for originality. A nice multiplayer abstract in the "board of squares" family, enlivened by interesting colors and scorekeeping.

Also played for the first time this month were Vikings (okay), Wasabi! (okay, but has too many exclamation points in the title), and Sorry! Sliders (also okay, with just enough exclamation points in the title).
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11. Board Game: Logistico [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:5092]
Board Game: Logistico
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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With 8 new games this was a record month for me. Nonetheless, none of the new games was outstanding for me. In part this is due to trying out a few wargames which is not my type of game. Also there were three of these eight games I didn't enjoy at all. A bad ratio. Probably, almost everybody would have chosen another game of the month.

Logistico: thumbsupthumbsup Strong 7/10 with tendency towards 8 after first play. Having a job involving logistics this game hits the sweet spot. Finding the right long-term route and optimizing the deliveries tactically is a challenge I enjoy. Too bad that it will be to dry for the taste of most players. Playing with 4 or even 5 players will make planning more and more obsolete though. I wouldn't play it with 5 players.

Warriors of God: The Wars of England & France, 1135-1453: thumbsupthumbsup Approachable wargame even for a Eurogamer like me. The frequent leader deaths avoid the stacking of tons of units which I strongly dislike in wargames or Ameritrash. They help to keep the game moving. I also like the initiative system which allows almost eurogame-like tactics with pinning down opposing leaders and going for area control. The mapboard and counter design is gorgeous. Only drawback is the too long playing time for a heavily luck-dependent game as this. 8 or 9 turns instead of 11 would suffice.

Blokus: thumbsupthumbsupAttractive abstract for two or four players. I haven't played it with three but the rules for three players feel improvised. Possibly, not the deepest abstract but one of the best-looking. It has the big advantage that it can be played with gamers who usually dislike abstract games as well. With four players it can happen that two players gang up on the player between them and take him out of the race for the win even if he's a stronger player. Once the players are experienced enough this shouldn't happen as this will mostly lead to a win for the fourth player. The reasonable choice probably is blocking the player behind you in the turn order.

Commands & Colors: Ancients thumbsup The Commands & Colors games are certainly good games as their ratings on BGG show but I'm undecided whether the system could do it for me. I played this one once and Battle Cry a few times online. I can't yet say which one I prefer. The main plus of these games vs. other wargames is their short playing time and ease of rules. That speaks for Battle Cry. On the other hand there's more game to CC:A. The increased importance of close combat, the possiblity to react and the more varied command cards give way to far more clever moves. Have to try more.

Great Wall of Chinathumbsup This game needs at least one play to get a grip on the distribution of victory points and knowing when to go for a fight and when to settle for second place. Rather aggressive card game which will suffer from inattentive or kingmaking players when taken serious. It lacks something unique to make me want to play it again but I wouldn't oppose another try.

Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracythumbsdown
Blackbeard, fiddlyness be thy name! The game plays like the rules read: "Each player now completes a player-turn (4.3), in the order determined in Step 2. Repeat Step 11 until the Game Length (4.1) is reached. At that point, determine the Winner (18.0)." I knew before that this will be an experience game and not one of great strategies being rewarded or tense decisionmaking. But the experience was severly hampered by the fiddlyness of gameplay. Too bad as the components are gorgeous. Hopes for getting that nostalgic Pirates PC game feeling weren't fulfilled. For the three to four hours this might take with half-experienced players, there is too much randomness and not enough game or fun in it. What use playing for so long when the game is decided in booty rolls and who's lucky enough that none of his opponents has the right take-that card in his hands before retirement or any other important action.

The 3 Commandmentsthumbsdown If it were just about rules for the artefacts on the board it would be an interesting deduction game. With the party element of the behaviour rules added this is not my type of game anymore. Caressing wooden pieces, rubbing my nose or playing left-handed as part of a game annoys me. The scoring didn't work out. You will want to play negative commandments that nobody breaks because otherwise you'll be the only one without points. The choice of the commandments is an interesting idea that doesn't work. Would be interesting to see this in a better game. Also, you have to know the cards at least a bit and played once before to have a fair chance of deduction the commandments.

Diamant thumbsdown The goal to collect certain combinations of coloured diamants reminds of Bazaar. But this is an abstract game which lacks the typical elegance of this genre. There are some rules ambiguities and the hidden information what your opponent(s) are collecting, adds a luck factor. The game played like a puzzle and there was no long-term planning. Even for a 70's design this game this game is under-average.

The four-player-game might get stuck if everybody has a card with two diamants of the same color and every player owns one of these diamants.
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12. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:211]
Board Game: Space Alert
Joe Ritter
United States
Westfield
New Jersey
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Lot's of new stuff in Jan09 (so far the new year is starting off pretty well). I was able to play 5 new games this month. It was a toss up between Space Alert and Thebes to start off this list as I've enjoyed those two the most.

Space Alert - 6 plays
Thebes - 2 plays
Saint Petersburg - 1 play
Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 - 1 play
The Battle for Hill 218 - 1 play

I put Space Alert over Thebes mainly because of the CD and it was a pretty intense and quick co-op (and I enjoy a good co-op). Thebes is extremely enjoyable (and will move up my wishlist) and fits the theme (at least i think it fits the theme).

Saint Petersburg was good and I do want to play that one again. Conflict of Heros was good, but I definitely need to play a few more times to truly enjuoy. Battle for Hill 218 was ok. It was pretty quick and could make it to my list of quick fillers, but it felt more like an abstract game than a WWII card game.
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13. Board Game: Timber Tom [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:4587]
Board Game: Timber Tom
Brian Moore
United Kingdom
Bolton
Lancashire
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I've been lucky enough to pick up a first edition copy from the designer and this is quite an unusual game in that you play on a 3D, start at the base camp and have to hike up two mountain tops to get 2 treasure sacks then hike it back to base camp. Each turn you get to plant 0-3 trees yo try and slow the progress of your fellow hikers. Movement depends on your height on terrain, not by die rolls - unless you are on the flood plain or on the mountain top, so it plays quite strategically too. Very enjoyable.

Also new this month:
MarraCash - not a new game but got a copy based on BGG ratings and thoroughly enjoyed my first play.

Powerboats - a very enjoyable race game

Duck Dealer - picked this up at Stabcon and thoroughly enjoyed my first play. looking forward to more plays of this.

GolfProfi - Got this at Xmas but not played until this month. Quite an interesting golf game.

Strozzi - played this at Stabcon and enjoyed it so much I've now got it on order!

Shadow Hunters - Had this for awhile, but only got to play it this month. Nice quick game and lots of fun.

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers - Good race game down a river with variable river tiles.

Looting London - Another game played at Stabcon and good fun too

Blue Moon - Bought this last year and only just got around to getting it to the table. A good 2 player card game. Don't want to enjoy iy too much though - or I'll end up wanting the expansion cards shake
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14. Board Game: Pickomino [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1237]
Board Game: Pickomino
Mr. Frothingslosh
Canada
Caledon
Ontario
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5 new games for me this month. All of them short lighter games, but I think a very good mix of games overall.

Pickomino was my favorite new game for me this month. A very nice push-your-luck dice game that plays from 2 to 7. I've played with either 4 players or 2 players and both seem to work well. The components are both simple and elegant. Dice and dominoes all packaged in a small box. This will be a great game for on-the-go for its small size and quick play. 4 plays.

Bazaar was an interesting offering from Sid Sackson. Again dice rolling, but also a great trading aspect to get the gems you want for big points. Mine is the Discovery Toys edition, but with the card mix unchanged from the original which I understand is a big plus from reading the Bazaar forum. 2 plays.

Cowabunga is a simple card memory game. Basically you need to keep on surfin' without hitting any of the obstacle cards. As play progresses more obstacle cards come into play, meaning you have a lot more to remember. I generally suck at these kind of games, but my friends seemed to enjoy it, and it plays very quickly, so I have to give it a thumbs up! 3 plays

Rukshuk is one of the strangest games I've ever played. It's a dexterity game of stacking rocks. If you can manage the balancing act for the card drawn, you can score big points. Very odd game. My brother and I loved it. My wife and my brother's girlfriend, not so much. 1 play

Blokus 3D was actually a bit of a disappoint for me. I had been looking forward to playing this game for a long time. But something didn't click with me. I think mostly because of the 'upwards' playing involved. I will have to try a few more times to get a good idea of how much I like it. On the plus side, the game looks great on the table!
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15. Board Game: Dragon's Gold [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1914]
Board Game: Dragon's Gold
Eugene van der Pijll
Netherlands
Leidschendam
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Seven new games for me in January.

The best new game this month was Drachengold. It's an oldie, but it's a good one. I like negotiation games, but they can drag a bit. Drachengold removes this flaw by adding a sand timer, which is a brilliant idea.

Lifeboats is also a negotation game. It suffers from a comparison with Intrigue, which is more elegant, and more brutal. It's still a good game. I love the little boats.

Playing Shogun once is to little to know if it's a good game. It was very long (four hours including explanation), and very complex. I'd like to try this again.

Sorry! Sliders is fun, but does not deserve the hype it gets here on BGG, in my eyes.

Friday the 13th is a Knizia trick taking game, that feels like a trick taking game by Reiner Knizia should. It's not that special, but perfectly suited as a short filler.

El Capitán is an average euro with a useless graphic design. A large part of my rating is probably explained by my location at the table: farthest from the route cards, and looking on them upside-down. Maybe there is a good game in here, but it needs a redesign.

Wicked Witches Way is just no fun at all. The only way this could be worse is to have Mike Doyle graphics on the dice.
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16. Board Game: Cornerstone [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:4744]
Board Game: Cornerstone
Dan Cain
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Game of the Month

Cornerstone

This one is just like Jenga, but with an added strategy to it. The game is beautiful to look at, and a lot of fun to play. Get some smack talking going, or a player who just wants to screw everyone over, and hilarity will ensue.

Overall Rating



Runner-Up
Board Game: Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel


Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel

I thought this was going to be the end all, be all in gaming for me. Sadly it wasn't. It's a good system, and a fun time. Got through two missions, but the game has some problems with it. #1 The artwork for boards are just atrocious. #2 The Dark Legion pieces are some of the same colors as players pieces. #3 It only plays well with if you have 5 players. Other than that, the rotating GM position, the weapons bunker, and secret missions presents players with interesting choices. I am definitely going to keep trying this one, and hopefully some of the other missions will really kick this one up a couple of notches. But for now, I think I am more looking forward to playing Space Crusade,

Overall Rating:


Honorable Mention

Board Game: Illusio


Illusio

An interesting card game, with great artwork on the cards. The first game of this I played I didn't think it seemed all that great. When I played with more players though it was much more interesting. I still wish there was more player interaction, and the ability to screw with other people's tricks, ala The Prestige.

Overall Rating:



Fun for the Experience, but I'll Pass Next Time

Board Game: Dark Tower


Dark Tower

Like Talisman, but with a really wicked awesome tower that tells you what your encounters are. The game is lackluster, but that tower is a sight to behold when you see it in action. I'm glad I got the chance to try this one, but I definitely would not need to play it agian.

Overall Rating:
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17. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:109] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age
My favorite new thing this month was Stone Age, which I played once. I'm pretty sure my tribe was destined to perish, but it was a jolly game.

Other new games to me this month:
Druidenwalzer: One of the Kosmos 2-player line. Has a really different and unusual mechanism (though I understand it is derived from Mancala, which I have never played). It will take me a few more plays to fully grasp this (the one time we played I kept planning and doing things that had unexpected consequences), but am looking forward to trying it out some more.
Attika: This seemed fine at first but after 3 games I ultimately wasn't crazy about it. This is a game where it's much easier to ruin someone else's chance of winning than it is to pursue your own (which someone else will ruin anyway). And there's a lot of who's-going-to-stop-[the person who's about to win], but whoever does this is sacrificing their own chance to advance. I just found the dynamics annoying. However, all my plays have been with 4 people, and I think it might be different with 3.
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18. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:109] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Stone Age
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
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This is a hard call - we picked up Stone Age and Kingsburg the other night, and they're both excellent. At this moment, I'm going to go with Stone Age, but it's really close.

I requested a resource/building game with dice, and both Kingsburg and Stone Age deliver. There are enough options that we don't feel like we block each other as much as in Agricola, and that there are more surprises in scoring at the end, rather than feeling halfway through that you can't catch up.

We've also gotten No Thanks! which should be fun for our game night tonight with our more social-party-game friends. We've had fun with Mexican Train Dominoes and 13 Dead End Drive this month. We picked up the D&D Miniatures Game and the Monty Python Fluxx, which we haven't played yet.
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19. Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! Babel13 [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Neuroshima Hex! Babel13
I've been playing NHex for about a year and the Babel 13 expansion gives some good variety for a good game that...needed variety. The terrain tiles were the best new contribution to the game, hills, forests, water, and death zones can be added to the board. The rules for terrain effects are kind of open and players can decide exactly how they work using some guidelines in the (very short) ruless additions. There's a campaign game and 2 new armies as well. I like New York, plenty of ranged attack nastiness from them. This expansion is pricey but if you're an NHex fan I consider this to be a must-have.

I also played Storm over Arnhem for the first time. Definitely not new, just new to me. I like the area-impulse games a lot and SOA is the least complex of the AH originals. I think this one needed just a little more meat to it, Turning Point Stalingrad and Breakout Normandy are better games. Not saying SOA was bad, but the other 2 I've tried are better.
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20. Board Game: Traders of Osaka [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1161]
Board Game: Traders of Osaka
Not a busy month for me. Three one time plays only makes it tough to choose, but I think the best of the bunch long term is Traders of Carthage. Easy to play, but felt like I was a loooong way from playing the game well.


Board Game: Blue Moon

Considering taking a few decks of this to Europe on our backpacking trip. Enjoyed the game, but don't quite see the depth yet. Need more plays.


Board Game: California

Was ok, didn't strike me as anything special. I think component quality here affected this partly, man, are the "gold" and "silver" coins ever nondescript. Couldn't even be bothered to print an image of a coin on them, or even numbers 5 and 1.
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21. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:439]
Board Game: Chicago Express
Robert Burian
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Too easy a choice. Probably my favorite new game in months. Plays so fast with so many decisions. Just a flat out delicious game
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22. Board Game: Serenissima [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1454]
Board Game: Serenissima
Twinge
United States
Colorado
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Just about everything I tried for the first time in January was good. Serenissima ekes out a win by being a lot more fun than I expected coming into the game.

Santiago is a close 2nd; a great negotiation game that keeps a reasonable pace and has lots of options throughout.

Elfenland is a pretty neat system I also enjoyed. Not amazing, but definitely good.

Aladdin's Dragons - A worker-placement blind-bidding game? Sure, why not! It was pretty nifty and enjoyable and I'd certainly try it again sometime.

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers this is the weakest link on the list. I didn't hate it, but there just isn't much to it at all. It is still quick and reasonably fun, though.


Expansions -- Galaxy Trucker: Rough Road Ahead is awesome. Some of the new components are kind of awkward but fun overall. Also, adding a 5th player worked a lot better than I expected considering the somewhat odd implementation for a 5th player.
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23. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:176]
Board Game: The Princes of Florence
brian
United States
Cedar Lake
Indiana
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This is the only new game for me. With a few Christmas gifts, most of my new games were in before the buzzer at the end of 2008 and we have continued to play those, like Dominion and Chicago Express, into this month.

Unfortunately, Princes of Florence was played as a 2-player learning game (with the official 2-player variant) so it lacked some of the tension and depth, I am sure. I look forward to getting this out next month with more players and a better understanding of the flow of the game.

Otherwise, a pretty light month for me (only 23 games played) as we recovered from the holidays and work consumed most of my time - both awake and in unrested sleep!

EDIT: And getting in under the buzzer gain, we finally got Red November on the table. Decent little co-op. We played 2-player with 2 gnomes eacg. A lot to keep straight and we had a hard time rememebring all the terminology on the cards matching on the tracks matching up to the rooms. They should have added symbols to the cards. So we did some things that hurt us and forgot some things that would have hurt us so it balances out I guess.
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24. Board Game: Chicago Express [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:439]
Board Game: Chicago Express
Art Vandelay
Canada
100 Mile House
BC
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11 new games for me this month, among 66 plays overall. I have to play a couple games tonight, so I can surpass december's 67 plays!

I enjoyed all but 1 of the new games I played.

Chicago Express
Chicago Express I think was my favorite of the bunch. Easy to play, short game length. But So much strategy packed inside. I can't wait to play again!



Ghost Stories
Played ghost stories twice, and had loads of fun. We got slaughtered the first time, and came within a hair of winning the second. I think next time, we will win!


Wasabi!
Got this one to the table 3 times. Quick, and simple, but quite fun. The pieces/components are absolutely stunning. Played it during a sushi night!


Cosmic Encounter
Liked this one so much, I purchased it for myself!
we played a 5 player game and it was great! Loved the alien powers, and the alliances.


Lifeboats
Lifeboats got played 3 times. I wanted a 6 player game, that was fun to play, and this fit the bill well. Not a brain burner, but lots of strategy and choice, due to the alliances/negotiations. Went over well with everyone.


I also played:
Citadels, Phoenicia, Blue Moon, Starship Catan, Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg, and genji, all once. The only one I didnt really care for was Genji. All the others I will enjoy more and more with every play.

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25. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:209]
Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery
Patrice Pelletier
Canada
Quebec
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The only new game I played in January. Great game, nice mix of mechanics, fun to play. It will get many more plays.
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