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Bobby's Games

I will be posting monthly recaps of my gaming which I have been doing in GeekLists. 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 April 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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Yet another cooperative combat game with miniatures was the rage by the end of April. The mutating cowboys saw their world expand tremendously and some old Euro buddies made a come back.

The lowest rated game of the month was a new one which rated a five and the highest rated game was a nine.

I played 24 games a total of 40 times and six expansions a total of eight times. I played three of the games and two of the expansions for the first time. In March I played five of the games and one of the expansions which saw table time this month.

Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 8

We finished the campaign at Mike’s. As a lot of people have said, the last scenario is completely different from the rest of the game and it isn’t a good thing. Oh, it is still fun, but “The Temple of Dawning Twilight” has only one goal and it really eliminates the PvP to a large degree and makes it a race to survive the punishment and get to Lord Fang.

I haven’t read the scenario and don’t know what the other two titles from the second ring give to the player that gets them, but the Warden of Fire from “The Alchemist’s District” and the Rebel Leader from “Red Dawn Square” are both useful. I was the Warden of Fire and was able to freely pick up treasures that the others had to be cautious of because they could would them. It helped a lot, though not enough for me to pull off the win. (In large part because Wisp died while carrying two potions and a high-value treasure chest).

Damian won the last scenario. Mike made a go of it, but Greensleeves had ‘Amnesia’ and thus lost his special ability, which would have let him pull off the win. Instead, Fang was wounded and didn’t recover enough wounds when counter-attacking, so Damian moved in and pounded the pointy-toothed one into the ground for the win. I ended up the campaign being tied with one of the others in claiming each medal, so I feel like I had a very successful campaign.

One thing I would change is my selection of gear. Mike and Damian were rolling insane amounts of defense dice and it might have helped me some in the last scenario if I could have had a few more points. Also, never, ever pass bows to the person playing Greensleeves. Never!


Augustus
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 8

Super geek bingo!


Automobiles
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Michael, Nico and I played a quick, three-lap race on the Daytona board. Later in the month, the three of us played again, this time with Harrison joining us.


Bottlecap Vikings
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

Dion got this in the Kickstarter for Orléans and wanted to play. He went over the rules and he and I went through it. It’s a decent enough game, but I don’t know how well it will work with more than two players. With more it feels like it might degenerate into a series of ‘take-that’ moves that will do little more than delay the game.


B-Sieged
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 7

The group at the Game Depot won the first time we played it. Alex played Kador, the Sorcerer; Michael played Eileen, the Archer; Nico played Osvith, the Paladin; and I played Eivor, the Noble. The game seemed to go over well with the three of them and I hope to have it played semi-regularly at the store.


Castles of Burgundy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 8

Nico, Michael and I played this. I had one of the boards from Spielbox and focused on animals, for once, and pretty much ignored the science tiles for most of the game. In the end, I completed all the areas except for one of the animal tiles and the two science areas. I ended up with the win and this is always a really good game to play.


Clocktowers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2006
My Rating: 6

Dion recently acquired this. I hadn’t played it in a long, long time, and remembered that it played really well with two players. I skimmed over the rules, explained it, and we played a game. Dion ended up with the close victory over me and it was a blast playing this again.


Dark Gothic
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

I picked this up after playing the next game. I taught this to the Saturday group and we played it on consecutive weekends. I taught it to Michael, Nico, Alex, and Nick and it went over fairly well with them. I guess I will have to pick up Colonial Horror.


Dark Gothic: Colonial Horror
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New / 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played Dark Gothic last August and it hasn’t been played since then even though we both liked it quite a bit. This month he broke out this stand-alone/expansion and we got in a couple of games of it as well.

I enjoyed playing the system again and ended up getting the original game at a good price so I could take it along on a Saturday on occasion and if you read just before this, I played that as well.

Dice City
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: All that Glitters for one of the games.

I didn’t want to integrate the expansion into the game, especially since Alex hadn't played it before.

Later in the day, I was the last one at the store and mixed in the cards from the expansion so the next time we will play with all the buildings from it and some of the ones from the original game.

Later in the month, I was able to play it with the cards I set up after playing last time. I liked the new stuff, though no one really focused on getting gold.


Fireteam Zero
Times Played: 8
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Mike picked up this game which we both looked at when it was on Kickstarter and we played it. After losing the first scenario, we played it again two more times, losing both.

The following weekend, we won the first scenario, then lost the second one twice.

The next day, Alex bought the game. We played twice at the Game Depot then Michael picked it up.

I think it might be a little bit of a hit around here.


Grand Austria Hotel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2016
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played a second time. This time I made sure to concentrate on the Emperor track and scoring at least one of the three Politics cards. Mike got stuck without money like I did in the previous game and I completely dominated the score track.

Mike’s opinion is that the cards can really screw you quite a bit. I don’t think is the case, but can see why he might think that after a couple of games. We’ll see if we play enough for either of us to change our opinions.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Heckmeck Extrawurm for one of the games.

We played it once on a Saturday without the new expansion and then again the following weekend with the expansion. We played it slightly wrong, counting the Canned Worm as a worm even when Harrison rolled and saved worms. Still, I think I got enough from out playing to see how it plays. I do like what it adds to the game, though probably with more than three players.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2016
My Rating: 7

A game about stones with wood dice? Really? laugh


Nations: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 6

Nico brought this along and it was nice to play this again. In the end, I had several re-rolls and needed to get enough food for the bonus points at the end of the last age, but I didn’t get enough for the points. If I did, I would have scored enough points to win.


Pandemic
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: On the Brink.

After finishing up the Arcadia Quest campaign at Mike’s, we had time to play this. Jerry hadn’t played before, so we explained it and dove into the game. We had three outbreaks almost immediately and things looked really bad. We rallied and managed to control most of the board and find several cures. But all was not well in Whoville that night.

As we approached the end of the game with maybe five or six player turns to go, the purple disease had an outbreak and we ran out of cubes and the world collapsed into virally-induced wasteland.

I am sure glad I have the original edition with the wooden cubes. I have a really hard time telling some of the different translucent cube colors apart while they are on the board, especially black and purple. Red can also be difficult to see when mixed with either of those colors.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Demon’s Heresy for both games.

Michael and I played through, and won, “The Demon’s Redoubt” and “The Fallen Fane” scenarios with Kyra, the Cleric and Crowe, the Bloodrager.


Quadropolis
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

In the long run, I think the choices are too limited and it might quickly disappear from the tables.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 3/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Big Points.

Nico, Michael and I played with his expansion and had a great time playing with the newest score sheets. I did quite well filling in the extra line of the blue and green and scored huge for an easy win. The second game was with Michael, Alex, and Nick and was also a blast. I really like the Big Points expansion.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

This was a quick, low-scoring game that ended up with a one-point difference between the two of us. If my last die I was rolling was a color I could add to a column of monuments I would have won by four points.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 3/2016
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as every pack released so far.

The first time was using the new characters which I hadn’t received, but was able to gather all the needed info to play them. It was Alex, Michael, and I, and the characters were hired to explore a mine. We saw a mixture of monsters, both old and new and had a good time with the new characters. It made me even more excited to get my wave 1.5 shipment.

The shipment arrived in time for the second game of the month and Alex and Michael played the Prospector and Orphan again, but I played the Gunslinger instead of the Drifter. The characters ended up in the swamp world of Jargono, looking for a dreaded temple. We did not see any Serpentmen, but did face off against some slugs and ended up being successful. This was the first time we used the new travelling and town rules from the Frontier Town and I think there might be too many encounters designed to solely punish the characters that aren’t part of the normal game play.

By the time the third game came around we had access to all the monster groups from wave 1.5 between what Alex and I were able to assemble. Once again, Alex played the Prospector, while Michael played the Bandido, T. played the U.S. Marshal, and I played the Preacher. This time we were in Jargono and came up against a quite a few Targa Pylons, which was the first time either Alex or I remember facing off against them, and ended against a Guardian of Targa supported by a squad of Custodian robots. We were short on time, so we decided to modify the encounters for travelling to town. Instead of the rules from the Frontier Town we had each character roll a D6 and have an encounter for each 1 to 3 they get. The number of D6s rolled is based on the size of the town: small is one, medium is two, and large is three. Between the four of us we still had five or six encounters on the way to the large town.

I hope to play several times in May and hope to see some more of the new monster types.

Reminder: Back in December I began tracking one of each hero and asking different people to play them instead of tracking heroes for each player. That way we don’t need specific people around to play specific characters and, hopefully, we can see most, if not all of them advance to eighth level. It also causes the gear and artifact cards to be spread out among all the characters.


Thunderstone Advance
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2016 (Thunderstone Advance) and 7/2013 (for the Towers of Ruin and Caverns of Bane sets)
My Rating: 7

Sets used: Towers of Ruin and Caverns of Bane.

I grabbed this off the shelf instead of the World’s Collide box. I wish I owned Root of Corruption to mix in with these cards, but I won’t pay the price it is getting right now.


To Court the King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 7

I like this so much more than newer Favor of the Pharaoh and it was fun to play it once again. I should keep it in my game bag since it doesn’t take up that much space.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

The Game Depot needed someone to play a game beginning with a “W” in their attempt to get every game played beginning with every letter of the alphabet during International Tabletop Day, so I pulled this out and we played the game.
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Wed May 4, 2016 7:29 pm
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Games Played in March 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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Zombies getting medieval were the rage in January. Last month it was tower defense. This month it was freeing a city from invaders. Each of them is a Cool Mini or Not game and I don’t know exactly what that says about me or my gaming habits.

The lowest rated game of the month was a five and I played one of my mythical tens as well this month.

I played 29 games a total of 43 times and eight expansions only once each. I played five of the games and three of the expansions for the first time. In February, I played six of the games I played this month.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Mike and I played twice. The second time I won by a military victory, which is always a rewarding way to win.


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 7
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Michael, T., Nico and I started a new campaign with the “Brightsun Arena” scenario and then played the “The Moon Gate” scenario.

Michael won both scenarios with his guild of Grom, Seth, and Zazu. My guild is Hobsbawm, Wisp, and Zahra; T’s is Leeroy, Tiaret, and Yun; and Nico’s is McHammer, Nibbles, and Jøhan.

Mike, Jerry, Damian and I also started a campaign. We played the “District of Hammers” scenario, “The Rookery” scenario, and “The Manor” scenario. I won the first two scenarios and Jerry won the third.

Later in the month we played the “Alchemist’s District” and “Red Dawn Square” scenarios, with Damian winning the first and Mike winning the second. We’re all set to play the last scenario in early April

My guild for this campaign is Sting, Queen of the Beggars, and Wisp; Jerry’s is Lydia, Mittens, and the Monkey Queen; Damian’s is Jøhan, the Nameless, and Scarlet; and Mike’s guild is Greensleeves, King of the Thieves, and Smiley Faceless.


Carcassonne
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 10

Expansion Played: Inns & Cathedrals.

Rylan hadn’t played and it was suggested this would be a good game for he and Ashley, so I pulled out the copy from the Game Depot’s back room which has Inns and Cathedrals included. He picked up on the game quickly and Nico and I got into a pissing match over a largish city and had our figures, including the super meeple, locked out for most of the game. Rylan pulled out the victory and I suspect this classic will end up in another collection at some point.


Citadels
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2013
My Rating: 8

I managed to build quite a few large buildings, avoid both the thief and the assassin and pull out an easy win.


Elder Sign
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Omens of Ice, Unseen Forces, and Gates of Arkham.

Charlie Kane, the Politician; Lily Chen, the Martial Artist; and Tony Morgan, the Bounty Hunter undertook the threat of Rlim-Shaikorth in the summer. We failed to prevent the end of the world.

I really liked the additions in Omens of Ice and we played a few of the new things a incorrectly but not so much that we would have won this time.


Fast & Furious: Full Throttle
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This was quick and light. The real complaint is the tiny spaces on the board and really, really small cars.


Finstere Flure
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Six of us played and ran from the monster. My purple priests managed to escape first, being naturally disposed to avoiding monsters from the abyss.


Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

We lost another close game on one of the earlier boards.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Reuse expansion.

Well I completely played the Renewal Agency wrong, thinking it gave the three bonus coins when you flipped it from the Renewal Agency back to the Plumber Shop. I don’t know how I messed it up, other than the typical brain damage...


Geschenkt
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

We played with six players for the first time. Reducing the number of chips that players start with really does impact how the game starts. I am not sure I like it with that many and will likely try to find something else to play with six.


Grand Austria Hotel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is one that I had been interested in. Mike picked it up and we both liked it, even though he totally kicked my ass. It definitely has a learning curve and some people will tend towards severe AP, but it works well as a two player game and we both tend to play quickly.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Dice rolling for mystical stones. Mike’s dice are getting dirty!


Kemet
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2013
My Rating: 5

Alex broke this out again and other than he and I, no one had played before. Alex ended up winning fairly easily, though Nico really was close enough that another turn might have had him in a position to contest the game.


King of Tokyo
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Power Up! and Halloween.

I got greedy and tried staying in Tokyo too long and was the first to die.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

I taught Mike and Damian how to play and it was still a lot of fun. A few years ago I would have bought this, but I can play it enough with Mike and Nico owning it and my full shelves are bursting as it.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

I played this once without the expansions. Rylan and Ashley had just bought it so I explained the game and we played.


Medici
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2013
My Rating: 9

Nico had said he hadn’t played this, but later said he thought he might have. I decided to bring it along anyway and it worked out because we had five players and this works well for that many.

I was, by far, the most experienced at this game and was cautious buying at the beginning, trying to get a good cargo and focus on two or three goods. I ended up getting the last three items for free at the end of the first year and ended up with the best ship value and scoring points in two or three goods.

Year two was much the same, as I received a successful random lot when I was the last without goods and scored big for the ship value. Year three was successful as I actually bid on some goods and won, but it was enough to keep the lead and win.

The misstep a lot of players make is being too willing to just draw new goods until they get to the maximum number and then send it around for the bid. While it is an auction game, knowing when to stop revealing more goods is as much a part of the game as knowing what to bid.

I am on my third version of the game, having the Rio Grande version with the red box. I replaced the over-sized goods markers with cubes. I might consider replacing it with the Grail Games edition if it is graphically superior as I like having cards instead of drawing the tiles from the bag. The tiles are more difficult to pull the ones which aren’t available for the day without seeing what they are.


Porta Nigra
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Mike picked up this Kramer & Kiesling game and we gave a whirl. I thought it was decent enough game, though not as good as I hoped it would be. I think it would be better with more than two of us.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Big Points.

The Big Points expansion is a lot of fun. It allows the players to duplicate a number that will add to the score of that color and its neighbor (red and yellow or blue and green). I am looking forward to playing it again.


Raj
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2014
My Rating: 8

As you might have noticed from the picture, we played the Beat the Buzzard version. It’s easier to carry around because the box is so much smaller from Raj. Maybe I should start referring to the game as Beat the Buzzard since that is the one I am more likely to play?


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and the miniature expansions.

Mike, Damian, and I played a couple of three-player games starting new characters using Mike’s sets with my expansion monsters since Mike is a total slacker and hasn’t built any of them.

Bandido, U.S. Marshal, and Saloon Girl went hunting for Dark Stone and were quite successful. The second mission was a search for a missing Farmer’s son. That one saw the darkness moving steadily towards to the opening of the Mine. It was one step away and we were sure we would lose before finding the end, but had some bad things happen which we were able to weather (i.e., doubles on the hold back the darkness roll), found the child in the presence of a Harbinger and some Hungry Dead. So it became a race to defeat the worst-designed model from the original sets (the wings are unwieldy) against the darkness escaping. Alas, we lost when the darkness escaped.

We faced several of the new monsters, some of them were the first time I’ve seen them. They are all really nice, add variety and are a little tougher. The Void Hounds are especially tough because their defense is equal to the initiative order, so the faster the characters are the harder they are to hurt. I didn’t think about the Dark Stone Shivs I picked up for the Saloon Girl which would have helped beat them down.

The Swamp Slugs were fun to face. It’s too bad that there aren’t more encounter cards for them in the mines. This was also the first time I faced more than one Void Sorcerer. They work quite well and are a nasty, nasty enemy. The only one of the retail-available monsters I don’t recall seeing when playing is the Hell Vermin.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

The beginnings of a Tiny Epic month start here with two playings of the best of the games in the series.


Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 7

Mike received the second edition from Kickstarter and we tried it a couple of times: once with two players and once with three. I enjoyed this more than the first time we played back in 2014.


Tiny Epic Western
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

I backed this locally-produced game on Kickstarter and they had a tournament at my FLGS (not that I played) and T got to the finals in the caboose of the Verde Canyon Railroad, which he won. He has production prototypes of all the cards and brought it along to play one Saturday.

I was a little disappointed in it for a few reasons.

1. The wanted card is a random two points at the end of the game that goes to the last player to activate, or the person that beats them in a shootout.

2. The constantly changing buildings make it hard to keep track of the actions available.

3. The print on the cards is small. We played on a 4’ x 4’ area and it was almost impossible to see what the buildings on the other side of the table did.

Some of these issues caused the game to take 90 minutes, which is way too long. I’m still glad I am getting it, but I don’t think it will be something that gets a lot of play from my suggesting it.


Tokaido
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

It’s a quick set-collection game which I think will work a little better with more than three players since some of the locations will have multiple spaces so more than one player will be able to take the action at the same time.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 2/2016
My Rating: 9

We used the events from the two small expansions for the first time and they worked out really well. They can add a little to the game, but don’t change the game that much. I’m looking forward to using them more.


Vegas
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 7

Vegas is the name on my copy of the game and that is what I am going to call it! So, there!


Viticulture
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 7

Argh. Is Stonemaier games trying to copy George Lucas’ meddling in the original series by constantly changing the rules for the game? First there is the original then they decide to change the rules with the second version Kickstarted with the expansion box, and then changed again with the Viticulture Essential Edition, which is what we played this time. So now if you play the game with someone, you might get taught one of three versions of the rules. I don’t see why anyone would ever want to buy one of their games if this is going to be the standard operating procedure with their games.


Zombicide: Black Plague
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Five of us played the “The Shepherds” scenario and we used some of the characters from B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss thanks to the crossover cards from the Kickstarter for that game.
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Fri Apr 1, 2016 9:40 pm
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Games Played in February 2016

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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The zombies were less prevalent this month, though we did face some lava-based monsters while defending a tower six times. Delving into the mines of the old west happened several times and bag racing was also a new and fun game.

The lowest rated game of the month was a six, and there were three of them and they were all new games. I also played three of the games I rate a nine.

I played 22 games a total of 42 times and five expansions nine times. I played five games and four of the expansions for the first time. In January, I played 10 of the games I played this month.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Just one game against Mike.


Automobiles
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike broke this out and we played a two-player game on the Daytona Beach track.

The play of the game is the player draws seven cubes from their bag that represent actions that can be taken and/or wear on the car. The actions generally move the car along the track, with smaller actions (moving slower) being on the inside of the track and faster actions being on the outside of the track. The car will take a number of wear cubes to add to the bag based on the fastest lane color the car used this turn unless the car end up in a space directly behind another car, then it is drafting and takes no wear.

Wear cubes are much like the waste cards in Trains. They clog up the efficiency of the bag but there are ways to remove them from a player’s inventory of cubes, including passing the turn and putting all drawn wear cubes back into the supply.

Besides the wear cubes there are five different brightly-colored cube piles, as well as white, light gray, dark gray, and black cubes. The five colors abilities are represented by cards and there are four different cards for each color so each game will be different. The white to black cubes represent “gears” and the speed that the car can move. A white cube means move forward into the next adjacent (including diagonal) white space, a black cube means the same for the next black space, etc.

I jumped out to a pretty good lead, but after 2.5 laps in a three lap race my extensive collection of wear caused my car’s efficiency to falter and Mike ended up with the relatively easy win, even though he stopped right before crossing the finish line on the next to last turn.

We played again with Nico and T. a few days later. Nico had played before and the three of us jumped into a race. This time we played with a random assortment of cards and the different cards really do change how the race is ran. I have far fewer issues with wear because of actions that let me remove them and managed to pull out a win. I played it again the following week with T. and Alex.

Finally, we played the Monza track with five players: Michael, T. Nico, and Nick. Designer David Short was in the house and was available for questions and he clarified our questions on movement of the cars. Five players is too many. By the end of the third lap, we ran out of many of the cubes.

One of the cards was a Turbo that lets the car move two light gray spaces plus one for each green cube in each player’s discard pile. I would like to say that I planned to use it to get to an easy victory, but I discovered it accidentally and luckily used it to get a big lead and easily win the game.


B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike and I tried it out with four characters and I liked it, though I was disappointed in the quality of the hero sculpts when compared to Blood Rage and Zombicide: Black Plague and the plastic seemed harder and possibly more brittle.

Our first foray was fun but we made a mistake by not having the archer in the group. Including her looked to me to be of the most important character choices since she can hit at range from the beginning.

After we played the official FAQ was released which created some varying levels of play, with the default level in the book being the most difficult.

The rest of the games had Jerry and Damian joining us as we did what we could to fight the forces of evil and prevent them from overtaking the citadel. We failed three times using various characters, but definitely felt we could beat the game and plan on trying again.

A couple weeks later we played two more times, this time using characters from the expansions and the Kickstarter exclusives. We lost the first game and ended up winning the second game.

I am really, really enjoying this. I don’t think it will see a lot of long-term play, but I could see breaking this out on occasion to play it.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

One four-player game on the easy level and we ended up winning.


Blood Rage
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Mystics of Midgard for one of the games.

Mike explained it to Nico and T. and we went a-pillagin’ through the realms of the Norse. Mike has played four or five times, I played just the once, and Nico and T. were playing for just the first time.

Mike scored a lot of points by having his clansmen killed and brought back from Valhalla. T. didn’t seem to be doing well at all, and Nico looked to be in third. When the game ended, Mike won by 20 points and I was another 20, or so, ahead of both Nico and T.

I did have a much better idea what I wanted to accomplish this game and felt like I had a plan. I don’t think I implemented the plan, but I had one.

The next time was with Alex’s set with using some of the promo monsters and the Mystics of Midgard. I had an idea what I might want to do, but failed because the cards didn’t fall my way so no plan existed, so I was nowhere near the highest score.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

I had the Dwarf Druid against Nico’s Goblin Paladin. It was the longest game we played. Nico did four damage to me first, but luckily the Dwarf has six wounds and I managed to win against Paladin.


Exxtra
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

This is one that needs a new printing. Every time someone new learns the game, they want a copy. Brandon is looking at making his own copy, including a wood-worked board.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 7

Maybe we should play with the Office card more often because it does speed the games up?


Geschenkt
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 9

I picked up a copy so the five of us would have something relatively quick to play. We made it through three games and by the end T. said he would buy the second copy from me so we have yet another convert to this simple, awesome game.


Karuba
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

It’s an advanced version of Take it Easy! where the tiles are placed or discarded to allow one of four figures to move towards their goal.

It’s a fun filler which I’d play any time Mike wants to bring it out.


Kingdom Death: Monster
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Alex owns this and taught it to Michael and I. The combat portion of the game is decent enough but the between combat portions are just too involved for me to enjoy it a lot. It feels like a computer game done in analog and more of a solo game than a cooperative game because the characters are so throw-away and not ones that the players can get attached to.

I’ll play in the future and will be interested in seeing how the village develops, but I really can’t see being too involved in the between-adventure stuff because it felt too much like work that the computer should be doing.

I’m also a little apprehensive that the Frontier Town expansion for Shadows of Brimstone will end up doing the same thing to that game, making the between-adventure part take as long as the adventures?


Merchants & Marauders
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2013
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Seas of Glory.

When the expansion came out I wanted to play this again and it has been a while, but Alex brought it and we played with some of the modules from Seas of Glory. I had a slow start being a merchant and was then caught by a pirate and had to start a new ship and captain. This time, I went pirating and almost caught up in the end, but was still finished a close third out of three.

Hopefully we will play this a little more often.


Orléans
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

This time I decided I was going to work less on automating things and also get some farmers to try and get the money each turn for having the most farmers. The balance of actions I chose seemed to work really well.

I still really enjoy the game and will continue to keep an eye out for the deluxe edition to acquire.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Demon’s Heresy.

Michael and I started up the third adventure deck and finished the first scenario, finally getting the chance to cull some of the basic cards.

The group at Mike’s game up on the game completely and he sold his set, so that group is never going to finish playing. We might end up playing the new set when it comes out, but I’d say that is 50%-50%.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Two games with five players and I suspect T. ended up buying a copy of the game after playing.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Mike and I played a weird game and but it was still fun and I ended up with a win.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Xeno Invasion.

Michael broke out the newest expansion and we played a couple of games with just the cards and then a couple more with the Invasion game. The new cards seem okay, but I don’t think I am going to be a fan of the Invasion game. I don’t understand why the player with the lesser military who beats off the invaders ends up getting 2 VP while the highest military, which beats the higher invader gets only 1 VP.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and the miniature expansions.

A Lawman, an Outlaw, and a Rancher make their way into a mine, run into a void sorcerer, a dozen spiders, and must have thought this won’t be too hard. Then the summoning happens and a serpentmen shaman, six serpentmen warriors, nine tentacles, a handful of hungry dead, and a couple of corpse piles arrive. In other words, they were doomed. All were fortunate enough to have their injuries healed by the Doc.

It’s the first time I can remember having one character run through two scenarios without making it to level two and it happened to both the Rancher and the Outlaw!

In an attempt to gain some experience, the Rancher and Outlaw recruited the Saloon Girl for a hunt for dark stone. This time, they were both successful at getting to level two though the Outlaw was injured in the process. On the way back to town, the Outlaw lost her upgraded pistol to some swarming Hellbats, but luckily the group had found one in the mine.

Finally, the Rancher and Outlaw once again teamed up and this time they had the Indian Scout with them. We played the “Seal the Void Gate” scenario and had to go to the Swamps of Jargono for the final battle. We did end up defeating the Goliath and winning the scenario.

All the characters are at second level and none are at third, though some of them should reach it their next scenario.

Reminder: Back in December I began tracking one of each hero and asking different people to play them instead of tracking heroes for each player. That way we don’t need specific people around to play specific characters and, hopefully, we can see most, if not all of them advance to eighth level. It also causes the gear and artifact cards to be spread out among all the characters.


Thunderstone Advance
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 7

Sets used: Worlds Collide, Into the Abyss, and the [thing=140951Starter Set[/thing] in the mix of cards.

I decided to toss in the Starter Set cards before hauling this out. I forgot that Worlds Collide and [/i]Into the Abyss[/i] added fourth level heroes so when we pulled one of the Starter set heroes, they were operating with a little less potential power, which is okay.

I taught the game to T., who caught on pretty well though I suspect the flow of the game took a little longer to understand, so I won. I am sure the next time he plays it will be a different story.


Train Heist
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This is a cooperative pick-up-and-deliver game. The players are western Robin Hoods that are boarding a train and grabbing stolen loot from corrupt big wigs and returning it to the people. Also on the train is the sheriff who is in the pocket of these corrupt power brokers.

But this isn’t good ol’ England where the peasants were trusting of the bandits. No, the people are fickle, suspicious and some are even willing to sell out the benefactors if they can make a buck. If the train reaches a town and the players haven’t returned some loot to them since the train’s last visit, someone in town will rat them out, bringing them closer to the hangman’s noose.

I didn’t enjoy playing this as much as I thought I would and Mike felt the same. It’s not a bad game, but we just didn’t have as much fun as we thought we might. I would like to try it with more than two players, but haven’t dragged it along on a Saturday yet.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 1/2016
My Rating: 9

I am still really enjoying it and picked up at copy at the Game Depot near the end of the month. I also picked up the two promo packs from the BGG store.

We did get to play one game with my set at the end of the month but we didn’t play with the promo packs.


Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2012
My Rating: 7

We played the initial training with four survivors and it was a tough go, though once we started driving a police car around we were able to run over many zombies and make it to the door with the key we found and out through the exit.
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Tue Mar 1, 2016 1:45 am
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Games Played in January 2016

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
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Who knew killing Zombies would be so much fun? I spent a lot of time doing that in January and it was a lot of fun.

The lowest rated game of the month was a three and it was new to me. I also played three of the games I rate a nine, including a new one.

I played 32 games a total of 58 times and three expansions six times. I played seven games and one of the expansions for the first time. In December, I played 12 of the games and two of the expansions this month.

7 Wonders
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

We played a four-player game after killing Zombies for much of the day. We didn’t use any of the expansions, and that is okay with me.


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Game one was a tie, which Mike won on the tiebreaker. I had completely forgotten the rule that once one person built all four of their wonders that the other one couldn’t build any more. That could have cost me that game. /me moron.

I won the second time because by the third age, Mike was would have won only he managed to collect enough sciences and I managed to block him from collecting the last one.


Angry Sheep
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 3

What makes me angry is the thought of having to play this pile of sheep poop ever again. Ugh. I “won” because I was the last one to have any sheep left before someone else arrived to play games and Nico and I couldn’t keep any sheep. What a horrible design!


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: The Nameless Campaign for four of the games.

I started off the month by teaching it to Harrison and Nico. We played the “District of Hammers” scenario and Harrison pulled out the win. The real win in the game was Nico liked it enough to be willing to play a campaign. He’s not a fan of dungeon crawls, such as Shadows of Brimstone, so I was glad he liked this so I can get it played most Saturdays.

On another Saturday I taught Michael and T-Michael (Michael^1 and Michael^2) how to play using the “Brightsun Arena” scenario, which I picked because it is also an easy scenario and I hadn’t played before. We played with the three characters that we were dealt and Michael ended up completing three quests before T-Michael and I were able to. They liked it as well and since the two of them and Nico are some of the most regular Saturday gamers, I bet we’ll get through a campaign or two over time.

Mike, Jerry, and I played four scenarios in a campaign using the Nameless expansion. I won the first three and looked to be running away with the campaign, but they caught up quite a bit in the fourth game.

I was also quite happy to get The Nameless Campaign box from Battle Bin. It doesn’t include the manual, but that can be downloaded. I still would like to get the original Kickstarter characters, but they aren’t as big a deal to me as this was. Though I really would like a Bob and a Pigsy.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Three more losses on easy level, this time with four players. Both were close, but in the end the curious kids of a school not called Hogwarts let the madness escape into the world. I then got to play a five-player game and I was part of a win for the first time.


Blood Rage
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 7

Neither Mike nor I had much of an idea of how to play to win the game but we had a good time and really liked the game. I had hoped to play some more, but never did get it to the table. Hopefully, it will get played some more in February.


Cacao
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, T-Michael, and I played this and I had forgotten how quick this game was.

I was a little too focused on the water track and getting points from temples and ended up not getting enough points by converting coco to points or gold mining during the game to do well.


Dice City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played this again and it was fun as always. We both ordered the Embassy card from BGG and are looking forward to the All That Glitters expansion when it makes it out later this year.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico and I played three games, keeping the same race/class combos for all three games. I played the High Elf Ranger and he had the Goblin Rogue. It was a bad match-up for the Goblin.

On the first turn of the second game I had the Hardened Steed card which is a permanent that gives each move with a printed cost of two or less a +1 damage counter. I had two one-cost attacks in my had, so I laid them out and they each would do two wounds if they weren’t able to be blocked. Nico had nothing to block them and I won with the quick strike victory.


Flip City
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

A teaching for T-Michael. He enjoyed it enough to take it home and teach his wife.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

I thought the dice were supposed to love me above all others? Stupid worm dice… shake


Istanbul
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike brought this on a Saturday and he, T-Michael, Nick and I gave it a spin with the recommended set-up. It ran smoothly and there was much (some) cursing as players moved to spaces other players wanted before them, blocking them either because they either didn’t have the money to pay the other players or making the space reward too expensive for them.

Mike said he was thinking about picking up the expansion for this and I would play it if he did.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

The technology cards came out in an odd pattern and there wasn’t much engines available and Michael the Second ran away with the chassis upgrade and got way too many points from chassis buyers during the game for anyone to be able to catch him. I tried scoring big on the lowest value buyers, grabbing Opal when he was available, and racing, but couldn’t compete with the shiny exteriors from Michael’s cars. As I recall, Harrison and I were close and Nico, who never was able to focus on anything, came in a distant fourth. It was an odd game.


Mafia de Cuba
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 4

This is not my kind of game, and I agree with Mike that the game really is for the Don player and the other players are just there to entertain him. It’s quick enough that I would play it when Alex asks, but I would try to avoid it.


My Village
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Michael, Nico, and I played it again and I decided to push travelling and it wasn’t enough. Michael ended up with the win. I am now leaning towards not buying it when it is released in the U.S. because Nico and Mike own it and it’s one of those games I don’t ever want to explain.


Njet!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2007
My Rating: 7

I do not like the oversized cards in the new version. Everything else about it is top-notch, but the card size is ridiculous!


Orléans
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico picked up the three promo expansion trios from DLP games and we played using them. One of them scored bonus points for building four or five stations that are connected by waterways, which Nico bought, and that led him to a significant victory. He still would have won without the 15 extra points, but those points made it is a runaway victory. Note to self, build on waterways when someone picks up this tile.


Pandemic: The Cure
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2015
My Rating: 8

And this was broken out as I thought I might want to do when I covered , but not by me, by Mike. He, Hilary, and I managed to cure all the diseases with minimal difficulty. I remember when it felt unbeatable.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

This was a long game: In other words, it took about 25 minutes! Mike and I were in a tight scoring battle until the end when we scored the monuments. He ended up beating me by five points in them and pulled out a win by a mere two points.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

T-Michael hadn’t played, so Michael made sure he brought the player aides from the main game. T had a perfect game for a new player, getting New Sparta to start, a bunch of military cards, including both the Galactic Imperium and the New Galactic Order developments though he didn’t win.


Roll Through the Ages
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2014
My Rating: 7

I went through a period of being unable to get workers for my empire, but it wasn’t the worst that happened as Mike suffered from disasters and Hilary just couldn’t generate capital and I ended up with the best of the empires.


Sapiens
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

When Nico found out that Mike and I enjoyed this, he picked it up and I ran through the rules. He and I played a two-player game and I pretty much crushed him. This was because I had a plan and knew how the game was going to develop. At this point I felt like this was one of those games that has a learning step, where new players need to play a game or two to see the in-game thought necessary to do well.

Nico and I played later in the month with Michael and that blew up my assertion that knowing the game was a huge advantage as Michael won the game and I still handily beat Nico.


Scoville
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 6

I had asked Arjun and Narani to bring this along when the made a gaming day and got the chance to play its. It was pretty much what I thought it would be: a game I will play but I don’t need to own. The pepper field mechanism is the one thing that doesn’t quite work right for me.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions and Caverns of Cynder.

I’m tracking one of each hero and asking different people to play them when we get together to play the game. That way, we don’t need specific people around to play specific characters and hopefully we can see most, if not all of them advance to eighth level. The first game for this was last month.

Arjun and Narani brought along their set and they, Michael, and I played the “Hunt for Liquid Dark Stone” scenario from the Caverns of Cynder, which we backers don’t have even though it has been in stores for five or six months. We played the Indian Scout, the Outlaw, the Preacher, and the Rancher.

We made it into Cynder almost right away and didn’t have an encounter with any monsters until we were making our way back, when we had to fight a single Lava Man. The Indian Scout (Narani) was carrying the liquid Dark Stone we recovered, which is like carrying old-fashioned Nitro, and we almost blew up at one point, but we managed to survive a fun scenario. None of our first level characters leveled up, which is unusual for a first scenario, but not seeing any monsters will do that.

The second mission of the month had Michael, Trent, and Alex joining and saw the return of the Preacher and Indian Scout from the last mission team up with the newly-recruited Gunslinger and U.S. Marshal. This time we heard rumors of a fantastical place through a stable door to another world, and went on the “City of the Ancients” scenario.

Things started going really bad when we found the Void Lantern because of the double threes that kept getting rolled which caused the darkness to creep forward two steps every time it was rolled. We did face some new enemies from the boxes that are available (I bought them all and will be selling the extras when my pledge arrives) and they really felt generally tougher, though the real problem were the elite Hellbats with two elite abilities and enhanced combat from the Darkness cards which were in effect.

We ended up losing the adventure and were sent back to town to heal our wounds.


Splendor
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Always fun though it has been relegated to the pile of games that get played a couple of times a year.


Suburbia
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2015
My Rating: 9

Expansion Played: Suburbia, Inc.

I had been playing the Fewest Investment marker goal wrong, and played the game based on my misinterpretation. Because of that my suburb wasn’t the best. Nico’s was.

Stupid rules.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 7

Once again the four of us went against the Forgotten King. Codifier Kisa, the Royal Warden, the Silver Chevalier, and the Twilight Knight cleared the board of mushroom men, pigs, frog knights, billmen, and giant rabbit executioners and finished off the big, bad Forgotten King.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Sometimes having someone being able to follow everything you do can suck in this game. It did this time.


Valeria Card Kingdoms
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 9

I was going to say that the first game I played this year (a little further down the list) was going to be the front-runner for my favorite new game of 2016, then I played this. Holy cow! I love this mash-up of Machi Koro and Dominion.

The best idea that designer Isaias Vallejo had was having both dice resolve individually as well as their additive value, so the game really moves along at a terrific pace. I wonder how limited the replay value will end up being with the included cards and, if it is limiting, I hope we’ll see a full expansion for it.

I will be buying a copy once the Game Depot gets copies in stock.


Vye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 4

Cards were a bad idea for this game. It would be better if it were smaller, square cards or tiles. Even then, the game isn’t that compelling. We played with four which was probably too many.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 12/2015
My Rating: 8

More beans of the die-rolling kind.


Zombicide: Black Plague
Times Played: 9
Last Month Played: New to Me
My Rating: 8

The year started off with four battles against the zombies of the middle ages. We played two different scenarios, losing both the first time we played them and winning the rematch. I can’t tell you why I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed playing Zombicide, but I did and I jumped onto eBay to pick up a pledge to get the KS exclusives. That means instead of the six survivors that come in the game, I get to play with an additional 37 survivors plus the four from the Wulfsburg expansion, and five from Hero Box 1. I also discovered that one of the extras in the B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss Kickstarter campaign has character cards for this game for the characters in the base game and the Darkness & Fury expansion. They are also rumored to be sent to retailers who will get one set for every three games they order. I really want these and would likely end up buying the game if I managed to get the cards.

Isn’t that what a promo is supposed to do?

We also did a couple of things wrong, which made it harder. First, we used targeting priority in melee combat and it should only be used in ranged combat. Second, Mike remembered the splitting rules wrong when there are an equal number of spaces in a path for Zombies to travel. He was creating a second, equal group to the original and moving each group on one of the paths, instead of splitting the group and adding a zombie or two to make the sizes equal. At least we know how to make the game harder in the future.

In our first game, Damian’s “sharpshooting” killed my character in one shot. I died first in the second game, though we won. I also died in the third game. Yeah, it was fun!

Later in the month the same group played again, minus Matt.

We beat the first scenario we played and lost the second one twice. The tough one was “In Caligine Aditus” and both times we lost because the necromancer spawned and got off the board twice before we could get to the exit. We will definitely have to change our tactics the next time we try the scenario.

I also played a game with Michael and Nico. We played the “Big Game Hunting” scenario which is one of the ones on the smaller maps. Just as things started to go poorly, Baldric the wizard equipped a couple of Fireball spells and was able to mow down large groups of walkers and runners which really helped us make it to the final objective a lot faster.

“In Caligine Aditus” returned with six players at the Game Depot. Finding one of the keys right away made us a little cocky and we gambled that the other key was going to be either of two of the three remaining ones that was on our fastest path to getting to the exit. We lost our gamble. We were going to double back, and I was in a space that got swarmed by several zombies. I agreed Mike should gamble and fire the Inferno spell into the space and he completely fried Baldric. The moral for the month? Don’t let your friends fire big weapons into your space.
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Mon Feb 1, 2016 4:28 pm
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Games Played in December 2015

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
Arizona
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December. Where the cold weather meant many days with highs in 50s and 60s. We have it rough in the desert. I still got to play quite a few games, including a bunch of new ones.

I rated one of the games a three and another one a four and both were new to me. I also played two of the games I rate at nines.

I played 31 games a total of 50 times and four expansions nine times. I played 12 games for the first time. In November, I played 11 of the games and all four of the expansions I played this month.

I give the gift to you of the description of the games I played in December:


7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

The first time I played this month, I won by focusing on the blue buildings which are mostly victory points.

Mike beat me the next two games, including a Military win. The next time we played, I won a close one.

It's an awesome game that I will probably never own.


Arcadia Quest
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Mike, Jerry, Damian played three scenarios with the same members of our guilds. It was a teaching game for all of us, except Mike, so we dealt out the characters randomly and I generally liked the ones I got.

Later on, Mike and I started a two-player campaign drafting out characters from 12 dealt out from the mix of all of them. He picked up a Kickstarter package right after the game shipped so we had every released in the mix. Two-player games are really quick: at least the two we played were. This is because the number of goals that need to be accomplished by each player is fewer with two and one of them will often be preying on a wounded character from the other guild.

When it was on Kickstarter it was a game I was unsure about because I thought it was a semi-cooperative game which required players to attack each other. Really, it isn't a cooperative game of any sort, but a race to be the first to accomplish a number of goals. Yes, the players attack each other to try to kill one of their characters, but the characters re-spawn and only have a single negative for just the next game that can be removed.

It looks like in most cases that once a player kills a character from another clan, they won't target a character from that clan until the next game because it doesn't help them. I can see attacking someone to stop them from winning so I could win on my next turn. But that's just me and it's not mean -- it's just gamesmanship!

It really is a very cool game and I ended up late-backing Arcadia Quest: Inferno later in the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to find the Guildmaster Kickstarter Heroes and The Nameless Campaign exclusives from the original Kickstarter. Their value seems to have topped out and I suspect the prices will come down over time.


Big Book of Madness
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Mike and I tried this out. It's a cooperative deck-builder that is very challenging and requires a lot of cooperation among the players. With two players we really had a hard time with the first game and the second one kicked us in the groin and walked away laughing at our pain.

Mike played it a couple of days later with three players and he said it felt more winnable with three and they did win, though they had a little luck on the very last turn with a good draw.

After that, we played again with two and were doing well until right at the end when madness overtook us and we let the world be devoured.

This is one I might end up getting in the near future, though if it comes with this promo, I will have to burn that stupid, stupid card.


Car Wars: The Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 3

It's Ameritrash Fluxx!

Luckily, I won this painful game. By "won," I mean I was eliminated first and could play on my phone and laugh at those still involved this painful excuse for a game.


Carcassonne: Star Wars
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

I played a two-player game and there was only one conflict the entire game. One of the reasons is there are such a limited number of meeples for each player that it we both had supply during the game and it was a safer bet to grab something for yourself than risk a die roll. I suspect conflicts will also be more likely with more players.


Deus
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico started off the game playing several soldiers and running all over the map. I was the fourth player and didn't have a good place to enter the map to take advantage of my buildings. The entire game I felt like I was doing poorly and just wanted to end it, which I did. When the scores were totaled at the end, I was actually the victor with everyone having lower-than-usual scores.


Dice City
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

I taught it to Mike. During the game he definitely felt that the military strategy of attacking bandits was inferior to the shipping strategy, but we finished one point apart and he saw how well it is scaled.

We played a second time and I just had much better luck getting things I bought to activate and ended up with a comfortable win. The third time we played, I went with an all-military strategy and had good luck with my military buildings and boosters (like the Barracks) getting activated just about every turn.

This is a solid game and well worth the $40 investment.


Favor of the Pharaoh
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 6

The second time playing this helped me realize one of the things that To Court the King did better was have more dice manipulation, which made for a better engine-building game. This feels more like a luck-based game, especially with the addition of the different types of dice.


Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Holy crap! There's an expansion! Must buy. Now.

Hilary's stack of super worms won the day. She credited her practicing in iOS to help her roll so well.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 7

Michael, Jayson and I played. One of the scoring tiles was five points for having a set of lighthouses, farm houses, and brochs. I managed to have two sets right away and neither of them had one for the first couple of times it scored. That gave me a pretty large lead and I coasted to an easy win since both of them managed to get only one of those and not outscore me by enough on the other objectives.

The second time I played this month was against Mike and Nico. I managed to be the first place scorer the first two rounds, with no one scoring second one of the times, because I was the only one with any barrels, and ended up with another easy win. That's the one minor flaw in the game is the initial scoring can really put a player in a very advantageous place for the rest of the game.


Isle of Trains
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

I built big, expensive train cars with cool powers for the others when they loaded them with cards. I started off hot, but never was able to get my second contract before the game ended and Nico pulled out the victory. He built several smaller cars and appeared less threatening than mine did and I suspect that drove him to the win. Sneaky.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, Hilary, and I played. Yes, that is a rare three-player game.


La Granja
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

A fairly involved game with a lot to do in a short amount of time. The cards have multiple functions in a game and their layout and use of the player board to show which option is being used is quite clever.

The one issue I had with the game is there are so few actions during the game that a player might not see cards that synergize with cards they chose on their initial placement and that randomness could ruin the game experience for the player. It didn't happen to me, but there was one card I almost chose that would have triggered that situation.

It's a solid game that I don't need to own but would happily play again. Since Nico bought it after Greg taught it, and Mike also owns a copy, I suspect I will see it again sometime in the near future.


Last Spike
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 4

This sounded like it might be my kind of game. Acquire was one of my favorite games for years and Dion said it was like a lighter version of that game. After playing it, the more I thought about it, the more I decided it just isn’t that good a game.

First, each player has only four tiles they can place on a turn. It is highly likely that they will end up with tiles that will not help their position during the game.

The twisting of the knife of having to play a fairly unfriendly tile is the players have to pay an amount of money (victory points) to play that tile. The amount is fixed and listed on the tile. It’s possible that a player will be forced to play something that they don’t have the money to pay for if they have bad tile draws.

Looking at the page for the game, it’s a redevelopment of an older game by the same name that had a roll and move component. This is one of the few times I will bet that having that mechanism was better than what they came up with in the end. It did have a feeling that it was a relation to Acquire, but not in a good way. It feels more like the initial idea of Acquire before any development of the game idea to make it fun.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row.

Hilary, Mike, and I played a game. Even with the 15 cards face up, there are too many purple buildings in the game.


Mombasa
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Dion owns and had played this several times and neither Michael, Steve nor I had played. I decided to focus on exploring and controlling the board and ignoring, for the most part, the diamond-mining and book tracks. I also focused on only two of the four stock tracks/cities, which created an implied alliance with Steve. He didn’t want to hurt my stocks (Mombasa and Cairo) and I didn’t want to hurt his.

Michael invested in Capetown and his exploration was destroyed by the dominance of Mombasa and Cairo on the board, and even Saint Louis moved on the board and ended up blocking Capetown’s board expansion. In the end, their stocks were worth a mere 1 coin each. Mombasa was maxed out in value and I had as many shares as possible from the board as well as some additional cards that counted as shares.

I liked this, though there are a lot of rules and little mechanisms which comprise a point salad that wants to be a Stefan Feld game. In the end it is as good as one of the lesser Feld games, which means it is something I won’t be buying because I wouldn’t want try and explain it to anyone. We noticed a couple of things that Dion was doing wrong, but nothing that would have changed the game too much.


My Village
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This felt similar to La Granja. Not in the actual game play, but in how limited turns felt and that there wasn't enough time to do everything you wanted. I had no idea on what to focus on so I decided about 1/3 of the way through the game to work on getting customers and scoring them. Nico looked focused on the monks and Mike looked to be trying a more spread out strategy. In the end, Nico won by a fair amount and Mike and I were close together in second and third.

It does maintain the feel of the original Village while being a tighter and better-designed game. Drafting dice from a larger to select actions is a much better engine than the placing of cubes on the board. My one concern is how much replay there is in the game. There are but a few of each card type and it might fall into the realm of playing the same every time if it is played with the same group of people.

We'll see if it gets played enough for this to be a problem, if it is even a problem.


New York 1901
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 9

Dion and Steve had not played so I explained it, then played poorly while Michael ran way with the win.


Orléans
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

I taught Mike to play using a non-deluxe copy of the game for the first time. The one wooden bit I really missed was the citizen markers. They are a little small and hard to see in the cardboard and if I ever get a copy of the game I will likely replace them with yellow meeples or some other figure.

Later in the month, Nico, Greg, and I played. This time I decided to focus on the University and grabbing points by collecting citizens, dropping enough guild houses on the map, and purging workers. It worked out really well.

The cardboard worker tokens are a lot smaller than the wooden tokens but the cardboard is very thick and I am sure they will hold up over time. I am still trying to get a copy of the deluxe version, but I won't spend too much on it. At some point I might just break down and get the retail version.


Palaces of Carrara
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is one of those games that I was interested in from the beginning, but since there wasn’t a widely-released English version I never had the chance to play it.

I recently placed an order with Amazon.de to get a couple of games and this one popped up as being available to ship to the U.S. and it was nicely priced. Instead of the games I was going to get (that others got copies of so I can play them) I picked up this and Rococo.

Essentially the players are gathering resources to build one of six building types in one of six cities on their own board. During the game, a player can have up to six individual scorings, though they can’t score the same item twice.

They can score each of the six building types on their own boards, the two types of buildings (city or country), or they can score the six cities. The cities are scored only once each among the players.

There are three end-game scoring conditions, which change every game that lists what a player would need to do to trigger the end game and how they would score points for the game. The game ends when one player has met the three end-game conditions and announces it. That player gets a bonus of five points, then the players score their end-game points from the three cards along with a fourth scoring card that doesn’t have an end-game condition.

Michael wasn’t a fan of how the game ends immediately. I think it would make a difference if we’d remembered that the player announcing the end of the game gets a bonus of five victory points, which is a significant number of points. It turns the game into more of a race game where keeping an eye on when you think someone else might end the game and try to beat them to the punch.

The most irritating thing about the game is break-up of the rules into two booklets. The first is the basic game and the second is the changes when playing the advanced game. It would be easier to reference the rules if they were organized in one booklet.

Other than that, I really like the game and hope to play it a few more times in the near future.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for both games.

Michael and I finished the last four scenarios of the Sword of Valor.


Qwixx
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

The only time we played this month was a three-player game without using one of the expansion pads.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

Three games against Michael while we were waiting for another game to finish.


Saint Petersburg
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

We were looking for a three-player game that would finish up in time for Brandon, who had to leave the store early. This fit the bill and Michael and I taught it to him. As most people do, he liked it but didn't do too well in the first game because he didn't get a feel for the timing involved even though we tried to help him with it.


Sapiens
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

I had looked at this a couple of times while in the store and pointed it out to Mike. He bought it and we played it that night at his house with Hilary and then again with just the two of us.

It's not as light as you might think from the art. During the game the players score for two different things: food and shelter. The players' scores at the end of the game are their lowest of the two items.

There is a fair amount of screwage in this game, so don't get it if you, or your group, is adverse to conflict.


Shadows of Brimstone
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 9

Played using both Swamps of Death and Cities of the Ancients as well as the small card expansions.

I decided to start over the characters people were playing since those who are showing up to play is quite different than it was when we were playing before. What I have decided to do is not let players play specific characters. Instead, like with my Pathfinder Adventure Card Game campaigns, anyone can play any character in the group. Unlike Pathfinder, the groups aren't going to be set. The idea is to keep the characters around the same experience level so people can play anyone they want at any time.

I forgot to bring along my plastic card holders, which made it more difficult to set the game up. I also left the new character sheets I printed out, so we played with three that I had: the Bandido, the Law Man, and the Saloon Girl. We played the “For a Few Dark Stone More” scenario and it was really tight at the end, but we ended up winning.

We misplayed a couple small things, but corrected them as we went along and the next time should move along much more smoothly.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

And we tried out the cooperative game (Arcade mode), because that's just the cool people we are. We cooperate.

Well, we try to cooperate and this time it worked out. I really like the cooperative rules. I had tried reading them the week before we played but got stuck on the whole gang concept. It would have been better if I had the game cards in front of me. Luckily, Mike and Jerry had read them and it was enough for us to get through the game. It seems like the game should move a little faster than the Classic mode now that we have a handle on how to play and I am really looking forward to playing it again.


Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom & Pennsylvania
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

We played on the United Kingdom side with four players and I really liked the way it played. There are technology cards that have been added and until a player buys the appropriate one they can't build more than one- or two-link routes and can't build outside f\of England. There are also technology cards that reward extra points when a route is built, allow players to draw an extra card if they draw blind, and others.

I don't know if I will end up getting this map pack, but I would be very happy if I had the chance to play it again.


Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike taught this to me and I am looking forward to playing this some more. Mike had played it several times and hadn't won and he I ended up one wound away from winning, so we were close.


Welcome to the Dungeon
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Not much to say on this, except I suggested it several times when people walking through the game store were looking for something small to get as a Christmas gift.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2015
My Rating: 8

One game.

Five players.

13 beans to rule them all!
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Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 pm
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My most played games of 2015

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
Arizona
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I am duplicating my post from last year, summarizing the top 10 played games from this year and commenting on the ones from last year.

My most-played games of 2015

Six of them were new to me in 2015 and I own eight of them, which is still fewer than the ones I owned from 2014. The Cult of the New is still strong with me, but I think I am getting some of my acquisition disorder in check.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 128

Last year I had them listed on their own. This time I am combining all the sets into one entry. Five of the plays were finishing off the Rise of the Runelords, 80 of them were various Skull & Shackles games, and the rest were Wrath of the Righteous playings.

This game has lost momentum because the group at Mike’s is not enjoying the changes and extended record keeping introduced by the newer versions.


Roll for the Galaxy
Own: No
Times Played in 2015: 36

Most of these games were two-player with Nico and I played a few of them with Mike as well. I like it best as a two-player and it does work with more. We also played a couple of games with the new Ambition expansion, which is also a really clever addition.


Isle of Trains
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 19

A terrific small-boxed game which is similar to San Juan. There is going to be an expansion and I hope to get it when it is released.


Qwixx
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 19

Mike was the person in out group that discovered this gem of a dice game. Nico picked up the Qwixx Gemixxt expansion and I used those score pads for a couple of games. Mike ordered a copy of the Big Points expansion sheets for me with his order.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 14

All of these playings were in November which is when we Kickstarter backers received the game. I need to read the rules for playing with more than two players and see if it is something I want to play.


Race for the Galaxy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 14

Just 14 times, but still one of my most-played games.


Machi Koro
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 13

Millionaire’s Row was released this year and it didn’t really add much to the overall experience. If it were used on its own without the Harbor expansion, it might feel like the expansion has a theme that impacts play.


Shadows of Brimstone
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 12

Another game that dropped off. This as much because of the Arizona heat as apathy. You see, I am hesitant to haul around the plastic figures when it’s over 100 degrees outside, because if I don’t bring them into the place we’re playing then they could melt in the car, and the Brimstone stuff is a haul in and of itself, never mind any other games I might want to play. I think I might be starting up again, playing once in December, especially since Flying Frog will be sending out some of the extra stuff I pledged for. At least I think they will be. They are the worst at communication and I can’t see myself backing another of their Kickstarter projects.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2015: 12

A nice, full game in a tiny box that I really enjoyed playing. I was able to get the expansion from the Kickstarter, but haven’t used it and am not sure I ever will.


Deus
Own: No
Times Played in 2015: 11

The one new full-sized board game on the list and I don’t own it. Every one of these plays were using Nico’s or Mike’s copies.



My most-played games of 2014

Five of these are ones in my top 10 played in 2015.


Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 54
Times Played in 2015: 14*

The 14 games are seven of Marvel Dice Mastersand seven playings of Dungeons & Dragons Dice Masters: Battle for Faerûn.
I’ve stopped buying the releases but plan on keeping what I have to play as-wanted.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 46
Times Played in 2015: 5

Since I tracked the different base games separately last year I’ll comment on them separately this year. This was the group at Mike’s house finishing off the campaign. Now into the third set, this is still the best of them and maybe we’ll restart it at some point?

I lost the sheets Michael, Nick, and I were keeping so that campaign will never be finished.


Splendor
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 39
Times Played in 2015: 5

A huge drop off! A lot of it is because I just stopped bringing it. Not because I was tired of it, but because there were so many games to bring along and once out of the bag it’s easy to forget a game in the future.


Race for the Galaxy
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 37
Times Played in 2015: 14

Another game that dropped off a bit. This is because Michael and I are often playing Pathfinder when it is just the two of us where we would have played this before.


Machi Koro
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 31
Times Played in 2015: 13

I suspect this dropped off because the novelty of the game wore off and the mix of cards, with Millionaire’s Row included, caused the board to lock up. Maybe now we are playing with 15 face-up cards this might make it back into the 20s for number of plays next year?


Shadows of Brimstone
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 26
Times Played in 2015: 12

Waiting for, and looking forward to the new stuff.


Pandemic: The Cure
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 20
Times Played in 2015: 2

Both playings were in January and I don’t think I brought it along with me much after that, which isn’t much of a surprise since last year I said “I can’t imagine this being in the top 10 for 2015.” Still, I’ve been thinking about bringing it along with me on Saturdays in the recent past and suspect it will get a few plays in 2016.


Run, Fight, or Die!
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 19
Times Played in 2015: 1

Wow. I am surprised I played this only once in 2015! I brought it along a few times, but never pushed too hard to get it played. I suspect I will play it more than once in 2016.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 16
Times Played in 2015: 80

No one liked the ship mechanism. Mike sold his off because we would never play it again. Michael still has his and it is possible I will play this again, though I suspect if we ever revisit a set it will more likely be the Rise of the Runelords.


Ra: The Dice Game
Own: Yes
Times Played in 2014: 16
Times Played in 2015: 5

It was in the top 10 the last two years, and while it wasn’t played as much in 2015 we still play it on occasion.
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Games Played in November 2015

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
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November was a busy month, but not too busy. One regular game is now on hiatus, some new ones were exceptional, and I got to revisit some old favorites.

Once again I managed to play one of my few 10s! My lowest-rated games were both sixes and were both new to me games, though one.

I played 21 games a total of 52 times and five expansions six times. I played seven games for the first time and one of the expansions was new to me. I played 11 of the games and four of the expansions in October.

And after a low-key Thanksgiving with real chili (no beans!), I present the games I played in November:

7 Wonders: Duel
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Wow! This is a terrific implementation of 7 Wonders for two players. Both Mike and Nico bought it and I played it against both of them and they also really liked it.

If you ever wanted the feel of 7 Wonders in a two-player game, then get this. Now.

It was a 7 Wonders month because the Game Depot had a tournament, which I didn't play in, but I did demo/teach the game for four players before the tournament and one of the new players I taught was one of the big winners.


Among the Stars: Revival
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

We played part of a game. I did not like the new two-player drafting because it always seemed like there was one must-get card each round and the player that is going first that round gets the good cards. I am also not a huge fan of all the spaceship cards that were coming up and think that mechanism might work better with more players in a standard game.

It also reminds me that I need to play New Dawn, since I backed it on Kickstarter and own a copy.


Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2013
My Rating: 8

I hadn’t played this in a while and it was one of the few times in a long time that I jumped into a game with people I didn’t know.

The game design holds up, but if the players are a little too friendly in giving away beans and/or accepting gifts from players to help them out, then the game suffers a little. It’s still best when everyone has played a few times or the players have a little understanding on how close the game can be.


Carcassonne
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 4/2013
My Rating: 10

Expansions Played: The River for one game and Traders & Builders for one game.

The first game was played with the newest edition with The River, the Abbot and the new tile art. I am not a fan of the new art. There is too much large, busy accents that have nothing to do with game play that I found distracting.

I thought I was winning by quite a bit during the last part of the game and it ended up being a one-point win in large part because Mike had several high-point cloisters that scored at the end and boosted his score. The Abbot is an okay addition to the game but really feels like it was there to justify the new artwork by adding gardens to some of the tiles.

The second game was played with my original set with Traders & Builders. Nico had asked me which of the two expansions with the new art I liked best and I told him it was Traders & Builders, though he couldn't go wrong with either of them.

Carcassonne is another of those older games that he hasn't played a lot and I made sure during the entire game to point out the farms, who was in control of them, and why he might not want to play tiles in positions that would let me gain control of the big farm instead of sharing it. It didn't make too much difference because I had a pretty good lead and scored all three of the goods.

Mike isn't a fan of the goods and feels they are random. I disagree with him to a point, but I make it a goal to try and win them and often do so that randomness can be mitigated some if you are willing to dedicate yourself to getting them. The great thing about the big expansions is they are really collections of modular smaller expansions that can be used or not. It is simple to not use the good scoring and still use the other parts of the expansion.


Dice City
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

When Dice City was announced, I was immediately intrigued. When I cracked open the game and started reading the rules, I felt like maybe I had made a mistake in picking it up. Even watching the first part of Rhado’s run-through had me doubting my choice because I began to fear that the game could devolve into someone getting attacked to the point that all they could do is rebuild their city.

Luckily I played the game. It turns out that attacking buildings built by other players usually means using more than one of the limited actions a player would get on a turn for the same, or fewer victory points than would be received by attacking bandits which beings the game closer to ending. The attacked player only needs to spend one of their actions to negate the effect of the attack on them, so it is likely that buildings will be attacked less than I feared and is a good option only if really impacts obvious plans by the other player.

The game is pretty clever while not taking too long. There are three ways to end the game and none of them are too difficult to achieve.

There are a few graphic design choices which hurt the game a little. First is the color for each row is only on the left. Most of us are right handed and pick the dice up with that hand and then place them, probably from the right side of the board where we rolled them with, you guessed it, our right hands. It would have sped things up a little if the color were indicated on both sides of the rows, or even on the borders of the initial spaces on the board.

The second issue is the defense and VPs on the cards is a little small for something the other players should see when deciding to attack. Attacking other players’ buildings is generally less-valuable than attacking the bandits, but it would still be better if they were more readable from a distance, or upside down from across the table.

These quibbles I have with the graphic design really do not hurt the game, which is a very solid design and pretty good value for the $40 price tag at your friendly neighborhood game store.


Discoveries
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This looked like a really clever dice game. I know Mike was interested in buying it and Nico had, and he liked it so I was glad to try it out.

I may have rated this a little high, but I could see the rating rising if I get a chance to play it once or twice more. I had a hard time pinning down why I didn’t enjoy it. The problematic thing for me is it moves a little slow and outlasted any rewards the game play gave. On top of that, it has a trap during playing that wasn’t obvious to me and when it happened it killed what enjoyment I was getting from the game because it was dragging on and on.

The “trap” is not being able to get dice to use because the other players grabbed them all up. This can happen if you assign your own dice to tasks that aren’t finished and/if the other players grab the dice before you get another turn and only a couple of your starting dice are out there. It leaves you with precious few options until the other players actually have to spend dice which they don’t get to keep. I spent a couple of turns with little to nothing to do because the extra dice were all tied up with the other players.

I was also put off by the scoring. There didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to why some cards were valued a certain amount and the set-collection piece felt like a convoluted add-on. All-in-all, this has some nice ideas but performs like a Jeff Fisher-coached NFL team: perennially has a 7-9 record yet some people still praise him like it made a deep playoff run.


Epic PVP: Fantasy
Times Played: 14
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike, Nico, and I all backed this and bought the extra decks for the game. I first played a couple of games against Mike and then quite a few games against Nico the following Saturday. I like the game, though not as much as I hoped.

The game comes with both race and class decks. Each player gets one race and one class deck and shuffles them together. Each deck is different and each race and class has a special ability. The race indicates how much damage a combo can take before losing and has an initiative value. The class cards also have an initiative value and the two are added together with the player having the highest total taking the first turn in the game.

On a turn the player first put two of the cards from their deck into their aggression pile. They then choose how many cards they might want to draw, if any, from the aggression pile into their hand. The players then play cards from their hand. The total cost of the cards played has to be less than, or equal to, the number of cards in the aggression pile. Most of the cards are "moves" that have an attack value, a defense value, and may have some special abilities. First, cards are played that may block the attacks from the other player, then at the end of turn the active player's cards are turned to indicate the attack value against the other player.

The game plays in a few minutes, though not as fast as say Brawl. It is a solid seven for me, in part because it is a good filler two-player game. I was really hoping that it would be an eight, or higher.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

This was a three-player game with Michael and his daughter Rachael. Early on it was obvious that Michael was more likely to buy my tiles, so I started cranking up the cost of my tiles and he kept buying them. I ended up with something like 60 or 70 coins, which was an additional 12 to 14 points, and ended up pulling out the win because I had so much money. If this was a poker game, I would have been rich!


King of Tokyo
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 8/2014
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Power Up! for both of the games.

Four players, two games, one expansion, zero wins. My monsters are pathetic and weak.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico and I played this with Paul. Nico cruised to a fairly easy victory, taking big advantage of the engineer that triples the low buyer amounts.

I placed an order with Amazon.de in November, and almost picked this up but decided to spend my money on a couple of games no one else in the group had. Mike did get a copy, so I suspect I will play this with two players soon.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row for all the games.

We played again with 15 cards and that will be the way we play when mixing in both expansions.

There is now an awesome insert from the Broken Token for this game which I picked up already.


New York 1901
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 9

The first game was with three players and it ended up a tie. A tie!

The second time was also with three players. This was a close game for all three of us and came down to the last scoring when were determining who had the most buildings on the streets. After two of them were counted, I would have won if I won the third, Michael would have won if he or Nico won it. Nico won it and we all ended up within four points of each other.

I made an error during the game that cost me the victory. I started out planning on building on that third street, but somewhere along the line my focus jumped to an adjacent street, which I would have won, but I then ignored the street that actually scored. The lesson here. Keep checking the darned victory condition cards. That, or I am a moron. Or both. shake


Orléans
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Nico backed the extra deluxe version of this and it arrived in November. The components in the deluxe edition sure are nice, with the metal coins, the wooden discs for the workers, and the wooden bits for the crops. The one issue I see with the game is the odd shapes of the wooden crop markers makes removing a random selection of them at the beginning of the game is a little difficult. They also make the travelling board look busy. For them, I think I would have preferred the cardboard tokens.

We played it with two players and I enjoyed the game. It's an engine-building game and also kind of a deck-building game. Each round the players draw tokens from a bag which represent different types of workers. The workers are assigned to different buildings which generate more workers or move the merchant token around France to collect good and set-up trading houses.

We played it again the following week with Michael and worked just as well with three players. My initial plan was to automate as much as possible and move along the map and get down all my trading houses and make them worth as many points as possible. It worked and I got down all my trading houses, but the final score was still heavily in Nico's favor. I think I over-automated and didn't focus on scoring points or moving up the research track enough.

I looked into getting a copy of the deluxe edition, but the prices people are asking are more than I am willing to pay, especially since shipping such a heavy game is not cheap. Not that I think the prices are unreasonable for the product, just that it's more than I am willing to pay.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for both games.

Adowyn, Enora, Imrijka, and Seelah finished the second adventure pack, then decided to take a vacation.

Michael didn't make it as much on Saturdays because ASU had home football games, so we didn't play either. Now I am looking forward to playing it again and hopefully the longer break will do the same for Mike, Jerry, and Damian.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Qwixx Gemixxt for one of the games.

I played two games, once using the original score sheets and once with the score sheets that rearranged the numbers in the color rows.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

One game against Michael.


Roll for the Galaxy
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Ambition for all of the games.

Three games against Nico using the expansion for the first time. I like the new dice introduced to the game and the way the goals from the card game were introduced into the game.

It was awfully cheap of Rio Grande to not include new player screens in the expansion and instead provide stickers for the original screen. Now when Nico teaches the game to new players he will have to tell them to ignore the stuff from the expansion and that should make a difficult game to get players to wrap their heads around even more difficult.


Samurai
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2011
My Rating: 7

This is a terrific, classic Reiner Knizia game. Nico hadn't played and mentioned that he was thinking about buying it. I brought my copy to the store and we played a game. Nico liked it and I ended up selling my copy to him since I hate the idea of explaining the end-game scoring. Now he can be the one to bring it along and explain the scoring.


Space Cadets: Away Missions
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

My first time playing with four people. All seemed lost but the two pieces of equipment we built to meet the win conditions, along with a lucky draw from the rescued thrall deck, let us pull out the victory as all seemed hopeless.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 7

The Forgotten King beat down the heroic trio of the sharpshooting Princess Emerald, the elementally-inclined Tabbybrook Mage, and the kitchen terror that is Survivor Marie-Claude. After starting slow, the heroes swiftly waded through the second and third spawn points and managed to face the agent of the Dark Consul, only to be defeated in the final battle.


Sushi Go!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2014
My Rating: 8

Another game that I played with people I didn't know. This time was with a couple of people from a local meet-up group which has several people I really don't like and others I couldn't see enjoying any gaming experience with. But these two were nice, sociable, and I enjoyed playing the game with them.

So I've exceeded my quota for the decade, and it's back to being a socially-anxious and insular curmudgeon!


Taluva
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Nico and I played a game with Paul, who had never played before. I managed to pull off the premature victory in my eleventh (next-to-last) turn.

When playing with less than four players, we remove 12 tiles from the game for each player missing to reduce the constant premature victories.


Tanto Cuore
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2013
My Rating: 9

I'm looking forward to the Oktoberfest expansion which should be shipping to Kickstarter backers early in December. Because of this, I pulled out the original and managed to get in a game with Nico.

This game really needs the randomizer cards coming with those who backed to get the big box. I thought that I decided against getting the box, but when I checked I discovered that I did add it on to my pledge. Yippee!


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Early in the month, Nico and I played three two-player games and he dominated the first two and the third was close but I managed to pull out a win. He definitely groks how to pull out victories more than I do at this point and that shows me the game rewards best player.

Mike and I also played a game.


Town Center
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike bought this and I really liked it, though not enough to think about buying.

We both made the mistake of plopping out starting city hall piece right in the middle of the map and both realized it might have been better in corner right away. I want to read the rules myself before playing, just to see if the building growth makes a little more sense if I see it written down and explained in pictures. Not that it was too hard to play, just that I could have planned better and need a better understanding of how to make it work.

In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the expropriation rules in Fresh Fish, which weren't as difficult as they were made out to be, and now I want to play the newer version.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 10/2015
My Rating: 8

Since I played the original the day before, this seemed like a good choice to play the next day while waiting for people to show up.
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Tue Dec 1, 2015 2:20 am
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Games Played in October 2015

Bobby Warren
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Glendale
Arizona
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October saw me not playing as many games because Mike and I missed a couple of nights because of vacations and work. We also missed one of the Pathfinder game evening.

My highest-rated game played this month was one of my few 10s! My lowest-rated games was again a five and was again a new to me game.

I played 21 games a total of 52 times and five expansions six times. Compared to last month, this was a meek month for new games and I played four that I hadn't played before and none of the expansions were new to me. I played nine of the games and three of the expansions in September.

And with little to no fanfare, here is what I played in October:

Alien Frontiers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

This is one of Brandon's favorite games and he wanted to play it. I thought it was a bit too long for what it is, the pieces and dice looked like they are toys from the quarter vending machines in the grocery stores, and the graphic design of the board could use some professional help.

The game play is very much in the Kingsburg realm where the dice rolled are placed on actions that are taken. The goal of the game is to score the most victory points by placing bases on a planet and also for having the most bases in each area on the planet. From my extensive experience (i.e., this one play) I feel that the victory point tracking is both fiddly and unnecessary.

The game ends as soon as one player places their last base. I'd bet that this person wins 95%, or more, of the games. In other words, having victory points is stupid and having to track them makes a game which is a little long for what it is already take even longer.

I wouldn't mind playing it in the future, and even am hoping to sometime in the near future to see if my initial impressions hold true.


Between Two Cities
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Brandon got this from Kick Starter and wanted to play it. He, Nick, and I played it and I liked it, but felt it was difficult to track how well other cities were doing that it felt like a playing cooperative solitaire with two other people.


Blood Bowl: Team Manager: The Card Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2014
My Rating: 7

My Chaos against Mike's Orcs.

It was looking good for the Chaos team until the Orcs managed to pull out wins in all three of the contests in the final round.


Cosmic Run
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

A fairly quick dice game that is missing something. I am also not a fan of the sets of alien cards scoring so many points since some are significantly easier to acquire than others. In both games we played I was unable to gather many of them because Michael and Nico were able to snag them. In both games the winner was decided by who got the most points from the alien cards.


Favor of the Pharaoh
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

I really like To Court the King, which is what this game is based on so it was disappointing to discover that I was far less impressed by this than I thought I would be.

The variable powers that will appear each game is a nice enough change, but I am not a fan of the new dice with various powers on some of the die faces. This works well in Lehmann's Ciúb, which is all about collecting dice with different faces to win VP cards. In this game it adds a level of randomness and complexity that it didn't need.

I also don't like that the level bars have different rolls required to collect the tile under them. It means that each game even mildly experienced players have to spend more time trying to figure out which tiles they can collect this game with what they are rolling and that can make the game drag a little.

Yahtzee-like games should be quick. Mashing together To Court the King and Ciúb has taken one game that was just about as long as a Yahtzee-like game should be and adding in time and difficulty level.

That sure was a lot of complaining for a game which I rate a six and would play any time Nico wants to bring his copy, but it has fallen off my to-buy list. And I had such high hopes.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

We played with five, and it worked well, though I would rather play with fewer people. Brandon bought it after playing it, so I know someone else who owns it so I still don't need to get it.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

Nico picked this up after I told him it was by the designer of Glen More and used the same rondel system, this time to choose actions to play.

He explained it to Michael, refreshing my memory as well, and we went on to play it. Michael got a lot of chassis tech early while Nico and I were focusing more on engines. Michael seemed to be in the lead through the first couple of rounds, but was short on workers and I had managed to max out the engine quality and get my chassis level up to one below his. I also had the engineer that would allow me to bump two chassis up, one by one level, one by two, so I managed to sneak in and steal away his two big scores for best chassis cars in the final sale. Nico finished a close second.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Harbor and Millionaire's Row for all the games.

Both games were played with 15 cards face up and that was an improvement over using 10 face-up cards. We saw a variety of cards and the flow of different cards didn't clog up. There were a few cards no one was buying, but in other games they would have been bought so it was more of a result of what had been built before by the players and not because their support cards weren't available.


Mystery Rummy: Escape from Alcatraz
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 3/2015
My Rating: 8

I may have to reduce my rating on this. Both the times I played it this month were different experiences from what I remember the first time I played it back in March. The game felt more a focus on going out than actually foiling the escape plans and I didn't enjoy that as much as last time. I wonder if we did something wrong back then or this time?


New York 1901
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 9

After playing it once with two players and liking it, I played it next with four players and liked it even more. The game turned for me when I made a mistake near the end when I didn't take into account that adding a two-point gold building meant I wouldn't be able to demolish the buildings in the area. If I had made a smarter play, like focusing on scoring another street bonus or just adding more points I might have won. In other words, it was how I played that cost me the game and I can live with that.

I also played a couple of games with three players and those were loads of fun as well. I had so much fun that I upped the rating to a nine. It is terrific!


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 16
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Sword of Valor for five of the games.

One thing I have realized playing this with Michael and the four-player game at Mike's is character selection can impact how much you enjoy the game. Michael and I seem to be having more fun playing with Kyra the Cleric and Crowe the Bloodrager.

On the other hand, the group at Mike's is plodding along with Enora, Imrijka, Seelah, and Adowyn and not enjoying the scenarios as much. The biggest complaint from the group is the heightened difficulty feels like it is created by adding extreme randomness to the game. I thought a couple of times during the last time we played that the game might implode and we would stop playing. At this point we will not be playing the next version of this.

Michael and I also played the fifth scenario in the introductory adventure in the three-player game, this time with Brandon being the third. Instead of managing to get out of the doldrums that is scenario 0, we failed the mission and will need to play it again sometime.


Qwixx
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Qwixx Gemixxt for one of the games.

I played two games with four players using the original score sheets and once with three players with the score sheets that rearranged the numbers in the color rows.


Roll for the Galaxy
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 6

Two games with four players using just the original game sine Brandon hadn't played before and Michael had played just once when Nico first acquired the game.

I definitely prefer this as a two-player game, but it works with more than the minimum number of players.


Space Cadets: Away Missions
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

Mike, Damian, and I ran through a couple of missions and won the first one with little difficulty and barely eeked out a win on the second one. It's a solid combat cooperative game.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

We played another game with Mike running the forces of the Dark Consul, using plants and trolls. On the side of right, I played the Relic Knights crossover character One Shot, Jerry played Sebastian Cross, another Relic Knights crossover, while Damian bucked the trend and played the Mistmourn Shaman.

This group of heroes worked well together, and we were just about to strike against the third base when we ran out of time. The heroes were definitely winning and looked to be in a great position to defeat the forces of evil if we finished. This is taking a while to play because we are still getting used to the rules. Once we are familiar with the rules we should be able to get a full game in an evening.

We might want to consider each learning one set of monsters and running them in place of Mike so he can focus on the ones that he's been playing but we will still be able to play with the other monsters while not slowing the game down.


Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2012
My Rating: 6

Brandon owns this and brought it out when we were looking for something relatively quick for five. I managed to get two of my people to shore and ended up being tied for second place with nine points.

Still a decent game, but nothing I need to own.


Takenoko
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 9/2014
My Rating: 7

A really good game.

I won, though by not as many points as we thought I might. During the game, Mike realized that he forgot that the icons on the corners of some of the cards meant that for it to score the tile had to have that particular condition on it. This put him several turns behind because he was working towards a goal that was not possible any longer.

I triggered the end game with nine goals completed and Mike took his last turn and had six or seven completed. I won by only five or six points because the goals he scored were generally worth more points than the ones I scored.

I suspect Mike will be getting the expansion sometime soon and I look forward to trying it out.


Tier auf Tier
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 4/2012
My Rating: 10

Brandon and I played a couple of games of this awesome kid's dexterity game while waiting on others to arrive. I really should start carrying around my copy so it gets played more.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 5
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 8

I taught Michael how to play right after I bought it and he liked it and also thought that it was the best of the Tiny Epic games. I then played it again a couple of times later in the month with three players and it still worked really well. The additional down time is mitigated by being able to follow if you have culture to spend so the players are engaged the entire game. I don't know if I would want to play with five players, but it might work with four.

I also played a solo game while waiting for people to show up at the store. That worked pretty well though the medium difficulty was still fairly easy to beat, though that might have been as much about the rolls the AI was getting than my play.


Welcome to the Dungeon
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 9/2015
My Rating: 7

The first game was with three people and we played using the Rogue for all of the delves, which was an odd character. The first four times into the dungeon were losses, eliminating Nick, which left Brandon and I and he succeeded in two trips into the dungeon to win.

Nico and I played it mixing up the characters. I never delved once. Nico won the first, died the second delve, and followed that up with a close, but unsuccessful trip into the dungeon. The last time I played in October was with three players and Michael ended up winning that one after the first two delves because Nico and I were chickens.


Würfel Bohnanza
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 8

Brandon hadn't played before so he, Nico, and I gave it a whirl.
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Tue Nov 3, 2015 1:35 am
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Games Played in September 2015

Bobby Warren
United States
Glendale
Arizona
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September had the return of Mr. Tony and was a month of lots of new games! It was also a month with a lot of two-player games as the Saturday group has shrunk a little and we aren’t seeing as many regular attendees these days, especially when we can’t play at the store and have to go to someone’s house.

My highest-rated game played this month was a nine and it was the winner of the 2006 Spiel des Jahres. My lowest-rated games were both new to me and came in at disappointing fives. They were disappointing because I had higher hopes for one of them for a while and the other felt like it should be rated higher, but the game just didn’t warrant it.

I did play 29 games a total of 50 times and five expansions six times. I played a whopping 17 of the games and two of the expansions for the first time in September. I played six of the games and two of the expansions in August.

So here is what I played in September:


A Study in Emerald
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

I really thought about backing this initially, but decided against it. Then regretted it.

Then I almost bought copies a couple more times.

I finally got to play it. I liked it, but in the end it isn’t a game I plan on getting and really don’t need to play again. I am just not a fan of how the winner is decided based on the teams. Amelia, Morgan, and I were on the team that won with Morgan scoring around 13 points with Amelia and I being tied just one point behind her. Matthew should have won because he had 22 points and triggered the end game, but he took the points to rocket him to the win from Charles, who was his team mate.


Artifacts, Inc.
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

This was an okay game. There was neither anything all that engaging about the game nor anything which was wrong with it. I just found it “meh”. Well-designed, but “meh”.


Can’t Stop
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2014
My Rating: 8

I started off with some unlucky rolls and then tried to make big runs the rest of the game and ended up locking a couple of numbers, but Michael ended up winning.


Carcassonne: Gold Rush
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played this as a two-player game and liked it, though not better than the original. I suspect the gold chits would work better with more players and am rating it a seven now, though I suspect it could reach an eight after playing it with more players.


Ciúb
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 7

The week after both Nico and I separately mentioned we wanted to play this again, Mike grabbed it when I was at his place and we played a two-player game. I still enjoy this die-manipulation and acquisition game and should take my copy with me more often on Saturdays.

Yeah, it’s not like I haven’t said that before! shake


Cthulhu Realms
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

I wasn’t overly thrilled by Star Realms, and when I heard about the changes in the game with the re-theme I thought I would give it a try. I really liked it.

First up, Mike taught me the game and we played a couple of times. Later in the Month, Nico and I played a couple of times as well.

I couldn’t tell you if the rule changes were the difference, or the theme, or the use of iconography was the difference, but I’m glad I purchased it. Now to try it with more than two players.


Deus
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

I kept trying to find a way to end the game because I did a much better job of scoring in-game victory points, but the last couple of turns saw Nico get out a couple of temples which score the maximum number of points, and he ended up pulling out the win by just two points.

If I hadn’t remembered to count the VPs for the resources and money it would have been a tie. Drat!


Elder Sign
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 5/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Unseen Forces.

Private Eye Joe Diamond, soldier Mark Harrigan, and professor Harvey Walters took on the followers of Abhoth and came out relatively unscathed as the gates were sealed and the old one was blocked from coming over to our world. The biggest contribution to the cause was the spell that Walters started with which allowed him to banish three monsters, which allowed the group to ignore the Children of Abhoth monsters which were dispatched when they became a nuisance.


Flip City
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

Am I the only one that hears Klaus Meine singing about this game?

Flip City, Flip City nights
You keep me flipping
Flip City, Flip City nights”

I thought so…


Guild Ball
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

After several plans falling through, Mike and I got to play a full game with my Brewer’s Guild against his Mortician’s Guild and I recapped it here. The game ended up going long and we ended up in a tie when the game was called because we ran out of real-world time.


Imperial Settlers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 8

Why Can’t We Be Friends.

Nico mixed in the expansion cards in his set and we played the game. He was the Japanese and I was the Egyptians. I thought was easily winning because I had so many of my race-specific buildings in play, but he did a pretty good job on the last turn and did some catching up. That, and his lead from in-game points and he ended up with a one-point victory.


Isle of Skye
Times Played: 4
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is one of those rare games that gets played three weekends in a row. Initially, Nico bought this and we played with Mike, who then bought the game.

When I hear auction game, I think of bidding either openly or blindly and the highest bidder wins the item, or the Dutch auction like in the under-appreciated Merchants of Amsterdam. In this game, the players draw three tiles, lay them out in front of their player screens and then secretly set a price for two of tiles, using the cash they have on hand, then select the third one to discard.

Once the players reveal the prices set, each player has the chance to buy one tile using the cash they have left. When a tile is bought, the buying player gives the selling player the amount of money equal to the price set and the selling player also gets to keep the money used to set the price. Any tiles that aren’t bought stay with the player that set the price, but they lose the money they set as the price.

Then the bought tiles are placed, using Carcassonne-like rules (except for roads) and scoring is done based on conditions for the round. The game is played for 6 rounds (5 rounds in a 5-player game) and then any bonuses are scored.

There are four scoring conditions, which are randomly determined from a mix of 16 tiles. Each are scored three times, depending on the round, so the game will always be a little different. My one real concern is you might not see the tiles that play off the scoring that is coming up next so there could be some really frustrating games. I still rate it a solid seven on the BGG scale. Five years ago it would have been added to my collection, but these days it sits on the fringes as something I could buy at some point, but since both Mike and Nico own it there is no rush.

I really liked this game, though maybe not as much as Mike and Nico. Mike and I played it again that first night with Hilary. During the first game I had no problems placing my tiles, but I kept making mistakes the second game. Nico and I played it again later in the month with Michael and I was back to my normal placing of tiles properly. Nico and I then played it again the following weekend as a two-player game and I found myself more into that game because it was more important to watch out how the tiles available might help the one opponent score. The more I think about it, the more I like it best with two players.

P.S. I know I am getting old when I refer to two games which have BGG IDs under 1000!


Isle of Trains
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

I’ve been trying to upgrade my train cars as much as possible in games because those are often points that can make a difference, and the better cars are also more-tempting for others to load. In this game, I got out the only box car early on and was able to upgrade it to the best version of it, and it kept getting fed so I didn’t buy as many cars as I normally would since I had a constant supply of goods.

I completed and flipped two contracts and triggered end-game by buying my third and thought I would have an easy win. The scores were actually closer than I thought since Mike had several upgraded cars and a building. That just shows that players can win by playing a couple of strategies.


Jarl: The Vikings Tile-Laying Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

It’s The Duke with different tiles that are made of Bakelite instead of wood. I liked the tiles and the feel of them, but the “command” marks on the corners was kind of hard to see on the black tiles because of the white specks in the black Bakelite. Other than that minor quibble, it is an awesome alternative to playing The Duke.


Kraftwagen
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

One of two new-to-me games that Dion brought along one Saturday.

It’s essentially a rondel-driven action-selection game similar to Cramer’s Glen More which determines how and when players get to take their turns. The theme this time is about developing cars in the early years of the auto industry.

It was a good game and one which I might pick up at some time.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion and Millionaire’s Row.

I think dealing out only 10 establishments when combining both expansions might not be enough, especially when two of the three cards that rely on one other card being out to generate any coins, like the Cheese Factory, are out and the cards that they rely on haven’t made an appearance.

I suspect I will try some variant that deals out more cards to purchase, like 12 instead of 10. I saw someone else suggest dealing out 15 but that is a little more than I would want to try before making the more minor change of dealing out 12.


New York 1901
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

A lot of fun. We played with two players and it appears that it is easier to lock up areas than it would be with more players. I am looking forward to trying it with more and hope to do so soon.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 10
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: [thing=171818]Sword of Valor for two of the games.[/thing]

Mike, Jerry, Damian, and I made it through the first adventure pack and into Sword of Valor.

Both Mike and I independently decided that we likely won’t play the intro scenario next time since there is no reward or growth beyond more of the low-grade cards that really don’t improve much at all on the basic cards. The initial scenarios are also too long at five adventures. It was better in the first set when there were three. Maybe there were more useful cards in the initial basic set because of the fewer scenarios and therefore fewer supporting cards needed for the scenarios? I should have a look and compare sometime.

There’s also been some comment during the campaign that the things added to make the game more challenging adds on too much extra record keeping to the game. It’s too bad that the adventure path can’t just change the feel or ramp up difficulty by changing the cards in the game. Instead they add things to track that make it more and more like an RPG and less like a card/board game.

Michael, Greg, and I played the three-player group in my set and we played three times, not quite getting out of the base adventure from the box.

After just making to the second adventure pack, I highly recommend using the cleric because she can be a healing machine and is often able to shuffle her deck, which allows the recharged Cure spells to be avialable more often.


Smash Up
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2015
My Rating: 7

I picked up the Munchkin version and Nico and I gave it a go. He played the Thieving Orcs and I played the Elvish Halflings.

I could have called this a new expansion, but I am not tracking expansions plays for Smash Up any longer.

All-in-all, I like new additions from this latest version. The Monsters and Treasures are nifty. That’s right, I sad “nifty”.


Space Cadets: Away Missions
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Mike and I played the first scenario twice with what we think might be a bad couple of characters for the two-player game (the first officer and the professor). We lost fairly quickly the first time and managed a win the second time.

There wasn’t a lot to the mission we played, but that appeared to be because it’s an introductory scenario that is intended to be a learning game. It did help us realize a few things about how to play the game and we had some strategy thoughts after playing it, so it was a successful introduction. Scanning over some of the other scenarios, it looks like it would be a heck of a fun ride.


Star Trek: Five-Year Mission
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 5

Is this game too easy?

We played twice with four people. The first was at the medium level where we needed 14 points to win and the second was at the hardest level: 20 points (successfully completed mission with a scoring indicator), two completed scoring missions of each color, and one timed mission to win. We didn’t fail a single mission in either game. The first was with the original show’s crew and cards and the second was with the Next Generation of crew and cards. It felt as if the Next Generation missions were harder to complete, but we really were never too challenged and that included not playing with the doctor in the second game as well.

I wanted to peruse the rules to see if we possibly did something wrong, but Mayfair’s site is not even at a Y2K level of functionality and they don’t have the rules for anything posted, as far as I can tell. After some contentious comments by users that we had to be doing something wrong because it wasn’t likely that we played anything wrong, I watched a couple of videos about the game and it really does look like we played it correctly.

The game has a lot of potential and maybe we will discover we did something wrong which will make the game better, but the research I was able to do makes that seem unlikely.


Steampunk Rally
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

Not the best game but I would play it again at some point if Nico brings it to the game days.

I played Tesla against two of the thieves of his ideas and the peanut mogul: Marconi, Edison, and Carver. Michael’s Edison made the most of his card drafting and good die rolling and won. He probably stole something to give him an edge.


Stockpile
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is an auction game. We played the advanced side where the stocks pay out variable rates and some are more volatile than the others.

This was with three players and I bet it is better with more. Each player knows one of the five stocks and if its value will increase or decrease or if it will pay a dividend. There is one stock which is public that the same information is known about it by everyone. With three, there are two stocks that no one knows. The players then seed three auction piles with two cards they are dealt, putting one face up and one face down. Bidding is then in like Amun-Re where when any player is outbid they place their bid on one of the tracks higher than any existing bid.

There are payouts, stock sales, and even stock crashes, which is what cost me the game about 2/3 of the way through our playing. It was a lot of fun and something I still enjoyed even when being crushed by the other two.


Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Yeah, I’ve played Super Dungeon Explore before and I even backed it this version, though my copy is still in the shipping box.

I never pull out the original edition because I just don’t want to try to explain it and I don’t want to run the monsters. I backed this since it had a cooperative play mode.


Super Motherload
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

The second game Dion brought that was new to me. It’s a deck builder where you use the cards to drill into the crust of Mars to collect gems to gain goals and more cards for the deck.

This was not an exceptional game and, like the other game I played this month from the same publisher, not something I need to play again.


Thurn and Taxis
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 8/2014
My Rating: 9

Wow. I actually had to look through the rules because I was confused about whether or not to put down a carriage card, which I knew was different in Power and Glory, but didn’t remember if it was needed at all in the original version. It wasn’t.

I had a great time and I was very happy to play it again.


Tides of Time
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This is a very-clever, two-player, card-drafting, tableau-building, highly-hyphenated game. (Really, the hyphens are just mine.) There are only 18 cards and four markers in the game. It’s quick and a great filler, though I would be a little concerned about the replayability if it was played a lot over a short period of time because I suspect the players will develop set patterns. Still, if I was still getting two-player games I could see myself picking this up.


Tiny Epic Galaxies
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Tiny? Yup.

Epic? Nope.

Can I make the same lame joke over and over? Yup!

This is the best of the Tiny Epic games I’ve played. If it lasted two or three times as long and kept the players engaged, then it would be “epic.” As it stands it has to settle for being excellent! Hopefully, they can live with being excellent in my eyes? shake


Welcome to the Dungeon
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

A light, quick, push your luck game that I would happily play at any time. I might pick it up sometime when we are looking for something quick to play.
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Games Played in August 2015

Bobby Warren
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August.

Mr. Tony is still on vacation, but he should be back soon. The worst Fantastic Four movie ever made was released to theaters. The really fun Man from U.N.C.L.E. failed to find an audience. Fake football started, leading to real football in September. I didn't get to play Warmachine or Hordes. I developed a new miniatures obsession. I asked the all-important question: Can you ever not be pre-approved?

I did play 30 games a total of 62 times and eight expansions logged 18 plays. I played six of the games and three of the expansions for the first time August and played six of the games and two of the expansions in July.

So here is what I played in August:


10 Days in Africa
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 3/2010
My Rating: 7

After playing the next game I talk about, I pulled out this one later in the month and played against Nico, who had never played one of the games in the series. That happens again later in the month.


10 Days in Europe
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 8

Michael and I played a couple of games on the original board with fewer ferry connections and with Serbia and Montenegro still being joined as a single country.

Always fun with just the right amount of tension to not be stressful.


Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2013
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: Even More Buildings Big and Small for one of the games.

Mike and I played one refresher game with just the contents of the box, then added in the special buildings from the second expansion for the second game.

If I played a lot of two-player games with anyone but Mike, I would likely own this and at least one of the expansions. To own both expansions I would have to play the game a lot because only four expansion buildings are used each game.


Clippers
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 3/2010
My Rating: 8

A blast from the past which I was surprised neither Charles not Greg had played before. It didn't surprise me that Brandon hadn't played before because he's a young pup. A royal pain. Other things he would expect me to say about him that aren't fit for print! devil

I volunteered to take Japan since they are one of the bad starting positions. In the end, Michael won with Great Britain and I came in a respectable second. I'd forgotten that the other bad starting position was France which has the double base in Australia. I would have suggested that for Michael, but wasn't around when they were pulling the rest of the player positions.


Dark Gothic
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Both games we played were dominated by one player who won all three of the big monsters. That being said, I still really enjoyed the game. It is a nice implementation of the Ascension/Cerberus Engine type of deck builder. I suspect any future games will be closes since we now have an idea of what to expect from the game.

I doubt I will be buying it since I have a couple of the DC Comics Deck-Building Games and will stick with that in my collection, but it is fun and I will definitely play it any time Mike wants to bring it to the table.


Deus
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Greg explained it to Charles and we discovered a couple of minor things we had been playing incorrectly. Nothing too serious, though the game with Arjun, Narani, and Nico would have been quite different because they ended up starting right on top of each other and competing for the same area and they should have started at least three spaces away from each other.

We corrected those things the following week when Michael, Nico, and I played. One of the important things to try and avoid in this game is keeping a card that you want to use much later in the game. I, being all-wise, tried keeping two of them. Sure, I was able to play them both and score well from them, but by that point I had pretty much assured myself of coming in last. Moron.


Dvonn
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2010
My Rating: 8

Mike pulled out this classic game and we went through a rules refresher before playing a game. Always an awesome game and one which we need to play again before too long.


Finstere Flure
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 2/2014
My Rating: 7

Michael did something completely wrong. He played to win from the first turn and managed to get two people off the board before we made it through the monster movement stack the first time. Geez, talk about doing it all wrong!


Five Tribes
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 12/2014
My Rating: 7

Expansion Played: The Artisans of Naqala.

I liked the mountains and the chasm tile. I also liked the new market tiles that let you buy one of the nine cards. I am not so sure how I feel about the random points from the Artisans, even though I used them to cruise to a victory. Michael didn't like that they were another way to score secret points that couldn't be accounted for by the other players. This is less worrisome to me because anyone that wants to count the cards can see how many points the other players have and it's safe to assume that every face-down item is five points and might be worth a little more.

It'd be nice if the mountain tiles could be used in the base game, but that would throw off the mix of the markets and the chasm can't be added because it would mess with the meeple mix.


Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 9

We made a couple of attempts at putting out fires in a high rise. The first time went well until it didn't, and then it went bad quickly. The second went much better.

It really feels like the high rise is one of the best boards to have the Driver/Operator character, especially with fewer players. The board is naturally divided into quadrants which the characters tend to work together, leaving others for the Driver to keep under control.


Flip City
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

This sounded like a really dumb game. Truthfully, I thought it would be a dumpster fire hiding under the guise of a mechanism the early adopter crowd wanted to like. I was wrong. It was a lot of fun and I hope to play it again soon.

The second week we played at the store we used the Office in the second game and I bought them up and it made scoring the 18-card victory a lot easier. I wasn't sure I liked the Office, but after playing it again later in the month, with the other players being sure to get in on buying them I liked it a lot more.

The only complaint I have about the game is it felt like it took a little long for what it is, but not so long that I was wishing it was over. This could change as the players get experience with the game, especially since the Office gives you some available cash certainty when the deck is shuffled.


Guild Ball
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 8

Whoa! New obsession!

I have a Brewer's Guild team of seven figures which is painted, a Union Team missing only one of the 12 models in the faction, and a Fisherman's Guild team of seven players which I plan on sending off to be painted. I've also ordered the three-player starter for the Butcher's Guild which I picked up so I could teach the game using the Quick Start rules.

I was trying to find a good way to make a 2' x 2' pitch which I can use for teaching games, and realized I had the mat from Deadzone which is the right size and the lines on it work for the needed lines for the pitch. For the full game, I picked up the official 3' x 3' pitch.


Istanbul
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 7

Wow, this was a fast game with three players. I liked it and a few years ago I would already own it, but I am being significantly more selective in my purchases of board games because of the space I have for games.


Keltis: Das Würfelspiel
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 7

Keltis and dice. Or dice and Keltis. Either way it was played. Mike's luck beat my die-rolling skill.


Machi Koro
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansions Played: Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion for all the games and Millionaire's Row for one of them.

One game with four players and another with three using just the Harbor.

The last game of the month used Millionaire's Row. The deck sure is awful big with all the cards and we never saw some of the new ones or some of the classics. It might just be more random with all the card choices and I can see myself removing Millionaire's Row from the mix in the future.


Pandemic
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 10/2014
My Rating: 9

Expansion Played: On the Brink.

The first time this month was a two-player game which started off quite well and was finished with some tension, but not a lot as we cruised to an easy win.

The second was with Mike and Hilary and just as the deck was running out, the world collapsed under the weight of the crippling blue and yellow diseases.

It's always a blast to play this and I really should bring my copy with me from time to time instead of relying on others to bring it.


Parfum
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

I liked it, but it felt a little lacking. Since it appears to be heavily influenced by Fresco I would suggest that the game would be better if the customers were all laid out in a grid at one point and the players had to manipulate a bishop-like figure to be able to get them their favored scent or to get bonus points. Since it isn't this way, the game is just "meh," but maybe just a little better than that.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles
Times Played: 3
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: From Hell's Heart for all the games.

Michael and I finished off our two-player campaign. We will also be moving on to Wrath of the Righteous. I can tell you that I will not miss the ship mechanism, which was novel at first, but really just became an annoyance as the game continued.


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous
Times Played: 8
Last Month Played: 6/2015
My Rating: 8

Mike, Jerry, Damian, and I started this with Mike playing Seelah the Paladin, Jerry playing Adowyn the Hunter, Damian playing Imrijka the Inquisitor, and me playing Enora the Arcanist. That is the same four characters that were played when we played with four at the store.

Michael and I also started up a two-player game with him playing Crowe the Bloodrager and me playing Kyra the Cleric.

Generally speaking, it feels like a couple of the new characters are not thought highly of, namely Balazar and Alain and no one has shown an interested in playing Shardra. It looks to me as if the first two become fun to play when you get to pick the advanced role, but before then they are just gimmicky and under powered.

The group at Mike's has also not been enjoying the game as much as we finished out the "0" adventure. There are no real rewards to gain, other than the card feat for suffering through the five scenarios, and the felt like maybe they got too hard without any better cards available or feeling like there is a chance to succeed. Success in a couple of them felt like pure luck. I still think the original set had it right with the three-scenario "0" adventure and that five scenarios are too many not to get real rewards from. Let's see how things look as we advance through adventure 1.


Qwixx
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

Qwixx Gemixxt for one of the games.

This time the expansion play was with the sheets that mix up the numbers in the same color. I'm less enamored with that expansion than the other, but it still is a fun game however it is played.


Ra: The Dice Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

This time I won using the many monuments strategy.


Race for the Galaxy
Times Played: 6
Last Month Played: 4/2015
My Rating: 8

Expansion Played: Alien Artifacts.

Three games against Nico and Michael and three more games against Michael. I've played the game 465 times and many of them have been two-player against him.


Smash Up
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2014
My Rating: 7

It was my Dinosaur Werewolves against Mike's Fairy Vampires. Was there ever any doubt which side was the most dominant?


Splendor
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 8

I suggested Mike and I play this and, as always, fun was had.

And his beagle puppy ate my shoelace. Well, the tip of it…


Tumblin-Dice
Times Played: 2
Last Month Played: 8/2012
My Rating: 7

Mike picked up the new board which is my least favorite of the bunch, though it does fit in a much smaller box. The join on his launch board and the 1x scoring board is not solid and it appears that one of them must be warped.

It's always a fun game and the only reason mine doesn't make it out is because the box is so huge. Even though the new box is much thinner, it still has a pretty big footprint and I can't imagine I would want to haul it around either.


Undercity: An Iron Kingdoms Adventure Board Game
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: New to me
My Rating: 6

After one play, I am glad I did not buy this. It's a decent enough game, but the limited movement and options on player turns feels too restricting, and not in a "not enough actions to do what I need to do" kind of way. There are only four characters to choose from and all four have to be played each game.

It looks like the game might get better with more plays, but like with High Command it appears that Privateer Press has managed to put too many limits on the genre of the game to make it really fun.


Viceroy
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 6

The second playing didn't improve my opinion of the game and even reduced it a little. There definitely is an advantage to the players that manage to get dealt law cards that score points so they can plan around them. If a player isn't dealt one or more of them, then it feels like they are not in the running.

The auction mechanism is something I still wouldn't want to play with four players because it interferes with what is the core fun part of the game. Even if two players bid the same color where there are two available characters there is no real negotiation in the game, just take it or leave it, which is not at all fun.

I'm still willing to play it because building the tableau is interesting enough that it keeps me engaged to the point that I don't mind if I am not scoring a lot. I guess I am saying the "game" part is a little superfluous since I didn't play the game so much as build my own tableau this time and it just didn't matter?


Village
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 1/2014
My Rating: 7

I asked Mike if he could explain it. He said he could with the rules, but it was more difficult than we thought to explain and the game took some time to develop. In the end, I believe everyone enjoyed it but it's just not a great game. It's just solidly good.


Voyages of Marco Polo
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 7/2015
My Rating: 7

I bumped this down to a solid 6 from a 7. There is just nothing about this game which is very enticing. It's a functional game and the stress of not having enough time to do anything just isn't there. I suspect I feel this way because it is completely obvious that there isn't enough time and there isn't anything that can be done to mitigate it.

Still, I hope Nico continues to bring it and I get t play it a couple more times to be sure of my feelings towards the game.


Wyatt Earp
Times Played: 1
Last Month Played: 11/2013
My Rating: 8

Another game which Nico had never played, and wait, there's more! This is the first of the Mystery Rummy family of games he had ever played.

Because of time constraints we had to finish the game after two hands with him a couple of thousand dollars from winning and a few thousand ahead of me. So we called it as a win for him.
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