Too Many Games!!!

My wife and I love to play games together. Join us for the journey!

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Isle of Skye (Game #121)

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. My wife played this game at Gen Con in 2015. She liked it, but that year it was not eligible to use the 50% off coupon that we got from completing the Mayfair ribbon hunt. So we decided to wait a year. In 2016 I played the game at Geekway to the West. After playing it, I was glad that we would be getting it. At Gen Con 2016 we were able to get and use a 50% off coupon to buy this game. We played it several times towards the end of 2016, but we have been a little busy playing through all of our other games. So do we think this game is truly game of the year material?

Game Overview
In this game players will be using tiles to build their own piece of the isle of Skye and score points. At the beginning of the game five scoring tiles are picked out. Each scoring tile has an unique condition or way it scores and over the course of the game's six rounds each tile will score three times.

Each turn follows the same flow. First players collect income based off their castle and how many trade goods are connected to their castle by roads. Next players draw three tiles. At the same time all players simultaneously decide in secret to discard one of their three tiles and then set prices for the other two.

Once this is all set everything is revealed, and starting with the start player players go around buying tiles. A player may buy a single tile from another player by paying the set cost. If a player does not buy a tile then they must pay the set cost and place it themselves.

The next phase is the tile placement. There are three terrain types: fields, mountains and water. When a tile is placed the terrain types must match. Players will be acquiring tiles and placing tiles to meet certain scoring conditions. These conditions might be having the most of something or it could be something like every cow connected to the castle by road is worth two points. The final thing players do each turn is score the scoring tiles for that round. The first couple rounds only one tile is scored but in the final couple of rounds three are scored.

Some of the tiles have some optional end game scoring such as every two sheep is a point. If those tiles are part of an enclosed, completed area then the scoring conditions for the tile double. 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: For me this game replaced Carcassone, because this is the tile laying game I prefer. This has a clever combination of mechanisms. The game is heavy on tactics, but I like how this game requires always keeping an eye on the scoring tiles.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is one of the best tile placement games I have played. I especially like how this was combined with an auction mechanic. I usually do not care for those but it works well here.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: Like most euro games with a location theme, the theme is secondary to the mechanisms. The experience of this game though is fun and unique every time.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fun building things, so I like watching the land spread out. I also like the puzzle aspect as I try to maximize points. I realize this theme could be anything, but I have been to the Isle of Skye and loved my visit so calling it that helps a lot.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a remarkable amount of replayability. All of the details change from play to play. Players draw different tiles and the tiles have different values based on what scores.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Every game has a different combination of scoring tiles, which means every game is going to require a different approach.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I think the turn structure of this game is brilliant. The turns move quickly and they keep all of the players engaged equally.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game moves at a great pace. I also like how every turn has its own feel as the scoring changes. I can slow down a bit during the buying part because it can be hard for me visualize how tiles will fit when placed.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is an extremely solid game. The way it is designed means every play is just as good as the last.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I initially wanted this game just because of the Scotland theme, but it turns out to be a game that I enjoy a lot.

Final Score

88/100

We both enjoy this game, and it was a great purchase for us. This is a game that we will be playing and keeping for years.
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Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:08 am
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Escape the Room: Secret of Dr. Gravely's Retreat (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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I know we are not the only ones, but 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the escape room game for us. Mystery at Stargazer's Manor was actually the first such game of this nature I played. However, my wife did not play it with me. Since then we have experienced together Escape Room: The Game, Unlock, EXIT, and Deckscape. We have also been to a real escape room. We finally got to try the Escape the Room system together with this one. We got it in the Gen Con math trade, and we were happy to give it a try. This was the first escape room game to be released but is it number one?

Game Overview
As much as possible this will seek to be a spoiler free review and focus on the systems and mechanisms at play.

Escape the Room involves a series of envelopes that represent features found around the room. These envelopes will have art on them representing the item, and these pictures will be required to solve the puzzles or possibly contain clues of some sort.

In this game players will be seeking to open up the envelopes by getting the right code. This is done by using a code wheel. Each thing that needs to be opened as a corresponding symbol on the outside of the wheel. Using that as the starting point, players will have to arrange a red, yellow, green, and blue wheel with the right symbols. If done correctly then two boxes in the center of the wheel will also show the symbol matching the starting one.

If the players do this correctly they get to open the envelope. The contents of the envelope will contain more parts of the story, more puzzles, or even another envelope.

It should be noted that many of the puzzles in this game have a very strong tactile element. Players will be given items that have to be physically manipulated to solve. If players manage to reach the end of the story before time runs out then they win.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: I do appreciate the approach to puzzles in this game. While it is obviously done in cardboard I feel like some of the things this game does could actually occur in a real escape room, and I can not say that much about the other systems. That being said, I think I like this system the least. Every other system does things a bit better than this one. This game is replayable and is not consumable, but the repacking is such a pain it may not be worth the effort.

Her Rating: 1.5 (do not want to play again)
Her Thoughts: Of all the escape room games we have played this is the one I dislike. My problem with it is that it is to linear. Essentially there is only one puzzle to work on at a time. There were a couple of puzzles in this one that it was literally impossible for more than one person to try it at a time. We took turns, but everyone had to just sit and watch the attempt so we could advance. This made the game extremely boring and I began to lose interest.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 4.5
For the most part we have enjoyed the Escape Room games, but this series is a bit of a dud for us. My wife is right on about the linear nature of the game and single player nature of the puzzles. It is worth mentioning our son played with us. He has participated in several Escape Room: the Game scenarios and he loves those. There is generally enough activity and things to look at that he can get caught up in the game even if he can not actively help solve many of the puzzles. However, it was hard for him to do that here and he began to get bored as well. The box says it plays up to eight, but that would be a terrible idea. If they were to release more games in the Escape the Room series, they will be a hard pass for us.
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Sat Sep 9, 2017 4:41 am
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Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game (Game #120)

sean johnson
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When X-Wing came out I knew that I would love it, but I also knew it would be a money sink. I would not just want one of every ship, but I would want to have a full gold squadron. You know just in case I could ever recreate the Battle of Yavin. So I said no to X-Wing and went for the similar Attack Wing instead. However, Attack Wing did not work out for me. In December of 2015 Coolstuff Inc had the Force Awakens Starter set for like $15 each. For a couple of years I had an idea to combine the D6 Star Wars RPG with X-wing combat. This price point was low enough to do that. This left me with a full squadron of X-Wings. My wife feared the worst, so I promised that I would only get ships from the Force Awakens era. With the exception of a Tie Bomber that was discounted and put us over the free shipping threshold once, I have held to that. Generally my wife does not like miniatures games but we are a Star Wars household, so does this game win her over?

Game Overview
In this game each player takes a side and puts together their squadron of ships. A standard game is 100 points, but any point value can be used (if playing with just one core set the recommendation is the very specific 36 points).

There are a handful of scenarios but most fights will be to the death. At the beginning of each round players will use a dial to select a maneuver for each of their ships. Some of these maneuvers can cause a ship stress, and that means the ship can not make another "red" maneuver or take an action until they clear the stress with a "green: maneuver.

Once all players have selected the maneuver ships will move in initiative order, starting with the lowest. The ship executes the picked maneuver by taking the selected template and then following the path. After moving the player can take one of the numerous actions the ship has available. These actions tend to either grant some sort of extra movement or manipulate the combat dice rolls in some way.

Once all ships move and take an action it then moves to the combat phase. Each ship activates in initiative order, this time starting with the highest. In order to shoot an opposing ship must be in range and within weapon arc. Each ship gets to roll a number of attack dice as well as a number of defense dice. The evade results are subtracted from the hit results (if any) and the results are how much damage is suffered. If a ship is hit, then it first loses its shields. Once the shields are gone it takes hull damage. Once hull damage meets or exceeds the strength the ship blows up. Some hits are critical hits and they create an additional issues.

Ships can also have various tech upgrades, droids, or weapons assigned to them that all provide various abilities and effects. The side with the last ship standing 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 is a well developed and tested system, that works really well with Star Wars. I also appreciate how much customization this game provides with different cards representing different pilots as well as different upgrades.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I just fundamentally do not like the rules of this game. I dislike the way ships go in a particular order, I dislike all of the icons and terminology, and I dislike the way movement works. I can not visualize how it will look once it moves.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The models for this game are incredible, and that really brings the theme to life.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Even if I do not like the game, I have to admit that the theme comes through really well. The high component quality really helps this.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is a system that is meant to be infinitely expandable. I wish that there was more available in just a base box. There is a lot of options and replayability here but it comes at a premium.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: There are so many ships available that I suppose this has replayability if you are willing to pay for it.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The initiative order is a very smart system to manage the flow of this game. Individual turns go fast and the feeling of a battle really develops throughout.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is the worst! The game is not particularly long, but it feels like it takes forever. Two ships shoot, they do not destroy each other then they endlessly turn around to do it again over and over.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I love Star Wars and I love space combat games. This is a great match for me. The only thing that keeps from going deeper in this game is that I promised I would not and I do not have a reliable way to play the game regularly enough to warrant a large buy in.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: If I want to play with toys, then I will play with toys- do not try to disguise it as a game. I really dislike this one.

Final Score

59/100

This is a game we own, so we played it this year. However, this is not a game for my wife and I to play. I have played it some with my son. The issue there though is the miniatures do look a bit to much like toys and he has a hard time sticking to the rules. However, he gets better each time we play. Have you seen the Last Jedi trailer? There is a space battle in that movie, so I suspect that in 2018 I will be getting some new ships for the game.
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Fri Sep 8, 2017 3:35 am
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Bruges (Game #119)

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 as part of the BGG Secret Santa in 2013. We really took to this game in 2014, and it was one of our most played games that year. However, it then spent a lot of time on the shelf in 2015. Recognizing this we made it a 10x10 game in 2016. Unfortunately for Bruges it very quickly got passed up and became our eleventh game on the list. It only got one play in that year. After going more than half way through this year, we finally broke it back out. Was it worth the wait?

Game Overview
Bruges is a euro game so the goal of the game is to get the most points from doing thing. It is also a Stefan Feld game which means there are a lot of different ways to get points.

Each player is going to begin by drawing back up to five cards into their hand. There are two draw piles, and players will get to see the color of card they are drawing. Then dice will be rolled. There is a die for each color in the game. Any fives or sixes rolled result in players taking a disaster token matching that color. When a player gets three of one color bad things happen. Players can also spend money equal to the ones and twos rolled to advance up an influence track.

The bulk of a round is in playing cards. On their turn, each player will play a card and during a round each player will play four cards. Each card can be used in a multitude of ways. Cards can be discarded for money. The player gets money equal to the matching die value. Thus, if a six was rolled on the red die and I discard a red card I get six money. Cards can be discarded to get workers. Discarding one card gets the player two workers of that color. Cards can be used to get rid of disaster tokens. Discarding a card also discards a disaster token of the same color. This also scores one point. Cards can be used to build canals. Again, colors must match and there is a money cost. Canals is one of the ways to get points in the game, and the first player to complete a canal gets a valuable statue token. There are other statues but the value decreases with each canal built. Cards can also be used as buildings. The back of each card depicts a building. To play it face down as a building the player must discard a worker of the appropriate color. Finally, the card can be played as the person depicted on the card. Every card in this game is unique and depicts a person with an unique ability.

Many of the people cards have special abilities that can be activated by spending workers, and a player may do this on their turn as well. Once everyone has played four cards, majorities are checked. Each player can score a one time bonus for having the most people in play, most canals built, or being highest on the influence track. These one time bonuses are four points each.

The game is played until one of the draw piles is expended. The current round is played out, and then points are added up. 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: Using cards for multiple uses is one of my favorite mechanisms found in games. I really like how Bruges does this in a more euro game setting. The mechanisms here create a very tactical game that requires having an adaptive strategy throughout the game. This was also one of my first introductions to a point salad game, and I still think it is a stand out example of that concept.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: To me this game has a classic euro feel where I am never able to do everything I want. I love that the cards have multiple uses, but it can be frustrating to not get the cards I want.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the weakest part of the game. This is very much a euro game in which the theme does not matter. It could literally be themed any city. While the abilities of many of the cards fit in broad strokes many of them also feel interchangeable.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is not there. It is all mechanical and because of that feels kind of forgettable when it comes to individual plays.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: I think this game has a lot of replayability. It is likely that every game I will have a vastly different tableau of cards. There are a lot of ways to get points, and I will likely do some of each of them. However, each game I can also focus on something different.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The cards provide a lot of variety but I feel like I will mostly be doing the same thing from game to game.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I really like the turn structure of this game. Each round players start off with multiple options but as the turn develops and the game state changes, those options dwindle. This game also moves at a good pace usually. I like how the players have some control of when the game ends by keeping the stacks balanced or rushing one over the other.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is almost too fast. I get frustrated that I can never get everything done.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: While I am not opposed to mechanic heavy euro games, I tend to favor the more thematic and narrative heavy games. However, I do enjoy this one. This might be one of my favorite euro games, and it is a game that I think would be hard to play out.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is fun, and it is especially fun when it works together. Not getting many syngergies can lead to the occasional blah play though. I do like this game still, but it may not be quite as high up there as it once was.

Final Score

77/100

Before we played it this is one of the handful of games we have left to play that I thought has a chance to break into our top ten still. I was genuinely surprised by my wife's opinions. A lot of her concerns are around replayability. Hopefully, this game can get some more plays to see if that is an issue or not.
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Thu Sep 7, 2017 2:56 am
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Bootleggers (Game #118)

sean johnson
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My wife and I are attempting to play through all of our games in a year. At the very first gaming meet-up I ever attended this was the very first game I played. At that point we were already heading deep into the gaming hobby, but this game helped cement it. Despite that awesome experience we did not own this game for another four years when we finally traded for it in the 2012 Gen Con math trade. Despite being a game that works best with more than two (and is only playable at two with unofficial variants), this game seems to get played once a year or so. So is this a game that continues to deliver?

Game Overview

In this game players play gangsters making and selling whiskey during prohibition. The game is played up to 12 turns, and each turn players go through the same set of steps.

First players pick a muscle card. Each player is dealt 12 of these at the beginning of the game, and they have strengths of 1-72. The cards are given out in groups of 3 so each player has 3 cards from 4 different number groups. These muscle cards determine turn order. The higher the played card the higher position in turn order for that turn. First players pay for their muscle card and trucks, then in turn order they take a card. Each turn their are available cards. These cards are the primary way to get additional influence, more whiskey production dice, more trucks to deliver whiskey, and cards with a wide variety of special abilities.

Next players can "send in the boys". The board consists of a variety of different speakeasies. To open these establishments players need to put influence markers there (represented by excellent miniatures). When players send in the boys they place their available influence markers in the speakeasies. Each speakeasy has a minimum amount of combined influence needed to open it. Once it is open players can deliver whiskey there.

In the next step players fire up their still and produce whiskey. Whiskey is produced by rolling six sided dice. Players begin with one, but through cards they can add more (or extra stills). Players produced whiskey equal to the amount rolled. At this point players can wheel and deal their whiskey. So if I only have room on my truck for 4 barrels but produced 2, I can sell those to another player. Conversely, If I produce 10, but can only carry 4 I might rent a truck from another player to carry my extra whiskey.

Then players sell their whiskey. In muscle order they can send their whiskey to open speakeasies. A base speakeasy is always open, but it pays low. The other speakeasies pay more but accept a limited amount of whiskey (determined by dice roll). Players with the majority, the most influence in a speak easy, get first priority to sell over people with a minority (any influence). Players with no influence in a speakeasy get the lowest priority. If a player has more influence in a speakeasy than everyone else combined, then they have control. The advantage to control is that a player gets an additional profit for each barrel sold, even if it is not their own.

The game ends after 12 turns or if someone gets $100,000. There are several other smaller rules like speakeasy improvements, a cop who can disrupt production, and getting additional influence on set turns. However this should give a decent overview 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: I do enjoy the mechanisms for this game quite a bit, but they are kind of fragile. It is not too hard for a player to get control of a speakeasy, and start making $25,000 a turn. By the rules this is very doable unless the other players stop it. This game requires back room deals, temporary alliances, muscling in, and undercutting people. If players are not willing to really dive in and do this, then it can kind of fall apart and the runaway leader runs away with it.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like how the rules are fairly straight forward and how they manage to support the theme so well. .

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is the strongest aspect of this game. It really delivers on the theme. The game actively encourages players to act like vile gangsters.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is really strong in this game. The game has a tendency to bring out the mobster in everyone.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The replayability on this one is a bit group dependent. The game itself can be a bit static with similar opening moves progressing in the same way each game. The uniqueness of each play only emerges from the interaction the group has with one another.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I think I will find myself trying to pursue a similar strategy almost every time so the plays can all be a bit same feeling.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The flow of this game is excellent. Each turn has the same structure, but each turn also gets more interesting as influence and production grows. The game can easily push two hours but it never feels long.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is fine. It can go a little longer than I like, but it is right for this game.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I enjoy this game a good deal, and for me it still does the best job at capturing the mobster theme. The biggest regret for this game is that I do not get to play it more because the player count and game time restrict getting it to the table.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is fine. It is my favorite mobster game, but it is not one of my absolute favorite games. We do not have anything else like this game at all so I like it for that.

Final Score

78/100


This really is a hard game for us to get played. However, if we are going to have a lot of games (and we probably are) then we both think we should have a decent variety. This game is unique and plays unlike anything else we have. Even though the player count limits how often it gets to the table, it is a game we will hold on to because it has a niche on our shelf that nothing else gets close to.
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Tue Sep 5, 2017 4:18 am
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Deckscape: Test Time (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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I know that I am in a good sized band wagon at this point, but 2017 is really shaping up to be the year of the escape room games. Up to this point, Deckscape is the only major escape room game system that we had not tried. This put it high on my list of games I wanted to get and play. The escape room game genre is becoming crowded, so does this game manage to stack the deck in its favor?

Game Overview
As much as possible this will be a spoiler free review. Deckscape seeks to use a deck of cards to simulate an escape room experience. The deck is organized in a very specific order, and much of the game will have players solving puzzles to advance to the next card.

Once the stage is set the deck is divided into smaller decks. Players are allowed to work with any of these smaller decks. This allows players to potentially work on multiple puzzles at a time.

When the group thinks they have an answer for a puzzle that they all agree on then they turn the puzzle card over to see the solution. If correct, then yay! If not, then the players mark down an X on a score sheet. Either way though, play continues. Sometimes the group will get an item card that might be used for future puzzles or required to advance one of the decks.

Once the players reach the conclusion, they will count up how many X's they accumulated and how long it took to determine their score.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: Like Unlock this system attempts to deliver an escape room experience with just a deck of cards. This system does have a couple of ideas I really like. I like how the deck gets divided into multiple sections. This helps make it less linear and provides a sense of exploration. I also greatly appreciated how the answer to most of the puzzles were not just codes of some sort. I did find the flip a card over to see if the answer is right to be a bit off. Compared to the other systems it just felt uninspired. I also found that it was not always clear what they were getting to with some of the puzzles. I know there is one we guessed at and got right even though our reasoning was wrong, and there was one that we got wrong. Even after reading the back that explained it we were not really understanding how that was the right answer or how we were supposed to get to there. This is not my favorite escape room game system, but I still love the concept of these games.

Her Rating: 3 (It's OK)
Her Thoughts: I felt like the puzzles in this were easier than some of the other escape rooms games. I did not like having the answers on the back of the cards. It was kind of anti-climatic to have one shot to get it right or wrong. This game also did not have any big "wow" moments like we have had with some of the other escape room games. I do think I liked this system a bit more than the similar unlock, but this particular story/theme was just so-so.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 7
We already have the other Deckscape adventure currently available. We know that the Exit series is one we are all in on, but I am not sure if we will be that way with this series of games. In the future if there a deckscape with a theme that is compelling, then we might get it.
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Tue Sep 5, 2017 3:38 am
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Kaiju Crush (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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This was game was on my Gen Con short list, but as a demo only because I had thought that the game was not to be available for purchase. However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover they did have limited copies available at Gen Con. My wife and I sat down for a demo, and it was a full game play. It was a very good demo, and my wife especially had a lot of fun. It was fun enough for her to go ahead and get it, especially since it will still be a few weeks before it is available at retail. It was a bit of an impulse buy, so was it a good one or does the game ultimately get crushed?

Game Overview
In this game players take the roll of a monster and seek to get the most points from crushing a city. At the beginning of the game the city tiles are laid out. Each tile has a point value and belongs to a group (transporation, residential, retail, or power). Some end game scoring cards will also be put out. One is based on territory controlled, another on groups, and the final one is based on the physical layout of player territory. There is also a card that grants a special ability based on controlling the majority of one of the groups. Finally, each player is given a once per game special ability card.

Each player will also have a movement card that dictates how the player can move. There is also a movement card in the middle available to all. On a player's turn they must choose if they are going to use their movement card or the group card. If they use their own, then their card will become the new group card and they take the group card. The tile the player moves on is claimed and one of their territory cards is placed.

If a player ends adjacent to another player they may battle each other. To do this each player draws five cards and then reveals one at a time. This is a rock-paper-scissors mechanism only fire breath beat the three regular attacks. However, spikes beats fire breath but loses to the three regular attack. In a fight the first player to win three out of five wins and make take a victory point token. Each monster also have a special ability that applies to these fights.

When moving a player must move to an unclaimed space on the board If using the move cards a player can not move they must pass. Once all players pass the game ends. Players add up the value of tiles they claimed, tokens won, and bonus points from the scoring cards. The player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: The obvious comparison this game elicits is King of Tokyo, but other than sharing a theme they really are much different games. This game does not offer much original but it combines familiar elements in new ways. The emphasis on movement feels a lot like Hey That's my Fish or Ninja Camp. The movement cards borrowed a nice mechanism from Omitama. The combat is also familiar. Again, despite having so many familiar elements this does feel like its own game. Perhaps even more so than King of Tokyo, this is a light game. Despite a larger table presence it is very much in the filler/family game category. It works well there to. The movement system provides some tactical depth and the combat provides some satisfying monster fighting. The combat is somewhat arbitrary but monsters fight. It is what they do. There may not be much strategy to a fight in this game but they are always exciting.

Her Rating: 4 (like it)
Her Thoughts: Having monsters fight is fun, and I think the rock-paper-scissors system works well and generates excitement even if there is a lot of luck. I also found the movement system clever. It took something that felt familiar and added an extra twist with having a communal movement card and an individual one. I just find this game a lot of fun to play.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 7.5
I can not speak for my wife, but for me King of Tokyo is sill the king of the monster games. That being said, we both do enjoy this one and I think it was a good pick up for us. We are getting really close to that magical age where we are transitioning from kids games to family games and I think this game has a good chance of being an early adopter in that transition.
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Tue Sep 5, 2017 3:05 am
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End of the Month Recap

sean johnson
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The month of Gen Con always leads to me having a lot of plays, but this year was exceptional. Not only did I get a lot of plays in but I played 77 unique games in a month. I would have to go back and look but I think that might be a personal record.

Most Played Game: Race for the Galaxy (27 plays)
Best New to me Game: Ex Libris


Play Them All in a Year
Number of Games Played this Month: 12
Best Game of the Month: Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game(83/100)
Worst Game of the Month: Star Fleet Battle Force (47/100)
Despite playing a lot of games, we did fall behind our pace of 15 games a month. The Play them all in a year project applies to all of the games we started the year with and have written about at least once already. This month we did review several new games for the first time.

Our Top Ten Favorite Games
As we play through our games and rate them on a 100 point scale, we should get a picture of what our favorite games are. Once we are done, the ten highest rated games should be our favorite games as a couple. Based off of feedback, we decided to use our original ten point scale when we review new games. However, we also created a 100 point scale rating that we are using this year, so that we can see how those games rank among all the others. After this month here is how it stands:

1. Race for the Galaxy (97)
2. Memoir 44 ( 95)
3. Star Wars Destiny (95)
4. Terraforming Mars (93)
5. Small World (89)
6. Dice Masters (88)
7. Lords of Vegas (87)
8. Warhammer: Invasion (87)
9. Glory to Rome (86)
10. Among the Stars (86)
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Fri Sep 1, 2017 10:08 pm
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Pinball Showdown (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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Going into Gen Con this was a game that I was interested in based on theme alone. It was on my short list of games to check out, but unfortunately they were not always doing demos of this game. I did not get to try it for myself, but when the booth worker did not hesitate to say it worked well with just two I gave it a shot. Is this game good enough to unlock a bonus score or is it going to tilt?

Game Overview
In this game players are a pinball going to various features on a pinball table represented by cards.

In this game players will have to manage their speed and control. They start with 20 markers that will switch back and forth. These markers are also the game's currency. Each player starts out with five as speed markers and the other fifteen as control.

At the beginning of the game all players are dealt 10 cards to use for the whole game. At the beginning of each round the top card of the deck is flipped over and each player will add a card as well.

The start player may then do one of three thing. They may bid on one of the cards in the center with their control markers, they may pay control markers to increase speed, or they may spend two control markers to take a card from the discard pile. In addition they may just pass and do nothing.

If a player gets outbid by another player they get their markers back and an decide if they will speed or control. After all players have had the option to do an action, players who have winning bid get the card. Then players without a card pick from the remaining. Each turn all players will get a card.

Each card has a point value and a speed requirement. In order for the player to score the card thy must be going equal to or greater than the speed requirement. Each card will also modify the speed somehow. Some increase it by having control markers become speed. Others decrease it by having speed markers go back to control. Finally, some just cause the speed to become a set number.

There are also combination cards that a player can claim if the collect two other cards first. Whenever a combination is played or a player is going speed twelve or higher then wizard mode is on. Any cards taken during wizard mode are worth double points.

If a player ever ends the turn with zero speed, then two things could happen. If it is turns one to five they reset with five speed. If it is turns 6-10 then the the game ens. Otherwise, it goes until turn ten. Players add up their points and each remaining marker is also worth points. The player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3.5 (It's OK)
My Thoughts: The game play is abstract but the loud cards do help convey the theme. The control/speed mechanism is a neat on that feels original. This game is a lot lighter than I thought it would be. In fact this is very much a card game filler in the same category as For Sale, High Society, or No Thanks. It is a 20 minute game tops. It works in that space fairly well.

Her Rating: 2 (do not care for)
Her Thoughts: The theme really comes through. It does not play like pinball but everything about the game's presentation really screams pinball. It may be better with more players but I find the two player game to just be pretty boring. There just is not much going on with this game that I find all that interesting.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 5.5
Sadly, this game did fall a bit short with my wife. However, we have very few filler game that are not social deduction, and this game fills that niche. We do not have many games in that category. For the next few months I will take it to game nights and events with me. If I can find willing players then this might have a place on our shelves. If not, then by next Gen Con it will be in the trade pile.
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Fri Sep 1, 2017 4:11 am
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Happy Salmon (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
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This year my wife and I took our seven year old son to Gen Con for the first time. We told him if he found a game he liked we could probably get it, and this game was his pick. He found this game to be a lot of fun. We actually had to get this game post the convention because it sold out at Gen Con. Once we got the game at home did it still make him happy?

Game Overview

In this game all players have a deck of action cards. This includes the high five, fist bump, switcheroo (switch locations), and happy salmon (an odd slap each other's wrist maneuver).

Once the game begins players will begin calling out (in the loud version) or signaling (in the quiet version) the card they currently have. The goal is to find someone else who has the same card and do what the card states. Once the players do this they can discard the card to the center of the table.

At any point the player can give up on the current card by moving it to the back of their stack. The first player to discard all of their cards wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 3 (it's OK)
My Thoughts: I find the "loud" version where everyone is shouting to be more annoying than anything. However, the quiet version is silly fun. This is not a deep game, there is very little strategy, but it will leave everyone playing smiling.

Her Rating: 4 (like it)
Her Thoughts: This game is just fun. I do not usually like games that require silly actions, but the sort play time on this one and the real time game play makes it work well.

Verdict

Combined Rating: 7
I think this was a good pick for my son. He really enjoys it. Our daughter is a little too young to play this game, but in a couple of years I think this will be a game that we play as a family a good deal.
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Fri Sep 1, 2017 3:45 am
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