The NEW games I play every month

Hello all. This blog is for my personal use, it´s a place to collect my thoughts and comments on new games and expansions I try.

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NEW games I played on December 2021

Juan Carlos Goyes
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Board Game: The Search for Planet X

The Search for Planet X

2021-12-25

Initial rating: 7.0 (December 2021)

Before playing The Search for Planet X, I had an inkling I was going to like the game. I LOVE deduction games, it is (perhaps) my favorite game category right now. Due to this, my desire to play the game was VERY high. Also, for some reason, I thought the game was cooperative, but it is competitive (although a cooperative deduction game sounds very cool). After I played it, I can say I loved the game, and it is now a keeper for me.

The Search for Planet X´s rules aren’t very complex, but there are several things to explain. You can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 100-120 minutes.

The game´s components are ok and they work great. The art is also good.

The theme of the game is very cool, but you don´t really feel it through the game. It is mostly supported by the app and conferences. The game could be pure abstract BUT I do love the Space/Astronomy theme nonetheless.

Gameplay is very satisfying. I have only played the standard game but I´m dying to try out the expert variant (I won´t ever play the standard mode again). The search for Planet X features a time track mechanism, and I´m liking this mechanism more and more over time. The last player on the time track will play and he must make an action from several available, each one with different time cost. The actions allow you to scan a range of positions for a particular object (Survey) and there are 5 different objects, you can scan 1 sector (target) to know what it is in the sector, you can research a topic on an object and, hopefully, gain some useful information and you can declare where planet X is AND to avoid lucky guesses you need to also guess the adjacent sector (I LOVE this). The player that uses his time wisely (and with a little bit of luck) will win the game. There are times in the game in which players can theorize what is in a particular sector and if they are right, they will win VPs. Each object has some logical rules associated with them and this allow you to deduce. All things considered the game is great and I love it.

A weakness the deduction genre usually has, is that if a player gives you bad information by mistake, the game breaks. This doesn’t happen in The Search for Planet X as all answers are provided by an app and you NEED the app to play. This doesn’t bother me at all, but I know it bothers some gamers. In fact I have loved hybrid games since I played Space Alert.

The luck factor is present like in all deduction games. Sometimes you look for a piece of information and you found it very valuable just by luck. However, in this game luck bothers me less than in most deduction games as the game is more complex (you have to deduce a lot of things) so luck (more or less) should even out during a game. You can also see what other players are deducing and glean out information out from that.

Best with 2 players but I will gladly play with 3 or 4 (fast) players.

Player interaction is very low (of course) but that doesn’t bother me at all. I only write about this because it does bother some friends.

Bottom line, I was expecting good things from The Search for Planet X and the game still managed to pleasantly surprise me. Gameplay is very fun for me. I just love it and it can even get an upgraded rating from me with more plays. I love that the game uses an app as this makes the game much more robust (just like Alchemists, another game I love) I cannot wait to play it again and it is a keeper for me. I´m pretty sure my SO will love it as well.

Current Rating: 8.0

Jgoyes´ Awards:

From gallery of jgoyes




Board Game: Bausack

Bausack

2021-12-25

Initial rating: 6.0 (December 2021)

I finally played the legendary game Bausack and, after I did, I can say it is a good dexterity game, but I´m not a fan of most dexterity games so Bausack is not a game for me. My younger gamer self would have liked it much more. Still, I concede it is a fine dexterity game.

Bausack´s rules are easy to explain. You can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes with 4-5 players.

The game´s components are very well done. To my knowledge, every piece is different from any other piece.

There is no theme.

Bausack is a dexterity game in the vein of Jenga (but MUCH better IMO). The goal of the game is to be the last player standing. Each player is building his own structure. On your turn you must choose an available piece and if you want to use it for yourself you bid for it, if you don’t want to use it, that is, you want to attack a player with it, you pass it to your right and that player has to pay to NOT use it, this is very fun and novel, even if the game was designed in 1987. When you end up with a piece because you won it or someone attacked you, you must use it on your structure and if any piece falls off, you are out. The game flows quickly but, a player eliminated early on can get bored as he has to wait 30 minutes or more to begin a new game.

There are several variants in the game, but I have only played with the basic rules.

The luck factor is zero, but players can attack you rather easlily.

Best with 4 players

Bottom line, Bausack is a great dexterity game but I´m not a fan of the genre, it is, however, among the best games in its genre. I already sold my copy of the game, but I could play it again if requested. I think Bausack is a great family/introduction game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: San Marco

San Marco

2021-12-27

Initial Rating: 6.0 (December 2021)

I was expecting great thing from San Marco, a game with legendary status, but the game sorely disappointed me. It has some great and novel ideas, but I really dislike some aspects of the game.

San Marco´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 100 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. The board looks beautiful with the bridges near the end of the game.

The theme is pasted on, it is mostly supported by the art of some cards.

Gameplay is very fun at first. A player will draw some cards from the decks and then he split them in any way he chooses, then players choose first, so San Marco is one of the oldest “I Cut, You Choose” games I have played and the limit cards mechanism works amazingly well. The cards allow you to add cubes to the board, to get bridges, to attack you opponents and to score a zone. San Marco is an area majority game (and these days I´m not very fond of the mechanism). So far, the game is going great, it offers interesting decisions in a (relatively) short time frame. As is usual with this kind of game, if the player who splits the cards makes a mistake, the game can break and/or lead to kingmaking, so all players need to be fully invested in the game (the game is fragile). What I really dislike about the game is only 1 card. There is a card called banishment (I could be mistaken about the name as I didn’t read the rules) which can be very powerful or rather useless. When you use it, you must roll a die to see how many cubes from your opponents you can remove. This also happens at the end of each round. I hate the luck inherent in this roll. In our game, the player who mostly used banishment had the worst luck and always rolled one, while the player who won used banishment once to great effect due to a high roll. My issue with it is that the card can be OP, It can change radically the game situation in one move and you cannot defend against it. In my opinion, its goes against the rest of the game as you can carefully make smart moves that can be utterly destroyed )or not) by the card. The game would be much better for me if the card didn’t exist, but as it does, I´m taking 2 full points from my rating. The banishment mechanism, singlehandedly, ruins the game for me

The luck factor is present with the cards, but the main mechanism of the game does a great to control it (if players are truly invested in the game and trying to win it). I hate the card banishment as I wrote above, it breaks the game IMO.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, San Marco is a great introductory game, and I would have liked it a lot in 2010. My 2021 self hates the luck inherent in the banishment card and mechanism, due to this I´m rating the game much lower than I otherwise would. Without this banishment mechanism the game is very interesting, with it, the luck factor is too high for my liking and it breaks the game. San Marco is very novel as it was published in 2001. My desire to play the game again is low and I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Luxor

Luxor

2021-12-27

Initial Rating: 6.0 (December 2021)

My desire to play Luxor was rather low. In general, I respect Rüdiger Dorn a lot but more often than not, his games are not for me. This is the case with Luxor, it is not a game for me, but the game still managed to surprise me, it is a great family game.

Luxor´s rules are pretty straightforward; you can explain them under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 70 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, the art is pretty good.

Gameplay is fun. On your turn you must play a card from your hand and execute its movement action, the cool thing is that you only play your rightmost or leftmost card of your hand, and all the new cards go to the center. In this way you can plan your movements and I like this. Once you have played a card, you must move one meeple and depending on where it lands, you can gain VPs, treasures, cards, or other goodies. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t hard to process, but as the game flows rather quickly, it is a fun experience. There is room to plan, but the game is mainly tactical.

Best with 3 players.

The luck factor isn’t very high as you can (somewhat) plan your moves. There is luck of the draw with the cards and some cards use a die. There is also luck with the scarabs, and I dislike this as the VP spread can be high. To summarize, the luck factor doesn’t bother me much in the game because it plays fast and it is a light game, but it bothers me a bit.

Bottom line, Luxor is a great family game, but it is not a game for me. These days I crave heavier experiences, but Luxor is a solid game. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Patchwork Doodle

Patchwork Doodle

2021-12-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (December 2021)

I dislike most roll and write games I have played. I´m not a fan of the genre. I also dislike Patchwork and (by mistake) I paid a lot of money for Patchwork Doodle so my desire to play the game was very low. After I played the game, I can say it is not a game for me, but it is better than expected. As it stands, I prefer it over Patchwork (but not by much).

Patchwork Doodle´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game has no theme, or rather, the theme is paper thin.

The art is pretty cool.

Gameplay is very reminiscent of Patchwork (obviously). Each turn a dice is rolled and that will decide which piece players will need to draw on their paper. The idea is to make the biggest rectangle possible. There are 3 scoring phases, and each player has 4 special powers to be used once per game. It plays very quickly and it, surprisingly, allows for some planning. Just like Patchwork, I feel the best move is painfully obvious, but here the game moves at a faster pace as players play simultaneously.

The replay value seems very low.

Bottom line, Patchwork Doodle is an ok roll and write game (if you like the genre). It is not a game for me in any way, shape, or form as I dislike both, its genre and its source game. Still, I grant you the game can be (somewhat) fun. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious. I think the game can be an ok family game. I already sold it and my desire to play it again is very low.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Back to the Future: OUTATIME

Back to the Future: OUTATIME

2021-12-27

Initial Rating: 4.0 (December 2021)

I wasn’t expecting anything good from Back to the Future: OUTATIME, but the game still managed to, severely, disappoint me. It is a shame to waste the beloved Back to the Future IP in this game.

Back to the Future: OUTATIME´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. The rulebook however isn’t very clear. Playtime is around 20m.

The game´s components are mainly cards with art from the movie. The dice are very cool though and the best the game has to offer. The game comes in a small cheap tube which I dislike, but this is purely personal.

The theme is great BUT the game doesn’t support it in any way. It´s a shame to waste the great theme on a dice game that could very well be completely abstract. You don´t feel the theme anywhere in the game.

Gameplay is very straightforward; you almost don’t have to decide anything, and it becomes repetitive very soon. Luck will decide who wins. The game is supposed to be a push your luck game, but it isn’t very fun IMO. The push your luck aspect fails to generate any tension in the game. The goal is to be the player who first ends all his cards, and you need to roll the correct numbers to fill your cards. Your opponents also can advance in your turn if you roll what they need. The decisions needed in the game are so easy, that they are almost nonexistent. Luck will decide who wins, period. In the game, I laughed when a player rolled abysmally bad, other than that, the game offers no fun whatsoever. Players just roll dice and the player who rolled the best will win through not a fault of his own.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, I knew that, in all probability, I wasn’t going to like the game, but still, the game is very bad, it is almost not a game and it completely wastes the back to the Future IP. The luckiest player will win so the luck factor is through the roof. You don´t see anything related to the theme in the game. I already sold my copy of the game at a loss, and I would never ever play it again. All players in the table really disliked the game. I´m struggling to find anything good about the game, the dice are very cool looking.

Current Rating: 1.5

Jgoyes´ Awards:

From gallery of jgoyes



Board Game: Times Up!: Dice Tower Expansion Pack

Times Up!: Dice Tower Expansion Pack

2021-12-28

Initial Rating: 9.5 (December 2021)

I LOVE Time´s Up! For me, it is the best party game out there, so I was very keen to play this boardgame-centric expansion. After I did, I can say I love it!

Time´s Up is a game currently on my Top Ten favorite games of all time (it is number 4th) and I´m always looking for more versions of the game. This expansion adds names from the boardgaming industry, including designers, artists and Dice Tower people (these days I only listen to the main podcast and, sadly, that will end soon). To gamers outside these circles, the expansion can be too much, and they will be at an undeniable disadvantage, still, I´m fascinated by games about games. In fact, this is the second Time´s Up I have on this topic. Also, and to be fair, there are names that are much more famous (like characters from Star Wars and Game of Thrones) but I would have preferred to have only boardgame names. This is a minor issue.

I played it with some boardgaming geek friends so it was a blast, and I cannot wait to try the game again. I would play it with anyone though as many times with the base game, someone (me included) doesn't know who the person is, so the game doesn´t strike me as fundamentally unfair. If I know who is Tom Vasel, but my partner doesn't I still need to find a way to convey the information. I just love it.

I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 9.5


Board Game: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

2021-12-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (December 2021)

My desire to play Lanterns: The Harvest Festival wasn’t very high. A friend explained it to me this month and after I played it, I can say it is not a game for me.

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 45 minutes.

The game´s components are ok.

The theme is pretty cool, but you don’t really feel it through the game, the game is mostly an abstract endeavor.

Gameplay is pleasant. The decisions needed to play the game are painfully obvious though. Players are trying to get the resources needed to purchase the highest VP cards available. On your turn you must choose a tile from your hand, each tile has colors in each of its borders, so when you play a tile, each player will get resources indicated in the border of the tile that´s in their direction, so you can play a tile in which you gain one color but you will give your opponent’s resources in some colors as well (it could be the same or different colors). This mechanism is pretty clever and fun, besides, if you are going to give a red resource to your opponent but the red pile is empty, he doesn’t get anything which is evil and fun. If you match borders with tiles already present in the game, you will get bonus resources in those colors. Having said that, the decisions needed to play the game are very obvious and easy to process which is not something I´m looking for in games in games on this kind. The game is mainly tactical as each turn the situation changes a lot with the new influx of resources.

The luck factor is very high, you have several tiles in your hand but sometimes this won´t work for you, that is, a player will benefit more than other payers just by luck of the draw.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Lanterns: The Harvest Festival can be a good (light) family game, but it is not a game for me. It features very easy decisions, lots of uncontrollable luck and Tile Laying is among my least liked mechanisms, still the game is pleasant, and it flows quickly. I already sold my copy of the game along its expansions and my desire to play it again is very low.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: 7 Wonders: Architects

7 Wonders: Architects

2021-12-28

Initial Rating: 4.0 (December 2021)

As I never research any game before I play it, I though this was yet another 7 Wonders edition which struck me as very weird because 7 Wonders (Second Edition) hasn’t been on the market that long. As it turned out, 7 Wonders: Architects is only tangentially connected to 7 Wonders, both games are VERY different mechanically, which is great.

7 Wonders: Architects´ rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 45 minutes.

The game´s components are great, and the wonders look great on the table.

The theme is also great, and it is supported by the great components. Other than that, you don't feel it though the game.

Gameplay is very straightforward; on your turn you just take a card from 3 available sources. There is a face up deck between each neighbor and there is a communal face down deck. When you take a card, you gain its benefits, that´s the core of the game. The cards are very similar to the 7 Wonders games, that is, red cards are combat cards, green cards are knowledge, blue cards are civic (VPs) etc. The idea is to construct your wonder as fast as you can while, at the same time, developing your other facets. The game flows very quickly which is great. There are some triggers in the game that will create a combat phase, the battles are between neighbors just like 7 Wonders.

I heavily dislike that the game ends immediately as soon as a player finish his wonder, this is unfair to me. It would have been better if all players had the same number of turns. As it stands, I feel the first players have an unfair advantage and this leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

I have never been a fan of 7 Wonders (but I do love 7 Wonders Duel) but I feel 7 Wonders: Architects is the better game. In reality, both games share the theme and graphic design but are mechanically very different.

The luck factor is high and there is no way to control it (there are ways to see the facedown pile of cards) but as the game plays so fast I don’t mind it much.

The replay value seems very high.

Best with 4 players, with more the downtime becomes unacceptable for such a simple game.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from 7 Wonders: Architects but the game really surprised me as I was expecting so little from it. It is still not a game for me, but I would play it again if requested. The game offers very easy decisions in a very short time frame, the luck factor is very high but as the game plays so fast I don´t mind much about it. There is some room to plan, but the game is mainly tactical. I think 7 Wonders: Architects is a great family game, and it also is a very good introductory game. I heavily dislike that the first players have an unfair advantage. If the game was longer I would rate it much harsher. I will sell my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game

Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game

2021-12-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (December 2021)

John Coveyou is a name I recognize and respect. I believe I have bought all his games because I like what he does with his science-based games but, more often than not, I haven´t really liked his designs. So far, I have only kept Covalence: A Molecule Building Game and now, I really enjoyed Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game so I also kept it. I still haven’t played Cytosis, but It´s on the “to play” list.

Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game´s rules aren’t very complex, but there are several rules. You can explain the game under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are very good; I love the custom dice! The art is also great!

The theme is very novel and refreshing and, surprisingly, it is supported by the game´s mechanism which is a rarity in euro games. I enjoy it a lot.

Gameplay offers very interesting decisions, and you really want to do much more that what you can, that is, resources and workers are very limited, and I love this. Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game is a worker placement game and I’m always keen to try them. The goal is, of course, to score the max amount of VPs. The game will last 5 rounds and each round is divided in 3 phases.

• Phase 1 is the worker placement phase. You begin the game with 3 workers, but you can acquire up to 5. The workers allow you to get plant cards (which you need to score), to get tools (for some kind of bonus), you can do research (to score VPs), you can gain money which is very scarce through the game, you can plant your plants on plots, you can influence the odds of the offspring dice and you can take first position for the dice drafting that comes next. All things considered; you have lots of things/options to think through and I really enjoy this.

• Phase 2 is the dice drafting phase. All the offspring dice are rolled and rerolled if there were 5-6 results, then they are placed in their place. After that, players draft the dice and place them on their board. At first you can draft at most 3 dice, but this can be influenced with workers, or you can buy more spaces. The goal here is to match the dice to the requirements of your plant cards. There is considerably luck here BUT there are plenty of ways to mitigate or affect the result, so it doesn’t really bother me, in fact, it´s just the opposite, I like it a lot.

• Phase 3 is research phase in which players can buy new plots to plant more plants at the same time, you can acquire more dice space, you can get more workers, and/or you can hire an assistant (which has some unique power).

All things considered, the game´s mechanisms are not that novel, but the theme is and the game works very well IMO.

Best with 3 players. I wouldn’t want to play the game with 5 players, too much downtime and planning also becomes harder.

The replay value seems high.

The luck factor is present, and it affects the game´s outcome. The luck of the draw of the plant cards, tools and assistants bothers me a bit, but there are always face up cards so you can plan your turn. The luck of the dice is also present, BUT, a big part of the game is to manipulate the odds of the dice to get what you what or to deny an opponent what they need. You can stack the odds in such a way that you can practically guarantee the result you want, or you can make certain that a particular result won’t appear. I LOVE this but, a lucky player can still get ahead just because the dice rolled his way. To summarize, the luck factor is present, but it doesn’t bother me that much as you can do things around it with clever play.

On the bad side, I fear there is a first player advantage. As the game lasts for 5 rounds, with 3 players, one player will play as first only one time. This is a small issue though and it could have been solved with a first player worker space. I´m also worried about the power level of some assistants, I need more plays to verify this and I hope they are balanced.

Bottom line, Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game is a good and interesting game. It offers interesting decisions with scarce resources, and it seems the game offers several paths to victory. The luck factor exists, and it can affect the game, but there are several ways to mitigate it. I will keep the game (at least for now) as I want to explore it further.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies

2021-12-28

Initial Rating: 7.0 (December 2021)

There was a time, around January 2013, when I played and actively disliked Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. I´m not sure why this happened. I think it was because my expectation of the game was very different from reality. These days, and after 7 more plays, I now know I LOVE the game, so I was very keen to try the expansion. After I did, I can say it is VERY good and a keeper for me.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies´ rules are very easy and quick to teach IF players are already familiar with the base game. You can explain the new concepts under 2 minutes.

The expansion adds a 5 player which is standard, but I dislike this as 5 players is a hard pass for me on a game this complex and long, the downtime is just too much. There is a caveat though, there si something called "fast actions" but I don't know how this works.

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies adds, of course, Tribes and Prophecies. I like them both, but I LOVE the prophecies.

The prophecies add 3 new tiles to the game, each tile will be active in the second, third and last quarter of the game respectively. Each prophecy is known since the beginning, so you can plan for it, but they really change the game with very few new rules. Moreover, there are several prophecies to try, and their position also matter so the replay value of the game just went through the roof. When a prophecy is active it can give you a disadvantage and it also gives an additional scoring path. I LOVE THIS. They remind me of the Landmarks of Dominion, an easy and elegant way to change the game profoundly with very few new rules.

The tribes are also welcome; however, I have misgivings about the power level of the tribes. I hope they are balanced but I think this is very hard to accomplish, so, I feel, some of the tribes are more powerful than others. Another minor issue for me, is that when you get a tribe, a strategic path has been dictated to you by the tribe, so this takes away freedom. If you ignore your tribes´ power you are wasting a powerful advantage, so you will probably lose the game.

The expansion also adds more buildings which is always welcome.

Bottom line, Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies adds great new elements to the game. I absolutely love the prophecies as they really change how the game is played with very few new rules. I also like the new tribes, all things considered, this expansion is a keeper for me, and I will always play with it.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Egizia

Egizia

2021-12-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2012)

For a while now, I was pretty sure I was going to like Egizia, if only by their illustrious designers (by the way, just now, I found out Acchittocca is NOT a person). I tried to play Egizia a long time ago. On 2012 I was a very different gamer, and I couldn’t appreciate the game enough. I was mainly interested in Ameritrash games with lots of theme. Besides, I tried to play Egizia on Yucata.de but at the time I didn´t understand much about the game. This month I finally played my old copy of the game and I really enjoyed it.

Egizia´s rules aren’t very complex; you can explain them under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes with fast players.

The game´s components are ok and the art is very good. The game looks gorgeous on the table.

The theme is pretty cool, and it is supported by the art and some mechanisms.

Gameplay is very fun and interesting. Egizia is a worker placement game that features a bias, a path that you can´t retrace, that is, players begin placing their pieces along the river and you can advance as far as you want, but you cannot retrace your steps, so the game is very tense, knowing which spaces to jump isn’t obvious. This is similar to Lignum and Francis Drake, and I love this mechanism. Planning is very important. With your workers, you can acquire cards that give you advantages, resources, or food, you can also improve the strength of the constructions crews and you can help build 3 monuments. After the round ends (all players have passed) you have to feed your workers, and this can be very easy or very hard. There are 3 different kind of food cards, some of these cards are always watered, that is, they always produce food, other cards will only be watered if the water ring is in the correct position and mean players can move it just to create a famine situation for you (which can create a huge VP loss). This mechanism is evil :evil:, and I just love it. It creates a lot of tension in your decisions. After that, you can help build the 3 monuments, they will give you goal cards or VPs. All things considered, gameplay is very interesting and tense with lots of player interaction. So far, I’m really enjoying the game.

On the bad side. The luck factor is very high, and it bothers me. The luck with the Sphinx cards is almost a deal breaker for me. The goal cards are secret, and you get one at the beginning of the game, you also can get more during the game building on the Sphinx. Each goal card has a condition you have to meet AND it is pure luck if you get goal cards that have a synergy between them. It could also happen (near the end of the game) that you draw a goal card that you already have accomplished, or it can be a card that you cannot complete. This bothers me in other games as well (Takenoko, a game I dislike, comes to mind) but gameplay is so good that I´m willing to give it a pass (for now). Another Egyptian themed game I recently played (Tekhenu) also has this goal cards issue, but they (somewhat) solved it by making the goal cards hard to acquire AND you cannot score 2 cards of the same kind. I wish there was a way to control this in Egizia, and I hate when a player is deservedly losing but get an unfair boost just because he drew the only goal card that worked for him. I need to see if this was changed in any way in the new Shifting Sands edition (which I also own). On the same topic, the power level of some cards seems very OP, for example the card that allow you to draw 2 goal cards seems OP (I need more play to verify). To summarize, the luck factor is high and can affect greatly the game outcome, I dislike this BUT as the game is so good I´m giving it a pass of sorts. Due to this, it´s very unlikely the game can get an upgraded rating from me though.

Best with 4 players.

The replay value seems very high with the variable order of the cards.

Bottom line, Egizia is a keeper for me. I´m a bit sad it took almost 10 years for me to like the game. I´m worried about the high luck factor, mainly with the Sphinx cards, but gameplay is excellent and fast paced. I want to play the game again and I want to see what they added in the new Shifting Sands edition.

One of 2009´s favorites.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea

2021-12-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2012)

I played Snowdonia earlier this year and, even though I liked the game, I was expecting more from it. Knowing that Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea was a Snowdonia reimplementation, I was pretty sure I was going to like the game and I did, in fact, I liked it more than Snowdonia itself.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea´s rules aren’t very complex; you can teach them under 7 minutes, less if players are familiar with Snowdonia. Playtime is around 90 minutes.

The game´s components are ok. The art and graphic design are very good.

The theme is ok to me, nothing exciting. In any case you don’t really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is interesting and fast paced and VERY similar to Snowdonia´s. First players plan their moves on the 7 available actions (players will have at least 2 meeples per turn), then players execute in order said actions. The actions allow you to gather resources (including the powerful tea), you can excavate to create tea houses (to gain VPs and tea), you can create steel or convert stone, you can lay track (to win VPs and advance the game), you can build a station (for bonuses, resources or VPs) or get a new equipment (cards with powerful abilities), you can get contracts which are cards that a have a goal to achieve and they also have a, once per game, powerful bonus and, finally, you can get tea leaves or process them to make tea. The actions are very similar to Snowdonia, except for the tea. The tea is a special resource that is new to the game, it replaces the surveyor action of the old Snowdonia game (in all my games I believe I have taken that action exactly once). Tea allows you to increase the power of the action you are currently executing, and this is a game changer, now you can do much more if you have tea, of course, tea is a scarce resource. To summarize, Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea offers very fun, fast paced gameplay with interesting decisions, even though the rules are easy to understand. I approve of the new tea resource as it makes the game much more interesting.

Just like Snowdonia, there is a climate mechanism in place that will affect the actions, I love this, and it doesn’t bother me as you can always see which climate you will have for the next turn.

Again, just like Snowdonia, there are events that are triggered at random drawing blindly from a bag. At first, I though these events were complete random but as I have played Snowdonia several times now, I see you can (somewhat) influence the events. If players are keeping the resources, is much more likely that events will trigger, and it is very fun to try to influence them. Also, the events themselves are clearly defined, their randomness comes just from the timing of “when” they will trigger. All things considered, they don’t bother me at all, in fact, I love this mechanism, even though IT IS a bit random.

As both games are very similar, it is nice to see their differences, I´m pretty sure I didn’t catch them all but the ones I saw are:

• The biggest difference is, of course, the addition of the tea resource. I approve of this change as it is very fun to play with tea and it replaced a boring action (Surveyor) that I have almost never used.

• The excavation track is different now from the lay track. I´m indifferent toward this change, but it makes both games feel a bit different and there are some strategic considerations that now are different as well.

• You can now have more than one equipment (train in Snowdonia) and I like this a lot. There is still a maintenance cost if/when the event occurs but this open new paths to explore. In any case I also like the Snowdonia way of having at most one train .

• You can acquire equipments (trains) whenever you want, in Snowdonia, you needed to wait until an event allowed you to acquire a train. I also like both ways so I´m happy to have both options available.

• Climate now is tamer. In Snownodia, if the climate was bad, you couldn’t take 2 actions, here, you still can take those actions BUT the available spaces for the action are decreased. I think I liked more the Snowdonia way in this point, but I´m happy I have both games so I can enjoy both options.

• The replay value seems less than Snowdonia as the tracks are fixed, I think I dislike this change (although it makes setup a lot easier).

Best with 4 players.

The luck factor is present. Just like Snowdonia, there is a lot of uncontrollable luck with the contracts, they appear at random and sometimes the correct contract appears, the opposite is also true, and this is the main reason Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea (and Snowdonia for that matter) won’t get an upgraded rating from me. This luck bothers me but not enough to get rid of the game. There is also luck in how the climate behaves (but you can see it way before it hits so it doesn’t bother me), in the way resources appear (this bothers me a bit) in the way events are triggered (this used to bother me but now I like it as I can influence this or prepare for this). To summarize, there is luck in the game, but I can stomach it as it is a good game

Bottom line, Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea is a good game with interesting decisions and a keeper for me. I think it is better than Snowdonia due to the tea addition, but the other changes are also welcome if only because they make the game different. I won’t get rid of Snowdonia as both games are and feel different, and Snowdonia has a ton of additional content (expansions and scenarios) but if I had to choose, I would choose Snowdonia just for the amount of its content. If the comparison was base game to base game I would choose, Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea and I also feel Snowdonia was harsher (which I prefer) so choosing one game IS hard. I´m glad I don’t have to choose, and I can keep both games in my game collection (which I will). The luck of the contracts bothers me as it can be swingy just because.

Current Rating: 7.0

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Board Game: Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension

Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension

2021-12-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2012)

I don’t remember why I bought Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension, but the name is very cool. After I played it, I can say it is a fun game for the family, but it is not a game for me.

Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art.

The theme sounds great, but of course, it makes no sense, and, in any case, you don’t feel it though the game. I do like the name of the game.

Gameplay is quick paced and fun! The game is a race, and you are trying to be the first player to reach the end of the track. Gameplay is divided in 2 phases, in the first one, players are drafting cards. When a player drafts a card, he chooses which card does he want (they are face up), but also, he gets a face down card. Once the draft has ended, players play their cards simultaneously. The first card to be applied is the first one alphabetically. The cool thing is that players use “gravity” to move forward (or sometimes backwards). If you played a 5 you must move 5 spaces toward the most massive objects (ships) in place and this is very novel. There are also cards that have an anti-gravitational effect, but they are far fewer and there is also a third kind of card that attracts everything when you play it. Knowing which card to play in each turn isn’t very hard, but there is a cool dynamic of guess and outguess your opponents. A great move could be disastrous if your opponent moved first/last. Gameplay is a bit reminiscent of Nimmt 6.

The luck factor is very high. If you have a good memory, you can remember what your opponent drafted, but half the cards remain hidden so there is not much control there AND the anti-gravitational cards are very powerful (too powerful?) and sought after. So maybe, the player who wins doesn’t win necessarily because he played better than his opponents, but he wins because he got lucky with some drafted cards and/or situations. What I´m saying is that the luck factor is high, and it will affect the outcome of the game. There is no way to control it and I dislike this but I´m sure many boardgames will love it, it’s just not a game for me.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension is a fun race game with very cool and novel mechanisms. In general, I don’t like racing games (but this game doesn’t feel much like a traditional race) and I also feel the luck factor is very high. The decisions needed to play the game are rather obvious and easy to process, so luck play a very important role in the game. I could play the game again if requested, but I´m selling it ASAP. I think Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension is a cool family and/or introductory game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Stella: Dixit Universe

Stella: Dixit Universe

2021-12-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2012)

Before I played the game, I thought Stella: Dixit Universe was another Dixit expansion and, as I love the game, I purchased it automatically. As it turned out, Stella: Dixit Universe is a Dixit-like game, but it is its own game. After I played it, I can say it is a fun game and a keeper for me.

Stella: Dixit Universe´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 45 minutes.

The game´s components are ok and the art, as usual, is awesome.

There is no theme, or perhaps there is but it wasn’t explained to me.

Gameplay is very fun and fast paced. The goal is to be the player with most VPs. You earn VPs by choosing the correct cards. There is a 5 x 3 matrix of Dixit cards, and a word is revealed from a deck, then players must choose the cards they believe are related to the word and after all players have written their choices, each player in turn will reveal one of his choices, if at least another player has it, both earn VPs, if no one has it he is out of the round and he no longer will be able to earn VPs, even if he matches with another player. That´s it, it is a very simple game, but it is fun! This new way of playing Dixit encourage much more scrutiny of the cards as you are struggling to make connections among the highest number of cards, on the other hand, this new game requires much less (none?) creativity than the original one.

As you can see, Stella: Dixit Universe is very Dixit like (obviously) but I do like the changes. Many (shy) boardgamers struggled with Dixit trying to find any good clue, so, in this game the clue is given by the game itself making this a good game for introverts or people who aren´t in a creative mood.

Even if the game was very bad, I would still keep it as I can use the cards with regular Dixit, and this works the other way around. This means that if you have Dixit expansions, you can use those cards here, so the replay value of the game is very high.

Best with 6 players.

Bottom line, Stella: Dixit Universe is a good family game and a keeper for me. I still prefer Dixit over this one as I prefer the creativity required to play it, but, Stella: Dixit Universe is a fun Dixit-like variant and I enjoyed it. Even if the game was bad, I would keep just for the 84 new, gorgeous cards.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Unusual Suspects

Unusual Suspects

2021-12-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (December 2021)

Paolo Mori is a game designer that I respect a lot, even If I end up not liking most of his games, he is still a great designer, due to this, I was very keen to try Unusual Suspects. After I did, I can say I was pleasantly surprised, and I enjoyed the game a lot, but it is a controversial game.

Unusual Suspects´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are ok. The art is pretty good, and it needs to be for the game to work.

The theme is very cool, and it works for the game.

Gameplay is very fun and very reminiscent of Similo (or rather it´s the other way around as Similo is a 2019 game). The first surprise for me is that the game is cooperative, I thought this wasn’t the case. There is a “witness” who knows the person who committed a crime, and the goal is to eliminate all the other cards except the guilty one (just like Similo). Each turn a card will present a question and the witness must answer It. With this information players have to deliberate and decide who should they eliminate based on how the suspects look. This is pretty fun and that was the second surprise. I would have never thought a game this “controversial” could be a fun one for me, but it is as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

To be clear, as you are presented by drawings of people, you are stereotyping them which can bother some people, it doesn’t bother me much as this is good fun and I don’t feel any ill intention from the game or game designer, but still there is a little voice in my head that says this is a bad thing. Also, some of the questions aren’t very tame, for example the question “are they racist?” is in the game so I do feel a disclaimer before the game begins is in order to avoid unnecessary conflict. I know people who would hate this game and perhaps be personally insulted by it (and I understand them completely, there are games I wouldn't touch with a ten feet pole) , but, right or wrong I do like it, at least I like the game´s mechanisms! On the other hand the game could reveal some bias you didn't know you had.

Best with 4 players and I would never like to play the game with 7+ players. I just don’t see the point, with these many players many of the game´s nuances will be lost.

Unusual Suspects´ s heavily dependent on the game group.

The replay value of the game is high as there are 100 questions and several suspects.

Unusual Suspects is the first game that I think isn’t really suitable for children or young people, not for its mechanisms but for its stereotyping which is worrisome.

Bottom line, Unusual Suspects was a pleasant surprise gameplay-wise. It offers some laughs in a very short playtime. I know some people will be insulted by the game as it fosters stereotyping, prejudice and profiling, but I try to take it in good fun as I don’t really think the game publisher or designer had any ill intention. Perhaps this game is much more “dangerous” in these days we are living right now. Gameplay is similar to Similo, but I prefer it over Similo, the topic is more interesting and controversial and this adds an additional layer missing from Similo. I will keep it in my game collection for now and I would only play it with close friends in order to avoid any conflict. It is possible that the game gets a downgrade in its rating due to its stereotyping, I´m a bit torn about this to tell you the truth.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Lucky Numbers

Lucky Numbers

2021-12-31

Initial Rating: 5.0 (December 2021)

Michael Schacht is a recognized game in the hobby, but most of his games are not for me. I enjoyed Coloretto for a couple of years and I also liked Don very much, but I got rid of both games as I crave heavier experiences. Due to this, I wasn’t expecting much from Lucky Numbers, and I was right! The game is not for me in any way.

Lucky Numbers´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are ok.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is very obvious and straightforward. The goal is to be the first player to fill his board, if you do this, you score 2 VPs and each other player gets a -1Vp for each empty space they have, then you can play another round. On your turn, you must draw a new tile or you can play a previously discarded card. The tiles have numbers on them, and the restriction is that the numbers have to go from lowest to highest on columns and lines, you can also replace a number in your board with a new tile or you can discard the tile, that´s it. The game is very VERY simple, but it can be (somewhat) fun.

The luck factor is VERY high, and it will decide who wins, no question about this. if you draw the correct tiles you will win. As the game is so simple, luck´s impact is, almost, all there is. Besides that, each player begins the game with different tiles, and, with some setups, this is very disadvantageous, or it can be the other way around. If players began (more or less) with the same weaknesses on the setup, I would rate the game 1 point higher, but I really dislike how a random setup can help a player just because he got lucky, this in very unfair and I cannot stomach it, even in a game this light.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from Lucky Numbers. It is a fast paced, pleasant game, but it is pure luck as its name implies, the decisions needed to play the game are very obvious, you can play it almost in automatic. My desire to play it again is very low! I would rate it 1 point better if the luck factor wasn’t so high during the setup. I think Lucky Numbers could be a good family game.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Noctiluca

Noctiluca

2021-12-31

Initial Rating: 5.0 (December 2021)

Shem Phillips is a great and prolific designer, no question about it, however, I believe I have never really liked or kept one of his designs, Noctiluca wasn’t the exception. After I played it, I can say the game is fun to play and I could play it again if requested but is not a game for me.

Noctiluca´s rules are very easy; you can teach them under 2 minutes. Playtime is very variable; it depends on the number of players and their AP level. With 4 players it can easily exceed the 60-minute mark, too much for such a simple game.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. The board with the dice looks gorgeous though.

The theme is pasted on, still I dislike the idea of capturing some sea organisms to use for our benefit (I know humans do this all the time, but I still dislike it). In any case, you don’t feel the theme anywhere in the game, the game could very well be abstract.

Gameplay was better than expected. The goal is to be the player with most VPs at the end. You earn VPs by creating potions. There are 3 kind of potions and there is a majority scoring for each one, players also have a secret color. On your turn you must use a pawn in the board and then select a direction and number to pick up the dice in that line. For example, you can place your pawn and in the same line there are several 2s, so if you say 2 you pick up all 2 dice and place them on your cards. If you take more dice than needed, you must pass them to your opponents. The idea is to fill as many potions as possible, of the correct color. Gameplay is fun and the decisions need to play the game are easy to process HOWEVER, the game really creates a lot of AP on players, not because the decisions themselves are hard (they are easy) but because there are many options to peruse. When you use a pawn, you are selecting possible 2 directions and then you need to say a number, so right there, there are 12 possible outcomes in each pawn space and there are several of them. The best option isn’t readily available, but players will look for it, thus the AP. I guess some players will be faster than others fulfilling this task, but Noctiluca created AP even in players who are usually very fast. I haven’t seen this anywhere before. If players are really slow, they will, for sure, find the best option every turn, which is very optimal, but very boring.

The luck factor is high. There is luck of the draw with the cards, even though there are 4 draw piles, sometimes you don’t find what you need and there isn’t much you can do about this. There are, for sure, inequalities here that will reward/hinder a player just because. There is also luck with the dice, but that doesn’t bother me as they are rolled in each round. Also, there is the possibility of king making if players don’t play at the same attention level, if a player constantly gives up dice to his opponents that will benefit a player more than others but if players play at their best the game becomes very slow, so this is catch-22 situation.

Best with 2 players. In this configuration the AP is minimized while at the same time you have some room for strategic play. I would play, at most, with 3 players though.

Bottom line, Noctiluca is a novel and fun game, it is still not a game for me as its decisions aren’t hard to process (they are very light), players always know what they want and need but the answers are just hidden in plain sight. Incredibly, the game really induces a lot of AP, even in usually fast players. The luck factor is high and uncontrollable with 4 players, with less players you do have room for clever play. The game is mainly tactical, your planning room is very limited by the luck of the cards and the game situation. With 2 players, the game becomes more strategic. I feel the game is light enough to be over in 15-20 minutes BUT Noctiluca practically requires players to AP, this is novel as well (at least in my experience). I think the game could be great with the family or for casual play. I could play it again if requested but I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 4.0
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Board Game: Too Many Bones

Too Many Bones

2021-11-14

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Too Many Bones was very high, furthermore as the game is (again) on KS right now so I was going to buy everything for it. After I played it, I can say it is a good game and its reputation is well deserved, still, it is not a game I want to play often so I won´t be participating on the KS after all, besides, it is ultra-expensive to have everything for the game.

Too Many Bones´ rules aren’t very complex, but there are many concepts to teach. You can teach the game under 16 minutes with examples and also the powers of each character. Playtime is very variable, but it is way too long for me. I think playtime is around 3 and a half hours but this time will be decreased once players are familiar with all the powers and keywords. Still 3 hours is way too long for me.

The game´s components are amazing, the custom dice are very cool, the enemies are represented by poker chips which are great, the player boards are very good. Everything is high quality. The art is also great! The game is, perhaps, overproduced, but it looks and feels great. You can tell the designers and developers really poured their heart here.

The theme is there and the game is very thematic with all the custom dice and powers. There are several characters, each one with unique components and play style.

Gameplay is very fun and interesting. The game is fully cooperative and there are scenarios to try (I also think there is a campaign but I´m not sure as I wasn´t the one who read the rules) and each scenario has a goal. We played one in which we had to defeat a big baddie. Along the way we must defeat lots (LOTS) of enemies. When you fight, the initiative for the players is assigned randomly (with a dice) and for the enemies it is preset. The battle develops on a tactical board. Each enemy has different abilities and they are trying to kill you (obviously). You fight with dice (obviously) and there are TONS of dice and abilities so, at first at least, the game flows very slowly as you analyze the enemy´s and your own capabilities. During the game you can level up by acquiring new skills, this means, more likely, you acquired new dice and this is awesome. To summarize, gameplay is very fun but the decisions needed to play the game are rather obvious (but still fun), after a while it becomes too repetitive for me as the game is so long. I just wish it was shorter, still, Too Many Bones offers solid gameplay. The game´s complexity arises from the amount of rules and options, but the decisions themselves (who to attack, how to attack, which skill to acquire) are rather obvious.

Rolling dice is fun and the game is all about rolling dice. However, these days, I´m drifting away from this kind of game (RPG-like games) , but Too Many Bones is very compelling, it is among the best of the genre without a doubt.

The luck factor is high in many levels, when you roll your dice, which enemies you encounter, the loot cards, the encounter cards, but I don’t mind about this in a cooperative game.

Best with 3 fast players.

Bottom line, Too Many Bones is an excellent game in many respects, it has great theme, great components and great gameplay (but it is a bit too repetitive and long for me), still, it is not a game I would like to play often as that would take too much effort and also take time from games that I enjoy more. Having said that, I still feel the pull of the game, I would LOVE to own it all but I must resist. These days I´m trying to get my collection under control and, honestly, there is too much content in the whole Too Many Bones system so I don´t have enough life left to play all this content, or to play all the games I already have for that matter (or to read all the books I already purchased) so I must prioritize. Due to this, I already sold my copy of Too Many Bones but I would play it again if requested and I can play it with the friend I sold the game to. Also, I already have lots of cooperative games I wish to explore, I have all the content for Robinson Crusoe and Sentinels of the Multiverse and I enjoy both games more than Too Many Bones. I also have lots of Pathfinder to play and Apocrypha as well so buying too Many Bones would be almost irresponsible. There is just not enough time to properly enjoy the game and I want to be more of a gamer than a collector. Having wrote what I wrote, I still get the game reputation and it is well deserved. Without a doubt Too Many Bones is among the best games in its genre. With more plays, its rating could probably go up which would present an issue for me, because then I would have to buy it again .

Current Rating: 6.0

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Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Coalition

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Coalition

2021-11-21

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me, so I wasn’t expecting much from Star Realms: Command Deck – The Coalition and I still don´t like the whole game system, but these Command Deck expansions really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Coalition´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it takes less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (blue-red in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speeds the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced (but the lost fleet deck seems MUCH weaker than any other).

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – The Coalition is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Alma Mater

Alma Mater

2021-11-21

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Alma Matter was very high, mainly due to Flaminia Brasini and Virginio Gigli names (aside from Acchittocca, I don´t recognize the other designers but I should after seeing what they have designed). After I played it, I can say I really enjoyed the game and it is a keeper for me!

Alma Mater´s rules aren’t very complex, but the game isn’t a casual one. You can probably explain the rules under 11 minutes. Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game´s components are from ok to good and they work perfectly. The book tokens are great. The art is also from ok to good. The graphic design works perfectly IMO.

The theme is novel and cool, and some components and the art support it, but I didn´t feel it very much in the game (this doesn’t bother me at all though, mechanisms are much more important to me than theme).

Gameplay offers very interesting decisions and things to explore. The game structure is very easy to teach and grasp. There are 6 rounds, each round has 3 phases. The last 2 phases are a maintenance phase and the income phase. The first phase is the meaty one, the action phase. There are only 10 action spaces, so the game is not complex rules wise, but you do need to think many things in the game, the decisions are not obvious, and I love this. With the actions you can get new students (each one with different abilities and icons), you can get new professors (very powerful cards), you can get VPs, you can acquire money and or books or you can advance in the investigation track to gain bonuses and Vps). At the beginning of the game, you will get a powerful chancellor and the rest become public objectives. The books themselves are valued by the investigation track and that´s great! The interaction of these actions among themselves and with the objectives offer a good strategy game and I like it a lot!

The reply value is very high. There is a variable setup in which some professors will not play, and the chancellors will also change from game to game. There is also an expansion, but it is very expensive (I must have it nonetheless). With the expansion the game becomes much more replayable.

The luck factor is very low, so you can plan your whole strategy from the beginning (I love this). There is luck in the setup phase with the chancellor cards, but I hope they are (more or less) balanced. IN any case you decide your turn order with some reward cards, so each player will begin with different resources (I love this).

Bottom line, I was expecting good things form Alma Mater and the game delivered. Alma Mater offers very interesting and tense decisions with a novel theme. The luck factor is very low. It is a good euro game and a keeper for me. I cannot wait to play it again.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Muse

Muse

2021-11-21

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

I don´t remember why I bought Muse. As is usual from me, I didn´t know anything about the game but after I played it, I can say it is a fun party game and it is probably a keeper for me.

Muse´s rules are very simple; you can explain them under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are very good, they are cards with GREAT Dixit-like art and I love it. Even the clue cards have great art.

Gameplay is very fun with the correct game group. I just found out that Muse can be played cooperatively but I prefer to play it competitively (but it is great to have the option). Muse in played in teams (at least in the competitive mode). One team will draw some art cards and 2 clue cards (I don´t remember the name of the cards, I didn´t read the rules), then the team must select a card and a clue. The clue is a constraint, forcing one member of the other team to use only concepts or words in that category (I LOVE this, it is very novel to me). After the selections are done, one member from the opposing team must say a clue related to the card he was given and if his teammates guess it, they win the point. First team to 5 points wins the game. I´m not sure if I explained the game clearly lol, but in summary, one member of the team must give a clue to his teammates in hopes of guessing the correct card. Obviously the cards have lots of elements and lend themselves to many interpretations. Gameplay is reminiscent of Dixit (a game I love) and Codenames (another game I love) but it is different enough for me to keep it among my game collection, I think it is pretty fun (and gorgeous).

Best with 6 players, but it is very good with 4 as well.

The replay value is high, but this kind of game is played a lot, so I feel an expansion is a must have (I already bought it).

There is a decent amount luck with the clue cards and I dislike this. In our game most teams failed their turn BUT some clues are much easier than others. I guess this is mitigated a bit by drawing 2 cards, but still, it bothers me a bit. Also, the clue cards lend themselves to arguing adding to the playtime.

Bottom line, Muse surprised me and it is a fun and clever party game. It has some Dixit elements and some Codename elements, but it is its own game and I´m very happy to own it. The art of the cards is excellent. I will now begin the hunt for the promo cards I still don’t have. I will probably keep it forever in my game collection as I enjoy this kind of game a lot.

Current Rating: 7.0

Jgoyes´ Awards:

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From gallery of jgoyes



Board Game: Muse: Dice Tower 2018 Kickstarter Promo Pack

Muse: Dice Tower 2018 Kickstarter Promo Pack

2021-11-21

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

As I really like Muse, it is no wonder I also like its expansions.

Muse: Dice Tower 2018 Kickstarter Promo Pack is a great addition to the game. Generally, only art cards are added to the game, but there are also clue cards in this expansion (perhaps I´m not saying the name correctly) which increase replayability a lot.

Both kind of cards are very welcome, besides, the art of the cards (all 5 of them) is amazingly good and I love it.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Muse: Factory Promo Card

Muse: Factory Promo Card

2021-11-22

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

As I really like Muse, it is no wonder I also like its expansions.

Muse: Factory Promo Card is only a card (obviously) but it is a gorgeous card that feature a Muse production line, neat. I was a bit confused why I got this card twice, but after checking, it was also offered by the Dice Tower in one on their KS so I bought it twice not realizing I was buying the same card . This should be clearer or I would have liked a completely new card instead of an old one from the Dice Tower KS, but this is a minor issue.

I´m happy to own the card but this is not an essential purchase by any stretch of the imagination.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Muse: Game Boy Geek Season 8 Kickstarter Promo Card

Muse: Game Boy Geek Season 8 Kickstarter Promo Card

2021-11-22

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

As I really like Muse, it is no wonder I also like its expansions.

Muse: Game Boy Geek Season 8 Kickstarter Promo Card is a welcome addition to the game. It is only 1 card, but I dig its art. I LOVE it is a new card for the game and not an old rehash.

I´m happy to own the card but this is not an essential purchase by any stretch of the imagination.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: IOTA

IOTA

2021-11-22

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

I don´t remember why I bought IOTA, but I played it this month and it was better than expected, still, it is not a game for me but it could be a good introductory game. I would have liked it much more 5 years ago.

IOTA´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are ok. The tin box is cute, but I cannot sleeve the cards AND keep the cards in the box which always bothers me.

There is no theme, the game is pure abstract.

Gameplay is very reminiscent of Qwirkle, but IOTA is a harder game to play as it adds new things to consider. On your turn you can play or add to a sequence of cards in the table and then you score. IOTA has sequences by number, shapes or colors so it is considerably harder than Qwirkle. When you play the 4th card in a sequence you can double your score, so if you do this twice in a turn, you quadruple your score. This sounds great on paper, but on practice it doesn’t work very well due to the luck factor, a random draw can give you the game.

IOTA needs a big table to play.

Best with 2 players, with more, the luck factor increases a lot, and the game becomes very tactical.

The luck factor is high, and I think it decides who wins. Clever play is still possible but, as there is only 1 card of each criterion, if you draw the correct card, you can score much more than your opponent.

Bottom line, IOTA is a pleasant game. It is also cheap, small, and portable, but it is not a game for me. It bothers me, a lot, that I cannot sleeve the cards and keep using the tin and I feel the luck factor is very high and there is no way to control it. Clever play is still important, but luck can be much more important in the game. I could play it again if requested, but I will sell my copy ASAP. Qwirkle is the better game IMO as, both games are very simple, but IOTA makes decisions harder without really adding any extra fun so, in this case, I prefer the simpler game. If I’m aiming for a deeper game, I wouldn’t choose a harder Qwirkle variant, I would choose a heavy euro game. IOTA could be a good game to introduce new gamers to our hobby.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Mage Wars: Dice Tower 2014 funding campaign promo card set

Mage Wars: Dice Tower 2014 funding campaign promo card set

2021-11-23

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

Mage Wars was once the best game of 2012 for me and, even though I have drifted away from the genre, I still love it. It is the best of its genre for me, and I won´t ever sell it. Due to this, I was excited to play with this new (to me) promo expansion.

The expansion comes with only 8 cards and, I think, these cards were later released in expansions which is great IMO, but I´m happy to own it.

The art of the cards is excellent and the cards themselves are fun to play.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I currently give to the base game.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Fort

Fort

2021-11-23

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

Even though Fort is a well know game here on BGG, my desire to play it wasn’t very high, still, a friend read the rules, so we played it and, at first, I was pleasantly surprised, but then the game wasn’t as cool as the game explanation promised. Fort is an ok game but it is not a game for me.

Fort´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 75 minutes.

The game´s components are very good and the art´s style is excellent

The theme is fun and novel, but I didn´t really feel it through the game.

Fort seemed like a great game at first. I do love games in the Glory to Rome vein but, at the end, the game let me down. Gameplay is fast paced, but the decisions needed to play the game are rather straightforward. On your turn, you must play a card for an effect, and you can amplify the effect by playing even more cards of the same suit, then your opponents can follow you by playing a card from the same suit. The action they do is different from the one you did which is novel. After this, you must play to the yard any card you didn’t play, the yard is a space from which opponents can acquire cards, so you can lose cards by not playing them. The concept is very intriguing and novel, and I liked it a lot at first. The idea is to get resources to build the forts, each fort costs more but each one gives increasingly higher VPs. There are other ways to earn VPs like winning VPs from a card effect, but, from my limited perspective, nothing beats constructing Forts (the clue is in the name of the game ). To summarize, I feel there are many ways to gain VPs in Fort but building Forts is the only reliable one, the other paths depend too much on lucky draws or on critical components that can be stolen.

Best with 3 players.

The luck factor is high. If you build your last Fort before any other player, you will get the Macaroni card that gives you extra VPs, but players achieve this mostly by luck. The game has a lot of chaos and luck of the draw, so you cannot really plan to get this card first (you can certainly plan for it, but your level of confidence isn’t very high), so giving it to the first player who achieves it is unfair in my book (it should be given to all players that achieved it in the same round and even here there is too much randomness). The yard concept is great, but you can lose some critical cards just because you drew them at the wrong time, so, at the end, I kind of dislike it. When you acquire cards, you can acquire one from the deck, so this is pure luck if the card is any good or not. There is uncontrollable luck everywhere in the game.

I´m worried that the power level of some cards is too much. I have only played the game once, but some cards really did much more than any other, and some cards cannot be followed. For now, I think the cards are not well balanced as it is pure luck if you get a good card or not.

Another minor negative for me, not following someone doesn’t give you any perk whatsoever. In Glory to Rome (and in another games) when you waste the opportunity to follow someone you get a minor reward. It´s ok that Fort doesn’t have this as it is its own game, but I do miss it.

Bottom line, Fort can be a fun game, but it is not a game for me. There are lots of things to like in Fort, but the decisions needed to play the game are rather obvious and the luck factor is through the roof, and it bothers me. There isn’t much tension in the game, so it becomes repetitive and boring for me. My desire to play the game again is low. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

2021-11-23

Initial Rating: 7.0 (November 2021)

I love The Crew, it is, by far, the best trick taking game out there and I, generally, don’t enjoy trick taking games (in fact, I almost didn´t play The Crew in the first place) so I was very keen to try the new iteration in the series. After I played The Crew: Mission Deep Sea, I can say it is a keeper for sure and it is even better than the original game.

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea´s rules are very easy to teach you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is very variable, but you can play a scenario in less than 10 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. They aren’t very exciting, but they just work.

The theme is sea exploration which is much less interesting to me than space exploration, however, in both games the theme is pasted on and only one of my friends wanted to read what is happening in each scenario, most of us just don´t care.

Gameplay is exactly like The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine (and very similar to most trick taking games). Players are playing cooperatively (which was a stroke of genius from the designer) and the game is played by scenarios. Each scenario has a different task or tasks to complete. So far, both The Crew games are exactly the same, the difference is that in The Crew: Mission Deep Sea the tasks are now radically different, they are more varied and fun IMO, even if you are repeating the same mission the tasks will be very different as now they aren't fix, they are rated by difficulty. Still, I love the original game and I´m still trying to play all the scenarios, but the added replay value in this new game is great (although some friends do prefer the consistency of playing the same exact task in each scenario).

As I wrote in The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, gameplay is very fun, engaging and addictive which is great. The decisions needed to play the game are interesting and if you make a mistake, you can reset and play again (and again).

There is some luck in the game, but I don’t mind it in cooperative games and the luck factor keeps things interesting!

Bottom line, The Crew: Mission Deep Sea is a hit with me and both games have a spot in my game collection. I think Mission Deep Sea is a bit better than the previous game, but really, both games are very similar so if you like one you will like the other. I cannot wait to play the game again .

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Claim 2

Claim 2

2021-11-23

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

I played Claim last month and it was an enjoyable experience, so I was sure Claim 2 was going to be even better, but that wasn’t the case. I´m still not 100% sure why this is the case, but we didn’t enjoy it as much as expected.

Claim 2´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are just cards. The art is excellent.

The theme is (mostly) pasted on.

Gameplay is very simple. The goal of the game is to win the majority in enough races to win the game, as there are 5 races you need to win 3 races to win the game and you do this by simple having more cards in your score pile, for the relevant races, than your opponent. The game has the nucleus of most trick taking games, that is, a player plays any card he wants, and the other player HAVE to follow with the same suit (in this case race) and the highest card wins the trick, rinse and repeat, however, the game adds some clever twists. Claim 2 is divided in 2 phases; in the first phase each player is trying to win the best cards as they’re going to be the deck for the second phase (very clever) and the actual scoring occurs in the second phase and (obviously) each race has a special ability or power. Claim 2 is easily expandable (obviously as well) and it currently haves lots of expansions to try and mix (I really like this). The game offers clever decisions when you factor the abilities of the races and I´m liking it.

I´m sad to report that in this iteration of the game, we had much less fun. I´m not 100% sure why, but the races´ powers seem less interesting here. The interaction between the Gnomes-Giants is way less interesting than their Knight-Goblin counterpart and in general I enjoyed much more the original races´ powers.

The luck factor is high, but skill and memory play an important role in the game as well. In the first phase, when a player wins a card, the opponent wins a face down card and that card can be much better than the one in contention and it is unknown to your opponent, so many times it´s much better to lose the trick. Having said that, the luck factor doesn’t bother me at all in a game this simple and fast and again, skill plays an important role in the game as well.

The replay factor seems high with the expansions, and I absolutely LOVE that you can simply replace a race and the game changes considerably, this is a staple of many favorite games of mine and I do want to mix and match Claim races.

Bottom line, I was expecting more from Claim 2. I´m not sure what happened in this game as I had so much fun with the first Claim. I played Claim 2 with my SO and, as she didn’t like it, I got rid of the entire game system. My desire to play the game again is high, but I no longer own it so I will have to rely on some friends. Claim 2 has easy decisions but they are fun and memory plays a huge element in the game (I enjoy this). Claim 2 is a worse game than Claim IMO BUT I do think both games are better together by mixing races.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Anachrony: The Secret Cabal 2019 Promo Cards

Anachrony: The Secret Cabal 2019 Promo Cards

2021-11-23

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

Anachrony is a great game and I enjoy it more with each play, so it is only natural that I also enjoy it´s promos and expansions.

Anachrony: The Secret Cabal 2019 Promo Cards adds only 2 super projects to the mix, but they are welcome, if only for the added variability.

I love Anachrony but I still feel I need to play it much more to really explore it, so, I´m not sure about the power levels of these super projects. For now, the Secret Societies project seems great as it fits my style of play perfectly (I always wake up more than 3 workers of the same type). The other super project (Project Cabal) seems much less useful as it saves you a resource every time you use a World Council action, but you cannot use these actions if there are available spaces under the relevant action, so it seems much less useful to me (but I could be wrong).

I´m happy to own them and I will always play with them.

On the bad side, when all the super projects are face down, you can tell apart these 2 super projects apart as they have a slightly different colored back. This is a minor issue, but it bothers me.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Anachrony: The Board Game Spotlight Promos

Anachrony: The Board Game Spotlight Promos

2021-11-24

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

Anachrony is a great game and I enjoy it more with each play, so it is only natural that I also enjoy it´s promos and expansions.

Anachrony: The Board Game Spotlight Promos adds only 2 super projects to the mix, but they are welcome, if only for the added variability.

I love Anachrony but I still feel I need to play it much more to really explore it, so, I´m not sure about the power levels of these super projects. For now, I can only speak about the one I played (Self Contained Paradise). It seems very powerful as you will get tons of water due to it, but it is much more useful if you can build it early rather than later. The other super project needs an expansion I have not played it yet, and it has to do something with fracture devices (which sounds very cool). I´m very keen to try it soon.

I´m happy to own them and I will always play with them as I plan to play with the expansion in my next game.

On the bad side, when all the super projects are face down, you can tell apart these 2 super projects apart as they have a slightly different colored back. This is a minor issue, but it bothers me.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Anachrony: Doomsday Enhancement Pack

Anachrony: Doomsday Enhancement Pack

2021-11-24

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

Anachrony is a great game and I enjoy it more with each play, so it is only natural that I also enjoy it´s promos and expansions.

Anachrony: Doomsday Enhancement Pack adds new experiment cards for the Doomsday module. I just played with the Doomsday module for the first time, and, in general terms, I enjoyed it a lot. The only thing I disliked is that you cannot prevent the cataclysm, or you cannot advance the cataclysm if you have the wrong faction. I would have loved for all the factions to do what they wished and not have a preset path (even if unthematic). Having said that, the new cards are very welcome, and I don´t think I will ever play without them if I play with the Doomsday module.

These experiment cards are not necessary in any way, but it is nice to have them (and for me, having all promos for the game is like is a must) and they add to the replay value of the game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Anachrony: Promo Pack

Anachrony: Promo Pack

2021-11-24

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

Anachrony is a great game and I enjoy it more with each play, so it is only natural that I also enjoy it´s promos and expansions.

I acquired Anachrony: Promo Pack in the latest KS BUT I already had all this content , I just didn’t realize it at the time, and what´s worse, I paid a LOT for these promos before they were repackaged here. Due to this I have everything twice, but this is on me as I purchase a lot of games without doing any research whatsoever.

I already wrote my comment under each single entry, and I have yet to play Anachrony: The Sentry Post which I forgot to include in my last game.

The rating of this item is the average of its contents.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Anachrony: Infinity Box

Anachrony: Infinity Box

2021-11-24

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

I love Anachrony, so having this deluxe box was a must for me. The Anachrony: Infinity Box comes with all the content for the game, and I already wrote under each BGG entry what I think about that particular item. For now, I just want to write about the box itself.

I have purchased a lot of deluxe editions over the years, but this one is, by far, the best storage solution I have ever seen. It is so complete that the box itself comes with a manual on how to store everything, this had so much information that when I opened, I was overwhelmed as I hate to organize things, so I had to enlist the help of some friends (I would have never tackled this by myself) . It took us more than 1 hour to fully organize all the content, but everything has its place.

Compared to other big boxes I have purchased (Terraforming Mars Big Box and Scythe Legendary Box (which is almost a joke) come to mind) this one is on a whole new level and I´m very glad to own it. The box itself is of very high quality.

The setup and tear down of the game is high, perhaps, with the trays, it can speed up a bit.

Its rating is the average of its contents.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Nine Tiles Panic

Nine Tiles Panic

2021-11-24

Initial rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Nine Tiles Panic was rather low but a friend read the rules and we played it. After having done so, I can say the game pleasantly surprised me and I had fun playing it!

Nine Tiles Panic´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are good and the art is cute and very good as well.

The theme is pasted on, the game is mostly an abstract game.

Gameplay is very fun and quick paced. The goal is to be the first player to reach a certain VP number (it depends on the number of players). Each round, there will be 3 rules that give VPs and you have to, in real time, accommodate your nine tiles in a way that maximize the VPs form the cards. It is a frantic race to build first and it is a lot of fun.

The luck factor is almost nonexistent. Every turn a random card will appear, but it affects all players the same way, so there is no luck on the game.

Best with 5 players.

The replay value seems very high, but I´m worried that the game can become repetitive.

Bottom line, Nine Tiles Panic surprised me. I think it is a great game for the family or for causal play. It is a fun and quick game, and, with more plays, its rating will probably increase, time will tell. My desire to play the game again is high.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Similo

Similo

2021-11-26

Initial Rating: 3.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Similo was practically zero. I thought it was another game in the line of StoryLine: Scary Tales, a game I dislike, however, this month I got to play it and I was pleasantly surprised. Besides, I respect a lot designers Martino Chiacchiera and Pierluca Zizzi but I didn’t realize at the time that they designed Similo.

Similo´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 15 minutes.

The game´s comopents are ok, they are just cards. The art of the cards is very good though.

There is no theme (but that´s ok and it doesn't bother me). There are several decks that have a unique theme, meaning, each deck has art relevant to the theme, but that´s not thematic by itself.

Gameplay is very fast paced and interesting. Similo is a cooperative deduction game in the vein of Mysterium but much simpler. The goal is to identify a card among several and there is a clue giver. This player plays cards and he plays them either horizontally or vertically, that means that the relevant card is different or similar in some respect to the played card, then the other players can discuss and then they select the cards to discard, if they are correct the game continues until only one card remains, if they are wrong and discard the relevant card, all players lose the game. The concept is very simple, but I enjoy it as I like deduction games.

As many games of its kind, I think the clue giver enjoys the game more than the other players, but, as the game is so short, players can play several games in a row changing the clue giver.

There are several Similo games bundled together under the same entry on BGG. I guess that´s because the game´s mechanisms are the same over all versions, but the art and theme is different. So far I have played Fables and Animals but there are at least 4 other Similo decks.

The luck factor isn’t very high, and, in any case, it doesn’t bother me in cooperative games.

Similo is the reimplementation of a game called Hall of Fame from the same designers, but Similo has updated art, still, the difference in ranking for these games is abysmal, Similo is, as of today, 1561 while Hall of fame is 14002.

I´m not sure about the replay value of the game, even if players change the deck, the game feels exactly the same. I know you can mix decks and that´s interesting to me.

Bottom line, Similo was a pleasant surprise. It is a fast cooperative deduction game and I like those. I already sold my copies of Similo, but only because I thought the game was similar to a game I dislike (Storylines). I think I will purchase all 6 decks as I find the game is great to introduce new gamers to our hobby (it is also a great family game) and I plan to bring it to our public game gatherings. I´m worried about the replay value, I feel the game can become repetitive soon, time will tell.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Goldland

Goldland

2021-11-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

I acquired Goldland just on the name of its designer (Wolfgang Kramer), but I wasn’t expecting much from it. After I played the game, I can say it is a good game, but it is not a game for me (I dislike most Tile Laying games).

Goldland’s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 75 minutes.

The game´s components are from ok to good. Goldland is an old game (2002), but the tiles are very well done, and they work perfectly. The art is also ok by today standards.

The theme is ok, nothing exciting to me though but theme is always secondary to me.

Gameplay was better than expected. The goal is to be the player with the most VPs at the end (nothing new here), and there are several ways to acquire VPs, however, if you manage to reach El Dorado, you will earn VPs for each remaining turn and if you are among the first players, you will also get a bonus so this is a priority (but not a must). On your turn, you move your character, you can move it as many spaces as indicated in your backpack, if you have lots of resources and tools you will move slower than if you have few items in you backpack. This mechanism is great and novel (I guess) in 2002. You can also explore (put a new tile in the game) or you can acquire equipment in a tile you can reach. To enter some tiles, you need the correct equipment, sometimes you have to pay it, other times just having it is enough. All things considered, Goldland offers a solid gameplay and, even though there is a high luck factor, it pays to be prepared, so skillful play matters. Having said that, the decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard to process. At the end of the game, there is also a majority scoring of built tents.

There are some tiles what feature a puma (I believe) and you can fulfill this quest by having a gun. Several players at the table (including me) disliked this.

The luck factor is high with the tiles you draw, but once the tiles are played, the luck factor is low. Another issue, it seems the first players have an advantage as they can make the first explorations and make harder the path for the other players.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Goldland, but only because I wasn´t expecting much from it. Goldland features Tile Laying and I dislike most games in which it features as one of the main mechanisms. Also, I prefer heavier games, but Goldland is a solid game and the backpack/movement mechanism is great and novel. The luck factor bothers me. I will sell my copy of the game, but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Exiled Legends

Exiled Legends
2021-11-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

I don’t remember why I bought Exiled Legends, but after I played it, I can say I heavily dislike the game and I will sell it ASAP.

Exiled Legends´ rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes. The rulebook isn’t very good. Playtime is very variable. With the full complement of players, the game can exceed the 2 hour mark, which is too long for this kind of game.

The game´s components are ok; they are mostly cards. The art is excellent and, by far, it is the best feature of the game.

The theme is generic fantasy; however, you don’t feel the theme in the gameplay, it is mostly supported by the amazing art. I do like the name of the game.

First of all, I strongly feel Exiled Legends is a 2 player only game, but I played it at 5 which was awful in several ways. The game took a long time to finish and players ganged up on a single player eliminating him from the game, several times a champion was eliminated without playing once. Both issues would be resolved if you play at 2 players, however, I also feel the factions are not balanced as some of them are much more powerful than others (for example, a faction can take a WHOLE extra turn if the roll of the dice wills it while another faction with the exact same roll can do a measly +1 damage, this is ridiculous). Gameplay isn’t very interesting, but the game does have good ideas in it, it´s the execution that is lacking. The idea is to be the last player standing. Each player has a deck that can be preconstructed, with this deck you will always have a champion and some supports. Each card has a different power if it plays as champion or as support (which is cool). Once you run out of cards, you must play with your legend and once it is defeated you are out of the game. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious and kingmaking is very prevalent in a game of more than 2 players (I hate this).

The luck factor is through the roof. The cards appear at random, but you created your deck, so you know what is possible, however, many effects require a die. There are also some cards that, at random, will benefit a faction for the whole turn, this idea is awful because it is very unfair and there is no way to avoid it. I really dislike this mechanism, it only adds unfairness to the game, and it doesn’t add anything fun or useful to the game, I don’t understand why it exists.

Bottom line, Exiled Legends has a cool name and amazingly good art, everything else is flawed in some way. The game is playable ONLY at 2 players IMO, other than that it becomes very unfair, very unbalanced, very random and it lends itself to Kingmaking. The power level of the cards is also all over the place, which is very unfair. Some factions are, clearly, more powerful than others. The game lends itself to gang on a player and/or to kingmaking (I hate this). I concede Exiled Legends has some good ideas, but I didn’t enjoy it at all (nor did any of my friends). My desire to play it again is very low. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Cthulhu Fluxx

Cthulhu Fluxx

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 3.0 (November 2021)

I´m not a fan of the Fluxx series of games, but, for some reason, I bought a lot of them in the past so I must play them before I get rid of them (although I will change this rule soon). I wasn’t expecting Cthulhu Fluxx to be any good and my expectation was met. It´s just Fluxx with another theme (so it´s a bad game), BUT, Cthulhu Fluxx is perhaps the best Fluxx game I have ever played. I think it has to do with the theme (which I love) but there are some fun cards as well.

Cthulhu Fluxx ´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is very variable, it can end before all players had a turn or it can go up to 1 hour if things go badly.

The game´s components are ok as is the art.

Gameplay remains exactly the same as in regular Fluxx and it´s very obvious and luck prone. Fluxx is a game about changing rules and all players have to do is to follow the current rules to the letter. The decisions needed to play the game are painfully easy. Cthulhu Fluxx is almost not a game as many times you don´t have any choice whatsoever, other times (most times), the better choice is glaringly obvious. Cthulhu Fluxx has many of the same rule cards as the base game, the keeper and goals cards are different, but both feel exactly the same when you play them. There are also (fun and thematic) creepers which is a great addition to the system IMO, but this edition of the game has also an ungoal (just like Zombie Fluxx) and a metarule to allow a special win which is better than normal. The keepers are better IMO because several have additional (and thematic) rules. To summarize, gameplay remains the same, but I enjoyed it more due to the theme and the text on the keepers.

Best with 2 players as in this configuration you have the most control.

Bottom line, Cthulhu Fluxx is just like any other Fluxx game, but theme resonates with me, that coupled with the text on the keepers makes this the best Fluxx iteration ever. Having said that, it is still Fluxx and I don’t enjoy it. The game sells like crazy, but I´m not the target for this game. I consider it a bad game and I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Monikers

Monikers

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 8.0 (November 2021)

A friend brought Monikers to our game gathering and he told me it was like Time´s Up! As I love Time´s up! (a game currently in my Top Ten games of all time) I was very keen to play Monikers and after I did, I can say it is a fun game but Time´s Up! is the better game for me.

Moniker´s rules are very easy to teach you can explain the first phase under 30 seconds or the whole game under 75 seconds. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, there are just cards and the cards have a description which is cool.

There is no theme, but it is a fun party game.

Gameply is VERY similar to Time´s Up! Players play in teams and the goal is to be the team with most points at the end. Players play in timed phases; a player reads the card and tries to communicate the card to his teammates without saying the word itself. In the second round you can only use 1 word and in the 3rd round you can do only charades. It is a fun party game

If Monikers were a carbon copy of Time´s Up! I would like it more. There are some changes to the rules like different allowed time per turn (I´m indifferent toward this change but as the time is longer now, good players can do much more which is bad overall), there is only one name per card instead of Time´s Up! two (I somewhat dislike this change as the game has much less content) but they explain the tittle in the body of the card, in round 2 and 3, if someone makes a mistake guessing it doesn’t matter (I hate this change), now you can pass in the first round (I dislike this change) and now cards have different VPs, if the card is deemed to be easy it can score 1 VP, it the card is deemed to be difficult it can score up to 4 VPs (this change kills the game for me). In every instance I prefer Time´s Up! over Monikers.

About this last change, I hate it, I absolutely hate it because it introduces a lot of uncontrollable luck and unfairness. I could understand it for the first phase only as cards are still unknown, but it is still unfair, but in the second and third round, cards are known and they are equally difficult, so it is unfair that a team get 3 cards and score 3 VPs while the other team gets only 1 card BUT STILL score more than the previous team. I absolutely hate this and this is the whole reason I would never buy Monikers. Besides, this qualification of card´s difficulty is very subjective. A hard ford me, could be a very easy card for you and the other way around. The more I think about this the less I like the game.

The replay value is high, but lower than Time’s Up! As each card has a single name on it.

Bottom line, Monikers is a good party game, but it is an unfair one, so I don’t enjoy it as much as Time´s Up! I´m still giving it a high rating because the original game is that good, but Monikers is not a game for me. I dislike that players get unlimited guesses, this takes a lot from the fun for me. Worst of all, the team that performed better should win the game 100% of the times (it doesn’t matter that this is a party game) but that doesn’t necessarily happen. In our game, the player who got less cards won the game just because they were lucky to win higher VP count cards in the second and third round. I hate this and I cannot stomach under any circumstances as that´s very unfair. wins the game as this is a deal breaker for me. I could play the game again if requested but I won’t ever buy it (while I´m still on the hunt for the more esoteric Time´s Up editions out there). Having said that, I can still recommended Monikers as a fun party game, it´s just not a game for me due to the unfairness in the game

Current Rating: 6.0



Board Game: Kittin

Kittin

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

I don’t remember why I bought Kittin or how it entered my game collection, but, as it looked easy and quick to play, I decided to play it this month. After I played it I can say Kittin is a harmless game, but it can be fun with the right crowd (it is still not a game for me).

Kittin´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 10 minutes (which is great).

The game´s components are gorgeous, the cat meeples look great on the table. The art is also very good.

There is no theme, the game is pure abstract. Cat lovers will like the game a bit more though.

Gameplay is fast paced and fun. A card will be revealed each turn and players race to be the first to complete the pattern showed in the card, this is done by stacking cats. The first player who has 3 VPs win, that´s it.

The luck factor is nonexistent.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Kittin is a fun family game, but it is not a game for me. It is too easy to complete the patterns, so good players will utterly destroy lesser players, no question about it. Of course,In more difficult games this happen as well, but as it takes more time to finish, lesser players like myself at least play a little more before someone completes the pattern AND sometimes the patter is hard enough to give me a fighting chance as the better layer is stumped (this is my only move in Ubongo). In Kittin, I barely had time to begin construction while other players already yelled they were done. I´m not a big fan of pattern recognition but I do enjoy some games in the genre. Kittin is a bare bones and very light game. I prefer "meatier" games like Ubongo or Brick Party (both games are still very light). Kittin is perfect for families with young children. It is a harmless and gorgeous game. I already sold my copy of the game, but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Bears vs Babies

Bears vs Babies

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 3.0 (November 2021)

Since I acquired the game, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. I´m not sure why I bought it as I´m clearly not the target for this kind of game (these days I’m purchasing games in automatic). Other games from this company and designers (Exploding Kittens and probably Throw Throw Burrito) I consider bad games right from the start. Still, they have sold millions of copies I believe so there is market for this kind of game. After I played it, my fears were confirmed, I heavily dislike the game and I will sell it ASAP.

Bears vs Babies´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. The rulebook is awful IMO as it doesn’t present the rules in a coherent order, it doesn´t answer relevant questions AND It changes the rules in the last couple of pages. I guess this can be a good thin in a mass market game, but I don’t learn this way and I dislike it. Playtime is mercifully short, around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards. The art of the cards is good, but not to my liking. The box comes with a fur which is novel at least, but I don’t like it that much.

The theme is bizarre, but I think many people enjoy it. The idea is to defeat armies composed of babies. The humor of the cards works sometimes, but most times they are not for me.

Gameplay is very obvious and straightforward. In your turn you have actions depending on the number of players. You can draw cards, play cards, or taunt an army. When you play a card, you are creating this Frankenstein being from arms, heads torsos and legs. The end result can be funny sometimes. With this monster, the idea is to taunt the babies so you can defeat them (if you have more strength) and add them to your score pile. The twist is that the babies attack all players and after the battle the monstrosity is discarded. The decisions needed to play the game are obvious and luck decides who wins. The only redeeming factor I can think of is that the game has a (tiny) bit of a memory element. When you draw a baby you must place it in its pile, but you have to remember its value.

The luck factor is very high, from the cards you draw to the pile of babies. There is also a decent “take that” factor in the game and I dislike this as well.

Bottom Line, I wasn´t expecting much from Bears vs Babies and my expectation was met, that is, the game offers very little to me. The decisions needed to play the game are obvious, so luck decides who wins. The game becomes repetitive and boring very soon. The other possibility it to “attack” directly or indirectly a player making him lose. I heavily dislike the game and I hope to never play it again. It is a bad game for me, and I will sell it ASAP along its expansion. The art is good though (but not to my tastes) and the humor, mostly, doesn’t work on me. Much worse than Exploding Kittens (which isn’t a good game to begin with). Having said that, it seems the game is a success for the publisher, it´s just not a game for me.

Current Rating: 2.0


Board Game: Continental Express

Continental Express

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

Continental Express was one of my oldest unplayed games. I bought it in 2014 so it took me more than 7 years to finally play it. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but still, Continental Express managed to disappoint me.

Continental Express´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. The rulebook isn’t the best which isn’t good in such a simple game. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components and art are ok.

The theme is pasted on, you don´t feel it at all through the game.

Gameplay is very straightforward; you don’t have much to think and the decisions are rather obvious. On your turn you must take a card from 9 available, the first cards are free, but the others cost $1 or $2, so money will give you flexibility. There are also some events and characters. The goal is to do the most VPs and you do this, mostly, by fulfilling contracts, however, each player has a secret objective. The best move is always readily apparent. The game is very simple and very unfulfilling to me, after all, I waited 7 years to play it lol. To be fair, on 2014 I was much more naïve and my boardgaming tastes weren’t fully developed.

The luck factor is very high. There is a lot of luck of the draw with the cards, but it is (somewhat) controlled by the amount of money you need to pay, however, the game has enough randomness that you can’t plan very well which objective to take, and thus, you cannot plan very well to score additional VPs from your objective. I do feel luck is more important (or equally important) than skillful play in the game. Sometimes you CANNOT score your secret goal due to luck.

The best the game has to offer is that it comes with a promo card for Timeline, a game I actually enjoy .

Bottom line, Continental Express is a miss for me. I was expecting a (somewhat) better game. Continental Express offers very easy decisions in a short play time. The luck factor is very high with the secret goals, it could happen that you cannot fulfill it no matter what and I heavily dislike this. It is a boring game to me. It can be a good family game, or it can help you to introduce new gamers to our hobby. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Space Beans

Space Beans

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

Uwe Rosenberg is one of my, all time, favorite game designers. I still buy all his games as soon as they come up. Since a couple of year ago, I tend to not enjoy his lighter games but I still wanted to play Space Beans. Another important factor is that I loved Bohnanza for several years and it still is a game I respect and recommend (although I no longer have it or enjoy it). Due to this, when I saw Space Beans was the sequel of Bohnanza, my desire to play it was very high. After I finally played it, I was sorely disappointed.

Space Beans´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is very variable but it can take more than 60 minutes which is too much for such a simple game.

The art of the cards is cute and I dig it. There are 7 suits, each with a different art and I recognized 6 out of 7 Sci-Fi franchises. I believe they are Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5, Space Odyssey, Battlestar Galactica, and Aliens. I enjoy the art .

The theme is pasted on. You don’t feel it al all during the game.

Gameplay seems fine on paper and there are some clever mechanisms, but overall, I heavily disliked the game. On your turn you must play at least one card in one of two columns, if the columns fulfill the condition to be scored, you score it and open space for a new column if not you must discard a whole column. You have a public column and a private column. After this you must pass your whole hand to the player on your right (this seems clever). The decisions needed to play the game are obvious in every sense of the word. You can always see what players have scored and the public column so you know which card has the best probability to appear (this can be thrown off by the secret column of course, but as you cannot see it, it is best to ignore it when you are deciding which card to play) and you also have to see if the cards you will pass will benefit your opponent, then the best move is obvious, you either try to score yourself or you hurt your opponent. I feel luck is MUCH more important than any other aspect in the game. If players don´t make any big mistake, luck will decide who wins, period. I hate this.

The luck factor is very high and luck will decide who wins. When your draw your cards for the turn, either they are good for you or not. thre is no middle ground.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, Space Beans was a huge disappointment, when a friend explained it to me, I asked him if he missed a critical rule (he didn´t). Bohnanza is a great game and a classic, so I was expecting much more from its successor, but the game is mostly decided by luck and said luck can also make the game to last a long while which is pure torture (in our game all players were actively trying to end the game, no matter who wins but it was still more than 1 hour). The decisions needed to play the game are painfully obvious at all times. There are some clever mechanisms, but they aren’t enough for me to like the game. I will do my best to stay away from it and I already sold my copy of the game. This is the worst Rosenberg I have ever played (and I have played Hengist).

Current Rating: 2.0


Board Game: Epic Card Game: Pantheon – Riksis vs Tarken

Epic Card Game: Pantheon – Riksis vs Tarken

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

Initially I didn’t like Epic: Card Game, I still don´t , but the game has grown on me a bit. I now see the game has a lot of decisions in how to play the game, they are mostly obvious, but you do have a lot of options in many of the phases of the game.

Epic Card Game: Pantheon – Riksis vs Tarkenadds only 12 cards to the mix and if you like the game, you will (most likely) like the expansion but they are very expensive if you take into account the amount of cards that come in the base game and compare it with the price and amount of cards in this expansion. However, this has worked for them in the past with the Star Realms packs and previous Epic Card Game packs. It is a formula that has been very successful for White Wizard Games.

As I don´t know much about Epic: Card game, I cannot comment much in the quality of the new cards. From quickly parsing the cards, each card is very similar to a previous one and it seems the 0 cost cards are getting stronger (perhaps it is my perception). There is a 30/30 card called Elder Greatwurm but it isn’t very useful as a measly 1/1 can block it. Still, I’m pretty sure a deck can be constructed around it and in this case the card would be very effective. The card is impressive though.

The art continues to be top notch (and the best feature for me). The cards are very similar to me than the ones I found in the base game and I´m not sure if there are new abilities in the set (I think not).

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Rallyman

Rallyman

2021-11-30

Initial Rating: 4.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Rallyman (or any other racing game) was very low, but my automated play system told me to play it so I did. After I played the game, I can say it is better than expected, but I still don´t like it. To be fair, I heavily dislike most racing games just on theme alone, I´m not sure why, but it´s true.

Rallyman´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes (although the rulebook could be much better). Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok.

The theme is not to my liking, but this is personal. I do know most people love this theme. Besides, some friends say Rallyman captures the theme brilliantly, I wouldn’t know as I never EVER watch races on TV.

Gameplay is better than expected but it still is not a game for me. The goal of the game is to finish the race in the least amount of time possible which is novel and very different than any other racing game I know. To play you must roll dice and you decide when to stop, so the main game´s mechanism is push your luck (another mechanism I don’t enjoy very much). If you get out of control you must stop (unless you use a special card, you have one per game) and your car may get damaged (which is thematic). All things considered, I do believe Rallyman is a great racing game, it´s just not a game for me.

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime it too much.

The replay value seems high, there are several variants with the weather, and you can create several routes with the boards provided. There are also expansions.

Player interaction is nonexistent, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

Bottom line, Rallyman is a unique racing game, it features push your luck and that combined by the racing theme make me stay away from the game, but I do appreciate it is very different from any other racing game. In this game, the goal Is to traverse a segment of route as fast as possible and time is measured in cards. I don´t think I will ever play it again, but for people who likes racing (most people) I think this is a great and novel game. On the other hand, when you play the game, it doesn’t feel like a race at all, in fact, the game progress is slow as you move space by space taking decisions.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Whistle Mountain

Whistle Mountain

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Whistle Mountain wasn’t that high. The reason is that I haven’t enjoyed a single game from the designers (including Dwellings of Eldervale and The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire). I also didn’t like Whistle Stop but many gamers have enjoyed and recommended Whistle Mountain, so we gave it a spin. After I played it, I can say the game is not for me.

Whistle Mountain´s rules aren’t very hard to teach. You can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are very good as is the art. The art is very colorful, and the graphic design is clear.

The theme is meh to me (and it makes no sense), but theme is always a secondary aspect to me in Eurogames. The name implies it is the sequel of Whistle Mountain and in the rulebook itself it says something about investing in airships the earning from the previous game (I think, I didn’t read the rules). All of this is fine, and I even like it, but the theme continues to be very thin and unremarkable.

Gameplay is very streamlined. I kind of like it. On your turn you only have 2 options, you either place an airship on the board and execute its action (get resources in a clever way, get scaffoldings, get technologies, get machines, activate machines) or recover all your airships and build scaffolding and/or machines and you can also rescue a meeple off the water or you can move other meeples. That´s the core of the game, of course, there is a lot to think through and it seems the game has many paths to victory. The scaffolding are polyominoes and where to play them is fun as this impact gameplay directly. I also like how the resources are gathered, when you use an airship, you win every resource your airship is adjacent to and you have 3 different ships with different sizes. When players build machines over a certain limit, the water rises and this will block machines and resources spaces AND it can also make that some meeples fall on the water. So far, I´m enjoying the game a lot.

The luck factor is way too high, and it kills the game for me. There is a lot of luck in several layers in the game and I heavily dislike this. I think, a strategy game should be won by the player who think and executes the best strategy, and this is clearly not the case here. There is a lot of luck with the technologies, you always see 3 of them at all times, but some of them are clearly more powerful than others (they are also more expensive) but as each technology is unique, the first players can buy them as soon as they appear (if they plan for it), as soon as one is purchased, a new technology appear (which can be better or worse) so there is really no way to control this. This luck bothers me a lot. The exact same thing happens with the machines, you always see 3, but as the machines are public, this luck factor doesn’t bother me that much (but it still bothers me). Some effects allow you to take some award tokens from a facedown pile and the reward from these tokens is all over the place, some of them are pretty weak and situational while others are very powerful and it is luck that decides if you get a good (useful) one or not, I hate this. The worst are the cards though. There is ONE space in the board that allows you to draw cards and the cards are also all over the place, they are from OP to pretty useless, and you draw them at random. The cards, singlehandedly, kill the game for me. Without the cards I would rate Whistle Mountain a 5.0 or 6.0. With the cards it is a 4.0 to me as they are so unbalanced and unfair. With the cards, you sometimes can get very cheap technologies and save other actions as well as playing a card is a free action. If the goal is to keep the game fair to all players, they shouldn’t exist. I also understand than most players won´t be bothered by the luck inherent in the cards, but it is a dealbreaker for me. To summarize, the luck factor is prevalent in every layer of the game and it has a huge impact on who wins, this shouldn´t happen is a, supposedly, strategy game.

Another minor issue, players will have different number of turns. When the game ends, each other player has one additional turn so if the third player finish the game, that means the first and second player had a whole extra turn. I heavily dislike this as it is unfair. The player who ends the game doesn’t get any reward for doing so (unlike Concordia). It would be much better for me that all players had the exact same number of turns.

I played the basic version of the game. In the advanced mode (I believe but I´m not sure), players have special abilities and, even without playing it, and judging from what I have seen, those abilities will be unbalanced as well. I would need to play again to corroborate this statement and I don´t think this will happen, so, for now, let´s leave this comment as a theory, a possible outcome (which I believe without any hard proof).

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime is too much for me. Each turn takes longer than the previous one as players develop more abilities.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from Whistle Mountain and I didn’t get much. It offers tactical play but you still have room to plan. The game momentarily surprised me with fun and interesting mechanisms, but then it killed everything I felt for it with the, incredibly high, luck factor that permeates all aspects of the game. The technologies and cards are very unbalanced IMO and they will give the edge to a player just by random luck (I hate this). I also dislike that players will play a different number of turns without any reward (this also shouldn't happen in a strategy game). I already sold my copy of the game and I will do my best to stay away from it. Whistle Mountain has some very cool ideas and mechanisms, but I cannot stomach the unfairness and luck inherent in the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Olympos: Oikoumene

Olympos: Oikoumene

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

I played Olympos for the first time on 2011, just one year after I played my first boardgames and in those ancient times, my boardgaming taste was vastly different from what it is now. I remember I didn´t like the game very much so my desire to play Olympos: Oikoumene wasn’t very high. However, I liked the game much more in 2021 and I´m deciding if I should keep it or not (probably not but I do like the game).

Olympos: Oikoumene´s rules are very easy to teach if players are already familiar with the base game. You can explain the new rules under 1 minute and the expansion doesn´t add any extra time to the game.

The art is ok and it works perfectly.

I believe Olympos: Oikoumene is a great addition to the game. As any good expansion it adds more of the same (technologies and wonders) increasing replayability a lot AND upsetting tried and true strategies which is almost always a good thing. When you add the new technologies you shuffle all technologies together but you play with a subset of them, so each game will be very different now. The new wonders work a bit different than the ones in the base game, unlike the old ones, these have an effect besides the VPs count, but you cannot discount the price by having discs in the same column of the wonder. The expansion also adds objectives, there are 5 of them and you will play with 2 in each game. Objectives will give you 3 VPs if you fulfill their condition. I like them a lot.

If you add Olympos: Oikoumene to the mix, the game will feel exactly the same (which is great to me) BUT it will have additional deepness and increased replay value. The expansion really adds more of the same, but the game needed more of the same (perhaps the expansion should have been shipped with the original game all along). I wished more expansions were this way, many times you don’t need to add new mechanisms to the game but more variability.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game, but It could get an upgraded rating with more plays as I do like Olympos (perhaps not enough to keep it, but I like it nonetheless).

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: TEN

TEN

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 4.0 (November 2021)

As soon as I found out that TEN was a push your luck game, my desire to play it plummeted. I knew that, in all probability, I wouldn’t like the game as I dislike the whole genre (the only game that comes to mind that I like is The Quacks of Quedlinburg). I also knew, in all probability, that the game was going to be a great family game as AEG has been great in recent years. I was correct in both accounts. It is not a game for me, but I can recommend it as a great family game.

TEN´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are great. It is mostly a card game, but the cards are of great quality. The rest of the components are tokens which work perfectly.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is fun and fast paced. The goal is to acquire cards forming the longest sequence possible in each color (the goal is very reminiscent of Ripple Rush). In your turn you can draw cards until you decide to stop, or the sum of the colored cards exceeds ten (there are negative numbers) or the sum of the currency cards exceeds ten. This is the fun part of the game. If you didn’t bust you can get the cards or get the money, if you busted you get a small reward. With the money, you can buy cards from the market. There are also some joker cards that will be auctioned when they appear, that´s it. The game is very simple, but it is fun with the correct game group. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious, but I don’t care in such a light and fun game. Luck plays a very important role in the game, but again, I don’t mind the high luck factor in such a quick and simple game (I do mind it in strategy games and/or in long games).

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, I enjoy TEN, it is better for me than Point Salad from the same designers. I, generally, don’t enjoy push your luck games but it works very well here. I already sold the game, but I would play it again if requested. It is a great family game, and it also can be a great introductory game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Dale of Merchants

Dale of Merchants

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

My desire to play Dale of Merchants wasn’t very high. In theory I LOVE deckbuilding games, they entice me, but in practice most games tend to disappoint me, if only because the great majority of them use a variable market offering (as this game does). Still, after I played the game, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but Dale of Merchants is a pass for me nonetheless.

Dale of Merchant´s rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards. The art of the cards is great, and I love it.

The theme is cute with the animals, but you don’t really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is interesting and fast paced. On your turn you can do 3 things, play a card from your hand for its effect, purchase a card from the market or create a stack. The goal is to be the first player who creates 8 stacks so players will have a different amount of turns and this gives an unfair advantage to the first players. With the cards you purchase, you can attack your opponents, you can acquire new cards and you can take cards out of your deck. Just like Dominion, you play the game with a subset of the available cards, and I love this. All things considered, Dale of Merchants is a good deckbuilding game and I enjoyed it.

On the bad side, I have 2 main issues:

1. The game features the hated (by me) variable market offering BUT in Dale of Merchants, the inherent luck of this mechanism is a bit more controlled by the increased price of the card that just appeared. It still bothers me, but the pain is lessened a bit. To me, it is very unfair when a player can do something other players cannot do and this is the case here as the cards will appear at random. This makes the game more tactical (which isn't bad, just not to my liking) and the luck factor is an order of magnitude higher than deckbuilding games that have a static market offering (Dominion, Tanto Cuore, Aeon´s End among others). I cannot stomach this, but at least in Dale of Merchants the luck factor is decreased by the price mechanism.

2. There are unique cards. At least the 5 cost cards of each suit is unique and it offers powerful abilities. I dislike this because you acquire them mostly by luck, you acquire them because they appeared when it was your turn, not because you planned to purchase them since the beginning. I hate that they are unique as this unfair. I much prefer the Dominion way in which every card is available to all players so the decisions of what to buy is much more meaningful and interesting.

Best with 2 players.

The luck factor is very high, and the mitigating elements are very few. There is a faction that relies on dice rolling (I didn’t play with it), but in principle I dislike it (but I´m curious about it). I feel that faction is going to make me like the game less, but I hope I´m wrong.

Bottom line, Dale of Merchants is among the best deckbuiling games that feature a variable market offering and I enjoyed it. Its reputation is well deserved but it is not a game for me. It is mainly a tactical game and I prefer strategy deck building games. I cannot stand the variable market offering and I also dislike the unique cards as both mechanisms strike me as unfair. The luck factor is very high, and it impacts gameplay. The replay value of the game is very high, and I could play it again if requested but I will sell my copy of the game ASAP. Dominion is still king for me in this genre.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Dale of Merchants 2

Dale of Merchants 2

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (November 2021)

I think Dale of Merchants is a good deckbuilding game, but it is not a game for me, so my desire to play anything Dale of Merchants isn’t very high. In theory I LOVE deckbuilding games, but in practice most games tend to disappoint me, if only because the great majority of them use a variable market offering (as this game does). This comment will be very similar to the first edition of the game as both games share the same core rules.

Dale of Merchant 2´s rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards. The art of the cards is great, and I love it.

The theme is cute with the animals, but you don’t really feel it through the game.

Dale of Merchants 2 is a standalone game and this is very cool, but I love that both games can be mixed adding to the variability of the game. I love when publishers do this.

Gameplay is interesting and fast paced. On your turn you can do 3 things, play a card from your hand for its effect, purchase a card from the market or create a stack. The goal is to be the first player who creates 8 stacks so players will have a different amount of turns and this gives an unfair advantage to the first players. With the cards you purchase, you can attack your opponents, you can acquire new cards and you can take cards out of your deck. Just like Dominion, you play the game with a subset of the available cards, and I love this. All things considered, Dale of Merchants is a good deckbuilding game and I enjoyed it.

On the bad side, I have 2 main issues:

1. The game features the hated (by me) variable market offering BUT in Dale of Merchants 2, the inherent luck of this mechanism is a bit more controlled by the increased price of the card that just appeared. It still bothers me, but the pain is lessened a bit. To me, it is very unfair when a player can do something other players cannot do and this is the case here as the cards will appear at random. This makes the game more tactical (which isn't bad, just not to my liking) and the luck factor is an order of magnitude higher than deckbuilding games that have a static market offering (Dominion, Tanto Cuore, Aeon´s End among others). I cannot stomach this, but at least in Dale of Merchants 2 the luck factor is decreased by the price mechanism.

2. There are unique cards. At least the 5 cost cards of each suit is unique and it offers powerful abilities. I dislike this because you acquire them mostly by luck, you acquire them because they appeared when it was your turn, not because you planned to purchase them since the beginning. I hate that they are unique as this unfair. I much prefer the Dominion way in which every card is available to all players so the decisions of what to buy is much more meaningful and interesting.

Best with 2 players.

The luck factor is very high, and the mitigating elements are very few. There is a faction that relies on dice rolling (I didn’t play with it), but in principle I dislike it (but I´m curious about it). With this new faction there are now 2 factions that use dice and I think I dislike this. I need to play it to verify.

Bottom line, Dale of Merchants 2 is among the best deckbuiling games that feature a variable market offering and I enjoyed it. Its reputation is well deserved but it is not a game for me. It is mainly a tactical game and I prefer strategy deck building games. I cannot stand the variable market offering and I also dislike the unique cards as both mechanisms strike me as unfair. The luck factor is very high, and it impacts gameplay. The replay value of the game is very high by itself but mixing both games is the way to go and I love this. I could play it again if requested. Dominion is still king for me in this genre.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: True Colors

True Colors

2021-11-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

Earlier in the year I played a game called Who's Most Likely To...: A Party Game but I heavily disliked the subjective nature of the game. True Colors has the same premise BUT its scoring is objective so I can properly enjoy it. It is reminiscent of a game I like (Imaginiff: 10th Anniversary Edition) and, for now, I will keep it in my game collection.

True Colors´ rules are very easy to teach you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 45 minutes, but I read two different set of rules, in the old ones the game ended after each player reads a question, in the latest ones the game goes for 10 rounds.

The game´s components of the latest edition are ok. I´m a bit sad that the game now comes only with 1 box (in the past, it used to come with 6 boxes) but this is a minor issue. The game is mostly cards, and they work.

There is no theme, but I do love the name of the game.

Gameplay is very fun. A player will read a question. The question is related to the players, for example, it could be “who rises early” then players vote in secret for the player they think fulfills the question better. Once all votes are in, players must guess what others think of them related to the question at hand, if you are sure you will have the most votes or zero votes you can go for these options, if you are correct you will earn 3 VPs, if you think someone voted for you but you are not the majority you can choose this option and if you are right you will earn 1VP. Then the votes are revealed, and the VPs are distributed, that´s it. Seeing what other people think of you is very fun. The questions aren’t very hard (or at least they weren’t in our game), but I have only played it once. In any case I would prefer for the questions not to be too tame. Most games in the genre are very similar, but they feature subjective judging, and I cannot stand that because it is very unfair and many times, the judge votes for the wrong card just to hurt the leading player. True Colors has a clear structure for scoring so I can enjoy this game.

True Colors is best played with a group of close friends. With strangers is very hard to play it correctly.

Best with 6 players.

On the bad side, players do need to play honestly, the game can be “gamed” if someone votes wrongly just because. This is against the spirit of the game but not against the rules so this WILL happen with certain players.

Bottom line, True Colors is a fun party game. It plays fast and it is a fun game. My desire to play it again is high and I will keep it in my game collection (at least for now). To properly enjoy the game, you need the correct game group. I feel it is underrated, as of today, it is ranked at 6627 here on BGG.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: AKA: Also Known As

AKA: Also Known As

2021-11-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

As is usual, I didn't know anything about AKA: Also Known As when I acquired it. As it turned out, the game is a fun party game, but it has some issues for me.

AKA: Also Known As 's rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game's components are ok. It's mostly cards.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is fun. Players play in 2 teams trying to guess the correct answer based on a category and a clue. The answers are clever and require lateral thinking which I like. If the team guesses correctly, they win a point, if they were unable to guess, the other team can try to guess it. Gameplay is fun and reminiscent of Ultimate Outburst (a game I like).

The goal of the game is to win the most VPs but the game is weird in the sense that most of the game doesn't directly help you or allow you to earn VPs, only in the last 10% of the game, you will score VPs, weird. The game is fun to play and the winner of the first part of the game will be able to choose, from two categories, the one they want to try in the last leg of the game, this is the only reward to win the first part of the game. In the last part, a single card with 7 items under the same category will serve as the only VPs you can score. This is weird because 90% of the game has a very low impact in its end result and it can happen that the team that is winning until this point loses everything in 1 round. I'm still not sure how I feel about this but this is, at least, different from any other game.

There is a big issue with the game IMO. To be played, it requires a host that doesn't participate in any team, he only moderates it. This is a big bummer for me and it's totally unnecessary to have a host. A player from the opposing team could act at a temporal host for the round.

The other (minor) issue is that the game is laser focused on American culture. As we are not Americans, we don't even understand several questions, let alone know the answers to them. In this case, the host had to cherry pick questions that players had, at least, a chance to know. This is a minor issue because many boardgame players are very knowledgeable in several American topics, but still, most people don´t know much about this.

The luck factor is high, and it affects the outcome. It happens a lot that you don’t know the answer to the card that was read to you, it´s luck if the host reads a card you know, but this doesn’t bother me in a party game.

AKA: Also Known As works very well with large groups of players.

Bottom line, AKA: Also Known As is a fun party game and I could play it again if requested. I hate that it requires a host to play the game (this is like a player doing the app work in Alchemists, which I have seen and it is sad) but I feel this could be easily fixed. The game´s questions are hard for us because we are not Americans, but the game is fun nonetheless. I will sell it because I prefer to play Ultimate Outburst, a 1999 game that doesn’t require a host to play it.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: The Shipwreck Arcana

The Shipwreck Arcana

2021-11-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (November 2021)

When I bought The Shipwreck Arcana, I thought it was a big thematic game, but the game comes in a small box (perhaps I was thinking of Machina Arcana or other Arcana game). In any case, my desire to play it was very low BUT as soon as a friend explained it was a deduction game, my interest increased a lot. After I played it, I can say it is a fun game and I want to play it again soon.

The Shipwreck Arcana´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they work perfectly. The art is pretty good and I like it.

The theme is pasted on. I love the name of the game, but you don’t feel it anywhere in the game.

Gameplay is fun and engaging. The Shipwreck Arcana is a deduction game which is great as deduction is my favorite category of games right now. In your turn you must draw until you have 2 tiles in your hand, you must play one of them and player have to guess the other one (you obviously cannot say anything that may sway your teammates). When you play a tile, you must assign it to a card and the text of the card allow your teammates to deduce, for example, one card says “if the sum of your fates is 11 or more, play one of them here.” So, in this way you can eliminate some tiles and you can deduce the correct answer. It could be that you have to guess sometimes. If you fail, the doom track will increase and when it arrives to a certain point, all players lose the game. Gameplay is fun.

The luck factor is present, and it affects the game, but I don’t mind it as this is a cooperative game.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by The Shipwreck Arcana. The game, most likely, will have a permanent spot in my game collection, but I do need one more play to cement my opinion of the game. For now, I can say I find the game fascinating and my desire to play it again is very high. I love deduction games and games with communication limit as well.

Current Rating: 6.5
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Board Game: Pan Am

Pan Am

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 7.0 (October 2021)

In general, I tend to dislike Prospero Hall games, they are very well done and very thematic but also they aren’t very deep and they have tons of randomness so I´m definitively not the target for their games, due to this, I wasn't expecting much from Pan Am, but the game really surprised me, I was considering keeping it right until the very end when they did something awful to the game IMO. Now, I will sell my copy of the game ASAP and I will try to stay far away from the game.

Pan Am´s rules are easy to teach you can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 100 minutes.

Pan Am´s components are good and the graphic design is clean.

The theme is there and I like it.

Gameplay was very pleasant and it surprised me, the goal is to be the player with the most shares. On a turn, an event will get revealed and this will affect the current turn and all players equally. Then players plan their turn with their workers (engineers) and after that, they execute the planned actions, to end the round, Pan Am will expand and acquire some routes. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard to process, but you do need to think them through. With your engineers you can get new destination cards, acquire new routes, acquire planes, build airports and acquire cards with a random effect. As I wrote before, gameplay is very pleasant and the interaction between players is in the amount of money each player is willing to pay to execute an action. Right up to this point, I was liking the game a lot and leaning strongly toward keeping it, however the round 7 happened and I hated it.

On round 7, the events don’t follow the formula of the events of rounds 1-6. These events are random and that´s ok because they affect all players the same way BEFORE taking their turn (so you can react), however, the round 7 events will change the game situation radically and your ability to plan in this case is very limited, that is, you spent 90% of the game planning and executing an strategy and the 7th round event can and will destroy your plans and benefit a random player just because. It´s true, you can (somewhat) prepare if you know what can happen (there are 4 different events), but the effect of the last event is so powerful and disrupting that it left an awful taste in my mouth. To me, it basically makes the first part of the game (almost) irrelevant and I hate this. Even if you know what is possible, you still don’t know which event will appear so you cannot properly plan, it could be that you need to preserve most of your routes as they will get converted to shares (very OP) or it could be the share suddenly goes to the max price. I know that after playing once, you can prepare better for them, but still I heavily dislike the events, then again, I´m not the target for Prospero Hall games and I think they did this to level the plain field in some ways (still hate it). Due to this alone, I won’t be keeping the game and I downgraded its rating by 2 points. I think the game would be a lot better if the last event was known from the beginning (so you can plan) or from several turns before it takes effect. Unlike the 1-6 turn events, the last event can and will have a massive and unfair VP effect and it can give the game to an undeserving player (in strategy games, the player with the best strategy should win the game, victory shouldn't be decided by an OP random event).

The luck factor is high but it didn’t bother me that much (but it bothers me nonetheless). The directives cards are acquired at random and the cards are unbalanced between themselves. Sometimes you can get a free share just because (I heavily dislike this), other times you get an useless card as they are very situational. Still, as you need to spend an action to get them I could accept them, as I accepted the events from round 1-6 (because the affect all players). To summarize the luck factor is high but you can mitigate it with clever play (but their randomness still bothers me).

Best with 3-4 players.

Bottom line, Pan Am was a roller-coaster for me. At first I wasn´t expecting much from Prospero Hall, then they really surprised me right until the end when they surprised me again with some powerful and undesirable events. I think is a good game with great ideas but it is not a game for me. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard nor very easy. I think it is a great game to introduce new gamers to our hobby, but the way the 7 turn events work, killed the game for me (they are very unfair and very random). I will sell it ASAP and my desire to play it again is low.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Police Precinct

Police Precinct

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

I have had Police Precinct since January 2014 so it took me more than 7 years to get it to the table. In those days I still believed Tom Vassel and I had similar tastes in games (we don’t) so I bought the game on his recommendation. My desire to play Police Precinct was very low in these years but this month I finally played it. I can say the game is better than expected, but still not a game for me in any way.

Police Precinct’s rules aren’t very complex and, as it is a cooperative game, you can explain them faster than usual, even so, you can teach the game under 10 minutes as there are lots of things to explain. There is a better redacted rulebook, but both rulebooks work fine IMO. Playtime is around 180 minutes.

The game´s components are very good as is the art (although the art is very stereotypical). The board is gigantic and of great quality.

The game is very thematic and I like this. I don´t think I have ever played a game with this theme.

Gameplay was better than expected, on your turn you can move up to 2-3 spaces (this depends if you are undercover or not) and then you can try to solve the crime, try to help with an emergency or try to make an arrest. As is usual in these kind of games, each player will have a different character with different stats and powers, some characters are great to make arrest, other to investigate etc. So, in this way you have to balance your team´s skill and weaknesses with the task that need to be done. You cannot leave many things unattended or the crime marker will go up and if it goes up all the way you lose. Everything in the game is resolved with dice and each crisis will tell you what you need to do and what the rewards is. In each turn an event will happen (as is also usual in this kind of game). Your main goal is to catch a killer before the crisis destroy you and before the killer escapes. To catch him you first need to uncover evidence. To summarize, gameplay is pleasant and the game is engaging, however, the decisions needed to play the game are very easy an obvious (not a bad thing per se in a cooperative game).

Best with 4 players.

The luck factor is very high and it permeates all the actions and situations in the game, however, I don’t care much about this in cooperative games.

Police Precinct is much better than Pandemic for me, but it is still not a game for me.

Bottom line, Police Precinct was better than I was expecting but not by much. I think it is a solid CoOp game but it is not a game for me. I find it very repetitive and thus, it gets boring very quickly. Maybe the game would be more interesting for me with the dirty cop variant but I don’t think I will ever find out. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Police Precinct: Mad Men Deck Promo

Police Precinct: Mad Men Deck Promo

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

As I don´t like Police Precinct that much, it is no surprise that I also don´t like Police Precinct: Mad Men Deck Promo. The expansion doesn’t add any new rules, it only adds 6 new emergency cards that make the game a bit harder (but not by much), It is not an essential expansion as they don´t change almost anything from the base game but it is a nice to have if you like the game. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Police Precinct: Rioting Gangs

Police Precinct: Rioting Gangs

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

As I don´t like Police Precinct that much, it is no surprise that I also don´t like Police Precinct: Rioting Gangs. This expansion adds new events (which is very welcome) and new emergencies. The rioting gangs emergencies work a bit different from the ones you find in the base game, so this is very welcome if you are a fan of the game. These events/emergencies make the game a bit harder, but not by much. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Mord im Arosa

Mord im Arosa

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play Mord im Arosa was very high, but the game broke my heart. I was expecting great things from it but the game ended up being very boring for me.

Mord im Arosa´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 1 hour (which us way too long for this kind of game).

The game´s components are ok, the tower looks great.

The theme seems great at first, but the game´s mechanisms doesn’t support it very well IMO so you don´t really feel it.

Gameplay promised good things, but it is very boring. Each turn a player can make an accusation or he can try to remove his cubes from a level to avoid getting negative VPs and after that he throws some cubes into the tower while all player listen to where they (supposedly) fall. So far, the idea behind the game seems extraordinary with the sound AND memory element (I love both), but after a couple of turns, the memory aspect becomes irrelevant as each player just uses the information from the last couple of turns and gameplay becomes very repetitive. The sound gimmick is not enough for me to like the game and this broke my heart as I really was expecting great things from the game.

I also didn’t like the scoring, it seemed rather arbitrary and pointless (and unthematic).

The luck factor is high as there is a lot of randomness every time someone throws the cubes in the tower, sometimes those cubes push other cubes so you will make a bad guess, however, this doesn’t bother me in a game this light, still, I would have loved for the game to play much quicker, as it stands, Mord im Arosa overstays its welcome by a lot.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Mord im Arosa was a huge disappointment for me. The game sounds great on paper, but in practice it is very long for what it offers and it becomes boring due to repetition. There is no tension in the game, most guesses are very random. It is, however, an unique game but this is not enough for me to like the game. I prefer to play Igloo Pop as it is a much better game for me. I think the game has a great central idea but the elements around it ruined it for me. The theme doesn’t make any sense to me (although this is a minor issue for me as well), most of the time, the guesses in the top 2 floors are correct so this becomes a staple and boring move. The memory element is almost irrelevant in the game (which is very sad). I will sell it ASAP

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Claim

Claim

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play Claim was low, furthermore when I found its designer was Scott Almes. I know he is a well-known and respected designer but I have disliked every game I have played from him (namely the Tiny Epic series of games) so I thought Claim was going to be another miss for me, but it pleasantly surprised me and this shock is even greater when I found out Claim is a trick taking game as I really dislike those these days (although The Crew is great).

Claim´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 18 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are just cards. The art is excellent.

The theme is (mostly) pasted on.

Gameplay is very simple but also very fun. The goal of the game is to win the majority in enough races to win the game, as there are 5 races you need to win 3 races to win the game and you do this by simple having more cards in your score pile, for the relevant races, than your opponent. The game has the nucleus of most trick taking games, that is, a player plays any card he wants and the other player HAVE to follow with the same suit (in this case race) and the highest card wins the trick, rinse and repeat, however, the game add some clever twists. Claim is divided in 2 phases, in the first phase each player is trying to win the best cards as they re going to be the deck for the second phase (very clever) and the actual scoring occurs in the second phase and (obviously) each race has a special ability or power. Claim is easily expandable (obviously as well) and it currently haves lots of expansions to try and mix (I really like this). The game offers clever decisions when you factor the abilities of the races and I´m liking it.

The luck factor is high, but skill and memory plays an important role in the game as well. In the first phase, when a player wins a card, the opponent wins a face down card and that card can be much better than the one in contention and it is unknown to your opponent, so many times it´s much better to lose the trick. Having said that, the luck factor doesn’t bother me at all in a game this simple and fast and again, skill plays an important role in the game as well.

The replay factor seems high with the expansions and I absolutely LOVE that you can simply replace a race and the game changes considerably, this is a staple of many favorite games of mine.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Claim. It has easy decisions but they are fun and memory plays a huge element in the game (I enjoy this). I´m keeping it among my game collection for now. I will begin to bring it to my gaming sessions and I´m very keen to play it with my SO, I think she will like it as well. I also want to play with the expansions and I will buy the content I still don’t have. There is a high probability that Claim will get an upgraded rating from me with more plays and it is the best Almes game I have ever played.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: The Mind

The Mind

2021-10-10

Initial Rating: 6.0 (October 2021)

I generally don´t like Wolfgang Warsch´s small designs (the exception being Illusion) but I grant you, The Mind is a novel game, but it is not a game I want to keep in my game collection (I think).

The Mind´s rules can be explained under 1 minute. Playtime is very variable, but you can play it under 30 minutes.

The game´s components are just cards and you need to sleeve them ASAP as a marked card will destroy the game´s purpose. The art is very good.

Gameplay is silly and fun. Players cannot communicate among themselves in any way and the goal is to play the dealt cards in order. Once you accomplish this you go up to the next level in which more cards will be dealt and so on. There are no rounds or phases, each player can play any card he wants if he thinks he is holding the next lowest card. I cannot deny the game is fun, but its decisions are very easy to process (even if you make a mistake).

The luck factor is high but I don’t´ mind about this in light games and in cooperative games. The Mind is both, so the luck factor doesn’t bother me at all here.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, The Mind is a fun and quick game to play. The decisions needed to pay the game are very easy to process but the game delivers nonetheless. I already sold it but I would play it again if requested and, honestly, I´m very open to play it again, who knows, perhaps I will buy it again if it continues to be a fun game to play or perhaps its rating will go down, time will tell. For me, The Mind is absolutely a game, no question about it.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Horse Fair Card Game

Horse Fair Card Game

2021-10-17

Initial Rating: 3.0 (September 2021)

I don´t remember why I bought Horse Fair Card Game, it must have been because it is a Knizia game and even when I dislike most of his designs, I respect him a lot. As it turned out, Horse Fair Card Game was better than expected, but it still is not a game for me in any way.

Horse Fair Card Game´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 15 minutes.

The game´s components aren’t very good, they are some generic horses figurines and the art isn’t very good either (stock photos). Friends didn’t want to play the game at first based on how it looked (but said friends enjoyed the game much more than me). Having said that, both, components and art work within the game.

The theme is pasted on as is usual in a Knizia game.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward, each turn you must play a card and draw a card. The idea is to play the number of the card that matches with the number of cards with that number currently in play, that is, if I play a 6 card and there are six 6 number cards (counting the one I played) I get to score them, there are also special cards that allow you to discard cards or there is a card that counts double for each horse, that´s it. The goal is to have more cards than your opponents or to win 4 horses figurines. We played the game with partnerships (which I think it´s more fun). The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process.

Best with 4 players.

The luck of the draw in the game is high but as the game plays so quickly, I don´t mind much about this.

Bottom line, Horse Fair Card Game offers very simple decisions in a very short time frame, still, it is a fun game to play with the correct game group. I already sold it as I crave heavier experiences.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Tiny Towns: Fortune

Tiny Towns: Fortune

2021-10-17

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

Even though I got rid of Tiny Towns, I consider it a fun game and one I would play if requested. This month, a friend brought it to our gatherings along its Tiny Towns: Fortune expansion. After I played it, I can say it is a good expansion that improves the base game for me.

Tiny Towns: Fortune´s rules are very easy to teach. If you are familiar with the base game, you can teach the new concepts under 2 minutes at most.

The art and game components continues to be top notch.

Tiny Towns: Fortune´s adds new cards and monuments (as expected) and this is welcome, but it also adds a new concept, coins. Coins are worth a victory point at the end but I love them because they allow you to get the resource you need in exchange for a coin and this reduces the luck factor by a ton so I love this (I prefer to play with the card variant as I find it fairer). It´s a shame you can only have at most 4 coins (but I´m sure it is for a good reason).

On the other hand, I´m a bit worried about dilution, if you draw buildings at random, it could be that you only drew one from the fortune expansion and this situation could be exacerbated if you add more expansions to the mix, still, even if there is only one fortune card in the game, I don´t mind it that much.

Bottom line, Tiny Towns: Fortune is a great addition to the game IMO as it adds more content (so more replay factor) and it helps control the luck factor in the game. I still won´t buy it as I already sold all things Tiny Towns but I´m very open to play it again in the future.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Palmyra

Palmyra

2021-10-17

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

Bernd Eisenstein is a designer I respect a lot even though I have never really liked a single one of his designs, so I didn’t have much hope for Palmyra, and, even though I found some interesting and clever mechanisms, I didn’t enjoy the game very much.

Palmyra´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes (but the rulebook makes the rules A LOT harder to learn). Playtime is around 65 minutes.

The game´s components are merely ok. Palmyra´s components and art feel way older than its 2013 release date, from seeing the box, I judged it to be from 2005 or before but this is not a bad thing in itself, before playing the game I thought it was old but, perhaps, a classic euro game. In any case the components are merely ok as is the art. I did like there are tiles of 2 sizes (novel).

The theme is, mostly, pasted on. Palmyra is almost an abstract game.

Gameplay is rather straightforward. On your turn you must play one of more of your tiles to acquire more tiles or money (the goal of the game). You can also skip your turn to draw a single tile and reposition your meeples. You have 2 meeples and you always have to play your tiles adjacent to them, both meeples are different, one is for tiles the other is for money. The idea is to play tiles that match with the previous ones. The decisions needed to play the game are easy to process, still, the game has some room for clever play but I feel the luck of the draw is way too high.

The luck factor is high, you draw tiles at random and sometimes you just draw great tiles and this allow you to do less reposition actions. I do feel luck plays a very important role in who wins the game.

There is player interaction in the way of blocking but it isn’t too mean (which I approve).

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from Palmyra and I didn’t get much. I generally don’t like tile laying games so there is that. Palmyra´s luck factor is very high and I hate this. It is a 2013 release but it feels way older. It has easy decisions but it plays relatively fast. I didn’t feel any tension in the game. I think Palmyra can be a good introduction/casual game but it is not for me. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Tiny Towns: FLGS and Larkstone Promo Cards

Tiny Towns: FLGS and Larkstone Promo Cards

2021-10-17

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

I like Tiny Towns so it is natural that I also like its promos. Tiny Towns: FLGS and Larkstone Promo Cards are 2 promo cards (a monument and a building) you can add to the game.

Larkstone seems like a weak card to me. If you picked it your strategy is to not do very good so you can score VPs at the end and this seems self-defeating right from the beginning. I think I would never chose it as it could only be really useful if all players were very close to each other and you were in last position so it doesn’t depends only on your performance. Still, it is a fun card to own but very situational and if you picked it, I feel you are at a huge disadvantage.

Game Store is much better IMO as you can plan to get those VPs without much issue.

For now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Monster Expedition

Monster Expedition

2021-10-17

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

Alexander Pfister is a great designer and I always buy his stuff as soon as it is announced. Having said that, I think I have disliked every small box game so when I saw Monster Expedition was a smallish box my desire to play it plunged. Still, this is the first game (I think) my SO has explained to me EVER so we got to play it this month and it was a HUGE disappointment in several ways.

Monster Expedition´s rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, nothing special. The art is very good as it is from Michael Menzel (perhaps my favorite artist) and Dennis Lohausen is also excellent.

The theme is AWFUL. I cannot believe that in 2020 AMIGO and Gigamic release a game about hunting and capturing animals (even if they are pure fantasy) while other publishers are releasing games about saving animals and saving the environment (Endangered from the same year comes to mind). There are even cages to hold your hunted monsters in the game (CAGES) and this is so awful I cannot properly express my disgust but I´m very angry at this and AMIGO just lost a lot of good faith from me. Fortunately, the theme is mostly pasted on, but it still bothers me A LOT and I will be rating the game a lot harsher than usual just based on the poor theme.

Gameplay is boring and repetitive and I´m not saying this just because its awful theme. I will try to remain objective. In your turn you decide which color of dice you will roll, you roll them and then can keep all the dice with the number of your election and you can roll again and so on until you decide to stop or you lose some dice because they were already taken, so the game is your normal push your luck fare (I´m not a fan of most push your luck games). Once you decide to stop, you can decide which monster to hunt and if you are successful you trap it, this will allow you to access some dice abilities in the future. You can also improve your encampment so you will roll more dice. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious and straightforward and luck plays a huge role in the game. There is a bit of set collection as there are benefits of having all 3 colors of monsters (if the abilities say so).

The luck factor is high and you can control it a bit with the monster powers and knowing when to stop, however, some players will have an unfair advantage just because they rolled better than their opponents.

Bottom line, I´m hating the game and it was a huge disappointment from Pfister, AMIGO and Gigamic. Based only on gameplay, I find it very boring and repetitive with obvious decisions and nothing to think but, as it plays fast, I would have rated it a 4.0 based on gameplay alone. Due to the awful theme, I´m taking 2 additional points. I cannot believe a theme like this is published in 2020 from Germany, I cannot believe they want us to hunt innocent monsters that are just minding their business and we are supposed to cage them for our amusement, this is despicable in my opinion. Any kind of animal suffering triggers me but it would be different if they were depicting hunting whales in previous centuries as this is historic and it happened and it cannot be (nor should be) hidden, I would dislike that game but I could understand that game. I cannot understand why they created a fantasy world and then just make players to hunt and cage the animals of that world. I know this is in the same world of Carnival of Monsters but I hated the theme in that game as well and the cages here really triggered me. This is disgusting to me and I will never EVER play the game again. What a crushing disappointment from one of my idols (Pfister). I will sell it ASAP. The art is excellent though.

Current Rating: 2.0


Board Game: PARKS

PARKS

2021-10-24

Initial rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play PARKS was high as it is a high ranked game here in BGG, after I played it I can say it can be a great family game but it is not a game for me, I was expecting way more from the game.

PARKS´ rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 80 minutes.

The game´s components are good and the art is amazing.

The theme is great but you don’t really feel it though the game. It is mostly supported by the great art.

Gameplay is very straightforward and the decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process. In your turn you must move one of your pawns forward to an empty card and execute its action (most likely it will give you resources but there are several different cards). If you want to execute an occupied action you must spend your campfire. There are always 3 park cards which you can get executing a card action or when you arrive at the end of the trail. To buy the cards you must spend the depicted resources. All is very basic, but it can be fun with the correct game group, still, I was mostly bored by the game.

The luck of the draw is high. The park cards appear at random and sometimes there isn’t a card that fits your strategy, the same goes for the equipment cards which I fund to be very unbalanced and situational (I even feel taking equipement cards can be detrimental in general but I need more plays to verify). In each round a new trail card will appear and this also has a lot of luck, specially for the unique cards so you are never sure when a card will appear and, thus, your planning ability is limited.

I also (somewhat) dislike the goal cards. Some of the cards are clearly easier to fulfill than others but cards always deliver the same amount of VPs, so in my mind they are also unbalanced. I dislike how the tiebreaker works, if players are tied, the player who visited more parks is the winner, but I feel this is unbalanced. If you visit less parks but get the same amount of VPs, it doesn’t mean you have a slight advantage, after all, you had to spent more actions on resources before claiming the park so the tiebreaker is unfair to me. I think it should have been who has more unused resources or something like that. In this same line of thought, the goal that needs around 7-8 medium level cards to give 3 VPs is more powerful than the goal that requires 4-5 high level cards as the former already has the tiebreaker won. To summarize, I feel PARKS is not finely tuned, there are lots of unbalances in several layers within the game and I heavily dislike this.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line I was expecting great things from PARKS as it is a very high ranked game here on BGG (as of today it is the game 114 out of thousands of games) but its gameplay and luck factor severely disappointed me. This, coupled with my high expectation make me dislike the game a lot. The game offers lots of easy tactical decisions. I think it can be a great casual and/or family game but it is not a game for me. I will do my best to stay away from it and I already sold my copy of the game along its promo accessories. PARKS is a gorgeous game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Legacy: Gears of Time – Kickstarter Backer Promo Card

Legacy: Gears of Time – Kickstarter Backer Promo Card

2021-10-24

Initial rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

Legacy: Gears of Time is a fascinating game and I really liked it overall, however, the game has some ill conceived fate cards which ruin the whole experience for me. Having said that, I do like the game so it is only natural I also like its expansions.

Legacy: Gears of Time – Kickstarter Backer Promo Card is a fun addition to the game but it can be an overpowered card. Playing it isn’t trivial as it has lots of requisites BUT you could play it in your very last turn to, most likely, win the game. I need more plays to verify if it is OP, but I´m happy to own it. Still, I will probably sell the game because I hate the fate cards.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Legacy: Gears of Time – Mini-Expansion

Legacy: Gears of Time – Mini-Expansion

2021-10-24

Initial rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

Legacy: Gears of Time is a fascinating game and I really liked it overall, however, the game has some ill-conceived fate cards which ruin the whole experience for me. Having said that, I do like the game so it is only natural I also like its expansions.

Legacy: Gears of Time – Mini-Expansion is a very fun and (perhaps) essential addition to the game. It adds new technologies to tinker with and, as I understand it, the mini expansion adds balance to the game and improves previously poor strategies so I´m very happy they released it. It is a shame there is a misprint on one of the cards, but this is a minor issue. If I play the game again, I will surely play with this mini expansion.

I would rate this a 7.0 but due to the hated fate cards, I downgraded the rating of the whole Legacy: Gears of Time system.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Pandoria

Pandoria

2021-10-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (October 2021)

Bernd Eisenstein is a designer I respect a lot. I don’t usually like his games but, for some reason, I´m always keen to play them. After I did, I can say the game is ok, but it is not a game for me.

Pandoria´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are good as is the art. Near the end of the game, the board looks gorgeous.

The theme is generic fantasy and, in any case, it is pasted on. You don’t really feel it through the game. I don´t like the name of the game (I also didn’t like the name of World of Warcatft: Pandaria lol), I´m not sure why. I do like that Eisenstein continues to name his games with the letter P.

Gameplay is fun and the game offers (somewhat) interesting decisions. On your turn you must place a tile on the board, you may place a meeple on the just placed tile (just like Carcassonne), you may play a spell or a build a building, you score if you completed a terrain and then you may buy a card, most actions are optional but you must always place a tile to advance the game. The game´s phases are clearly defined so the game is easily understood. The idea of the game is to position your meeples in zones adjacent to terrains that are about to get closed by a player, in this way you will earn resources and VPs. The cards, and buildings change the rules and give you advantages during the game. The advanced game also has different player powers, I hope they are balanced and I will probably find more about this soon.

The luck factor is present with the tiles that you draw and the available cards, so far, this luck hasn’t bothered me much but it bothers me nonetheless.

The replay values seems high and there already an expansion out.

Bottom line, Pandoria is an ok game for me, BUT I do want to explore it further. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard to process, but you really need to think things though. Tile laying is not among my favorite game´s mechanisms but it is the central mechanism of the game. I already sold my copy of the game but I´m willing to play the game again. I wish the game was a bit shorter. With more plays its rating could go up or down, that is, I´m still undecided about it.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: It Happens..

It Happens..

2021-10-25

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

Once upon a time, I thought I was going to collect all the games designed by Feld (one of my favorite game designers), but, I´m not really a collector, I´m a gamer and the games I keep are the ones I want to play over and over so I got rid of several Feld games (from memory Roma I and II and the hated by me, Merlin). I also thought I was going to get rid of It Happens.. (and I did) but the game pleasantly surprised me.

It Happens..´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 40 minutes.

The theme is pasted on (but it is a funny one).

The game´s components are just cards and dice and they work. The art is very good and it is funny as well.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward, on your turn you must roll your dice and then you must allocate one die in a card, the idea is to gain some reward for it and you do this by playing a specific number, covering a specific space or having the highest (or second highest) sum in the card. It is very simple but it is fun. The decisions needed to play the game are easy but you do need to think them through and, sometimes, if luck wills it, a good decision will reward you.

The luck factor is very high but I don’t mind in a game this light and fast.

Bottom line, I think It Happens.. is a great filler game and a fun one. After I read the rules I was expecting an awful game but Feld surprised me here ?. It is not a game for me as I prefer heavier games but I would play it again if requested. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Cascadia

Cascadia

2021-10-25

Initial Rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

After Calico (a good game but not a game for me), my desire to play Cascadia was rather low, but after I did so, I can say I was pleasantly surprised by the game, it is still not a game for me but it is much better than Calico IMO.

Cascadia´s rules are very easy to learn, you can explain them under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok but the art is very good. Player´s area looks gorgeous near the end of the game.

The theme is pretty cool but you don´t really feel it through the game, in fact Cascadia is mostly an abstract game.

Gameplay is very simple, on you turn you must choose a pair of terrain and animal and then you must place them on your play area, that´s it. If you prefer to get a different animal or terrain you can pay a special resource to make it happen. The magic of the game is that each animal scores in a different way so there are animals that want to be around other animals or animals that prefer to be alone. The game also rewards the biggest terrain for each kind so the puzzle is a fun one, still, the decisions needed to play the game aren’t that hard.

The luck factor is present but I don´t mind it much as each player is doing different things, it was much worse in Calico IMO, here you have much more options and you have ways to mitigate that luck.

Replayability is VERY high and I love this. Each animal has several different scoring cards, so if you mix them, each game will be very different than any other game and it will probably get expansions soon as it is very easy to expand with just new score cards. I do with some of the cards were better worded (specially a hawk card).

Bottom line, Cascadia is a good game, but I prefer heavier games so I already sold my copy of the game. I generally don’t like tile laying games but Cascadia is a pleasant game and I would play it again if requested. For me, it is much better than Calico. I think it can be a good game to introduce new gamers to our hobby.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: DVONN

DVONN

2021-10-26

Initial Rating: 6.0 (October 2021)

As I love YINSH, I´m always keen to try more games from the GIPF project. In reality, I tried to play DVONN on 2013 with a friend. We both enrolled in the Olympic games at Boiteajeux and we both played several games without knowing the rules first just because there were so many games in a very short timeframe so I played DVONN but I didn´t know what I was doing lol. It was a fun time and sadly, my friend passed of COVID19 earlier this year, but now I finally read the rules and played the game and I´m liking it (just not too much).

DVONN´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are very good.

Gameplay is very simple rules-wise, but the game has a lot of depth as a good abstract game should have. The game is divided in 2 phases, the first one is to place the pieces on the board (I have no idea what I´m doing here), then, you must move one of your pieces, if you have only 1 piece it can move 1 space, if you have a stack of x pieces, it can and must move x spaces. There are also 3 special red pieces and it any piece lose contact with them, they are removed from the board. The goal is to be the player with the highest stack at the end of the game and that´s it. The decisions needed to play the game can be very casual or you can really think your moves through trying to position yourself in a better spot and trying to outmaneuver your opponent.

The luck factor is zero.

Bottom line, DVONN is an ok abstract game for me. I will continue to play it but, In general, abstract games are not my thing. With more plays the game can get an upgraded rating from me or it can fall hard, time will tell. As it stands, my desire to play the game again isn’t very high nor very low. YINSH continues to be my favorite Kris Burm game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Forgotten Waters

Forgotten Waters

2021-10-26

Initial rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

When I bought Forgotten Waters I didn’t know it was about pirates, one of my least favorite themes ever, still, I bought the game because it has a high rank here on BGG. After I played it, I can say the game surprised me in some ways, but it is still not a game for me. My younger self (around 2013-2015) would have loved the game though.

Forgotten Water´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 8 minutes. Playtime is very variable, but the game is looong (and it becomes repetitive and boring rather quickly).

The theme is ok and well written, as I write above, I don’t enjoy pirate games (due to the awful Merchants and Marauders game I think). I love the name of the game.

The game´s components are ok, the art is great.

Gameplay is very straightforward. In Forgotten Waters, the thematic experience is much more important than everything else. You are a pirate and you want to fulfill a scenario goal. The game is semi cooperative, but, from my limited perspective, this doesn’t work very well. There isn’t a way to mess or really hurt you teammates and the motivation is always to help not to hinder, so I feel the game should have been full cooperative. In your turn, you must chose where to go in a particular setting, it could be that you can share the space with other pirates or it can be a unique space, then these space get resolved and you have to roll a lot of dice (which becomes repetitive soon). The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process but there is a real time phase and I like it (even if the decisions are meaningless many times). Forgotten Waters needs an app to be played and the app works great. It has been translated to Spanish, but only in text, there are no voice overs in Spanish, this is sad but totally understandable.

The luck factor is through the roof, but that doesn’t bother me in a cooperative game. The scoring system to decide who wins, doesn’t work too well IMO. You have very little control over what happens in the game, sometimes you roll high but still bad things happen or you enter a huge torment and nothing happens, so you must treat this as a thematic experience and accept the fact that you cannot plan/control much in the game.

I dislike how the infamy tracks works, there is no point of having this if you cannot control how to get infamy in a reliable way (this affect more the last players which is unfair as they are there by luck). The infamy track controls the player order and it has a huge impact in the semi coop facet of the game. For me, it would have been better and fairer to simply rotate the first player each round (again I think the game should have been full coop).

Best with 4 players, I cannot begin to imagine a 7 player game of this.

Replayability seems very high, but as the game feels very repetitive (place your pawn, roll your dice, read from the app, repeat), I´m not really sure if this is replayable or not. If you fail a scenario, there is no way to go forward but to repeat it and that´s awful in a game that can take up to 4 hours per scenario.

Bottom line, Forgotten Waters has a lot of things going for it and it sounded great on paper, but it doesn’t work for me in reality. It is MAINLY a thematic experience and the app works great, however, I prefer strategic games and Forgotten Waters is way too long for what it offers. The luck factor is way too high, everything is decided by rolling dice (but I don´t mind much about this in a cooperative game). We played the first part of the first scenario and, even though we had some fun, I don’t think we will play it again, not because it is a bad game, but because there are many more compelling games to play before this one. I imagine it can be a great family game and if you are ready to really play it many times, it can be a great game for you. I will sell my copy of the game ASAP but I could play it again if requested. I think the game should have been a full cooperative game, I dislike how the scoring works. You have very little control over what happens in the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

2021-10-26

Initial rating: 7.0 (October 2021)

Daniele Tascini is a great designer and I always buy his stuff unseen. I also have the utmost respect for Dávid Turczi so my desire to play Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun was VERY high. After I played it, I can say I was very happy with the game and it is a keeper for sure. I have liked every Tascini game I have played except for Council of 4.

Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun´s rules aren’t very complex but there are lots of rules, you can explain them under 18 minutes (It is a gamer´s game, not a casual game). Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game´s components are very good although the obelisk itself can block the view of the dice on the other side from your point of view, this is a minor issue though.

The theme is great and it is supported (mainly) by the art and graphic design (which is great). I love the Egyptian theme.

Gameplay is very interesting as the game offers lots of options to pursue with very few resources. As is usual in games from Tascini, every action has several layers of consequences, that is, many things are interconnected in the game and I love this. Every turn you must choose a die from the available ones (dice drafting, one of my favorite mechanisms) and the number of the dice, its color, its relation with the obelisk and from where you took it are very important factors, that is, every decision is multilayered and I absolutely love this. With each die, you basically can do 2 different actions, you can get the related resources in the amount depicted in the dice (but you will probably waste a lot at first as you don´t have the space to store it) OR you can perform the god action related to the location of the die. If the die was in the sunny portion of he obelisk it goes to a special place in your player board, if it was in the dark side of the obelisk it goes in another part and you want to have these dice as balanced as possible, otherwise you could lose VPs and begin last in next round. The obelisk also block some dice every turn but you can plan for this. Among the available god actions you can use Ra to build pillars in the temple (to gains a one time bonus, a spatial bonus, possibly a color bonus, score VPs at scoring phases and, possibly, a tile bonus if it matches the obelisk), you can use Hathor to construct around the temple (to gain bonuses depicted in the temple, to get immediate VPs, to get VPs in the scoring phase and to increase your population), you can use Bastet to increase your happiness (which is key to be able to get important cards, including the goal cards and it can give a lot of VPs at the end of the game), you can use Thoth to gain cards from the market (there are several kind of cards, all of them are useful to some degree), you can use Osiris to construct a building (this allow you to get instant resources, to increase the amount of resources you can get from dice and to compete in a majorities area at scoring phases) and, finally, you can use Horus to build statues (that will give you resources when another player uses the correct god action). To summarize, the game offers lots of interesting decisions with every dice you draft as there are many considerations to take into account.

At first the game seems very complicated but the great graphic design makes it very easy to play rules-wise, the game is deep.

Best with 3 players, with more, the downtime becomes too much for me,

The luck factor is high with the cards but not so high with the dice. There are ways to mitigate the luck of the dice, but the luck of the cards bother me. There are several kind of cards and some of them seem much more useful than others but you know (most times) which card you are acquiring as they are face up in the market, however, there are some rewards that allow you to get a face down card and I dislike this, specially if you draw a goal card (called decree card). These cards have a condition for you to meet and it can be that the condition is impossible for you to fulfill or very easy for you to fulfill (depending on the game state). It is much better to draw the card earlier than later but you can get very lucky and draw a goal card that you already fulfilled and I hate this. In our game I drew a card that was perfect for what I was trying to do, so I won around 14 VPs just because I got lucky and I hate this. There isn´t really a way to control this, but the game only allows you to score at most 3 goal cards and they have to be in different categories AND you must have enough happiness to be able to buy a goal card, still, that a player can get lucky with the goal cards bothers me and it is the worst part of the game for me. There is also luck of the draw with the Ra tiles and there is not any way to control this either. To summarize, I feel the luck factor can be mostly controlled by clever play and other mechanisms except for the luck of the draw with the (goal) cards which bothers me.

The scoring phases are the hardest part to teach as they can be confusing.

The replay value seems high as there are lots of things to do in the game.

Bottom line, Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun is a keeper for me. It offers very interesting decisions and it gives me the feeling of needing to do a lot of things with very few actions/resources. The game allows you to plan but there are several tactical considerations to take into account as well. The luck factor of the goal cards bothers me, but not enough for me to stay away from the game, I´m convinced player skill weights more than luck in the game. I cannot wait to play it again, it is perhaps (but I need to check) the best 2020 game I have played to date.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Finca

Finca

2021-10-26

Initial Rating: 6.0 (October 2021)

Since I began playing boardgames on 2010, I wanted to play Finca and this month I was, finally, able to play it. After having done so, I can say it is a good game, but I will sell my copy of the game.

Finca's rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game's components are good and the game looks gorgeous in the table.

The theme is ok but you don't really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is very simple rules-wise. In your turn, you must gather resources or you must spend resources to gain a tile. That's it. There are also 4 special tiles that allow you to make a powerful action. To gather resources, you must move a meeple as many spaces as there were meeples in the original space and you must gather as many resources as there are meeples in the space you just arrived. I really like this system. Each tile you acquire will give you between 1-6 VPs but there are 2 bonus tiles, once for creating a sequence with the tiles you have, the other for having some majorities when the last tile of a terrain is acquired. All things considered, Finca offers fun decisions in a short period of time.

The game is also very mean as you can create loses for your opponents if you generate a resource and there isn't enough of said resource in the reserve, so you have to carefully manage this and I really like this.

The replay value seems high as there is a variable set setup with the resources and each game will develop in a different fashion.

The luck factor is present but I feel player skill is much more relevant so we are good here.

Perhaps it is better with 2 players as the game is at it most strategic in this configuration. With more the chaos of the game increases a lot.

Bottom line, Finca is a solid Euro game. The game offers (somewhat) interesting decisions and you have room to plan while, at the same time, tactical opportunities appear often. I could play it again but I decided to sell my copy of the game as I crave heavier games.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Project: ELITE

Project: ELITE

2021-10-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play Project Elite was very high right since the original 2016 Artipia Games edition was released`m. I had the game in my radar for a long while as it received rave reviews from many sources. As soon as CMON opened the KS, I went all in with the game. After I played it, I can say I'm disappointed as I was expecting a better game.

Project Elite's rules aren't very complex. You can teach the game under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 90 minutes.

The theme is awesome and one of my favorites (alien invasion). The game is highly thematic.

The game's components are great as is usual from CMON. The art is also very good.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward. You are playing a particular scenario with a set objective. There are several rounds and in each round an event will trigger (or not), then the Aliens will spawn several minions and possibly a boss. After that, players have 2 minutes of real time action to move, attack, interact with the map and search for new equipment. This part is fun. Then, the aliens will attack and move (and this is a bit of a chore). The decisions needed to play are very easy, but the realtime phase is very fun.

After I played Project Elite, I'm a bit disappointed. I thought it was going to be a more frantic game, but the realtime phase, albeit fun, it's very short. Gameplay-wise Escape from the Temple is a better game for me.

It is very to cheat or make mistakes in the game.

Best with 4 players.

The luck factor is high, but I don't mind about this in cooperative games.

Bottom line, I was expecting more from Project Elite. I think I would have liked it more if the realtime phase was longer (it is unfulfilling), The game can become boring as it is very repetitive. I also believe it's the most expensive game I have as I went all in in the KS, due to this, I don't think I can sell it without losing a lot of money, we will see. I'm open to play it again if requested, but I don't think I will pursue more games of Project Elite.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour

Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 8.0 (October 2021)

I love Hansa Teutonica, it is a great game so I was very VERY keen to try Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour, and, after I played it, it was a huge disappointment for me.

Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute if players are already familiar with the base game rules.

The expansion adds 6 special powers that will be randomly applied to each game. To acquire them you must skip your whole turn and you must turn down 2 bonus tiles, so they are expensive. Their powers are wildly unbalanced, I mean, the +1 Action is OP compared to any other available power and that´s just bad design. All the other powers are cool in some way but they also give the advantage to the first players as they will, most likely, grab them first (even if other players oppose them they are just increasing their advantage) so this brings me to problem number 2. UNLIKE any other power in the game, these emperor´s favors are unique, that means that the first player to grab it IS the ONLY player to enjoy the favor and that´s awful as player order was created at random, this, effectively, gives A LOT of advantage to first players and makes the game very unfair, so I really dislike them. It would have been MUCH better to have all favor available to all players at all times, so, in this way, acquiring them is more strategic and not a must have move for the first players (if the + action is available).

Bottom line, I was severely disappointed by Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour, I expected great things and I got unbalance and unfairness. I will keep them in my game collection because I don’t want to split my Hansa Teutonica games, but I won´t ever play with it again, for me, Hansa Teutonica: Emperor's Favour ruins the beauty and elegance of Hansa Teutonica.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Flash!

Flash!

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

Flash! was an utterly unknown to me, but a friend brought it to our game gathering and I really enjoyed it.

Flash!´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 15 minutes.

The game´s components are good.

There is no theme, Flash! is an abstract game.

Gameplay is very fun and frantic, each round, there is a goal and you have to achieve it as fast as possible with your 5 dice, to do this, you can roll and reroll as fast as possible until the desired combination appears and then you pick up the highest available VP token, that´s it. The decisions needed to play the game are incredible obvious, but the frantic pace of the game is very fun to me.

The luck factor is through the roof, but I don’t care in this case as the game takes around 10-15 minutes to end.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Flash! pleasantly surprised me. I wasn’t expecting anything good from the game but it is fun. I think I will probably buy it as I liked it and it can be a great game to introduce non gamers to our hobby. Flash! is a very simple game, but it is fun for me and I would like to play it occasionally even if luck decides who wins.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Spicy

Spicy

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

Spicy was an utterly unknown to me, but a friend brought it to our game gathering and, after I played it, I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Spicy´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are just cards, but they are of good quality. The art is amazingly good and I love the overall presentation.

The theme is cute, but you don´t really feel it though the game in any way.

Gameplay is fun, you must bluff your way to victory and I love to do this. In your turn you must play a card higher than the one before and from the same suit. If you have it that´s great as you won´t have to lie, but if you don’t have it you can bluff and if anyone wants to call your bluff they must say in which way you lied (suit or number), so you can get away with the lie even if everyone knew you were lying. If you don’t want to lie, you can always draw a new card. The idea is to play all your cards to get a huge VP boost. I really enjoyed the game but I don’t think I will ever buy it as there is a part of the game I disliked.

When a player loses a bluff or mistakenly accused of lying another person, he has to begin the round again, this means, players are not playing clockwise and I dislike this because it strikes me as unfair. For example, you can have only one card in your hand and the player next to you began the round, it could happen (and in fact happened several times in my game) that just when you are about to play, someone (for example the player next you) calls out the player before you, and it could be that he was wrong (even on purpose), so he begins the new round effectively skipping you and I hate this. For me, it would have been much better if players played clockwise. This issue can be worse if players actively use it to skip the player who is about to win. I suppose the game was designed to play in good faith, but this “issue” can be abused (and it will be abused by very competitive players who doesn’t play by the spirit of the game).

The luck of the draw is present, but bluffing correctly is much more important.

Best with 4 players.

For me, Spicy is a family game, not a party game, but these lines are very blurry.

If you have a great memory you will have an advantage in the game and I love this.

Bottom line, Spicy is a fun and refreshing game. The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process, but the game is hilarious due to the bluffing and the way the bluffing is done is very novel. I would buy the game IF all players played clockwise, as the game currently is, it is unfair IMO and this bothers me a lot. I don’t enjoy that the player that lost must begin the new round, this is very unfair in my book and the sole reason I won’t be buying the game ever, still, I would play it again if requested as it is a fun and quick game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Circus Puppy

Circus Puppy

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play Circus Puppy was rather low but a friend brought her copy to our game gatherings so I gave it a spin. After I played it, I can say I´m very disappointed by the rulebook, it makes the game almost unplayable.

Circus Puppy´s rules are easy to teach but not easy to learn. The rulebook is among the worst I have ever read and I´m amazed it was even published in this form. The game is very simple but the rulebook left many things unanswered so gameplay was very bumpy. I feel like this was poorly translated to English which is a huge surprise from Renegade Game Studios. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, but I hate to bend cards. Also, all copies I have seen from the game came with the stage cards repeated and from the rulebook it seems (but I´m not sure) they should be different. No one answered the forums when someone asked this very question which is very surprising from a company like Renegade Game Studios. The art is cute as is usual from Aza Chen. The tube the game comes in plays a part in the game, I also dislike when publishers do this, but this is a minor issue for me.

The theme is meh to me.

Gameplay was awful, mainly because we all were trying to interpret the awful rules. I think the game is supposed to be like Rhino Hero, that is, it seems the game is a dexterity game with bend cards. A game like this is not for me and I hate to bend cards in any setting. In your turn you draw a card from your personal deck and you must do the trick displayed on its back, if the tower doesn’t fall out, you score VPs. The tricks themselves aren’t very clear on the rulebook so, if the game is what I think It is I would rate it a 4.0 (I don´t generally like Jenga like games).

Bottom line, Circus Puppy could be a good family game and perhaps it is in its original language. As it stands, the rulebook is awful and I´m still not sure if we played it correctly and this is a very light game!! It seems Circus Puppy is a dexterity game in the vein of Rhino Hero (it also comes with bendable cards) but the rulebook kills the game for me. I´m very surprised Renegade Game Studios published a game like this and it compounds the issues by not answering people’s questions in the forums (which would be the minimum expected). It ALSO seems the game comes with a components defect as well (the repeated stage cards). So it seems the publisher forsake this game. All things considered Circus Puppy is a hard pass for me and I will sell my copy ASAP at a huge loss because it wasn't cheap (I bought it directly from Renegade). On paper it should be a good family game, but it is almost unplayable, If the game didn´t have any of these issues, I guess I would have rated it a 4.0. Worse rules I have read in a long while, this shouldn’t happen, period. The art of the dogs is very cute.

Current Rating: 2.0


Board Game: Camera Roll

Camera Roll

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 3.0 (October 2021)

I don´t even remember why I even acquired Camera Roll but my gaming system told me I had to play this month, so I did. After I played it, I can say it pleasantly surprised me, but it is not a game for me.

Camera Roll´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are mostly cards so they are ok. There are also markers and an erasable board.

There is no theme.

The idea of the game is to score the most VPs by searching for pictures in your smartphone (novel idea). Each round there is a judge that draw a card, and the card has a topic, for example funny, so you have to find a funny picture as fast as you can, that´s it. VPs are awarded to the fastest player, to every player who found a picture with the right topic within the allowed time and 1 more VP awarded to the best photo by the judge. I hate judging games, from Apples to Apples to Cards Against Humanity (they are very similar games). I hate it because judging is very subjective and it lends itself to cheating and kingmaking but at least in Camera Roll, judging is only 1 third of the achievable VPs so I can stomach it a bit better. I must confess I had fun playing Camera Roll , I believe it is a fun party game with the correct game group.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by camera Roll, it is a fun and novel game that plays rather quickly. Still, it is not a game for me as I heavily dislike “judging” games. I will sell my copy of the game ASAP, but I would play it again if requested

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Swordcrafters

Swordcrafters

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

Swordcrafters is another game I don´t remember buying lol, but my gaming system said I had to play it this month so I did. After having played the game, I can say it pleasantly surprised me, but it is still not a game for me.

Swordcrafter´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are good and when you assemble your sword it looks great, however, I´m worried about component degradation. To assemble the sword you must slide cardboard tiles into plastic framses and this doesn’t go lightly, sometimes you must really push to move the cardboard tile. This is a dealbreaker for me as I can´t stand component degradation. Perhaps it would have been better to have something Lego-like to assemble the swords but I imagine that would be much more expensive. The art is ok.

The theme is very thin. You don’t really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is very straightforward but fun. Each turn, a player must cut the available gems in 2, that´s it, where there were only 1 group of gems now there must be 2 groups, then players, it turn order must choose a group of gems and they must assemble them into the sword. So the game is all in the cuts. You want to have the longest sword and all other VPs come from variable goal cards (like having the most red gems etc.). Forging the sword itself adds a little spatial puzzle and I like it. The game is fun and simple.

Best with 4 players.

The replay value seems high as there are several goal cards.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Swordcrafters. It offers straightforward decisions but the sword itself is very cool. I already sold my copy of the game but I would play it again if requested. I think the game´s components will degrade quickly which is why I never considered keeping the game, but Swordcrafters is a novel game. Without the sword itself I wouldn't like the game this much.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Swordcrafters Expanded Edition

Swordcrafters Expanded Edition

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 4.0 (October 2021)

Swordcrafters Expanded Edition is the best edition of the game, just because it comes with more content to try. If you want to read about what I think, you can read it under the base game entry here on BGG. To summarize, gameplay isn´t anything special but it is fun AND the 3D sword itself elevates the game to a new level.

The game comes with a cool box sleeve, but, to be honest, I prefer boxes without sleeves.

Swordcrafters Expanded Edition comes with additional content like sword points, round goals and special tiles.

It is weird that this edition of the game lost one of its designers on BGG´s entry, Ryan Lambert is not named anywhere here but he is listed as a designer in the original game, weird.

Bottom line, for now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave Swordcrafters and I could play it again if requested, but I already sold my copy of the game. It´s very nice to have more modules to explore.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

2021-10-29

Initial Rating: 7.0 (October 2021)

My desire to play Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle was high since the game was released. In theory I love deckbuilding games (but in practice most deckbuilding games heavily disappoint me) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. After I played the game, I found a very basic game, but it is still fun nonetheless. I will probably sell the game but I still want to explore it further.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle´s rules a re very easy to explain. You can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 80 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards. The art is ok and there is plenty taken directly from the movies.

The theme is awesome, if you buy this game you are a fan of Harry Potter in some capacity and I do love the theme, however you don´t feel much of the theme playing the game. It is mostly supported by the art and the names of the spells and characters, but the game could be easily rethemed (in fact I believe it already has been rethemed with Toy Story). Still I´m only keeping the game because of the theme so it does have some pull.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward. The game is played in scenarios and each scenario introduces new rules so that´s ok. Still, the first scenarios are extremely easy for seasoned players. I began playing in the third scenario and it was still very basic. The game uses standard deckbuilding and cooperative fare, that is, each turn an event will occur, you play your cards, attack some enemies and you buy some cards that go back to your deck. The formula is not novel (in fact it has been repeated A LOT) but it works. Each player incarnate the role of one of the protagonist of the movies/books, obviously, each character has a special power (this is introduced in a scenario different from the first one) with an amount of live but I don´t like you cannot really die in the game (you can be knocked out)

The luck factor is very high. There is luck of the draw with the enemies, the events and your deck of course. This luck doesn’t bother me, but the game features a variable market offering and this is usually a dealbreaker for me (as it is usually so unfair and prevents any form of strategy). I can stomach it in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle just because it is a cooperative game, so the market cards don’t bother me as much as in other games.

Unlike most cooperative games I have played, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle was very easy to beat (at least the 3rd scenario), I really hope the game´s difficulty increases in the next scenarios.

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime is too much for me.

Bottom line, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is exactly what I was expecting. It is a good deckbuilding game for the family and I will probably sell it (eventually) as there are better cooperative deckbuilding games (Aeon´s End comes to mind), however, the Harry Potter theme calls to me and I do want to see what other scenarios have to offer as well as the expansion. I won´t be getting the Toy Story one as that IP is much less interesting to me. With more plays it´s rating could go up or down and I fear the game will become repetitive.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Unlock!: Timeless Adventures

Unlock!: Timeless Adventures

2021-10-30

I just love the Unlock! series of games and this month I got to play Lost in the Time Warp and I loved it. As I don´t want to write any spoiler this comment will be very short.

I enjoyed the game a lot, but I´m disappointed in the overhaul level of difficulty. This was supposed to be a 3 star scenario but it was very easy for us to solve it. We never use hints in any way, but this time has been the second one we solved the adventure very near the time limit.

The story is fun and it works great. It´s been years now but I still l love Unlock! and I don’t think this will ever change.

Lost in the Time Warp ´s rating: 8.0

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Board Game: Hawaii

Hawaii

2021-10-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (October 2021)

Hawaii was one of my oldest unplayed games so I was very happy to try it this month. As is usual from me, I didn’t know anything about the game other than Tom Vasel´s hate for it.

Hawaii´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours. The setup time is very long.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. Hawaii is an older game.

The theme is cool but it is , mostly, pasted on. The theme is supported mainly by the art.

Gameplay is interesting. On your turn you must pass or move you chieftain to a position and buy a tile (to get powers), fish (to gain VPs at the end of the round) and to visit an island for a benefit. Once all players have passed there is a scoring round in which, to score, you must meet a number in fishes + expenses. You play for 5 rounds and then enter a final scoring (in which some tiles can be totally wasted if you didn’t build them long enough, I love this). There are around 10 spaces with buildings so planning where to go is fun, you have to manage two resources (feet to move and shells to pay). The decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard nor very easy, most of the complexity are in the buildings themselves.

Best with 4 players.

Replayability is very high as everything will be different in each game.

The luck factor isn’t very high, everything will change from round to round, but after that, you can plan for the round. I do like this. There is luck of the draw with the islands, I need more plays to see if this bothers me or not.

Bottom line, I was expecting a bad game due to Mr. Vasel video, but I did find an ok to good game. The game is not that bad IMO, I´m not sure why Tom hates it, but I respect his opinion. Hawaii offers interesting decisions but the setup is VERY long (which I don’t mind as all my friend help with the setup and teardown). I want to play again because I´m still undecided if I should keep it or sell it. The player´s boards are reminiscent of Vikings.

Current Rating: 6.0
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Board Game: In the Hall of the Mountain King

In the Hall of the Mountain King

2021-09-12

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

Jay Cormier is a designer I respect a lot, even if I ended up disliking some of his games (I heavily dislike Akrotiri but I love Belfort), so my desire to play In the Hall of the Mountain King was high. After I played it, I can say it is a good game, but but it is NOT a game for me. I dislike most games in which tile placement games is one of the central mechanisms.

In the Hall of the Mountain King´s rules aren’t very complex, you can teach them under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are good as is the art.

The theme is fun.

Gameplay isn´t very easy nor very hard. The idea is to amass the most VPs excavating tunnels and recruiting trolls. On your turn, you can first cast a spell from 3 options or you can use a workshop to get resources or other kind of bonus. Then you must recruit a new troll or build a tunnel. Building tunnels is the main thing you do in the game and you try to build them strategically so you can maximize your VP output while blocking your opponent´s. When you build over a resource you get it and there is some terrain that is most costly to build. All the tiles are polyominoes of some kind and the spaces toward the center are more valuable. When you hire a troll you need to place it in a pyramid form on your personal board and then some trolls produce, knowing which troll to get and where to place it isn’t trivial and it´s very fun for me (the best part of the game. After all that you can take a special tile if you have created the adequate form with your polyominoes. To summarize, the decisions needed to play the game are rather interesting, but not so much to grab me.

The interaction between players is rather indirect, but it´s very present. You can block someone and/or you can take the spell or the troll they wanted (blocking can be a big deal). Perhaps some spells can attack one directly but I don’t know for sure.

Best with 3 players because with 4 the downtime is too much, still, with 4 players the balance will probably be better but I get bored by the downtime.

The luck factor is present and it can affect you, but I do feel player skill is more important so it doesn’t bother me that much. There is luck with the spells, there are 3 at all times but, sometimes, you can get one that really benefit your position. There is also luck in how the trolls appear but this bothers me even less.

Bottom line, I recognize In the Hall of the Mountain King is a good game but it is not a game for me. I generally don’t like games in which tile laying is the most relevant mechanism and I also don´t like most polyominoes games. The decisions needed to play the game are somewhat interesting but, these days, I prefer heavier games. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Colorpop

Colorpop

2021-09-12

Initial Rating: 4.0 (September 2021)

Colorpop was an unknown game to me but I got to play it this month. After I played it, I can say the game has a great premise, but it is way too simple for my taste.

Colorpop´s rules are VERY easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are good.

The game has no theme, it is pure abstract.

Gameplay is very simple. Each player has a secret color and he has to minimize the amount of tokens of that color in the board while trying to hide his color. I love this (just like clans or Heimlich & Co. but gameplay is so simple that it doesn’t satisfy me. In a turn, a player will select 2 or more adjacent tokens of the same color and remove them from the board, at the end, the winner is the player with the least amount of tokens in the board, that’s it.

Luck plays a huge role in the game as other players will remove different quantities of each color, so this will hinder/benefit a player more than others, still, as the game plays so fast, the luck factor doesn’t bother me that much.

Best with 2 players, in this configuration you have much more room to bluff and play skillfully. With more players luck will play an important role.

Bottom line, even though I was expecting a very bad game due to its rating here on BGG, I found a game that plays very quickly (its best feature) and this allow me to rate it higher than I would otherwise. The game offers very easy decisions but it can be a good game to introduce gamers to our hobby. Luck plays an important role in the game (which is weird in an abstract game).

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: P.I.

P.I.

2021-09-12

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

I love many Wallace´s games and I dislike other of his games as well, but I always buy his games no matter what. I didn´t have much hope for P.I., not sure why but after I played it, I can say it is nothing like I was expecting, in fact it doesn’t feel like a Wallace game at all. On the other hand, I LOVE deduction games so this allows me to enjoy the game much more.

P.I. is a simple game, you can explain it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 90 minutes.

The game´s components and art are ok. Nothing too exciting but it is the usual fare from Treefrog Games (in any case this isn’t very important to me).

The theme is very cool and you do feel it through the game (more or less).

Gameplay is very simple, you have to discover who, where and which crime was committed. In your turn you have 3 options, you can send one of your limited investigators to a location, or you can select an evidence card or you can attempt to solve the case. The player who solves his case first will get more VPs and the game ends after 3 times of this. When you use your investigator or an evidence card, the player to your right will answer if the current location/evidence has anything to do with the crime or if adjacent ones do so, as you can see, the game is very simple.

Best with 3 players.

The luck factor is there and it can make you win the game when you get lucky with the information you derive from your investigator/evidence.

As with most deduction games, P.I. has a weakness, it relies on players to NOT make mistakes when giving out the information, if someone messes up, the game breaks, or rather it would break but Wallace solved this by giving a lot of VPs if you received wrong information, so the weakness is (somewhat) solved here.

Bottom line, P.I. is a borderline 7.0 to me and it is a game I want to explore further. It doesn’t have the usual deepness of a Wallace´s game and I wouldn´t keep it if it wasn’t a deduction game (I´m a sucker for those) so I will play it more times before deciding if I should keep it or sell it. P.I. can be a good game to introduce new gamers to our hobby. I still prefer Black Vienna and Tragedy Looper in the deduction bracket but I´m enjoying P.I.

Current Rating: 7.0

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Board Game: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game

2021-09-19

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

My desire to play Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game was low because I never was a fan of the TV show and the designer is not among my favorites. I was expecting a bad game but I found a decent one (and I know some friends liked more than me, but they are fans of the show). In general terms, I don’t enjoy this kind of game as much as I used to, there are exceptions but, these days, I´m much more of an eurogamer.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game´s rules are easy to teach, you can teach it under 6 minutes and, as the game is played by teams, the good guys can speak freely so the rules will be assimilated quickly.

The game´s components are ok if you take into account it is a 2000 game. The cardboard pieces that have a peg are degraded though.

The theme is meh to me, but I know there are many Buffy fans out there and I feel they can enjoy the game more (I´m the same way with Cthulhu theme and that´s why I can enjoy Arkham/Eldritch Horror games).

Gameplay is very easy. The game is played in scenarios, each one with a different bad guy (there are 4 of them). A player will take the bad guy and the rest will take the good guys. As is usual from this kind of game, each scenario has different conditions (I believe, I played the first one in which we had to kill the bad guy and he had to kill Buffy). Players will roll dice to see how the day advances (if there is full moon a werewolf will appear, or if it is day the vampires will take damage if they are outside). Player will take turns sequentially and good guys can search for items (weapon, spells, characters) that will give them an edge against the bad guy, and the bad guy will roll dice at the beginning of his turn to see who can he activate, he can activate himself (if the dice will it) or his minions. You also move based on your previous roll, so sometimes you cannot move very far. You also roll to fight. All things considered, it is a fun game (but only because it is not a full Co Op, I have always preferred to play all against one in these kind of games).

Good players can also be converted to vampires and that´s fun.

From my limited perspective, it seems it is a easier for the good guys to win, but as the game has so many sources of randomness the bad guy can win too.

The luck factor is very high with all the dice rolling and the random cards, specially for the bad guy as, sometimes, he cannot activate the big boss to his detriment but it is hilarious when a “sure” attack fails or when a player with 1 health manages to survive. Also, there are wooden stakes or bites that can end you right there if the dice will it. In our game the werewolf was able to hit 100% twice in a row against The Master and that was very fun (but lucky). To summarize, there is A LOT of luck.

Bottom line, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game is better than expected and more fun than expected. I enjoy (some) one against many games but this is not for me. Still, I recognize that fans of the show will have a better time than me. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: DOG Cards

DOG Cards

2021-09-19

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I bought DOG Cards on 2014 and I bought it due to its legendary designers (which have been mostly a miss for me but there are BIG exceptions for each one) and it took me 7 years to finally play it. After I did so, I can say the game is not for me, it is way too light with very easy decisions.

DOG Cards´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. It’s just cards with numbers or symbols.

There is no theme, it is an abstract game.

Gameplay is very easy and straightforward. The goal is to create a row (or two if playing 3 players I believe) from 1 to 14. On your turn you can do a variety of things but they can be summed that you play/discard a card get another, hopefully, more valuable card. The cards can be played on your row or your teammate´s (if you are playing with 4 players), or you can “buy” a card from the center, for example, if you play a 2, you can buy the 2nd positioned card etc. (this is the best mechanism in the game) or you can use a card for an effect or you can draw a new card from the deck. It’s very easy stuff and you barely need to think, it (almost) plays in automatic. The only caveat is that I played the 4 player game in which you play in teams (I like this) but I didn´t feel the partnership added much to the game.

The luck factor is high with the cards but it doesn’t bother me much here as the game is so simple and plays so fast.

Bottom line, I was expecting better from the designer duo, but DOG Cards is a very easy game, with straightforward decisions. I feel luck plays a huge role in who wins. I will sell it ASAP and it was a very expensive game as I had to import it from Germany so I will probably lose a good percentage of its price, I only bought it due to Mr. Kramer. My desire to play DOG Cards again is very low.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Draco Mundis

Draco Mundis

2021-09-19

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

Christophe Boelinger designed my current favorite game of all time (Dungeon Twister) and he did so BEFORE he designed Draco Mundis so I was expecting great things from the game, but, sadly, it sorely disappointed me. I bought Draco Mundis on 2013 so it was one of my oldest unplayed game, it took 8 years to see table but I was finally able to play it this month as COVID19 restrictions are finally easing out.

Draco Mundis´ rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes with 4 players.

The game´s components are meh, they are only tiles and the colors are awful, there is a gray and a brown that look very similar from afar. The art is also regular to ok but I don’t care much about this.

The theme is, totally, pasted on. The game is very abstract like. I love the name though.

Gameplay was boring, the premise promised a lot but the execution didn’t deliver for some reason. The game is played in two phases, first players will play all their tiles facedown in the board and I really like this as memory plays an important role (I love memory games). Once all the tiles are played you can begin. There are several kind of tiles with different powers, the units can attack, discover and move, the terrains hinder you or give an ability etc. On your turn you have 2 actions of 7 possible, and with this actions you can reveal new tokens, begin a fight, move your characters, reorient them, you can peek at a face down tile and you can use the special ability of a tile. The game sounds great on paper but in reality I didn’t have much fun.

The game has some resemblances to Dungeon Twister.

Not recommended for 3 players. By far, best with 2 players.

Bottom line, I was expecting SO MUCH more from the game but it is rather dull and boring (as are its components). The memory element is great but not enough to save the game for me. It´s just boring and I cannot explain why. You can create situations in which nothing happens for a while. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Exxit

Exxit

2021-09-21

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2013)

Years ago, I played the game WITHOUT knowing the rules. On 2013, Boiteajeux.net made a tournament by country and from my country only Andres Pabon (bacusgod) and myself played so each one of us had to play several games we didn’t know. Andres died a couple of months ago, but those were good memories. This month, I finally read the rules of Exxit and I played it again, so here is my comment finally.

Exxit´s rules aren’t very complex, but it cost me to understand them from the rulebook. Once I played several turns, the game finally clicked for me and it isn’t that hard (rules wise). You can explain it under 3 minutes and playtime is around 60 minutes (way too high for an abstract game). The rulebook could be much better.

The game´s components are ok.

There is no theme, the game is 100% abstract.

Gameplay is very challenging (or perhaps I just suck at abstract games). On your turn you have 3 options but you MUST do one of them in order of priority. First you must do a destruction dance if you can (distribute the discs on your stack in an orthogonal line), if you can´t do a destruction dance then you must place a new disc or enlarge the world (add a new tile of your color to the game, this is the goal of the game), if you can´t do any of these options you must pass. The game is very simple rules wise but it is a deep game with lots of forced movements. The decisions needed to play the game can be hard to process (which is good).

Bottom line, Exxit is a good abstract game, but I don’t enjoy most abstract games, still, I could play Exxit again for sure. Perhaps the rating can increase with more plays.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Cthulhu: Death May Die

Cthulhu: Death May Die

2021-09-21

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

With the (possible) exception of Xenoshyft (i´m still on the fence), I think I have disliked every original CMON game I have ever played so, even though I love the Cthulhu mythos, my desire to play Cthulhu: Death May Die was rather low but, after I played it, I can say I really enjoyed the game.

Cthulhu: Death May Die´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 10 minutes, and, as the game is cooperative, you can even leave some rules out. Playtime is variable as it is a scenario based, but I guess playtime is around the 3 hour mark.

The game´s components and art are great as is usual from CMON.

The theme is awesome, in fact without the theme I wouldn’t like this kind of game, but I do love Lovecraft mythos and the game is very thematic.

Gameplay is very straightforward. The game is cooperative. Each scenario is divided in 2 phases, one before the ancient one awakes and one after it awakes (you can even kill the ancient ones which I dislike thematically but it is very fun mechanically). As is usual in this kind of games, each player incarnates a character who has special abilities and who can get better items and abilities through the game, there are some objectives you need to fulfill to win, there are plenty of (familiar) enemies to fight, players are progressively going insane (a staple of Lovecraft games) and you do most things in the game by rolling dice. The decisions needed to play the game are rather easy to process (they are obvious) but the game is fun. The level up mechanism is the most novel aspect of the game and I like it (the more insane you are, the more powerful you are).

As I wrote above I wouldn’t like the game if it wasn’t for the theme, but I really enjoyed Cthulhu: Death May, my only regret is that I already sold my copy of the game as I was sure I wasn’t going to like a CMON game. I generally don´t sell unplayed games but I got a great offer for it (I did the same thing with HATE, a game I still haven’t played) so now I have to buy it again (probably in a future KS).

I have only played against Cthulhu and we won, but it was challenging and we almost lost the game. I loved that there is a Nun from Bogota (my hometown) and she is very powerful.

The replay value seems high but, perhpas, the game can become too repetitive, time will tell. Also, I thought this was a campaign game but it seems the scenarios are not related among themselves.

The luck factor is, obviously, very high with the dice and the cards, but I don’t mind this in a cooperative game.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from Cthulhu: Death May Die as it is a CMON game, for me, most (original) CMON games are great looking but very shallow and this is still the case in Cthulhu: Death May Die. The game is not deep by any stretch of imagination, decisions are obvious but it is fun. I´m only able to digest it because I LOVE the Cthulhu mythos (without it I wouldn’t keep the game). When I play it, I feel like I’m playing Mansions of Madness (Second Edition) (the superior game IMO, in fact I prefer to play Arkham Horror second edition or Eldritch Horror over this one). I recognize the game isn't my usual fare but the theme goes very far with me so I want to play it again soon.

Current Rating: 7.0

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Board Game: Beyond the Sun

Beyond the Sun

2021-09-21

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

I wasn’t very keen to try Beyond the Sun, the reason was that I thought it was yet another 4X space game (which I used to love but I no longer do) but it isn’t. Beyond the Sun is a space game with a control area mechanism (euro game). After I played it, I was pleasantly surprised by it and I love it.

Beyond the Sun´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are very good, the dice are great and very reminiscent of Roll for the Galaxy. The art is also good and the graphic design is very good.

The theme is great although you don´t really feel it very much In the game.

Gameplay is very fun and interesting, it is (mostly) about tech trees. There are several options to pursue, so deciding which is best isn’t an obvious decision. On your turn you must do an action and then you can produce or trade, that´s it . The actions allow you to research technologies in 4 different kinds (and obviously the technologies give you an advantage), to move your ships or to colonize systems, then you can produce one of the 2 resources. The game is very simple rules wise, but the complexity arises from the cards and their interaction. Each game you will have different research technologies and different goals to fulfill. Also, you need to keep in mind you need to manage your production which is also interesting. I´m currently loving the game.

The luck factor is present but it isn’t that high (at least that´s how I feel after 2 plays). Every time you discover a new tech, an event will trigger, there is also luck in how the systems appear but I feel player skill is more important than luck in the game.

The replay value seems very high as the game has a variable setup (with the technologies, the systems and the goals) and I expect expansions to appear soon.

Best with 3 players or 4 fast players.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Beyond the Sun, it is, for sure, a keeper in my game collection. The game offers very simple rules but the decisions needed to play it aren’t obvious, you need to think your options and I love this. I cannot wait to play it again.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy

The Castles of Burgundy

2021-09-22

Initial Rating: 8.5 (September 2021)

I love The Castles of Burgundy, a game very near my top ten games of all time, so, when I found out about The Castles of Burgundy (20th Anniversary) I was excited but I didn’t plan to buy it until they said it will come with a previously unreleased expansion, so I bought it to have all the content (If it came with all the expansions, I thought it was a great deal). Later came the disappointments.

I LOVE The Castles of Burgundy and, as this game is so similar to the original one, I will only write here the differences between editions and expectations. If you want to read my thoughts on the game, you can do it under its other entry.

In general terms, I was expecting great things from the game, but, also, in general terms it has been a disappointment for me. First of all, I expected the game to be a deluxe version of the original game and it´s true, the publisher never said this was the case, but still the expectation was implicit and the game is most definitively NOT a deluxe version. I have bought several copies of the game (more than 10) and 100% of the times, the game has arrived battered, the outer box is very thin and flimsy and of bad quality. The original game had a better box but not by much.

The art is a downgrade IMO but this is purely subjective. I have played over 65 times the original game and I know it by heart, but playing the new edition was slow and hard as I don´t understand what the (small) icons do. I also prefer the graphic design of the original (I feel the graphic design is worse here) and many tiles are rather similar, but I won’t hold this against the game as this is, again, purely subjective. The player boards don´t come with the player aid as it used to and this is a big downgrade IMO.

The game was initially called The Castles of Burgundy (20th Anniversary) which is VERY confusing as the original game was released on 2011. As it turned out, I believe it is the anniversary of its publisher Alea, not the game itself, so, for some reason, I dislike the name. It seems many people were annoyed/confused by this as the game changed to The Castles of Burgundy, a name I dislike even more as both games are now called exactly the same, this adds to the confusion. I would prefer both edition to be called different, even adding “new edition” or “second edition” would suffice. This is a minor issue, but it bothers me.

Initially, The Castles of Burgundy The Castles of Burgundy (20th Anniversary) was supposed to came with ALL the expansions ever released for the game and that was great. I though the game offered GREAT value as some of the expansions were very expensive to acquire (I paid over $30 for The Castles of Burgundy: 6th Expansion – The Cloisters). This was so compelling that many friends sold their copy of the game with the expansions they had to buy the new edition but later, there was a nasty surprise. As it turned out, the new edition of the game DIDN´T come with all the previous expansions and that really angered the friends who sold their copy. The description on its BGG´s entry was changed and now it came with several expansions, but not all. Fortunately, I kept my original copy of the game along its expansions. I know Alea didn’t do this out of malice, but still, I really feel they dropped the ball here. Even today, I´m not 100% sure which expansions it has and which were cut (in the forums it is explained though). This issue is, by far, the worst offender for me.

I bought the game when it was very expensive, I paid $60+ but, these days, it is often sold at stores around $40+.

I also dislike how they changed the names of the expansions (perhaps there were legal reason for this) so you don´t know what is what until you read the rulebook or play the game. This is a minor issue.

After having wrote what I wrote above, you might think I hate the game, but that´s not the case. The Castles of Burgundy is a GREAT game and I love it so this new edition is also a great game (being the same game) and I´m happy to own it. It offers great value because it has lots of expansions in the box and gameplay is excellent. It is my favorite Feld and I will never get rid of it.

I do believe some of the expansions were changed slightly but I need to play them to confirm.

Bottom line, the new edition of The Castles of Burgundy is a great addition to any gamer´s collection, still, I was disappointed because I expected a game with better components, better art (perhaps it is better, but not for me) and with all the expansions as it was announced this way. The new edition is much more confusing than the original game as it doesn’t come with the player aid in the payer boards. I do feel Alea dropped the ball here and caused many confusions that ended up creating ill will toward the publisher but I know there is no ill intention here, however many gamers were affected by this. I´m happy to own it as I feel it has great value in the box and I would gladly play it again in the future. It is a keeper for me, but I do rate it lower than the original game.

Current Rating: 7.5

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Board Game: Illusion

Illusion

2021-09-22

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

My desire to play Illusion was rather low. In general, (I think) I have disliked all the small games from designer Wolfgang Warsch but I was pleasantly surprised by the game and I enjoyed it.

Illusion´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 22 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are just cards. The art is great.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is very straightforward. The goal is to win arrow cards and in your turn you have to options to add a new card to the row or to declare the row is wrong. The idea is to play cards that are organized in the amount of a color, that is, if green is the current color, players try to place the cards in order from less green in the art of the card to most green in the art of the card and if a player think someone made a mistake he can check the back of the cards, that´s it. It isn’t as easy as it sounds because the art of the cards is very abstract like. Gameplay is very reminiscent of Timeline but Illusion is unique.

Gameplay is very light but I decided to keep the game (at least for now) as it is a great entry point for new gamers or for casual play.

Luck of the draw plays an important role, but as the game plays so quickly, I don’t mind it.

I´m not so sure about the replay value of the game. Time will tell.

Bottom line, Illusion is a pleasant surprise, it is an unique game and I do want to play it again soon. It is great for the family or to introduce new gamers into our beloved hobby.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Sherlock 13

Sherlock 13

2021-09-22

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I love deduction games, perhaps it is my favorite category of games (or among my favorites), still, I was unsure of trying Sherlock 13, but it was a blast.

Sherlock 13´s rules are easy to teach you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, nothing too exciting. The art is very good.

The Sherlock theme is, sadly, pasted on, but I do enjoy it.

Sherlock 13 is a game in the vein of Black Vienna. The goal is to find the criminal an even Holmes can be the criminal (zero theme coherence here). The rest of the characters are dealt to the players who know have that information. Each character has from 2 to 3 symbols (I think) and then players begin asking questions or solving the puzzle. The questions allowed are to ask all players who has at least 1 symbol of a kind or to ask 1 player how many symbols of a kind does he has. That´s it, the game is very simple but it is fun nonetheless (I love deduction games).

Luck play an important role, sometimes you can get lots of the same characteristic or there are characters than have more of a symbol, but as the game is so light and plays so quick I don’t mind much about this. Also, there is a slight disadvantage for the first players

Best with 4 players.

As most deduction games, the game is fragile in the sense that if a player answer erroneously, the game breaks.

The game plays so quickly, that you will surely play it again after the first time.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Sherlock 13. It is a light (but fun) deduction game. I would love for it to be a bit heavier but I do have heavier deduction games (Black Vienna, Tragedy Looper) so this is great for the family or to introduce new gamers to our hobby. I will keep it in my game collection (at least for now).

Current Rating: 6.5


Board Game: Fantasy Fluxx

Fantasy Fluxx

Initial Rating: 3.0 (September 2021)

I´m not a fan of the Fluxx series of games, but, for some reason, I bought around 10 of them in the past so I have to play them before I get rid of them. I wasn’t expecting Fantasy Fluxx to be any good and my expectation was met. It´s just Fluxx with another theme (so it´s a bad game).

Fantasy Fluxx ´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Gameplay is very variable, it can end before all players had a turn or it can go up to 1 hour if things go badly.

The game´s components are ok as is the art.

The theme is pasted on but the cultural references are (somewhat) fun.

Gameplay remains exactly the same and it´s very obvious and luck prone. Fluxx is a game about changing rules and all players have to do, is to follow the current rules to the letter. The decisions needed to play the game are painfully easy. Fluxx is almost not a game as many times you don´t have any choice whatsoever, other times (most times), the better choice is glaringly obvious. Fantasy Fluxx has many of the same rule cards as the base game, the keeper and goals cards are different but both feel exactly the same when you play them. In this iteration of the series, they added spell cards (but they are not new, other Fluxx games have them as well but under other names, perhaps surprise cards?) and creeper cards. Some of the keepers are unique to this edition or they have a special effect but the changes are minimal and you feel you are playing regular Fluxx. All other things remains the same.

Bottom line, Fantasy Fluxx is just like any other Fluxx game out there, the theme doesn’t resonate with me so I don´t feel any difference between regular Fluxx and this edition of the game. Bad game, I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Braintopia

Braintopia

2021-09-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

I bought Braintopia a long time ago, but due to COVID restrictions I have been unable to play it, until now. Braintopia is a fun game and I like it.

Brantopia´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components are very well done, Braintopia includes some cards with texture so you cannot sleeve them (as that would defeat the purpose). Also, the cards are bigger than 80 x 80mm, so the biggest square sleeves I had didn’t work and this is the main reason I have to sell the game. I hate to play with unsleeved cards. The art is also good.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is quick and fun, the goal is to be the first player who completes a whole brain, and you do that by solving puzzles faster than your opponents. There are 5 or 6 kind of puzzles and if you are correct you can win the card (which later you could exchange for a brain part). The puzzles are very simple (rules wise), they are: who can solve a maze faster, who can memorize faster, who can detect a duplicate image (a la Spot It), who can touch his face with the correct fingers, who can detect the correct word/color pair, and there are some special touch tests. It is fun.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, Braintopia is a good family game, but I really disliked that I cannot sleeve the cards and that´s why I already sold it. I also couldn’t keep Spot It for the same reason. I would play Braintopia again if requested.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: CABO (Second Edition)

CABO (Second Edition)

2021-09-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

CABO (Second Edition) was the last game I pulled out in our last 2020 game gathering, but we couldn’t play it and then the quarantines happened. Now, that the restrictions are finally easing out, I finally played CABO (Second Edition) and after doing so, I realize the game is not for me (I already sold it).

CABO (Second Edition)´s rules are very easy to teach (but the rulebook could be much better). You can explain them under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 45 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are just cards, the art is also ok. The box was VERY hard to open without damage it and later I couldn’t repackage it which is bad.

The theme is pasted on (there is no theme).

Gameplay is fun and clever, furthermore if you take into account that CABO is a 2010 game. The goal is to be the player with the least value of cards each round but you don´t know the value of your own cards at the beginning (you know 2 out of 4). You can never check the face down cards directly, not even your own. In your turn you draw a card (from the deck or discard) and can play it exchanging it by one of your own cards or it may have a power that lets you peek, spy or swap cards. Once you think you have the lowest value among players, you can call CABO to end the round. The game is very simple but it is fun and I do love memory mechanisms in games. The decisions needed to play the game are rather straightforward, but there is some room to play skillfully and to bluff.

The game feels clever, but there is a TON of luck of the draw with the cards and this bothers me, still, it doesn’t bother me that much as it plays relatively fast.

Best with 4 players.

Bottom line, CABO (Second Edition) is a very simple but clever card game. My desire to play again isn’t that high, but I could play it again if requested. I love that you have to remember information to make good decisions. I already sold my copy of the game (although I have a deluxe version I still haven’t played as well as Silver).

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: 13 Chefs

13 Chefs

2021-09-24

Initial Rating: 4.0 (September 2021)

At first, my desire to play 13 Chefs was zero, but after reading the rules (and finding out it was a deduction game) my interest began to rise. After I played it, I can say the game is much better than expected (much better than its 17,201 rank would led you to believe) and I had fun playing it.

13 Chefs´ rules are very easy, you can explain them under 1 minute. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components and art are ok, it consists of only 13 cards.

The theme is pasted on and I don´t care for kitchen/cooking themes in any case.

Gameplay is fun. I love deduction games and 13 Chefs is a deduction game (although a very easy one). The idea is to deduce which card your opponents has hidden and to do this you can either play a face up card for its power or you can play a face down card to guess the card your opponent has, that´s it. It moves at a quick pace but I had fun playing it. The decisions needed to play the game are obvious, are there is a ton of luck of the draw (I don’t mind because it plays so fast).

Gameplay is reminiscent of Agent Hunter but it is simpler and I prefer my light games to be very light, 13 Chefs is the superior game for me.

I like it more than Kitchen Rush lol.

Bottom line, 13 Chefs was a pleasant surprise and I will keep it among my game collection (at least for now). I enjoy it but I will also keep it for when there are 2 players waiting for a game in our gatherings. I think 13 Chefs is a good game to introduce to new players and I feel it is superior to Agent Hunter and Rumpelstiltskin just by being lighter and easier

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Crown of Emara

Crown of Emara

2021-09-24

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

My desire to play Crown of Emara was very high as the game called to me and it is well rated here on BGG. After I played it, I can say it is a good game but it has a fatal flaw for me so, most likely, I will sell it.

Crown of Emara´s rules aren’t very complex, you can explain them under 7 minutes, still the game is not a casual game. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are good while the art is very good.

The theme is interesting but you don´t feel it through the game. I really like the name of the game.

Gameplay is fun and the game offers interesting decisions. The idea is to be the player with most VPs (as usual) but here you have 2 different kind of victory points (I don’t remember the names) and your score is what you scored in the lowest track. I usually like this in games, so you need to balance both VP tracks (you begin 1 track 40 points ahead of the other though). Each turn you will draw 3 cards which will allow you to do 6 actions in total (3 of them are available each round, and they allow you to move your pawn 1, 2 and 3 spaces), once you have played 9 cards, all the cards are shuffled again and you play them again. There are 2 separate boards to manage, in the fields you will gather resources and in the city you will use them for bonuses and VPs. The 3 cards you get will give you an action and where you play them in your board will give you the other action. This system is clever and I like it a lot, however, I feel (and I could be mistaken) that one of the cards is MUCH more useful if you draw it later rather than sooner. I don´t know the names of the cards, but it is the card that allows you to execute an action anywhere in the city. If you draw this card at the beginning of the game the action is rather poor but if you draw it in the 3rd or 6th round the action is incredibly powerful as you can spend all the gathered resources in a very strong action and I hate this because it is pure luck WHEN you draw the card. Due to this, I cannot enjoy the game as this strikes me as unfair. The order and timing of the actions is paramount to maximize your actions in the game (perhaps there is a variant in which you choose the cards you play, that would be much more strategic and fairer).

The luck factor is very high with the order in which each player draw the cards, that wouldn’t be a problem if the cards were all at the same power level, but I feel this is not the case (at least in one card as I wrote above), also there is luck in the events and in the character cards, but this luck doesn’t bother me much.

Best with 3 players.

The replay value seems high with a variable setup.

Bottom line, I was expecting great things from Crown of Emara and I do like most of the game. It offers interesting decisions with its 2 boards and combination of cards/movements (I think this is clever) but I dislike that the city card is MUCH more powerful if you manage to play it in the 3rd and 6th round respectively, this will give an unfair advantage to a player (I hope I´m mistaken and I´m willing to play the game again to find out). It would be much better (fairer) for me if player could choose freely the 3 actions cards each round. Still, I think the game is good, but, as it stands I´m getting rid of it. Having played Hadara as well, I do think Benjamin Schwer is a good designer.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Relick TCG: Character Deck Osamu

Relick TCG: Character Deck Osamu

2021-09-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I´m still very new to this game so I don´t have sufficient information to comment about this expansion. I have only played it once and I was playing directly with Relick TCG: Character Deck Osamu, This deck relies heavily into search abilities (like searching for a special card in your deck) which was very hard in my first play as I didn´t know what cards to look for .

If you want to read about my Relick thoughts please read them under the base game entry here on BGG. For now, I can say I will buy this expansion to support the designer, even though I’m rating it a 5.0. It's just that the TCG genre is not for me any longer, but give it a chance if you do like TCG games.

If I play with it in the future (low probability), I will come back to expand on my meager comment.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Relick TCG: Character Deck WD

Relick TCG: Character Deck WD

2021-09-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I´m still very new to Relick TCG: Character Deck WD so I don´t have sufficient information to comment about this expansion. I have only played it once and I only saw very few cards from this expansion so, at least for now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

If you want to read about my Relick thoughts please read them under the base game entry here on BGG. For now, I can say I will buy this expansion to support the designer, even though I’m rating it a 5.0. It´s just that the TCG genre is not for me any longer, but give it a chance if you do like TCG games.

If I play with it in the future (low probability), I will come back to expand on my meager comment.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Relick TCG: Theme Deck Hiperman

Relick TCG: Theme Deck Hiperman

2021-09-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I´m still very new to Relick TCG: Theme Deck Hiperman so I don´t have sufficient information to comment about this expansion. I have only played it once and I only saw very few cards from this expansion so, at least for now, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

If you want to read about my Relick thoughts, please read them under the base game entry here on BGG. For now, I can say I will buy this expansion to support the designer, even though I’m rating it a 5.0. It´s just that the TCG genre is not for me any longer, but give it a chance if you do like TCG games.

If I play with it in the future (low probability), I will come back to expand on my meager comment.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire

2021-09-24

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

My desire to play ANY Manhattan Project game is low. When a friend explained the original one (in my birthday) he made SUCH A BIG MISTAKE that he broke the game and that left a sour taste in my mouth. I know this is irrational and unfair, but it is a real feeling nonetheless. Even after I corrected the mistakes by reading the rules myself, I cannot bring myself to enjoy the game, I don’t understand why but it´s the truth and that feeling was (partially) transferred to The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire. After I played the game, I can say it is a good game but it has a fatal flaw for me and, due to this, I already sold it.

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire´s rules aren’t complex, you can explain them under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are good as is the art, nothing too exciting here.

The theme is cool but you don’t really feel it through the game. The name is confusing as it seems like this is an expansion of the original game. Within this series of games, if you go only by the name, you never know which games are a base game and which ones are an expansion.

Gameplay is fun and interesting. Each player represent a nation and each nation has different abilities and starting resources. I don’t feel the nations are balanced, from my limited perspective (and I could be mistaken) some nations offer a much easier path than others (some nations are easier to play?, it seems to be the case) but this doesn’t bother me (at least not at this point). Players need to play a worker from their player board (with an energy penalty if the space is occupied) and execute the action OR they need to generate (recover your workers, generate energy and possibly acquire a personal goal). The actions allow you to acquire buildings (in 3 different kinds), to acquire more dice (to get more energy), to clean up pollution, to gather a resource, to drill for oil, to gain more workers and to gain money. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t obvious, you need to think your options and timing is also very important in many aspects of the game. The game heavily incentivize creating mono building engines as you can activate them all with 1 action (and enough energy/workers), not sure how I feel about this. So far, I was liking the game very much.

I hate unfairness in general and I feel the game is unfair. When the end game condition triggers, each player has one more turn, including the player who ended the game, this means, players will have an unequal amount of turns in most games. In general, I dislike this but in many games this is compensated in the setup. In The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, the second and later players do get more money than the first player but these extra coins don’t come anywhere near to balance the situation (extra coins don´t equal a whole extra turn at the height of your nation´s power) and this ends up giving an unfair advantage to the first(s) player(s). This advantage isn’t an automatic win nor being 4th player is an automatic loss, but there is an unfair unbalance here. In our game, the first player didn’t win the game but he has one more turn than anyone else and he netted 4-6 additional VPs, this is bad in principle. Why should ANY player benefit from a random sitting order? I just don´t get this in games or in real life. I believe in fairness (even thought real life is so unfair). The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is a strategy game and only strategy (clever and skillful play) should create advantages for players. This unfairness isn’t as bad as in other games, but I hate that it exists. For me, it would be MUCH better that all players had the same amount of turns, period. As I wrote above, being first doesn’t guarantee anything, in part because the game has a lot of randomness in it in several layers, but the fairness principle should prevail IMO. By being first player you have an easier time developing your strategy and you effectively begin the game with an additional 4-8 VPs than the 4th player as you most likely, will have 1 more turn than the 4th player, this is so unfair I cannot accept it and just due to this I got rid of the game and took 2 points in its rating. I just hate this.

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime is too much for me.

The luck factor is very high and this bothers me as well. There is luck of the draw with the cards and the events and this will, randomly, benefit a player. At the beginning, you never know where to build and someone will get penalized and someone will be benefited by this at random (I know you can peek at the events). There is A LOT of luck with the dice but you know the odds and you can control it by getting more dice. There is also a high luck factor with the achievements, sometimes a great achievement for you will appear and sometimes it won´t. This is worse near the end of the game as you can get an achievement you never prepared for, so the a mount of VPs you can gain from it is dictated by luck, not skill. In general, even though the luck factor is high, it doesn’t bother me that much but I prefer more controlled games.

Bottom line, The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is a good game and better than the original game. It offers interesting decisions and there is a lot to like but I (somewhat) dislike the high luck factor and I downright hate the unfairness of the game as players won´t have the same amount of turns in most games. I already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Stymie

Stymie

2021-09-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

Stymie was an unknow game to me and that´s ok as it is an abstract game (I usually don´t enjoy those very much). The game was sent by the designer to a friend and he explained the game to me. I also met the designer on a YouTube show and he is a great guy. i promised him I was going to play the game this month, so I did. After I played the game, I can say I was pleasantly surprised by it, but it is still not a game for me.

Stymie´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes and I do think the rulebook could be better (in fact I think it already is but I'm not 100% sure). Playtime is very variable, you can end the game in 5 minutes or in 30 minutes.

The game´s components are good.

There is no theme (Stymie is a pure abstract game).

Gameplay is very reminiscent of Checkers and Go (this is by design). The goal of the game is to defeat your opponent and there are 3 ways to do this. If you capture 7 pieces from your opponent, you win, if you have 7 pieces in prime spaces, you win the game and if you completely remove your opponent from prime spaces you also win the game. There is a special piece called the Antipode, a piece that it´s under control of one player or another at several times in the game and it can help you to win the game, I love this concept, it´s pretty cool. In Stymie you begin to play right from the setup phase, players need to play their pieces on the board first and if you do this carelessly you can lose in the first or second move of the game (which feels very weird and anticlimactic). Perhaps my friend misunderstood a rule, but that has happened often with new players and every time this happened, the consensus was that you played a bad preliminary phase. With players that gave the game lots of plays this “issue” was reduced a lot, but it still feels weird to win/lose right after you begin playing.

Stymie is very simple rules-wise but it can be a very deep experience with good players. The decisions needed to play the game are as complex as you want them to be, I mean, you could play the game very casually or you could play the game trying to anticipate 4 or 5 moves ahead.

There is zero luck as in many abstract games.

Stymie can be played online in boardspace.net.

Bottom line, I wasn’t expecting much from the game as I´m not an abstract games fan, but I enjoyed my plays. I think the game is very easy to learn but hard to master (as many good abstract games are). I also met the designer which makes it a lot harder to remain objective (which is why I always buy my games and don´t accept gifts or review copies). I think he is a great guy and I think Stymie is a good abstract game, it´s just not a game for me. Also, keep In mind I´m very harsh with my ratings (I´m they guy who hater Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne), so a 6.0 rating is bad in my book. I could play Stymie again and I surely will as the game is always present in our bigger game gatherings.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Brick Party

Brick Party

2021-09-26

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

As is usual from me, I bought the game without knowing anything about it. In this particular case, I wasn’t expecting much from the game. After I played it, I was pleasantly surprised by it and I will keep it (for now at least) as it is a good party game.

Brick Party´s rules are very easy to explain, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 40 minutes.

The game´s components are good as well, they are mostly Lego like pieces and cards.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is very fun. Players play in pairs, but you will be changing partners during the game (I love this as it makes the game fairer and this avoid a couple trampling all other players). One player will see a card and will direct the other player to build the structure depicted in the card (this player cannot see the card, of course). The game is played in real time and the couple that first assemble the structure will flip a timer, that´s it. There are different difficulties, the harder to construct, the more VPs the card will give. The structures are full of wedges that made my life very hard. I suck at this game, even as director, I couldn’t properly see the correct pieces in my mind (I need more practice) so I couldn’t direct my partner to build the structure, still, I enjoyed the game a lot. There is an advanced mode which challenge the players to build the structure with some kind of penalty (like eyes closed or with one hand) and I love the idea, but I need more plays before trying it, I really suck at this game.

Gameplay is very reminiscent of two other games I enjoy (but also rate 6.0), You Robot and Visionary. Another game that comes to mind is Ugg-Tect and I enjoy them all.

Bottom line, Brick´s Party is a fun party game and one I want to explore further, so I will keep it among my game collection. I suck at this game but I enjoy it a lot. I also like the rotating partners so no couple has a particular advantage. Great for the family and I will be bringing it to our game gatherings.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: On The Flip Side

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: On The Flip Side

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: On The Flip Side was an utterly unknown game for me but the game box and name didn’t really call to me, however, the game was a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed I (but I won’t buy it).

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: On The Flip Side´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 15 minutes.

The game´s components are just cards and they work but they suffer from the nature of the game (this is the main reason I won´t buy the game). The art works but it is merely ok (but other players loved it).

Gameplay is fun and very similar to other real time pattern recognition games (Tarantel Tango, Ghost Blitz, Jungle Speed). The goal is to be the first player who has no cards left in his hand. Players begin chanting the name of the game (Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza) and with each name, a card will be played, when the name just chanted match the card just played all players will slap the played cards and the last player to do so will have to take cards. There are also 3 special cards that require gestures from all players instead of slaps. The game is fun and I would play it again.

As is usual from these kind of games, the cards can suffer due to the real nature of the game and I hate this. From these kind of games I have sold all but Ghost Blitz as you have to take different objects than cards (but still the components suffer).

Also, as is usual from this kind of game, some players will just destroy other players and that can lead to frustration for some people.

There can be minor injuries while playing this game.

Bottom line, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: On The Flip Side is a fun reaction game and I would play it again if requested. I won´t ever buy it because the cards suffer a lot during gameplay but it is a fun and quick game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Sherlock

Sherlock

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 4.0 (September 2021)

I bought Sherlock years ago. When I got it and I saw it was from Playroom, I sold it unplayed thinking it was not a game for me. This month, I got the opportunity to play it and I liked it (but not enough to buy it again). The thing is, I love memory games so I liked the game .

Sherlock´s rules are very simple, you can explain them under 1 minute. Playtime is around 25 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards with objects in them.

With a name like Sherlock, I thought the game was about deduction and when I thought it was purely a children´s game that didn’t appeal to me at all so I sold it unplayed. Weirdly, Sherlock is all about memory and just memory (there is no deduction in the game). The goal of the game is to win 5 cards. At the setup, all the cards are visible and you need to memorize them, then, they are placed facedown and in your turn you have to say which object is in a position, then that card tells you what card needs to be guessed next and so on. The game is very simple, but I do like it as I love memory games.

The luck factor is very high as, sometimes, you will need to guess a card that just entered the game (very easy) or you can get the oldest card (the hardest) in play. Also, some players can be frustrated as they can get trampled with players with good memories. I don´t mind much about this. To me, memory is just another skill. Just like some players are much better at Eurogames or dexterity games, I have no problem with players being good (or better than me) at memory games, so I have never understand the scorn memory games or memory elements in games get from "hardcore" gamers.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Sherlock. It is NOT a deduction game, it is a memory game and a pleasant one. It plays quickly and I think it is a good family game. I would play ti again for sure.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Sierra West

Sierra West

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

My desire to play Sierra West was high even when I didn’t know it was a deck building game (I like them in theory but in practice few deckbuilding games satisfy me) and, after I played it, I can say I liked it a lot.

Sierra West´s rules aren’t very complex but they are a bit weird. You can probably explain them under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 100 minutes.

The game´s components are good as is the art. The player boards reminded me of La Granja´s (both games are utterly unrelated though).

The theme is ok but I didn’t really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is very clever and fun. Sierra West is a deckbuilding game and in your turn, you will always have 3 cards in your hand. You must organize them in the best way possible as you (mostly) do all your actions with the cards. The cards have symbols on them and you will have to cover several of them. Once you have all 3 cards ready you use 2 different meeples to trail them and in this way you can gain resources, gain movement points (used to move a cart or another meeple, they are important to gain VPs and new cards), you can make the special action of the scenario (there are 4 modes of play), you can go up in the resources track, you can build a cabin (which can be used by the meeples before beginning the mountain trail if you didn’t use them in other player´s turns). The decisions needed to play aren’t very hard but they are fun and the game system is pretty novel (perhaps it is a bit reminiscent of Smartphone Inc with its cards) and I like it a lot. You begin the game with lots of negative VPs and you need to manage that. Fun.

On the bad side, I dislike the animal trap tiles, I disliked them because I hate hunting and animal suffering in general but I guess they are thematic within the game, still, mechanically, you can turn over one of these tiles per turn with one of your meeples (if it is available) and this feels very random as you depend on other player´s cards and, at the end, we all had all our animal tiles flipped so this didn´t seem very imoprtant (I know the timing of when you flip them CAN be relevant). I would have preferred something different for the tiles themselves and how they work. As they are now, they seems almost arbitrary and it is just a way to do something in other player´s turns so I also dislike them mechanically.

Replayability seems high as the game comes with 4 different modules, I got to play the bandit one (which has luck with a die).

The luck factor is high. As with most deckbuilding games out there, the luck of the draw is high and uncontrollable. In the bandit module there is luck with the revolver die, at first only the higher numbers work but you can mitigate them with some tokens and, as the game progresses, it will become easier. Still this luck will benefit someone and hinder other player, but it doesn’t bother me much (bad planning will harm you much more than this).

Best with 2 players or 3 fast players, with more the downtime is too high (even with the reaction actions).

Bottom line, Sierra West is a fun game and I will keep it in my game collection, at least for now. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t very complex (once you understand the convoluted rules) but they are fun. The game rewards planning but, as the cards appear at random (sometimes your plan won´t come to fruition), there are also important tactical considerations. I want to try the other modules. The central mechanism of getting 3 cards and combine them is very novel (to me) and the best the game has to offer, I really liked it.

Current Rating: 7.0

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Board Game: Dwellings of Eldervale

Dwellings of Eldervale

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

As Dwellings of Eldervale is so well liked here on BGG, my desire to play it was high but after I played it, I can say I´m disappointed by the game. It´s not taht the game is bad, it’s that I was expecting a great game, a game much better than it actually is.

Dwellings of Eldervale´s rules aren’t very complex at their core, but there are lots of rules. You can explain them under 14 minutes. Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game´s components are from good to great. The meeples are very good and the miniatures are great.

The theme is pretty cool and it´s supported by the game´s components and some mechanisms.

Dwellings of Eldervale is an area control, dudes in a map game and I have been drifting away from most of these games. Gameplay is easy at its core, but the available options are high and they increase with each round. On your round you either play a meeple to the board (possibly triggering a battle) to make an action or you recover all your meeples in the board (this allow you to use your cards AND build dwelings). Each board tile has an action/reward associated with it, some give resources of different kinds, other allow you to expand the board, to recruit more meeples, to gain coins, to draw cards, to build dwellings (they can give lots of VPs). Each faction is different and there are A LOT of factions. Each faction has the same makeup (workers, warrior, dragon and wizard) but the units can have different powers (I hope they are balanced), having these factions is great and I do want to explore them further. When a player wins a fight he can gain glory and that will give him resources and VPs WHILE creating an awful situation to his opponent as he no longer can build a doweling in tat location for this round (and dwellings are very important, the game IS called Dwellings of Eldervale lol). There are several tracks in which players can climb, they will give VPs at the end and they can make so cards cheap if you are high enough in the track All things considered, the game is fun and well put together but its decisions are rather easy to process. You can tell it is a labor of love from the designer/developer.

I love the big monsters and their effect.

The luck factor is very high and this bothers me in a game this long. There is luck everywhere in the game. The battles are decided by the luck of the dice not by the strength of your armies and that sucks (although the strength of your army does matter). You can clearly calculate the odds before battling as each unit has a set amount of dice and you can call adjacent units to join the fight and your dwelling can also support you with more dice, but if you have bad luck a lowly worker can destroy your whole army (un-thematic). Players roll the dice and the player who rolled higher wins, that means that a single unit can roll a 6 and the other player who rolled 8 dice will lose if he didn´t roll a single 6 (I dislike this as it is not very thematic that a single guy was able to hold your dragon and complete army by himself), so the luck in battle bothers me a lot. Losing battles can be devastating from midgame onward and the mitigation elements never guarantee a win, no matter how many swords you use. There is luck in the available elemental cards, but the latest card is always face up allowing you to make meaningful decisions, so this luck doesn’t bother me much. There is luck when you discover a new tile, many times they will come with monsters. At the beginning of the game this isn’t as important, but near the end you do need a special kind of terrain to fulfill a quest or to build a dwelling, so the luck here definitively impacts the game (but can be somewhat controlled). Lastly, there is luck with the magic cards and I really dislike this as the magic cards seems all over the place, that is, some of them are insanely powerful and others are very situational. The most powerful ones are more expensive, but still, their effect can be devastating. The worst offender to me are the quest cards as you draw them by luck and sometimes you can have the quest already completed as soon as you drew the card or it could be a quest that you have no possibility to fulfill, this is even worse near the end of the game. In our game, as his last turn a player drew a card that gave him lots of VPs and I can´t stand this. It´s different when you draw cards at the beginning of the game and you work/plan toward fulfilling them, but drawing them at the end and fulfilling them is pure luck (which I hate) and there is no way to control this. To summarize, there is a varied amount of randomness in every layer of the game, in some layers the luck doesn’t bother me that much while in others I hate it (quest cards mainly but also battles).

The game is expensive, I pledged for the legendary edition, but the box is big and full of content.

Replayability seems very high with the plethora of factions and the modular board. Also, not all cards play in all games.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, Dwellings of Eldervale is a good game, but perhaps, not a game for me (this is still not decided). In one hand I really like the euro part of the game (resource management and conversion), but the randomness of the game puts me off (especially the quest cards which are drawn at random and the battles, but there is luck everywhere in the game) as it can decide who wins just by losing a critical fight to a much weaker force and to add insult to injury, you prepared for this battle (as you knew it was important to win) and threw every available resource at it (including a captured monster and a dragon) and still lost to a lucky 6. A game that is 3+ hour long shouldn't be decided by losing a few battles (losing is critical as you cannot build dwellings). If battles worked different I would rate it a 6.0. I wish the game was shorter. There is a lot to like in the game but I sold my copy of the game at a hefty profit as the game is currently out of stock and commanding insanely high prices. Perhaps I can buy it again when it appear again as I would like to give it another shot to woe me, also we played the introductory game without mercenaries and other goodies so perhaps the game has more to offer.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Western Legends

Western Legends

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I don´t remember why I bought this game as the likelihood of me liking it was very low in the first place. I think I bought it automatically as the game is highly rated here on BGG. After I played it, I can say the game IS NOT for me in any way, shape or form and I already sold it. It wasn´t a disappointment because i wasn't expecting anything good from it.

Western Legends´s rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 10 minutes. Playtime is around 2 and a half hours.

The game´s components are very well done as is the art.

The game is very thematic and that´s great (although the western theme does nothing for me, in fact I find it very boring).

Gameplay is very straightforward. The idea is to gain the most legend points (victory points) and there are several ways to do this. As is usual in these kind of games, each player will have a character with different abilities and there are lots of cards (weapon, mounts, items etc) that have a special ability. Each turn, a player will have 3 actions. With the actions you can move, you can buy new stuff, you can mine, you can arrest bad players, you can fight a bandit, you can gamble, you can duel with other players and you can rob them. In general if you do a bad thing you will be a wanted man and the sheriff will be thrown your way. This part sounds great on paper, but I heavily disliked the game due to its high luck factor (and, in general I don’t like most thematic games these days).

The luck factor is through the roof. Everything you do is based on luck of the dice or luck with the cards. Yes, there are ways to mitigate the luck in a fight or gambling but, still, the decisions needed to play the game are so obvious so the luck factor will decide who wins. In our game, I tried to mine to convert gold nuggets into VPs and I was able to get a lot of gold nuggets and VPs (just by luck of the dice) with a very low effort, so, from my limited perspective, this strategy (mining) seems very OP, it not only gives you VPs, it also let you buy more VPs in the cabaret, there was a point in the game I had a 15 VP lead due to this. I know there are ways to stop a player from doing this, perhaps robbing him often, but everything is based on randomness which I heavily dislike in a game this long. There are also events that happen when a condition is met and the events are also good or bad at random. Player´s power seem unbalanced (but this isn’t very important in this kind of game)-.

The replay value seems very high.

Best with 3 players or 4 fast players, the downtime is high.

In Western Legends players need to gang on the leader and there are lots of “take that” moments. I dislike both.

Bottom line, Western Legends is a good thematic game (as its position shows) and I recognize this but it is not a game for me. I HEAVILY dislike all the randomness the game offers and the theme is not interesting to me. I´m happy the game exists and I´m happy many players can enjoy it (including several friends) but I´m not one of them. I fear I´m being too harsh on the game but playing it was probably a mistake I made, knowing I would probably hate the game. I would have loved the game in 2010 but these days I cringe in games that offer me so little control over the outcomes. It is a very thematic game but gameplay wise it doesn’t work for me. Western Legends offers very easy decisions with tons of luck in every level, lots of “take that” (and I dislike this) and I´m not sure if the game is balanced or not (I´m leaning toward unbalanced). I already sold it and I will do my best to stay away from Western Legends.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Agricola: France Deck

Agricola: France Deck

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 8.0 (September 2021)

I LOVE Agricola so it is only natural I also love it´s expansions. I own most of the expansions for the game but the opportunities to play them are few so I was very happy I got to try Agricola: France Deck.

The expansion doesn’t add new rules to the game, it only adds 60 new occupations and 60 new small improvements. As I have only played the expansion once, I still haven’t seen all the cards but I really enjoyed the ones I saw. The art and name of the cards is also fun in some cards and not in others (this disconnection is weird) and, in our game at least, no one played an overpowered card, so that´s great.

If I get to know the expansion more in depth, I will come back to comment on it, for now I´m giving it a high rating as it adds lots variability to the game.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Agricola Game Expansion: Red

Agricola Game Expansion: Red

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

I LOVE Agricola so it is only natural I also love it´s expansions. I own most of the expansions for the game but the opportunities to play them are few so I was very happy I got to try Agricola Game Expansion: Red.

I bought all the miniatures for the game years ago, but I remember I thought they were expensive and unnecessary. In general, I didn’t care much about the miniatures but I did care about the new cards (which I still haven’t played :/) as they really change the game with zero new rules, still, I have to recognize the miniatures are very good and they do add something to the game.

Having the cards is great but I was (somewhat) disappointed to know that the cards will appear (or appeared) in other expansions.

When I play with the cards, I will come back to comment on them, for now, I´m happy to own the miniatures for the game. I wish I could play Agricola more often.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Agricola Game Expansion: Yellow

Agricola Game Expansion: Yellow

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

I LOVE Agricola so it is only natural I also love it´s expansions. I own most of the expansions for the game but the opportunities to play them are few so I was very happy I got to try Agricola Game Expansion: Yellow.

I bought all the miniatures for the game years ago, but I remember I thought they were expensive and unnecessary. In general, I didn’t care much about the miniatures but I did care about the new cards (which I still haven’t played :/) as they really change the game with zero new rules, still, I have to recognize the miniatures are very good and they do add something to the game. The yellow miniatures are more orange than yellow but this is a minor issue.

Having the cards is great but I was (somewhat) disappointed to know that the cards will appear (or appeared) in other expansions.

When I play with the cards, I will come back to comment on them, for now, I´m happy to own the miniatures for the game. I wish I could play Agricola more often.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Agricola Game Expansion: Blue

Agricola Game Expansion: Blue

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

I LOVE Agricola so it is only natural I also love it´s expansions. I own most of the expansions for the game but the opportunities to play them are few so I was very happy I got to try Agricola Game Expansion: Blue.

I bought all the miniatures for the game years ago, but I remember I thought they were expensive and unnecessary. In general, I didn’t care much about the miniatures but I did care about the new cards (which I still haven’t played :/) as they really change the game with zero new rules, still, I have to recognize the miniatures are very good and they do add something to the game.

Having the cards is great but I was (somewhat) disappointed to know that the cards will appear (or appeared) in other expansions.

When I play with the cards, I will come back to comment on them, for now, I´m happy to own the miniatures for the game. I wish I could play Agricola more often.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Agricola Game Expansion: Green

Agricola Game Expansion: Green

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (September 2021)

I LOVE Agricola so it is only natural I also love it´s expansions. I own most of the expansions for the game but the opportunities to play them are few so I was very happy I got to try Agricola Game Expansion: Green.

I bought all the miniatures for the game years ago, but I remember I thought they were expensive and unnecessary. In general, I didn’t care much about the miniatures but I did care about the new cards (which I still haven’t played :/) as they really change the game with zero new rules, still, I have to recognize the miniatures are very good and they do add something to the game.

Having the cards is great but I was (somewhat) disappointed to know that the cards will appear (or appeared) in other expansions.

When I play with the cards, I will come back to comment on them, for now, I´m happy to own the miniatures for the game. I wish I could play Agricola more often.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Dealt!

Dealt!

2021-09-27

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

Dealt! was an utterly unknown to me, I don’t even remember how I acquired it (I would have to check my files to see) so my desire to play it was low, however, my interest was piqued when I see how well ranked the game is here on BGG. After I played it, I can say the game is not for me and I will sell it ASAP.

Dealt!´s rules are easy to teach you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art.

There is no theme.

Gameplay seemed fun at the beginning but it wasn´t at the end (these days, I dislike most trick taking games). When I was reading the rules I was interested because you cannot rearrange your hand and that seemed interesting (it isn’t). The goal of the game is to not lose, a player loses when he is out of lives and he has to pay one more life, at this point, the game ends and all other players won. On a turn a player will lead playing up to 3 cards from his hand and the cards MUST be adjacent, then other players will have to beat that or draw a card from the reserve (there are only 2 cards here) or pay a life and end the round (a round also ends if there is only one player with cards). The decisions needed to play the game are painfully obvious as you can´t reorganize your hand, then luck decided the order of the card and players have very limited room for maneuvering (the reserve cards also were drawn at random). As soon as we ended the game I read the rules again to see if I missed something (I didn’t). Dealt! also has 3 special cards that can always be played, these cards mess with your opponents but they are also easy to understand. The game is very simple and the decisions needed to play it are very easy to process, it isn’t satisfying in any way, I don´t win by skillful play, I win If I drew good cards (and I play them competently which is not hard to do), if my cards suck, I cannot do anything to avoid losing a life.

The luck factor is high as some players will have a better hand than other players and there is not much to do here.

Bottom line, Dealt! is a very simple game. I guess it could be an ok family game but it is not a game for me. Its decisions are painfully obvious and luck has a lot of impact in the game. The clever part of the game is that you cannot reorganize your hand, but this obstacle is not enough for me to like the game. I just don’t see the point of playing Dealt! I will sell it ASAP. At least it plays fast (faster if you play with only 2 lives)

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Llamas Unleashed

Llamas Unleashed

2021-09-28

Initial Rating: 4.0 (September 2021)

I´m not sure how I bought Llamas Unleashed, it was probably on a sale. When I bought it I didn’t know it was the re implementation of Unstable Unicorns (a game I will surely dislike as well). After I read the rules I knew the game was not for me and, after I played it, I confirmed it. I will sell the game ASAP.

Llamas Unleashed´s rules are very easy to explain, you can do it under 1 minute (the rulebook could be MUCH better, but the player´s aids work great). Playtime is very variable, but you can finish the game in around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, they are just cards. The art is very good as is the humor (name of the cards).

The theme is pasted on, but it is funny.

Gameplay is very simple. Each turn has 4 phases but they are very easy to understand and most time you only use the 2 important ones. On your turn you will draw a card and then you play a card that may have (or not) an effect. The goal is to have 7 Llamas in your field, but there are TONS of take that cards so being the leader isn’t the best strategy as he will get attacked a lot. In these kind of games, the best strategy is to be a close second so you can pounce once the leader gets knocked out, due to this, the game takes much longer than necessary. The decisions needed to play the game are painfully obvious and the luck factor is through the roof. There are lots of cancel cards and those are very important (and frustrating).

Best with 4 players.

Replayability is very low, the game become repetitive from the first play. It´s a boring game for me.

Bottom line, Llamas Unleashed is not a game for me but I know many players love it. I dislike all games like this one (Exploding Kittens comes to mind). Its decisions are obvious, it has tons of “take that” cards, lots of attack the leader and kingmaking, there is no way to plan ahead as players will mess with your cards, it has tons of uncontrollable luck and it takes a long time to play for what it offers, so I heavily dislike it and I will do my best to stay away from it. The best the game has to offer is its humor (which is good) but the game itself is very bad. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Drunk Stoned or Stupid: A Party Game

Who's Most Likely To...: A Party Game

2021-09-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

Who's Most Likely To...: A Party Game sounded great (even though I knew it probably wasn’t). I love the name and it made me think of a game I enjoy (Imaginiff: 10th Anniversary Edition). After I played it, I can say the game is fun, but it is not for me.

Who's Most Likely To...: A Party Game´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game it´s just cards.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is fun, each round a card will be read, the card can be very tame or very hardcore (this can be an issue with some groups) and then the group argues who among them deserve the card, once the arguing is done, the judge awards the card and a new card is drawn. The idea is to NOT GET cards as you lose as soon as you get 7 cards and all other players win. I do like the idea of the game, but the execution is awful. I really hate games that have subjective judging like this one (Cards against Humanity, Apples to Apples, etc.). A bad judge will ignore who deserves the card and can award the card to a player just because he has more cards than any other player which is awful in my book. Also, the game is now named “Drunk Stoned or Stupid: A Party Game”, a worse name in my opinion. I only bought the game in the first place just because it sounded like a fun party game, but the actual name sounds awful.

If judges are impartial, luck will decide who wins, but I´m ok with that. There is a variant game in which you want to get the cards and you argue why you deserve it.

Bottom line, Drunk Stoned or Stupid: A Party Game is a fun party game and I could play it again. I would rate it a 6.0 if it didn’t have the hated (by me) subjective judging mechanism, still, I had fun playing it and the better you know the game group the better the game gets. I prefer Imaginiff: 10th Anniversary Edition as the scoring is much cleaner. Some game groups can take offense at the game as it can be pretty mean. I already sold it to a friend who played the game with me

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Near and Far

Near and Far

2021-09-28

Initial Rating: 6.0 (September 2021)

Ryan Laukat games are renowned through the boardgaming world and I respect him a lot, however, I haven’t really loved any of his designs (I kept for a while City of Iron: Second Edition). I disliked Above and Below but I had high hopes for Near and Far and, after playing the game, I see it is not for me.

Near and Far´s rules aren’t very complex. You can explain them under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 100 minutes.

The game´s components are good and the art is very good. The map is a binder and it looks cool. I had the retail edition of the game but I know there is a deluxe edition, I don’t know the differences.

Gameplay is pleasant but obvious. On your turn you must move your pawn and you can move it inside the town (to recruit characters, to mine, to get a pack bird, to get resources) or you can move in the world (to fight bandits, to build encampments, to get quests). Even though there are lots of options, the game´s decisions aren’t very hard to process. As an Euro game it is rather weak.

When you go to a quest, another player will read the correct entry from the book, and then you get to choose among 2 options and possibly get a random reward. I love and hate this mechanism, on one hand I feel it is great to have this thematic integration, but the rewards are given at random and they can be very helpful or not (I heavily dislike this randomness).

The luck factor is high, not only you get random rewards from quests, you use a die to fight bandits and players but there are mitigation elements in the battles, still, rolling high is always better. The artifacts and characters cards also appear at random and the mitigation elements here are less reliable.

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime begins to be too much for such a simple game.

Replayablity seems very high. The game offer different ways of play including a campaign mode which has more than 10 different maps.

Bottom line, I was disappointed by Near and Far as I was expecting a better game. It can be a great family game, but it isn’t for me. These days, I crave heavier experiences and Near and Far is rather light on the decisions department. The luck factor is too much for a game this long. Just like Above and Below, Near and Far sounds great on paper but in practice it didn’t deliver for me. It isn’t good enough as a strategy game nor as a thematic game, every facet is very shallow by itself and the mix of them isn’t very good or interesting to me, but the game is better than Above and Below. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Relick TCG

Relick TCG

2021-09-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (September 2021)

I played MtG for more than 13 years but I was able to get out on 2010 (the year I was introduced to Dominion). After this, I vowed to never play another TCG game again (I fell again with Dice Masters but I managed to recover and "only" bought the first 4 sets). These days I´m avoiding even LCGs as they are lifestyle games. Having said that, this month I was, briefly, introduced to Relick TCG and, even though I won´t get sucked into it, it was a fun game.

I played a demo of the game and the designer was explaining the game as we played, so I’m still not sure how long does it takes to make a full explanation. The game´s rules aren’t very complex though. Playtime is around 45 minutes.

The art of the cards is from ok to good and there is also a Relick comic book. The game´s components come in 2 different qualities which is unheard of in a TCG game (at least for me). The designer sells the decks very cheaply for the lowest quality (but still totally playable) or if you want better quality you can acquire them by a little increase in the price.

The theme is fun and, as the game is based on the comic (or perhaps it’s the other way around), you do feel it through the game, moreover if you read the comics (I haven’t, comics aren’t my thing either). I believe (but could be mistaken) that the theme revolves around a gamer in a tournament setting in which many video game items appear (like the Nintendo gun from the 80s).

Before this month, I haven’t heard about Relick. The game is a Colombian TCG game and its designer (Fuyuhiro Gushiken) is a great guy. I don’t usually say these things, but I´m impressed by him as he, by himself, has managed to print and sell several copies of the game and he continues to promote it with very little support. There are tournaments with prizes and the game has been sold out of the country several times (to Argentina at least).

Gameplay can be fun but this is not my kind of game any longer. The goal is to reduce your opponents life points to zero and hit them once more for the win. As is usual with this kind of game, each player will have a preconstructed deck. Each deck has several kind of cards and I don’t remember them all. In each turn you draw a card, you can attack, you can play cards and you can level up. I also remember that every time you attack, you have to roll to see if the attack lands or not and then you have to roll again to see how much damage you inflicted. I don´t like very much dice rolling to decide these things, but other players loved this.

As Relick is a TCG game, there are randomized booster packs, but there are also decks that (I think) come with all the same cards. Each deck is based on a character from the comic and each deck has a different style of play (I love this). I still don’t know how the deckbuilding works.

Best with 2 players IMO. In our game we were 3 players and to decide who can I attack, I had to roll a die. I hate this, I also remember hating it in Dice Throne as well. To avoid this, I feel the game is a 2 player only game. Having said that, I understand why this rule exists, in this way you cannot gang up onto a single player but I still dislike it.

The luck factor is very high, not only there is the luck of the draw but the luck of the dice is high. There are ways to mitigate the luck with some cards, but it still bothers me.

Bottom line, Relick TCG is a fun card game but it is not a game for me, so perhaps I´m not the best person to “judge it”. Still I do my best to remain objective. I will surely buy it as I do want to support national designers AND I was blown away by the designers drive and attitude. I LOVE that the designer has striven to keep prices low so many gamers can acquire it and enjoy it (and IT IS very cheap, even the higher quality edition). I could play it again but, as this is not my preferred game genre, the rating could go lower with more plays. I also find the game has much more randomness than I´m comfortable with. Having said that, I would hate to hurt the designer or the game (which is still very new and trying to find its audience), so keep in mind I´m always very harsh with my ratings. I´m the guy who hates worldwide hits like Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and Carcassonne (all three of them rated 3.0 or less by me) and I also heavily dislike the number one game, Gloomhaven (I won´t ever play it again).

Current Rating: 5.0

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Wed Oct 6, 2021 6:22 am
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Board Game: Trekking the World

Trekking the World

2021-06-19

Initial Rating: 5.0 (May 2021)

Trekking the World wasn’t very high on my list to play, I expected a light game and I got one. After having played it, I can say it is a pleasant game but it is not a game for me.

Trekking the World´s rules are pretty easy to teach you can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 90 minutes.

The game´s components are good as is the art, the game looks gorgeous on the table.

Gameplay is rather straightforward. The objective is to be the player with the most VPs at the end (as is usual). On your turn, you can move to an airport if you begin your turn in an airport, then you must move using cards, in the space you end you pick up a cube if it is available and this may give you VPs at the end of the game. In your turn you have 3 options:

• Draw 2 cards: There are always 4 cards and you can also draw from the deck. The cards are used to do everything else in the game, you use them to move, to take a tour, to journey. The cards are colored and they also have a number on them.
• Take a tour: To take a tour you must be in the correct spot in the map and you need to have the correct cards in the game, once you do this a new tour card will appear.
• To journey: To take this action, you must have 2 card that match the journey card and then you execute its action. These cards will/can change between games.

As you can see, the decisions need to play the game are rather straightforward and easy to process and that makes the game boring and repetitive to me.

On the bad side, I absolutely hate that the game ends immediately as one of the ending conditions is met, that means the firsts players will have, probably, 1 more turn than other players giving them an unfair advantage.

The replay value seems very low.

There is a lot of uncontrollably luck of the draw with the cards in every level. Every time you draw card other appear and they can be the cards you need or not. As soon as you take a tour other tour appear an it can benefit or hinder any player just because. The luck factor is high but it doesn’t bother me that much as the game flow is quick and the playtime isn’t that high.

Bottom line, Trekking the World is a pleasant family level game with obvious strategy and it becomes boring to me very quickly. It is mostly a tactical game and it is not a game for me as I crave heavier experiences, but it can be a great introductory game. It has a Ticket to Ride vibe (perhaps with the cards or perhaps in its easygoing nature). Trekking the World is not a game I will ever buy for myself, I´m just not the target audience of the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion

Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

I love Race for the Galaxy (a Top Ten game for me) almost since I started the hobby In 2010 so I had to have all its expansions. It took me a long while to try the latest one, Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion, as it was published 6 years ago! In any case, after having played it, I do like the expansion and I won’t ever get rid of it.

Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion´s rules aren’t very complex to teach and they are MUCH less complex that the previous expansion (Race for the Galaxy: Alien Artifacts). As is usual with these expansions, they can be played ignoring, mostly, the new stuff just with the base game rules and I like this, however if you are playing with the new rules (invasion game), you can explain them under 4 minutes.

The theme is great, I LOVE hostile aliens in my games and books, still, you don’t really feel it through the game. The art continues to be great.

The first important rule change is that now all exploring powers include your previously held cards, this used to be a power in previous expansions but here it applies all the time. I guess this will make easier to get the cards you want, decreasing the luck factor. There are also a couple of worlds that have a variable VP output (just like 6 cost developments).

The big change comes, of course, from the invasion game. In this mode, you have to defend your empire (this gives VP) or your worlds can get damaged (useless until you repair them). You can also help the war effort (to gain VPs) and players can even lose the game collectively if they don’t defend enough. Military is MUCH more important than usual.

The product phase is changed considerably in this expansion which isn’t bad at all, it is just different.

PERHAPS, the game now is better with more than 2 players because there is more pressure from the Xenos, I still need more plays to verify this point.

Bottom line, Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion is a good expansion and one I want to explore further. The invasion game changes the game considerably without adding too much complexity or downtime and I´m always very happy to have more RFTG stuff. I´m a bit worried, as the game is now semi cooperative, that a player can make a relatively small contribution to the war effort and still get a lot of VPs or if a player feels he is not wining he can stop cooperating and, perhaps, tank the game for everyone, this isn't bad per se and I need more plays to see if this becomes an issue or not. The expansion isn´t recommended for new players of the game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony

Polis: Fight for the Hegemony

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

Right from the beginning, I knew Polis: Fight for the Hegemony wasn’t a game for me (probably) but I still bought it because it was on sale (I´m getting better at not buying things these days). Still, I grant you, the game seems like a labor of love, it´s just not a game for me.

Polis: Fight for the Hegemony´s rules are complex and it takes around 25 minutes to explain them all. Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game´s components are ok as is the art.

The theme is about the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta. I don’t particularly enjoy the theme but Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is very thematic and it shows in the rulebook and in the game board.

Gameplay is very interesting and it offers lots of possibilities. There are 12 different actions and you must use 2 of them each turn, the actions must be different though. Among the actions you can create military land units (hoplites) and naval units (galleys), with these units you can besiege neutral polis, do battle with your opponent and to blockade merchant routes. You can also create merchants (to trade in commercial hubs), begin a project (to gain prosperity) collect resources from terrains you control, move your proxenos (to instigate civil war) and you can besiege a polis to acquire it. Each polis has a growth rate of population and they also needs to be fed at the end of each round. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t easy to process, you need to carefully analyze where to spend your resources, how to defend your trade routes, where to best apply your Proxenos and where to move your military forces. Every time you make a military action or you take resources from a territory you must pay a prestige point so failure comes at a step price.

The movement of your units isn’t as in most games, you choose where to move and then you can move many units to that territory, even from far away so It is a bit counterintuitive, but this doesn’t bother me.

The game last 3 rounds and in the first round you cannot attack your opponent, so you get to expand your influence as much as possible and get your resources in order, I really like this.

There is luck with the events, with the besieges and with the battle cards and this bothers me a lot. In my first game, a player besieged a polis 3 times before he was able to defeat it and that was due to the luck of a 4 sided die, not the preparation, that is, he just got unlucky, which is thematic I guess, but it bothers me nonetheless. I dislike luck can play a huge role in the game when resources are very scarce.

Replayability seems high as there are scenarios in the rulebook and there is a mini expansion which adds more events to the mix.

Bottom line, Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is a very intricate and interesting game with deep decisions. I should love it but I generally don´t like war themed games or war games in general (even if they have euro elements in it). Luck has an important role in the game (which I dislike). Still, I can appreciate the game from afar and I believe there is a good design here, it is just not a game for me (thus the rating). I could play it again if requested, but I already sold my copy of the game along its mini expansion.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians

A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians

2021-06-19

Initial Rating: 7.5 (June 2021)

I love A Feast for Odin so it is only natural I also love its expansions. I was very keen to try A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians and I think it is a very good expansion for the game.

If you are already familiar with the base game´s rules, the new rules take less than 3 minutes of explaining. Playtime remains high so it is best played with 2 or 3 fast players.

The expansions adds a lot of new things, among them (from memory so I will surely miss something):

• It introduces a new board with a 5th row and new actions. The actions in the 5th row are very powerful but they must be the last action of the round (this adds a new tension I love).
• It includes 6 new special tiles which add more flexibility to the game.
• It has a new small emigration boat.
• It has new goods, including pigs and horses in several shapes.
• New isles to explore.
• It comes with artisans sheets that allow each player to have a special tile for the game, they are double sided.

As you can see, the expansion doesn´t introduce new concepts to the game, rather they add to the concept the game already has so explaining it and understanding it is very easy.

Bottom line, A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians is a good expansion, a keeper for me and a must have for fans of the game. It adds a lot of stuff and options without increasing complexity and it seems it addresses some balance issues (I´m not sure about this as I haven’t played the game enough times). I don’t think I will ever play without it as it plays seamlessly with the base game and explaining it is very easy. I wish more expansions were like this one .

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: A Feast for Odin: Lofoten, Orkney, and Tierra del Fuego

A Feast for Odin: Lofoten, Orkney, and Tierra del Fuego

2021-06-19

Initial Rating: 7.5 (June 2021)

I love A Feast for Odin so it is only natural I also love its expansions.

A Feast for Odin is one of the games I wished I could play more often, but getting it to the table is challenging to say the least. It is a long and complex game and there are tons of other games I want to try as well, having said that, I´m happy to own A Feast for Odin: Lofoten, Orkney, and Tierra del Fuego because it adds new strategic options to the game and make the game more fair (which is huge for me). Also, it seems they are a must with 4 players (but I play the game at most with 3 fast players, with 4 the downtime is too much) so I´m not really sure if they are a must or not.

Playing with them is a no brainer as they don’t require any additional rule.

For now, I´m giving them the same rating I gave to the base game and they are a keeper for me.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: A Feast for Odin: New Special Tiles

A Feast for Odin: New Special Tiles

2021-06-20

Initial Rating: 7.5 (June 2021)

I love A Feast for Odin so it is only natural I also love its expansions.

A Feast for Odin: New Special Tiles is the least relevant expansion for the game (so far) but I´m still happy to own it and it does have an impact in the game as these tiles generally run out very quickly. The new shapes are welcome and they can help more proficient gamers than me (special puzzles are rather challenging to me). The sled seems like the best of the bunch as it can alone surround a good.

For now, I´m giving them the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Ystari Box

Amyitis: The Palace

2021-06-12

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

Amyitis is an ok game for me (but for a while I really liked it), so I was keen to try its expansion. After having done so, I believe it really improves the game.

Amyitis: The Palace´s rules are very easy to teach if players are familiar with the game, however, the rulebook isn’t the best (it´s only 1 page) and it leaves some things unclear. You can explain the new rules under 1 minute if players are familiar with the base game rules.

The expansion adds 2 new characters, the courtier (which allows you to advance in the palace track and gives 1 VP) and the noble (which allows you to advance twice in the palace track, but you have to pay 2 coins, the noble is not a card like the others, he is always available). The big change, however, comes from the palace itself. Each turn, the players who have advanced in the palace will choose between 4 different powers:

1. You can now choose to be the first player and I LOVE this change.
2. You can now steal the procession step from a player, so if you choose procession you will chose in which temple to place your cube, this is a big change in the game.
3. You can now choose the personality you want and you executed it for free before the first player, this is another good change.
4. You can advance in the palace track and gain 1 coin, this seems like the lesser reward.

Bottom line, I like Amyitis: The Palace, it adds new options and it decreases the luck of the characters with the palace and the choice of going first. I really think it improves the game as it allows players to have more control and less luck. I will sell my copy of Amyitis along this expansion because I´m trying to control my game collection, but I would play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Nidavellir

Nidavellir

2021-06-22

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

My desire to play Nidavellir was low. In general, Serge Laget´s games are not my cup of tea (although I still haven’t played Mare Nostrum) so I wasn’t expecting much from Nidavellir, but I was pleasantly surprised by the game.

Nidavellir´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game’s components are amazingly good, perhaps even overproduced for such a simple game, still I like them a lot. The art is also great. Overall, the game has great production values.

The theme is great, but sadly, it is pasted on.

Gameplay is very straightforward, but it is also fun. Each turn players will see which cards appeared in the round and then they will blind bid for them. Each round there are 3 bids to execute and you can also improve one of your coins (to better you chances in future rounds). The cards themselves have several colors and you want to get sets of colors (this will give you an special card) and/or many cards of the same color, both will give you bonuses and VPs. Each color has a different way of scoring and understanding this this is the hardest part of the game (it isn’t hard at all ). The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process, but in this case this is an advantage as it keeps the game moving at a fast pace.

Luck of the draw is very high and can impact the game, however, as the game plays so fast I don’t really mind the high luck factor.

A more problematic issue is that if a player is left alone taking the cards of a single color he will probably win, but if someone hate draft the color that person is taking, both of them will lose the game and the other players will be benefitiated . Still, this is a minor issue because the game plays so fast.

Best with 3 players but I would play the game in any configuration.

Bottom line, Nidavellir is a great family or casual game. It has easy decisions but the game itself ends very quickly. The production values are amazingly high, perhaps the game is overproduced but I can´t deny the game is fun. I already sold my copy of the game because it is lighter than I prefer these days, but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Ascension: Deliverance

Ascension: Deliverance

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 5.0 (June 2021)

The whole Ascension series of games is not for me just because they use a variable market offering and I HATE that. Having said that, Ascension: Deliverance is the best set in the series (so far).

If you are familiar with any of the Ascension games, the new rules can be explained under 3 minutes.

The art continues to be great.

As is usual, Ascension: Deliverance adds new (or bring back old) mechanisms to the game, and in this case I like them a lot.

• The expansion brings back Insight for the 3rd time. Insight is a resource you use to get some effects. I like it and mixing it with the 2 previous Ascension games that had it could be exciting.

• The expansion bring back transform, I love this mechanism as it allows you to take a mediocre card and transform it into a much more powerful one, in this iteration, the transform is made using insight.

• There is a new ability called “Phantasm” which allow you to play the cards from the market instead of buying them, you use insight to play them. I like this new ability, it opens up lots of possibilities.

• There are a new kind of monsters, “Dreambind Monsters” and I really liked them. These monsters have an effect when you defeat them BUT the difference lies in that you now can acquire them paying the insight cost and add them to your deck. I really enjoy them (my favorite new mechanism).

Having wrote what I wrote, you could think I love the game, but I don´t. The Ascension series of games has never been among my favorite games or in my game collection. The fact that the game has a variable market offering makes the game much more tactical than strategic (a HUGE issue for me), that’s why I still prefer to play Dominion over any other deckbuilder game. I really hate some cards are available in my turn and if I buy them, they are no longer available to you, that’s very unfair and it bothers me. It makes the game much more about luck than about good play (I´m not saying there is no strategy but tactics is much more important and I don´t like this, I prefer much fairer games).

Bottom line, Ascension: Deliverance is the best Ascension game (so far) I have played. I really enjoy the transform mechanism and the ability to acquire some monsters. Having saying that, I would never buy it in real life, but I do play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Anno 1800

Anno 1800

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

Martin Wallace is a game designer I respect A LOT, so I always want to try his designs. After having played Anno 1800, I see a lot of great things in the game and I enjoyed it, but, it is way too long and it becomes repetitive.

Anno 1800´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 10 minutes as there are several actions to explain. Playtime is around 3 and a half hours or more.

The game´s components are ok as is the art, nothing too fancy but they work great (in fact I think I prefer things this way). The graphic design of some of the resources doesn’t work as they are hard to see across the table and rather similar between themselves, the solution is to ask all players who has this resource?

The theme is ok, but you don’t really feel it though the game. I had no idea it is also a videogame.

Anno 1800 is a resource management game at its core. Gameplay is interesting and the game offers you a lot of options to pursue. You can strategize a lot since the very beginning as you can see all the technology tiles and you can study the tech tree. In this game you cannot produce goods to keep them, instead you produce them when you need them paying the requisites (own workers, own production and/or trade to get something from an opponent’s board). This part is reminiscent of Helvetia, (a game I love). The higher in technology the good you want to produce, the more resources you will need to spent. Each turn players will do 1 action only until the game ends. Among the available options are:

• Build: You get to add a new tile to your player board, these tiles will give you a good or it can be a ship (trading or exploring) that will give you trade or explore power.

• Play a card: You can play a card from your hand paying the resources to get the reward from the card as well as some VPs. These cards make the game interesting and there are lots of them so each game will be different. On the other hand, the game ends when a player runs out of cards, but this is easier said that done. Our game was very long because we HAD to draw more cards in order to develop an efficient engine. I guess one strategy could be to draw as few cards as possible, but that didn’t happen in our game. As an action you can also discard 3 cards and draw 3 new cards, perhaps using this action (which I never used) the game can end sooner.

• Increase working Power: With this action you can recruit up to 3 new population cubes, which are used to produce EVERYTHING in the game so they are very important. There are 5 kinds of workers. Every time you recruit a new worker you also get a new card of its category making the game longer.

• Level Up: You can level up your workers paying the requisites and, in this way you can have the work force you require. In any case, during the whole game you want to have all 5 kinds of workers as you have tiles that require them.

• Unlock the Old World: With this action you get more space in your player board. Each time you use the action it becomes more expensive for you. On the new tile there is some kind of bonus and I kind of dislike this as it is pure luck if you get a useful one or not.

• Explore the New World: With this action you draw another kind of tile. These tiles always come with 3 new resources that can´t be acquired any other way and other players can´t trade with you for them. Each time you use the action it becomes more expensive for you. The resources on the tile are random, so perhaps you didn’t draw the one you needed.

• Take Expedition Cards: You can take up to 3 expedition cards. These cards are personal goals that will give you VPs at the end of the game if you fulfill them.

• You can also pass to refresh your whole board.


Anno 1800 also has public goals that all players a fighting for. There are 5 goals and they change in every game so they also add to the replay value.

The luck factor is present but It isn’t too much to control. There is luck of the draw with the population cards (which doesn’t really bother me as you can plan for them or you can even discard them), with the expedition cards (it doesn’t bother me) and luck with the exploration tiles (which bother me a bit as they can help you just because you got lucky). I just hope the exploration tiles are, somewhat, balanced but I doubt it.

Best with 3 players, with more, the downtime is way too much.

Replayability seems high as there are public goals that are different in each game and the cards you draw will also be very different each game.

Player interaction is very low (which doesn’t bother me at all). At most you can take a tile an opponent wanted.

Bottom line, I was expecting good things from Anno 1800 and I got them. The game offers very interesting decisions and reward long term strategy but the game is too long so it becomes repetitive. It sorely needs an alternate end condition, perhaps you can rush the game taking very few cards, I need more plays to verify this point. I also need to see if I can get the playtime down, this will be the key factor deciding if I should keep it or not in my game collection. The luck factor it´s there and it can affect the outcome, but it doesn’t bother me that much (for now).

Current Rating: 6.5


Board Game: Dogs of War

Dogs of War

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 4.0 (June 2021)

Paolo Mori is a designer I respect a lot and the reason I bought Dogs of War in the first place. Still, I wasn’t expecting much from it as it is a game from CMON, a company that has a zero record with me (I do like some of their titles that were designed somewhere else) and Dogs of War is no exception, however, I was pleasantly surprised by it but not enough to keep it among my game collection.

Dogs of War´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 90 minutes, so it plays very fast.

The game´s components are great (overproduced) as is usual from CMON. The art is very good as well.

The theme is meh and you donñt feel it anywhere in the game.

Gameplay is fast and straightforward. The objective is to amass the most VP points getting influence from the houses that are winning conflicts and making lose the houses you don´t have any influence (or have few influence). In this way, each house shield can be worth up to 7 VPs at the end of the game or they can be worth -1P. This idea is very neat and I like it a lot. Each player begins the game with a secret house in which he already has some influence, in this way you are never sure who is winning during the game. Each player will also have a special power during the game. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t hard to process, each round, the 6 houses will fight, each house against another house and this is decided randomly, then you can buy troop cards and then players begin to play their troops to support a particular house, when you play your troops you can also gain some bonuses, then the winners are decided and influence´s VP value is modified and the player who most helped can get some bonuses. The objective is to manipulate the battles in your favor trying to increase the value of the houses you already have influence (or plan to get influence) and you do that be negotiating with your opponents and creating temporary alliances. Money is very scarce so you need to manage it carefully. Making alliances is a must in the game and betraying your friends is also a must.

Dogs of War is a fun game, I cannot deny that, however, this is not a game for me. Betrayal is everywhere and I no longer enjoy this kind of game as much as I used to.

The luck factor is high. There is a tactic deck which has cards that are very powerful or rather weak and situational and I dislike this because I cannot control them, it´s pure luck if you draw a good one or one that doesn’t work for you. The tactic cards, however, fit the game like a glove and it is just my dislike of most things unfair that make me dislike them, but I´m pretty sure most gamers won’t have any issue with them. On this same topic I hope the character power are balanced (I doubt it), I need more plays to verify, but the desire to play the game again is low.

Best with 5 fast players.

Replayability is high.

Bottom line, Dogs of War was a pleasant surprise for me, but only because I wasn’t expecting anything good from it. The decisions needed to play the game are easy to process. The game is fun but It really needs the right group to shine and I´m not the target audience for it. Betrayal (or temporary alliances) games are among the least liked by me these day (but I loved them when I entered the hobby). It is overproduced. Gameplay is reminiscent of Blood Bowl: Team Manager but both games evoke the same feelings in me (easy decisions, you have to use deception, luck and/or force to win). The best strategy is to not appear as the current leader which is easier in this game as many things are hidden. I already sold it.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Dogs of War

Dogs of War: Kickstarter Exclusives

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 5.0 (June 2021)

As Dogs of War is not a game for me, my desire to play Dogs of War: Kickstarter Exclusives was low. Besides I dislike KS exclusives, but that´s a personal opinion (I prefer the way EGG does it).

In any case, if you are a fan of the game, you will probably like the new content. Dogs of War: Kickstarter Exclusives comes with a gorgeous foil deck (irrelevant to me), sculpted coins (irrelevant to me), new tactics cards (relevant to me), new bonuses on the battle tiles (relevant to me) and new characters (relevant to me).

In general I like the content that adds new things to the game. The new battle tiles add 3 new symbols with different rewards and that´s great for the game, the new character´s powers are also welcome although I doubt they are truly balanced, for example the power of Viscount Perceval d’Hiver (gain 3 VP if participates in a glorious victory) seems almost useless as getting glorious victories is rather hard and you need other players cooperation (which you won’t get). The tactic cards are also welcome but this is the greatest source of luck in the game.

Bottom line, Dogs of War: Kickstarter Exclusives adds enough new things to the game to be considered a good expansion IF you like the game. As I dislike the game, I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game, but if you like the game, this expansion is a nice to have. It increases the replay value which is always a good thing.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alignment

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alignment

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 4.0 (June 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alignment and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alignment´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (yellow-red in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speed the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alignment is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Union

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Union

2021-06-26

Initial Rating: 4.0 (June 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from
Star Realms: Command Deck – The Union and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Union´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (green-yellow in this case, my favorite combo). This seems like a minor thing, but it speed the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – The Union is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Letter Tycoon

Letter Tycoon

2021-06-27

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

When I bought the game, I didn’t know anything about it (as is usual from me) but the name called to me. In general, I do like word games but I´m rather bad at them. After having played Letter Tycoon, I can say it is an ok game for me, but I´m sure many gamers do love it.

Letter Tycoon´s rules are very simple. You can explain them under 5 minutes. Playtime is very variable as it depends on the group and the amount of players. I would say it takes around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are just cards and they work great. The art of the cards is good and I like it.

There is no theme.

Gameplay is interesting and very similar to other word games. The goal is to amass the most money and stocks. Each turn, players will strive to create the longest word with his cards AND the public cards, the longer the word the better as it will give you more money and, possibly stocks. Once you have played the word, you can acquire a patent if you have the money and the word you used matches with available cards. If you used letters that other players have acquired, that will generate money for them and that´s it. Players continue to do this until the money goal is reached. Some of the patents have special powers.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward rules wise, but I find the game to be very challenging , I love the idea of the game but I´m not very good at it (which doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the game).

There is luck of the draw with the cards you have and (more) with the public cards, sometimes there are no good words cards BUT this is not an issue for me at my current level of skill. I always get demolished playing against more proficient opponents, still, between equally proficient players the luck of the draw is present and can give the game to a player just by luck. Another issue is that to acquire a patent you need to use a letter in your word that matches the available patents and sometimes this is not possible (no matter how good you are) and this bothers me a bit. To summarize luck is present and can impact the game.

Best with 3 players, with 5 the downtime is too much and the game can end very quickly so it is unsatisfying for both causes (you don’t play enough as the game ends sooner and the downtime is high). In general, as there are public cards that CHANGE every time they are used, the downtime is rather high at all number of players.

I think the game would be better without the public letters as they increase the down time a lot (you cannot rally think in other player’s turns) and they are the source of the worst luck in the game.

Bottom line, Letter Tycoon is what you expect from a word game. It has some minor novelties, but the core game is known since decades ago (you have to play the longest word possible). In general I like these games but I have only kept Boggle in my collection. I like Letter Tycoon but it doesn’t excite me enough to keep it in my game collection. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious, but getting long words are hard for me (which I don’t mind at all, in fact I love this). This is a family level game and it can be great to introduce new gamers to our hobby. I will sell my copy of the game ASAP but I would play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Navegador

Navegador

2021-06-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

Once upon a time, I played Antike and Imperial and I disliked them (in Imperial´s case it could be the game explanation was very bad so I will play it again), so I wasn´t a Mac Gerdts fan and I also began disliking rondel games. All of this changed when I played Concordia, a game I LOVE so I began giving Mr. Gerdts´s games new opportunities and now I firmly believe he is a great game designer and I usually buy his games as soon as they become available. After having played Navegador, I can say I like the game a lot.

Navegador´s rules are easy to teach you can do it under 12 minutes with some clarifying examples. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game components and art are ok but they feel dated (it is a 2010 game after all) but they fulfill their purpose perfectly so this doesn´t bother me at all.

The theme doesn’t excite me but it doesn’t bother me either, besides, I don’t really feel like a Portuguese dynasty.

Gameplay is very interesting and strategic, you have lots of room to plan ahead. The core element is the rondel mechanism and it works just like it worked in Antike and Imperial (if memory serves). There is a rondel with 7 different actions and you can only move your pawn up to 3 spaces clockwise if you want to move further the cost is very step (1 ship per spot). The actions allow you to acquire workers (many other actions depend on the number of workers you have), build ships (to navigate to other areas), you can sail (to actually explore the new areas), you can found colonies (they can generate money in market actions), you can build buildings (they can generate money, help you to recruit more workers and help you to build more ships), you can sell in the market (to gain money through our colonies and/or factories) and you can take a privilege action to gain a bonus and increase your final VP score.

The game ends when one of 2 conditions happen and then every player has 1 more round. I kind of dislike this as players can have different number of turns but, just like Concordia, the last player has an advantage with the navigator card which is rotating among players.

The luck factor is present but rather low. In the setup, the colonies are seeded at random and that´s it. I really like this.

Best with 4 fast players, downtime is, mercifully, low.

Bottom line, I´m liking Navegador a lot. I still need to play it more times to see if it is a keeper or not (my gut feeling says it is). The decisions needed to play the game aren’t obvious and you realy need to think up your strategy. There are several things that are reminiscent of Concordia (or rather the other way around as Navegador is older) and I like this. For me Navegador is MUCH better than Antike and I want to play it again soon. I also have Hamburgum from the same designer but I have not played it yet.

One of 2010´s favorites.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alliance

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alliance

2021-06-27

Initial Rating: 50 (June 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from
Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alliance and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alliance´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (blue-yellow in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speed the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – The Alliance is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges: Mango Village

Rajas of the Ganges: Mango Village

2021-06-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

I like Rajas of the Ganges so it is also natural I expect to like its expansions and I did like Rajas of the Ganges: Mango Village.

The expansion only adds 8 new tiles to the mix and a new worker placement space but, from my limited perspective, they add a lot to the game. The tiles themselves are very cool as they all have 4 paths and give you a bonus when you build them. To get them you need a pair of dice of the same value (color doesn’t matter here). The worker placement space lets you score up to 2 mango villages on your province (which seems very powerful but I need more plays to verify).

I´m still not sure of the full effect the mango tiles have in the game, but I´m very happy I own them and I want to explore them further.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: CloudAge

CloudAge

2021-06-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

I was very keen to try CloudAge as I like most big Pfister´s games (I don´t like Isle of Skye that much) but I have heard some bad things about it so my expectation was decreasing, however, I´m glad I played the game as I really liked it.

Could Age´s rules aren’t very complex but there are lots of rules to cover. You can explain the game under 12 minutes. Playtime is around 2 and half hours.

The game´s components are from ok to good and the art is also ok.

The apocalyptic theme is fun and some mechanism do support it.

Gameplay is interesting. It is true CloudAge is not as complex as Maracaibo or Great Western Trail, but you need to administer your resources carefully to maximize the VP output. To me, this is NOT a family game by any stretch (unless it is a gamer family) and I wouldn’t use CloudAge as an introduction game to a new player.

Each player has his own airship that can be upgraded (very reminiscent of Maracaibo) to get more movements points, more attack power or more plant power. The airship will move in a map to get resources (sometimes fighting in cities for the resources), plant new tiles and/or to fulfill certain goals. Each turn, players will produce water and VPs paying energy points (you can upgrade your production through the game), then you will get some resources at random (the number of resources is random not the resources themselves) and your power attack will also be randomly decided from cards from your deck. Then players move in the board and they fight possibly winning VPs, water and cards. After this, each player will go to an available space (they can change by scenario) to get a reward and other players will also get a minor reward. In this phase there are navigation cards hat are obfuscated by clouds and players have to make educated guesses as they cannot see the card clearly. Some friends though this was too random for me and that I was going to dislike it, but I LOVE this. I´m not worried about the luck factor as you can clearly see a lot of the card including its power, but this simulates as if you were far above looking at land through clouds (I LOVE THIS). These card will give you resources but you never know in which quantity due to the obfuscation and there are also 2 other bonuses (construction and trashing a card from your deck) than can be hidden or visible. Every time you build, you can play a card from your hand, the cards always cost water AND another card so choosing which cards to play isn’t obvious and it is a lot of fun. The game has a bit of deckbuilding but that´s not a notable part of the game.

There is luck of the draw with the cards in your deck, but you can remove cards from your deck AND you can increase your power level so it doesn’t really bothers me. In any case, with enough energy, you can win most battles. There is also luck of the draw with the project cards and the only way to reduce it is to draw lots of them. To summarize, there is a decent luck factor within the game, but so far, I haven’t found it to be out of control, you can manage it with clever play.

Replayablity is very high. Every game will have different goal cards and that changes the game dynamics, also, as has become usual with Pfister games, there is a campaign that adds new elements to the game and I love this. I want to play it.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, I really like CloudAge and I was expecting a bad game due to some noise on BGG. It is not as complex as other Pfister´s games but it still delivers interesting decisions. I just love the clouded card system and I want to play the game again soon. As most Capstone games, It is a keeper for me.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Space Base

Space Base

2021-06-27

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

I bought Space Base just for the designer. I respect John D. Clair a lot (although I don’t enjoy his games all the time). After having played Space Base, I can see it is good game but not a game for me.

Space Base´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok as is the art, nothing too exciting but they are functional. Sleeving the cards wasn’t as easy as with most games and tucking them is a pain.

The theme is ok but it is pasted on.

Gameplay is fun, fast paced and reminiscent of Machi Koro (but superior). In Space Base, the goal is to get to 40 VPs as soon as possible, to do that, you will purchase cards that will grant you an effect when you rolle the number on the card or if you have purchased more cards with the same number, then you can gain a benefit when an opponent rolls the number. In your turn, you will roll 2 dice and you can get the effect of the sum or the effect of each die by itself (this is a small innovation, but an innovation nonetheless). The rewards are income, permanent income or VPs). The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process.

Unlike other games in its genre, it pays big time to buy cards in the 1-6 slots because the way the dice work changed in this game so you are assured to always get a reward if you develop this zone.

The luck factor is present in the dice roll (but you know the odds) and in the order in which the cards appear, however, the cards are separated in 3 tiers (just like Mystic Vale) so this help to control the randomness a bit. As the game plays so quickly. I don’t mind the randomness too much (but luck plays an important role in the game).

The replay factor seem low, but I need more plays to verify,

Bottom line, Space Base is a good family level game, it is also a perfect game to introduce new gamers to our hobby and I would play it again if requested, however, these days I´m looking for much heavier games so I already sold my copy of the game, still, it is a solid game with a deserved reputation, it´s just not a game for me. It is the better game in its category and it is a much better than Machi Koro but it has very easy decisions.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire

Shadowrun: Crossfire

2021-06-29

Initial rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

My desire to play Shadowrun: Crossfire was high. It seemed like a great cooperative game and I´m happy I finally got to play it. After having done so, I can say I enjoyed my play of the game, but I already sold it, still, it is a solid game.

Shadowrun: Crossfire´s rules are very easy to teach. You can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is very variable (as you can die easily), but I would say you can play it under 60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok (they are mostly cards). I enjoy the art.

The theme is great, but you don´t feel it through the game. The theme is mostly in the flavor text of some cards. I´m also not familiar with Shadowrun in any way

Gameplay is fun and straightforward (rules wise), the complexity comes from the cards and their interaction, but the core rules are very simple. Each turn has 5 phases in which you play your cards, attack enemies, get damage, buy new cards and, possibly, get some kind of event (which is usually bad for the players). Still, the game is fun to play as it offers a fun puzzle to solve. Shadowrun: Crossfire is a hard game to beat and you are always near the edge of a cliff. In most rounds, we felt we were going to lose for sure but somehow we survived one more round, this tension is great. It seems the strategy is to kill enemies as fast as possible as they give you money when they die, and with that money you can improve your deck.

Every time you survive a mission, you will get experience and with enough experience points you can upgrade your character. This is great EXCEPT for 2 things: 1). The upgrade is a sticker you paste onto your character so you permanently modify the game and I hate this (similar to the legacy system which I find amoral and wasteful), fortunately, you can write the upgrades in a paper sheet so you don´t have to use the stickers and 2). The experience you gain per game is very meager, so if you really want to improve a lot you would need to play more than 80 games and that´s just very hard to do in our very game rich environment.

Best with 4 players, with less the game becomes much harder.

The luck factor is high with the events and the black market cards but I don’t mind much about this in cooperative games. In any case, clever play can overcome many obstacles in the game, but sometimes you will lose no matter what.

I´m not sure if the game has high replayability or not. It seems it can become repetitive very quickly but it comes with some scenarios I have yet to try.

Bottom line, Shadowrun: Crossfire is a good cooperative game and one I would gladly play again, still, I already sold it because I have much more content for its reimplementation Dragonfire. Also I hate the stickers and dislike the slow character progression, but I like the game. I don´t mind the game is hard to beat and I do think player´s experience counts a lot toward victory (It´s not just luck). It also plays rather fast.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Raiders of the North Sea

Raiders of the North Sea

2021-06-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (June 2021)

I was pretty sure the game was not going to be for me, but I was surprised by how much I hate Raiders of the North Sea. It is very unfair and luck plays a huge role In the game. What a disappointment, it is the worst game I have played in a long while and I just finished played it minutes ago, I´m so angry at the game I decided to write these words right away at 3 AM in the morning .

Raiders of the North Sea´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 100 minutes and that´s its best feature.

The game´s components are very good and the art is awesome.

The theme doesn’t excite me, but it´s supported by some of the game´s mechanisms,

Gameplay is very obvious and straightforward, not a bad thing in itself, but it is not what I look in my games these days. On your turn you must use the one worker you have in an empty space, and then pick up another worker that was already in the board. This "play a worker and remove a worker" is a clever mechanism and I liked it even though you never know if you will have the action pair you want, thus diminishing your planning ability, still, this doesn’t bother me. The actions are your standard worker placement fare, you use (or pick up) your worker to get resources, cards etc. The other use of a space is to raid a site to get its resources, this is thematic and (somewhat) fun. To attack you need the correct color meeple (sometimes you don´t have any option to have the correct meeple) and pay the requisite before earning your reward. So far, we are good and if this was the whole game I would rate it at a 5.0, not a game for me, but a good casual/family game nonetheless. As I write above, the game is too easy, the decisions needed to play it are painfully obvious.

Now let´s write about why I hate the game:

• The luck factor is VERY high. There is luck with the dice and this luck can spell the difference between 0VPs and 9VPs. Granted you are prepared and many times you will get, at least, the lesser reward available, but still the dice can give you several VPs over the course of the game while at the same time other player won’t get the same VPs. just because he rolled poorly. This bothers me but not that much. There is luck of the draw with the cards and this BOTHERS me a lot. Some of the cards are very powerful (and more expensive) while others are very weak. This seems unbalanced, there are heroes that are insanely powerful and it is pure luck if you manage to get one or not and even between the heroes there is a big unbalance, it seems like they didn't test the game before publishing it. The offering tiles also appear at random. To summarize, this whole luck issue bothers me but it is not the worst the game has to offer as it can be (somewhat) mitigated by clever play. In any case the card´s effect are very unbalanced, some of the cards are OP, while others are very situational.

• The game has a lot of senseless “take that” and I absolutely hate this. The “take that” cards themselves are acquired by pure luck AND there is no way to defend yourself from them. The game lends itself to situations in which players only attack one player and with no defense there is no way to react. Some of the attacks are tame, like removing a resource, but other attacks are devastating, the worst attacks remove a card from a player and that´s VERY unfair. When a player gets targeted and he loses a card, he must spend at least 3 actions (perhaps more) to regain the level he had BEFORE the attack. Removing a card is so painful because you need them to raid so if you have the 5 crew cards, you can attack the fortresses (the higher VP generator). To recover you need to draw new cards, to get the money to play them and to recruit them, this is so unfair that there is no defense to this, when a player gets attacked twice or three times just because, he probably lost the game already and you can only attack back if you got lucky and draw the attack card. To summarize, the attack cards are very unfair in this game as they are devastating when they make you lose crew cards and very annoying when they make you lose other resources.

• Raiders of the North Sea gives an unfair advantage to the first players. I cannot believe this is still happening on this modern boardgame world. The first players will, likely, have a whole extra turn than the last players as the game ends when a end condition is met and then all players have one extra turn, this means that if the first player ended the game, he played an extra turn and in one turn one can earn more than 10 VPS. There is no way to balance this as the later players don’t have any form of compensation for being third or fourth, furthermore, the game end can sneak up on them destroying their plans. This can happen if the second player ends the game, then the third and fourth player only have one more turn while the first and second player have one extra (unfair) turn. This is unbelievable awful and unfair and I had to triple check to see if this was the rule (it is). All players should have the same amount of turns, period. I shouldn’t have a huge (HUGE) advantage just because I randomly went first in the game. This is SO lame I cannot stand it and hate this even more than the "take that" cards.

• Most gamers on BGG said this is a strategy game but your planning ability (strategy) isn’t very high, the game has a lot of tactics and opportunities opened by the previous player and there are attacks that can severely hinder you as I wrote above. The strategy part is rather limited (but this doesn’t bother me much). There is certainly some strategy but I wouldn’t call it a strategy game.

Replayability seems very low as the game is very repetitive. There is no tension in the game, I was only hopping for it to end quickly.

Bottom line, Raiders of the North Sea was a crushing disappointment. I wasn’t expecting a good game for my tastes but still I wasn’t expecting this monstrosity. I dislike it because its decisions are very easy and obvious and it has luck and randomness everywhere, at this point I would have rated it a 5.0. However, I hate the game because it has gratuitous, senseless and devastating “take that” cards and it is VERY unfair having different amount of turns in the game depending on random sitting order. Even if a expansion makes the game better, it shouldn’t be this bad by itself. The play and remove mechanism is neat though and it could have been a good game if not for the stuff I already complained about. I won´t EVER play Raiders of the North Sea again and this also preempt me from playing its reimplementation Raiders of Scythia (a game I own but I will sell unplayed so a positive thing arose from this debacle). Raiders of the North Sea is well ranked here on BGG but it is the worst game I have played in a long while. Even for new gamers I would recommend Stone Age or any other light worker placement game over this one. AVOID.

Current Rating: 2.0

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Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado

The Quest for El Dorado

2021-06-29

Initial rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

Reiner Knizia is a legend, no doubt about that, however, most of his newer games aren´t for me (I still love some oldies) so I initially skipped The Quest for El Dorado, however, as the game is so well ranked I bought it and my expectation began to grow. After having played it, I can say I´m disappointed, I was expecting a game with more meat, but I grant you it is a good game, just not a game for me.

The Quest for El Dorado´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 1 hour.

The game´s components are ok as is the art. Nothing too exciting but it is functional (and I prefer it this way, so the game is a lot cheaper without so much bling). I do wish the cards were bigger though.

The theme is pasted on, I don’t feel like I´m exploring anything (perhaps I need more imagination).

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward and this was my first (small) disappointment. The decisions needed to play the game are readily obvious. The goal is to be the first player to arrive at a particular tile, and players will use cards to move and buy more cards. There are several kinds of terrains and you need a card that allows you to move in that terrain. Some terrains also have a difficulty setting and you need to pass it using only ONE card (that´s neat), so improving your deck is a must.

On the bad side (for me), I really dislike that players can block other players from moving ahead. I get this can be thematic and most people are ok with it but for me it cheapens the game. A player can have a better deck than his opponents and still be stuck behind if an opponent managed (by luck or strategy) to go ahead of him. For me, the player with the better deck should win very often but that´s not the case here, it´s like blocking serves as a “catch the leader” mechanism. There are some maps that are very narrow so blocking is easier. To summarize, this is a personal issue and NO ONE among my friends share my view of it lol, so perhaps I´m the issue but I wish players didn’t block spaces. In our game, all 3 players managed to get to El Dorado in the same turn BUT only because one player blocked the others a lot (blocking is a valid strategy in the game).

The red spaces that allow you to trash cards seem OP as well and they clearly give an advantage to the first player who arrive at them.

In most deckbuilding games, there is a high luck of the draw factor, that´s a fact I have learned to accept and luck is present in this game as well, unlike most deckbuilder games I have played, you can keep your cards over turns so that can help with luck of the draw, however, there are some tokens I really dislike. These tokens give you a random reward and some of them are CLEARLY more powerful than others and it´s pure luck if you draw a good one or not. The worst offender for me is the one that lets you pass over another character as this is very unfair under the framework of the game. Having this ability is OP. Other tokens are very powerful as well. If I play the game again I refuse to play with these tokens.

The replay value seems very high as there are lots of different maps you can form with the modular board. It is sad each game uses all the cards, I would have preferred to have a different set of cards each game. In any case the game has an expansion and a standalone game/expansion so it won’t suffer from lack of options.

Best with 2 players. I would guess in this configuration the game is at its fairest, but I would play it in any configuration.

Bottom line, The Quest for El Dorado disappointed me because I was expecting something better, still, I cannot say it is a bad game, just the opposite, it is game I wholeheartedly recommend. It is the perfect game to introduce new gamers to our hobby and it is a great family game. It is just not a game for me as I prefer heavier games. Perhaps, as time passes, I become more and more critical of games but I already sold it along The Quest for El Dorado: The Golden Temples. I would play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Calico

Calico

2021-06-29

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2021)

My desire to play Calico was initially low but as the game is so well ranked and many gamers are talking about it, I gave it a spin. After having played the game, I can say it is a good game but not a game for me.

Calico´s rules are easy to teach you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are pretty good as is the art.

The theme is very cool, but I don´t feel it through the game. It is an abstract game.

Gameplay is quick paced and straightforward. Each turn you have to play to your player board one of the two tiles you have in your hand and that´s it. Where you play it is, of course, important as you are trying to match some patterns that were dealt at the setup and every time you manage to complete a pattern you will attract a cat (gaining some VPs). There are also 3 goals in your board and you are trying to fulfill them, these goals mostly refer to the color an shape of the adjacent tiles and if you manage to place 3 adjacent tiles with the same color you gain a button (VPs). Where to place the tile is key in the game and it´s fun. After you place your tile you draw a new one from 3 possible options, that´s it.

The luck factor is rather high but skill also plays an important role in the game. There are 3 duplicate tiles of each different tile and there are lots of tiles so, perhaps, the tile you need to fulfill a goal won´t appear in the game or, if it appears, another player can snatch it easily. Luck of the draw of the tiles themselves is high as well. This doesn’t bother me in this game because it plays very fast and there are lots of options to pursue.

Player interaction is very low but present. Players can hate draft to affect other players but I think this is a losing proposition, other than that, the game is a multiplayer solitaire (which I don´t mind).

Best with 2 players, with more there is more chaos and less control, but that´s my personal preference. I would play it again in any player configuration though.

Bottom line, Calico is a GREAT family game and a great introductory game as well. It has easy decisions of tactical nature. Calico is not my cup of tea as I crave heavier experiences so I already sold my copy of the game (which is in its way to me), however, I recognize it is a good game with a deserved reputation. I could play it again if requested but I won’t pursue further plays by myself. When I was playing Calico, I felt the same feelings that Azul evokes, and I don’t enjoy Azul that much.

Current Rating: 5.0


 

Takyon

Colombian game from the designer of Xanadu. Comment coming soon. The game is currently on Vaki (a crowdfunding platform) until August.


Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

2021-06-29

Initial Rating: 7.0 (June 2021)

My desire to play Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game was very VERY high. I love the theme and I saw the movies as a child (years later after the release). Besides, the game is so well ranked that I had high hopes. After playing the game It pains me to say that I´m disappointed, but I still have hopes for the game.

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is very variable, but you can usually play a game under 90 minutes. The setup and tear-down time is very high as you need to assemble specific scenarios and then you have to separate the cards for storage.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards. The art is also from bad to good. The iconography is small and hard to see.

The theme is great and you can choose which Alien movie to play so the game is highly thematic if you allow yourself to be immersed in it. The flavor text and name of the cards help a lot and it also helps that I love the theme. Without the Alien theme I wouldn´t like the game very much.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward. In your turn you will play your cards, attack enemies, be attacked by them and you will purchase more powerful cards. Many of the cards revolve around the idea of combo cards, so you need to play cards with synergies. The game can be hard to beat and I have only played the first scenario. Alien cards will appear and do what they say in the card (hurting players). Each player begins the game with 1 special card. The goal is to fulfill the scenario goals and to do that you must survive long enough. In general terms I like the game but my experience was rather bad due to the Alien player.

When a player get a face hugger, you need to help him ASAP, if not he will get a chest buster and eventually die, so far, I´m, loving the game. The issue arises when said player can now play as an Alien player. First of all, there are motivation issues here as many players would love to get killed so they can become Aliens so, it may be, that they don´t play their best and that´s against the philosophy of the game. It seems the Alien player won’t win the game even if all players lose but a dead human could win the game if his teammates finish the scenario, so again, there are motivation conflicts and issues here (Panic Station has similar issues). Still I could accept this of not for the second and bigger issue. Second, the Alien player is unbeatable. He receives very VERY powerful cards and he can play them all in each turn, I had to stop the game and read the rule myself as this doesn’t make any sense. It should be that the Alien player gets to play 1 card per turn (not all of them) and they are amazingly OP, but by playing them all he assures a quick victory for the Aliens. The human players can still win if they were very close to wining when the Alien player appeared, if the were far from winning the game, there isn´t any point in continuing the game. I get why the Alien player exists, he exists so an eliminated player has something to do while the game ends, I agree with this idea but the execution is awful (SoTM handled this much in a much better way). The Alien player should be much less powerful, this just destroy the game experience. Instead of having this awful mechanism, when a player dies we all should lose the game right then and problem fixed. Fortunately, I believe this is an optional variant so there is hope yet for the game (I haven’t read the rules).

The luck factor is pretty high and it probably can decide games by itself, still, it doesn’t bother me as this is a cooperative game. There is luck with the strike cards, with the market cards, with the hive cards and there is the shuffling luck in your deck. Sometimes, a player just dies because he had bad luck with the face huggers.

I hate Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game because it is a competitive game (it may have a cooperative variant, I really don’t know and, at this point, I don’t really care). It has 2 different variable market offerings so I find it VERY unfair, however, I can appreciate Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building ONLY because it is a fully cooperative game. Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game has a coop mode and a competitive mode so it bothers me a bit. For me, the Legendary game system is deeply unfair so I can only accept it as a cooperative experience as unfairness doesn’t bother me in this case. I know most of the gaming world doesn’t share my views about unfairness, but I cannot stand the competitive versions of the game.

Bottom line, Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game is a good cooperative game and one I want to play again soon, however, I really dislike the Alien player rules, If there is an official option to play without them I will do so as having them makes no sense in my book (I haven’t read the rules, the game was explained to me). As things stands, I´m leaning toward selling the game along its Predator cousin, but I will give it one more chance to woe me.
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NEW games I played on July 2021

Juan Carlos Goyes
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Board Game: The Prodigals Club

The Prodigals Club

2021-07-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

My desire to play The Prodigals Club wasn’t very high as I thought it was the same game as Last Will, but only bigger. I remember I disliked Last Will because I felt it had too much uncontrollable luck. After I played The Prodigals Club, I can say I like it better than Last Will and, perhaps, I can give it a pass. It surprised me as I had fun playing it and it is a Vladimír Suchý design after all (I really like his games).

The Prodigals Club´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 11 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are ok. The art is very good.

The theme is cool as well but it makes no sense. I did get the theme on Last Will, but here, why would you like to spend A LOT of effort to lose an election? Or to lose social standing?, the explanation given isn't nearly enough to convince. I get the theme is tongue in cheek but, still, it makes no sense. This is a very minor issue though an in any case you don’t feel it through the game.

Gameplay is fun. The Prodigals Club is a worker placement game and you can play it with 2 or 3 competitions among players (I played 2 of them, losing an election and losing social standing). In your turn you have to use one or two of your workers to use a space, the spaces will allow you to lose social standing in a particular way or to lose votes, you can also get cards to your hand. The cards themselves appear at random but they appear in the round setup, so this doesn’t bother me that much (but it bothers me). The idea is to get some kind of engine going with the cards. At the beginning of the round there are plenty of options but they decrease very quickly so the game has a nice tension, still, the decisions needed to play the game aren’t that hard to process. I particularly like the social standing game as each round a patron card appears and you have to do your best to avoid it, which is fun (I haven’t played the money game).

Scoring is also exciting as your final score is the score in the area you achieved your worst performance, that is very Knizian.

The replay value seems very high as you can play with 2 competitions and you can even mix the game with Last Will.

Even though the cards and tiles will be visible at the beginning of the round, the luck factor is present and it is high, you can (probably) mitigate it with clever play BUT sometimes a player will get the cards they need in subsequent turns and other players won’t. That also goes for the symbols in the tiles and the social pattern card so I´m pretty sure luck can decide games outright, still, I need more plays to see if I can stomach this level of luck. You will play with all the cards in each game so, with experience, you can plan your moves better. For now, I´m keeping the game as I want to give it another try.

Bottom line, The Prodigals Club was a pleasant surprise and I will still probably sell it, but, I did enjoy my play of the game and I want to try all the modes combined (but perhaps the tension of playing only 2 modes is better). The theme makes no sense but it is a fun game. I will play it again before deciding if I should keep it, but my gut feeling says I´m going to end up selling the game. The luck factor is higher than I would prefer in a strategy game. I prefer The Prodigals Club to Last Will.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Pact

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Pact

2021-07-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from Star Realms: Command Deck – The Pact and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Pact´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (yellow-red in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speed the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – The Pact is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Eruption

Eruption

2021-07-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

My desire to play Eruption was rather low. After I played it I can confirm the game is not for me, but it can be good family/casual game.

Eruption´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 4 minutes. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The game´s components are from ok to good and they look great on the table. The art is good as well.

The theme is fun and it calls many players, the game mechanisms do support it very well.

Gameplay can be fun. The goal is to burn down the villages of your opponents while keeping yours away from the lava. Each turn you must place 1 tile (or more if you are already on fire) and the tiles will allow lava to flow from the volcano to the villages, it also can have new eruption sources in the floor that act like another volcano. To defend yourself you can use cards with various effects and you can place walls in front of the lava tiles with the hope of blocking the path to your village. The higher the temperature on your village the most cards and tiles you can draw and place. The game offers very easy decisions and I´m not the target of the game.

The obvious strategy is to let your village burn down a little at the beggining as this will give you access to a huge advantage in cards and tiles AND you are not the visible leader so most attacks shouldn't go your way. This doesn’t make thematic sense but IT IS the way to win.

There are many situations in the game that I don’t like very much. The game lends itself to gang of the leader or on any player just because, it has tons of “take that” with the cards and it has a lot of uncontrollable luck. The luck factor is VERY high with the cards (they are unbalanced and situational), with the walls (players roll to see if they can surpass it), with the tiles (new eruptions are very valuable or you can draw a tile you can´t play in the place you want). The game ending is VERY also unfair. To summarize, Eruption has A LOT of issues.

The replay value seems low.

The game is at its most strategic with 2 players but I think it is more fun with more players.

Bottom line, Eruption can be a good casual/family game but it is not a game for me. I find it too repetitive, with easy decisions, with lots of “take that” and with a huge dose of uncontrollable luck so I don´t like the game at all. I think the game has some good ideas but the execution makes it so unfair with randomness, I cannot enjoy it. Survive does this kind of game a lot better or if you want volcanoes try The Downfall of Pompeii (I don’t enjoy either game though, so I´m not the target for this kind of game).

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: The King's Guild

The King's Guild

2021-07-22

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

I didn’t know anything about The King's Guild´s but, somehow, I ended up with a second hand copy. My desire to play it wasn’t very high as I didn't know anything about it, but the game looks great so I gave it a try. After I played it, I can say the game is not for me, but it is a good family level game.

The King's Guild´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 9 minutes.

The game´s components are great and the art is very good. The board´s art is amazing.

The theme is pretty cool and it is supported by some game´s mechanisms.

Gameplay is fun and quick paced, but the game´s decisions are rather straightforward. On your turn you have only 3 options to choose from. You can gather resources (this works exactly like Splendor if memory serves), you can craft items with the resources you have (also reminiscent of Splendor) or you can build a room and hire and specialist, both rooms and specialists have special powers and victory points, that´s it. As you can see, gameplay is very basic and the meat of the game is in the random quest cards (which you craft), the random specialists and the rooms.

The King's Guild´s support up to 6 players but the downtime would be too high in this configuration. I think the game is better with 3-4 players.

The luck factor is high as the quest card appear at random and this will benefit a player for sure. The specialist cards also appear at random but the oldest cards are made more palatable adding coins to them, still the luck factor is high here. When you complete a quest you draw a random reward from 3 different kinds. To summarize, the luck factor is very high.

Bottom line, The King's Guild can be a good game, I think it is specially great for new gamers. I would have loved The King's Guild on 2010 (the year I discovered boardgames) but these days I crave heavier experiences and the game is rather light on the decisions department. Also the high luck factor bothers me. The art is amazing. I already sold the game but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Snowdonia

Snowdonia

2021-07-24

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2021)

I was VERY keen to try Snowdonia. Since I entered the hobby, I wanted to play it but it wasn´t possible as I didn’t own the game and no one among my friends had it. Then, I tried to buy I but it was ultra-expensive so I´m very glad they released a new edition I was able to buy. After I played it, I can say the game is much less complex than expected, but it is still a fun game.

Snowdonia´s rules aren’t very complex, but it is still not a casual game. You can explain the core rules under 10 minutes. Playtime is very variable, but I think it is close to the 2 hour mark.

The theme is ok, but you don’t feel it through the game (in fact I believe the game was rethemed into a game about tea).

The game´s components and art are merely ok, nothing too exciting but they work.

Gameplay is much more straight forward than I was expecting and turns flow quickly. Each round, players will have, at least, 2 workers and they can place them in 7 different cards, then players get to execute the actions in order. The actions allow you to get resources, to excavate rubble (this open new options and get you another kind of resource), to build track (this is the game timer and it can help you with the contracts), to convert resources, to build a station or get a train (with special powers), to get a contract or to move your surveyor. The game isn’t complex rules wise but it has a lot of depth. You need to time your actions and you need to plan for that, not only you are analyzing your opponent’s moves an capabilities, but the weather can also affect your actions and I enjoyed this a lot. To summarize this part, Snowdonia offers very fun gameplay with interesting decisions, even though the rules are easy to understand.

There are events that are triggered at random drawing blindly from a bag.

The contracts are great, they can give you VPs at the end of the game if you fulfill them BUT they also have a 1 per game ability you can exploit at the right moment. I really like this mechanism.

From my limited perspective, the Surveyor action wasn’t very good, perhaps because I´m new to the game, but it seems that action is the last resort when you have no other profitable action. I know this changes with some scenarios so I´m itching to try them.

The replay value seems very high as every game will have different rubble cards in different order, different timing on the events and the game comes with a scenario that changes gameplay with few, but high impact, tweaks (I love this). Besides this, the game has a plethora of expansions.

The luck factor is present in the game, luck decides the weather, but I don’t mind about this as you can see it 2 turns before it impacts so you can plan for it. Luck also decides the available contract cards and this luck is uncontrollable BUT it doesn’t bother me that much. There is also luck when the events appear and that can decide games which bother me a bit. I know that if players hoard resources, the events are more likely to happen, but still, they can happen even if the bag is almost full. Finally, the resources available each round appear at random as well, this can impact your plans, specially the carbon. So there is luck, but I feel skillful play trumps luck in this game most times and I like this.

Bottom line, I was expecting great things from the game and I, mostly, got them. I like Snowdonia a lot and it is a keeper for me. I cannot wait to try the scenarios and, with more plays, its rating will probably go up.

Current Rating: 7.0

Jgoyes´ Awards:

From gallery of jgoyes



Board Game: On Mars

On Mars

2021-07-22

Initial Rating: 8.0 (July 2021)

I finally got to play On Mars! I love Lacerda´s games, at least his heavy games (I haven’t played Dragon Keepers and I disliked Mercado de Lisboa) so my desire to play On Mars was VERY high and I had a big expectation. After I played the game, I can say it is a good game for me and a keeper, but still, I was expecting more from the game.

On Mars´ rules aren’t as complex as I was expecting, still there are many rules to teach so you can do it under 27 minutes. Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game´s components are good as is the art and graphic design. My copy arrived with several tiles marked but EGG will replace them (I hope).

The theme is great and one of my favorites, and some game´s mechanism do support it but it is among the least thematic Lacerda games.

Gameplay is fun and interesting and you have lots of options to pursue, some of them are in Mars´ surface, some of them are in Mars´ orbit and you have to time them carefully as you cannot do all of them at all times, timing is very important (this is very neat). On your turn you get to do 1 main action and 1 executive action (this is a Lacerda staple). On the surface you get to move your rover (to pick up crystals and discovery tiles) or bot (to construct in a location), you can build adjacent to your bot, you can hire a scientist (with a special power) or get a contract and you can get a new ship (to get more workers. On the orbit, you can get blueprints, get new technologies (they are requisites), develop a technology or take a resource. As in all of Lacerda´s games, all the actions are very intermingled with interactions and/or limits. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t easy to process, you can really plan ahead and you have to time your actions to achieve the best benefit. I particularly like how the shuttle system works, at the end of each round, if a shuttle is available you have the option to move from the surface to the orbit or the other way around and when you do this some things are triggered.

I like the game A LOT but I was expecting a heavier game. As things stand on BGG, Lisboa is less heavy than On Mars but I don´t feel that´s the case at all. Lisboa is a much harder/heavier game for me than On Mars and the same goes for Vinhos (a harder game at least). Still, On Mars isn’t a casual game, and you have to really think things through, I like the game, it’s just that I was expecting a heavier game and I didn't get it.

The replay value seems high as there are several modes of play (I don’t know anything about this as I didn’t read the rules), there are mini expansions and a full expansion currently on Kickstarter (and I obviously backed it). It also has a variable setup up with the blueprint cards and each game will develop very differently due to technologies and goals

Best with 3 players, with more the downtime is too much for me.

The luck factor is rather low. There is luck in how some cards appear as well as with the discovery tiles, but I feel skillful play will always trump luck in this game, so the luck factor doesn’t bother me at all.

Bottom line, On Mars is a good game and a keeper for me. I was expecting a heavier game but I still want to explore it further (Lisboa is MUCH harder for me rules wise and decision wise). The decisions needed to play the game aren’t obvious or easy, you really need to think through your options and timing is very important. I won´t ever sell it and I will buy everything for the game. With more plays, its rating will probably increase but, as of today, I prefer (in order) Vinhos, Kanban, Lisboa and The Gallerist over On Mars (but I still really like the game).

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Turisteando

Turisteando

2021-07-24

Turisteando is currently on a crowdfunding platform so I won’t write much about the game for fear I can impact it negatively. The more time that passes, the harsher I´m on games and Turisteando is a perfectly good game, it´s just not a game for me. I´m the guy who hates Pandemic and Carcassonne and heavily dislike Ticket to Ride, so keep that in mind when you read my next words.

The game was presented to me by the designer, a personal friend, who designed the game and did the art. The game has 4 modes of play and some of them are harder than others, however, the game is very easy to play and explain in any mode. Turisteando is a family level game and I think it succeeds in this, but I don’t like most family games these days, I crave heavier experiences or very light and fun games. Most light-medium games are not for me.

Last month, I got to know Trekking the World, a game I disliked, Turisteando is similar theme wise but I enjoyed it much more. In my playthrough, players were trying to go to certain touristic places in South America (just like Trekking the World), to do this you can draw several means of transportation and then you play those cards to move your pawn. I must confess I had some fun playing the game, but again, this kind of game is not for me.

It seems the game has a very high replay value with its 4 mode of play.

There is luck of the draw in the transportation cards, but it seems players can deal with it using skillful play.

From my limited perspective, I enjoy more this game than any other of its kind and I pledged for it because I feel the urge to help Colombian game designers (and friends).

Bottom line, Turisteando is a good family game, but It’s just not a game for me. I will give my rating soon.


Board Game: Dragonfire: Ranger Lizardfolk Promo Card

Dragonfire: Ranger Lizardfolk Promo Card

2021-07-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

I like Dragonfire, but I still decided to sell the game as getting it played is rather hard and I prefer other campaign games (Pathfinder series). Still, this character is a good addition to the game.

Unless the characters from the base game (at least I think so) this Dragonfire: Ranger Lizardfolk Promo Card has a special power. Between short rests, he can see the future and that can, occasionally, help the players. It is not a must have by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a nice to have.

I will sell it along with all the Dragonfire game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Santiago de Cuba

Santiago de Cuba

2021-07-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

Michael Rieneck is not among my favorite game designers, still, I like Cuba so I wanted to play Santiago de Cuba. After I play it, I can say it is a great family game, but it is not a game for me.

Santiago de Cuba´s rules are very easy to learn and teach. You can teach them under 5 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes with 3 players.

The game´s components are ok, The art is amazing and the board looks great. Michael Menzel is an amazingly good artist.

The theme is ok but you don’t really feel it through the game.

Gameplay is very simple and straightforward. On your turn you just move a car and execute it´s 2 actions if you don’t want to use the next action you need to use money to move the car more spaces. It is a neat mechanism. The actions themselves allow you to get resources, VPs, and some special powers. The game revolves around boats that are asking for a certain quantity of goods (similar to Cuba) so when the port action occurs, players will try to exchange goods for VPs. It´s a very simple game, but it plays fast.

The replay value seems high as there is a variable setup, so the action pair will always be different. I like this.

The luck factor is rather low. There are some dice that determine the demand from the boats and that´s it. I feel player skill is more important than luck in the game.

Best with 2 players as you have much more control over the game and turns flow very quickly.

Bottom line, Santiago de Cuba is a pleasant game and a very good family game, still, it is not a game for me as I crave heavier experiences. The decisions needed to play the game are very straightforward and obvious. I already sold my copy of the game but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Abandon All Artichokes

Abandon All Artichokes

2021-07-25

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

My desire to play Abandon All Artichokes was rather low, but it is a fun and quick game, still, It is not a game I will keep in my game collection but I could play it from time to time.

Abandon All Artichokes´ rules are VERY easy to tech, you can do it under 90 seconds. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

The game´s components is ok and the art is cute.

There Is no theme.

Gameplay is fun and the game flows quickly. The goal of the game is to draw a hand without artichokes in it, at the beginning all you cards are artichokes so you have to get rid of them or dilute them enough to have a good probability to not draw them. In your turn you can buy a card and play all the cards form your hand. There are several cards with powers that help you to get rid of your artichokes. The game feature a (hated by me) variable market offering, BUT, as the game plays so quickly, I don’t mind much about this it (just in this case). The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious.

There is luck of the draw with the variable market offering and luck of the draw with your own deck, but again, as the game plays so fast I don’t mind much about this.

Best with 2 players.

Replayability seems rather low.

Bottom line, Abandon All Artichokes surprised me. It is a fun and quick game with obvious decisions. I already sold it, but I would play it again if requested. It is a great family game or it can be used to introduce new gamers to our hobby..

Current Rating: 6.0


From gallery of BoardGameGeek

Smart Ass Geek Chic

2021-07-25

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

I have always liked Smart Ass, but the game is rather outdated, so, when the opportunity arose to acquire his standalone expansion I did it and I´m glad I did .

Smart Ass Geek Chic´s rules are VERY easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 15 minutes playing it by itself. If you are using it as an expansion the playtime is around 45-60 minutes.

The game´s components are ok, there is no art.

There is no theme.

Smart Ass Geek Chic is a trivia game in which the reader will give increasingly better clues. Some of the cards are very hard, others are very easy. Once a player thinks he has the answer he gets 1 chance to scream it out, the idea is to give the correct answer before your opponents and that´s it. It is a fun party game for me.

I´m very glad for the new and updated cards, the old game was getting stale so this breaths new life into it.

Bottom line, I like Smart Ass Geek Chic. It is a fun party game and I want to play from time to time, so I will keep this game in my game collection.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Sprawlopolis

Sprawlopolis

2021-07-25

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

Sprawlopolis was an utter unknow to me. I bought it by mistake as I thought it was a Chad Jensen game lol, for some reason I mistook it for Welcome to Centerville. In any case I got to play it this month and after I played it, I can say, this game is not for me.

Sprawlopolis´ rules are VERY easy to teach, you can do it under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 25 minutes with 3 players.

The game´s components and art are ok, nothing too exciting.

The theme is meh to me, but the game´s mechanism and art do support it.

Sprawlopolis is a cooperative game. Gameplay is very simple and straightforward. At the beginning of the game you are given 3 goals to fulfill so, with this in mind, players place one card per turn in the best possible place. Each card has 4 elements and you have to place them where they do the most good which isn’t hard at all to process, so the game´s decisions are very obvious. Each turn you will have 3 card to choose from.

Best with 2 players.

The replay value seems high as there are several goals that don’t appear in each game, still, I feel the game can become very repetitive soon.

Bottom line, Sprawlopolis is a very straightforward puzzle game and it is not for me. The decision on where to place each card is rather obvious. I found it very simple and I crave heavier (or funnier) experiences. I already sold it. On a related note, tile laying is among my least favorite mechanisms.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Troyes Dice

Troyes Dice

2021-07-25

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

I was very keen to try Troyes Dice as I love the original Troyes AND I’m a big fan of the designers, however, after I played the game, my hopes were sorely crushed. As it turned out, Troyes Dice is a roll and Write and I don´t like those, moreover, the relation with Troyes is very tenuous so I was double disappointed by this. I know I should research the game a bit better but I always prefer to play them that to read about them.

Troyes Dice´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 10 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok. The dice are very good, the art is good as well.

The theme it´s just not there, the game is mostly abstract. Also, there is almost no thematic connection to the original game so I don´t know how this can reimplement Troyes in any way, shape or form. The tangential connection is mostly due to the shared art and name of resources. The name of the game is also misleading as the original Troyes is a dice game. A better name would have been Troyes - The Roll and Write game.

Gameplay flows quickly but it was very disappointing to me, again, because this game doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with the original game, a game I LOVE and it´s among my favorite games of all time. Players will have 16 rounds in which they have to pick the better dice they can afford writing down what they take. For each die you take you will get a reward and each color and value has 2 different rewards and you can always get the resource associated with the color. From my limited perspective, the red dice are very powerful and necessary as they can defend the whole column of numbers for all colors. Money is a valuable resource as it allow you to get the die you want and influence is also important as you can change the number of the dice. The white books (I don’t know that name) allow you to change the color of the die. The black dice can destroy whole parts of your paper board, and it attacks at random. The decisions needed to play the game are rather obvious. In this game you pick the best dice you can at the beginning and then, once you have activated some white VP multipliers you only want to increase it getting mostly the VP condition with the other dice.

Having said that, I´m pretty sure many gamers will love the game. It plays fast and the dice offer you lots of options to pursue, it´s just that I was disappointed about the whole Troyes thing.

Best with 2 players.

Replayablity seems very low as the game becomes very repetitive soon.

The luck factor of the game is very high. At the beginning you can try to go down one path, but if the dice don’t go your way, you will have to spent more resources than other players. As the game play rather fast, I´m not too worried about the high luck factor.

Bottom line, Troyes Dice sorely disappointed me. I was expecting a great game from the designer trio but I got a game with obvious decisions, a game with a very tenuous connection to the original game, a game that plays nothing like the original Troyes so using the Troyes name is very misleading. As I wrote above, I don’t like roll and Write games and this one isn’t the exception but I´m pretty sure many gamers will love the game. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Unlock!: Timeless Adventures

Unlock!: Timeless Adventures

2021-07-27

I just love the Unlock! series of games and this month I got to play Arsène Lupin and the Great White Diamond and I really enjoyed it. As I don´t want to write any spoiler this comment will be very short.

The game difficulty wasn’t very high, but, still, we got stuck in a couple of puzzles for a while. On the other side, this scenario is the first time I see no new elements added to the game (that Unlock! hasn´t used before), that´s not a bad thing, as I wrote above, I really enjoyed it.

Current Rating: 7.5



From gallery of BoardGameGeek

Animal Warrior

2021-07-27

Initial Rating: N/A (July 2021)

Animal Warrior is a Colombian design from a friend. It is a card game in which the goal is to kill the other player OR to collect all 8 different gems. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from it but it surprised me as I enjoyed my play.

Animal Warrior is currently on preorder so I won’t write much about the game for fear I can impact it negatively. The more time that passes, the harsher I´m on games and Animal Warrior is a fun game for many players, it´s just not a game for me. I´m the guy who hates Pandemic and Carcassonne and heavily dislike Ticket to Ride, so keep that in mind when you read my next words.

The rules are easy to explain, you must play a card each turn or you will lose. Some of the cards are very powerful and need a sacrifice to enter game. All the creatures can only attack other creatures, so they won´t attack directly the player, still, for every creature you kill, the owner loses 1 life. When you gain a gem, it has a special power and there are 8 different gems. There is a lot of cards in the deck so luck of the draw will have an impact in the game, still, it can be a fun game to play with the correct crowd.

Best with 2 players.

I preordered Animal Warrior because I feel the urge to help Colombian game designers (and friends).

I will add the game to BGG´s database soon so I can log my plays and mark it as owned. I will rate it later after it has been released.

Current Rating: N/A



Board Game: Canvas

Canvas

2021-07-26

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2021)

My desire to play Canvas was rather low as I didn´t know anything about the game. As it turned out the game is pretty simple, but it is pretty fun and it is gorgeous as well.

Canvas´ rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 90 seconds. Playtime is around 50 minutes.

The art is very beautiful and it looks great on the table.

The theme is ok, but you don’t feel like a painter in any way (at least I didn´t).

Gameplay is very simple but it is fun. At the beginning of the game there will be 4 goals that will change every game. The goals will determine which patterns the players need to construct. Then, each player will draw a card from the available ones, the older the card the cheaper it will be. Once you have at least 3 cards (or at most 5 cards) you must present your painting to the world, that´s scoring the painting, once all players have done this 3 times the game ends. It is a very simple game but I had fun with it. The decisions needed to play the game are very straightforward but as the game is so simple I don´t mind much about this.

Gameplay is reminiscent of Calico, another game in which you need to draw elements and match them to certain patterns, but I don’t like Calico as it is a much more convoluted game than Canvas. It can sound illogical, but Calico, being heavier than Canvas, doesn’t offer me the heavy game feel I crave these days, but Canvas being a very similar game, but a lot simpler does give me enough fun to keep the game (at least for now). These days I want heavy games or light games, games in the middle don´t interest me much (and I´m not sure why). If Canvas had a little more complexity, ironically, I wouldn’t like it as much as I do (I know I make no sense lol) Canvas´ gorgeous transparent cards also help in this decision.

On the bad side, I absolutely hate the tie rule. Basically, if player are tied (which isn’t that hard), another person will choose the winner based on which painting is more beautiful. The issue I have with this, is that the decisions is 100% subjective, besides you don’t pick cards based on how they look, you pick them based on their icons. It would have been MUCH better if all tied players shared the victory.

The replay value seems high but I´m not sure it is. There are a lot of different cards and different goals but the game feels very similar between plays. Time will tell.

The luck factor seems high but it is controlled by the price of the new cards, still, a high luck factor doesn’t bother me much in a game this quick.

Bottom line, Canvas was a pleasant surprise. It is a very easy game but its easy mechanisms, quick pace and gorgeous cards won me over, at least for now. It seems I love transparent cards and they work great in this game. It could very well be that the game´s rating will decrease with more plays, the game itself is very simple. I will keep it for now. Canvas is a great family game.

Current Rating: 6.5


Board Game: Winter Kingdom

Winter Kingdom

2021-07-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2021)

Initially, I disliked Kingdom Builder but a friend insisted we should play it and now I like the game a lot, so I was very keen to try the new iteration Winer Kingdom and after I played, I can say it is a good game.

Winter Kingdom´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 10 minutes. If you are familiar with Kingdom Builder you can teach the new elements under 3 minutes.

The game´s components are very well done as is the art.

The theme is cool but rather thin, the game could be an abstract game.

Gameplay is fun and VERY similar to Kingdom Builder. Each game will have 3 different cards that tell the players how to score. The goal is to be the player who score the most VPs using his houses. Each turn, players will draw a card and then they will place 3 houses in that terrain and that´s the core of it. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t nor very easy nor very hard, but they are fun to process.

As I wrote above, Winter Kingdom is very similar to Kingdom Builder, among the changes I noticed:

• Each modular board now features tunnels allowing free pass between then. This adds a lot tactical options (I like this change a lot).

• There is a new kind of house that is worth as 2 houses for any purpose.

• The castles now score a bit different, they will give VPs to the player who has the most houses touching them.

• The abilities begin in the player´s hands and now you have to pay money to play them. Each player begins with a different set of abilities. I´m still not sure how I feel about this change as the game was fairer before as all players could get access to the same abilities (in theory at least). Now you have to play what you got and some cards are definitely more powerful than others (they are controlled by their cost I hope).

• There is a card per game that changes how the game plays. This is rather similar to the events, landmarks or projects from Dominion. Just with 1 card, the whole game changes radically. I LOVE this. There are 8 cards that change rules this way.

• To earn money, each game will offer a different way. Sometimes it will be hard, sometimes it will be easy. I LOVE this change, there are 8 cards that tell you how to earn money.

Best with 3 players.

The replay value of the game is VERY high. It has a variable setup, with different goal cards and different rules in each game. This is a Vaccarino staple and I just love this.

The luck factor is high with luck of the draw (which can be mitigated by clever play) and by the ability cards (there is no way to mitigate this). I´m worried about the possible unbalance of the ability cards as a player can get a better a hand than other player just by luck, but I need more plays to verify this point, perhaps, the luck of the cards is only troublesome in scenarios where money comes easy. For now, this doesn’t bother me much as the game plays fast and how you play matters a lot as well.

Bottom line, I like Winter Kingdom and I will keep it in my game collection. It is a fun tactical game with interesting decisions. It is a bit more complex than Kingdom Builder but not by much, it offers a huge amount of replay value and it is plain fun. I still prefer the original Kingdom Builder because I find it fairer toward players, on the other hand the addition of the tunnels allow you for very meaningful moves with any card. In any case, both games are very VERY similar. I´m not sure if normal people would keep both games in their games collection, but the differences are enough for me to keep them both . Good stuff.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set

Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set

2021-07-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2021)

This month, I also played Snowdonia for the first time. In a nutshell, I like the game a lot and you can read my comment under its entry here on BGG. For now, I will only write about what the Deluxe Master Set brings to the table (which is a lot).

The Deluxe Master Set has everything ever printed for the game plus new cards and expansions. It features new art (which is cool) and updated components (which is a huge upgrade over the base game). The components are well done although several of mine came broken, the publisher sent replacements. The wood meeples are gorgeous but they are very fragile.

The Deluxe Master Set also comes with lots of cards, almost 900 I believe and they add a lot to the game, from new scenarios to new trains to try, so, the Replayability of the whole system is amazingly high. I do want to explore it sooner rather than later.

On the bad side, the publisher made a lot of mistakes with typos or omissions in at least 33 cards and in the rulebooks. I bought a new scenario to get the corrected cards (Snowdonia: Isle of Man) but even now, all the mistakes haven’t been corrected (Or so I have been told). I don’t know how this happened and I do know many people were angry. I was never angry as the publisher has taken responsability but the amount of mistakes made is very high nonetheless.

Bottom line, I just love Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set. Before it, I was trying to collect all the bits of the game and they were very expensive. I love I now have all the expansions in one place and I cannot wait to play the game again. The rating of the Deluxe Master Set will be the average of its contents plus the rating of the new content. As soon as I play them I will update the rating.

Current Rating: 7.0

Jgoyes´ Awards:

From gallery of jgoyes



Board Game: Shadowrift

Shadowrift

2021-07-31

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

Before playing the game, I didn´t know anything about it so I wasn’t expecting anything from it, but Shadowrift managed to pleasantly surprise me. As it turned out. It is a cooperative game in the vein of Aeon´s End. I still sold the game, mainly because getting it to the table is very hard facing time competition from Aeon´s End, the Pathfinder saga, Apocrypha and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

Shadowrift´s rules are easy to teach and pretty straightforward. You can teach them under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are ok, they are mostly cards but they need to be sleeved ASAP. The art of the cards is from good to great.

Shadowrift is a cooperative deckbuilding game. Gameplay is very reminiscent of Aeon´s End but Shadowrift is a 2012 game so it is actually the other way around. Players are defending a town from dragons and other monsters depending on the scenario. The monsters appear at random and you have to defeat them before they kill all the villagers. If you let monsters escape they will raise the danger level. On your turn, you can buy cards, attack monsters, enlist the help of villagers and attract new villagers. I particularly like the villagers deck, it is thematic and it works great. Players lose the game if they let all the current villagers die and each villagers offer you a different aid. Shadowrift is a 2012 game but I still haven’t seen anything like the villager deck, I believe this was very novel and it is the best part of the game for me.

Best with 4 players.

The luck factor is very high, luck an make things very hard or very easy but I don’t mind this at all in cooperative games.

Replaybility seems high but I´m not 100% sure. In any case the game has lots of expansions.

Bottom line, Shadowrift was a pleasant surprise. I´m baffled I only got to know the game in 2021, almost ten years after the game was published so I feel the game has some novel mechanisms (the villager deck is great). I like this kind of game, but just like Dragonfire and Legendary Encounters Aliens, I had to cut if from my game collection. With thousands of available games, I just don´t have the time to pursue it and I´m heavily committed to Sentinels of the Multiverse and somewhat committed to Aeon’s End, both games are cooperative card games that feel similar to Shadowrift (but I enjoy them more), so, with sadness, I sold it. I would play it again if the opportunity arises and I think it is a good game but there is still something that doesn’t leave me love the game enough to keep it.

Current Rating: 6.5


Board Game: Millennium Blades: Chucky Smooth Promo

Millennium Blades: Chucky Smooth Promo

2021-07-31

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2021)

MIllenium Blades is a very unique game an done I´m liking more after more plays, still, it never will achieve a spot among my favorite games (I think) but it can be a fun game.

Millennium Blades: Chucky Smooth Promo doesn’t seem like a great addition as, in my limited experience, clashing isn’t a core strategy in the game, still, if clashing is your thing, this card offers a huge boost. I´m happy to have the promo card as long as I have the base game.

The card is also slightly bigger than the cards from the base game.

Current Rating: 6.0
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NEW games I played on August 2021

Juan Carlos Goyes
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Board Game: Vindication

Vindication

2021-08-02

Initial Rating: 7.0 (August 2021)

My desire to play Vindication was very high. The game is very well ranked here on BGG and it seemed like a great game. After having played the game. It really disappointed me though.

Vindication´s rules aren’t complex at all, I was expecting a heavier game and I´m surprised to see the weight it has on BGG. To me, Vindication is a light-medium game. The rules can be explained under 7 minutes, playtime can also be very fast, you can play the game under 70 minutes if the player´s really go for it.

The game´s component are great, perhaps even overproduced for such a simple game. The art is also rather good. Vindication is an expensive game.

The theme seemed great at first, but, sadly, the game doesn’t deliver. The premise was great but the game is almost themeless, or rather, the theme is paper thin. Vindication could be rethemed rather easily, even into an almost abstract game. I love the name though.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward, in your turn you must move, you may activate a card in your tableau and/or visit a place, that´s it. The complexity comes from the places in the board and the cards you can acquire. Each player begins the game with a secret goal so you have a path already mapped out for you. Fulfilling this path isn’t very hard, that is, the decisions needed to play the game aren’t very hard to process, so the game offers no interesting decisions.

The luck factor is rather high. There is a very high luck of the draw with all the cards and the luck is also high with the dice. From my limited perspective, you have to have at least one monster to score high in the game and, some monsters give you VPS for the same reason that your goal card does, so taking them is a big (and unfair) boon and it´s mostly luck if you manage or not, the needed card may not appear at all in the game. With more plays you can control this a bit more, but still it bothers me. Some of the cards are also unbalanced.

The replay value seems very high, each game the board will be vastly different and each game will have different end conditions (which I love, this is the game best feature).

Bottom line, I was expecting great things from Vindication but I got a meh gorgeous game. The game became boring very quickly for me. The decisions needed to play the game are very easy to parse and process, luck of the draw is very high and you do need monsters to score high (or so it seems to me), thus, the game makes you choose a path to victory. The theme is wasted with the generic vindication theme (it could have been a great theme). I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: 11 nimmt!

11 nimmt!

2021-08-17

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

I enjoy 6 Nimmt! so I was happy to play 11 Nimmt! as I thought they were similar games, as it turned out, they aren’t, they just share the art of the cards and I didn’t like the game very much.

11 Nimmt!´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes (which is too long for this kind of game).

The game´s components are ok.

There is no theme.

Just like 6 Nimmt!, you are trying to not get points. The bulls are negative points but here end the similarities. The goal in 11 Nimmt! is to play all your cards. The game let’s you play a card in a stack if the card is, at most, 10 numbers higher than the card in the stack and that´s it. The decisions needed to play the game are very obvious and straightforward, there is almost nothing to think about and luck plays a very high role in the game. 6 Nimmt! is superior in every way. The obvious strategy is to not play cards at the beginning and take cards into your hand, this allows for more options BUT it also lets you play 2 or 3 cards per turn so this is a huge advantage over a player who doesn’t do this (it´s even the subtitle line here on BGG).

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, 11 Nimmt! was a disappointment, it doesn’t play anything like 6 Nimmt! (it´s not a reimplementation). Gameplay is very different and its decisions are obvious. I feel the luckiest player will win. 6 Nimmt is much better game in every way. I already sold it.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Iwari

Iwari

2021-08-22

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

I don't remember why I bought Iwari but as is usual from me, I didn't know anything about the game. As it turned out, Iwari is a reimplementation of China, a game I liked but didn't love. After I played it, I can safely say the game is not for me.

Iwari's rules aren't hard to explain. You can do it under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 60 minutes.

The game's components are good and the art is amazing, I really love it.

The theme is great but you don't feel it through the game, in fact, the game has been reimplemented several times and that's proof it has a very thin theme in each iteration. It's almost an abstract game.

Iwari is an area control game and I have drifted away from (most) of those games. Gameplay is tactical in many levels, but still, it offers interesting decisions. Each turn, players will play (at least) a card and then place a tent or a totem trying to get majority in a terrain or connections between totems. The decisions needed to play the game aren't obvious, you really need to think your options. There are also new feats (goals) to achieve, I don't think China had these, but I really don't remember it.

Best with 3 players, with more you lose a lot of control.

The replay value seems high.

The luck factor is present with the deck (luck of the draw), but it is reduced as you can always choose from 5 options and you can use 2 cards of the same color as any card you want.

Bottom line, Iwari is a good game and one I should love more, but for some reason I don't. I no longer enjoy most area control games so I will sell it but I could play it again if requested. I'm not sure about the changes from previous iterations, but I feel now the scoring works a bit different, you have more control and the feats offer a new way to score. The production values are very good.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – Lost Fleet

Star Realms: Command Deck – Lost Fleet

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from Star Realms: Command Deck – Lost Fleet and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – Lost Fleet´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them), but it also adds a new rule. The lost fleet is factionless but they have an additional ability (splinter) that allows you to get an effect if 3 cards of the same name have been played, to aid this, you can draw more cards than usual.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (factionless in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speeds the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Bottom line, Star Realms: Command Deck – Lost Fleet is a great addition to the game and the most divergent deck, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Button Up!

Button Up!

2021-08-23

Initial Rating: 4.0 (August 2021)

I generally dislike Cathala games, but I always want to try them as he is a very well respected game designer. As it turned out, Button Up! is a pass from me, as expected.

Button Up!'s rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 10m.

The theme is silly but you don't feel it at all in the game. Button Up! is an abstract game.

Gameplay is fast paced and the decisions needed to play the game are very easy to process (which you don't expect in an abstract game). Each turn, a player will have to move a stack that contains a white disc and so on until only one stack remains. Everytime you pick up a stack, you have to distribute its content in order, and in this way, you are creating stacks. The goal is to have your discs higher than your opponent at the end. As you have, at most, 3 options per turn, the game is very easy to analyze.

The replay value seems rather low.

Button line, Button Up! is a very light game with very easy decisions to process. It is not a game for me and my desire to play it again is very low.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Quantum

Quantum

2021-08-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

My desire to play Quantum was high as I love theme. After I played it, I can say the game is very different from what I was expecting, but it is still a fun game. Having said that, I feel the game it's not for me so I already sold it.

Quantum's rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 70 minutes.

The game's components are ok. The art is good as well.

The theme is great, I really love space themes.

Gameplay flows rather quickly. Each turn, players will have 3 actions. The space ships are represented by dice. The lower the dice, the more powerful the ship is but it is also slower. With the actions you can move and possibly attack, you can reconfigure your ship (re-rolling your ship die), you can research (to acquire cards that bend the rules or give you abilities), you can deploy your destroyed ships and you can build a quantum cube (the goal of the game). Each ship has an special ability so, as you can see, there are lots of things to consider, still, the decisions needed to play the game aren't hard to process.

The luck factor is high and a player can run away with victory, you have to attack the leader to balance the game. The luck is high with the reconfiguration action, the attacks and with the cards, having said that, the luck of the game doesn't bother me that much at it plays so fast.

Best with four fast players.

Bottom line, Quantum is a fun and fast paced game (but it can be a long game with the right conditions). Its decisions aren't hard to process and it has plenty of interaction with attacks and with stolen cards/positions. The game is mostly tactics. I already sold it because I was offered a lot for it and I can play it online, still, Quantum is not a game for me, but I could play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Star Realms: Command Deck – The Unity

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Unity

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

Star Realms is a mediocre game for me so I wasn’t expecting much from Star Realms: Command Deck – The Unity and I still don´t like the whole system, but the expansion really surprised me. That´s not saying much tough, I dislike the whole game system due to its (unfair) variable market offering.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Unity´s rules are very easy to teach if you are familiar with the game, it take less than 1 minute to explain the gambits (if you don’t know them) and that´s it.

The expansion adds a legendary commander, this means, you will begin now with a preset authority, a couple of gambits and with custom cards already in the deck (green-red in this case). This seems like a minor thing, but it speeds the game A LOT skipping the most boring part of it. These decks are meant to be used against other legendary commanders and I really hope they are balanced.

On the bad side, this expansion is really expensive when compared to the price of the base game, it comes with only 12 cards.

Star Realms: Command Deck – The Unity is a great addition to the game, furthermore, If you play Star Realms a lot, I think the expansion adds some needed (and welcomed) replayability to the game, but it is not essential. I also dislike the core mechanism of the game so I won´t ever buy it but I can play it on the iPad.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Artifacts, Inc.

Artifacts, Inc.

2021-08-23

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

I generally dislike Ryan Laukat games, they are generally good games but not for me and Artifacts Inc. is not the exception. It is a cool game, but not a game for me.

Artifacts Inc.'s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 6 minutes. Playtime is around 80 minutes.

The game's components are ok. The art is very good.

The theme is good as well but you don't really feel l feel it through the game.

Gameplay is fun but the game has rather easy decisions. On your turn, you roll your dice and with those dice you can execute actions depicted in your own cards or on the central board. Among the actions are getting money, acquire other cards, dive for treasures and activate other cards for an special effect. As I wrote above, this part is fun but easy to process.

The game ends in the round in which a player reaches 20 VPs, so the game is a race. Besides the VPs acquired during the game, at the end there are some majorities to be scored.

The luck factor is high and it can decide games. It's true there are cards that need low numbers to be activated but rolling high numbers is still important and desirable, so there is a lot of luck here.

Best with 3 players with more the downtime is to much for such a simple game. Players can't do anything when it isn't their turn. Also it seems the first players can have an unfair advantage buying the cards that give dice.

The replay value seems high.

Bottom line, Artifacts Inc. surprised me but it is still a game with easy decisions and a high degree of luck. I already sold my copy of the game, but I would play it again if requested.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Paleo

Paleo

2021-08-24

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

Paleo was an utter unknown to me as was its designer. I'm not sure why the game was under my radar as I have a system to detect good/popular games but I just found about it because it won the Kennerspiele and I'm happy I got to play it as it is a good game and (probably) a keeper for me.

Paleo's rules are easy to teach (although I have only played the introductory scenario). You can teach the game under 8 minutes. Playtime is very variable but I feel to can play most scenarios under 90 minutes.

The game's components are good at is the art.

The theme is great and it is supported by the game's mechanisms.

Paleo is a cooperative game. Gameplay is very simple but also very satisfying and fun. Each player will have some humans with different and random abilities and each turn, players will go to different locations trying to survive, getting food and crafting useful items. The goal is to paint a mammoth in your cave, but you have to face many dangers before you can pull it off. The decisions needed to play the game aren't hard to process, but it's fun to discuss them with your friends. The first scenario is rather easy but that's to be expected and I hope the difficulty increases with the next scenarios.

The luck factor is high but I don't mind this with cooperative games, besides, you always have an idea of the danger/reward you can get on a certain location so you can prepare for this.

The replay value seems high as there are multiple scenarios and a couple of mini expansions. I'm also pretty sure the game will get more expansions soon.

Bottom line, Paleo was a pleasant surprise to me. The game is not very complex but it is a fun game, and it is easy to get to the table (unlike Robinson Crusoe which is very hard to get to the table). My desire to play it again is high and I will buy it for sure. I hope the game becomes more difficult with the next scenarios.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Ripple Rush

Ripple Rush

2021-08-25

Initial Rating: 4.0 (August 2021)

I don't remember why I bought Ripple Rush, it was, most likely, in a sale. In any case I got to play it this month and the game is definitely not for me.

Ripple Rush's rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime is around 12 minutes.

There is no theme.

The game's components are ok, they work fine.

Ripple Rush is a roll and write game (well, actually a flip and write game) and I dislike the whole genre. Gameplay is fast paced and the decisions needed to play it are rather obvious. Each round, a card will be assigned to each player and you must write it down in the correct column in ascending order, if you can't, your opponents can use your card. The goal is to have the longest streak possible in each column and you also can get some bonuses and VPs if you finish some files. Very easy stuff.

The luck factor is very high with the cards and it will decide many (most?) games. Player´s skill still counts for something you but the luck factor is always present, at least, it is a fast game (otherwise I would rate it lower).

Bottom line, Ripple Rush is a very basic flip and write game. It has tons of uncontrollable luck but as it plays so fast I don't mind, still gameplay is rather boring to me and i already sold my copy of the game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Hadara

Hadara

2021-08-25

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

I wasn't expecting much from Hadara, still, the game pleasantly surprised me. I still got rid of the game, but it is a fun game and much better than expected.

Hadara's rules are easy to teach. You can do it under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 75 minutes.

The game's components are good and the art is very good.

The theme is pasted on.

Gameplay is interesting and fun, on your turn you draw 2 cards and you have to choose one to build for an effect or to discard for the money. There are 5 kind of cards so you will have to do this 5 times per round. The cards you don't choose will appear later in a second phase so you have a bit of future knowledge. Once the epoch is done you will have to feed your workers. The decisions needed to play the game aren't very hard to process but they are fun.

The luck factor is somewhat high, the luck of the draw is high and in the second phase of each epoch, you are never sure if you will get to see the cards you discarded. There is also luck with the random colonies. Still, the game plays rather fast AND many of the cards have a similar effect so the high luck factor doesn't bother me that much.

Best with 4 players.

The replay value seems high but perhaps it will become very repetitive.

Bottom line. Hadara was a pleasant surprise for me. It is a fun and a fast paced game but its decisions aren't hard to process. I already sold the game, but I would play it again if requested. It has a Biblios feel but I still think Biblios is the better game. With more plays, the rating will probably go down.

Current Rating: 6.0


From gallery of BoardGameGeek

Abuela Co

2021-08-30

Abuela Co is a Colombian design and the designer is a friend. I will rate it soon and I will probably add it to BGG´s database.

As time passes, I´m harsher and harsher on games, perhaps because now I know what games I really like and I also try to follow BGG´s rating system as closely as I´m able to. Abuela Co is a good family level game but it is not a game for me as I want heavier games or fun light games. I´m the guy who hates Pandemic and Carcassonne and heavily dislike Ticket to Ride, so keep that in mind when you read my next words.

Abuela Co was presented to me by the designer, a personal friend. We played it on Tabletopia due to COVID19 restrictions and I had fun playing it. From my understanding the game has been tested several times.

The theme Is about typical Colombian food, so you get to see dishes and deserts from many of our regions.

The art is pretty cool.

The goal is to be the abuela (grandma) with the most VPs at the end. To create a dish you have to first acquire the ingredients and you have to process some of them before been able to add them to the recipe, once you have all the correct ingredients you can cook the dish if it is still available. All is done via cards, and you can also play 3 different “take that” cards on your opponents. The game is all about getting the cards needed to cook the recipes available, each player has a 4 place stove to do this and there is also a communal stove.

There is luck of the draw in how the cards appear but there are some mitigation elements (change cards from the pantry) or you can always pivot to cook something else.

Bottom line, Abuela Co is a good family game, but It’s just not a game for me. The theme is charming. I will give my rating soon and I will probably buy it to support boardgames in my area.



Board Game: Valparaíso

Valparaíso

2021-08-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (August 2021)

I was very keen to try Valparaiso, I expected a good game and I did like the game but it has a fatal flaw for my liking. The game ends immediately when a player reaches 18VPs and I hate this as players will, most likely, have a different amount of turns (so this is unfair).

Valparaiso's rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 11 minutes. Playtime is around 2 and a half hours.

The game's components are ok and they work perfectly. I usually love Menzel's artwork and I still like it a lot in Valparaiso, but, for some reason I don't love the board´s art as I usually do. The icons are very clear and well done.

The theme is pasted on and you don't feel it through the game.

Gameplay is very interesting and I really loved the main mechanism of the game. Each turn, players will plan their whole turn turn with the cards in their hands. All players begin with the same action cards but more powerful cards can be acquired. The plan itself is very fun to create, you must choose the actions you want to do this turn and their order, you can pay to play more cards and the plan itself is flexible, you can pay to do the actions in a different order. To create the turn plan you have to take into account your opponents´ resources and possible actions and with 5 players this can take time. The actions allow you to build a house in a location (there is a majority in the center and other houses allow you to get income, you can get VPs and resources with a variable market (but you know the options of the market beforehand), you can move your meeples, you can load goods into your boat, you can sail and you can buy new, and more powerful, cards. The decisions needed to play the game aren't obvious as you need to carefully consider your opponents position and capabilities (timing is very important), otherwise you can waste a good part of the plan. I love this part of the game.

I'm also very keen to try the advanced variant in which the plan is timed.

The luck factor is present but it isn't very high. There are 3 markets that constantly will offer different rewards for a payment or, even no payment. These markets vary a lot but you can see them beforehand and plan accordingly. The action cards appear at random, but acquiring them isn't very fast so you can probably get the one you want or another one of similar power level (you can easily have a plan B).

On the bad side, I really dislike how the game ends. From memory, it ends when a player has reached 18VPs and it ends IMMEDIATELY so all players won't have the same amount of turns (and opportunity). I much prefer games that allow the final round to end fairly. It seems the first players can have an unfair advantage here and that advantage isn't nullified by the setup. I absolutely hate this.

Best with 3 players but I also want to try it with 4 and even 5 players, with more players the plan becomes more difficult to execute.

Bottom line, Valparaiso is a good game, with easy rules but very interesting decisions. I would keep it in my game collection but I really dislike the sudden end, this is enough for me to get rid of the game, but I would play it again if requested. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Hegemonic

Hegemonic

2021-08-26

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

Hegemonic was one of my oldest unplayed games. I bought in on 2013 and I was a different player back then. On those initial years, I loved space games full of conflict, the best game for me was Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition but I got rid of even the king. These days, I don't enjoy very much this kind of games. Due to this, I wasn't expecting much from Hegemonic. The game is clearly not for me, but I do believe it is a good 4x space game.

Hegemonic's rules aren't very complex but there are many rules and things to explain. You can explain the game, with examples, under 20 minutes. Playtime is more than 4 hours.

The game's components are very good, more so if you keep in mind the game is from 2012. The miniatures are very well done and the layered player boards work very well.

The theme is generic, the rulebook explains it a bit, but you just don't care, furthermore if all players have no faction (as is the recommended first game).

Gameplay seemed great at first. Players need to choose a card from their hand and when all players do, they are revealed. Then, in order of priority, players execute 2 actions depicted in the card. This part is, somewhat, similar to Race for the Galaxy, but each player is doing his own thing. The actions allow players to build 3 different kinds of buildings, to move and attack an opponent or subvert his buildings, to acquire technology, to explore the galaxy or to gain money. The goal of the game is to score VPs and you do that by controlling areas in the galaxy. The core sector is even more valuable so players will fight for it. The decisions needed to play the game aren't hard to process, but you have lots of things to think and player interaction is very high. To summarize, the game is driven by action cards and it is an area control game.

Combat is not hard to grasp but it is convoluted. It is a bit different if you are attacking a unit or a building and it also matters the kind of attack (political, industrial or military). I wish combat was more streamlined and fast paced, but it is not hard to understand.

Each player has a personal board in which he tracks all his stats, the cost of the buildings and units, the active technologies and the amount of money he will get each turn. There is an advanced mode in which each player has different abilities. To use them, players have to wait some turns, the more they wait, the more powerful the ability. Once used, it resets. To track this you have to move a card below the player's board and this is boring and mistakes can happen very easily, so I dislike this tracking solution.

The game replay value seems high with lots of technology cards and galaxy configurations, but perhaps it is too repetitive for me.

Best with 4 players.

The luck factor is present and it can affect results. The luck of the draw with the cards is high and, from my limited perspective, it seems some of the techs are much more powerful and useful than others, also you use these cards on combat and some are very powerful. There is also luck in how the system tiles appear but you always see several so you can choose the best option. Having said that, the luck factor isn't that high, but it exists.

Bottom line, Hegemonic can be a good space game, its decisions aren't hard to process, but you do need to think and react. I would have loved the game on 2013, but my 2021 self doesn't like this kind of game. I will sell it ASAP.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Hegemonic Promo Card: Dimensional Anomaly

Hegemonic Promo Card: Dimensional Anomaly

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

These days, I don’t enjoy most dudes in a map game nor area control games (there are exceptions) so I don´t enjoy Hegemonic very much, due to this I also don´t enjoy its promo content.

Hegemonic Promo Card: Dimensional Anomaly is only 1 card and it is pure luck if you are able to get it or not. It´s use seems decent but nothing to be excited about. I guess this could help you complete a strategy and/or give you a couple of extra additional VPs.

I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Hegemonic Promo Card: Cosmic Engineering

Hegemonic Promo Card: Cosmic Engineering

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

These days, I don’t enjoy most dudes in a map game nor area control games (there are exceptions) so I don´t enjoy Hegemonic very much, due to this I also don´t enjoy its promo content.

Hegemonic Promo Card: Cosmic Engineering is only 1 card and it is pure luck if you are able to get it or not. It´s use seems weak compared to other tech cards. It´s unusual that you cannot make a decent expansion action with the available pool tiles so you won´t want to play this over most other tech cards and the combat ability isn’t very good either.

I´m giving it a rating below the base game as I feel it is weaker than most cards of the base game.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Praga Caput Regni

Praga Caput Regni

2021-08-26

Initial Rating: 7.0 (August 2021)

Vladimir Suchy is one of my favorite game designers, I have liked most of his games (with the exception of Last Will) so I was very keen to try Praga Caput Regni. After I played it, I can say the game is even better than expected and it is a keeper for me.

Praga Caput Regni's rules aren't very complex but there are several concepts to explain and the game is not for casual gamers. You can explain the rules under 14 minutes. Playtime is around 3 hours.

The game's components are great, from the player's board to the wall (although it can block the view of 1 player). The art is also very good and the board looks gorgeous near the end of the game.

The theme is very interesting, but I didn't feel it through the game, however, there are some mechanisms and concepts that support the theme. I also love the Latin name.

Gameplay is very interesting and satisfying. It seems there are many paths to victory. The core mechanism works perfectly and it offers a mix of strategy and tactics. Each turn, you must choose an action tile, all the tiles are available at all times BUT depending on timing you can get them for free, you can be rewarded by VPs or you need to pay money to use them, I really like this. Each tile has 2 possible actions (you must choose 1) and the rondel itself has an additional action you can do before or after the tile action. The actions allow you to develop or gain gold, to develop or gain stone, to gain a wall tile (this will allow you advance in the wall and gain VPs at the end), to develop the city, to upgrade an action, to advance a pawn in a road (this gives you instant rewards and you have to pay them with eggs). All things considered, the decisions needed to play the game aren't obvious in any way and the possible combinations of actions are immense.

Best with 3 players.

The luck factor is low, there is luck with some cards you draw, but you draw 3 of them and choose one, there is also luck with the replacement tiles. You can plan and/or properly react to most developments so the luck factor doesn't bother me at all.

Bottom line, Praga Caput Regni is a very good game and one I want to explore further. The game offers very interesting decisions with a low luck factor. I cannot wait to play it again.

Current Rating: 8.0


Board Game: Steam Works

Steam Works

2021-08-27

Initial Rating: 5.0 (August 2021)

For some reason, my desire to play Steam Works was low, perhaps because it has a steampunk theme and I don't really like this, but after I played it, I can say the gameplay pleasantly surprised me.

Steam Works' rules aren't very complex. You can explain them under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours. The rulebook could be better as it leaves questions unanswered.

The game's components are OK as is the art. Everything works in this department.

The theme is OK as well, it doesn't excite me but you don't feel it in any way.

Gameplay is more interesting than I initially thought it would be. Steam Works is a worker placement game and I love that mechanism. Each turn, you have to use one of your workers (if you can pay it) or pass. The workers allow you to get money, get components and power sources, assemble some machines (that becomes available as a worker placement spaces and this will give you VPs), or use a machine (yours or your opponent's). The game is very easy rules-wise but the decisions needed to play the game are interesting (not too hard) and fun.

Each player will have different powers and begin with different stuff. I really hope this is balanced.

The luck of the draw with the tiles is present, but, at this point in time, I feel you always have good options, so the luck factor doesn't bother me (for now, with more plays I might revise this point).

The replay value seems high.

Best with 3 players. With more, the downtime is too much in the later rounds of the game as the possible options grow in scope.

Bottom line, I was pleasantly surprised by Steam Works. The decisions needed to play the game aren't very hard to process but I like to build machines (this part is a bit reminiscent of Galaxy Trucker). As I crave heavier experiences, I will probably sell it, but I will play it more times before deciding. It seems TMG has some issues right now so who knows if the game will be available in the future. I really hope TMG pulls through as they brought us great games over the years.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Balloon Pop!

Balloon Pop!

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 4.0 (August 2021)

I dislike the whole roll and write genre, I´m happy that it exists and I´m also happy that many gamers and friends enjoy them, but they are not for me. After I played Balloon Pop! I see the game is not for me in any way, shape or form, but it is a very simple roll and write game and many friends enjoy it.

Balloon Pop!´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 1 minute, playtime is around 15 minutes.

The game´s components are ok and they work well. The dice are good.

There is no theme, or better, the theme is pasted on.

Gameplay is very simple and luck driven. Balloon Pop! is a push your luck game (another genre I don´t enjoy ). In your turn, you will roll 3 dice and you can keep them or re roll them (or any die combination you want), the catch is that, every time you reroll, you have to roll another die to a max of 5 dice so the odds are getting worse and worse with each reroll. The decisions needed to play the game are readily obvious and luck will decide who wins (which doesn´t bother me as the game plays so fast), still, Balloon Pop! is good for a few laughs.

Bottom line, Balloon Pop! is the lightest roll and write game I have played. There is almost no control and luck will decide who wins, still, it can be a fun game for the family or to introduce new gamers to our hobby. I will sell it ASAP as I crave heavier experiences.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Root: The Riverfolk Expansion

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion

2021-08-29

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2021)

I was able to play Root: The Riverfolk Expansion on July but just now (August 29th) I realized I played it lol. The reason is that I didn’t read Root´s rulebook so I thought The Lizard Cult was a race found in the base game, but it is actually from Root: The Riverfolk Expansion. As most BGGers, I like Root even though I generally dislike this kind of game so It is only natural I also like its expansions and Root: The Riverfolk Expansion is a good expansion.

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion adds two new factions to the mix, explaining ANY faction in Root is more complex than usual as the game is so asymmetric. You can explain any of the 2 factions in about 5-6 minutes. The new factions are (of course) unique and they play very different from any other faction, which is one of the main appeal of Root. When I play with then more I will come back to comment on them. For now, I hope the new factions are balanced.

The art and component´s continue to be top notch.

The expansion also add a cooperative mode (which I haven’t played), expands the game to play up to 6 players (which I really don’t want to try, Root is a 4 player game for me) and it also adds other goodies I still don´t know about (but I will).

Bottom line, Root: The Riverfolk Expansion is a great addition for the game and a must have for hardcore lovers of Root. I´m happy to own it and I really like to explore it further along the base game. I played the expansion by mistake as I was still exploring the original races but when I go deeper into it, I will come back to comment again.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Oceans

Oceans

2021-08-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

After I played Evolution (a good game, but not a game for me), my desire to play Oceans wasn’t very high as I thought it was more of the same, and to some extent, it is. I think Oceans is also a good game, but it is also not a game for me.

Ocean´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 8 minutes. Playtime is around 2 hours.

The game´s components are good and the art is very good.

The theme is pretty cool and the game´s mechanism do support it.

Gameplay is fun and it offers (somewhat) interesting decisions. Oceans structure is different from Evolution, in Oceans each player plays through his whole turn before an opponent plays (in Evolution each player plays several times per round). On your turn, you will play 1 card or 2 if the game has advanced a bit (in Evolution you could play all the cards you wanted). Each card can be used as a trait for a species or as a migration from one zone to another (this is important because you can trigger some effects, you can trigger the end of the game and you can control how much food is available for foraging species), then you have to feed 1 of your species and then you have to age ALL of your species (this can make some species to go extinct and it will also give you VPs), to end your turn you must draw cards until you have 6 in your hand. The feeling of the game is very similar to Evolution´s but the gameplay is very different. The decisions needed to play the game aren’t nor very obvious nor very hard to process. The goal of the game is to create combos and synergies between your species and/or your opponent’s.

The replay value is VERY HIGH. The game comes with some basic traits, but it also comes with a lot of Deep cards (which are unique), so each game will be different. Also, in the setup, you will choose at random to cards that affect the game in an unique manner, so the combinations of cards are very high. I love the scenario cards.

The luck factor is high and this is the main issue I have with the game. The trait cards appear at random, but you draw lots of them and you can manage them so they don´t bother me much, however, the Deep cards are unique and there are more than 100 cards so it is pure luck if you get the card you want. This makes the game very tactical as you have to stay flexible and seize the opportunity when it arises. I don’t like this much in games, so this luck bothers me. It can very well be that you can create a super species with the deep cards while your opponent’s cannot. I find this unfair and it bothers me. Another worry is the power level of the cards, as you get them by luck it´s very unfair if you were able to get a powerful card while another player didn’t. All the cards are mixed together and the power level is controlled by how many VPs the card cost, but I feel this is not enough.

The last player has an advantage as he can end the game without interference from an opponent, but to solve this, the game gives an advantage in VPs to the first players. I, wholehearted, approve of this as it makes the game fair for all players.

Another thing I dislike in games these days are attacks (that that) between players. In Oceans, players can beat down on one player and I dislike this, however, killing species in Oceans is much harder than in Evolution, that is, the attacks are much tamer and I think I prefer it due to this. I also know I´m in the minority and most friends prefer bloodthirsty games in which we can destroy each other.

Another difference between games is that in Oceans you can play repeated cards in your species, I like this change.

Best with 3 players.

Bottom line, Oceans is a good game and an evolution from the system of Evolution. Both games feel very similar but there are important differences. I think I prefer Oceans over Evolution, but only by a tiny fraction. I will sell Oceans along its expansions, but I would play it again if requested. The luck factor does bother me, a player can get better trait and (specially) deep cards than other players just by luck, and this is the main reason I will get rid of the game. I do love the high replay value and they way each game will be radically different than any other.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Oceans: Exclusive Promo Cards

Oceans: Exclusive Promo Cards

2021-08-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

Oceans is not a game I wish to keep in my game collection BUT I do feel Oceans: Exclusive Promo Cards is a great addition to the game.

This expansion adds new deep cards (which is very welcome) but it also adds new scenario cards (which is GREAT). What I most liked about the game are the scenario cards and to have more options to explore is always good.

These cards are more powerful than the ones you find in the base game. We played with the Parallel Universe scenario and it really changed the game in a big way.

Bottom line, Oceans: Exclusive Promo Cards is a good addition to the game but it isn’t a must. If I liked the game more, I would surely play with it often, but I will sell it along the base game. I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 1

Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 1

2021-08-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

Oceans is not a game I wish to keep in my game collection so I will also sell Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 1.

This expansion adds new deep cards (which is welcome) but the deep cards are also the main issue I have with the game. Still, if I loved the game, I would be very keen to play with them and, in any case, I don’t see any reason to not include them in every game.

Bottom line, Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 1 is an ok addition to the game but it isn’t a must have by any stretch. If I liked the game more, I would surely play with it often, but I will sell it along the base game. I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 2

Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 2

2021-08-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (August 2021)

Oceans is not a game I wish to keep in my game collection so I will also sell Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 2.

This expansion adds new deep cards (which is welcome) but the deep cards are also the main issue I have with the game. Still, if I loved the game I would be very keen to play with them and, in any case, I don’t see any reason to not include them in all the games.

Bottom line, Oceans: The Deep – Promo Pack 2 is an ok addition to the game but it isn’t a must have by any stretch. If I liked the game more, I would surely play with it often, but I will sell it along the base game. I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 6.0
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Thu Sep 2, 2021 6:27 am
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