As you could see in the photos of the previous post, wooden discs were shown. In this post we are going to tell you where the concept of action discs comes from and how it was one of the motivating factors for the design of the game.
Once the theme was chosen, we were very clear about the main actions, where to spend those records. It was going to be necessary to drain water (drain, or what is now the action of planning) and it was going to be necessary to excavate (the action of tunnelling). The question now was how to bind those actions with the disks.
To do this, we rescued from our backlog an idea scrapped from another previous game (Marble Empire, which some of you will know that is the previous name of The Red Cathedral): the incremental cost of actions. A mechanics that worked really well for 2 players, but not so much when the number of players was higher. With this system we got that the different actions were auto-incrementing in their cost. For the first tests of Dover - Calais we used money to represent the cost, with the idea of having a single resource -some of our favourite games only implements one resource. But, it didn't go very well and the feeling was that all the weaker points remains the same.
Trying to reduce it down to the max, we opted simply use weights for the actions, which were reset turn by turn, and you could also get previously used discs. All discs are equal to effects but the cost of the actions is determined by the colour of the ones you play. It took only a few turns to see that this mechanics worth a game for itself.
So we had the central mechanics and its 2 main actions of the game, but if we stayed there, it was going to be a very bland game. We'd already had problems in the past with just scratching the surface and not adding something to give you the feeling of completeness. So we decided to include one more layer and add a random supply of cards. Along with that we added a couple more places to spend your discs, as well as the double drain/drill, get-card/play card.
In a design session, we thought to include an additional use to the cards. So that the card purchased on the display could be used and discarded to perform a main action. The use of cards for multiple actions also came from an earlier design that one day we’ll resume. But how could we get them, if we didn't have any resources to "spend" to buy such card? Of course! With the action discs!
Another thing we were looking for in this design was that the rounds could happen without a certain number of actions. The player could do as many actions in a round as coloured discs managed in turn. He could block an option for his benefit, but doing less action in that round, spending discs in pursuit of doing something less now, but then more powerful, resulting in very fast rounds or slow rounds as the players wanted.
We didn't want to use personal boards for this design, having the rubble tokens and the discs seemed enough materials (and if we wanted to make a 19xx game, that it means, a few materials) but it was crying for them. At the end we incorporated a pair of boards, to give the player a sense of development and give another uses to other components of the game. Because when you tunnel, you get a rubble token that... was useless!
Some time ago (before this design) we looked at many eurogames we played, wondering why we found them so satisfying and realized that the feeling of development and "I've done something" in a game can come in two ways: Either by emptying the board you that have full of things (Terra Mystica, Clans of Caledonia, Scythe...) or by filling it with things (Castles of Burgundy, Grand Austria Hotel...) so we already had the emptying part (the channel) we added the feeling of filling with the personal boards. We put goals and special actions (which ended up on the cards) on the board that you will get them covering with those rubble tokens.
But the randomness. Oh, the randomness! And that static supply of cards that moves less than the Caylus provost in a game with people who don't like to have fun. What to do? We can't put a "discard everything before you pick up a card" rule because when it appears in a game, it's not a mechanic we like. Increase supply? Nobody wants to have 20 cards on the table and see what each one does, you have to dose the information to the player. Although, despite this, we tried it with 3 places to get a card (so they didn't block the actions so much) and there was a kind of double supply.
After these inclusions and after many days of testing (and above all, versions and versions of the cards and the boards), when played the last time, we fell in love. Everything clicked. It was ready to show it to playtesters. And so we did.
Taking advantage of a sort of convention in a rural house with friends, the first two unwary who tried Dover-Calais, were the illustrator Paco Dana and 50% of Spanish famous blog Jugando en Pareja, Fayzah. We explained it to them, they began to play and... they finished it because they are friends, because the game was a real disaster.
We were planning to give them a lot of runs that weekend with friends who play all kinds of games (from heavy to light), but as that game ended, it went to the trunk of the car.
The most important prototype fair in Spain is “Protos and tipos” and in less than a month, we had promised Looping to bring them something they were going to love.
A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.
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We are writing this making of because of 3 factors:
1: We had in our collection 1920 Wall Street and we had been fascinated by its mechanics during the prototype con Protos and Tipos in 2017.
2: We had tested the prototype of what would later become 1906 San Francisco and we loved it.
3: Pedro Soto told us during the convention Jesta in 2017: "Let's see if you can design something for the 1900 series".
Why not to accept the challenge? We had defined very well the design parameters but with the freedom of mechanics. It had to fit into a small box (having 1920 at home helped a lot because we constantly tested if the game fitted), the theme must be an event of 19xx and had to be driven by a simple core mechanic but with depth like the rest of the series. We like challenging ourselves so we started working.
When we design -usually- we like to start from a theme. It helps us a lot because having a theme ,we can come up with different actions that suit the theme. So the first thing we had to do was look for a theme that would motivate us to create a new game. We got down to work documenting ourselves about the 20th century by reading Wikipedia for hours and watching a series of Discovery Max documentaries about the decades of that century. How difficult it is to look for a theme that is not a tragedy or a war! And we one of the things we decided: Wouldn’t be about something sad.
But a theme emerged that a priori matched perfectly with these premises: The Radio Row of New York. Sale of radios and electronic components, collectors, scrap that piled up in the streets... in New York at the end of the 20’s...? That’s a good theme for a game!. But on the other hand we didn't want to make a game set in the USA after Wall Street or San Francisco (which we didn’t know that would be set in Frisco so was a good choice).
We toyed with the idea of making a game about the Chernobyl disaster, but in the end we discarded it because three things: Was a very sad theme, maybe it was too soon and the theme suits perfectly for a cooperative -and we’re not fan of them so will be a problem.
We are eurogamers, and one of the most recurrent themes (apart from the Romans and the Renaissance) are the Egyptians. An event that has always fascinated us has been the transfer of the temple of Abu Simbel by the construction of the Aswan Dam in 1968. Perfect. We have Egyptians, temples, logistics, dams... Smells like wooden cubes being pushed up and down the river!
As a result of thinking about the Aswan Dam, we came up with the idea of developing a route that would connect two points, which would be "built" little by little from the ends, with a player on each side, it seemed to us that this had a powerful image in a game. And although the theme helps us to create, sometimes mechanics are imposed. Finally we opted to carry out a eurogame for two, because the layout was screaming for it, but the theme we initially chose no longer served us.
Searching through our list of discarded topics, we spotted the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It had everything! A delimited route(elements to build), that joins two countries (2 players) and has a delimited end (a country builds its part), is set in Europe and is contemporary to us. Besides, what is more euro than a Eurotunnel?
At this point, we had our fears: We didn't know if the nice people in Looping Games would be convinced. We didn’t have all the odds with us: The theme is dry as a desert and being a game for two wasn't an advantage either, as games with a wider range of players are generally preferred.
But designing is taking risks, and we were very happy with what we had came up so we continued. The important thing was to make a game that we could enjoy.
All these premises started the design of Dover - Calais, or as you may know it now: 1987 Channel Tunnel.
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Currently we’re dedicated in full in finishing the last prototypes to get them ready for Spiel but in the meanwhile we’d been doing a lot of things. September and October are complicated days for a couple of Indie designers like us. Too much to do, too less time to spent. But we manage
One of things we’d done is posting on BGG news the making of Smoothies! It’s something incredible to see: Watching your little game being on the web page you’ve been using for everything in your boardgaming life is something to celebrate!
So if you’re interested in why an Smoothie can be a sustitive of Carbon dating, go HERE to find out! (Yes it is a clickbait but a funny one!)
The nice people of Button Shy Games had the idea of making a contest of a 18 card game which every card should be identical. We thought that we could design something different and so do we! Here’s the teaser trailer of Tony Card’s Pro Skater, a 1-18 players game! We have to admit, we’d been laughing with this one.
We have sent 10 questions to a couple of designers we truly admire and when they have the answers we’ll post it here as well in our webpage! We’re pretty excited about it!
Some of you know that we’re releasing 2 new games on Spiel this year: Smoothiesand 1987 Channel Tunnel.
Well, you can make your preorders for Smoothieshere: http://ludonova.com/en/preorder2019/
But for 1987 Channel Tunnel there is currently a live kickstarter campaing in which, not only you can get our game but you can preorder the 19xx complete series! We’re right now translating the making of articles that we wrote for the Spanish campaign. We think that everyone who want to read them should be able to so, we’re translating!
In the meanwhile, you can pledge in their kickstarter campaign (which it’s going pretty well!!) here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/looping/1987-channel-tu...
So when we have ready some of the articles for the campaign, we’ll post it here asap.
Thank you for reading!!
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26 Jul 2019
I'm planning a couple of posts with the design diary about our 2 SPIEL releases: 1987 Channel Tunnel and Smoothies. The publishers asked for it so we'll do them!
I'd love to post monthly plays but sometimes you've just to seat down and pull off all the stress the life gives you and get rid of the tasks that started for fun and then continued for duty.
I miss to log all the weeks but I've got the first half of the year full of events and things that consumes my free time!
Gosh, I envy so much Tony Boydell that is capable of post everyday!!
See you in a few days I've got wonderful news of our designs and games we played that I really want to tell about it!
- [+] Dice rolls
01 Mar 2019
Every February is the same: Protos y Tipos, the biggest (and better) prototype convention in Spain is coming and we spent the most of the time working on the prototypes rather than playing published games. But this time, despite of burning a hell of hours in prototyping, we still did the 10x3x12 challenge. But it's practically the total amount of the games we played... and there's no only fillers!
Let's see how was our February!
The 10 chosen ones
We had been working on 2 prototypes that I'm confident enough to show some pictures because I'm very proud of our work. It's not easy to have in a couple of months two fully playable prototypes and so different between them.
The first one is Junkyard, a 2-4 player game in the fancy of Splendor of acquiring car cards from a grid to pile them up into your tableau. When you take a card, you generate a fuel token in every adjacent card where you took it. The player who takes a card with fuel tokens on it, the player got them. You spend that tokens in order to pile the cars: 1 token for the first one, 2 for the second, 3 for the third and so on. You pile the cars of the same color in ascending order. If you don't want to follow that order, you can pay the difference in fuel tokens. When you want to start a new pile of cards, you must move your crane to an empty space in your tableau spending fuel tokens to move it. At the end of every round you'll score every pile of cars: 1 point for the cars in floor 1, 2 points for 2nd floor cards, 3 points for the third and so on. Also you score 1/3/6/10/15 for different car colors and multiply by two the column in which your crane is currently.
The second one is one I've shown here a year ago called Flatiron about the construction of the Flatiron building in NYC. In this 2-player worker placement game you're getting pillars to build them up in the Manhattan board via executing the actions you have assigned to the streets. When you visit a street you can execute all the actions from the first to the last that you have in that street or acquire a new card to add to your company that has more powerful actions. In other words, while you're building the Flatiron, you're upgrading your actions making the best combo engine you can. You score for the pillars and floors placed. Every floor has a temporal effect while it's being built and the players can took that advantage of it. There are 12 different floors and only 5 are used in a game. There's an special location -The Flatiron Plaza- in where they can rest, get some income and do the special action available only in this game (there are 4 different special actions and only 1 is played in every game). The game is over when a player places the roof. All the cards the player gets, has 2 actions: top (weaker but sooner) and bottom (stronger but later) and every action has a "public opinion value" that is added to your street company. At the end of the game, if the balance of every street is positive/zero/negative will grant or subtract you additional points.
We're very happy with the playtests and I hope that it will go well in the prototype convention (I wrote this text before it)
Great acquisition for the collection! Specially to get the 3x10 challenge done every month hahahahah You can play 10 games of Bellz! in 15' so in case any month we see that we're not gonna make it, we have Strike, Kamisado, NMBR9 and this one to complete the challenge
The game is a pure dexterity game based on a magnet and jingle bells that there are attracted to a magnet stick that has two sides: stronger magnet and weaker magnet. The key is not to catch the magnets of other players colors. Sounds silly and it's silly but the moment a player catches your color is hilarious. I bet it will work awesome with our nephews!
-There's no picture since I'm an idiot and I was so distracted with the jingle bells-
I think that I said it before: We'll all die and this game will live forever. Never get tired of playing it.
I really enjoyed this new Feld since Spiel and this month we choose it for the 3x10 but I think that after 8 plays, we need to rest a little of it. Anyway, it's really great.
There are rumors that there will be a new edition regarding a better graphic design so in case this is true, we'll trade it and buy the new one!
The only new game that we played in this month, and we took the advantage of it to put it into the 3x10. This is what we're going to do when we play a game for the first time in a month. This game is super great but after this 4 plays I think that if ANY player moves the bar in the personal board, all players MUST do the same since seems too overpowered. We want to play it more but the overall feel of the game is that: The bar strategy is too overpowered! The 4 plays were decided by far because of that Is there any home rule or something?
We hadn't played this game since summer and I don't why. This is one of my favorites 2-player game. I lost the 3 plays miserably T__T The way the pieces are placed during setup, and knowing when to stop to take buttons is the key. But I don't know why I'm writing strategy advice since I always lost in this one hahaha.
We liked a lot this little game, and we put it in this challenge only for playing it more. It has a few subtle things you don't take into account in the first plays. I want to play it with more players because I only played it with Shei.
Some of you know how much we love this game and how much effort took us to finally get a copy. Hope someday it gets published again!
The more I play it, the more I like it. Those cards and in the way they're thought is the thing I love: You cannot place and score the same thing. The rule of "place first, score later" is all love.
And yes, probably the heaviest game for this challenge and the game I don't understand WHY I love it so much. It's only moving tracks!!! Only Tracks!! And score TRACKS!! BUT HEY, IS ABSURDBLY AWESOME MOVE AND SCORE THOSE TRACKS!!
We want desperately the German Expansion but everyone is selling it really expensive so will stick to the base game & the American Railroads expansion.
Less than 3 plays
The same thing as Patchwork: We didn’t play this since summer and through the time, it has become more and more brain burner. Our 10’ plays turned out into 40’ ultra-tense plays hahhaha Probably the best pure abstract game we have.
The Castles of Burgundy
We’re trying to play 1 Cob, 1 Five Tribes and 1 Agricola (which is missed in this month ) every month in this year so here’s the game of this month… but no pictures took! So instead of showing an extremely maximized personal board full of tiles here’s a picture of the best add-on ever: The BGG Store bags we bought last spiel
As I said, one game of Five Tribes every month is mandatory. Nothing more to add. I guess that in the next following months I won't say anything more about CoB and FT since I don't have anything more to say about this two classics.
One of the hidden gems of Stefan Feld. This game is awesome! And very overlooked when the reviewers make tops about this designer. This is super great even with 2 players(we have played it mostly with two and always is fun).
It is true that it has a high luck factor regarding the draw of the cards. We mitigate it drawing +2 cards from the maximum and then discarding that excess. Sometimes we made a draft but that way lengthened the game too much. Also the game is ridiculously cheap for what is inside. To me, is perfect.
We didn't have enough Newton in January (playing 4 times) that we wanted to play it again in February. And if you ask for a Newton right now, I'd say yes!!
Russian Railroads: American Railroads
This expansion for RR is awesome. It adds the enough depth to make it different but without changing the base game. And it's not expensive! Since we cannot afford to buy the German Railroads at the prices sellers set, this is a good alternative.
The last game was a game of Twenty-one. If you like RnW games and if you don't mind to have a high luck factor, this games is really fun (and quick)
Thank you for reading me through this """bad""" month in gaming terms since we had to spend a lot of time with the prototypes.
See you next month!!
- [+] Dice rolls
12 Feb 2019
What a January we had! As I said in the "Our 2018" I'll try to summarize what we played every month because I really like to write these posts. Analyzing the number of plays, we had played at least 3 times to at least 10 different games. We're going to try to do a 10x3x12 challenge. We'll see if we make it!
The 10 chosen ones
I think that we can play this one forever. We have played around 30 plays if it and still liking every time we put it on the table.
Surprisingly addictive like RnW Tetris. I can recommend this one very much but I'm afraid we're spending a lot of sheets playing and playing! We should laminate it.
Circle the Wagons
The best 18 card game I've ever played since Love Letter. This game is amazing.
Imhotep: The Duel
One of the highlights from 2018. This is one of the best representations as "2-player version" of a game I already liked. Quite engaging and quick that makes you wanting to play it again and again.
Not liked a lot but we played this with our little nephew that loved it so... one game after another ahahaha
My goodness I want to play it every time I think about it. I should play it now! I want an expansion for this one asap!! It’s really multisolitaire but… this puzzle amazes me every time I play it.
To be clear: This is not Azul. It is nor best or worse. It's different. And I love it!! This games pushes my brain in the good direction making me planning ahead and "sacrificing" points options in order to score a better card.
Teotihuacan: City of Gods
Traded already. A really good game that didn't clicked for us. I don't really know what happened to us with this game but I have a few complaints but, still, it's a really good game.
Random as a it is, but I pretty enjoy this dice system. If you don’t mind the amount of luck it’s involved, this game will please you. If you want to modify rolls or compensate those numbers, this game is not for you. We’re running out of sheets so probably will have to laminate one of each!.
One of the best eurogames of the last year. Despite having flagrant production issues, this game is gold. A little bit AP prone but if you play it relaxed and in a low player count, you won’t notice. This blend of worker placement & Terraforming Mars is just perfect.
Less than 3 plays
There’s no family reunion that they ask us to play Ramen. And we cannot say no! We’re very proud of the gameplay of this one
We played it the 1st of January because if you want to start properly good the year, you have to do it with a masterpiece. Still on of our favorites. But I have to admit that Caverna is more refined and focus more on playing the game instead of feeding people. BUT, it’s Agricola. It’s perfect. Period.
Agricola: Family Edition
This play of the Family version was the ‘goodbye play’ Don’t you do this thing when you trade a game? We usually play one last time to the game that leaves our shelves. And we could experience the differences with the big brother one more time. It’s not as good as his father and his young brother (ACBA) Since we have the ACAB Big Box and the old version of Agricola with all the decks, we really don’t need this one. Anyway, when we played this with non-core games, it worked smoothly.
Architects of the West Kingdom
Really cool game from the guys of Raiders of the North Sea. And liked it more than the first one! It’s a worker placement game with resource management with a twist (as always do Shem Phillips) We have to play it with the bot for 2p but still, is a great game.
The Castles of Burgundy
Our all-time favorite. It’s perfect. Every time. And in this play I was beaten so hard by Shei with a score 250something-150something. The choice of the board was my dead sentence.
Cool dice filler with push your luck and set collection. Didn’t expected so much with this kickstarter and was surprised! It’s quite addictive and it gets played in ~15’ so it’s a perfect deal for playing it having coffee.
Exit: Orient Express
One of the best Exits in the series. But I have to warn you: You MUST pay attention to the clues because at the end you must resolve the mystery. I don’t know if in the rules is stated but we overlooked that and didn’t resolved it But it is one of the best Exit.
We’re trying to play our 3 favorite games once per month too. The Castles of Burgundy, Agricola and this one. Cannot say anything more about this game that I WANT THE EXPANSION AND IT’S SOLD OUT AND VERY EXPENSIVE IN 2ND HAND AND I COULD HAD IT LONG TIME AGO WITH A DISCOUNT AND I SAYED THAT I WON’T NEED EXPANSIONS ANYMORE AND I WANT IT SO BADLY.
Grand Austria Hotel
To me, the best game of the Italian design team. Yep. Even better than Marco Polo (and Marco Polo is one of my favorites too!) but the draft and the way the cards combines is amazing. It’s a pity that it won’t get an expansion. I’d buy it without looking.
One of the best 2-player card game I’ve ever played. It’s elegant, easy to play, but with a big depth that you’ll discover it with plays. And the plays last about 15’ so you can find it soon.
Heaven & Ale
The first time I’ve completed the whole board! But it was useless because Shei won. We’re giving it more playes in order to trade it soon because we think that we enjoyed it already and we need the shelf space!
The brother of my beloved Honshu didn’t disappointed us! After reading the rules, we thought that it will be Honshu again but it’s not. The feeling of the game play is rather different and we’ll keep both. So now We have to travel to Hokkaido to play Hokkaido in Hokkaido
A classic! I didn’t tried Anxio yet but I don’t know if it will please me as Ingenious does. It was a long time since the last play and I enjoy every time I play it.
The ‘sequel’ of Mint Works that didn’t pleased us like Mint Works. Didn’t liked it It’s a bummer because the production of the game is awesome and we waited so long to have it but…
On the other hand we have Mint Works that is awesome. You cannot do more with the components without messing too much the rules. This games is as portable as awesome!
A pleasant surprise! We bought it in Spiel from a guy and after reading the rules we realized that it’s a game for more than two. But it was really good only with two!! At first you start to think that there are obvious decisions but they’re not that obvious. Liked it a lot. Want to play it more.
This game is as good as weird the blending of the theme & mechanics. I mean. Birds queuing to have seeds politely and seeing squirrels and ravens approaching and not moving at all? Seems legit. (The game is really good!!)
To me, better than Qwixx because is more thinky and quick. If you enjoyed Qwixx, this one will please you as well!
Railroad Ink: Deep Blue
Don’t pay attention to the contrast of the beautiful artwork with the ugly result board. This game is cool. A surprise really! I didn’t wanted to buy it at Spiel but I don’t regret that Shei wanted it.
Another disappointment and this one hurt a lot. I saw the core mechanic of Samara long time ago and it was in my wishlist for years. Finally got a copy second handed on the Spiel and tried it out. Not liked at all. To me has a lot of ‘design faults’.
This game is really cool! I’ve played it at its best player count (3 people) and tried a strategy of getting out too soon but it didn’t worked hahaha Hopefully this game gets a reprint
One of the finest (and meanest) abstracts we have. This tridimensional component of the tiles is really cool. We do not play this that often but we should do.
That’s Pretty Clever
Nothing to add. It’s addictive as popping bubble paper. Looking forward to Twice as Clever.
And here we go again! We started 2 designs this month, hopefully we have something playable for the prototype convention in Zaragoza 1st to 3rd of March. To us, Protos y Tipos is like the Essen Spiel of prototypes in Spain and we always work hard during December, January and February to have something solid to play for.
See you in March with the report of February and thanks for reading!!
- [+] Dice rolls
I cannot tell you how crazy was the end of 2018. As I warned in later posts, I was going to change my job and start in a new (and more demanding) workplace that probably will shrink my free time between tasks.
And it was like that. Between the Ramen release in Essen Spiel 2018, all the work for other publishers and getting ready the files for Special 14 (which will be published by Ludonova in Q2), Aalsmeer(will be releases in Essen Spiel 2019 by Ediciones Primigenio), 1988 Dover Calais (that will be on crowdfunding-verkami by Looping Games in the first half of 2019 and released in Spiel 2019). And a signed contract for a major publisher that I cannot reveal yet but, 2020 will be as awesome as 2019 probably.
That was a hell of a work in the "business" part of Llama Dice, letting all the weekly logs on hold because before all the business, we are players. The last year was awesome in business terms but also awesome in gaming terms.
And that's what I'm going to tell you right now: I'm going to summarize the remarkable games we played in the last year. The order of the list is by number of plays and alphabetically (since BGG do it in that way) but is not in preference order (Because -spoiler- Underwater Cities is one of the 2018's best and it's at the bottom hahahah )
What can I say about our little baby? This game gave us a lot of joys and we're very proud and happy with it. There are plenty of things that could be done better but everybody I know that played Ramen they liked it.
This little game is amazing. As amazing its rule book because is quite obscure for a such a simple game. Honestly I don't know if we're playing in correct way but, in the way we play, it's a really cool game.
Ganz Schön Clever
One of the best from 2018. Very addictive and I cannot say anything more that didn't say before. Looking for playing the 2nd part of it this 2019!!
Signed with Ediciones Primigenio this will be our BIG eurogame in the market. We cannot wait to see this mid-weight eurogame being played by core gamers.
One of the best games in 2018. The game is just amazing. I could play this forever but BUT the graphics are just wrong. There are many flawless faults in the graphic design that if it's not because is one of the 2018's best, It would be traded.
One of the surprises in 2018. This hanabi-trick-taking game generates super fun situations when everyone bid the same amount on one player, and they cooperate, but when the bids aren't the same, the war starts. It's really great.
Circle The Wagons
I hate this kind of games like this one or Love letter because I didn't design it. It's the perfect example of how to design a re-playable deep game with just 18 cards.
I think that I'll buy everything these people design. The only thing that I don't like about this game, is that the feeling of the game is really dry. I mean, you make points and stuff like every other eurogame, but in this one you're not aiming for something "thematic". Just move around the map and pushing your discs in the tracks. BUT, it's very addictive and you're thinking all the time.
We bought this game in Spiel despite reading the bad reviews and low rates in BGG and I can admit that this game has a very high luck factor. If you keep this in mind, it's very fun! And a bit more depth than it appears in a first game. This game will be one of the mandatory games for traveling
The first reading of the rules was a bit confusing, and we don't know how to play after reading them. But once you know how to play, it's just great! It is probably the best approximation of playing Tetris in a tabletop game. We apply a rule that I actually don't know if it's right: Like Tetris, even if the piece touch the bottom, you can still move fast in one side.
After reading the rules, we thought that it will be Honshu AGAIN. But it isn't! Yes, it has several similarities but when you're playing, you're getting different feelings. I even think that I like it more!
A beast of optimization. You must do a lot of things in a few turns but you eventually manage to do it. It is dice action activation and I love this mechanism. Vladimir Suchy is becoming one of my favorites designers!
A little surprise bought in Frankfurt during the vacations of the last year. It's a teamed set-collection game with hidden and common objectives. The luck factor is high but it's really fun.
Walking in Burano
One of the best family games I've played this year. I bet that if this game gets published in a bigger box and by a big German publisher, it will have more attention.
This tricky game looks really fun and relaxed by its appearance with the drawings and the aliens and that, but inside, is a really cool worker placement eurogame of optimization. You evolve your workers adding parts and performing more powerful actions. Awesome!
When I saw this game in Spiel, I didn't like it. It's because the stuff you draw in the boards is ugly. Yes ugly. These roads and rail tracks looks like cigarettes and tv antennas. BUT inside there is a really cool game that, like twenty-one, will be with us in every one of our travels.
We had one designer friend (Diego Ibañez) that always told us that we should buy San Marco one day. In the Spiel mathtrade we bought one for a friend that at the end he didn't want it after playing it, so we kept it. And it's one of the best majorities games I've played. The card distribution mechanism (like Hanakimoji) is a delight. I can recommend this game forever!
1906 San Francisco
I love the 19xx series of Looping games and this one, for me, is the best of the series. This mancala-action selection mechanism drives me crazy. You should try it!!
A nice surprise! I played the card version and I didn't like it at all. We bought this one in Spiel at a bargain price of 10€ and I don't regret it. I liked the 2 player version despite don't thinking that it could be great!
Caverna: Cave vs Cave – Era II: The Iron Age
A really good expansion for the amazing base game. Basically it adds a 4th era that doubles the length of the game but in a good way. The only thing that I dislike it's the fact that the expansion isn't fully integrated with the base game. Only when you finish the base game, you start to play the expansion (but with the things you achieved in the base game) Nevertheless, it's one of the best expansions I have.
A wonderful surprise that works extremely well with non-core and core gamers. In the beginning, you think that you are not to cooperate with others, but when you see the Cerberus heads you better start cooperating. It's a The Island game a-like where your ugliest person shows up
Light Eurogames always have a place for me. This is one of the best examples: Simple, deep and with practically 0 time between turns. It's amazing.
This is something like Christmas for me. My wife and I go to the countryside (a house my parents-in-law have) to play during a full day the 4 full eras. It's possible to play only once this game in a year but still enjoy it like a big event. It's something that every eurogamer should do once at leats. 4 eras. One day.
Imhotep Das Duell
A super cool surprise! I have to thank OsirisGOLAD for translating the rules into English: This a really cool 2p game!! I love it and I'd buy any expansion to make it even more replayable. Very well done Phil!
More or less, the funniest game of the year to me. I mean. I worked in a restaurant for many years while I was studying my career and this is exactly the same feeling (but in a fun way). I love it to the most.
Men at Work
Awesome. Without Doubts. Regretting not getting a copy in Spiel. Will do the next year as we did with Junk Art.
I hate these people. IT'S AMAZING. We don't have a copy yet but will do in a moth or less (we have passed our monthly budget on games!)
Super cool with an awkward theme. I mean, who can even imagine that the birds kick themselves to get seeds? This is more or less an abstract game with a theme that could be another thing but... it's a really great game!!
Will get a copy soon too. We played in our FLGS and loved it. It's not the same as Azul but it's a game that always wins in every situation in our house.
With Newton, probably the best game of 2018. Deep, highly strategic, with many combinations, productions TM-like... ah, I played 3 games and I cannot wait to play it more.
The best card & write I've ever played. Wanted to get a copy, but we hadn't the occasion yet. But will play every time we can. And super awesome artwork!!
The Voyages of Marco Polo: The Secret Paths of Marco Polo
This is a very good example to make a mini expansion that really adds something cool. These secrets paths allows you to cheat the map in Marco Polo. And that's awesome because you can combine it with your travel-objective cards. Worth the money paid.
And that was our 2018. We had played 670 plays in ~280 different games with an H-index of 9. I think that I cannot complaint with this.
I don't know the periodicity of this blog since we must do A LOT of work for the game industry, but, I'll try to report once a month at minimum.
Thank you all for reading this!
PS: Someone came to Ediciones Primigenio Booth at Spiel and said that he recognizes me thought my avatar because he read sometimes the weekly logs. Please say hi if you read this <3!!
- [+] Dice rolls
Some of you already know that we do that thing when we go to Essen Spiel: We ask boardgame designers/publishers/stars to take a picture with a tiny toy of an alpaca (or llama, depending on the toy) and all of them agree with a smile in their faces. If this post gets more-or less relevant, will upload our picturesfrom 2015 & 2016 <3
These are all the awesome people of the industry that took 15 seconds of their time to make this couple of designers very happy.
I realised that I "can't" tag reviewers/influencers from here so I'll tag them out in Twitter in order to notice them.
Will post a big write up about Spiel 2018 soon, but since Shei & I are working in several projects at the same time, my amount of time to spend in writing things on BGG/LlamaDice is limited.
I hope that I can make this thread every year because this pictures we'll terasure them forever.
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And finally, the last part of this series.
It had take me a lot of time but I think that It worths the effort
Rajas of the Ganges
Finally we could play this game from one of our referents to look up! Markus & Inka present here a race of two tracks of victory points that you must balance a little in order to not get out of the game.
I liked it a lot but for reasons I don't know I didn't connect with the design. But if I see at a good price is higly possible that I buy it and give it more plays in order to try to connect.
For me, is like a hidden gem of Stefan Feld (but I don't know if the term 'hidden gem' is applicable here because the game is widely known) but it is very underrated.
If you want to play a majorities game but not to play El Grande (which, you should, and then, this one) you can play this one and have a great time. I like it a lot! Even with 2 players.
But this time the Doge track was too overpowered in ties... Will play it again with five players and warn everybody that this track is the key to win (or, at least, that was my feeling in this game)
This is kinde Sagrada on steroids. And I love it. I wish it was a little bit cheaper for a game with this weight, but the game is really great!!
The theme is awesome for me but, yeah, you can forget all the theme part and still have a really decent euro game.
I cannot tell more good things about this game. This game is perfect. And it is awesome how enjoyable is for 2-4 players. This one should be a must in every collection
Scythe + Scythe: The Wind Gambit
Scythe for me is something funny. Almost never want to play, but when I do, I enjoy it a lot! That's why is still in our collection. We played with the Wind Gambit expansion and it gives it a really nice touch to the game. We didn't use the zeppelins that much but the change of game ending added a awesome touch.
Some of you know that I don't like deduction games like Clue or any kind because I feel stupid among the players, and I don't like to feel stupid. But this one is easy enough for my poor deduction skills and pushes my brain in the good direction. This is a decent deduction game.
Space Race: The Card Game
Got it secon handed and I liked it. But I have to admit that is still in our collection because 3 reasons:
1) The theme. THE theme I love it and how it is implemented.
2) It has a small box
3) The games are really quick!
This is not a bad game at all but having Race for the Galaxy in our collection is probable that the chosen one will be RftG.
The best family dinner game EVER. Try it! Try to taught it to your family after having a birthday dinner. The y will be ask you for more! It is just a bowl and 31 dice. And that's the awesome thing!
One of the best abstract games that we have in oour collection. Played with more players and liked less (I think that I like to have more control of the situation) but is still good with 4.
Terraforming Mars + Terraforming Mars: Venus Next + Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium
We didn't played this game in a year! We decided to play for the first time with the Venus expansion and it was really really great!! It was that great that we have left mixed all the cards from the expansion with the core game. From now, we'll play it combined always. The H&E expansion we had played it before and it is something that is good to have. Sometimes you play with one map, other days with another.
Ticket to Ride: New York
Ok, so you have the biggest cup size of Starbucks Coffee but you don't have space in your stomach to drink a gallon of coffee. You still want for it? Just take an expresso.
More or less is this TtR, a TtR in 10 minutes (or 12). Liked it a lot but... but too quick!! It should last, at least, 20/25'!
This game is so good!! We have interest in it because it has A LOT of wood to use in our prototypes, but as we always do, we always play the games we're going to use for prototyping. This one won't be for prototypes I guess! I liked it a lot!
Viticulture Essential Edition + Viticulture: Tuscany Essential Edition
We traded our copy long time ago because we didn't liked it at all. I wanted to give it another try with the copy of our friends but... still a big no for me. But despite a huge no for me, I can credit the success for non-core gamers. It's truly beautiful!
Vinhos: Deluxe Edition
After the huge no, comes the incredibly huge yes for me BUT I didn't like so much the new artwork for this edition. The components have a great production but I didn't like how it was drawn the boards. It's more confusing than the original one and for once in this hobby, I'm glad to not own the deluxe copy: More shelf space & worse (quite pretty, but more confusing) artwork.
One great surprise! I loved the artwork when I see pictures of the game. It's a roll & write but with cards! And works lovely well! If I have to comapre with a similar game, this is way better than Avenue just because of the replayability. Will snag a copy asap!
The last game of this series is Wendake. I have Placentia Games in quarantine zone since Bretagne (A game that I loiked but the development of the game and the redaction of the rules were really poor) and didn't jump in in the kickstarter. Glady one of our friends did and could tried! And I loved it! The core mechanism is gold. But, the last 2 rounds of the game didn't liked them. Why? It would be an instabuy for me if the game
longed a little bit lesswas a little bit shorter. Those 2 extra rounds are the dessert after a large meal that makes your stomach hurt for hours (you know, dessert is good, but sometimes you had enough with the meal hahha)
Anyway, if I find it at a reasonable price will get it to give it more tries at home.
And that's all folks, here's the winners of those weeks. This week I'll talk about the Week 39 and Essen Spiel misc.
- [+] Dice rolls
The third part! Only 1 left! Phew!
Kanban: Driver's Edition
What can I say about Vital Lacerda? This is one of his masterpieces and in the first game I didn’t get as much fun as it offers this design. But, with a second game (we had played 4 times already) you dig more and more in its mechanics. We have the old version but as far as I know there aren’t major changes (only esthetics)
Kashgar: Merchants of the Silk Road
We saw this little game in Spiel in 2015 but it was in German and it is unplayable for us. With the Holy Grail version finally I can get my hands on it and it was lovely. I loved a lot the core mechanism and in situations like this, I hate myself for not having the idea before. Very recommended.
A must. I didn’t tried Queendomino but if Queendomino shades the selection mechanism of this game, it won’t please me. (I’ll try Queendomino this week I guess!!)
The best discovering of the summer so far! I liked THAT much that I’m looking for a copy to play it with all my friends. I worked in a kitchen for 4 years when I was younger and this is the same thing BUT FUNNY. Oh man, I’ll treasure the moment when I played this for the first time forever.
A hidden gem from one of my favourites designers, Matthias Cramer. This game has the amazing selection mechanism of Glen More but with a part of the game that drives me crazy: The selection of buyers that could mess with everyone (even yourself). If you have the chance to play it (or buy it, it isn’t expensive) go for it!
The point of the game to get rid out of your money it’s the best! In most of the games you have to get as much money as you can but in this one you don’t. I admire Vladimir Suchy because he can make really good eurogames but all different among them!
I talked before about it so it won’t be long. This is not a game for just only 1 play. The first game probably overwhelms you, but the second one will amaze you!
London (Second Edition)
Elegant, absurdly beautiful and addictive. I played a lot of games of Martin Wallace and… and I think that this is my favorite. Well dome Osprey Games!!
Magic: The Gathering
Played a couple of plays with Shei. I liked it a lot because it was my first non-classic card game of my childhood and I didn’t played it in ages but Shei didn’t liked it. Better for our wallets!
Medina (Second Edition)
It is curious but this game wasn’t designed for 2 players but I like it more with that player count than with more. It is a little bit expensive for an abstract game BUT, it is that pretty and has that many wooden chunks that you don’t think in the price when you’re playing it!
We didn’t play it in about 2 years and I don’t know why! This is an awesome game! We played it with the mini expansion that grants something to the player who has the most counting guys because I think that is mandatory for this game. To me, the best Andreas Pfister game to date.
Little game for a friend of us in flavor of Arboretum bit lighter. Liked it! It will be published soon in Spain.
Nations: The Dice Game
I liked Nations rather than Through the Ages but we traded Nations because it was to punishable to the weakest player (snowballing effect) although I didn’t say no to a game of it. This game is nice but it ‘lacks’ the same thing of its big brother. If you don’t get certain dice or advance in certain track you’ll be punish by the game. Anyway, it was really nice to play!
The best game of our friends Nuno & Paulo. This is the second time I play it with 4 players and I can say that is amazing for any player count. To me, it is at the same level than Vinhos in the WyG top list (and they both are Nº1)
Really decent abstract game! I liked the fact you won’t move the pieces in the same way always! Even it changes among plays because only 5 cards are used in every play. But to me has two big ‘but’. I hate the neoprene board. It is original, but I dislike it a lot. And the plastic figures are quite ugly to me. To me it would be better with cardboard and wood/bakelite as usual (but these two things are the no-no only for me, because the game is great!)
A not-so-old game (2013) but it feels like it is from 90’ because of the gameplay. I liked it a bit but not so much. We played it because we bought it by 2’5€ and wanted it to try it before using its components (a lot of tiles and black discs) for prototyping purposes.
This is one of the greatest abstract games ever! If youhave read this blog you already know what I think about this game Hopefully in Spiel 18 we will snag a copy from a Dutch fella that will sell it to us!
Pyramid of Pengqueen
This game is really fun! I played as the Mummy and I think that it will be funny as the adventurers for sure! It would be great with our nephews!
To me, better than Qwixx. But Qwixx is better for larger groups and for families (We had lovely memories playing Qwixx with our families)
See you next week!!
- [+] Dice rolls