Too Many Games!!!

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Catan Histories: Settlers of America (Game #154)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We first played this game in 2010 at Gen Con, and after completing the Mayfair ribbon hunt we sued the 50% off coupon to get this game. Of all the games we own this is the one that has gone the longest without being played. It had been over four years since we last played this game. Have we settled to keep this game or is it history?

Game Overview
A lot of Settlers of America follows the settlers of Catan formula. At the heart of the game, players are building settlements (cities in this game) and then collecting resources when a dice roll matches the number that one of the cities sits on. However, this game offers several different rules.

The board is the Continental United States broken up into various hexes. Players will place their initial cities and track at the beginning of the game. Throughout the game players will need to build settlers, and then move the settlers west to build new cities. When a settler reaches one of the city locations on the map it will turn into a city. When a player plays a new city on the board they release one of their goods cubes to be delivered.

This is where the game really differs from the original. In Settlers of Catan the goal is to build 10 points worth of stuff. In this game, the goal is to be the first player to deliver all of their goods. To deliver a good player's must build their tracks to connect to other player's cities. They then pay coal to move their train along the track, and once a train is adjacent to a city owned by another player the good cube can be delivered. Each city can only receive one goods cube.

There are a couple of other differences. Most of the numbers needed for a hex to produce are fixed and are printed on the board. However, some are variable with discs. As the game progresses and moves west, these number discs will move leaving the east coast more devoid of resources. Also, whenever a player does not get a resource from a dice roll (excluding 7s) they get a gold instead. Two gold can be used for any one resource.

As previously mentioned the first player to deliver all of their goods cubes wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I really do like what this game does with the Catan system. I like the addition of trains, and I like how the board evolves over the course of the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I do like some of the additions like the trains and goods delivery, but it does add some complexity.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: It is really neat how this game capture the theme of expanding across the country. It is fun to watch the cities spread across the board. The east coast becomes very cluttered with rails, while the west is more spread out and has a frontier feel in the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the US map, but the game takes so long it feels like experiencing the actual history would take less time.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The mechanisms of this game do not wear out very quickly but the game length really decreases the replayability.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is just as replayable as Catan, but the time length means it requires a dedicated event to get it played

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments:I like the flow of this game. I really like how the players expand across the board. The problem is the pacing is so slow. This game takes three to four hours and it feels like it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is no way around it, this game just takes too long.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I think I do honestly like the rules and mechanisms of this game a lot more than regular Catan. However, the game length is a bit of an obstacle.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: For me the game length and slow pace just kills the game for me. I like some of the additions to the Catan formula, but I do not want to devote the time it takes to play through this one.

Final Score

64/100

There are two major reasons why this game went so long without being played. The first is the length of the game makes it restrictive. The second is that the game really requires 3 or 4 players. These two factors combined make it really hard for us to get it played. This game will just spend too long on the shelf so it is time to let it go.
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Slapshot (Game #153)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. Growing up, my brother and I had the old Avalon Hill edition of this game and it got played a decent amount. In 2013 for Christmas he gave me a copy of the Columbia Games reprint. I was surprised to see how much this game has been played. In all most three years we have recorded ten plays, which was more than I expected. Does this silly little game manage to score a goal or do we put in the penalty box?

Game Overview
In this game players try to win the hockey season by being one of the two teams to make it to the playoffs. Each person begins with 3 forwards 2 defenders and a goalie. Each player has a numeric rating of 1 to 9 (with one 10, one 0, and one 1/2).

On a player's turn they can do one of three things. They may draft a new player. To do this the player picks a player type takes the top card from the deck and the puts one of their like players on the bottom.

A player may trade. To do this they pick another player, take a card at random from their hand and give them one of their cards of the same type.

The final option is to play a match. To do this players will flip over their cards one at a time. The challenged team starts with 1 goal. In each match up the highest revealed card scores a goal. If they are the same, there is no goal. If a goalie comes up there is no score unless it is goalie vs. goalie. If the final score is a tie, then there is a sudden death and players do it again, but this time the first goal wins. Which ever player wins advances one spot closer to the playoffs on the track.

Once one player makes it to the playoffs the next closest player becomes their opponent. Those two players playoff and the winner is the winner of the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is high on luck and low on strategy. There are some problems with this game and I feel like to get a good play experience requires a few house rules.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Whenever we play we do so with several house rules, and I feel like these modifications are required to make the game a tolerable play experience. I think that shows there is something with the rules as written.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the best aspect of this game. I find the goofy hockey theme charming. All of the player names are delightful puns.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I am not a huge fan of the art style, but it does feel like a cartoon-y hockey game.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: After two games tops, all of the players will be seen. Having an idea what is in the deck is problematic because it leads to players diving into them non-stop trying to bring the higher value cards into the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The core of this game, the war-like matches repeats itself well so I think it is somewhat replayable. However, I think this is a bit of an acquired taste

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game can drag on for too long. Playing a full game with max player count is not a good idea. The game quickly falls into being too repetitive.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is a small kernel of fun in this game, but for what it is the game just goes on way, way too long. This should be a 15-20 minute game tops.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I do find this game whimsical, but that does not mean it is fun. The game is fun for about 15 minutes, but usually after that I am ready for the game to be over and it is just revving up.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is something inherently fun about flipping over the cards, to see who scores, and determine a winner. However, there is not enough there to fully hang a whole game on like this one does.

Final Score

51/100

So the only reason we have this game in the first place is because of nostalgia. My wife thinks our son will really like this game, and she might be right. He is about the age my brother was when we first played it. We will hold onto it until we play it with him, but if he is unimpressed then we will probably clear up space on our shelves.
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Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:45 am
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Glen More (Game #152)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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I got this game for my 30th birthday. As it turned out, the day I turned 30 was also the first nigh that the game group I am part of met for the first time. At that inaugural Game On Game Night, we played this game. As it tends to go it got played repeatedly in the first year, and then it began to slow down until it was last played in 2015. Will this game continue to graze on shelves or will it move on to greener pastures?

Game Overview
Glen More is a tile laying game with a very neat mechanic for turn order. The theme of the game is 1600s era Scotish Clans increasing their holdings.

In Glen More players will be moving a meeple around a board. that has various tiles on it. A player is free to go to whichever tile they want. When a player moves to a tile they take it and place it as part of the tiles in front of them. To place a tile it must be legally placed, which means if it has a road/river it stays connected and it is placed adjacent to a meeple that is occupying another tile. When a tile is placed, the placed tile and all tiles adjacent to it are activated. Players can activate these tiles in any order.

The abilities tiles provide are varied. Many produce basic resources, while others allow these resources to be turned into victory points or even whiskey barrels. Some tiles allow players to move their meeples on the tiles around, or remove them from the board and make them a chief. After a player is done, the next player will go. However, the way turn order is determined is great. Whichever player is in the back of the line, goes next. So jumping towards the end of the available tiles means a player gets the tile the want, but they will also have to wait a while to play again.

There are three special scoring phases where players are scored on how many whiskey barrels they have, how many special tiles they have (mostly castles and lochs), and how many chiefs they have. There is special scoring at the end, and a "land tax" so players who hung towards the back of the line, got more turns than others, and have a ton of tiles in play will be penalized. There are some other details like a interesting market mechanic, but hopefully the basic idea has been communicated. Whoever has the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: Even though this game is advancing in years, it manages to still remain innovative. This game has some really neat mechanisms. I like the unique turn structure. The tile placement is an interesting puzzle, and it can allow for some neat combos.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has the best “dummy player” option of any game I have played. Everything works together really well in this game.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The game is very much a mechanisms first euro game. However, they do use the theme as a nice window dressing and using actual locations from the region the game is based in is a nice touch.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is a euro game with a somewhat pasted on theme, but I love what they pasted onto it. When we took a trip to Scotland several years ago we visited several of the lochs and castles in this game. Seeing those tiles in this game always makes me smile.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the weakest part of this game. There is a bit of a tactical nature of reading the board and making the best choice, but the overall strategies do not change much and it is easy to fall into familiar routines every play with this game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think this game lacks in this area. The tiles will be in a different order, but I will always be attempting to do the same thing more or less. I feel like there is not much left to explore in this game.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has an odd flow to it. If a player jumps ahead on the board, they could be setting themselves up for a lot of down time as they wait for everyone else to catch up to their position.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game length is just right. The end can really sneak up on me.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I really enjoy the mechanisms of this game, and I like playing through those mechanisms. I do wish the game had some more variability somehow, but it is still an enjoyable experience.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Even though I can feel like I am running through the routine, it is still fun to lay the tiles and get an engine going. The theme also helps add to my enjoyment. .

Final Score

68/100

This game came out a bit lower than I thought it would. I think we might be approaching the limit of how many fun plays this game has for us. However, because of the theme it is not going anywhere.
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Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:55 am
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Core Worlds (Game #151)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We acquired this game at the very beginning of 2012. At that time we were like a lot of people and looking for the next big deck builder following Dominion. We got this game because of the space theme and the high hopes this would be the game that ushered in deck building 2.0. This game did stand out to us something different. We thought it was a good game, but the Galactic Orders expansion moved it to a great game. For the fist couple of years of having it I tried to get it played as often as I could. We last played the game three years ago though, and it has sat unplayed since then. Is this game destined for the fringe or will it re-initiate it's push for the core?

Game Overview
Core Worlds is a game of interstellar conflict. It also happens to be a deck building game. In Core Worlds players will have the opportunity to draft cards out of a common pool of cards in the center, play units from their hand, and then use these units to conquer new worlds.

Players can draft new units and tactics from a center display. In Core Worlds cards are not replenished to the center immediately after one is bought. For each round there are only a set number of cards in the center. This leads to tough decisions, where a player has to really prioritize what they want to do because the options will dwindle after other players have a turn. Like some of the best Euro games, Core Worlds presents the players with too many good decisions and not enough means to do half of them. This means players have to really balance their play.

In the game players have a limited amount of actions each turn. They also have a limited amount of energy. Energy is generated by worlds. To get more worlds players have to use units. However, units cost energy to get into play. As the game progresses the planets get bigger, and require more military strength. This means that players will need to draft stronger units, but this also requires energy. As I said, there is enough resources (energy and actions) to do everything.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by bo 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: Core Worlds does is an incredibly unique deck builder. Even today there is not anything else like it. This captures a 4X feel in a deck building game. It does this while keeping tense decisions all the way through and without creating direct player conflict. I think this is a fantastically designed game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is a well designed game, but I find it a hard game. There is a lot more to this game than appears on first glance. This game requires some real planning ahead and that can be hard to manage. Plus there is never enough action or energy and that can be frustrating.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The setting and factions are a little generic, but the sci-fi world conquering feels is there and it comes through well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It does capture the theme, but the theme only has minor appeal to me.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: Not all of the cards come out every time, and not every event is going to be present every time. However, the flow of the game and the similarity of some of the cards holds this game back from being in the highest tier of replayability.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There are a lot of cards in the game, and they do not all come out. This helps ensure each play through will be unique.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is long. It is deceptively long because it goes on longer that it seems it would. However, the pacing is great. There is a real sense of building up and getting stronger. The individual rounds have a good flow as players figure out what to do and work to accomplish their goals.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is long and it is extremely prone to analysis paralysis.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: For years this game has been on my favorite game list, and it has spent a good amount of time in my top ten favorite games. I continue to enjoy this one quite a bit.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I have a love/hate relationship with this game. It is a really good game, but it can also get really frustrating to play. This is one I need to take in moderation.

Final Score

78/100


I think one of the reasons why this game sat unplayed is because of the length. Even at a two player game, the play time pushes two hours. On most evenings 45-90 minutes is the sweet spot for us and this goes on a bit too long. I do think I will start bringing this game to game nights and try to get it played a few times. It might be a bit older but this game is a true gem that should not be overlooked.
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Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:01 pm
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Command & Colors: Napoleonics (Game #150)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I got this in 2015 when GMT did their Fall sale. Before then there had been a few games I had gotten (like Eagles: Waterloo) in trying to find a Napoleon game my wife would play with me. She really likes Memoir 44, so a game with the same system made sense. We did play the game and like it, but the game has spent a lot of time on the shelves since then. Is this a front line game or will it only serve in the reserves?

Game Overview
This is a scenario based game that seeks to capture various battles of the Napoleonic wars. Each scenario has a set victory condition that can be achieved by destroying opposing units as well as accomplishing set objectives.

This game uses the Command and Colors game system, where each unit is made up of so many figures (or rather blocks in this case). On a player's turn they will play a card that determines if they can move units in the left, center, or right of the board. There are also some special cards that can be played. Units are moved and then if they are in rage they can fight. Fighting is done by rolling dice, and each symbol that matches the target type results in a hit. Factors like line of sight and terrain also contribute to this game and can provide various modifiers.

There are several rules in this game to capture the historical feel. First infantry units have to decide if they are going to shoot or charge into melee. Generally, melee will allow more dice to be rolled and have a higher chance of a hit but there are more risks. Also in this game, as units are hit they will roll less dice on future turns. Calvary can charge and pursue, and to defend against this infantry can assume a square.

Once one side has reached the required number of victory medals they win.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: It is neat at how making some modifications to the basic system really does deliver a different experience. Even though the basic mechanisms are the same the small changes really give this a different feel than Memoir 44. The downside is that these additions make it so the rules are not very streamlined.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It could just be unfamiliarity with it, but I feel like this game has a lot of little rules and issues that Memoir 44 does not have. I also greatly dislike the reference charts required to play. The base system is great though.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game series excels at getting the perfect mix of theme and playability. This game does the same thing. I have long wanted a Napoleonics game and this is the one for me.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It feels like war, but I could not really tell you why this feels like Napoleonic war.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: As a scenario based game this game has as much replayability as there are scenarios. That does require expansions, which this game has plenty of.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The scenarios offer different options, but to get more requires expansions and I think the expansions are more of the same.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is a fairly quick playing game that moves along well. The game has some good back and forth too as players seek to get into melee combat. The downside here is the set up can take awhile.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The way range and movement works in this game, retreating can be a bit of an issue. It can be frustrating for plans to be constantly messed up by having a flag rolled.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I really like this game system, and this game is a great Napoleonics game. I am happy we have this one.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I need to be more familiar with the game, but I think it is fun. For me this game is not much different than Memoir 44 and I am good with playing either. .

Final Score

84/100

My wife says that to her this game is just like Memoir 44 and they feel interchangeable. That is not entirely true. It may just be that she is more familiar with the Memoir system, but she rated that higher. Overall though we both like Command and Colors games. She likes playing the system and I enjoy the historical flavor. This is why we have already supported the Medieval game GMT is making.
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Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:57 pm
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Batman: Gotham City Strategy Game (Game #149)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. Back in the Spring of 2013 this was a must get game for me. It checked two boxes that I was looking to check at that time. I wanted a super hero themed game and I wanted a card driven area control game. Upon finding a copy I think I got everyone I could to play it with me, and I got a lot of plays recorded in a months time. However, after that month the game then sat two years unplayed. After getting dusted off, it went back to the shelf util we got it back out 2 1/2 years later. So does this Batman game hold up as well as the animated series?

Game Overview
In this game players seek to be the best criminal mastermind which is marked by achieving the highest level.

On a player's turn, they will first check to level up. Depending on the level a player is going for there are various conditions. They may need to control territory, have henchmen, or pay resources. Sometimes when a player levels up they will gain access to a special ability that is only usable by their character. Each player has access to five of these abilities, but only four will get used throughout the game so players have a level of customization.

Next, a player will play a card from their hand. Each card has two parts. The first must always be applied. These cards will either have the ruler of a block collect income (either one information or one money) or have a batman card drawn. The Batman cards are how Batman moves around the board and foils the villains' dastardly deeds. After resolving the top part, the player has a choice. They may do what the bottom part of the card says. The texts of these cards are various and sometimes have conditions that must be met to get the benefit. If the player does not want to execute the card, they can discard it for two resources of their choice. The possible resources are money, information, or threat.

Then a player may spend $5 money to buy henchmen. Henchmen are needed to pass certain levels. They also help control a city block and add modifiers in fights. Finally, a player may move their figures by spending information.

This is primarily an area control game. A player controls one of the game's 12 blocks when they have more threat in it than any other player or at least have threat equal to another player (it is possible for players to have joint control). Henchmen also count as threat, and if a player has their villain in a block they control the block no matter how much threat is in the block from other players.

Eventually players will fight each other or Batman. Fights are resolved with a die roll, and the high roll wins. Player abilities and henchmen can give modifiers. The dice have a Batman symbols that is usually a zero, unless fighting Batman then Batman automatically wins.

If a player ever is able to level up to level 10 (to do so the player will need to control 7 of the 12 blocks) they win. More likely, the deck of cards will run out and whoever has reached the highest level wins. There are several tiebreakers if players have the same level.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The rules are a bit of a mixed bag. I think some aspects of them are extremely clever. However, the game has some problems. As written, the two player game is down right painful to pla and can drag on for hours. To make the game playable really requires discarding a large number of cards at the beginning to shorten the game length.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fine, but I feel like the turns are too limited. There are too many turns where there is not much to do.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is easily this game's best feature. The theme is extremely unique, and it handles the license very well. I love how the player's are the villains and Batman is a problem to deal with. The game captures the theme so well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The miniatures are really nice and they really help deliver the theme. I like that this game feels like a Batman game with none of the players actually being Batman.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The different villains do play a bit differently, but this game is extremely tactical. This means that it will not wear out from expending all the strategies, but the game play is not compelling enough to bring it back again and again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is limited. The levels always advance the same, so I will always be trying to focus on the same sort of thing at the same time.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The turn structure is really good and it flows well. However, the fact that the game really needs cards taken out of it show the pacing is just too slow.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It can feel a little slow at times, but when the deck gets low of cards it can the tension goes up as players race to get ahead of one another.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game really relies on the theme to carry it, and it does. I have enjoyed playing this game, but I am not sure how much more fun this game has for me.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game itself is OK, but the theme really elevates this a bit. .

Final Score

67/100

This is a game that we enjoyed the experience of playing, but I really do think it has reached the end of it's play span for us. If we held on to it I fear that it would sit unplayed for two plus years until we made the intentional choice to play it since it has been so long. We will look to trade this, and I will be looking out for the Batman: Th Board Game kickstarter campaign as a way to fill our Batman niche.
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Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:27 am
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NeuschWabenland (Game #148)

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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I got this game last year as part of the war gamer pay it forward list. We both like command and colors games as well as Hold the Line. This game had a very similar look to those, and it has an interesting theme of Nazis vs. Aliens in Antarctica. After getting the game we got to play it some, but this is the first time we got it back to the table ths year. Did this game get a frosty reception?

Game Overview
In this game one side takes the role of the Neuschwabenland Reich and he other takes the side of the mysterious aliens. The game is played for a set amount of turns as dictated by the scenario.

Each turn goes through the same process. The Reich player determines how many units they get to activate. It will always be at least half of their total, and based on a die roll could be up to +3 more. The alien player then rolls a die to determine how many hexes their worm units can move each turn.

Next both players get to rally and units that had been weakened. The Reich player does this by rolling two dice and getting a 1 or 2 result. The Alien player does this by using two of the units potential movement points.

Finally the main part of the game is the action phase. The Reich player goes first and orders units equal to the number they determined in the initial phase. Units may move and make close combat, fire, or move half their movement and fire. There are a few unit specific actions as well, and infantry are assigned equipment that they can use.

The alien player is able to activate all of their units which will either be worms or tripods. The worms are faster and only engage in close combat, while tripods are only good at a range.

In ranged combat the attacker rolls their attack dice. If they roll white dice then only a 1 or 2 hits. If they roll red dice then a 1-3 hits. One hit weakens a unit, and two destroys it. If a unit has armor, then number of hits is reduced by the armor. For close combat, both sides roll their combat dice with the attacker rolling one extra. Each hit rolled cancels out an opposing hit, and whichever side is in excess wins with those hits being applied. If it is a tie the attacker must retreat.

There are some minor, unit specific rules but that about covers the basic flow of the game. Victory is determined by the scenario.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The combat system is good, and it is fairly easy. I appreciate that there is a decent amount of asymmetry to the sides as well as a level of customization to the German equipment.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is OK. I think the asymmetrical sides throw me off because I feel like which ever side I play is the wrong one.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme is unique and very narrative focus. I do like that there is a campaign that tells a story, but that story does lack creativity.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It feels like a war game, but I do not really get the aliens vs. Germans in the snow.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the weak point of the game. It has six scenarios, and that is really it. I suppose players could switch sides but even then the replayability is still limited.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There are not that many scenarios and I do not think they are all good.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I like the variability of action points and alien movement. That adds some uncertainty. This game plays really fast.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is kind of scenario dependent, but there are some where one side does not have much exciting to do for the first few turns.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: By design this is not supposed to be a big epic game. It is decent for what it is, but I do wish there was a bit more to this.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The components for this game are very off-putting for me, but beyond that I just find the game boring.

Final Score

59/100


I think it would be fun to sit down and play the full campaign. I feel like that could be done in one long session. However, that just may not be in the cards. My wife's opinion is that we have other games of this nature that she would rather play, and well, she's not wrong.
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:24 am
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Rise of Augustus (Game #147)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. I played this earlier in 2014, and then a couple of months later found it for a decent price on sale. I got it then. We played it a handful of times in 2014. After that, my wife taught it to a group of non-gamers and I did the same a year later. That is about all this game has been playing. Is finally time for this game to rise off the shelves?

Game Overview
This game theoretically has the theme of rising to power in Rome or something like that. This is a very light theme game that is mostly mechanics. In this game all players have three cards in front of them. Each of these cards require a certain number of symbols to be matched to be completed. One player will be drawing tokens with these symbols out of the bag. When a symbol is drawn that matches one of the cards a player has, they may place one of their seven meeples on that symbol. When all of the symbols are covered the card is completed.

Many cards have an immediate bonus or end gaming scoring condition. After completing cards the player can draw a new one from five in the center. There are also some bonus objectives that can be completed. What is interesting about these, is the objectives come into categories. When an objective is completed it can only be claimed then and only then. Plus each category can only be claimed once by each player.

Once one player has completed their seventh card the game is over. Players count up their total points from completed cards, bonus objectives, and end game points. The player with the most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is built around one main mechanic. It really feels like the designer set out to make a "gamer bingo."

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The game is simple and easily accessible, but kind of boring.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the weakest aspect of this game. The theme takes a backseat in this game and I think that it actually deters from the game. The theme that is here is presented in a very abstract way and it is hard to relate to. Half the time when teaching this game players have no clue they are collecting sets of Roman provinces. Since this game could have been themed any number of things, I think this was a poor choice.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game could have been themed almost anything. It is pure mechanics driven.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is easy to grasp and teach, but there is not a lot of excitement here to bring it back again and again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It has a simple core mechanism that can be repeated without wearing thin and that gives it some replayability.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the best part of the game. The flow of pulling out symbols keeps engagement for all players up constantly, and there is a great race feel as players keep an eye on how close others are to ending the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It plays very quick, does not wear out its welcome, and it is easy to set up and play again.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is the epitome of an "OK" game for me. Other than a meh theme I can not say much bad about this game, but I also can not say a lot great about it. I am not excited to play it, but I also am not resistant to playing it. This game is just OK.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is a good gateway game, and I am not opposed to playing it with non-gamers, but I think that is the only time I would actually want to play it.

Final Score

62/100

My wife is right this game does work well as a gateway game. However, we both think it is just an OK game. While there is nothing truly wrong with it, this just does not make the cut for us and will go to the trade pile.
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 4:16 am
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Risk: Waling Dead-Survival Edition (Game #146)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We were given this game back in 2014, and we have only played it a couple of times. The very first time we played it we missed a major rule and it led to the zombies taking over the board. Of all the games we own (not counting unplayed ones we traded for this year) this is probably one of our least played games. Is it a risk to keep this game on our shelves?

Game Overview
This game can be played using standard Risk rules, but the more interesting way is the “survival mode”. In this game players take control of a faction and vie for control of the board (loosely based on the area around the prison). Each faction has their own unique power which gives them a minor bonus of some sort. Depending on the number of players, each person will get a set amount of starting territories and units, but first zombies are placed on the board. Again, depending on the number of players, a certain number of territories begin the game under zombie control.

Once the board is set up players will begin taking turns. Each turn follows the same structure. First players draw territory cards to spread zombies for the Overrun phase. This starts out at one card and one zombie on the drawn territory, but each turn this infection rate increases until it is draw four cards and place three zombies in each territory. If any of these zombies get placed in a location controlled by a player an immediate fight occurs.

Next players, draw an event card. These event cards can grant the player a bonus if they meet certain requirements on their turn or pit players against each other in some way. Players get reinforcements following the standard Risk formula (number of territories divided by three, plus bonuses for sets of territories). Players then can invade other territories, again using the same formula as Risk.

The combat is the same as standard Risk as well, with one notable exception. When a player is fighting against zombies, they add one to all of their rolls, attacking or defending. This makes zombies easier to beat, but if a player loses a unit to zombies, then there is a 50% chance the lost unit immediately comes back as a zombie.

If the player conquers at least one territory, they get an ammo crate that can be saved for points or turned in at some point later for additional reinforcements.

The game is played until an overrun card is drawn from the event deck. At this point the round is finished (all players get equal turns) and a final zombie overrun is drawn. Points are then calculated. Each territory held is one point. There are six special locations worth an additional point each. Unspent ammo crates are worth one or two points depending on the bullets on them, and players get bonus points for controlling complete regions. The most points wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: So honestly, I kind of like the Risk combat system. It is simple and it works well in a rules light combat game. I do like the added mechanisms for zombies. It still feels like a Risk game but it is different enough that it is not just Risk.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game needs a reference card. It is not hard but having a simple reference would help me keep thing straight. Rolling dice is always good, and this games mechanisms provide that in abundance. I do think that faction abilities lack proper balance.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This does feel like a zombie game because they are always a constant threat. I think this works especially well with two. The experience still has a lot of combat but most of it is against the zombies as opposed to endlessly fighting one another.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The zombie theme came through, but the experience has a lot of annoyance. It is so frustrating to fight for a territory and then a zombie outbreak breaks up the set.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: Minor details might change but by and large this game is not going to change much. One of the things that hurts it is that the event deck has too many similar events. A bigger and more diverse event deck would have helped out here quite a bit.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There is some variable setup, but I am not sure the rules and experience offer enough depth to be engaging play after play.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I do like the addition of the zombie outbreaks. that combined with the variable ending puts a lot of unknowns into this game. This creates an interesting pacing.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fine. I do like that there is some uncertainty of when the game is going to end.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: For me this is a good every now and then game. I have fun playing it, but it is a game that I kind of need to be in the mood for.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: When it is not annoying this game can be fun. I do like rolling all of the dice for the combat.

Final Score

68/100

I think that the final rating there is very accurate. There are many games we collectively enjoy more than this one. However, this game fills two niches for us. It is our only traditional Risk game, and it rounds out zombie games which we need on hand for our annual zombie day. Those two conditions earn it a spot on our shelves.
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Mon Nov 6, 2017 4:11 am
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Helvetia Cup (Game #145)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. We got this game at Gen Con in 2013. The game had piqued my interest earlier that year. I id not know it was going to be at Gen Con and it was very much an impulse purchase. The majority of the plays recorded were in that year. Not counting our most recent play, the only other time we played it was in 2015. This game is clearly underplayed but is there a good reason it has been benched so long?

Game Overview
This is a fantasy version of soccer that comes with two teams, dragons and the madmen. Like actual soccer the goal is to win the game by scoring the most goals in two halves. Each player picks five players to form their team (with 1 goalie and 1 captain). Each player has individual statistics that determine how well they can perform the various actions in the game.

In this game's turn structure the player with the ball is the attacker and the other player the defender. Each turn begins with the offensive player moving their players. Each player can move one hex. Players start with a set amount of boost and they can spend boost to move additional hexes. However, once a player is out of boost all of their stats are halved.

Next the defending player moves all of their players using the same rules. The defending player can then take actions. If a defender is in the same hex as the attacking player with the ball, then they may attempt to steal or tackle. The other option is to pressure which will add a negative modifier to any actions the attacking player takes.

If the defending players actions did not result in a turnover, the attacking player gets to take actions if they wish. The attacking player actions are pass or shoot(if in a shooting zone).

Whenever an action is taken, the acting player takes a look at their team member and checks the appropriate skill. A number will be listed between 1 and 20. A D20 is rolled and the result needs to be equal to or less than the listed number. Depending on the action taken further rolls might be required.

Whenever a shot is taken, both players will take their goal board. Shots are taken from the left right or center and there are six possible target zones. Different modifiers will be applied to a zone depending on where the shot is taken from. The attacker picks the one zone they are aiming for. The defender gets to pick zones equal to the attacker's distance from the goal. If the defender picks one of the same zones as the attacker the goalie gets the ball. If not the, attacker rolls for the shot and applies the modifiers.

Anytime there is a turnover a die is rolled and this die advances the time in the half by a variable amount. Each team can make two subs throughout the game. There are special cards that add a lot of variety to the teams and increase the fantasy flavor of the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has so many clever mechanisms. The core dice system works really well, and I especially like the extra choice of using a boost or not. The time mechanism is great, and I really love the way shooting works.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There are some elements about this system that I really like. The time mechanism and goal shooting is especially cool. However, I think it is hard to keep all of the actions rules and symbols straight.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game abstracts things in all of the right ways. Only having a small number on the field limits the tactical options but it really does capture the feel of soccer.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game does capture the theme really well, and it does feel like playing a soccer match.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the game's biggest weakness. Like other fantasy sports games this is more a game system than a self contained game. The problem is that there are only four total teams with expansions. Out of the box, there are only so many plays that can happen with the two teams.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: We have not played this game too many times, but it already feels like we have almost played it out.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The turn structure of offense move, defense move, and then defense actions followed by offense actions creates a wonderful flow. As previously mentioned rolling the time dice to advance the halves and end the game is a great pacing mechanism.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game just drags on for too long. I am always really ready for the game to be over half way through the second half.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is a fun game with some genius ideas, but it is a bit limited in what it offers.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is OK, it is held back by dragging on to long and having hard to remember icons.

Final Score

66/100

Getting the expansion teams would probably add a lot of life to this game, but I am really not sure if we would play it. I think what it comes down to is that unless it is racing my wife does not like sports themed games. If we keep it this game will continue to collect dust so it is time to trade it.
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Fri Nov 3, 2017 4:52 am
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