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The Best Games You Didn't Play In 2021

If you've been an active member on BGG and have been playing board games for a few years now, chances are that you have built up quite the collection... It's also highly likely that you didn't get to play some of your favorite games in 2021.

Here's a list of the five best games I own that I did not get to play in 2021...

Railroad Revolution -
Let's kick off this list with Railroad Revolution! Railroad Revolution is a worker placement game with little to no blocking... That sounds bad, right? I'd call it more of an action selection game where different colored meeples either provide different bonuses or accomplish certain actions more efficiently.

Why didn't I play it in 2021? I played the base game twice in 2020 and enjoyed it, but I agree with some of the users who complain that the Western Union strategy is strong and boring... Even when playing with the official variant that raises the cost of moving up the Western Union track by a factor of ten! I had hoped that I would have the expansion by now, but, unfortunately, it is currently out of print. Railroad Evolution completely replaces the board from the base game and fixes the Western Union problem. I'd love to try the game again with the expansion, but who knows if that will ever happen?
From gallery of waxbottle


Forbidden Island -
Forbidden Island was one of the very first board games that I ever purchased. I still remember walking into my tiny local game store... I told the owner that I was new to board games and he recommended forbidden Forbidden Island. He also let me borrow his personal copy of Pandemic with expansions. At the time, Pandemic was a bit overwhelming, but Forbidden Island was perfect! The game flowed quickly (no pun intended) and there were interesting choices to be made. Everything about the game is so good! The player powers and the production value are fantastic. I've played this one a few times with my children, but, unfortunately, we didn't touch it in 2021.

Why didn't I play it in 2021? I don't know! I'm guessing it's because I played a few other games with my kids... Catan, The Pokemon Trading Card Game, Zombie Kidz Evolution. We should have played Forbidden Island though... It's still such a good game!
From gallery of waxbottle


KeyForge -
With 35 plays, KeyForge was one of my most played games in 2020. KeyForge is a 2-player head-to-head card-dueling game... But there is no deck construction! Players purchase pre-built decks that are "randomly" constructed using an algorithm. The goal is to forge three keys before your opponents. I love that each deck contains three houses (factions)... On your turn, you select one house and are allowed to play, use, or discard cards of only the selected house. This rule creates lots of interesting moments... Should I use the cards currently on my board or should I call a different house so that I can play cards in my hand?

Why didn't I play it in 2021? Well... I'm pretty sure the algorithm is currently broken and my local competitive scene is pretty much dead. My wife isn't a huge fan of the game and I don't have anyone to play it with. I played quite a bit of Pokemon with my son in 2021... Maybe I'll have to teach him KeyForge!
From gallery of waxbottle


Gùgōng -
Gùgōng is probably my favorite game that I backed on Kickstarter. The action selection mechanic is neat... To perform an action, you replace a card on the board with a higher-value card. The card that you gain goes into your discard and will be used in the next round. Gùgōng is a series of mini-games. There is a central track that all players must reach the top of... If you don't reach the heavenly palace of purity by the end of the game, your score does not count and you lose!

Why didn't I play it in 2021? I'm not quite sure. I have lots of games that have a similar weight and I don't think I had as many opportunities to play with others. My wife and I played this game a ton with another couple... We weren't able to get together with them very often in 2021. I don't think it's Andreas Steding's best work, but I'm hoping to play Gùgōng again because it is quite good!
From gallery of waxbottle


Codenames -
It's been so long since I've played Codenames! I've been thinking about this one a lot after playing So Clover! on New Year's Eve. Like Codenames, So Clover is a word association game that has recently received a ton of praise... So Clover is good, but I miss the banter between teams and the race to correctly connect the words in Codenames.

Why didn't I play it in 2021? You need a decent-sized group to play Codenames. I feel like the game is best with 6 or 8, and I didn't have many opportunities to play it last year. When I had a big enough group, we played The Resistance, So Clover, and Dead of Winter... I should have played Codenames!
From gallery of waxbottle

Moses - Three...

What good games didn't you play in 2021? Do you keep games that you don't play? Leave a comment down below! I hope you're having a wonderful 2022 and that you get to play all of your favorite games!
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Sun Jan 9, 2022 3:59 am
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What waxbottle played in December 2021

Happy New Year!

December was great! Unlike last Christmas, we were actually able to see family this year. We spent some time with my parents and with my wife's family... We played games, ate food, and enjoyed spending time with one another.

I also participated in my first board game challenge. I signed up for the easiest option... 15 dice games in the month of December. Let's talk about...

Dicember

Roll for the Galaxy -
I kicked off the month with Roll for the Galaxy! While not as good as Race for the Galaxy, Roll is a little more accessible. My wife enjoys the game but it had been a while since she had last played. I took the first victory of the month!
From gallery of waxbottle



Raiders of the North Sea -
A family friend came over to spend the weekend with us. Little did he know that I was going to subject him to so many dice. The first game we played was Raiders of the North Sea. It's a quick and easy worker placement game. It's not fantastic, but the "place a worker then pick up a worker" action selection mechanic is kind of neat.
From gallery of waxbottle


Dead of Winter -
I don't know why I revisit this game so often... I don't like it that much and I feel that it usually overstays its welcome. In Dead of Winter, you have to spend dice for most of the actions you take. It's a semi-cooperative game where each player has their own win conditions. The gameplay is repetitive and the game goes on for far too long.
From gallery of waxbottle


The Voyages of Marco Polo -
Every time I play The Voyages of Marco Polo, I think to myself...
"This game is wonderful!" Whether I'm struggling or achieving all of my in-game goals, I always enjoy playing. Most of the player interaction comes from doing something before the other players. Grabbing the resources you need, being the first to reach a city, grabbing the best contracts... The competition can be fierce.
From gallery of waxbottle


Snowman Dice -
Such a cute little game! Roll dice, build snowmen, flick dice at your opponents' snowmen. It's a quick dexterity game that deserves to be played every Dicember.
From gallery of waxbottle

In the meadow we can build a snowman...

Clank! with The Mummy's Curse -
I may have cheated by including Clank, but the Mummy expansion introduces a new double-sided map and a mummy whose movement is determined by the roll of a d4. It's a fun expansion that improves on the base game.
From gallery of waxbottle

Try to refrain from jingling your bells in this dungeon...

Black Orchestra -
Lots of dice rolling in this one! Black Orchestra is a thematic co-op where you try to assassinate Hitler. I had a ton of fun with this one! I was imprisoned and interrogated. Still, we were able to defeat Hitler with some poison.
From gallery of waxbottle

Later on, we'll conspire as we dream by the fire...

Lorenzo il Magnifico -
This was, by far, my worst game session of December... And it's quite possible that it was my fault. Remember that friend who joined me for Raiders of the North Sea? Well, he also joined me on every other game listed between Lorenzo and Raiders. He was tired and he wasn't quite feeling Lorenzo. Problem is... Neither of the other players were either. One friend openly admitted to not liking the game. I told them that we could end the game early, but they all agreed that we should power through.

Do I still like Lorenzo il Magnifico? Well... Though the game fell completely flat, I've come to realize that everyone at the table (besides me) seems to prefer more thematic games... This is the same group that I played Dead of Winter with... And they love that one!

Lorenzo is fine, but it doesn't have the satisfying player interaction that I've been looking for recently. I still like the game, but I know to never play it again with that group!
From gallery of waxbottle


Zombie Dice -
I played a game of Zombie Dice with my son. Zombie Dice is a quick, easy, push-your-luck dice rolling game. I hadn't played it for quite some time, but I had a good time. We sat in a fast-food restaurant, ate a sundae, and rolled some dice. My favorite part of the game was when I rolled three shotguns on my first roll. My son burst out laughing... This might be my favorite moment in all of Dicember.
From gallery of waxbottle

Forget the figgy pudding... We want brains!

Rallyman: GT -
I took Rallyman: GT over to my cousin's house and played a four player game. My wife ended up winning! Rallyman is a wonderful push-your-luck racing game. The dice system is fantastic and allows for lots of creative dice placement opportunities. If you haven't tried this one yet, you can play for free on Board Game Arena!
From gallery of waxbottle


The Castles of Burgundy -
I played a two-player game with my wife! I still enjoy this one, though not as much as I used to. I do enjoy that the game moves quickly. Two actions per turn with the occasional bonus action... The round (phase?) is over before you know it! Like Grand Austria Hotel, I prefer Castles at two. Of course, we had to use Christmas colors.
From gallery of waxbottle


Catan -
I played a game of Catan with my mom and my two kids. It was my mom's first time playing and she enjoyed it. The game did run a little long but we all still had a good time. My daughter won! She was focused on purchasing development cards and ended up with the largest army and a few VP cards.
From gallery of waxbottle


King of Tokyo -
I took King of Tokyo on our trip to Northern California to visit my wife's family. They all enjoyed the game so much that they wanted to immediately play it again.
From gallery of waxbottle


Biblios -
I also introduced them to Biblios. I had never played it before and purchased it specifically for Dicember. They enjoyed the it and we played again immediately after it ended. Biblios is good... But it's not as good as Ra or Modern Art. If you're looking for a quick auction game, Biblios is a pretty good choice!
From gallery of waxbottle


Summoner Wars -
Such a good game! I played with my mother-in-law. It was such a close game. I was one turn away from defeat when I summoned a Fire Drake which burnt her summoner to a crisp.
From gallery of waxbottle


Camel Up -
One of my favorite "new to me" games of 2021! Camel Up is always a blast. Players cheer and laugh as the camels break every expectation. Despite being near the back of the pack, Blue ended up taking the win.
From gallery of waxbottle

Grandma got run over by a... camel?

What else did I play?
Most of the games I played had dice as one of the primary components... I also played these non-dice games!

Cryo -
I played a four-player game on Christmas Eve. It's decent and I'd like to play it again, but it doesn't do anything new. The components are great and the colors are nice... It's better than Viticulture but not as good as Agricola.
From gallery of waxbottle


Pandemic -
For the past couple of years, we've had a tradition of playing Pandemic on Christmas. Last year, this tradition was put on hold because of an actual pandemic. This year, we had the opportunity to revisit the game... Unfortunately, we did not save the world. The pandemic has not ended. We were one turn away from winning when the player deck ran out.
From gallery of waxbottle


Mining Colony -
December was my introduction to Dr. Finn... Biblios and Mining Colony.
I played a four-player game of Mining Colony with my wife's family.
It's a decent little polyomino game that doesn't overstay its welcome. Each turn, you bid for turn order. You draw three, select one, and put the other two at the bottom of your deck. Players select tiles and resources in order of highest card to lowest. It's a pretty neat mechanic, but I think I prefer Biblios.
From gallery of waxbottle


Lost Ruins of Arnak -
I finally played this game in person. It's not great, but it's not terrible. For the most part, it feels pretty multi-player solitaire. I really don't like that one player can tap out early while other players continue doing things... This happened one round with my brother-in-law's girlfriend. She was out of actions early and my actions seemed to never end... It wasn't fun. I didn't feel clever. Arnak reminds me of Everdell... It's pretty and it combines worker placement with another mechanic. Problem is... I'd rather play a game that takes one of those mechanics and does it well.
From gallery of waxbottle


So Clover! -
This one has been receiving quite a bit of praise the past couple of months. It was fine. I think I'd rather play Just One or Codenames.

Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition -
We almost had a perfect New Year's Eve game night. We played Ra, Modern Art, and So Clover... Then someone suggested we play Ares Expedition. Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition might be one of the worst games I've played all year long. It combines elements of Terraforming Mars and Race for the Galaxy while simultaneously being worse than both of its parent games. Like Terraforming Mars, Ares Expedition is far too long for what it is. Even though the art is better than Terraforming Mars, I do not like the new card design. I'd rather not play this one again.
From gallery of waxbottle


Best New To Me
I've got a tie here! Black Orchestra and Cryo were both decently fun. Thinking back on my experience, I'd say that Black Orchestra has a slight edge. It's certainly the more unique game... Even though it's not all that unique. I've played so many worker placement games that Cryo might not hold up. Will Black Orchestra hold up? Who knows! I don't own a copy, so it's possible that I may never play it again. What do you think? Have you played either of these games?
From gallery of waxbottle


Did It Hold Up?
In my December 2020 blog post, I chose Roll for the Galaxy as my best "new to me" game of the month. Has it held up? Yes!
My favorite player count might be at two or three because it is less likely that all the phases will fire off. My favorite part of Race and Roll is trying to accurately predict what my opponents will do and what they expect me to do.

How'd I Do On My December Goals?
- Play 15 Dice games
I did it!

January Goals
- Come up with a new monthly blog post title
I'm thinking... waxbottle recap. How's that sound? Something, something bottle cap. Any ideas?

- Buy zero games
We're starting off the year with a tough one. I have more than enough games... I don't need more. In fact, I'd like to get rid of some of my games. I sold my copy of Small World on New Year's Eve. I've still got a few games in my collection that I wouldn't mind parting with... It's a Wonderful World, Raxxon, King of Tokyo, Targi, Raiders of the North Sea...

Waxbottle Recommends
I recommend that you start off the new year by giving somebody a star!
Geek Citizenship Recognition is a fun, wholesome program that not enough people participate in.

Whew... That was a lot of games that I included in this month's post. Please leave a comment down below! What did you play in December? What are you looking forward to playing in 2022?

I hope you have a fantastic year. Peace!
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Sat Jan 1, 2022 10:34 pm
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Waxbottle's 10 Favourite New to Me Games 2021

2021 was quite the year!

I played approximately 40 games for the very first time. Of those 40, I've selected ten of my favorites. Not including updated second editions, the newest game on the list is 5 years old and the oldest game was released nearly 30 years ago. I wouldn't consider any of them to be hidden gems and if you've been playing games for a few years now then you have probably heard of or have quite possibly even played many of these games.

Here we go!

10. Summoner Wars (Second Edition) - 2 plays
Summoner Wars, which was originally released in 2009, was re-released earlier this year by Plaid Hat Games. The second edition has updated the rules and art in addition to making adjustments to card values (i.e. making commons more useful). I've only played the second edition, so I can't make any useful comparisons between the original and second editions beyond what I've read... But what I can say is that Summoner Wars (Second Edition) is good! It's tense, fun, and full of interesting decisions. There's a constant struggle between establishing your board and attacking your opponent. You never feel like you have enough magic and you have to decide every turn if you're willing to sacrifice cards to gain more magic.

Summoner Wars is a game that I could dive deep into... Unfortunately, I don't own it and, even if I did, I don't think I could find someone who would share the same enthusiasm for the game.

Pros: If you're a fan of tactical RPGs (like Final Fantasy Tactics or Arc the Lad) then you will probably like Summoner Wars! Dice rolling is fun!

Cons: This game seems best if you have someone that you can play consistently with. Dice rolling can be frustrating!

From gallery of waxbottle


9. Innovation - 7 Plays (with 15+ online plays)
I'm still figuring this one out, but I like it! It seems random and swingy at first but as I've grown more familiar with the cards and strategies I've come to appreciate the incredible design. Innovation is always a pleasure to introduce to gamers. I always enjoy seeing their reactions when they realize the crazy combos that they can pull off... Even when I'm losing!

Pros: Tons of depth and replayability in the base game box.

Cons: Innovation is best with two! I wouldn't play with four. Counting symbols late in the game can be a bit tedious.

From gallery of waxbottle


8. Camel Up - 7 plays
Camel Up is, according to BGG, the lightest game on my list. It's a fun, quick game with easy-to-learn rules and engaging gameplay. Calculating probabilities, making bets, and watching as the camel in last place moves to the lead is all part of the fun. Every game I've played has been full of laughter and cheering... Isn't this what playing games is all about?

Pros: The component quality of the second edition is superb. Camel Up is an excellent family game.

Cons: The randomness of the dice rolls can make it very difficult to make winning bets. If you're a player who needs to calculate and analyze everything, then Camel Up is probably not for you!

From gallery of waxbottle


7. Inis - 3 plays
With the exception of second editions (like Camel Up and Summoner Wars), Inis is the newest game on the list! I haven't played very many "dudes (clans, meeples, minis) on a map" but I've had a great time with Inis. In Inis, you'll draft the same set of cards from round to round. This in addition to Inis' drafting system makes the game feel more strategic to me than similar games like Blood Rage. Inis features beautiful art on both the cards and the territory tiles. Players will use the cards to perform actions (or to react to certain triggers) as they fight for control over territories while trying to satisfy and hold on to victory conditions. It's a wonderful game. I look forward to trying out the other games in the Matagot trilogy (Cyclades and Kemet).

Pros: Gorgeous art! The complexity in Inis comes from depth, not rules overhead... Inis just might be the Concordia of "dudes on a map" games.

Cons: You have to be okay with "bash the leader" to enjoy Inis.

From gallery of waxbottle


6. Ra - 2 plays
I participated this year in Board Game Barrage's version of Secret Santa... My sender gifted me an Alea big box version of Ra! Ra is a light auction and set-collection game with a bit of push-your-luck. Another game that's easy-to-teach and is full of laughter. The one-offer auctions and sun tiles work amazingly well in this game. I'm hoping I can play it a lot more in 2022!

Pros: Simple rules and exciting gameplay.

Cons: Depending on the version that you have, the artwork can be a turnoff for some people. Some people don't like the unpredictability of drawing tiles from a bag especially since an auction can start simply by drawing a Ra tile.

From gallery of waxbottle


5. Grand Austria Hotel - 5 plays
As I'm writing this blog post, I've been thinking about the games that I've played and why I like them... It's possible that this game could have topped my list last year had I played it in 2020... Grand Austria Hotel is good. I'm going to leave it in its current position, but it's possible that it could potentially move down in my rankings. Many of Simone Luciani's dice games feel inspired by The Castles of Burgundy... Actions you take are influenced by the roll of the dice and there are ways to manipulate the dice and/or mitigate luck. There also isn't very much player interaction... Which is something I'm starting to appreciate in games more and more.

Pros: This is a very good two-player game! Roll dice, entertain guests, fill rooms, but don't forget to render homage to the emperor. It's mechanically solid if that's what you're into.

Cons: It's not "dripping in theme" and I'd rather not play it at three or four. Because of how the turn order works, downtime can be excruciating at higher player counts.

From gallery of waxbottle


4. Modern Art - 2 plays
First published in 1992, Modern Art is the oldest game in both my collection and on this list! It's also currently my favorite auction game. Unlike Ra, in which there is only one auction type, Modern Art has four different auction types: open, hidden, fixed price, and one offer. Each auction type feels different and exciting! In addition to these four types is the double auction... Which puts two paintings up for auction. The auction type depends on the second card that is played.

Pros: The artwork on CMON's latest edition is great and the wooden auctioneer's gavel is such a nice touch. The gameplay is so great that I would probably still love the game even if we were auctioning off solid colored cards!

Cons: The game needs to be played to be understood... At least in my experience.

From gallery of waxbottle


3. Hansa Teutonica - 3 actiones... I mean... plays
Another new edition of an older game... Hansa Teutonica: Big Box, released in 2020, is a terrific game! With only five possible actions in the game, the options on your turn are simple... Move cubes around on the board, put a new cube on the board, get more cubes back into your supply, complete a road, or displace an opponent's cube. Player interaction in Hansa Teutonica is absolutely delicious. You can block an opponent hoping that they'll displace you so that you can place even more cubes on the board. You can fake opponents out, making them think that you're moving in one direction when you're really planning on moving all of your cubes somewhere else. Each game is unique not because tiles or cards are randomly placed on the board at the beginning of the game... Your strategy in Hansa Teutonica is almost entirely dependent on what other players are doing and how they are playing. Hansa Teutonica was one of the first games featuring the "upgradable player board" mechanic. Many modern board games, like Scythe and Terra Mystica, have gone on to use this mechanic in their designs.

Hansa Teutonica is great! I look forward to revisiting this one again and again! I'm guessing I can get in a few dozen plays before even considering playing on the expansion maps that were included in the big box.

Pros: Tasty player interaction. The game's pace is wonderful. You want to upgrade everything but don't have enough time!

Cons: If you're a Care Bear who prefers pretty games, you might want to skip Hansa Teutonica. Also, you need at least three players! Most consider it best with four or five.

From gallery of waxbottle


2. Keyflower - 3 plays
What an interesting mix of mechanics... Pick up and Deliver, Worker Placement, Auction/Bidding, Tile Placement. The beautiful part is that it all works so well. Keyflower is highly interactive and can even be a bit cutthroat. Oh... You wanted to use that building that you just upgraded and you don't have any blue meeples? Sorry!

In Keyflower, there are four different colors of meeples. On your turn, you place meeples to either bid on tiles or use tiles. There are no restrictions on the tiles that you can use. You can use tiles from the central market, you can use the tiles in the village that you are building, or you can use your opponents' tiles.

Like many of the games on this list, I feel like I haven't played Keyflower nearly enough... I've barely scratched the surface of this delightful game.

Pros: Nice mix of mechanisms with compelling player interaction.

Cons: Some players might not like the hidden trackable information... Each players' meeples are hidden behind a screen but most of the information is trackable.

From gallery of waxbottle


1. Brass: Lancashire - 1.5 plays
Let me start by saying that I am not great at reviewing board games... I don't know how to eloquently exposit why I like a game. Yes, I've only played Brass one and a half times. I played an introductory game with my wife and my mother-in-law and the only full game that I played was at two... Guess what? I still loved it!

Even though this is one of the heaviest games on the list, the rules aren't too bad. Almost all of the depth is found in the player interaction and the possibilities of what you could do on your turn. Players can use each other's structures to acquire the resources they need... This can either be mutually beneficial or disastrous for the building's owner. Is it a fun game? I'll quote someone who is far better with words than I... "If your fun comes from tense competition, destroying each other’s plans, racing for the best locations and having them taken from under your nose, Lancashire is incredibly fun."

I want to revisit this game soon!

Pros: While it seems like a vocal minority enjoy the older art due to readability of the board, I think that the new Roxley edition looks quite nice. The rules feel refined and streamlined, the player interaction is top notch, and the push-your-luck of the distant cotton marker is fun!

Cons: I've heard that this game is unforgiving amongst skilled players. Still, I'm fairly certain I'd enjoy getting crushed by a good player.

From gallery of waxbottle


Honorable mentions...

Troyes - 1 play
I haven't had time to devote to this game though I'm sure I'll love it once I can wrap my head around it. I've only played it once and I haven't read the rulebook. My cousin who taught it to the group lead us through the game and gave us tips as we played. I'll have to try this one again!

Barrage - 2 plays
I'm still a bit unsure of this one. It's possible that my rating goes up... It's also equally possible that it goes down. I have enjoyed Simone Luciani games in the past, but this one just feels a bit too bloated. I do enjoy the basic premise of the game though. You build the necessary infrastructure to use water to produce energy... Also, it's possible to reroute water away from opponents and force opponents to use your conduits which earns you points and money. It's a cutthroat game that has quite a bit going on.

From gallery of waxbottle


If you've been following my blog for any time, you may have noticed that the games I enjoyed most this year are slightly different than what I have enjoyed in the past. I'm starting to prefer simple and deep over complexity for complexity's sake. If I could only play the games listed in this post during 2022... Well, I think that'd be a pretty good year of gaming.

Thoughts? What were your favorite games played in 2021? Feel free to link me to your blog post if you've also written one. I hope you have a wonderful 2022.

Soli Deo Gloria! And peace... So much peace. Happy New Year!
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Fri Dec 31, 2021 8:23 am
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What waxbottle played in November 2021

I know that it sounds cliché... But I can't believe that December is already here! Seems I'm not the only one who feels that November hasn't overstayed its welcome. I heard a group of students yesterday arguing over whether or not November has 31 days... Unfortunately, it does not. November is over.

What a short month! I only managed to record 21 plays spread over 13 unique games... Let's talk about the games that I played!

3 plays
Hansa Teutonica -

I backed Gùgōng on Kickstarter a few years back and have had a great time with it... Though it received some mixed reviews, I liked the game and decided to look into some of Andreas Steding's other titles. I kept reading and hearing about Hansa Teutonica in reviews, on podcasts, and on the forums... "Cool," I thought. "I'll wait till it's on sale."

Looks like Christmas came early, because I received a free copy of Hansa Teutonica from my favorite OLGS. I emailed them to let them know about the mistake with my order and they told me to keep the game. I like to think that it was intentional and that it was a gift from Secret Santa. Either way, I'm glad that I have the game. I've played three times so far... And though I have enjoyed each play, each game has unfortunately included rules mistakes. This is no fault of the game... It's not that the rules are overly complex; it's that I need to pay better attention!

Hansa Teutonica is highly interactive and plays quickly... Every game changes depending on what players are doing. I'm confident that the next play will be error-free... Or will it? I hope so, because Hansa Teutonica is good. It's easy to learn and it's slightly mean. I apologize to those 5 or so people who I taught the game to incorrectly... Let's try it again, yeah?
From gallery of waxbottle


2 plays
Arboretum -
I played two back-to-back games with my mom and my cousin. The first game was a learning experience for both of them... I taught them about the scoring mechanics and how to construct paths. The second game was more interesting and cutthroat... Both my mom and cousin walked away appreciating the design but not quite enjoying the game.

Barrage -
I did it! I've finally played Barrage! I played a two-player game with my wife, and I played a three-player game with my cousin and a friend.

How do I feel about the game? There's quite a bit going on... I'd say that it's almost too complex and that I'd rather play something like a little lighter (like Agricola). I must be missing something though because this one is very highly rated. I need to play it again before I can give it a fair rating... My first impression is that it's pretty good. I love the amount of player interaction. I like that you have to race to produce energy using the neutral dams. I like that you can force people to pay you by strategically building conduits. The wheel is a bit excessive. It's fine... But I think I'm starting to believe that less is more.
From gallery of waxbottle


Patchwork -
Played two games with my wife! It's quick and simple but still has some depth. It only took her two plays to recognize the power of the cross. She jokes now that you have take up the cross in order to win.
I hope to revisit this one in December.
From gallery of waxbottle


Ra -
I participated this year in Board Game Barrage's version of Secret Santa... My sender knocked it out of the park by gifting me a copy of Ra! It arrived a few days before Thanksgiving... I took it to my parents and was able to teach it to a few friends and family members. It's good! I'm tempted to get the GeekUp Bits...
From gallery of waxbottle


1 play
Modern Art -
In addition to playing Ra for the first time, I also got to play Modern Art for the very first time! Modern Art was a blast! I might have to add this one to my collection. I love how the players determine the price that paintings sell for at the end of the round. Do I like it more than Ra? I don't know! They're both so good!
From gallery of waxbottle


Inis -
I got in a game of Inis over Thanksgiving break! Played with a friend, his coworker, and his coworker's son. It was a great time. I'm finding that I enjoy these games with high player interaction. I'm not very good but I'm having fun!
From gallery of waxbottle


Catan -
Catan was my one and only Black Friday board game purchase. I played with my wife and two kids and had a good time. I know that there are some people who have played this game to death... It's new to me and I kind of like it. I glad I finally added Catan to my collection! My son has been asking to play it... We'll have to get in a few games this month!
From gallery of waxbottle


Best New To Me
This is tough. I played some very good games this month... Modern Art, Ra, Barrage, Hansa Teutonica. Barrage is the only one, out of those games, that is in BGG's top 100... Yet, it might be my least favorite of the bunch. My favorite new game of the month has to go to Hansa Teutonica... Even though I played it incorrectly. It's one that I keep thinking about and the one that I most want to revisit.

Did It Hold Up?
Watergate was my pick for November 2020, and, though I have not played it as much as I would like to, I can confidently say that it does hold up. It's a fantastic 2-player game and it recently made my list of favorite two-player games. It's a shame that the Board Game Arena implementation seems to have been abandoned. I would love to be able to play this one online!

How'd I Do On My November Goals?
- Play Barrage
I finally did it! After more than a year of sitting on my shelf of shame, I played finally Barrage. Hope it takes less than a year for me to revisit it.

- Play a game at least 3 times
Although I played it incorrectly each time, I did play Hansa Teutonica three times. It's a fantastic game! I'm looking forward to playing it correctly!

December Goals
- Play 15 Dice games
I'm going to participate in the Dicember challenge. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it... But I'm going to try!
From gallery of waxbottle


Waxbottle Recommends
My recommendation for this month is The Oh Hellos' Family Christmas Album. If you'd like to hear some of their Christmas tunes, start with their NPR Tiny Desk Concert. I absolutely love the album and have listened to it every December for the past 8 years. If you don't have a lot of time... Skip to 8:30. Moves me every time.

I hope you have a wonderful December! I know that this can be a tough time for some... For me, December is one of the coldest months... But at the same time, it is full of warmth, peace, and forgiveness. Leave a comment down below!

O come, let us adore Him!
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Thu Dec 2, 2021 4:19 am
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One Thousand Plays!

It's taken nearly three years, but I've finally hit 1000 plays! I started recording plays in 2019 and the first play I logged was Great Western Trail. I still remember that game! My cousin came over with her friend. My wife joined us for a four-player game on a tiny table in our new house.

From gallery of waxbottle


When I look back at my logged plays, I can see who I played with and where we played. I don't always record who won and I rarely record scores... That information isn't all that important to me. My recorded plays are, in a way, a memory book filled with names of friends and family. It's also a way for me to remember the strangers I've played with at board game shops and conventions... As I look at my logged plays, I can reflect on how some of those strangers became friends over multiple game sessions.

In 2019, I logged 267 plays. My most played games were Keyforge, Legendary, and Architects of the West Kingdom. I played a bunch of Keyforge with a friend I used to work with. We taught the game to students and even held a few tournaments at school. At the very end of the year, I decided to start a blog... My first post was Waxbottle's 10 Most Played of 2019.

From gallery of waxbottle


In 2020, I logged a whopping 482 plays. My most played games were Legendary, Keyforge, and The King's Guild. I feel like I may have slightly cheated with The King's Guild though because all of those recorded plays were solo games on Board Game Arena. Like many other board gamers, I started using BGA at the start of the pandemic. I found myself at home and not in the classroom... We had just started to transition over to distance learning and my interactions with students were limited to about an hour a day online. In my downtime, I'd play The King's Guild and Clans of Caledonia. I blogged throughout the year and at the end of 2020, I wrote Waxbottle's 5 Favourite New to Me Games 2020.

From gallery of waxbottle


So far, I've logged 281 plays in 2021. My most played games are the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Legendary, and It's a Wonderful World. I find it interesting that, with one exception, none of my most played games over the three years are in my Top 10. I also find it interesting that a TCG has made my list of most played games every year. Before looking at this data, I would've told you that I wasn't a huge TCG/CCG fan...

From gallery of waxbottle


With over 90 recorded plays, Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game is my most played game and, unsurprisingly, My wife joined me for most of those plays. We always have a great time when we play, even when we're crushed by the mastermind. I enjoy seeing her pull off crazy combos, even when she's overwhelmed by the ways in which the cards interact. It's a fun, easy-going game and I'm sure we'll hit 100 plays before the end of the year.

From gallery of waxbottle


In the past three years, I've also played Race for the Galaxy and Star Realms about 1000 times each, but almost none of those plays were recorded since they were mostly asynchronous games with friends.

From gallery of waxbottle


I've got about 60 games with only one recorded play... Out of those 60 or so games, the ones that I'd like to revisit the most are Archipelago, AuZtralia, and Troyes.

I've been playing board games for about 5 years now... Logging plays for 3... Writing blogs for 2. I've played about 160 unique games and have written nearly three dozen blog posts. If you've been here for any part of this journey... Thanks! Leave a comment and subscribe! If you haven't logged plays, 2022 is a great year to start!

Peace! Soli Deo Gloria!
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Fri Nov 19, 2021 7:41 pm
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Top 21 for 2 2021

For the past couple of years, A Couple of Gamers have put together a list of the best 2-player games. They asked BGG users to submit their favorite games for two... Here are my lists for the past two years: Top 19 for 2 2019 and Top 20 for 2 2020

I've played and enjoyed a few new games this year. I've probably written some short sentences about each of these games in this blog. Some of the games on my list are new to me and most of the games have shifted around.

Here is my contribution for this year:
Top 21 for 2 2021.

If you'd like to skip all my comments and you're just interested in seeing the list of games, take a peek below!

21. Pandemic
20. Lorenzo il Magnifico
19. Arboretum
18. Keyforge
17. Res Arcana
16. The Castles of Burgundy
15. Roll for the Galaxy
14. Innovation
13. Watergate
12. The Fox in the Forest
11. Great Western Trail
10. Grand Austria Hotel
9. Agricola
8. Concordia
7. Santorini
6. Lost Cities
5. Kingdomino
4. Hanabi
3. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
2. Star Realms
1. Race for the Galaxy

What are your favorite two-player games? Which games should I check out next? Please drop a comment here or on the GeekList. Peace!
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Mon Nov 8, 2021 7:41 pm
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What waxbottle played in October 2021

I can't believe October is already over. Not including digital plays, I only recorded 17 plays across 14 unique games. I played a couple of shorter games (which I won't discuss below)... Spot it, Splendor, Werewords, and Coup. I didn't have the energy to play many euro games or longer games... Let's talk about the games that I played!

2 Plays
7 Wonders -
I had a small get-together with some friends and we played twice... And I lost twice. One of my friends excels at drafting games... Almost to the point where it's no contest. He crushes it at Blood Rage and he's wonderful at It's a Wonderful World. He put my civilization to shame... Twice! Looks like I need to practice more on BGA... Or maybe I need to stop sitting next to him? Yeah, that has to be the reason why I lost.

Raxxon -
I bought this game at Strategicon last month for $2. Aside from the Dead of Winter promos that the seller swiped, the game was brand new. Was it worth it? Eeeh... I played twice solo. I won the introductory game and lost a game on standard difficulty. Despite all of my hard work, Raxxon's power level maxed out... I still had 6 civilians to save. I might play it again. I might give it away. It's not a bad game, but I don't enjoy playing solo very much. I doubt I'd play it at 2+ when I have lots of games I love.

From gallery of waxbottle

These guys refuse to quarantine...

Zombicide: Black Plague -
Every October, I have to get my fix of zombie-slaying, dice chucking mayhem. Zombicide isn't a game that I love... But I have to play it. This year's game of Zombicide was very special... I played with my son on Halloween. He would pump his fist in excitement whenever he successfully opened a door. His eyes were filled with fire as he tried rolling eight dice all at once while dual-wielding Fireball spells. It was such a good time... Maybe I'll play it again in 6 months. I might end up playing again soon if he asks!

From gallery of waxbottle

If true love last forever, then love doesn't die. It just becomes the living dead.

1 Play
Clans of Caledonia -
Played a game with my wife and my mother-in-law. It went much longer than I thought it would, but it was fun. My wife isn't a huge fan... She doesn't like having to plan multiple turns in advance. I still feel like this is one of the most number-crunchy games I have... You can almost math out your whole turn at the start of the round. This is both nice and slightly overwhelming. I don't think my brain could handle Gaia Project.

From gallery of waxbottle

pure dead brilliant... or, at least, kind of

Archipelago -
A friend taught me this at my board game birthday party. Though it's not a theme I'm particularly fond of, I had a good time and really enjoyed the gameplay. I liked exploring and collecting resources. I like the hidden end game triggers. I'd be interested in playing this one again.

The Resistance -
The Resistance is one of my favorites! I had the opportunity to play a six-player game. My wife and I were joined by four friends (including the drafting champ and the Archipelago dude). It was a fun, tense, game and the Resistance was victorious!

Takenoko -
First time playing! It's cute, it's quick, and it can be quite random. My wife enjoyed it (probably for all the reasons I just listed). We had a lovely four-player game and my wife destroyed us. I might have to get this one to play with the kids.
From gallery of waxbottle

Eats, Shoots, and Leaves...

Best New To Me
I played four new games this month... Raxxon, Archipelago, Aeon's End, and Takenoko. Aeon's End was fine, but I don't have time for another deckbuilder with 50+ expansions. I did like the mechanics, but not enough to purchase the game. I'll stick with Legendary... It's light, breezy, and fun. I guess I'm just not looking for a more complicated co-op.

My pick for this month goes to... Archipelago! I enjoyed the game for its mechanisms and gameplay... Not for its theme. Even in discussing its theme, I feel like I'm overwhelmingly unqualified to do so. As we played the game, we talked a bit about the theme... About how you strip the land of its resources and how you make the "natives" upset. About how you can calm them down with religion.

Have you ever played Archipelago? If you're interested in reading about the theme, there are a handful of threads on the topic... With comments by users who are far more eloquent than I.

Should you play Archipelago? I don't know. If the theme of the game makes you uncomfortable, you probably shouldn't.

From gallery of waxbottle

I don't think starting on my own private island was the best strategy...

Did It Hold Up?
In my October 2020 recap, I chose The Castles of Burgundy as the Best New To Me of the month. Has it held up? I'll give a slightly unenthusiastic "yeah"... The game is pretty good. I've been playing it a lot on Board Game Arena and I think I'm getting bored with it. After my first couple of plays, it skyrocketed up into my top 10. Over the past couple of months, it has started to fall a little lower. It's not a very exciting game. There isn't very much player interaction and it's starting to feel a bit samey after 20+ online plays.

From gallery of waxbottle


How'd I Do On My October Goals?
I failed miserably! My goal was to play a game at least 5 times. The best I could do was 2 plays... I almost forced myself to play Raxxon, but I just didn't want to. I thought, for sure, that I'd get in 5 plays of Legendary. I was wrong.

My wife and I were too busy watching shows and movies... We watched Maid, Midnight Mass, Dune, and a few horror movies. We should have played games instead... But October was busy. We were tired. Legendary was too hard to set up. Excuses, excuses.

November Goals
- Play Barrage
It's been over a year, and I still haven't played Barrage. I'm currently doing Board Game Barrage's secret santa event... Barrage may or may not have been on my target's wishlist. It may or may not have crossed my mind to just ship them my copy of Barrage and be done with it. Then I remember how much I like Simone Luciani's games... I'm keeping it. I'm sorry, friend... I'm sorry for almost pawning off my game to you. I'm sorry, Simone... For not playing your game. I'm sorry, shelf... For making you carry this burden for almost 18 months.

I've got a four day weekend and a whole week off in November... I should be able to get Barrage played, right? Right?

- Play a game at least 3 times
Okay so maybe 5 plays was a bit ambitious. I'll lower it to three. I should be able to play Legendary three times. Easy. If you had to play a game at least three times in a month, would it be easy for you? Which game would you play?

Waxbottle Recommends
Write a blog. I recommend writing a blog. I don't know about you, but my blog makes me laugh. I doubt that anyone else thinks that I'm funny, but writing makes me happy. I'm not writing about anything profound... A few short sentences about the games I played. Sometimes I'll mention what works or doesn't work for me. I'm not a reviewer and I'm not great at expressing my opinions. I promise that if you write a blog it will be better (or at least just as good) as mine.

Thanks for reading! I'm currently sitting at 999 plays and my blog is nearly two years old. I do believe this calls for some sort of celebration. Any ideas?

I hope you had a wonderfully spooky October and that you have a beautiful November. Leave a comment down below! Peace!
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Tue Nov 2, 2021 12:22 am
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What waxbottle played in September 2021

Fall is officially here! The weather is cooling down and the days are getting shorter. I love fall and I love October!

Let's talk about what I played last month...

4 plays
Race for the Galaxy -
I played a few games of Race for the Galaxy in person at Strategicon in L.A. at the beginning of September. I taught the game and ran a small tournament. It's such a fun, quick, and fantastic game that I am always willing to play. Even with nearly 1000 plays (including digital games), I feel like there is more to explore and enjoy. I haven't even played with any expansions beyond The Gathering Storm. I like the game so much that almost all other engine builders and tableau builders pale in comparison. I don't think I'll grow weary of this one any time soon.

Camel Up -
I like this game quite a bit. It's dumb and has a ton of luck... But it is so much fun. I've introduced it to players who sit there trying to analyze the board. I can see them crunching the numbers and calculating the probabilities. You can't predict these camels. They do what they want! It's such a great design.
From gallery of waxbottle


2 plays
Gizmos -
When I don't feel like teaching Race for the Galaxy, Gizmos is an acceptable alternative. It's easy to pick up and plays quickly. If you're a fan of combos and you like the simplicity of Splendor, Gizmos might be for you.

Blood Rage -
I ran a small Blood Rage tournament at Strategicon. I taught it to a handful of people and got in two games... And lost two games. In fact, I've never won a game of Blood Rage. The drafting is fun, the battles are chaotic, and the minis are... Cool? Or Not? Blood Rage is fine, but I had more than enough of it at Strategicon. I'm sure I'll revisit Yggdrasil in a month or two.
From gallery of waxbottle


Inis -
After doing a bit of research, I decided to pick up Inis. I like drafting. I'm starting to like troops (dudes, clans, etc) on a map. Inis seemed like the perfect game to explore next. Guess what? I really enjoyed it! I love that there are no points to keep track of. There are three different victory conditions and, once any player is meeting one of them, they must declare "check" to win. It's such an interesting game and I can't wait to play again.
From gallery of waxbottle


1 play
Catan -
My friend had a board game birthday bash and when some of the guests heard that I had never played Catan they tied me to a chair and forced me to play... Well... It wasn't quite that dramatic but they wouldn't take no for an answer.

For all of the bad things that I've heard about Catan over the years... I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was simple and it was fun. I also enjoyed how players could freely trade resources. I'd play it again.
From gallery of waxbottle


Azul: Summer Pavilion -
I'm not the biggest fan of Azul but it's good for what it is... It's easy to learn and has just the right amount of take-that for a fun, casual game. I finally managed to play one of the newer versions of Azul at Strategicon... Ultimately, I was a bit disappointed with Azul: Summer Pavilion. It felt simultaneously more complex and more forgiving which, to me, made it a less interesting game. I'll stick with the original Azul.
From gallery of waxbottle


Incan Gold -
I with a group of strangers at Strategicon and, while I usually don't enjoy push-your-luck, Incan Gold was pretty fun! I like that players can calculate risk and that everyone has the same odds. Players choose when to continue and when to stop. I find it interesting that sometimes players lose out if multiple people decide to stop. I'm hoping to pick this one up one day if I can find it for a decent price.

Rallyman: GT -
Speaking of not liking push-your-luck... Rallyman: GT is my favorite! I've usually got a game or two going on Board Game Arena, but, last month, I decided to share my Rallyman love with Strategicon. I ran a 101 session where I taught and played a game with a few strangers. It was a great time!
From gallery of waxbottle


Concordia Venus -
Concordia is in my top three games! I always struggle to do well but find it engaging from start to finish. I also appreciate how beautifully designed it is. I just recently purchased the digital version and am hoping to get in a few virtual plays against the AI so that I can get better. But... waxbottle, why don't you just wait for the upcoming expansion Concordia Solitaria? Nah. I'm not a solo player. I'm also not interested in adding a bot to my 2 player games.
From gallery of waxbottle


Summoner Wars (Second Edition) -
I had much more fun with this than expected, but I don't think I can commit to learning and playing with every faction. It feels like this is a game that I could dive deep into... I'm not ready. It's a good one though! Summoner Wars felt just like the tactical RPG video games that I used to play when I was a kid. Fun stuff!
From gallery of waxbottle


The Voyages of Marco Polo -
It's been a while since I played this one. Played with a group of friends and a few people that we met at Strategicon. I struggled to accomplish much of anything but still had a great time. Once I realized that I had chosen the wrong path to travel down, I decided to sit tight and focus on contracts. I ended up fulfilling the most contracts but didn't make it to Beijing. If I recall correctly, I wasn't too far behind the winner.

While at Strategicon, I sold my copy of Marco Polo II. I really enjoy how tough the original game is. I'll have to hold onto my copy... Especially since it may be hard to aquire the Marco Polos in the near future.

Great Western Trail -
Strategicon was a blast! I ran a few tournaments, taught some games, and played some of my favorites, including Great Western Trail. I will almost always never turn down a game of GWT. I played a late-night (early morning?) game with a few friends. I ended up moving far down the track and hardly picked up any cows. My friend went cow heavy and won... We were so tired and Straticon's library copy of GWT was missing a score pad... If we calculated score correctly, he only won by one point. Such a good game!

The Castles of Burgundy -
I've been playing quite a bit of Castles of Burgundy on Board Game Arena... I'm up to five games and four victories with friends. All of this reminded me of how much I enjoy the game... I know, I know... Some might say that it's a spineless multiplayer solitaire point salad extravaganza, but I love it! I dusted off my copy and played a game with my wife. She beat me into beige oblivion. Maybe I'll let my physical copy gather some more dust.
From gallery of waxbottle


Best New To Me
I played a good number of new to me games last month... Awkward Guests, Catan, Summoner Wars... But my favorite has to be Inis! It's unlike any game that I've played so far... But I realize that I haven't played many games. I haven't played the other two games in the Matagot trilogy. I've only played one of the games in the Lang trilogy. It's possible that Inis isn't even the best game of this type... That's okay! I enjoy it. I look forward to playing again, improving, and exploring Inis and other games like it.

Did It Hold Up?
I didn't play anything new in September of 2020. I did mention potentially playing Barrage sometime soon... Still hasn't happened. I either need to sell it or play it!

How'd I Do On My September Goals?
- Log more than 20 plays
I did it! I logged 30 plays in September and I'm pretty sure that none of them were digital. Strategicon alone was responsible for 20 of those plays. Not sure when I'll be able to hit 30 again... Summer time, maybe?

October Goals
-Play a game at least 5 times
This sounds like an ambitious goal... It's not. I doubt that I'll play Brass five times... I'll probably just end up playing Legendary with my wife. Easy.

Waxbottle Recommends
I've got two recommendations! The first is the weekly TGIF poll. A new poll is posted every Friday... They're a fun way to interact with the BGG community and the discussions are always interesting. I guess this could be a bit of shameless self-promotion, because, for the past few weeks, I've been posting the polls. Here's a link to the most recent poll.

My second recommendation is a podcast about movies... F This Movie. Despite the podcast's name, the hosts love movies and are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to film. They are great at expressing what works and doesn't work for them in movies and they talk about new and older films. There is one main host and a rotating group of co-hosts. It's funny and authentic. You can tell that the hosts are great friends and that they genuinely love movies. This month is Scary Movie Month. I've been listening for about 9 years now... You should take a listen!

September is over. We're two days into October. My blog post is late, but you'll just have to forgive me... I was busy gaming yesterday and today is my birthday. Hope you had a wonderful September and that you have a fantastically spooky October. Peace!

I can never nail this outro part.
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Sat Oct 2, 2021 10:27 pm
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What waxbottle played in August 2021

It's the start of a new school year! I've been back in the classroom for about 2 weeks and I'm hoping and praying that it lasts... I've already got quite a few of my students out because of sickness or exposure. I have no idea what September is going to look like, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be okay.

I didn't get to play very many games in August. Most of the games that I played were either with my wife or with my son... Which is pretty great, if you're asking me.

Let's talk about what I played!

5 plays
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game -
I'm tempted to raise my rating to 5 stars, because it's so fun. It would probably also annoy one or two people, which I'm completely okay with. Legendary has probably been mentioned in almost all of my blog posts... It's the game that I've recorded the most plays of. It's also one of the only games that my wife will actually request playing. It's fun. It doesn't take too long. It doesn't require too much thinking. It's the perfect game for those nights where you're tired but you want to do something together.

Well... We finally decided to take on Apocalypse, and he lived up to the hype. Annoying. Tough. Fun. We lost the first game but won the second. We also went up against Baron Heinrich Zemo and Mojo. Neither of them were as difficult as Apocalypse.

4 plays
Pokémon Trading Card Game -
Maybe I'm just feeling generous? Let's bump that rating up to 4 stars.

I remember playing the Pokemon TCG when I was in middle school... Over 20 years ago. My son and I have started playing the game and it has been an absolute blast. It all started when he discovered my old cards in a drawer. He asked me how to play, so I built decks, bought cards, and taught him the game. Despite my initial resistance, we've moved on and have started playing with the newer cards. We each got a Build and Battle kit from the newest set and have played a few games with those cards. He tried building his own deck but was slightly overwhelmed with all the options. Energy cards, trainer cards, Pokemon... I helped him build a deck and we've played a few games.
From gallery of waxbottle


2 plays
Shards of Infinity -
My wife and I finally beat the "campaign"... It was pretty underwhelming. I enjoy deckbuilding, but it's hard to compete with my favorites. When it comes to co-op deckbuilders... I'd rather play Legendary. When it comes to head-to-head deckbuilders... Star Realms is king. If you're looking for a complex game with deckbuilding as a mechanic... Great Western Trail is where it's at. I could probably get rid of every other deckbuilder that I own and be quite alright.

1 play
Great Western Trail -
Such a great game. I taught a friend who doesn't play games very often... The heaviest games he's played are Grand Austria Hotel and Blood Rage. Great Western Trail isn't much heavier, but it can be tough on your first play. The way that the trains, cows, and buildings interact can be hard to grasp... I'd say that he did pretty good for his first game.
From gallery of waxbottle


Dominion -
I don't think I like Dominion very much. I understand its importance in the hobby, but I'm not very interested in revisiting this one. I don't find any of the gameplay exciting and almost all of the player interaction is annoying. Huh? Put another curse in my discard pile? Sure.

Spirit Island -
I had the opportunity to game with a friend this month. He brought over two co-op games... Robinson Crusoe and Spirit Island. We decided to play Spirit Island.... And guess what? I really liked it!

I've heard so many great things about it that I was so sure that I was going to be disappointed. It was great! We played a semi-easy scenario and he only gave me a bit of guidance. I played as Shadows Flicker Like Flame. I forget which spirit he played as, but it was a narrow win! Did the fact that we win make me enjoy the game even more? Maybe! It's was a fantastic experience, and I hope that I can play it again in the future!
From gallery of waxbottle


Troyes -
I played Troyes with a friend and my cousin. My cousin loves the game... It's in her top 10. I... I need to play it again. I'm pretty sure that I like it. I'm also pretty sure that my rating with go up as I play it more, but I haven't had the opportunity to play it again.

Best New to Me
I don't know... It's a tie between Troyes and Spirit Island. My heart is telling me to pick Troyes, but Spirit Island was just so fun. Which one would you pick, and why is it Spirit Island?

Poll: waxbottle's game of the month - August 2021
Which game do you prefer?
      85 answers
Poll created by waxbottle


Did It Hold Up?
What a coincidence... In August 2020, I selected Patchwork as the best "new to me" game. When my friend came over with Spirit Island and Robinson Crusoe, he gifted me a copy of Patchwork. I haven't played my physical copy yet, but I've played a few games this month on Board Game Arena. Does it hold up?

Yeah, I think so! I still need to play my copy, but I'm pretty sure that it is one of the best 2-player games out there! I'll update you once I find time to play it again...

How'd I Do On My August Goals?
- Play one of my unplayed games.
I played Troyes! I'm hoping to play it again soon! It's a game that I think I'll greatly enjoy once I know how to play it.

September Goals
- Log more than 20 plays
Can I do it? I dunno! This school year has been off to an intense start. Forget all those euros in my collection... I'm hoping I can play more Legendary and Pokemon.

Waxbottle Recommends
Duolingo! I just recently hit a 50-day streak on practicing French. I am nowhere near fluent, but it has been an enjoyable activity when I have some downtime.

From gallery of waxbottle


Feel free to follow me on Duolingo... I'm waxbottle there as well.

I hope you had a wonderful month of August! I pray that your September is safe and full of fun games! My August was great. I'm so thankful for the time that I had to spend with my family and that we got to play a few games! Leave a comment down below! Soli Deo Gloria!
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Thu Sep 2, 2021 4:09 am
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What waxbottle played in July 2021

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”

It's been a month of triple digit temperatures (that's over 38°C for our non-American friends)... Though I did suffer a bit, I loved it! No grading, no parent phone calls, and no Zoom! I went camping, went deep sea fishing, set off fireworks, spent time with family, and played games... I played more games in July than any other month this year so far!

I logged over 50 plays and played over 25 unique games. I made a few new gaming friends and revisited one game that I hadn't played in over 20 years. July was good.

Let's talk about the games I played...

16 plays
Pokémon Trading Card Game -
I've been playing a lot of Pokemon lately... Buying cards, constructing decks, playing games, and tweaking decks. My son discovered my old cards and asked to play... And that's exactly what we've been doing. If you're interested in reading about our adventures in Pokemon, check out this blog post.

Board Game: Pokémon Trading Card Game

party like it's 1999...


5 plays
Terraforming Mars -
Terraforming Mars is decent but it suffers from random card draw. This is easily fixed with drafting, but I'm not interested in making the game even longer than it has to be since it's already too long for what it is. It's not a bad game, but its engine building never feels very satisfying... Even when I randomly acquire cards that work well together.

From gallery of waxbottle

it's getting hot in herre...


4 plays
Hanabi -
Hanabi is such a great little game. I introduced it to three friends this month and they're still talking about playing it again. I hope we can get back to it in August. Our high score was 22... We can totally do better... Maybe?

I've heard the core mechanic of Hanabi described as "What is cheating in Hanabi?" I'd love to play a perfect game with no body language clues, but it can be tough to play without unintentionally cheating. And how about conventions? Is that cheating? I don't think so! I'm even okay with discussing conventions before or after a game. Hanabi is such a fantastic game and it's one of the best co-ops out there.

3 plays
Hero Realms -
I finally had a chance to play Hero Realms! It's fun, quick, and full of neat combos. It was good, but I still prefer Star Realms. Star Realms feels less swingy, more balanced. I could be wrong. With nearly 1000 plays of Star Realms and only 3 of Hero Realms, I might be a bit biased when I say that I prefer Star Realms.

2 plays
Camel Up -
Camel Up has been sitting on my Shelf of Shame for a few months now... It's not that it's too complex... I just haven't had the motivation to learn anything new. I'm glad that I finally played it though. It's chaotic and exciting, and it's a game that almost anyone can play.

From gallery of waxbottle

he's going the distance...


Grand Austria Hotel -
I played once with two friends and once with my wife and my mother-in-law. Grand Austria Hotel works well with three-players but plays best with two. I don't think I'd ever want to experience it with four. Though I've played the game five times now, I still think I prefer Lorenzo il Magnifico andThe Voyages of Marco Polo. I do love that you can pass in Grand Austria Hotel to re-roll the dice (minus one).

From gallery of waxbottle

you can check out anytime you like...


1 play
Raiders of the North Sea -
My brother, my mum, and I played one evening on our camping trip. They don't usually play euro style games but picked up on it pretty quickly. It's a quick, medium-light worker placement game. My favorite part of the game is "the place a worker, pick up a worker" action selection mechanic.

From gallery of waxbottle


Exit: The Game – The Haunted Roller Coaster -
It's become somewhat of a tradition that I take and play an Exit game when going on vacation. I played this one with my wife, brother, and mum, and, though I've heard that it's one of the worst ones, it was actually quite decent. Most of the puzzles were easy; two of them were slightlychallenging.

Warning! Massive spoilers below:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of waxbottle

You were such a rollercoaster
And a killer queen you are...


The Magnificent -
Not sure I'd call this one magnificent, but it was okay. Hard not to compare it to Lorenzo il Magnifico, Grand Austria Hotel, and The Castles of Burgundy... All of which are games I greatly enjoy. I'd try it again!

From gallery of waxbottle


King of Tokyo -
Biggest disappointment of the month! I've heard good things about The King of Tokyo. I knew that it was a simple game but I thought it would have a little more going on. Not sure that I would ever prefer playing this when I've got other games (Camel Up, for instance).

From gallery of waxbottle


Best New to Me
I played a handful of games for the first time this month... The Magnificent, Cover Your Assets, and Magic: The Gathering... But none of these wins the prestigious "Best New to Waxbottle" award. This month's pick is Camel Up!

The presentation is fantastic, the game is fun, and my kids loved it! Though the camel movement is random, it is somewhat predictable. This allows players to take calculated risks. Still, every round is a little chaotic. Looking forward to playing this again with the kids.

Did It Hold Up?
My favorite new to me game of July 2020 was Railroad Revolution. Has it held up? I'm not sure. It's been a while since I've played it probably because my desire to play has been overshadowed by the disappointment of not being able to acquire the expansion. Railroad Revolution: Railroad Evolution has been out of print for a few months now but there has been some talk of a reprint. Fingers crossed!

How'd I Do On My July Goals?
- Play Hanabi on the 4th of July
Of course I did this... I had to!
- Play one of my unplayed games
Though I didn't get to play Troyes or Barrage, the two most selected games in last month's poll, I did finally get around to playing Camel Up.

August Goals
- Play one of my unplayed games.
I'll be back in the classroom next month. It's going to be hard to learn one of the heavier games, but I'll try!

Waxbottle Recommends
My first recommendation is to give blood (if you are able, of course). I made my eighth donation this month and joined the gallon club! Giving blood isn't, in my opinion, too much of an inconvenience. It takes, at most, an hour. I find it to be one of the easiest ways of helping others.

I'd also like to recommend a few movies that I never want to rewatch. These are movies that are good but also ones that I wouldn't want to revisit. They can be ugly, disorienting, and/or emotionally draining. Here's a small list of movies that waxbottle recommends you don't watch (listed in order of release date)...

1. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)
2. Hereditary (2018)
3. Marriage Story (2018)
4. The Father (2020)

Did you watch anything good lately? What'd you play in July? Did you catch all the song references under the images? It started with Pokemon but I got lazy half way through. I hope you've had a wonderful July and I hope you have a fantastic August. Leave a comment down below!
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Sun Aug 1, 2021 7:04 am
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