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New To You July 2012 => Best new boardgame
Andy
United Kingdom
Stockport
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What new board and card games did you play in July 2012? Please share your experiences of the games you played for the first time this month.

In order to assist with collecting Statistics from these lists, please post an entry with your chosen game of the month, and if possible please use the "insert board game" feature to add other games you mention in your entry.


New To You Metalist 2012
New To You MetaMetalist
New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread

Other Great Monthly Lists
Videogames New To You July 2012
New to you a year ago Jul 12 => Has it stood the test of time?
Games only YOU have played in July 2012
Out of the Dust, July 2012
Your Most Played Game (and more): July 2012
New to Your Kids July 2012 - best new games you've played with your kids and why
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76. Board Game: Stone Age: The New Huts [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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Stone Age: The New Huts - My wife and I have been playing a lot of Stone Age recently. I thought about getting Style Is the Goal, but it just didn't "do it" for me. Instead, I opted to pick up just the New Huts for a reasonable price, and we played with them about a half dozen times. I really like them. Now the building stacks provide some thought beyond a simple resource conversion. It added a bit of depth and a bit of replayability to the game.

Dixit Quest - We've only played Dixit a handful of times, but my wife was getting tired of seeing the same exact cards every game. This new deck of cards was the perfect solution, and I like how it's very similar in style to the original cards.
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77. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:494]
Daniel VandenBurg
United Kingdom
Cardiff
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Played this for the first time on Sunday gone.

Has been on my radar for ages.

I played as Pippin and spent most of the game with 0 corruption thanks to only needing 2 kinds of token to avoid end of board corruption. This eventually lead me becoming the ring leader at the end of Shelob's Lair board as the others were approaching the eye (or is it the other way around?)!

We almost won. In mordor we had 4 consecutive events and so lost due to the eye finding us (The ring is mine!!!). I am never letting a certain someone shuffle the story tokens again! even then I was on only 4 corruption points.

One player completely forgot their gandalf staff for cancelling one of the "lose these things or get an event" tiles, but don't think it would have made a difference.

Overall I enjoyed the game, CO-OP games are one of my fave genres, I look forwards to what this genre gets in 2012.

Innovation

Also played this as teams for the first time, was my second game ever also.

I enjoyed the 2v2 aspect. Our opponents had a lot of synergy with eachother both being able to use eachothers participation cards without me and my mate being able to but did not have much scoring going on.

My teammate had a good scoring engine going and dominated 4 ages by the time we were drawing age 8 cards.

I had a few influence loss cards going to whittle down my opponents influence into their hands or my own influence.

However my team won in the end due to the opponent activating computers which I was able to join in on due to having enough clocks. I drew and immediately used for myself only biosiences (i think thats the name, maybe genetics). This involved a second effect of if someone else has 3 or fewer trees you win. My teammate had none the others had 4 so I won. In teams I am not sure if I am allowed to do this, scoring a win from my opponent being weak but the other experienced players didn't raise this. Me and my teammate laughed a lot at the circumstance!

Eclipse

A weekend of firsts saw my first full Eclipse game too.

I enjoy the TI3-lite style of the game but would rather play TI3 I think given the time and players.

Played with the Supernova expansion which the Terrans occupied both of by turn 4 and they blew up late in the game.

I did OK with the Hydians but was told when the game ended I didn't explore enough I had 4 systems most of the game and lacked enough income to use more than 3-4 actions per turn.

Overall I like the space empire genre so would play this again! Nice to have a fairly complex 4X game that can end in 3 hours or so.
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78. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:106]
Christian Straub
United States
Palo Alto
California
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Two new games for me this month. One was brand new, and one was old and something a friend brought. Unfortunately, no new progress in getting through my current shelf of shrink wrapped games before the baby comes!

Löwenherz



This was an interesting tactical game, but hindered by the fact that I only played it with 3p. I suspect it would be much stronger at 4p.

What I found interesting was that there was a balance between getting money, or using that money to advance your position on the board. Learning when to do either is a pretty good challenge and encourages multiple plays.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small




As a big fan of Agricola, I was very eager to try out this simpler 2p variant of the game. First, some minor negatives of my experience:

No harvest = no pressure. I like the fact that Agricola can make my heart race, especially when I gamble with progressing my plan against risking taking a begging card (which will usually result in a loss). There is non of that in "All Creatures". However, this *is* supposed to be a lighter game, so I can't begrudge the point as much.

Little time to do everything: When I saw the high animal counts on the side of the box, I thought that would be a cinch to get. It wasn't. I feel like I am just getting started when the game ends.

Now - these negatives can actually be positives. My favorite aspect of the game is that it only takes 30 minutes and still remains fun. I love optimization games, and essentially this what this game is. The person who can better optimize given a changing set of inputs will win the game. Since it is so short, you can easily experiment with different strategies and iterate your thoughts very quickly. I very much see this hitting the table often with the wife and I.
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79. Board Game: Last Will [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:235]
Jason Birzer
United States
Burke
Virginia
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This was a pretty poor month for gaming for me, with a grand total of 4 recorded games played this month.

Last Will: Finally got around to playing this, and actually did somewhat well my first time out, at least at first. Started off with a farm and training grounds and was able to fill up my farm relatively quickly with dogs. Unfortunately I got nailed at the endgame when I was having trouble getting rid of my property. I made two mistakes. 1) Putting out a 2nd farm was not worth it. 2) I needed something other than my farm down to drain money. two other players were able to run out before I did. Overall, I did enjoy the game.


Ascension: Storm of Souls: This was a bad situation all around. My friend has all the sets combined, and decided that we were going to play a 6 player game. During the game, we decided that the only way this game plays 6 players is if you divide up into two 3 player games. It was long and boring and there was no reason to pay attention to the board when everything changes between turns. Also didn't help that two of the players had AP issues and couldn't plan ahead of time. This was 2.5 hours of wasted time for me.

New with my 6 year old


For The Win: So, my first Kickstarter arrives and my son wants to play it. I can't say that my son was very competitive, since he couldn't see what I was doing and I won easily. I'm not marking this as a play or as a judge of what the game is. I'll be taking it to Pennsic next week to see what my campmates think, so I might be reporting this again next month.
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80. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:8]
Pedro Silva
Portugal
Matosinhos
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Well... Only one new game to me this month.

Mage Knight Board Game has been taking BGG by storm and it's hard for me to see why apart from a strange, and to me unjustifiable, state of grace the designer has been enjoying around here.

This game is currently ranked 10th on the Strategy Games but there really is no strategy to speak of. Which isn't a problem in this case, really. It's an adventure game and as is typical and logical in such, you don't know what you'll find in your adventures and, therefore, can't plan a strategy from the start.

Of course the differentiated ranks on BGG are misleading. After all they are just filtered results from a single rank value so a highly thematic game (which this seems to be in spite of the fact that I know next to nothing about the theme) that is marked as a strategy game (which this game should not be) will be high on both ranks.

So, no strategy.

Then there is the length. This game took us (3 players) about six hours to complete not including explanation and pauses. I was the only one playing for the first time but all of us are experienced gamers. The explanation took about an hour.

It's too long for what it is.

I started great killing some orcs and healing two wounds immediately after. But was it my skill that allowed that? Not really. I think any of us could have done the move if they had the same hand as me. It was mostly a lucky draw early on. Later in the game I'd find myself with almost nothing productive to do or just a choice between suboptimal moves.
It's a succession of puzzles. What is the best move, this turn, with this hand? There is little preparation or concern with the next move. Sometimes you just do something to reduce your hand hoping to get a better one next turn. When you are getting close to the end of your deck you just do the best possible for that turn and that's it. Not much planning ahead.
And these puzzles are mostly repetitive as the aim changes little from turn to turn. Move, kill monster if possible. Move, kill monster if possible. Repeat... for six hours.

I've been growing suspicious of games that list 1-X players on the board. Either the single player variant is just boring or the game is multi-player solitaire. MK is the latter.
We played a Full Conquest scenario of MK and supposedly this is the way in which players might feel more inclined to attack each other. Problem is that there is little incentive to do so. The potential gain is very low. I did it once mostly because I had nothing better to do and I wanted to check how the game worked. My opponent had all his units spent even though he had a much bigger hand of cards so I decided to give it a go. It didn't go too badly for either of just. In the end, my meagre gain was making it hard for him to get into a city...
Aside from this, the game was mostly played by each player separately.

Not much interaction, then.

I read an article some time ago that stated that the word "elegant" had no defined meaning in game design. I disagree and I think MK is the perfect example to prove the opposite in a "reduction to absurd" kind of way...
MK is an example of inelegant game design. It's full of unnecessary rules and steps and fiddly little things that serve no purpose other than adding variables to the turn-by-turn puzzle.

Why 3 different kinds of attack/block and combat phases? Because combat would be too easy to resolve otherwise. It's not that your tactical skill is more or less challenged by this it's just that more variables mean more difficulty in drawing the proper cards to work around them.

Why 10 different kinds of terrain where two serve exactly the same purpose (you can't move there) and of the remaining 6 only two change values from night to day phases? I know there are cards with special powers that allow you to bend this a bit, but still I feel you did not need so many.
And so on...

Cumbersome or fiddly play, too.

After the second day of game-time it was pretty obvious who would win the game, too.
So why did we play to the finish?
In part because I insisted we did. I wanted to see what the game could provide. I wanted to give it a chance to win me over.
It did provide for a couple of interesting or funny moments after that. I did burn down a monastery and that is always something to look forward to, right?

Actually during the explanation of the "thumbs" track I thought "Cool. We can play as good or evil!". Not so, I fear. Playing as evil only makes it harder for you... Wouldn't it be great having some players playing for good and others for evil?
I digress, though...

So it has a serious runaway leader problem. The players characters gain abilities throughout the game in an accelerating way so when a player starts getting more powerful, he just keeps gaining momentum and there is little to nothing the others can do about it.

But is this just from superior play? Not just, no.
There's a rather daunting amount of luck involved in that. For instance when you draw artefact cards (which can be quite powerful) you may end up, like me, drawing two similar ones (a red ring or a white ring) that aren't even related to the best colour for you (mine would be green or red), whilst other draw shiny and powerful weapons-of-mass-destruction-like stuff.
The timing in which advanced action cards or spells become available can also be pretty important and that, again, is a random factor that can hardly be controlled.

It's quite random too.

The components are brilliant, though. I think the best word for them is luxurious. Like luxury items, they give you a certain kind of pleasure a sense of value.

Unfortunately, like luxury items, they also provide for drawbacks.
The city-clix things are an absurdity.
I suppose they had to include some clixythingamaoggy because of the franchise and the company behind the game but perhaps it would have been better doing it in something else, maybe some special monsters or even the heroes...

Maybe it's my ageing eyesight but it's hard as hell to read the clixy-tiny-symbols-with-easily-confused-colours on the cities. And they serve no purpose that could not have been better implemented with something as simple as a card.
The font can be a bit too small or similarly coloured to the background in some cards, but not too much of a problem.
The rest is good stuff. The cardboard is excellent, the art is good enough, the dice, though tiny, are easily readable with different symbols for each colour/face. Nice insert too.

Good components if a bit over-produced at times.

Somehow I feel this opinion might be a bit too harsh. I've only played once and I know there are several different ways to play the game so I might be having an unfair view.
I'm expecting something from Mr Chvátil that will someday show me why he is so revered by so many here but still, this isn't it. I've tried several of his games and the only one that has yet shown any promise and been more than mostly a gimmick is TtA.

Do I feel like I should play this again to give it a better chance, though?
Not really. Because after this play I think this game's best experience probably comes in solitaire play. For solo play I think this might be good. I don't play solo much, though.

For multi-player I know of at least one game out there that offers more sense of adventure and story-telling, more interaction, more thematic integration, a similar amount of drama or swings in fortune and, most importantly, more fun in a shorter time-frame.
So, if someone suggests this again my reaction will probably be: "Can't we play Merchants & Marauders instead? Please?"

In the end, a thumbsdown.

Sorry about the wall of text... I guess writing this was more fun than playing the game!
Perhaps I should have posted this as a review?
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81. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:63]
Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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I played, amazingly, 38 games this month. Seemed like a slow month but lots of Crokinole picks up the totals.

Tichu is the best new game I played this month. By far. Tichu is a climbing game that is like Haggis. I really dig Haggis and was glad to get a game of Tichu in. I picked it up pretty quickly and played pretty solid. A couple of mistakes, a couple of "groupthink" mistakes. I can hold my own in this one as I have played lots of games similar.

Below are other new to me games.

We Didn't Playtest This At All - Super light, silly time killer. It was okay.

Chaos in the Old World - Area control. I could be talked into playing again, but really not into the theme. I'd rather play a game called Cube Area Control.

Time's Up! Title Recall! - this was fun but I like other party games better. This was good with the crowd size we had.
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82. Board Game: Uncharted: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2244]
Fedor Ilitchev
Russia
Moscow
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I've always had an interest in adventure games (on all platforms) and am a huge Indiana Jones fan. When I learned about the Uncharted video-game, I knew it was something I wanted to try but I also knew that I had neither the time to play it, nor the money to spend on a gaming console. So, I was immediately drawn to this when I noticed it in BGGs hotness and seeing a $15 not-really-used copy sealed the deal.

I must say that I'm pretty darn happy with my purchase. So far, I've had the chance to play it three times and all three have been fun and thematic... and this is without even including the full rules with bosses and character powers. Next week is my next game night and this will be the game we play.
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83. Board Game: The Rivals for Catan [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:454]
Steve Kennedy

Minnesota
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I picked this up finally to help get some Catan to our table. Our nephew ate this up and is brutal in this game. After getting totally obliterated when we added the first "extra" set of cards, I decided to just focus in on the base game for a while. whistle

Some 14 plays logged in July--which I think is a record for us in a month for a game...though I think we came close to that for Pandemic last winter. This one even made it to the coffee shop on a hot summer morning. We could have sold a dozen of these with all the interest it garnered.

I wanted to try Medici vs Strozzi and Notre Dame which I had ordered a while ago, but that did not happen. The latter looks like it will take a little while to learn, but we loved The Castles of Burgundy so I am hopeful that this will make it to the table this month. It is always a hard call, introduce this "new" to us game, or stick with one we are growing to enjoy.
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84. Board Game: Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:763]
:C.h.r.i.s. M.c.G.o.w.a.n:
United States
Arlington Heights
Illinois
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Not much new to me this month, but I expect that to change in August with GenCon.

Catan Histories: Settlers of America – Trails to Rails I have only played the base game of Settlers a handful of times, so I am not burned out like many people. I did find this to be an interesting variant with rail building, deliveries and building settlements to free up the ability to deliver goods. Some of the "number chits" moved from East to West making some barren land now fertile, and also some of the once fertile land now barren. One important addition was the "free build" for everyone everytime the player passed the dice. It is a nice way to use up cards if you happen to be lucky enough to get above 7 cards or just push your competitors into expanding quicker. It is definitely worth checking out if you got tired of Settlers or just need a solid 90 minute Euro game experience.

I think if I had a choice I would lean towards this one over base Settlers just for the variety. All of these "extras" did seem to lengthen game play.

Timeline: Inventions A game that really just shows everyone how little everyone else knows about (in this case) what year things were invented. As I was playing this I had deja vu and recalled playing something very similar. My brother reminded me of the game Chronology . This was a family favorite for a while with the main difference being that each player created their own "timeline" rather than everyone playing to one big timeline of cards. It is a good time for 15-20 minutes and educatioanl if you like that.

Big Points A gaming buddy has a lot of these Schmidt Spiele abstracts with colorful pieces and I am a sucker for them too. A "disappearing pathway" game where the board shrinks as the game plays out. A bit of a set collection, race element involved too. Feels a bit like That's Life! .





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85. Board Game: Railways of Mexico [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
United States
Houston
Texas
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Railways of Mexico (x13)





For some unknown reason, my wife has become addicted to this game. We had played Railways of the World (with four players) once before, and she liked it. Just on a whim, I set it up the Mexico map for 2-players one night. Suddenly, we had played 7 times in 5 days! (As of this writing, you can see how many more times we played) I've never had that happen with a game of this size and length before. It's pretty awesome.

I really like the game, too. It has a great puzzle aspect at the beginning when you see the distribution of the cubes. What's your best long-term plan? How quickly can you get your economic "engine" running? The randomness of the cubes and the Operations cards make every game play differently. I've also enjoyed watching how our bidding has changed as we become more familiar with those cards.

Anyway, we're having a great time with it. But logging those plays has caused some confusion on my part. Since the Mexico map is part of the 2e base game, is that how I should log it? Or do I log both the base and the expansion? I posted this same poll in the forums for Railways of the World, but I thought it might see more traffic here. How do you handle logging plays of games with expansions?

Poll
How do you log plays of Railways of the World (or Power Grid) with expansion maps?
Just the base game.
Just the expansion.
Both the game and expansion.
I don't log plays.
      40 answers
Poll created by Gregarius


Nemo's War (x4)





I've always been a huge fan of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, both the original Verne novel and the classic Disney movie. When I discovered there was a game based on it, I had to have it. It didn't disappoint.

I'm not very familiar with solo wargames, so I can't compare it to any of those. It offers a lot of choices both in what your goals are and how to pursue them. It has a lot of moving parts, but they all tie together pretty well. There's luck, but never too much to dominate the game. Overall, I really enjoy it a lot.

I'm in the process of building a "Deluxe" version to improve the overall experience of playing.

King of Tokyo (x2)





I'm pretty late to the party compared to most of you, but I finally got a chance to try this one. I found it a great, quick, fun filler. It's exactly what I expected, and it delivered perfectly. I loved the theme, the artwork, and the big, chunky dice.

Sleuth





Another deduction game where cards are dealt to each player, with one mystery card set aside. Players use question cards to ask others the content of their hands. We played the original 3M Gamette version. Half the game is spent trying to figure out the best way to take notes. Good game, but went a little longer than I expected, probably because of the newness. It reminded me a bit of Black Vienna, but with more freedom with the questions asked.

Dominant Species: The Card Game (x2)





Radically different from the board game of the same name, this is an interesting climbing(?) game that uses the same art and theme. Instead of each player representing one species, the species are used more like traditional suits.

Each round there is a different biome in which some species do better or worse, and some nutrients score better than others. Players lay down cards in turn to increase their total points or reduce others'. Like Taj Mahal, players can either keep adding to their total or drop. Once everyone has dropped, scores are totaled and points awarded.

There's a lot of "take that" action and it requires some skillful hand management. The cards would really benefit from having the species in the upper left corner like traditional cards. As it is, you can't really fan them out normally. I'll definitely give this a few more plays, but it doesn't have the wow factor of the game from which it got its name.
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86. Board Game: Pergamon [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:649]
Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Pergamon
Preliminary rating: 7.5



Very fun mid-weight euro. Ultimately, game play is very simply. You put your token on a spot which gives you a variable amount of money, and access to certain levels of digging. You then take all the artifact pieces at one of the levels you're allowed access to. Finally, you group these artifact pieces into completed artifacts, which you display in the museum for points.

Despite the simple rules, there are quite a few decisions to make. There is a variable amount of money up for grabs each turn. You know what the range might be, but not what the exact amount is. Money is taken in order by the spots players choose, so you have a "press your luck" element, do I place early and make sure I get $x, or do I go late and get all the remaining money, which might be more? As well, there's also the fight for first access to a given level, so a later player might willingly take less money to get early access to a prime artifact level, scooping you and taking all the good stuff.

The way artifacts come in differing pairs, forcing you to match them all up in a large "train" also makes for interesting decisions. An artifact of lesser value but the right type can often work better in sequence with your other items, allowing you to get more items of lesser value displayed, giving you more points.

Just pleasing in all ways.

caravan caravan caravan

Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Final Rating: 4.5



Co-op fire fighting game. Move around a burning building, extinguish flames, and carry victims out to safety. It uses an action point system, where moving costs 1, carrying someone costs 2, spraying water on fire costs 1, and so forth. Players can be given roles, which makes them better at a given aspect, such as putting out fire, carrying or reviving victims, etc. New smoke/fire pop up randomly each turn, increasing the challenge.

I must say, I'm extremely disappointed with FP:FR so far. Player turns are so exceedingly obvious, they practically play themselves. If I'm near a victim, get them and carry them out. If I'm near fire, extinguish it. Otherwise, move to fire or a victim. That's because ultimately, there's only two things you do, move or put out fire. You look at the reference card and think there's lot of different things, but ultimately they all come back to these two. Move. Move through fire. Move with victim. Chop wall (so you can move). Move the ambulance. Move the truck.

Everything that's great about Pandemic is missing here. In three games, there hasn't been a single moment of real discussion about options "Carry that guy out? Yup." "Put out that fire? Yup." Pandemic has so many moments of planning, should we meet up here, or build that research station, or treat disease, or play our special cards? The order you do things can have massive differences in results, and there's always great discussion. Here? None of it.

Also missing is the future planning. In Pandemic, it's very common to come up with moves multiple turns ahead, with the various players all working together and using their roles to facilitate the planning. "Ok, Bob goes to Paris, and builds a research station. Then, Nancy will be able to move Bill to that station on her turn. Bill now can get the Paris card from Harriet, and cure the final disease to win, just fractions of a second before we lose!"

FP:FP just doesn't have this. I think it's due to the totally random nature of fire and victims. You roll the dice at turn end, and add smoke/fire and victims to the locations shown. The end result is anything can happen on a turn. You're standing in a room, and fwap, suddenly a new victim is right beside you making for an easy rescue. Or, it appears in an area flush with fire, virtually guaranteeing they'll be toast soon. There might be a large danger area of fire, but the new fire appears in an empty closet miles away from anything and you have lots of time to get it under control. Or, there might be a victim in a completely fire free area, leading you to believe that you have time to fight fire elsewhere, then suddenly one turn smoke appears, then next turn it explodes into 5 fires killing them.

The brilliance of the Pandemic deck mechanism is that it's variable, but it's not random. As the game progresses, you learn where the hotspots are developing and you *know* something will strike there. The card deck content is fixed, but in variable order.

It might be thematic that fire is totally random, but it's not very interesting.
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87. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:409]
Bart Hornung
United States
Mission
Kansas
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2 plays, love the mechanics if not the rule books. Really makes it feel clastrophopic and every decision counts. Love this game SOLO and with up to four other players.
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88. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:174]
Derek Thompson
United States
Marion
Indiana
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We laughed a ton while playing, and I felt like a kid again.

What else could you possibly want?
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89. Board Game: Strasbourg [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:478]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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Pretty quiet month for me with less games played than usual due to a lost week. Managed to play just three new games and one new expansion.

Strasbourg comes out on top. I have said before that I find I usually like Feld games but I don’t love them. This has the potential to be my favourite Feld game. (Probably Notre Dame at the moment). It’s a bidding game and I like bidding games, and bidding games like me.

Everyone starts with exactly the same cards. You have 24 cards to last five rounds. You can use as many cards as you like each round, but obviously use too many early and you could run out. (There is a way to recycle a few cards) Each turn you bid to control the nobility, the church and a variety of guilds.

At the start of the game you draw goal cards (which some people have likened to the tickets in Ticket to Ride) and these will to a degree shape your strategy. Winning bids allow you to put workers into the city and it’s here that the goals come into play, get three workers in a row, get two workers next to a special building etc.

It’s not a game for everyone, you have to decide what range of bids you are going with each round before any bidding happens. Start player changes after nearly every bid and it has potential to bog down with any AP players. I played it once with four of my friends none of whom are AP suffers. It took us about 75 minutes and was very enjoyable game.


The Gnomes of Zavandor

I picked up a cheap German copy of this after it was recommended by one of my gaming buddies. It’s a quirky little game that I quite like. It’s basically about mining for Gems and scoring victory points for your mines, gadgets and items you own. What makes it interesting are the gadgets which really unbalance the game. But as everyone can buy them you get some interesting combinations and differences in approach to the game.

Among other things the Gadgets can give you extra actions (usually everyone gets 3 actions per turn), a fixed income regardless of what mines you have, the ability to tax other players for using their mines, a whole load of chits that let you get discounts when buying gems.

It really makes the game fun as everyone has different advantages. I was a little worried that the income gadget might be too powerful as the first two games where won by the player who grabbed the income gadget first. But then I got it first and did not win.

A fun quirky game that is a bit slow to get going but is good fun when it does.

Cuba: El Presidente


I’ve had this for a long time without playing it, so I thought it was about time.

I pretty much agree with the majority opinion, it’s a very good expansion adds a lot of new options to the game but is massively over priced for what you get. In the UK it costs nearly as much as the base game. Take into account that a lot of people got the base game for £7.99 from The Works last year, and it’s more like over three times the cost of the base game.

Kingdoms


This month’s OK game. A pretty simple game, the board is a grid and each turn you can place a tile on the board that give a positive or negative value to the horizontal and vertical rows it’s in or you can place a castle in a row and at the end of the round you score the total of the rows it is in times the number of turrets it has.

There are a number of special tiles that can be played but by far the most game changing is the Dragon, which negates all positive tiles in the rows it is in. This can cause players to lose lots of points.

I won the game I played mostly because I drew the Dragon at the start of the third (and last) round. This meant I could play it when ever I wanted. I held onto it until late in the round and lost the other players a lot of points.
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90. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:48]
Eddy Richards
Scotland
Allanton
Duns
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I had the good fortune to have a flying visit from
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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with his partner Becky, and they introduced me to this excellent dice rolling-stealing-placing game. Highly enjoyable!

Also on the agenda this month: Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium. A slight cheat as I've played the base game about a million times, but this was the first time with this expansion. Adds variety and a few more strategic directions.

Finally I broke out our travel version of Friday the 13th, and we played several games with different combinations of the family. Quite tricky to get your head around the best way to play, but quick and fun.
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91. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:152]
Kees
Netherlands
Delft
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Six new games for me in july. I've finally gotten round to playing Reef Encounter. The game was sitting unplayed on my shelves for over 3 years I guess. What a great game. After liking Keythedral, I'm curious to see which other great games Richard Breese has made.

Also got round to playing Targi, I am glad that it lives up to the hype. For me and my GF it's a real hit. If we want to play a somewhat meatier 2 player game, that plays in about 1 hour and has little set up time, this will probably be our go to game.


Eminent Domain (a deck builder that I do like)
Hab & Gut
Hawaii (liked it way more than expected (then again I was slightly pre-judgemental about the game after seeing some ones video review ))
Poison (good fun, in a big group it felt very random)
Reef Encounter
Targi

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92. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:324]
Greg S
United States
East Windsor
New Jersey
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My first play of this, solo. Played random set up, with 3 races. The most fun I've had playing in quite some time!

I can't wait to introduce this to my wife, who is an avowed non-wargamer!!
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93. Board Game: Ninjato [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:382]
Claudine Finlay
United States
Herriman
Utah
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I can't decide between Ninjato and Village as my favorite new game of the month. The two games are very different from each other but both are enjoyable. Ninjato is slightly easier to teach and Village is slightly longer. So it would depend on the group for me to decide which one I would play. I liked both of them but wasn't blown away by either of them.

I also learned The Bottle Imp and it was fun as well. We are still figuring out different strategies but it was quick so we played three games in a row. I can see my card-playing neighbors liking this one a lot.
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94. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:644]
Justin Hendry
United States
Kansas
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i played only two new games last month. i will start with Talisman (Revised 4th Edition)



i played a few games solo before my wife joined in to play it with me. my first thoughts playing it solo was it seemed to take quite a bit of time just to level up, as i played a lot of rounds with no battles or events to change my characters stats. maybe some expansion will help this. also solo played seemed a bit strange since it is kind of a race to get to the crown of command and then a small battle. my wife felt the game was a long game and she liked it up to the end where she felt it seemed to drag. we are both Runebound (Second Edition) fans and had played quite a bit of it. this game is a nice change, but it will be hard to get my wife to play much of it as she didn't really enjoy the whole travel around to finally get strong enough and maybe get to the center first to then kill everyone thing. i enjoy the game and my wife will play it, but it won't be played as much as runebound.


and now for Prêt-à-Porter
i have had my eye on this game for sometime and my wife has made fun of me for it a bit wanting this "fashion" game. well my wife played it with me and she ended up liking the game, in fact she likes it so much she asks to play it almost every night. we have played it a lot for the short time.
the first game was fast, we had no troubles understanding the rules or the cards (help from the cheat sheet) it seemed really fast. at first i thought 12 turns was going to be a bit long but they are not, and only two turns to prepare is not enough you have to really work and get the right cards other wise you won't last. we enjoy this game hard to get it off the table, now to find some other people to play it with.
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95. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:25]
Magnus Percan
Sweden
Malmö
Malmö
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Dominant Species (3rd edition)

Amazing game! I won the 5p game, playing the mammals. Although my brain has never been that tired after a game. laugh

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96. Board Game: Merchants & Marauders [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:138]
Mark Czerwinski
United States
Sanford
Florida
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July was a monster month for me in both games played and new to me games. This was due in large part to the wonderfully awesome Dice Tower convention that was held here in Central Florida. My son and I had a great time there and can't wait for next year. I also played quite a bit with local friends making July a great month.

Merchants & Marauders - This game stuck with me more than any other new game I played. The story the game created in my mind is probably what made this my favorite.

Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery - I ordered this one in mid June and finally got it a week ago. Very nice worker placement/area control game. I liked it enough to pick up the plague promo cards.

Magic: The Gathering - I was finally talked into playing this with my friend. I was surprised at how enjoyable the game is. I'm still going to keep this game at arm's length though for fear of falling into a huge gaping money pit. My board game hobbyaddiction is bad enough.

Ad Astra - Played at the con. I only got to play once but really enjoyed it. I thought it fixed a lot of the things I did not like about Settlers of Catan and even put a cool theme on it. I really want to play this more.

Small World - I hadn't played this game before although I've had multiple opportunities to do so. It just struck me as silly and simple. I was pleasantly surprised to have been proven wrong. This game was fun and gave me a lot to think about. We played with a ton of the expansions, but I couldn't tell you what they were named.

Cartoona - I was lucky enough to play this with the designer and my son at the con. My son wasn't quite as animated at any other game, no pun intended, and I quite enjoyed it as well. Will be an auto-buy when it comes out.

Tribune: Primus Inter Pares. Very nice worker placement game.

RoboRally - Pretty cool game. Can be hard to overcome bad hand draws though like all turns or all moves and no turns.

Thebes - interesting time mechanism.

Wiz-War - Fun and random take-that game.:

King of Tokyo - Better than I thought it would be. I need to pick this one up just to play with my son.

TransAmerica - Good introduction to train games for my son.

Medici - fun auction game with several unique mechanisms.

Homesteaders - combined auction elements with a lot of the different building buys that Le Havre has. I liked it, but I already have Le Havre. It's not different enough to buy, but I would gladly play again.nostar:

El Grande - I might like this better with more plays, but it just didn't grab me as much as I expected it to. I'm glad I got to try it though.

Red November - I'm not sure more plays would show me anything new.

Forbidden Island

Dixit

Chang Cheng

Charon Inc.

Last Will - As much as I like worker placement, I'm probably supposed to like this better, but it bored me completely for some reason.

Werewolf -

The Resistance - This is just not my type of game at all.
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97. Board Game: Industria [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1209]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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It was really hard to decide between Industria and Vegas Showdown, since I have really enjoyed my plays of both so far. An expanded version of this, including games that I played in July but not for the first time, is here: July Gaming Retrospective

The games below are listed in order from favorite to least favorite. For more details about each game, look at the comments in my game collection. I also record mini session reports for most of my plays.

Industria (2 solo learning games, and 2 real plays). Rating: 8
It's a simple formula: Buy tiles at auction, most of which are worth points, and some give you money. In a sense, it reminded me of Ra, but I like Industria a lot better. The theme doesn't really fit the mechanics, but I did get a bit of a sense of history, watching the technologies advance. So far, this is a solid 8 for me, but I'm afraid it may be hard to get to the table a lot, especially since it really only shines with 3 or 4, and can't be played with 5. I bought this in an auction for $5 plus $5 shipping, so it was definitely worth it.

Vegas Showdown (1 solo learning game, 1 real play). Rating: 8
Buy tiles at auctions, and lay them to get money and/or points. The auction format is like Homesteaders (which I like), but instead of juggling resources, you have a delicious spatial puzzle in laying out your hotel/casino. This is another solid 8 for me so far, and I think I can get it to the table, especially with a strong 2p variant available on BGG. I took a chance getting this in a math trade, but it looks like a winner.

Tobago (1 play). Rating: 7
I have wanted to play this "reverse deduction" game for a while. I had been afraid that the treasure distribution wouldn't fairly reflect the effort each player put in, but that actually worked really well. It hits a nice point on the weight/complexity scale, and didn't overstay its welcome (it actually ended a bit suddenly). Rating is more likely to go up than down, but I'm not going to go out of my way to play it again.

Catan Card Game (1 solo "learning" game). Rating: 6
I had already played The Rivals for Catan once, so really just wanted to see how much had changed from CCG to Rivals. Not a lot. Either one is far better than Settlers, but neither is great. I prefer that Rivals has fewer "attack" cards in the core deck. Maybe this should be a 7, but I just can't get too excited about it. If it played 3-4 players (and in 60-75 minutes), it would probably be a 7 or maybe even an 8.

PitchCar, with a jump (2 plays). Rating: 6
Dexterity games are amusing, but to me they are party games, not strategy boardgames. Given the choice, I'll play a strategy game instead.

Town Center (1 solo game). Rating: 6
I threw together a playable copy using materials lying around the house, because I like games with simple rules, and I like city-building as a theme. Unfortunately, while the theme mostly works, the gameplay really feels like an abstract. The solo rules leave out cube drafting, which seems like one of the best mechanisms in the game, so I didn't really give it a fair trial. But I saw enough to know that even with more players, it wouldn't be my kind of game.

Tempus (1 play). Rating: 5
Don't let my low rating fool you. This is a GREAT game. I love the map, and the cards, and the technologies (which are far more realistic than most civ tech trees). The rules are pretty simple, the game plays fairly briskly, the level of randomness is appropriate, and the decisions are interesting. Unfortunately, the game is oriented around conflict, and I don't like games with this much conflict. If the game appeals to you, I strongly encourage you to try it. I think it's under-appreciated on BGG due to its history.

Dungeon Petz (half a play). Rating: 4
This looks like a light romp of a game, but has a lot of rules and requires deep thought and analysis, but then it throws in a ton of randomness. It requires you to commit to your actions without enough information to do so. I think if you played it in "lightning" mode, with 30 seconds to make your decisions, it might work as a quick chaotic game. As it is, we stopped our 3p game after 3.5 hours (including an hour of rules), and we were only 2/3 of the way through at that point. Rating is more likely to go down than up, unless a future play goes WAY faster.

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98. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:9]
Samo Gosaric
Slovenia
Ljubljana
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Not one game really enamoured me this month, though there were quite some interesting ones. I'm having second thoughts about longish games - I don't mind the effort, but I want more intense interaction. This might be just the "civilisation genre" though, Twilight Struggle might be more to my liking once I learn the bugger that sits on my shelf for more than a year.

Eclipse 8/10
1 play - won on a tie breaker

What sets Eclipse apart from other "civilisation" or "4X" games is the joy of building your ships and watch them fight. The whole part that made MtG drafting and sealed formats fun was the fact that you build something which DID something (and not just, you know: deckbuilding for deckbuilding sake). I enjoyed my race (mechanema) as it was all about building ships. Oh and I won as I had the best ships, not a lot of them (like german tanks in WW2), but the devils moved fast and surprised everybody.

Compared to TI3:
- the game looks much much nicer. I like the streamlined design of the bits and graphic interface.
- Whereas TI3 is like this slow flowing game, Eclipse gives you a lot to juggle in your head (the euro part), which I'm normally not too fond of, but this juggling leads to actually producing an effect.

The rating isn't higher, because as of now I'm not sure I'm fond of long games, or maybe it's just that I have one problem with civilisation genre: I want interaction NOW! Not 2 hours in the game.

True Eclipse has some neat trick - you start physically closer together (neat illusion) and you fight the ancients quite soon. As I read the whole "must isolate your part of the galaxy" strategic tip I became a bit worried. But time will tell how fun this is.


In a galaxy far far away (from players). [Image byHappyHexagon]


Gambit 7 7.5/10
2 games, 1 win (when groupthink failed and my spongy brain knew better)

I love talking in my games, so no wonder I like this one and this is more thrilling than Dixit. Probably as fun as Trivia gets. Nicely structured with 7 different type of questions and it's nice to see them using non US questions.

I think I'd prefer (haven't played yet):
- original game (Wits and Wagers) - the wagering part seems fun and the gambit 7 disk really made no sense.
- Say Anything (freedom!!!) - it's nice to know something that the groupthink totally missed, but I'd prefer something more creative and personal.


Does this looks like fun or what? [image by Imploded]

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game 7.5/10
1 game, didn't win at all

This was my second civilisation game after Twilling Imperium and before Ecplise. The narrative is probably the best in this one: references are obvious (they teach history in schools, we didn't take future classes yet, maybe someday...), the graphics are cuter. City building part was interesting (not as ship building, but still rewarding) and paths to victory are diverse and worthy of note.

However this seemed the most solitary of civ games so far (not counting RTTA), each player in their own narrative and the build up towards civilastions meeting was the slowest. Ok, we played 3 peaceful nations (Egypt, China, US) and 4th one (Rome) was played peacefully as well. If this could be played in more straight froward, aggressive way (which I heard is the way to play) I'd like this one much better. As of now, I prefer shorter games of this ilk.


dum dee dum [image by elprzybyllo]

Galaxy Trucker 7.5/10
1 game, came in somewhere, didn't care, ship went boom!

Looks like something of Tales of Arabian Night vibe, minus the stories, meaning: no true decisions, relaxed laid back ride with no interactions apart from laughing at each other. First you build a ship on your own, then you watch it fall apart - on your own. A fun meaningless nonconfrontational activity to pass some quality time with your friends. Must try to borrow it and try with friends.


ship go bye bye [image by TheFlahooler]

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game 6/10
2 games, we humans won one, and lost the second one

Coming in, I'd though I'll like this better and it is thematic and fun. It's also light on the rules, or maybe loose on the rules is a better term. And while this all fits the lighthearted feel of the game with it's customisable pieces and scenarios, I did have one problem with it: I just can't get over the roll and move mechanic of the heroes in the game as it can make you half the turns not doing anything.

Granted, this came out in our second game with it's own user related problems (people wouldn't cooperate in a scenario that demanded good cooperation and planning), but how can I even cooperate while standing still? (rain also slowed movement). It's not that this random bummer annoyed me because we didn't win, it annoyed me because more than 30 minutes of my game were meaningless and pointless as I couldn't do a thing (bad rolls and rain outside) - even TotAN with you being caught in the dungeon does better in this regard. It's hard for me to say it, but the game could use some tools from FFG's bag of euro tricks.


so I can sit here 4 4 turns? [image by existentialbum]

K2 - 5/10
1 game, didn't win, but nearly could if my male climber hasn't frozen to death in his forgotten camp

The game could best be described as euro dungeoncrawl - only it's on a mountain. All the qualities of dungeon crawl (immersive theme and lack of interaction) with no monsters (well weather) and different logic to whole luck element - the game is about risk taking, but doesn't feel like risk taking game. Mostly it's part hand management (quite nice) and part dealing with the situation and weather circumstances which you know beforehand what it is.

The good part: the theme is immersive and original.

The downside - no interaction (well some blocking, but, meh).
Yes it makes sense in terms of mountaineering - it's a solitary activity, BUT I like my gaming social, please.
And for a MPS or dungeoncrawl fix, I'll take Thunderstone.
Could be a good solo game though?


all alone, all alone [image by sipio]

Ys- 3.5/10
1 game, try to forget, surprisingly the scores were close togehter

I though I'd enjoy it because blind bidding seemed promising. As soon as I saw the board (there's a city! didn't look like it on the net) and was given explanation of what there is to do all my hope vanished somewhere inside the opaque web between the abstract-like pieces. It's the worst type of theme implementation there is: too dry for any sense out of its "theme" and too opaque to be a good abstract (I like 'em with precise objectives).

Double think is there, but there's so many layers of opaqueness overlaying it, you're more immersed in yourself and making combinations in your head than you are caring about what other players do. The lack of theme made me apathetic about the whole thing. While the game frankly gives you a lot of options and paths and is more balanced, I'll take Revolution! over this any time.


interaction in Ys [image by kin2x]

EDIT: added LNOE, nearly forgot about it.
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99. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:28]
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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Lords of Waterdeep



I played this one not really expecting too much from it as I am not wildly enthused by D&D products these days and have played plenty of worker placement games so that I expected this to be a bit old hat. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was nothing of the sort. The game played really well and was thoroughly enjoyable from the start. The game play is clean and easily understandable and there is enough variety to make it very replayable. The production values are very high and the theme does not feel entirely ‘pasted on’ (theme does matter to me).

To paraphrase the late, great Victor Kiam, "I was so impressed I bought the game". Since my initial foray, I have managed to play a couple of two player games with Mrs Fish and she enjoys it as much as me. I see this one as a keeper that will get plenty of use in the years to come. The only minor gripe I have is that there is a promotional card that is not readily available the complete-ist in me hopes that this will be incorporated into a future expansion (yes, I’d buy an expansion for this one).

Gulo Gulo



I have heard a lot about this game and finally got a chance to play. Terrific fun! We played with four adults and two children (aged 3 ½ and 2 ¼). The children really have the edge in their little hands are a lot more dexterous in the vital process of egg collection. That said, a former surgeon took the honours in our game - good to see that they really do have steady hands.
I would definitely play this one again and suggest that, with the right set of adults, this would go over well as a party game of filler.

The Castle Game



This is a simple roll-and-move game for young children. Each player is an aspiring knight who wanders about the kingdom and collects stuff to help them join Club Knight (such as a horse, helmet, weapon and that sort of thing) which fit onto the miniatures. Each player rolls, moves (or misses their turn) and if they land on the right spot they collect an item. First to finish with all their gear wins. The length of game may be varied by lengthening or shortening the distance between the collection points.

It’s worth noting that the items the knight collect don’t fit that well on the miniature and it’s rather fun to replace them with a Playmobile knight if available.
Not a bad game for children, but would get old pretty quickly once they’re looking for something more than roll-and-move.
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100. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:193]
Toni Miinalainen
Finland
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July was a new record month for me in the amount of games played and in the amount of new games tried out.

Best of the month:

Glen More - 2 plays - 8

I had this on my wishlist so i was happy to try it out in the gaming club. Something just clicked me with this game and i enjoyed it a lot. It offers a blend of mechanics from tile placement to rondel but they work together nicely. I like the artwork and the quality of the components is decent. The gameplay is also quite smooth and it's quite quick to play even though it can offer some tough choices on what to do. Definitely a keeper and i had to get it for myself after playing it once.


Good games:

Inca Empire - 1 play - 8

I had watched some review of Inca Empire before so i knew a bit about the game before playing. The game plays fairly simple but at the start it was a bit hard to decide on what to do. The artwork and the components are great and i like the theme. I would enjoy playing this agains but i think with the longer version the game can drag on a bit and perhaps be a bit too long. Besides this it's a very nice game which i enjoyed playing.


Fresco - 1 play - 7,5

Another game i've seen played at our gaming club before but hadn't got the chance myself. So we decided to play it with all six expansion modules which made for quite a lot remembering for a first game. With all the different expansions it was a very solid game which offered nice amount of depth but also made the game last longer. Can't comment on the game without the expansion but with them it was enjoyable experience.


Kingdom Builder - 6 plays - 7

Kingdom Builder fit my research for a lighter and faster game to add into my collection. After the first game i was a bit let down on the game but i wanted to give it another chance and after playing it more i've started to enjoy it a lot. It's quick to play, offers nice amount of variety with the different objectives and maps, the special powers and using them right seems to be very important and the fast setup is nice. Theme is quite bland bit it doesn't matter too much for me and the gamebox is huge compared to what it stores inside. Nice addition for the quick to play 2-4 player game category.


Palastgeflüster - 1 play - 7

Hadn't heard about this game before so i was intriqued when we played it in another gaming club. It's quite clever game for such small amount of cards. It's fun to try to keep yourself out of danger while trying to get others hosed with their cards. Enjoyable, fast and affordable filler game.


Tsuro - 1 play - 7

I first bumbed onto this when it was shown on tabletop episode and it seemed like a nice filler. I got to try it out when i visited another gaming club. It's definitely light and quick to play and also a nice looking game. The player amount for up to a maximum of eight is also a good point for this game and it works well as a filler between meatier games.


Decent games:

A Castle for All Seasons - 1 play -6,5

Got to try this with a friend of mine. The quality of the components, artwork and the board are great. I also like the simultaneous action selection which makes for some tough choices and the worker placement aspect is quite good aswell. The gameplay flows nicely and it can be played quite quickly. Otherwise the game left me wanting for something more and it could be more enjoyable with higher player count. I would play this again but wouldn't get it for myself.


Felinia - 2 plays -6,5

I hadn't come across Felinia before trying the game at all. I like the bidding system in this game and the advanced game is definately the way to go with this game because it offers a lot more choices. The set collection part is fun and you really have to adjust what goods you are collecting because there is such small limits to the amoung to money and goods you can store. The theme is a bit odd but the most negative thing about this game is the colors and artwork. At the start it can be very difficult to make a difference on the colors because they don't match well to each other (boats to land, goods to boats etc.) and they also make the board look quite horrible. It's a solid game but the horrid colors and a bit too random boat distribution lowers my rating about Felinia.


North Pole - 1 play -6

I haven't really played much of these racing games and they don't seem to be my favorite style of games. North Pole looks cute and the gameplay is quite clear and also offers a bit of take that element against other players with the winter cards. Can be a bit random with the card drawing but it can be equalized quite nicely with the available movement choices. It's a fun and quick to play filler game but not something i would get for myself.


Formel Fun - 1 play -6

Another racing game i tried out last month and it goes into pretty much the same slot as North Pole. There's definitely a huge importance on the cards you use but you can also get totally hosed if the cards just don't come up. It's fun and i would play it again but it lasted a bit too long for me to enjoy it more than that.


Islas Canarias - 1 play -6

This was another unheard game for me but i got the chance to try it out when i visited a gaming buddy at his home. I have to admit i was a bit lost at the start of the game because it was something totally different from what i'm used to. The placement of buildings and getting the card bonuses seemed to be very important in success. It's a nice game and offers more than you would guess from the start but can also be a bit luck driven with the cards you get.


Scrabble Flash - 1 play -6

I played this while waiting for others to finish their game. If you like word games and want something that's quick to play and easy to carry around then i can suggest this for you. It's fun and a good practice but not something i would get for myself or play very often.


As i said in the beginning i had a very good month of gaming which i'm very pleased with. I also got to try out a lot of new games and also found some new good games to play in the future.
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