Expedition: Famous Explorers
Last Willhttps://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088850/, that's the premise here). Functionally spending your money means gaining points and so the first to the spend the required amount (variable each game) wins. You are trying to make reservations you don't attend take lavish trips with friends, buy and sell property for a loss, various things to spend that money. The theme fits well here. There's a mix of worker placement and then performing actions. Each round starts with a difficult decision of determining turn order by selecting a spot, but each spot comes with a varying amount of number of workers to place, cards to draw or actions to perform. So figuring out the right position can be tough. I was only able to play this one with my boys, but they are getting to the age where they both put up a challenge with me, even though I still want to play this with the gaming group as well. Quite enjoyable.
Corsairs of Valeria
The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
Year-long summary: 80 unplayed games played
Total on the unplayed list now: 238 (this number did get smaller, but I still need to reduce the number of games incoming during the year)
I've got too many games on my shelf of shame. I've been a sucker for sales and Kickstarters. Time to make progress on getting them played and determining what we really need to keep. I'll highlight my unplayed games and also discuss the other games I've been playing.
01 Jan 2022
- [+] Dice rolls
05 Dec 2021
Reavers of MidgardChampions of Midgard (and yes, for that it's much better to play with the expansions). So this keeps the viking theme and is still worker-placement-ish. It's not what I consider real worker placement because you only have 1 worker to place each round. The action selection in it more reminds me of the Puerto Rico style. You get to choose one of the still available actions. Everyone playing will get to perform that action as well, but the player who selected it will get extra benefits. Even the next player in turn order gets a bit extra and then 3rd and 4th just gain the basics. Some of the spots (half of them) involve combat, but the combat is different that you typically see. Each combat gives you options. You can either discard dice you have with the correct matching faces to gain the rewards, or you discard dice showing hammer icons and you are able to roll combat dice for the number of hammers discarded. If you roll a high enough number of hits with those dice you gain the same benefits. Glad to have this one in the collection and look forward to trying it out more. With the combat being less dice roll dependent my wife might enjoy this one (she despises CoM).
The Butterfly Garden
High Noon Saloon
School of Sorcery
That's a Question!Just One and Medium were much more fun.
Circle the WagonsButton Shy. This one is similar to Sprawlopolis, Squire for Hire, etc. where you add cards to your tableau to expand the size of your area and/or cover up existing sections of cards to achieve the best scores. Also each card is double-sided and the backs have scoring objectives on them, so depending on the cards used for scoring a number of them are not available to go into your area. The draft here is interesting you can take any card ahead in the circle, but any which you skip are automatically give to your opponent, so it's risky to skip ahead unless you can see that they don't help your opponent in scoring. And just because the icons aren't part of the scoring goals doesn't mean the cards are useless as you are trying to make large areas of each of the land types. This one worked well for us, it'll get to the table many more time.
- [+] Dice rolls
02 Nov 2021
This is essentially the same game as Doodle Quest, which is loved by my family so as expected this one was well received. For me I'm of two minds when comparing it with Doodle Quest. I preferred the visuals and theme of this one. The levels are more engaging and the progression feels like it ramps up. It feels more like a video game in a way. So that aspect pulls me in. But I don't like the penalties and pranks. You can get bonuses that let you mess with the other players or hit penalties. These are things like draw with your off-hand, hold the marker with just 2 fingers, etc. Just drawing the lines correctly is hard enough, these extra parts just make it annoying. Even with those annoyances I think I still would rather play this one over Doodle.
...and then, we held hands.
My wife loves to play Lost Cities. Almost every time I mention playing a 2-player game she suggests it. But I'm always looking to try others out to see if I can get some other options into her request list. This is not one that will make it. We gave this multiple attempts, but it just didn't click with us. One of them we even got all the way to the end game, but you have to be able to both end on the same spot on the same turn in balance, and we saw that no matter what we did at that point there was no way for us to do so. That was a bit demoralizing and with being mostly bored with it otherwise it's just not going to hang around our shelves.
This new line of small-box games from BoardGameTables.com have been enjoyable. GPS continues that trend. This is a dead-simple game. Get your satellites to be in numerical order around the earth. You each have 12 satellites, but you don't get to choose the ones available to you. They are all face down and you flip 3 face-up. Then the spinner is spun and you have to place one of the face-up satellites at the location pointed. Flip another so you always have 3 and spin it again. Once you have all 12 in orbit you continue to spin to select the location and you can then move a satellite in orbit to this position. The game ends once one player has all of theirs in numerical order 1-12. Sometimes it's obvious what you need to place, when the spinner ends up at the extremes. But even then it might not be. You know you'll have to move it later if you have to put a middle-tier number there because it's all you have face-up at the moment. There's a lot of luck in the order you get your satellites, but this is a 10-15 minute game which is fun.
Trickster: Champions of Time
This has a nice twist on trick-taking. The start player plays a card, but the style of trick is determined by the 2nd player to the trick (the trickster). They either match suit, match character, or mis-match both. Then it's up to everyone else in turn order to do the same. If all players are able to play then the trickster loses the round and must take the pot, else if a player is unable to match they lose and take the pot. Then that loser is the new start player. In general you don't want to take the pots because each card you took costs you a point at the end of the round, unless you have the most of a given character then they don't count against you. So if you can take a majority of specific characters it doesn't hurt you to lose tricks. Additionally, each card a player plays into the pot has an action on it which is performed as the card is played which often involves moving around the cards you have in front of you. We did only play with 3 players and that involves a variant, so I didn't really get the full effect. I look forward to trying this again with at least 4.
After the other 2 most recent Feld games this one goes back to the deeper end of his designs. In high-level terms you place tiles on your board which give you action markers for specific actions. As the game goes on you place more of these tiles and appropriate placement of them will give you more of certain types so you can plan your game approach with those. You know the order of how these will become available at the beginning of the game, and you see all of the available tasks up front. So you can see most everything up front and determine a strategy and push to see it through. You can be thrown off potentially by other players grabbing certain items before you grab them, but there's little in the way of randomness once the game gets started. The randomness is only in the set of gnome cards and the paths that are replaced as the game goes on. There are several ways to get points, but they most all build from lit bonfires, so you absolutely cannot ignore grabbing tasks and then completing them to create bonfires. I did pretty horribly at this one, but enjoyed the actions and working through trying to get something going. I think I focused on an inappropriate task right off the bat and I feel that slowed me down somewhat in getting a good trajectory going. I'm definitely looking to remedy that in the future. For me this is another good one.
- [+] Dice rolls
05 Oct 2021
Deckscape: Test Time
MerlinFeld games you have lots of ways to gain points. Really look forward to trying this again, will likely include some of bonus modules next time.
Ankh: Gods of Egypt
Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science
KokopelliFeld title. This one is very likely the simplest one of his I've played yet. Each player has a deck of the same cards, of 10 action types selected for the game. On your turn you perform 2 actions primarily either draw a card or play a card. You have 4 areas in your play area in which you can start a new ceremony. Plus you can play cards onto 2 areas of the player to your left and the same to the right. You gain points when you complete a ceremony (4 cards) and when someone else completes yours you gain 1 point. While you have a ceremony active within your 4 areas you have whatever power that grants you. So you often decide when to convert a power into its points, or your opponents might close it for you to take away that ability.
The Little Flower Shop
- [+] Dice rolls
01 Sep 2021
Pack of Heroes
Phil Walker-Harding designs, and I realized we had another unplayed of his on the shelves. This one is a 2-player game and puts you in control of a team of 5 heroes. You play on a 3x3 grid with each player starting with a hero in play. On your turn you can perform a move action with one of your active heroes, then choose between adding a new hero into the play area or activating the ability of one already in play. Some have special events which happen when they are first put into play. When a hero is down to half hit points they become stunned, and they become stunned each time they take damage once at that point, so it can be difficult to do anything with a hero low on health. I think there's some nuance in choosing the order of putting your heroes into play based on how some of their abilities interact. It's not at the top of the PWH games for me, but it's a fast-playing fun 2-player that will probably see a bit of play between my boys. I also appreciate the guide in the rule book indicating the difficulty of the varying hero groups.
This is part of the Graphic Novel Adventures series published in the US by Van Ryder Games. They are solo games and I need to explore them more. Here your daughter is kidnapped and you are trying to get her back. I stupidly chased a dead-end (which I expected was a bad idea) and was killed, but it was fun. In many ways it's a choose your own adventure where you are keeping track of a series of stats/health. The nice thing about these is you can just play it for a little while, put a bookmark in it and come back later if you only have a few minutes at a time.
Deckscape: The Fate of London
I decided to do this escape room solo. My family has done several of the Unlock and Exit games together, but I wanted to see how I could with one on my own. These Deckscape games are even smaller than either of those. Deskscape is even simpler than Unlock because it is simply the deck of cards, no app required. While I love the Unlock series I think I like this simplicity even more. The hint system is conveniently right there, you just have to read it backwards so it's not something you accidentally read. The puzzles were a mix of easy to challenging. I ended up spending way too much time on it on my own, and then with the several puzzles which I did get wrong my time was way past the upper limit. But I had a good time with it.
Deckscape: Heist in Venice
After London above I decided the next night to do another one. This was either easier or I was just in the right frame of mind after having done one the day before because I found Venice to be quite a bit less challenging. I was able to complete it much faster, and I didn't answer quite so many incorrectly. I found the story to be more fun for this one too. I enjoyed both of them and will probably seek out more of this series. I do still have 1 more on the shelf to try out.
My local group had an "old-school" night to celebrate the back-to-school season, so I brought this one out being that it's the 1989 SdJ winner. The game started out to be enjoyable, you place tiles on the board matching with the correct nationality and gender requirements of each table. You are limited to the 5 people you have drawn from the bag. The trouble came in the end game when the cafe is mostly full and you have to start placing people into the bar. You just lose points like crazy when this happens, and if you are drawing the tiles which can still fit on the board then you won't be losing points. Due to this annoying end phase I can't see ever wanting to play it again.
This is a recent trivia game, very similar to Trivial Pursuit. You have 6 categories and you are trying to earn a "ring" in each one by dice rolling to move around the board and landing in a ring space to answer the question for that category. The main difference between this an TP is that it is an app-based game. The box only contains a board, the character pawns and a die. The rest is in the app. It nicely provides multiple player age ranges, so that the entire family can play and you will get questions which are appropriate to your age. It also has a time-limited options. So you can just put in a 1 hour game, and even if you don't get all 6 rings, the game will end and the most rings at that point will win. What's confusing is that my wife and I had the same number of rings, but I had a higher overall % of correctly answered questions, but it gave her the win. Not sure if that's a bug or what. But the family enjoyed playing and the questions were well implemented within the app.
- [+] Dice rolls
03 Aug 2021
Oceanos - This is another one that I'm not sure how it's managed to sit unplayed for so long. I decided it would make for a good game to take with us on our beach vacation. The family really enjoyed the theme in that environment. Each player has a submarine made up of 5 sections which are independently upgradeable between levels 1, 2, and 3. Each one represents a certain aspect of your game, for instance how many cards you get to look at each turn is the number of periscopes you have, etc. The dealer each round doesn't get any cards directly from the deck, but is given the un-chosen cards from the other players for them to choose a card. Once everyone has revealed you add that card to the grid in front of you. The game is played over 3 rounds, each round you are adding cards to the next row of your ocean. You can't re-arrange the cards once they are placed, so you must pay attention to the cards you are selecting to be sure it's going into a spot you need. Adjacency or order is important for a lot of scoring and upgrade options. It's a fun game which moves along at a nice pace.
Summer Camp - When I see Phil Walker-Harding on a game design I'm immediately interested. The theme is great for the family because we've got 2 boys right in the middle of summer camp age so they were right on board. This is a nice casual deck-builder which is essentially a race. The race aspect is just the end-game trigger, but it seems most likely whomever triggers it is likely to win the way the points are handed out. It's got nice combo opportunities as you move along the 3 tracks. Phil is great at making interesting casual games and this is yet another one.
Trick Taking: the Trick-Taking Game - I'm no expert with trick-taking games but I enjoy them. I've played my share of Hearts and Spades, and really love Diamonds and the more recent co-op The Crew. So I was glad to get this one out finally. Sadly this one was not intriguing for us. I think it's because it introduced too much variability to the rounds. Making a player pick up their card, changing the winning card from low to high, etc. Just too much chaos within a round. I like that you play through the deck, and then you play a final hand with your winnings to determine the winner of the game. That's a fun premise, it's just the game to get to that point fell very flat for us.
Mind MGMT - I played a lot of Scotland Yard growing up, but I haven't added any hidden movement games to my modern collection. This is a kickstarter I was backing regardless of the game because I'm a fan of the comic, I've got all the issues of it. Luckily, as is usually not the case, this is a good game. The movement options for the hidden player are more restrictive than I'm used to, but that's just because there are fewer spaces overall. It also gives the hidden player 2 ways to win, get enough points or stay hidden long enough. I've played as both roles and I found both to be fun. Naturally the turns you take as the hidden player generally go much faster than the other players. But since only 2 of them go between your moves it comes back to you quicker. I've only played this one with my game group so far, but I look forward to introducing my family to it too. I think the deductive aspects will make it a hit, and the theme matches with this style game perfectly.
Glen More II - I've played the original Glen More and very much enjoy it so I was glad to pick up this sequel. You have a starting castle and village with a river running through them. You can only place other river tiles to extend the river. You place tiles orthogonal to existing tiles, and only if there is a clansman adjacent to the new tile. Then that new tile and all adjacent tiles are activated and you gain the benefits of them. There are a couple of changes to the original so it's definitely a different game. The rondel movement is still intriguing and the last player in line is the next player, so if the other players take a big jump in front of you you could have a lot of turns in a row. But that is risky because if your area is larger at the end of the game you will lose points. Each turn you are taking the tile to which you moved and placing it in your area. There is a new type of tile (people) that don't go into your area at all. When you take a person you just keep the tile in front of you and you take a spot on the clan board which provide varying benefitsI. This person/clan board essentially replaced the extra restriction of a road in the original game. In some ways this makes this new version simpler, because the puzzle of fitting tiles into your area is simpler, but there's the choice of what benefit to claim when taking a person. Trading one thought process for another. In addition to all of that this also introduces chronicles, which are optional modules for changing up the game play. I started with the 2nd one which just adds a spot to the rondel which you much pay to skip over, or if you stop on the spot you will claim all resources paid to it. The modules are fun, but they aren't really needed. I like the change to bring in the clan board, others at the table more familiar with the original were lamenting that change a bit. I'm happy with it and glad to have this one.
Squire for Hire - This is another of the small deck card games where you lays cards out partially covering existing cards (ala Circle the Wagons, Sprawlopolis). The scoring is less variable than those, but it uses a similar dual sided nature of the cards. The back of the cards is a condition you must meet in order to add a face-up card into your bag. You are building your bag over the course of the game and trying to fit more items into it in such a way that they combine to score more points. Each squire persona changes the way your bag will score. I haven't tried it solo, but the 2-player mode works great. It's quick playing because it's such a small deck of cards. This is definitely staying around.
- [+] Dice rolls
03 Jul 2021
Roll to the Top - I enjoy roll and writes and backed this one when it was on Kickstarter. I played their solo online version (http://rolltothetop.com) but never got my physical copy on the table, so I finally threw it in the gaming bag on the way to my gaming group this week (back to in-person!!). It's a simple first to fill in all the spots on their map race. Trying to keep the low numbers grouped together, deciding when to add numbers together, or just skip altogether gives it a nice change of pace from a lot of the others R&W games. It also feels a lot faster than a lot of the others, likely because there's no scoring to keep up with, once a player fills up their grid the game is done. Also, it's fun to get roll a bunch of different sided dice all at once.
Sequoia - I noticed this was described as a mix of Can't Stop and Las Vegas. After playing it I agree that's a very good description. Can't Stop because your adding 2 sets of dice together to get 2 numbers. This does have you rolling a 5th die so you have more flexibility in the numbers you create. And then you are claiming majority on the different numbers (2-12) which is the Las Vegas aspect. At the end of the game each number awards a number of points to first and second place. It's a very fast playing filler. Faster than both of its influences just because each turn is simulataneous. It's a total of 10 turns, no re-rolls, just make the best of the numbers you have.
The Walking Dead: The Best Defense - This one has been on the shelf for many years. Honestly not sure why I got it in the first place. We've watched the 1st season, it's interesting and we hope to watch more, but other shows have just always been more interesting to us. This co-op game is very simple and thus its decision space makes it much less interesting than others. As the leader of a round, move every character if you want. Optionally draw a card from your location, then play both event cards you have. Then on that turn all other players can "defy" you and move again themselves if they have a food, and then draw a card from their location, then play 1 event of the 2 they have. Then everyone battles. The battles are problematic because if you weren't lucky enough to draw a weapon from the equipment deck then you can't fight at all. After fighting the zombies they then attack the players and if no-one is present they attack the decks at each location. I can see the basics of a good game here, but it's missing something.
The Castles of Tuscany - Got this one back at Christmas and finally got it on the table. This is another enjoyable Feld game. It definitely has a lot of influence from Castles of Burgundy, but this is a much quicker playing game. While the dice and card games versions of Burgundy are quicker playing as well, they feel very stripped down. This one still feels like a "board game" but just stream lines a lot. The best description I can give it is a mix of Ticket to Ride with CoB. You are collecting cards to get a set of a specific color in order to place that color tiles into your area. But all the sets are just of size 2, plus you can use a set of 2 of another color to stand in for any card you are missing (and there are workers which do the same). The different tiles placed in your area each provide a different bonus (place a tile from the middle for free, take a stone which can be used to take an extra turn, gain workers, gain points, etc). And point scoring is a bit unique as well. Early game green points are worth more, because they end up scoring additional times for you during the game. There are 2 score tracks, green and red. Most of the time you gain points you gain green points. At the end of each phase (3 of them), you apply your green points to your red points, but the green do not reset. So if you gain green points during the 1st phase those are essentially tripled. I look forward to playing this one much more in the future, I don't think it replaces CoB, but the speed of play will probably get it to the table more often.
- [+] Dice rolls
08 Jun 2021
Red Rising - It feels good to get a new arrival to the table quickly so that it is barely on the shelf of shame. Red Rising is an interesting game. There's definitely a large amount of luck to the game since most all cards are unique and you are trying to get a set of cards in your hand that score well together. We played 2 games of this and the first one I had to work to find cards that went well together. At 2-players the number of cards which appear on the board can be rather limited. If you can manage it you can get a bit of an engine going with the cards moving between your hand and the board, but anything you put on the board can be an opportunity for your opponents. So it's got a small bit of a Lost Cities in it. For our 2nd play we wanted to ensure that more cards would be in play so we incorporated the solo automa rules. We definitely had more cards in play, but in this one my starting hand ended up meshing so well that I was avoiding putting cards onto the table from my hand for the most part. Which might have been a poor strategy as my wife handily beat me this go-round after a close first game. We definitely enjoyed it.
Viscounts of the West Kingdom - We enjoyed this one as well. There are primarily 4 actions in the game: gather resources, build structures, transcribe manuscripts, and send workers to the castle. Essentially the gather resources gains you items which help you do the other 3 actions which are the point gaining actions. As you move around the board and perform these actions you are also able to acquire additional character cards which also help you perform these actions. It's a bit of a deck builder with a twist of being able to purchase a card for a 1-turn usage instead of adding it to your deck. So if you really need to boost your build capability and where you are building is a character with that symbol, you can "dismiss" that card to use it for just that turn. Or if you don't use that character for that then you can purchase that character near the end of the turn to be added to your discard and become part of your deck to be used multiple times during the rest of the game. Lots of euro-goodness in this box with a small amount of negative player interaction in the castle. Overall good stuff and we'll be back for more.
Shutterbug - I found this one at our local used bookstore for cheap about 2 years ago. Hadn't heard great things about it, but hey, maybe it would be good for us? It's a very simple set collection game where you collect creatures by trading in matching cards. So you have to collect the right cards move to the right spot and trade in the cards. There's one nagging item in that... if you land where someone else is sitting you can swap a card with them. You select the card you give them, and you take a random one from their hand. The game last eight rounds and if you are lucky you'll collect a creature most every round. A random card loss can really feel bad. So we tweaked that rule. Instead I put out a 5 card display and if you landed where someone else was your trade action was to trade with the display. This actually gives you the chance to know that you can get a card you want if it's there. Even with that "fix" it's still just ho-hum. I almost think the theme hurts this game. Since it's basically a shape/color set collection I think it might have been better to just lean into the abstract nature of it. It doesn't really feel like you are taking pictures. Additionally, the point scoring at the end is under-whelming. Even with the house rule for trading I don't see anyone requesting to play this one again. - Culled
Paladins of the West Kingdom - After getting Viscounts on the table I had to make sure we finished out the trilogy. This one is another well implemented distinct approach to worker placement. Here the spaces are primarily on your own player board, so you aren't preventing others from taking them. For many of the spaces you have 1 chance to use it on a turn and you have to commit a number of workers to get a less or greater benefit. Of the 3 West Kingdom games this one feels like it has the most going on, thus more AP-prone than the others.
Relic Runners - Here's another Days of Wonder title which has sat on my shelf un-played. Looks like there are 2 more of them still to go. We had fun with this one. I was surprised since it's not very popular. It's got a neat mechanism where you are building a route which allows you to travel further when you are able to use it. So you are rewarded for continuing to extend and use it. It can be tricky to get the right route in place, and you have to watch out to see if someone else is able to position themselves to take advantage of you opening up a site.
Vikings on Board - This one has cool looking ship pieces where you are making viking longships and aiming for the majority on them to gain goods which have been placed on them. This turned out to be another one which the family did not enjoy. I got some proud dad moments when one of the boys would do something devious and trying to plan several moves ahead, but that's not enough to keep this one around. Just too much take-that for what we enjoy. - Culled
Path of Light and Shadow - I keep forgetting I have this one. A kickstarter for an expansion is in progress so I was reminded of it and pulled it out. This is a worker placement with area control, but the type of area control in this is not what I call in your face. Controlling areas of the map can be key as they will score for you 3 times during the game, but the last is the most crucial. And a building strategy can offset a lot of map points. I like the alternative deck-building approach with this one as well where you are adding random cards instead of specific ones to your deck. You know the percentage of the faction that you might get, but not the specific card within it, or which specific one. It also has a card upgrade system in it so that you can improve a card, Thunderstone Quest does that as well. There's also some randomness in conquering territories as you are usually needing the dice to roll your way, which resulted in a horrible score for me in the first game. But even with a rough first game this is a fun one. I've even managed to play it twice more since then, which is not typical for me.
Island Dice - The custom dice in this got me. So many dice, you roll 6 dice each turn, 3 are always the same and the other 3 you pick based on what you are hoping to do. Then you resolve them as best benefits you. Seems good, but the problem is that once again it's an in your face game where often my best move is to mess with you. Only played this one 2-player with my wife. She'll probably not play it again but I'm curious if this one would work with the boys.
Core Worlds - I've always read good things about Core Worlds and finally got it on the table. Similar to Path above Core Worlds takes a different approach to how cards are available to add to your deck over the course of the game. Here each round the available cards come from decks which are specific to a set of rounds 1-2, 3-4, etc. So you have the ability to get stronger cards later on in the game. There's no huge breaker which can appear early in the game since they are all distributed this way. You also have to manage 2 different types of "resources" in your deck in order to conquer planets as they need both fleet and land units in varying amounts to be claimed.
Margraves of Valeria - This is another excellent game in the Valeria series. It's a bit like Concordia where you play a card from a hand of cards and eventually have to pick up your discards to have actions again while getting the chance to add more over time. Except here each card is multi-use 2 possible actions printed on the card and then 2 actions which all cards can be used for as well. There is slightly confusing Knight movement on the board which confused my wife when I taught here and another player at my game group. But once you grasp that it seems to flow pretty well. The 4 possible actions for each card and having a bunch in your hand at once can make it a bit AP-inducing for those inclined toward that.
Agropolis - After all the love for Sprawlopolis I backed it's successor for another solo experience. The mixture of different scoring goals and how they can work together or not can make for some tough decisions on card placement. On top of that the way the roads affect the score adds even more to it. The first play of it I just ignored the roads, and you just can't do that if you want to get a decent score. Did much better on the subsequent plays. I did go ahead and pick up Sprawlopolis also, so I'll probably be having it on this list next month. I appreciate that more games are including solo options with them, but enjoy these smaller games when it comes to solo.
- [+] Dice rolls
04 May 2021
Boardgaming took a backseat to other things this month. Very little games played overall and so the unplayed games were even less. As a quick preview of May I'm already at 2 unplayed's on the table; so it will at least be better than April.
Both of these games are small games with a pretty quick play time.
Zooscape - We only played this one 3-player. I think it would be even more annoying with more players. Each turn the available cards are split into 2 groups. You secretly select a group. If you are the only player to pick a group you get it, otherwise the group multiple players selected ends up being further split in 2. On top of that you don't just want to get as many animals as possible because of them have a maximum and if you go over that you begin to lose points. The contention this game presented was greater than the fun we found in it.
Zoinx! - This is a game in which you are guessing how far a player will push their luck. You secretly select 0,2,4,6,8,10. 0 means you think the active player will bust. You also select the number yourself (can't select 0). Then the player begins rolling 4 dice in a push your luck fashion. You roll until you meet the number you selected or bust. Each die has only 2 values, 4 "misses", 2 "hits". As long as you roll a hit you keep re-rolling, and keep a running total of hits on this run. If you get your number you gain the running total plus the number you selected. All other player score a point for the number they predicted if you at least met it, and a choice of bust is worth 5 points if the player busted. Play goes around the table until a player hits 30 (for the most part, end condition is not that simple). I liked the different take on push your luck where the other players are actively invested in your turn. They want you to succeed enough to get points and then bust. It wasn't a complete hit in our house, one of the boys was rather annoyed at his bust percentage, but I enjoyed the twist. This is a super fast and quick game.
- [+] Dice rolls
09 Apr 2021
It's been another light month of attacking my unplayed games. Work hours this month were ridiculous.
Isle of Trains - most train games are about building routes on the board, Isle of Trains is just about building your train and loading goods on it to be delivered. It uses multi-use cards very effectively and it has some similarities to Fleet, in how you are pretty restricted at the beginning but are making pretty large moves by the end of the game. We played at the 2-player count, and at that player count I prefer Isle of Trains over Fleet.
Fast Forward: FLEE - We love playing Fabled Fruit, and we have played Fast Forward: FORTRESS, which is entertaining for what it is. So I had hoped to enjoy FLEE. Ooooff... it's such a slog. It's particularly annoying to be the player who gets stuck with the monster, because you are left not really playing the game as we decide how to delay letting you take a turn in order to move it away from you. Just not enough enjoyment for all players in how this one plays out.
Stardew Valley: The Board Game - my sister surprised me with this one for my birthday. It was completely under my radar as I haven't spent any time with the video game. Since she gifted this to me and I had some other gift cards I picked up the game for the Switch just to get an idea of the background. It's a nice chill game. I have played a lot of Animal Crossing and there are some similarities to that. So we got the board game out and I carefully punched out the chits as I had heard that was a potential issue with this printing, luckily I had no major issues there. We've played through it just once so far, my sister wanted to give it a try too, but we were short on time, so we decided to collectively just run through it with a single character. Overall all I enjoyed the game. There's definitely quite a bit of luck in it as there is quite a bit of dice rolling for the fishing and mining. So I can see potential frustration points here and there. I'm glad I spent some time with the original game first because I was able to understand why everything was handled how it is. At some point I'll be playing this with the family as a full game. It was funny because my younger nephews who have experience with the video game had wanted to play, but we ended up not including them, and sadly I think that was a good thing. The pacing of this I don't think is ideal for the majority of elementary age kids.
Food Chain Island - a couple of ButtonShy games were delivered and since they were solo games I was able to quickly get them out and give them a try. Food Chain Island is essentially a deck of cards 1-16 (each number is a unique animal) which you randomly lay out in a 4x4 grid. You then try to get them into a single stack by a higher number consuming a lower number (within 3) adjacent to it. Each animal has a special ability which is applied when it eats. If you get to 3 or less stacks you have one. There are a couple of other sea animals to the side which have abilities you can use as a single 1-time bonus during the game. I can definitely see that certain layouts of the grid could be easier than others just due to how the numbers end up, but it's an interesting puzzle.
Ugly Gryphon Inn - This is the other ButtonShy game which came, another solo one. Here you have patrons at an Inn's bar and you are trying to get enough of them to rent a room for the night at the Inn. But they all have different irks that you have to account for. Some will move into the Inn and then be annoyed and leave if too many noisy patrons are near them, etc. You want to end up with at least 7 still in the Inn when the deck runs out. I think this one is a bit more intriguing than the other. You have to be careful in selecting which patron moves to the Inn, but keeping in mind that you have to monitor the desires and irks of each patron. This is a nice solo game which plays quickly.
- [+] Dice rolls