A Board Game Journey

Board game photography, reviews, game play and more.

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When a game is right for you

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
From gallery of blaklyte


I often browse the BBG top games because I like to see which board games people are into, but I try to not take the ranking on BGG too seriously. I don't think the top #100 games on BGG are the best games ever made. I will read the reviews, bad and good, see how the game plays, then decide if it's a game that might be for me.

To me, someone posting a bad review doesn't mean the game is bad, it could be that there is a mechanic they don't enjoy, it could be that they played the game with the wrong group, or maybe they just need a couple more plays for the game to open up to them. What attracts us to a specific board game is different for everyone. At the moment, Gloomhaven is #1 on BGG, but that doesn't mean everyone would love it.

Last year, while browsing the top 100, I discovered Brass: Birmingham. I had no idea what the game was about, but I loved the look of the board and thought it would deserve me looking into it. Like always, before buying a board game, I went online to look at reviews, how-to plays, and playthroughs.

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It sounded like a game for me. The theme was there, the production, and the gameplay. I ordered Brass and a 200 set of Iron Clays. You obviously don't need the Iron Clays to play the game, but I don't like paper money in games and thought I could use these with games that require money like Pipeline, Power Grid, etc. I found them totally worth it and would recommend them to anyone.

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My first game of Brass was vs an AI called Eliza (https://gameswithtony.com/eliza/) She was created by TonyA680 here on BGG. I have to say a big thanks to him for all his hard work, this AI is awesome and lets me play solo whenever I don't have anyone to play with.

I fell in love with the game after only playing one game vs this AI. I thought if I ever made a top 10 games list it would have to be part of it. There are so many decisions to take, your strategy can change from game to game, you can work off of other people's industries and use the goods they created, which is something I had never experienced before, or not that I can remember. I also love games that use cards, the card play in this game is great, restricting the actions you might take on your turn but still giving you enough freedom.

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My second game was vs my wife, at first, I thought it might be too complicated for her, but we watched the how-to-play video from Rodney and she was able to pick it up pretty quickly. She even won her first game.

So far I introduced this game to 4 people and they all loved it, I would say the game is right for them, that doesn't mean I won't show it to someone in the future and it just won't click. Thankfully there is a game out there for everyone.

Until next week, happy gaming laugh
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Sun Jan 16, 2022 8:24 pm
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An afternoon of Gloomhaven: JotL

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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About two years ago my wife got me Gloomhaven: JotL for my birthday with the intention that we would play together. Sadly we only played the first mission and never got back to it because it was a little too hard on her head since her concussion. But I think she's slowly getting better, today she requested that we play Gloomhaven: JotL. We actually spent all afternoon playing, it wasn't too much for here this time. We just took some breaks between scenarios but we had an amazing time.

My wife used to play D&D but lost her gaming group, and this game really reminds her of D&D, she does find it harder and more strategic but really enjoys her time playing.

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Took us some time to get back to it, we had to check, and re-check lots of the rules but in the end, it went pretty smoothly. We were able to bang out 3 scenarios this afternoon and I'm really hoping we will be able to continue our adventure soon.

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In our first two scenarios, we finished with cards to spare. But the last one was a different story.




-Spoiler Alert-


For the 4th scenario, we had to destroy 4 summoning stones. First I decided to move and attack the first Zealot, my wife was able to finish off the Zealot, she then was able to use one of her spells to move me and make me attack the stone. Bam, one Zealot down and one stone down on turn one. We thought to our self, this is going to be a piece of cake. Oh were we wrong...

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I decided to move and attack the Elite Zealot, which I was able to kill in one blow, throwing my favorite axe at him. My wife was then able to make quick work of the last Zealot, the only one left was the Golem. We knew after destroying the second summoning stone something would happen so we decided it might be better to kill the Golem first.

It took a couple of turns to take him down because of his high health and me drawing a null card. But we did take him down and moved to destroy the second and third stone on the same turn. Once destroyed, two more Zealot decided to show up with a Golem.

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I was able to run back to the last summoning stone and destroy it, but I was starting to run low on cards. My wife was able to position both Zealot to have one hit the other. We racked up a little bit of damage on them. I then moved in and tried to give the final blow but again I rolled a null card. I might have to find a blacksmith to sharpen my axes next time I'm downtown.

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Next turn my wife pushed one of the Zealot into a track killing him and I was able to kill the last Zealot. At that point, we were both really low on cards with only the last Golem standing before us. We were able to stack 5 damage on him. I'm down to my last two cards, I put everything in it and throw my favorite axe for the final blow.

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What a close and exciting ending, even the cat couldn't take its eyes off the action. I was out of cards, my wife was out of cards and damage. We high fived after a job well done. This will be one to remember.

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We both can't wait to go back to Gloomhaven.

Until the next adventure, happy gaming. laugh

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Mon Jan 10, 2022 1:53 am
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Time to relax and recharge

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
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First, I would like to wish every reader a happy new year. I hope 2021 was good to you and 2022 be even better.

I traveled and spent time with my family for the holiday, which is about 4 hours away. My wife and I had a great time but we got back today, exhausted and, happy to be back. This year I decided to bring some board games with me and tried to get some of my family members to play. I knew they had never seen modern board games before so I had to bring games that would be easy to teach and I thought they would enjoy. This is what I brought, Azul, Carcassonne, Quacks, and Alhambra. I thought these would be easy to bring to the table, teach, and wouldn't look too intimidating.

When visiting my uncle and godmother I had the chance to bring Azul to the table and got my uncle playing. Once we were done playing and my wife and I were about to leave he asked me where I got the game, where he could find a copy, so he could play with my aunt. That has to be a good sign.

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On my wife's side, I was able to get her sister, brother, and mother interested in playing. We played Azul and, Quacks. They enjoyed both and had some good laughs. I will be sure to bring those back with me next time we visit. Overall I think they had a great first experience, and my wife's mother was starting to get competitive at the end of Quacks, it was awesome to see.

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I had also brought Rolling Realms with me just so I could play solo when I had some downtime, which never happened. Now that we are back home, my wife went to bed and I decided now's the time to relax and play a game solo. What's more relaxing than a little game of Viticulture. I only played the game on BGA before, I was really excited to try with the Tuscany board.

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I gotta say that the Tuscany board changes the game in a good way. I ended up losing to the AI but that's ok, I ended up with 17 points. I had a good relaxing time with the game, I would have played a second game but it's getting late. I can't wait to play with more players, I enjoy being able to play 2 visitor cards at a time but all these spots are blocked in a two-player game.

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I didn't get the chance to explore the buildings from the expansion, I only drew one building card which was the Restaurante, maybe I should have pivoted and gone for that strategy but didn't. I will have to pay more attention to the buildings next time. Hopefully, I will get the chance to play this week at my weekly board game night.

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What game(s) do you all like to play when you just want to relax?

Until next time, happy gaming laugh
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Mon Jan 3, 2022 4:07 am
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Obsession or Passion

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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This week I received my copy of Obsession by Dan Hallagan. If you spend time on BGG as I do you have certainly seen the rise of this game, people have been raving about this game for some time now. Lots of content creators on youtube rank this game in their top 10. The game came out in 2018 so you can say that I'm late to the party but am I happy I can finally attend.

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Most people that love this game will describe themself as being obsessed with the game, and I can relate. I think that for the creator, Dan Hallagan, this is more than an Obsession, it's a passion. You can feel all the love Dan put into this game, the attention to every little detail, from the card's feel and size to the little boxes for every family with their own design. What a posh production.

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And if you've been on the Obsession forum here on BGG you will notice Dan replying to every question, asking people to email him directly if they have component issues. To be honest I'm starting to think that the guy never sleeps. Really Dan, do you ever go to bed?

The game has been climbing the BGG ranks at a frenetic past. It's now sitting at #270, and I could see it reaching the top 100 by the end of next year.

The game offers a combination of mechanisms I've never seen put together in any other board games. This is a unique experience with a unique theme. I was not into the theme when I first saw the game, but after watching Monique & Naveen's playthrough from Before You Play, everything just clicked. I even started to watch Downton Abbey, something I never thought I would do. If you have a vivid imagination it's easy to build up a story as you play.

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This afternoon I played my first solo game using the base game only, my final score was 140 vs the Boleyn beginner AI. After only playing this first solo game the game shot to my top 10 games of all time. I can't wait to give it a tray vs an intermediate or expert AI and see how it compares. I'm also excited to bring it to our next weekly board game night, see how it compares to other players and what they will think of the game.

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As for me, this is a grail game that will never leave my collection. I'm sure to do another proper review once I have more experience with the game but I can only see it solidify my initial impression.

Until next time, the York family says happy gaming. laugh
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Sun Dec 19, 2021 11:01 pm
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Insert, Insert, Insert

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
If you're into board games you know that setting up a board game can suck. You just want to play a game but you are then stuck setting everything up for about 15 min. It's like if every time you want to play a video game you would have to install it and then uninstall it. How often would you want to play that game?

On top of the setup time, you might have to teach the game which will take another 15 min to 30 min depending on the game. So you are now 3 min in and didn't start playing yet. This is why I started to look for some storage solution to store my games. Some board games do come with great storage solutions but that's not the norm. Most of the time you have everything in plastic bags, you have to dump everything on the table to set the game up.

I've been looking for some storage solution just so I can speed up the setup time and make some of my board games easier to table. After doing some research I noticed that there is lots of option out there, wood crate, 3D printed storage, foam core, and many more.

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I love the look of the wood box out there, but the price kinda turns me down. "How much did you say? Man, I can buy a brand new board game for that price." So that option was out, plus the added weight is not really something I want to carry around when going to board game night. I then looked at 3D printed option, I thought that could be the option, my wife did get a 3D printer from work, then looked at how much a roll of filament can be. Decided that it would be too expensive again, I'm not trying to double the price of the game I buy. Board games are expensive enough as it is.

I then found the company call Folded Space (not sponsored), their product was reasonably priced, so I decided to buy their Orléans and Viticulture insert. I gotta say, I love their inserts, well crafted, well designed, lightweight, what else can you ask for?

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While doing more research, because I have an obsessive personality, I found out that people made their own insert using foam core. I thought it would be a good idea and a cheaper alternative.

So I went shopping:
Foam Core Sheet: 1.50$ x6
Exactor knife: 2.50$
LePage Multi-Purpose White Glue: 5.50$
Self Healing Cutting Mat: 30$
Total: 47$

So this weekend I decided to make an insert for Brass: Birmingham, which is one of my favorite games, but I gotta say the player board setup can be a pain. Here is what I ended up with using less than 1 sheet of foam core. This means I should be able to make another 5-6 inserts with sheets I have left.

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Obviously, it's not perfect, I made mistakes along the way, which I won't be making next time. Small things like cutting all my pieces before starting to assemble, getting new blades for the knife, be more precise with my measurement so that the lid closes more flush.

But after I was all done I started to wonder, was it worth it? Hunch over the kitchen table for hours, pain in my neck and back. To be honest, I'm not sure, it all depends if you value your time more than the money. But now that I have all the materials to make my own insert I will keep making them, and will probably buy Folded Space insert for certain games like The Quacks of Quedlinburg.


I'm curious what are you all doing, insert, no insert, and if so what kind?

Until next week, happy gaming. laugh
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Mon Dec 13, 2021 12:41 am
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What an adventure

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
From gallery of blaklyte


One of my favorite movie growing up was "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade". I had watched part of the other Indiana Jones but this one I had recorded on an old VHS and would watch it all the time. I loved the adventure, the discovery, the way Indiana was just a normal guy. No superpowers, just a professor of archaeology going on an epic adventure.

I then saw this cover I thought to myself (YES!!!)
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I then saw a video of people playing and saw the board and the gameplay. I thought to myself (Double YES!!!)
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The board is so vibrant, the nice token pieces like the tablets, the gems, everything seems so inviting and begs to be touched. At first, I thought it was just a worker placement, which I would have been happy with but then found out it combined worker placement and deck building. OH, I was sold. I'm not sure if the game will make you feel like Indiana Jones, but it does make me feel like an explorer.

One thing that will stop a game in its track is hard-to-understand rules or confusing mechanics which will make it difficult to table. This game has a well-designed rule book, the game is easy to learn and to teach. The iconography is well thought out and easy to remember. How many times did I learn a game thinking I had everything down. I then table it and have to reference the rule book every 2 min.

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I like to play my first game solo just to make sure I have a good grasp of the game. My first solo game was a real treat. I did think to myself "It be great if this game also had a story mode". Lo and behold there is, don't know how I came across it. I was probably looking at the CGE website for info on the upcoming expansion and found out that CGE made a campaign mode called "The Search for Professor Kutil". This campaign is divided into 4 chapters with elements from one chapter bleeding into the next. I played the first three chapters, then lost my progress, but I was happy to restart. This game mode can be found here, and I think everyone who owns the game should give it a try. ---> https://czechgames.com/en/lost-ruins-of-arnak/solo/

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The one thing I which the game had would be some kind of insert solution, at this moment I'm using Dragon Shield's sleeve box to hold the cards and some Stonemeir trays for the tokens, the rest are in bags. It does the job but I would love to build inserts like Ryan from Night Around the Table did in this video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1CUjZw2jPs&ab_channel=Night...

The game often gets compared to Dune: Imperium, you have one camp saying Lost Ruins of Arnak is better and the other camp saying Dune is better. I understand why they get compared, they do share some mechanics but I think they are both good games in their own right. I never played Dune: Imperium but watched full gameplays. I wouldn't say one is better than the other, I feel it all depends on which universe you want to immerse yourself in that day. I could see myself wanting to play Dune one day and Arnak on another.

How about you, which universe do you want to immerse yourself in?

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Side note:
This is my 4th blog post. I made the decision a month ago to challenge myself and write one blog post per week. I'm really happy that I kept up with it, but it hasn't been easy. Lots of stuff happened in the last couple of weeks one of which is my wife getting into a car accident, but don't worry she's ok. But it meant I had to do some car shopping and testing this week.

I would also like to say a big thanks to everyone that's been reading and giving thumbs up. I greatly appreciate all your support

Until the next adventure, happy gaming

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Sun Dec 5, 2021 11:09 pm
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The magic of Solo gaming

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
From gallery of blaklyte


About 10 years ago a buddy of mine told me he played Agricola by himself, I thought it was odd and I didn't see the appeal. Why play a board game without anyone else there, where is the challenge, what are you fighting for, what's the point of just beating your own score.

Fast forward to now, and I finally get it. Since I don't always have the time or chance to meet with other gamers I found that solo gaming can be a great escape from reality. To me it feels like working on a puzzle or reading a nice book, I don't need anyone there to enjoy those things. Now that I buy more boards games than ever I often have to teach them, I find that playing the game solo a couple of times beforehand helps me be better at teaching the games. Something I do now that I never thought I would do is look to see if there is a solo mode before buying a game. Am I becoming a solo gamer?!? Crazy!!!

Like a lot of people in the hobby, I started to find myself buying too many games and thought I should hold off on buying any more board games for November and December. Sadly I failed and brought home a second-hand copy of Trickerion, with the Dahlgaard's Gifts expansion. I bought it on my birthday so I will give myself a pass. shake

I've been researching this game for a while now, watched multiple how-to-play videos, the same video more than once. I think it will be a hard game to table, it will require the right group of people to play, but if I only get to play it solo I would still be happy I got this game. OMG, who am I?!?

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I'm still missing the Dahlgaard's Academy expansion which adds an actual solo mode. I was so excited to play the game I tried to table it with me playing 2 players at once, it just didn't feel enjoyable. I didn't even finish the game, no fault of the game, totally my fault, I tried playing the game too late at night when I was already tired. I was trying to take pictures at the same time and just didn't feel like it. I will have to give it another go when I'm refreshed. I might check online for a print Automa option until Dahlgaard's Academy expansion gets back in stock.

But for the little time I spent with the game I can say the following, I love the game's components, nice linen card stock, great cardboard quality, overall A+. It feels like the world is set in the same turn-of-the-century world as the movie The Illusionist. Great movie by the way, if you never watch it you owe it to yourself to watch. I might be a little bias here because I love Edward Norton's movies.

The illusions you are learning are based on actual real-life illusions, I appreciate that. It shows that the designer cared about the theme and the art of magic. I'm still excited to play this game even after this first bad experience, I think that's a good sign.

Until next time, happy gaming. laugh
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Mon Nov 29, 2021 12:36 am
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Coming back to the hobby

Marc D
Canada
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
A couple of years ago I stopped playing board games, I still loved board games but didn't get the chance to play. I had just started a new relationship and didn't have a steady gaming group. This meant I didn't think about board games all that much.

After finding the Shut Up & Sit Down Youtube channel, my love for board games was re-ignited. One of the first games that got me back into the hobby was Scythe, you could say it was love at first Scythe (sorry for the pun, it just came out while writing this).

What pulled me in was the world and the graphics, I just wanted to immerse myself in this world and learn everything about it.

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From gallery of blaklyte


Like most people, I was expecting more of a dude on a map/area control type game. The first time I played was with my wife, my best friend, and his boyfriend. The whole group loved it, when the dust settled we immediately started talking about what we'd do differently next time, we talked about our mistakes, the awesome plays, and what we would focus on next time.

Later I realize that I didn't do much fighting, and no one in the group complained about it or seems to have noticed either. It felt like there was plenty of combat going around, you might just not be part of combat every time it happens. To be honest, every time a fight would break out I would think to myself “ I'm happy I'm not part of this”.

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This year I learned to play Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy. While writing this blog I started to draw comparisons between the two, especially when it comes to combat. Every fight in Eclipse needs to be calculated, if you suffer a loss you lose the ability to defend yourself, and building back your fleet is hard, it will cost you material, actions, money, etc. If you are on the receiving end might lose important tile that generated income, material, or science.

Scythe is similar in that regard, you don't need to re-build your mech but you need to spend time and actions to get them back onto the board. You might also have lost resources that were important to your game plan, or lost tiles that were going to produce what you needed next turn. All things little things made me love the game even more.

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But as much as I love this game, I haven't had the chance to play it that often. One obvious reason is COVID, the second reason is my wife. Normally we would have just played the two of us, but a couple of years ago she got hit in the head at work and suffered a concussion. Since then it's been hard for her to focus for long periods of time. It's gotten a lot better but it's still affecting her to this day.

Because of this, I decided I should play Scythe solo. The solo mode for Scythe always scared me, I still have a hard time remembering all the rules, and I keep the reference cards near me as I reference them almost every time the AI takes an action. Even if the solo rules are a little clunky and hard to remember is worth it so I can enjoy this great game and all the fancy addon I have for it.

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If you read my first blog post you know that the feel of components is really important to me. If you're like me you need to get your hands on the metal coins and realistic resources.

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From gallery of blaklyte



The next thing that needs to hit the table is Rise of the Fenris. Which has been long overdue.

Until then, happy gaming everyone, and here, have a star, you've earned it. laugh

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Mon Nov 22, 2021 12:10 am
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The journey begins

Marc D
Canada
Moncton
New-Brunswick
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Microbadge: Android: Netrunner LCG fanMicrobadge: I'm obsessed with Obsession!Microbadge: Brass fanMicrobadge: LGBTQ allyMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Twentieth Anniversary!
I've been toying with the idea of creating a board game youtube channel for some time, but a couple of things stopped me.

First, I wouldn't want to create a video that's not on par with everything else out there.
Second, I don't think I have the upbeat personality that people tend to enjoy when watching youtube content.
Lastly, creating video content is more time-consuming than a blog, I would prefer to use that time to play more board games and enjoy other people's content.whistle

So I decided to start a blog instead. One of the main influences was Sarah Chapman's blog here on BGG, be sure to go check it out. After reading her blog I thought to myself "why don't I do that".

I wrote Netrunner short stories before, which I enjoyed doing. I thought writing this blog would give me the same feeling of creating something that maybe others would enjoy. FYI don't try to look online for these short stories, I was too shy to post them, so they never left the inside of my computer and that's where they live now.

Another plus is that I don't feel that I have to adhere to a strict schedule, which puts less pressure on me. I should manage to blog at least once a week, which I hope to achieve.

And the best reason of all, it will make me practice another hobby of mine, photography. Like many of you, since COVID, I've been spending most of my time inside, I haven't had the chance to go out and find interesting subjects. I can only take so many pictures of our cats.

I present to you Sam and Eustache.

From gallery of blaklyte

From gallery of blaklyte


Nowadays board games are pieces of art, from the graphic and drawing that various artists are creating, to the pairing of different textures like cardboard, wood, plastic, and even metal in some cases. The designer and creators of these games spend lots of time deciding the perfect thickness of cardboard, the perfect cards size, the material for each different type of token, and the colors, oh the colors. Tell me that doesn't sound like a nice subject.

From gallery of blaklyte


Me as a board gamer:
I won't tell you about my whole board game journey in this post, that will come later. But I stopped for some time and got back into the hobby after discovering the Shut Up & Sit Down youtube channel. I thought to myself "That's right, I enjoy board games, why did I stop again? " So I went down to my local board game store and bought Wingspan, Scythe, and Root.

What I enjoy about board games:
Some of the things I enjoy the most about board games are their tactile nature, the world they teleport you in, the puzzle nature, and the social aspect. Sitting with someone and sharing an experience.

I also started to enjoy solo gaming, I still prefer playing with friends and family, but since I don't always have someone to play with and I don't like to see my board game collecting dust, I make an effort to play them solo.

Games I enjoy right now:
These days I enjoy Brass: Birmingham, Lost Ruins of Arnak, Eclipse, Viticulture, and many more which I will share with you in this blog. Let the journey begin. laugh

Until then, happy gaming.
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Sat Nov 13, 2021 4:57 pm
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