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The Dragons Forged in the Castle Dungeon about the City of Gods

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

It's Friday!! On Friday's you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming @ 2pm CDT. I will rundown the cool games I have been playing and what I am excited to play coming up, and who knows what else?!

Here are a few of the videos Michael and I played on Wednesday! If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch.

The main event for the evening was Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion!


Join along as we play 5er Finden and see if you can beat our score!



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No one knows what day it is so my awesome calendars are now on sale with free shipping for $8. (US Only) https://stephsshop.ecwid.com


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Since Three-Dragon Ante is going for some $ Michael decided to sell his copy and play it before. New to me!

There was a new edition that was just released but the older edition still sells for more than you would normally think.

Three Dragon Ante is an interesting card game where players will use cards from their hand to create a kitty then try to fight to gain the coins from the kitty. The game will end once one player has no more coins or you just call it at a certain time limit or a number of rounds.

Each hand of cards will be played out one card at a time where 3 cards will be played total or the money is all gone. All of the dragons have unique abilities that might steal from the kitty or other players. Some of the dragons gain you more cards. Lots of things might happen!

If you can get 3 of the same valued dragon down you get a bonus or 3 of the same type of dragon you get a bonus. All these little rules give the game a lot of strategy in how you play out the round.

I actually had a great time playing this game and think it is light and fun. I will definitely want to pick up the new edition at some point and play with 3 players. 2 players played out pretty well but I think 3 players might really change it up a bit for a more cutthroat feeling. Adding a 4th player might be too much for me, but I definitely want to play with 3.

this was a surprise hit for me. Very cool game.

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One night I randomly asked the group if anyone was around to play a game and hey I found takers. I have been wanting to play Suburbia for a while now, but Shrey doesn't love it and we settled on Castles of Mad King Ludwig!

This also made me happy since I love both of those game. I haven't played either of them in quite some time!

The TTS mod doesn't have the CoMKL with expansions so we just played the base game.

I definitely have had the most experience with this game which gave me a leg up for sure. I am not sure Derek had played before, but if he did it was long ago.

I was focused on getting as many common goals as possible, but also working on completing my personal goals. I dunno why but I always choose to go for the very difficult to collect all the room types for 8 points when the starting goal card is given to me. It is definitely easiest to do that in a 4 player game since the game is longer and you are more likely to see all of the tiles. So, I went for the goal. It is so challenging to get all of the types, but I did manage it! Woohoo!

Not only that but I did very well with the common goals as well. I was buying a lot of cheap tiles since I was low on the money most of the game. Suddenly I turned it around with one good auction phase and people spent TONS of money and I ended up with the most money at the end of the game, so it was like an added bonus, since I wasn't even going for that goal and it was one of the common goals.

I won 125 and Shrey was in second with 101 and Pat at 100. Derek had 86.

So glad to play this again! It is certainly still a favorite and that clever auction mechanic is just brilliant. I wish more games had that mechanic. Luv it!

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We have been playing many games of Dice Forge on BGA as a closing game. It is crazy how fast Dice Forge is on BGA. We play the full game in under 20 minutes. That should happen in real life, but it doesn't since people have to manually change the die faces.

I am seriously impressed with the BGA implementation of Dice Forge.

There was one game where Shrey just got a CRAZY amount of gold it was 6 x 3 and he completed his mini-games, it was too bad he didn't have more uses for all of that gold in ONE ROLL! It was absurd.

Anyway I won the first 2 games we have played and Shrey managed to win a 3rd game we played at a different time. I just needed to roll better.

Such a great game! I am glad we are able to play it online! Check it out for sure.


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From gallery of punkin312


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Derek and I managed to convince Shrey to play a game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods on BGA! WOOHOO!! Shrey isn't the biggest Teo fan, but Derek and I both love it!! We do with that expansions were available online, but maybe they will come with time.

It was so exciting to play this game again. I don't play it nearly enough or as much as I want to. This is easily my favorite "T" game especially with all of the added expansions!

This game, I made it my goal to get up as many different temple tracks as possible. But I was also highly focused on getting decorations on the board. I was extremely successful in the first era and got like 3 or 4 decorations down. I was the queen of gold! I should have gotten more technology tiles though since I needed more cocoa so badly!

It was harder for me to get up the temple tracks as no one was going for masks and that made it harder to get the good bonus tiles from the locked locations. Derek was on a roll just building up the pyramid and getting resources for the houses and the avenue of the dead. Shrey was all about technology and getting points from building too.

During the final score, I wasn't sure I would be first place since everything sort of fell apart and I missed out on some big plays I needed to do. #mistakesweremade

Derek won with 160, Shrey had 151 and I was LAST with 143. I was shamed! ugh, I needed to focus better, I am not sure what happened, but I need to do better than that next time!

So much fun! I know Shrey liked it better online, so hopefully, we can get him to play again! LOVE IT!!!

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Shrey, Dan S., and I have been playing asynchronous games on BAJ and Shrey asked to play a game of Dungeon Lords. Since I hadn't played it before, I asked if we could play a live game of it before starting an async game. So Derek, Shrey and I played one night! New to me!

I have always sort of avoided this game since people have complained that is it so long and the game is fairly complex, but Shrey had good things to say about it and I was willing to give it a go.

Shrey did an excellent job teaching, so well in fact, that the game wasn't that complicated to understand at all. The only bit of confusion lies within the fighting and how the enemies attack, but it was all figured out.

This is certainly a big game, with many things to consider. I love the simultaneous action selection and how cards will be locked up for the next round. There is certainly a lot to get done in a very short amount of time. The added stress of losing out on an action because it is overcrowded. It is tough being a Dungeon Lord...

I didn't really have any set goal in mind when I started playing. I figured staying happy and getting food and gold. I should have focused on getting more monsters since I ended up with a bunch of leftover food at the end of the game. I had completely forgotten about the amount of gold I would need for the caverns I had, so I ended up losing like 9 points for missing gold at the end of the game. Ugh, we had abysmal scores.

Hey, I ended up winning with 9 points!! Shrey only got 1 point and poor Derek was destroyed with -11 points.

Very interesting game, I can see how people wouldn't enjoy a 4-hour experience. I think it took us about 90 minutes after teaching so it was fairly quick. Derek and I were just sort of playing without a target, so perhaps the next game I would want to consider more options, but overall I had a great time playing.

I have since started the async game, and it is going well. I am still trying to figure out strategies and what might qualify as a good round, but that will come with time. Definitely a game I will want to play again.

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Shrey has been mentioning wanting to play a game of Porta Nigra.

Derek hadn't played before and Pat did a while back. Shrey went over the rules and we played. Last time I played was a WHILE ago, but I always enjoy playing this one, which is why it remains in the collection!

I always try to get easy builds in the first part of the game especially when they give me the added building card bonus. I want to try to gain that building upgrade cards as best as I can for the huge bonus at the end of the game.

I was also trying to get a very TALL tower in the Porta Nigra area, Pat ended up getting the biggest tower there with 8 blacks, but I wasn't going for black bricks I was going for yellow bricks.

For the entire 2nd half of the game, I was sitting in the yellow district. Slowly collecting yellow bricks for the final turn to move and place the large yellow tower. I was down to my last $1, which was perfect since I planned everything correctly. It is so hard to judge how much money you will think you need going into the second half of the game. I ended up taking 13 points and $5, and it was basically the exact amount I needed to get it all done.

I ended up crushing everyone. I had 184 and Pat was in 2nd with 164, Shrey 159, and Derek 140. I think Pat had like $10-20 leftover so he really should have taken more points during the mid-phase of the game. Critical moments! Love this game.

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New to the Collection:
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game – Season One





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Ginny and Felicia Battled in the Chicken War as they Hounded the Tsukiji Market... A Bunch Reviews!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!

Join me tonight @ 5pm CDT on my Twitch Channel as we attempt to take on Voldemort and new encounters in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion!!

Michael and I will take on the BOX 1 challenges! Fast review in this blog to learn more about it.

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No one knows what day it is so my awesome calendars are now on sale with free shipping for $8. (US Only) https://stephsshop.ecwid.com

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Ever since I learned about On the Origin of Species I had wanted to play it. Beautiful artwork and interesting theme. I was excited to hear it was going to be released in the US so it would be easily accessible. New to me!

I got to Host Genius Games/Artana during Gen Con Online and was instantly impressed and wanted to play.

The rules are very simple, you will either place cubes on your turn, or you will complete a discovery and score points. Each time a new discovery is found, the boat will move along, and eventually, it will trigger the end of the game.

When you place cubes to locations you are finding new resources that will be used for discoveries in the future rounds.

There are mid-game goals to try and gain points from, and there is a big end of game common goal to also work towards. Each game will be totally different since there are a LOT of different objectives that might show up.

When you complete a discovery you will often get cool book cards and boat cards with interesting one time abilities.

Michael and I set out on our journey to discover new creatures and gain knowledge. We ended up with some more difficult initial discoveries to find, so we both had placed all 8 cubes before discovering any wildlife.

There is an interesting mechanic where you have to place the discovery between locations where you used the resources from, so there is a bit of a spatial element to the game.

Michael used up all of the prime real estate in the center of the board. You can place over the smaller tiles with larger tiles, but it can be hard to do that. Michael found a special map card that allowed for him to build the higher valued tiles, and I never found that tile.

He then went on a stampede to destroy any tiles with my cubes on them. I did get 1 point for each cube he stepped on, but it was seriously rough since I was losing all of my resources. It felt like a crushing defeat every time he did it. Fortunately, I managed to keep getting small points here and there with small discoveries, and I managed to win the bulk of the points from common in-game goals.

I knew that come the final goal check, I would lose the game since I didn't manage to get many of the requirements. So I managed to hold my own throughout the game, but I still lost in the end. Michael had 59 to my 51.

It seriously felt like the map card was very OP since I couldn't ever find one. Hard to really know without playing a bunch more. I do want to try again with the advanced rules of set collecting the types of animals. Top-quality through and through with the production values. Beautiful game. One I would gladly want to play again!


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We had planned to play over the weekend, but my TTS was being all sorts of crazy, so it got postponed till Monday night when a bunch of us got together to play TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET. New to me!

Pat had played before and enjoyed it. Shrey and Dan both read the rules and Shrey ended up teaching me and Derek how to play.

In Tokyo Tsukiji Market, players are trying to have the most money at the end of the game. It is hard not to directly compare the game to Container since it has a mechanic where you go out and gain resources (fish) and bring them back and put a price that other people can buy it from you. While you want people to buy from you, you also want to be buying resources from other people so you can bring the items to the market in order to sell and gain money that way.

There are a lot of modules that you will randomize at the beginning of the game for a lot of variety from game to game.

I am always impressed with the amount of content that Jordan fits into the tiny boxes and always a big game experience too.

So the 5 of us started out without any real strategy in mind. A few people got a second boat right away and opened up their docks. Pat was the one all game who was really fishing a lot. I figured I didn't want to fish all that much. I just wanted to buy people's fish and use the market boards to the best of my abilities.

About mid-way through the game, Shrey and Pat were the eel collectors and running this eel market without selling the eels so the eel value was quite high as a resource.

Now the game can end if at the beginning of your turn you have over 50 points of resources or over $5000 without having the fewest amount of resources. I could have triggered the ending a few rounds earlier, but it wasn't in my best interest since the eel market was just crazy high and everyone would have sold their eels for bigger money that I would have gotten. I tried to get Derek to sell some eels, but he didn't listen to me. Of course, Pat's next turn his eels cause him to be over 50 resources so he triggered the end of game, and everyone got one more turn.

Pat sold off his eels and then Shrey and Derek's eels lowered considerably in value, so they missed out on their chance. Pat won the game with $9300. I managed to get a solid 2nd place with $8700 since I was buying and selling other people's fish to the aquarium and marketplace. I really was making it work without fishing all that often. It wasn't a good enough strategy in the end. Everyone else: Shrey $5900, Derek $5700, Dan $5200.

The turn order seemed a bit rough at times since pat was really the only one fishing a whole lot. Derek and Shrey were in the crab business, but it wasn't really panning out.

This game is super challenging and at times frustrating. Overall I think I like it, but I would definitely want to play again with fewer people to see it that helps the turn order issue. There might be a variant posted online too we could try. Overall interesting mechanics and cool production.


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I KNEW I wanted to feature one of the new Harry Potter games that I just got on the Livestream, so I asked Michael if we could play the first part of the new expansion for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion. New to me Expansion!
I already love the Hogwarts Battle game so I was SUPER excited to see some of the new expansion being released at Gen Con! I think the full release will be soon too! Before going LIVE with the expansion I wanted to be sure I knew how to play and prepare myself for anything new the expansion had to offer.

Right out of the box, I was super pleased to see they added Ginny as a new character to play as, so I chose her, of course! There are new features you will add to your player character sheet that is called Charms. This will give you an on-going ability during the game to help you and your fellow teammates.

There is an added rule, that was first introduced in Toy Story, which adds the same type of cards to the same stack in the buying section. This is a much-needed addition, and it is super awesome they incorporated it in with this expansion as an official rule.

Next, it will need a rule about listening to HP music as you play, or you lose.

So in the first box we have new villains to defeat and dark arts to overcome, but we also have encounters to face as well. The first encounter was especially hard since you need to have played 4 item cards to defeat it. This was incredibly difficult because we had a villain up who was BANISHING the top of our decks left and right. In a matter of 2 turns, we lost 4 cards and 3 of them were our starting item cards.

Fortunately, Michael and I were very good about building our decks and defeating all of the villains down to Voldemort. We couldn't TOUCH him until we defeated all of the encounter cards. It took a long long time, but we eventually got there and when the time came I was able to defeat Voldemort in 1 turn flat.

I was super Ginny for the win.

I think we learned a lot from this first battle and we will be ready to do it all again on the Livestream tonight! So join us tonight. Hopefully, we won't disappoint you and lose horribly! Hey, anything can happen!

For now, I am super excited to play this game more and see what lies ahead! Such a great game!


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Since it was quick, Michael and I played a game of Chicken War. New to me!

Chicken War is a Super quick deduction game. You want to try and guess the head chicken for the other player before they can guess yours.

At the start of the game, you will set your head chicken by placing a small token underneath. You might also win if you can get the rest of your chicken group to match the leader chicken in ONLY 2 patterns. There are 4 possible patterns that can match: eyes, weapon, color shirt, shoes.

All while you are trying to better your troop of chickens to match your leader.

On your turn, you can draw the top card of the stack and replace one of your chickens in line. You can also use a special ability that you start the game with. If you want to accuse another player who their leader is, you can do that instead. If you are right you win! If not then you will need to lose 2 of your chickens from your side. It is rough, but it has to be done!

I thought I had Michael all figured out when in reality, I was so far off. I was using my special abilities to steal his chickens and make them mine, but he would just steal them back!

It was hard to maintain my ground with valuable chickens in the troop. It didn't help that I was drawing chickens that weren't really in-line with what I was going for.

I was ready to guess Michael's leader but then he decided he knew who my leader was. He was right... Dang, I didn't even think he was paying attention to me. I would have been wrong with my guess, so I was going to be hosed either way!

he wasn't very obvious with his chicken leader, and that is what you want to go for when playing. I was super obvious, I guess.

Love the eggs provided in this game, they are wicked cute. This is a very cute kid-friendly game. It is one I would have loved growing up so I would definitely recommend for families who play games. Even challenging for adults too. Definitely the simple-side of deduction but still fun. I would play again.


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The family got together over Zoom and played many rounds of Bye, Felicia!.

I am glad this game is going over so well with the family since it has been a lot of fun to play!

I was definitely not doing as well as I have in the past. Some categories are just too hard to think of things on the spot!

Christina won this game of Bye, Felicia! She has been kicking butt!

This is definitely one of the best party games to play over zoom as everyone has been loving it. I can't recommend it more, especially for casual gamers who just want to have a fun time.


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Michael and I pulledone off of the unplayed shelf called Hounded. New to me!

Hounded is a 2 player abstract game where one person plays the fox and the other player is the hunter with dogs. The hunter wants to trap the fox and the fox wants to flip over as many tiles as possible and find the three day symbols to win the game, or have 6 left uncovered and will win that way.

Some of the tiles will give the fox special abilities or a fox den will allow the fox to jump from location to location. Each piece has its own movement and something it is good at doing. For the hunter to win he has to be within range 1 of the fox when the fox ends its movement.

Michael and I honestly thought this would be a one and done game, but there is a lot more going on here than it first appears, and it is super cute!

I was hunting Michael, the fox, like it was my job! I had my little digger dig up the ground so the fox would find fewer bonuses. I was also on the lookout for the baby fox! I was doing incredibly well and enclosing the fox and giving him very few options for when he moves. I figured it would end in success!

To my dismay, the game ended when I was about to win, but Michael ended within range 1 of me and turned up the final day symbol for the win! Maybe I won and maybe I didn't... there were no rules on this specific situation but we gave the win to Michael which was very much ill-deserved! So frustrating!!

In the end, we both had a very enjoyable experience! It was a crazy ending to a fun game. Turned out to be a keeper. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoys games like Tally-Ho or small 2 player abstract games. Its nice.


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If I had a Gen Con Haul it would look something like this:
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New to the Collection:
Smartphone Inc.
Smartphone Inc.: Status Update 1.1





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:00 pm
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Hey a new Twitch Channel!! Come Back to the Future to see a Marvelous time!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

No one knows what day it is so my awesome calendars are now on sale with free shipping for $8. (US Only) https://stephsshop.ecwid.com


Random pics I took for choices in the 2021 Calendar:

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Some exciting news!! I have started a Twitch channel! twitch.tv/boardgamersteph I hope to have at least 1 playthrough of a current game I am enjoying with Michael on Wednesdays. On Fridays, I will have a Hodgepodge of topics but my idea would be to talk about games I have just gotten and am excited to play and other games I have been playing. Maybe a rundown of the blog content. All of the videos will be posted to my Youtube channel after the fact if you miss out on the stream.

Michael and I started the stream with Back to the Future: Back in Time as it is cooperative and fairly easy to follow along and have a good time. The video is posted below all of the images that I took for the game.

Michael and I played 2 games prior to the Livestream so we were pretty confident with teaching and playing through if there were any questions from the chat. New to me!

Back to the Future: Back in Time is different than Dice Through Time! They do share the same theme, but Back in Time is only set in one timeline.

Back in Time is a cooperative game where players have to advance the love track for Lorraine and George to fall in love and get the Delorean to the final street so it can power up to 88MPH in time.

If the picture of Marty and his siblings fade to nothingness, the players lose, or if the time runs out and you haven't met the correct conditions you lose. Tough game!

Each turn the time tracker moves forward one space and events will happen. Biff will likely move around and try to break up George and Lorraine destroying any love connections they might have made previously. There might be a Trouble event card or the photo might fade. Once all of that happens, the active player will take their turn using the powers on their player board. Power tokens can be activated once per tern to gain dice for challenges or to move 3 spaces. different opportunities may arise and if you can overcome them, you will gain additional powers that are bigger and better than your starting powers. Each player also has a unique ability to help out other by moving other pawns around the board in some way for free.

There is definitely a lot to do! You will want to move the love birds around the board as much as possible to stay away from Biff, all while trying to pick up more opportunity cards and move the Delorean.

Michael and I ended up playing 2 games back to back since we lost the first game so badly! We were too focused on getting power tokens that we sort of left everything else go. We weren't focusing on Biff at all and the love birds weren't a concern. We called it quits after halfway through since we had made zero progress!

Lesson learned from that first game. The second game went much better, as far as plans and operations went. I couldn't have a successful roll to save my life!! It was craziness! Michael was still focused on getting those power tokens, but he was also trying to gain the parts we needed and move the car along. It went MUCH better. We nearly won if it wasn't for a string of bad luck in the final round. I think I needed only a couple of hearts to get the lovebirds in check, but I rolled like 3 Biffs and set the love way back. Ruined at the end!

Fortunately, Michael and I found our victory in the 3rd game we played on the Livestream! We had a great time if you wanted to check it out below!

very cool game, I am glad we were able to start the stream with such success. I hope to jump on the Livestream a few times a week if not more going forward, so it will be fun to see how that develops!

I would definitely recommend this game to any Back to the Future fan! Very solid cooperative game and one that I will definitely be playing more of!

Back to the Future
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Michael and I did a playthrough!!


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Since we were in a cooperative mood, Michael and I decided to try out the new Marvel game called Marvel United, which was provided courteously from Spinmaster Games for a review. New to me!

Ohhhh boy, Michael and I dueled to be Capt. America... I surrendered and choose to be Iron Man instead. Ugh, not cool, Michael, not cool. Capt is the bestest!!

I am glad this is a cooperative game since I could be Capt in spirit. Our mission in Marvel United is to defeat the villain. In the box, there are 3 villains to choose from and a bunch of heroes to play as. Sadly, the heroes' decks are all the same cards except for one unique card. I wish there were more differences between hero decks.

We chose to take on Ultron, this was my choice even though the rulebook suggested otherwise. Ultron is just so cool.

The heroes get t play 3 cards then the villain will play a card and basically ruin us with an action, then we will get 3 more turns. The key for our turns is that whatever card we play the next player will get to mimic it in addition to the new card they play. You want to be sure to play a useful card for the next player to use.

Each location will have thugs and citizens. Ultron will win if all locations are completely filled up. The game starts with the locations over 50%full so we had a lot of work to do from the get-go.

It wasn't clear what we should be focusing on, but we needed to defeat locations so they wouldn't keep targeting us at the end of each turn. One thing we needed to do was defeat 4 locations, so we focused on that. We actually managed to do just that! That meant we weren't focused on saving civilians and defeating thugs. Of course, the wrong Ultron card came up at the right time and all of our locations were completely occupied at the end of the round, and we were hosed.

Whomp whomp. Defeated before we really did much of anything! Ouch, it hurt!

Very easy game to get into. I think this is a great game for families and new players. I am not sure it is very deep on strategy so it won't be one I am requesting to play, but I would play again for sure. Can definitely be a challenge if you don't know how to manage the board.


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Since we were on a Marvel kick, I suggested we play Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power. New to me!

I have played and enjoyed Villainous, and I figured this would be a similar, if not identical, gameplay.

Totally wrong! First of all, all of the heroes are mixed together at the start of the game with some neutral heroes. When you go to Fate someone, you will pull from the deck of cards and maybe, hopefully, trigger the fate on them. You might pull one that belongs to you so it just gets discarded instead. Some events might reveal and you will have to send allies during a later time to that location and defeat the event with possibly help from other players. (we didn't see that in our game though).

I think the craziest change was Thanos and his powers. Thanos has to acquire the 6 stones, which is shocking, I am sure, and to do that he will have to visit other players' locations and take the stones from them.

Otherwise, most of the game will play out as expected.

During our game, I was playing as Ultron, cuz he is cool. I had all these challenges to face and overcome. I basically needed to advance my harddrive to become more and more powerful. Some of the requirements to do so was to kill off the ally Sentry cards in play. It is so painful to discard cards that take so much power and actions to get into play. But, it was my goal so I did what I was told. As a result, I got cool abilities handed to me during the game.

Meanwhile, Michael was scheming and getting Stones into play fairly easily. He would make them appear in my location and then come over and defeat my Sentries (before I could use them for gain) and take the stones from me.

The biggest downfall I had was when Michael put a fate play on me and sent Vision my way. He was keeping me from gaining 1 power each time I gained power tokens. It ruined me right then and there. I was in desperate need of power tokens. It made it impossible for me to do much of anything.

I still managed to level up 3/4 times before Michael won the game. Had Vision not shown up, or Michael didn't have his power card in play all game, it would have been a different story, I just know it. He was working on great combos and making it all work.

I think this new Villainous game is pretty good. I like the weird powers. I didn't like the new fate deck though, I prefer the Disney Fates better. I also like the quality of the Disney Villain pawns better than the plastic ones. But, it is always fun to have more villains to play as. I would definitely be playing again soon.


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Shaka Shredders has some adorable art and magnetic switchtops on cards, so I was definitely interested in checking out the prototype when I was given the chance. New to me!

I love the idea of being able to interchange the card tops with the bottoms. I didn't really understand the type of game it actually was when I signed up to play.

Shaka Shredders is a 2 player duel type game clearly inspired by Magic The Gathering. You will get to put cards into play and use their abilities to beat up the other players. You are simply looking to get to 20 points first though, so the game is rather quick.

We read through the rules a few times and they were just horrible. We couldn't get anything answered and just had question after question, so we decided to watch their teach and play through video that they suggested at the beginning of the rulebook. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I shouldn't have to watch your video in order to figure out how to play the game. Yes, the video helped, no it still didn't answer all of our questions.

So we did the best we could with the information we were given. The game isn't very hard, but the rules are all over the place which makes it way harder than it needs to be. So, at this point, I am still unsure if I played the game correctly.

There are no real "set-up" instructions so we just did our best to have the same number of cards in each color as the other player, and hopefully, that was good enough.

Since you need a blue card in order to play a card, you have to make sure you start the game with one blue card in your hand, at least. fortunately, I drew one. If I didn't I would have been sad to have to shuffle the magnetic deck of cards again. The cards are magnets, but I have a stronger magnetic deck than they plan to have in the final version, so it should be easier for the KS backers to shuffle.

I wasn't very good at getting combos out, but I was just trying to level up my card as best as I could to gin bigger attacks. There are so many unique abilities and symbols and it is explained nowhere in the rules. So, it was really all flying by the seat of our pants at this point.

In the end, we declared Michael the winner since he was able to get some pretty good combos.

This type of game just isn't for me. I was sucked in with the cute art and interesting gimmick of magnetic custom cards that I wanted to play it. I really wanted to like it, but I feel it still has a long way to go in development before being a game I would want to play again.


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On the Gen Con Livestream, WEM had designer Ta-Te Wu on to talk about his new games, and he mentioned Macaron. I knew I wanted to play this new trick-taking game, so I contacted Ta-Te and asked him for the Tabletopia code so Derek, Shrey, Dan, and I could play. New to me!

We found time to play and tried it out.

Macaron is an interesting trick-taker with some bidding on how many baskets you can take but also bidding for 2 trumps that will be in play and one allergen that will be in play. You will want to win baskets equal to what you bid so you want to make sure the trump cards will fall in the right place. Now Allergens is the monkey wrench because when you think you will be gaining basket, you suddenly won't be if someone tosses in an allergen card.

Since the game is still in development, I won't get too detailed.

We had a good session, and it was pretty easy for Dan to make his bids and win the game. I liked how one round we had one suit as the trump and allergen, so it really threw everything off and it was hard to know what would happen.

After we finished the game we had a fairly lengthy discussion on the game and invited Ta-Te to our group chat to talk about what we think needs work and what worked well.

I hope he develops the game to have an advanced mode for experienced trick-takers and a more risky bidding scale for that mode as well. There is also team-play which we all want to try soon. I look forward to playing again!

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New to the Collection:
Inquisitio
Darwinning!
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Charms and Potions Expansion
Harry Potter: House Cup Competition
Friday the 13th: Horror at Camp Crystal Lake
On the Origin of Species






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Super Lemonade Stand served the Oracle of the West Kingdom

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

No one knows what day it is so my awesome calendars are now on sale with free shipping for $8. (US Only) https://stephsshop.ecwid.com


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Michael and I continued to work on the unplayed shelf and tried out IUNU. New to me!

I didn't know much about it and the box is not very exciting at all. I am always into the Egyptian theme so it was on the radar.

After reading many comments during set up and going through the rules, we saw most people like this game best with 2 players since you get more cards and actions, with more players it seemed to end too quickly for. I have only played it as a 2 player game, so I don't know for sure, but it is something to consider.

IUNU is a nice card drafting game where you are using cards to build your tableau and for set collection purposes. Each card will have a unique value by itself and added value if there is food on it, also there is a value for having a majority with that card type. Many things to consider on your turn.

You can play only 1 card each turn, unless you have a second of the same type then you can play a second card by paying a coin for it. Then you activate the ability on the card if you want.

Michael and I didn't really have a strategy in mind, so we just went with it. I was going for unique abilities and grabbing cards I thought were powerful. There are hidden goals you can work towards, but you have to first find and play a scribe in order to get a hidden goal card. So I made a point to do that as early as possible, so I could start working towards that.

Michael, in the meantime, was focused on getting higher valued cards, which ended up getting him a lot of points. I had a bunch of cards, but they were lower valued. I needed to win more majorities than him to make up for it all.

Oh boy did I get my butt kicked! Michael won that game with 131 to my 116! Guess I have some learning to do!

We both really enjoyed this one. The elegant look and gameplay was a nice surprise. Not too challenging to play, but some clever choices to be made. It is always nice to find a game for the keep pile. Definitely check it out!



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Next up from the unplayed pile was a fast game of Ogre Under. New to me!

I definitely wasn't expecting much from this game, so the bar was fairly low.

Once we opened the box and started learning the game it seemed pretty decent for a family and kids game. You are a merchant with a donkey just trying to get across the bridge. Each round players will select a card from their hand and play it. There are 4 possible actions you can take. You can bid on the market values either being higher or lower than the current values. If you are correct you will advance your merchant forward across the bridge a number of spaces indicated. You might choose to play an ogre card which will flip a bridge tile where your opponent is standing and you hope to find an ogre to send that merchant backward, if you anticipate an ogre you can protect yourself with a protection card, or you can advance you donkey all the way up to where your merchant is with a donkey card.

The race to the other side is on!

Really silly and cute kids game. It didn't take me and Michael long at all to play. I was doing very well with my predictions and everything. My merchant was near across to the other side, but Michael had a slew of great luck and just sent me really far back. I couldn't recover from it and he was able to trot into town like nothing ever happened. He was super lucky! There were 2 instances where I revealed an ogre tile to only find chickens... so he wasn't scared!

Steph lost this one! It should have been mine! This could be a great family and kids game. I am not sure it is only I would play very often or even again, but it was solid.

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At some point, recently, Derek, Shrey and I played our 2nd game of Flotilla. Hey we played with correct market rules! yay!

Man, this game is deep! So much going on, it's great!

This time I decided I should stay on the Seaside a bit longer to gather resources and claim some goal tiles.

I was doing VERY well with in-game points. I claimed a lot of high scoring goal cards and focused hard on that. I didn't even pick up an extra card or worked the yellow wheel tracks at all. I was still the first person to switch over to the skyside of the board and start pumping out that side to gain the points I had planned.

Shrey was the dark horse in this game. He was sitting around 8 points for 2/3s of the game. When he hit that last 1/3 of the game, he was full throttle and got loads of points from everything he was doing each and every turn. It was really unbelievable. What the heck. Derek and I were baffled.

In the end, Shrey managed to knock it out of the park with a score of 148. I was happy I still ended up beating Derek with 130. But he was right behind me with 129. really tight game with so many strategies in play. It is really a fantastic game with lots to explore. I can't wait to play again.


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Like always, we have been playing a bunch of The Oracle of Delphi and it has been amazing fun!

Maybe because the more I play it the better I am getting at it. I know in the recent 2 plays, I have managed to take over and kick butt.

It is always so much fun to see what dice you will get and how to puzzle it all out and make it work in your favor, and if you can't then just get an oracle card in hopes of getting the color you really need.

One of the games, I was losing turns. I think I ended up losing 3 turns, I am not even SURE how I ended up winning that game. Shrey really messed up since he should have won it. But, he wasn't able to find his temples fast enough.

The most recent game, I was just on fire from start to finish. I had ended in round 9 I think, and everyone else needed at least 2 rounds before finishing. That game was definitely my game. It was excellent!

This has been a favorite game of ours during quarantine, and if you haven't played it, I would highly recommend it!


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We convinced Dan to get TTS so Derek, Shrey, Dan and I played Paladins of the West Kingdom.

Playing with 4 players felt very much the same as playing with 2 or 3, but it was a little bit longer, as expected. No real game changers, just more people taking suspicion cards.

I am glad this one keeps hitting the table. I think there is a lot to like about this game. I seem to keep getting better too.

Maybe I figured it out, I had a crazy score at the end of the game because I played just incredibly. Cards were falling into my hand at the right time, and I was able to activate most of my powers more than once each round. The green houses had all been placed on locations and I was using 1 worker most of the game for the specialty actions. I focused on getting the kings favors completed, and I was DONE with them by the 5th or 6th round. I could just focus on getting other points after that and getting my banners up higher.

Maybe after this score of 91, I need to retire from playing the game. I don't think I will be able to beat that score! I was very impressed with it and what I accomplished. Shrey got 68, Dan 60, and Derek 55. My previous scores have been in the 60s so that all makes sense. I have really no idea how I did so well this game, but I will try the game again and see if I can pull it off again!

Great game!

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Michael hadn't ever played Lemonade Stand before, so we opted to play that. I played once long ago at a convention, and forgot the rules, but remember liking it well enough.

The theme is inviting and cute. What I like best about the game is the blind bidding for how many glasses of lemonade you think you might sell. Do you think the day will be sunny or rainy? You can see the forecast, but you don't know what will happen for sure. Do you risk it and charge premium, or chicken out and charge less? It is a risky business selling those glasses of Lemonade!

I was doing very well in our game. I was guessing accurately for the most part. Of course, we were surprised by a hurricane or something that didn't allow for us to sell at all even though the forecast suggested otherwise. Both Michael and I lost a bunch of money that day with our prep work. You just can't plan for that!

I ended up winning this game with $2.90 and Michael ended with $1.60. Clearly I am a better businessman! whoop!

Cute game, happy to play it on occasion, but I think it might be hitting the sale pile at the moment.


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One night I figured I would entertain Scott with the request of Super Motherload as I knew this was a game he enjoyed. Derek hadn't played before and Shrey played long ago. I pulled it off the shelf and went through the rules easily.

I am always amazed by this game. There is so much to consider each turn. You always have 2 actions and you want to dig in order to get gems, but you also don't want to open up the board for other players to grab BETTER gems. It is a very clever deck-building game. Each player has a unique set of 4 cards so you can try different strategies.

This game I was focused on getting one of the major awards as well as getting as many artifacts as I could manage. It seemed to be working out.

Fortunately for me, the guys didn't end it when I thought they would, so I could get ONE final turn and collect 2 cards that were building up gems. It would have been really sucky if I didn't make that happen. I knew I wouldn't get another turn after that, so I opened it up and let the rest fight!

I won the game with 37, Shrey had 34, Scott had 32 and Derek 25! I needed those final cards to get my major award and a bunch of other points, so I am really glad they didn't try to end it earlier!

Fantastic game, that I recommend checking out if you hadn't heard about it.

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New to the Collection:
Masters of Renaissance: Lorenzo il Magnifico – The Card Game
Far Away
Motley West
Merchants of Dunhuang
Tammany Hall





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Gen Con 2020 Highlights as well as some other awesome games that were played. Petrichor Cows! Rosetta: The Lost Language, Sagrada Life, Arcana Rising, & 5er Finden!

Steph Hodge
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I was asked to preview the upcoming expansion for Petrichor called Petrichor: Cows. New to me expansion!

Petrichor is an interesting game and I haven't played the previous expansions, yet! The Cows expansion adds in a bunch of new mechanics that work together. My favorite is the weather track. Cows will generate methane in the air around the board and depending on how much methane is there at the end of the round the weather will change. There are new tree tiles and you can play with one in your game. These trees will score differently and only if the weather is the right temp at the time of activation.

Now, the actual cows are a new feature as well. They will be moving around the board and pooping. A bunch of new cow cards are added to the deck. These cards will allow for you to move the cow and add methane. The methane tokens will be added to the clouds and will be considered when looking at the 4+ and 8+ capacity for thunder and raining. When the cow poos that location will be +1 point for whoever completes it and the token would be removed after that.

Michael and I first played a base game of Petrichor which I was pretty great at! I won 56 to his 52 so he was right behind me. It got us warmed up for the main feature with COWS!

I have to say I love those little cow figures, so cute!! Once we dug into Cow expansion a bit, it was clear I was over my head here. It was a lot to process for me. I wasn't really getting the cards I needed to get drops on the board, so I was spending a bunch of cards for simple actions. It was hard to control the methane since Michael kept taking all of the methane he could get his hands on and it was changing the weather where I couldn't score the tree I wanted to.

It was clear I wasn't ready to throw in an expansion at this time. Michael won 62 to my 40.

If you are a fan of Petrichor and know the mechanics fairly well, then I think Cows could be a nice stepping stone for you to mix it up a bit. For me as a pretty general new player to Pertichor, it was definitely a bit much. I do wish I could just play with the weather and tree tiles with no cows or poo in the mix. But, as it stands this is an expansion but not with modules. I guess I would like to see these different mechanics as different modules. I will be looking for updates if they have changed any of the rules since it is still in development while the KS is going on. Glad to have tried it.

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During the Comic-Con Livestream, I saw Rosetta: The Lost Language being played and I knew I wanted to play it! New to me!

Rosetta is a cooperative party game where one player is the author and the other players are trying to decipher the meaning.

Players will have 10 rounds to guess the meaning of the symbols. At the start of the game, the author will have symbols and a location picture to generate a meaning using those symbols. Each of the symbols should have and underlying meaning as well so when grouped together they make up the bigger meaning. Like "blacksmith" maybe one of the symbols means person and another one means job, and other metal or fire. All these things the author has to think about before coming up with the meaning for the complete set of symbols that has to do in relation to the picture given.

Clues will help the guessers along the way if they don't have an idea. Each time the guessers make a guess, the author has to draw a symbol to represent what they guessed, and it can use some of the symbols from the actual meaning to try and point the guessers in the right direction. See pics below.

You are essentially creating a new language based on what you think the symbols represent.

Michael and I tried the game out and ended up playing 5 games in a row. He was a decoder in the military so all of this came very naturally to him. He was able to think of meanings with a lot of reasoning behind it all. My turn as the author was pretty abysmal. I was trying to not be obvious, but I wasn't doing a good job joining the symbols into an overarching meaning. I was a bit all over the place. It definitely takes practice. I think we won 3 out of 5 games and clearly 2 of the games we lost were my fault!

So much fun! I will try it out with my family over Zoom at some point! I think it will be super easy to play with them online. I do hope they come out with more location cards and perhaps different genres for those locations. Very small box with dry erase pens which is nice! I very much enjoyed my time playing and look forward to playing again soon!



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Spoiler (click to reveal)
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So excited to play the new expansion for Sagrada called Sagrada: The Great Facades – Life. New to me Expansion!

I wanted to just play with everything meshed all together. When Passion hit the scene, I decided I wanted to have 2 end goals to work on. One with the glass die and one that was just normal. So, not only do I have 2 objectives but now with LIFE in the picture, so much more to think about!

There are 3 modules you can include from the Life expansion. You get new orange dice that have arrows and symbols on them. They are placed on a board to the side and can be drafted per normal rules by replacing the die you drafted with one from the board. This orange die is a new color and will give you the change to gain 2 points if you "complete" the die's requirement. You generally have to match colored dice or match the value in the 2 spaces the arrows are pointing to. If you don't do that by the end of the game you will lose 2 points.

Another module is the apprentice module which will use new window cards that have a special space that will gain the player an apprentice card! Apprentice cards are very powerful and will definitely be something you want to gain!

The final module is new public objectives! We always need more of those!

So much awesomeness added in for an even deeper gameplay.

Michael had a lot going on that day so we started this game, but he had to step away halfway through the game. I finished it out in a solo style fashion just to see how it all would end up for my score and personal accomplishments.

I worked hard to get the orange dice to all workout, and I even picked up an apprentice that helped me score the orange dice better! Yeah, I ended up not doing the orange dice so well since I was so focused on the new common objectives. I also needed to worry about my glass die! Oh my goodness, there is just so much to think about and consider each and every turn, not to mention the regular placement rules for the dice as it is! In my mind, I am thinking that works, that works, that works for this and those different goals, while not thinking about the dice I will be placing DIRECTLY next to it and how that wouldn't even work. So in my case, I ended up with 2 empty spaces on the board, which wasn't great, but definitely better than expected since I was worried dice wouldn't come out that I could actually place in the final round.

With so many opportunities to score, my score was the highest it has ever been with 88 points! I have some work to do, but in general, it all felt so good! I love this massive puzzle to solve each and every game. So much goodness from the Life and Passion expansions! If you love Sagrada, just go get the added awesomeness! So much fun!


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Lance from Grey Fox Games randomly asked me to join in a game of Arcana Rising and I said YES! New to me!

I didn't know anything about the game, but it is going to KS. We played as a 5 player game on TTS. It is currently available to anyone on TTS and I think Tabletopia as well. Many of the cards have misprints at this time, but the development is still underway, and those will all be resolved before the final production copy.

Arcana Rising is a drafting card game where you will build up your tableau of cards and hopefully generate tons of points for the win after 3 rounds.

Each turn you will draft one card and either buy it for the cost in the top left, or discard it and activate the 2 columns that are active on the centerboard. Activating the column will trigger all of the cards in the appropriate column. You will often generate resources or later in the game, points.

I loved the game so much from the play with Lance that I wanted to teach my friends how to play, so I ended up playing 2 games in just a few days!

Now, the first game I played with Lance, he was teaching me and another, but the other players knew what they were doing. The other new player and I did the best of the bunch. He won with 42 and I was second with 40. I think Lance only had 29. Maybe they were all just drafting poorly? Or didn't find the combos like I was finding.

I was feeling very good about it all! I wanted to teach Shrey, Pat, and Scott how to play at the first opportunity. So, when we got together over the weekend, I could easily teach since the rules aren't very deep. The strategy comes when you play the cards and figure out how to work your engine.

This 2nd game I played was a hot mess!! I wasn't getting any of the cards I needed or wanted. When I did get the chance to grab cards, I didn't have enough resources to pay for them. Ugh, I was just all off all game. #mistakesweremade Shrey was even worse off though. I think he took a while to figure out what was going on like I did in the first game I played.

The difference with my first play was, I was going for cards that gave points and did extremely well activating and gaining in-game points. I never got that going this game.

Pat absolutely destroyed us with 47 and all his blood money, I mean blood resources. Scott had 30, I was a sad 22 and Shrey only got 8! This is one we will definitely be playing more of!

Rising Arcana has all of the elements I love in a game! For a quick drafting game, it is a game that I would never turn down the chance to play. Since there are so many cards, there are a lot of strategies to try each game! Definitely be on the lookout for the KS!


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Since Gen Con was very draining, I didn't have much energy to play many late-night games, so I just asked Michael to play 5er Finden.

This is definitely a fantastic go-to game when you want something less stressful and more fun. I really love this game. It is a simple joy to play.

Since Michael only likes one style of gameplay that is presented in the box, we always play the first game which gives us time to find as many shapes as possible once the dice are rolled. It is just fun!

I kicked some major butt this game! I won with 59 to Michael's 48. Mic Drop! I have learned a trick to not circle the first things I see... Watch out, I am on it!

Great game, and one I would definitely play anytime! Go get it!

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Gen Con Highlights! Thanks to Barb for capturing these moments for me to share!

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New to the Collection:
Chicken War
Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power
Marvel United
Titanic
who's the G.O.A.T?






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Aug 5, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Rise of Tekhenu's Town Center was a Glorious Encounter for the Fish Cook

Steph Hodge
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Michael and I felt it was time to get more games off of the unplayed shelf... You know, that (those many) shelf (shelves) that collect a bunch of dust. We had been slowly playing the Legendary games, so we decided to finish it off playing the final game in the collection on the unplayed shelf called Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game. New to me!

Yes, this one has some pretty bad art. The avatar cards had me fooled when I first opened the box and saw those, I was like what is everyone talking about this art isn't so bad... soon to find out that each character deck had different art and is quite horrendous. We played it out and sucked it up to see if the gameplay was decent.

Sure, it plays much like the other Legendary games. But, there are various player abilities and a new talent feature as well as some ship upgrades we can acquire. You can play each "episode" as its own mini-campaign too.

Michael and I played through the first game and figured out the first 2 parts of the event deck pretty easily. We were definitely feeling confident, but Michael's cards were not showing up well enough and he couldn't find the combos needed for the 3rd part.

I was hitting fairly heavy and often enough to keep enemies at bay, but man, once that 3rd part hit, we were pretty much doomed. The outlaws were on us and accumulating a LOT of HP because we couldn't kill them fast enough. It went down poorly for us. We weren't able to stop them and win the first episode. Kaylee died followed almost immediately by Mal. It was a sad day, we didn't even make it to Episode 2. doh!

I actually think this is the best Legendary game of them all. Probably since I enjoy the theme so much. Yes, it can use a facelift, but in general, if I were to keep one of the games, it would be this one. It is one I would definitely play again. Seems wicked hard.


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So there is a shelf of games that I have made where I want to try the game one more time to find out if it is a keeper or not, this time we tried Town Center.

I played this game only once before, and it was a long time ago. I wanted to try it again and see if I would enjoy it better the second time.

I just recall the first time I played this it was a nightmare to learn and figure out. So many rules for placement and scoring and this and that. This game turned out to be not much different.

During our game, I didn't have ANY money. Michael was definitely getting all of the income and was able to purchase extra cubes. I wasn't doing anything right.

About halfway through the game, it was clear we just had to stop since I hadn't paid for my office cubes because I had forgotten there was a cost to gain those. Ehhh too much to keep track of and in the end, it wasn't worth my time to finish the game or play again.

To the for sale pile! This game just isn't for me.


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Moving right along, Derek and Shrey really wanted to play a game of Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun and we brought in Dan for a 4th player.

As I just played it with Michael a few days before, I was ready to go and had some strategies planned out. Since it was Dan's first game and first time on Tabletopia, it was a bit of a learning curve for him. We got him all sorted out though and he was fine.

My starting goal card said i would get a point for each space by happiness market was ahead of the lowest-ranked happiness marker. So I knew I had to make it high up on the happiness track so I could score that well.

To my disappointment, everyone seemed to want to move high on the happiness track. I just made it miserable for them to do so. I grabbed a card that basically said I was going first every round with some faith tokens. On top of that, I picked up another card that gave me 2 points if I was going first. It was like a doubly great.

Everything was working out swimmingly until the final few rounds. I had enough papyrus to sweet the cards before selecting them, but I took the cards that were on display and just kept the few points they gave me. I didn't want to risk it and risk losing the few points I could have gained. Turns out the cards that were revealed would have been 4x the amount of point that I ended up getting. Ugh, it hurts to see stuff like that.

The guys will just call me a cry baby since I still won the game. But STILL!!! It could have been awesome. I live for epic moments in games like that would have been. #mistakes.

Hey, I still won the game! I had 86 and Dan was 2nd with 71, Shrey 63, Derek 62. Overall pretty close.

Great game with still so much to explore. It is all about those card combos you can make and little bonuses you can get here and there. Tough choices every turn.


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More from the unplayed shelf. This time we played a game that recently showed up since I won a bundle in the BGG Charity Auction. We played The Glorious South. New to me!

I felt bad since I overbid Derek on this particular bundle of games. He was most interested in this one, so I figured I would play it and then pass it off to him afterward if it wasn't a keeper.

The overall production of the game is very nice. There is a beautiful tapestry type fabric cloth in the game that acts as a "Where's Waldo" type of board. The actual game mechanics are to quickly find the image on the cloth and get rid of your tiles first.

Honestly, the game has a weird sort of set collection and point system, I think could have used a lot of development and reworking to make it actually a better game than it is. As it stands there is no real penalty for not finding your pictures on the map. A real gamer would see the back of the tile and think oh hey, Michael needs that color, I will purposely not find it so it just disappears. A more clever mechanic might have been to hand over all of the unfound tiles to the person who found all of the tiles. There is more incentive to finding where all of the tiles go at that point.

The tiles that were found are flipped over and drafted for players to make sets and gather points.

It was clear Michael would win the game. I had a collection of colors and none seemed to match. Eventually, I found some matches by that point Michael already had a collection of points. He also had tiles that would switch tiles from his hand with mine and he would grab all the higher valued ones. Ugh, it was just a mess. I am not even sure how I managed to get so many points as it is. It was fairly close but Michael won.

So the game is beautiful and I am glad to have tried it, but in the end, it will be Derek's as he wanted it to begin with!

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Michael wanted to check out Fish Cook. New to me!

Surprisingly good ratings from my geek buddies had be optimistic about this game, so I was ready to gather fish and ingredients and make some fishy dinners.

Since it is Cheapass Games, they don't include dice so you need to provide a boatload of D6's which is easy enough to find. They will be used to figure out how many ingredients to put in the market and what fish will be available for the round.

In a 2 player game, there are 3 rounds and you will want to make as many dishes as you can to gain the most money for the end of the game victory.

I was doing very well with the recipes in my hand. It is better for you to play recipes from your hand as you will gain a bonus creation value when you get paid. You can also make the recipe from the school line up of meals or even other player's recipes from what they have already created. Now, if you make from another player they will get the bonus value, but you will have a chance to steal the recipe from them and call it your own. This is important since you are going for the majority of each fish type dish. It can be a bit like Cut Throat Kitchen up in here.

I tried not to spend more money than I had to in order to fill the recipes I wanted to. I tried to make it work, but everything seemed fairly pricey and I wasn't sure on the return value being worth it.

Turns out Michael took a risk and spent $2 on an unknown recipe to see if it would be the magic he needed to get amazing points. It was a mistake though as I ended up winning the game 199 to his 198. Ouch. He could have won that game! Super close and I can definitely see why my geek buddies enjoyed this.

You get a lot of game in a small box. This is one I would definitely play again. I don't think there is anything remarkable about it, but it was enjoyable enough. At least, I think it is worth more than its going rate on BGG. Worth the play.

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Michael had one more game he wanted to play for a while now called Rise to Power. New to me!

In Rise to Power, players are city-building to their own tableau to gain points and various stats. The game ends once one player grows their city to have 8 cards in the display.

During the game, you will use cards from your hand to power different buildings you have drafted from the current or previous round. If you don't power it the round you get it, other players might have the chance to grab it from you and power it themselves. You could choose to activate the card for the ability on it instead of powering it, it is a risky path to take since that card becomes available for other players to build automatically.

Pretty simple city building game. I was working my best to upgrade my buildings as you get more points if you can upgrade them. I didn't really have goals to work on since the cards weren't really falling in my favor. Michael managed to complete all of the common goals before I could do it. I was just focusing on the other types of cards and how to best use them.

I really wasn't sure if I was doing much better than Michael, if at all. It was only during the final scoring when I learned how well I actually did. I did indeed manage to win the game with 28 points. Michael sat JUST behind me with 27. It was THAT close.

Overall, I think the game has some pretty art on some of the city cards, but the power cards are just totally boring to look at. Besides that, the game was fine, nothing really excited me about it. I felt like I was getting a bit hosed because he was getting all of the cards I wanted, and he seemed to get higher valued power cards. I guess I used my cards wisely and made it work to my benefit. This is not really a game I would want to play again. I think it is a one and done situation.


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-Steph


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If you Find the Fairy Trails, they lead to the Shadows of the Forgotten Waters where Pan Am crashed into the Dinos

Steph Hodge
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Michael and I decided to learn Forgotten Waters. New to me!

I didn't really know what I was getting into at the time, but I have been seeing so many posts about it and it all just looked amazing! I also love the pirate theme, so I really wanted to check it out!

Plaid Hat Games has a long line of games with a huge book of adventures. Forgotten Waters has one of those cool books that you will use to help navigate the story and each scenario you encounter.

Forgotten Waters is a game for 3-7 pirates, but there is an official 2p variant (and solo variant) that we decided to use with each of us controlling 3 characters.

The game isn't strictly cooperative, but you will be mostly with other pirates to help the common goal and to help better yourself along the way. When playing 2p, it really turns into a full coop at that point and you try to help each other as much as possible. Well, at least how we play it.

Forgotten Waters has 5 full games to play through each with multiple parts. There is a webpage, so if you wanted to you could play with your friends remotely and everyone can see requirements easily through the webpage. There is also an app that you will explore locations and the app will read you the story as you progress. Often times there will be choices and consequences for your choices. For example, you reveal a location when moving your ship and it is foggy conditions do you sail on full speed, or do you slow down and wait until the fog clears. The person who has the best navigation skills will get to decide which path to take.

Every game presents you with a map, and you will know some of the charted territories, but you won't know what you will find on the open water. Each time you move the boat you will have an encounter of some sort that could end up going in any direction. Maybe an enemy ship you will have to encounter, or maybe you will locate a lost island and find some loot. Who knows! You know where your destination is, you just have to make it alive!

Michael and I started the first game, and it is played out in 2 parts. Since each part is fairly in-depth, we only played through the first part. It was definitely a 2-hour experience. Once we got the gist of what was happening and how to manage it all, it became clear, so I doubt the second part of the game will be as long.

At first, we just tried to see what would happen during any given round, we weren't worried about cannons and supplies. It became very clear very quickly we needed to manage the supplies since everything needed supplies! Well, there are special 2p rules that you have to spend a supplies in order to gain any stat, so that put pressure on us to keep our supplies high, or as high as possible.

Since you don't really know the ACTUAL actions you are taking when you do the worker placement phase of the round, you just have to go with your gut on the icons that are pictured. If it is a navigation symbol you want to send the person who has the best navigation to that space. Some spots can hold any number of pirates and are more common, while other spaces are specifically for only one pirate. If it is red then the action MUST be taken by a pirate or really bad things happen, but we didn't break the rule so I don't know HOW BAD it would have been.

We became familiar with some of the rounds like being in the open water, or encountering another boat, so we could guess on what to expect. What is cool about that though, is that even though we had seen the book page before, the scenario changed so it was a different set of stats for the ship we encountered. Different goals for us to complete and a different outcome altogether. It is a very good use of an app and for keeping the story moving without knowing what might actually happen when faced with an enemy ship, in this example.

By the end of the first part, we were fully stocked with everything including crew, supplies, hull, just everything. We didn't know what we would be facing heading into the final destination. Now, we will get to finish with part 2 next time we bring it to the table!

Loved this experience. I think the book integration with the app is brilliant! I am not sure I would enjoy it as much with 7 people since I would be doing/controlling less of what is actually happening, but I would definitely be interested in playing with 3 or 4 people. Each game will be very different depending on the tiles you draw and the encounter. I think it is really all very clever and a great pirate game. I can honestly say I haven't played anything like it and very much look forward to playing this more!

I ended up taking a lot of pics to start the game, sorry they are repetitive, but I couldn't decide which I liked most!

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I got a bunch of new games that I was dying to try out and many of them were quick, so Michael and I started with Fairy Trails! New to me!

I was excited to try this since it is designed by Uwe Rosenberg, so I am always on the lookout to play his games.

Fairy Trails is a 2 player game where you are trying to make enclosed routes in a grid of cards and paths. Along the closed routes you will want to have your colored houses so you can place a stone. Once a player has placed all of their stones, they will have won the game.

Each turn, a player will select a card from their hand to play to the table. There is a starting card and you will expand from there. You will want to pay attention to what your opponent is doing since you want to make it difficult for them to complete an enclosed area.

During my play, Michael wasn't really paying attention to my GINORMOUS area. He was closing smaller areas and just assumed I wouldn't ever be able to fully enclose my own.

To my delight and his surprise, I managed to fully close off my trails and put down like 10 stones at once. I had caught up to him. At this point, I didn't really have any plans or particular routes I was working on so I was just going with the cards in my hand and trying to make it more difficult for him to close off his trails.

In the end, I wasn't able to prevail and Michael won. I only had a few stones left!!! It was rough, but I will get him next time.

Delightful little abstract card placement game. I really enjoyed it. Fairly simple and easy to get into and play, which is always nice if you don't want to stress over a big game. Definitely recommended.

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Continuing with lighter, easier games, Michael and I tried out 5er Finden. New to me!

I always love learning a new Roll n Write game, so I was excited when I saw HABA was releasing one. I am not sure why they didn't change the name to an English title, but I don't mind. I love colors and shapes and knew this would be a keeper for me before even playing it.

In the box, you will find 2 different ways to play 5er Finden. Michael and I played back to back game so we could see how they differed and which we liked better.

The first game has each player using a different board. Over 6 rounds players will want to gain points from the enclosed shapes they find each round. At the start of each round, someone rolls the 5 dice and provided there aren't more than 2 of any color, players will start looking for patterns on their board using the 5 colors. Depending on the shape, they will get more points. Each player can enclose up to 5 unique shapes each round if they can find them. If you don't think you find more or what to stop you can flip the timer for an extra point and it puts pressure on the other players to hurry up. In the final round, you will double your points.

I really liked this version of the game since each player has a unique board they are working with, it seems a little more forgiving than the other side and other game, which I haven't talked about yet.

Michael and I played through this first game pretty fast and easily. I was finding the shapes no problem and often I wouldn't just circle the first shapes I saw, I would try to find BETTER shapes to score more points. It is a tricky business! We were SO CLOSE in the final score. Michael had 59 and I had 58. Doh!

During the second game, players will play over 12 rounds and only locate ONE shape each round. The catch is that you can only find each shape one time, and you will not be erasing your board after you find it. So, you better hope those shapes work in your favor and that you can make it work. If you don't find a shape that works, you don't lose a point, but you will have to cross out a shape from the pool of shapes and remove that shape from available spaces on your player board as well. It can be pretty harsh if you can nest your shapes together.

I had a very good time playing this game, everything was working in my favor and I was pleased with the dice results turn after turn. Michael wasn't having as much luck as I was though. The scores ended up where I won with 34 to his 35. So definitely much lower scoring and perhaps less satisfying.

All in all, I loved both of the games, but will likely find myself playing the first game with new players and Michael. Definitely a game for any roll n write fan! I loved it! Can't wait to play again soon!

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On to more quick and easy games and this time we tried 2 Minute Dino Deal. New to me!

I mean, with 2-Minute in the title, it leads me to believe this game is very fast, and it is indeed a 2-minute game. More time to learn it than it is to play it!

The game is played over 2 minutes... you set a counter so everyone can see it because every 30 seconds will allow for a better result when you claim something, you will need to be able to see when the clock hits 30, 60, 90.

Before the game begins, a bunch of cards are put on display. Some dino cards, and exchange type card where you can change X dinos into Y dinos ect, and there are ways to sell dinos. Your goal is to make the most money.

In the first 30 seconds, you will be placing your #1 tokens, from 30-60 seconds you will place the #2 tokens, etc. They are numbered 1-4 and the number that you place on a card will indicate how many times you can activate the card, but the longer you wait to play your token, the more likely someone else will claim your card first. Each card can only have 1 token on it. Each player can place up to 4 tokens.

During the 2-minutes you will have to try and calculate how to transform said dinos into as much cash as possible. People will screw up your plans by taking the cards you want, so you need to figure out a work-around to make it all work.

In my 2 player game, I was waiting as long as I could, but I knew which scoring card I wanted so I claimed it on the early side. In the end, I had a bunch of leftover dinos since I wasn't able to sell them all! I still managed to win 14 to Michael's 9, so alls well that ends well.

What is nice, when you play with more players you will see more cards, but the competition will be more fierce. You can also choose to play the game over many rounds so you can keep dinos you didn't sell from round to round and new cards are placed out in a mini campaign-style game. That would be fun.

Super quick and easily one of the best 2-minute games I have played. There are some clever choices and tension on when to claim a card. Overall I was impressed. One I can easily play with anyone!



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As I mentioned earlier, I am always excited to play a new Roll n Write game and this time it was a PnP that is currently available for download called Shadow of the Obelisk. New to me!

I am a big fan of the "T" games in general, so I was pleased to hear there is also a roll n write coming out that I could play. Rainer printed me up some nice PnP quality materials so I could play! Thanks, Rainer!

In the Shadow of the Obelisk, you will be selecting a square token to "tick" one space. Where that token ends up you will claim the top polyomino shape and all other players will claim the bottom shape to use.

When you use a polyomino shape, you will either be drawing that outline on the obelisk in a tetris-syle placement, or you will use that shape to claim symbols for your obelisk in places that have already been outlined previously.

There are many ways to score points in the game, so you will want to gain the most points to win. You can gain points by collecting different symbols in the rows of the obelisk, or the same symbols in the columns of the obelisk. But, other ways you may want to fill in scrolls or fill in the obelisk with pieces to gain higher levels and score points that way. The game will end once a player crosses over the highest level in the obelisk, so you have to be prepared for that to happen if someone wanted to rush the ending, they likely could!

This game moves quickly! You start off slowly figuring out what to do and filling in the obelisk slowly so you can manage to get the symbols in the right over for max points. Then you get higher on the obelisk and the shadow starts casting down and you LOSE symbols that were once available to you. Man those symbols get eaten up quickly and nothing is working anymore.

Ughhh halfway through the game the pressure was really on. I was trying not to build my obelisk too high since I didn't want more symbols to be lost to the shadow. It was a tight balance.

Michael eventually ended it and I was sitting there like WTF, I got nowhere! Quick ending and a bit dazed. I wasn't really sure what happened. I have no idea how to change my strategy for the next game. Everything seemed rushed or tight at the end. I think I need to try and be more fluid with my strategy so I don't get so cornered. I have a lot to learn, it seems!

Overall, I thought it was puzzly and fun. Since it is a PnP, you should definitely check it out! Always fun to try a new game from Board&Dice. Very cool!


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Since last week was Comic-Con and I was live-streaming a lot of interviews with publishers, I got assigned to host Funkoverse and their new title Pan Am. I knew Scott and Derek had played a bunch of times already and that it was available on TTS so I asked them all if they wanted to play before my interview! New to me!

Shrey was awesome and learned the game for us so he could teach and Scott wouldn't have to. Derek wasn't available to play so Pat joined in for a 4 player game.

In Pan Am, you are looking to have the most stocks in the company at the end of the game when Pam Am was at its highest peak. Each player is a small plane company looking to establish routes and eventually be bought out by Pan Am. The more money you can acquire during the game the most stocks you can purchase. Generally, earlier in the game the stock prices will be cheaper and later in the game they will run much higher.

Over 7 rounds players will bid on some spaces to acquire destinations, airports, planes. But, also establish routes between places. At the end of each round, Pan Am will expand and a new round will begin.

The game is fairly simple to understand and you want to do your best to gain money and hopefully, the events will fall in your favor.

I went with what was given to me. I used the cards in my hand to form connections on the board so I wouldn't have to lose my destination cards. It really worked out well, except I was nowhere in sight of the Pan Am spread across the board. I wanted Pan Am to buy me out, but I was banking on some decent rolls to help me sell my routes. In the final 2 rounds, no Pan Am symbols were rolled and I figured I was dead in water. The final round revealed an event that said -sell all your routes at the end of the game. At that moment, I knew I would absolutely destroy this game. It was incredibly lucky to pull that card and played right into my strategy. If any other round 7 cards came up, I might not have won that game at all, but it would have been close for sure!

I won with 18 stocks, Shrey and Scott had 14 and Pat at 13. I killed it. It felt good! I do wonder how it would have worked out with another event though. Does it really come down to the events revealed? It makes me wonder for sure.

Overall, I think the look is beautiful and the game is solid. I can easily see owning this one and playing it. I think it will hold up over time and is worth checking out. Glad I got to learn it before the interview!


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New to the Collection:
Back to the Future: Back in Time
Petrichor
Petrichor: Flowers
Petrichor: Cows (proto)
Funkoverse Strategy Game: Jaws 100
Funkoverse Strategy Game: Game of Thrones 100
Rosetta: The Lost Language






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Firefighters gains Ctrl while the Flyin' Goblins visited the Oracle.

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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I am always interested in trying out 3D abstract games so when I heard about Ctrl, I had to play it! New to me!

Ctrl is an area majority abstract game. Each player will take a color for the game and take turns placing their cubes onto the ever-growing cube conglomerate object thingy. In a 2 player game, you play as 2 colors but will only score for 1 color which you pick at the beginning of the game.

On your turn, you will place 3 cubes and they will have to be in a line starting with one cube that will have to be directly adjacent to one of your pre-existing cubes. After the first cube, you are free to move to the next space even by placing it on a different plain. It might not be directly adjacent, but perhaps on top of another cube that is already placed there.

In the rules, there are a ton of excellent examples on how to play, so I won't get into the nitty-gritty, but you really need to have an abstract mindset when playing the game.

Once you have placed your 3 cubes, you will then place your flag, and the flag is always removed at the start of your turn so you can place it at the end of your turn with that in mind. The flag is key to blocking people from being able to block you and your next moves. If the flag interferes then you simply can't place in that area. Also at the end of the game, the flags will be blocking as well!

So, at the end of the game, each of the 5 sides of the shape will be evaluated. You will gain points for each square you can see of your color on each side. The further out you can make a tower the more sides you can see that cube on and not be blocked by other cubes.

It is tricky with 2 players since all game I wasn't sure what color Michael was going for, though he was sure he had me figured out... mmhmmm So I was just doing my best to block him every which way.

Turns out I was much better at blocking the yellow cubes, or he wasn't playing as defensive with yellow, making it easier for me to block them, I am not sure. I was doing very well balancing the pink and Green I was controlling. He was still sure he figured me out though. Maybe he did.

If the game ends in a tie, you have to look to whoever has the tallest flag so you do want to raise the flag high at the end, but there is something to be said about obstructing views as well. Tricky tricky.

I was pleased with my score of 43, but still, Michael did better with his blue and scored 53. Doh! It really helps when your cubes are way out on the limb and can be seen by 3-5 sides.

This game really surprised me. I had a great time playing and I think it totally works. I love the toy-factor by playing with blocks, but every placement matters and it is a fun puzzle to work out. Highly recommended to those who can appreciate abstract games. Loved it.


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Sometimes, you just need to play a fun dexterity game. Today called for a super cute new game called Flyin' Goblin. New to me!

I am always up for a dexterity game, I LOVE the genre! Flyin' Goblins is a catapulting game to try and shoot your goblins into the castle to gain loot and diamonds! Each round players will be quick to fling their goblins and once they are done with will announce it and other players will have to stop. So, if you only have 2 goblins and your opponent has a bunch more then you will likely have a leg up in finishing first.

Then you will resolve the round by finding your goblins and activating the rooms they landed in. Some rooms are bad and make you lose diamonds, but other rooms will gain you gold coins and diamonds. If you are lucky enough to knock the King off of the balcony, you will gain a special reward for that. More so if you get your goblin into the king's chambers.

At the end of activating all of the rooms, you will have the chance to use the gold to pay for new goblins to join the team, or you can start building a totem.

The game ends when someone completely builds their 4 tier totem, or one player has 20 diamonds in possession.

So Michael and I played this game, and it was super quick. I was HORRIBLE at playing this the first time. I couldn't shoot into the castle to save my life, and when I did I ended up in the pay a diamond space. It was comically bad.

Eventually, I found my groove, but ohh it was a rough start. Michael won that first game easily with 20 diamonds. It was basically no contest. I did manage to buy one robber which helped gain me a diamond each round, but I would then almost immediately lose it... #MiastakesWereMade...

I demanded a replay! So we set up for a second game. That game went MUCH better for me. Since the box was rotated, all of the rooms suddenly changed from my point of view, and I was seeing my options open up. I collected a bunch of gold coins this time and managed to start building up my totem. I managed to get it to tier 3 before Michael ended it again by collecting diamonds.

Michael was incredibly good at this game. He was always able to knock down the king for bonus diamonds. His aim was just on fire. Hard to compete with that!

Seriously charming game. A keeper for me for sure. I love great dexterity games and this hits all the right targets for things I enjoy down to the wicked cute artwork. Very much look forward to playing this one again soon!


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Since there is always time for a fast HABA game, I asked Michael to try out In a Flash Firefighters. New to me!

I am always interested in trying out new HABA games since they are quick and cute.

In a Flash Firefighters is a speed game to extend your fire hose to be long enough to put out the water first and you gain a trophy. You will play over a number of rounds until one person has won 3 trophies.

You will play in real-time with all of the other players. There is a pile of hose tokens and you can flip them in order to make it work in your extension. If you win the round, you actually will have a disadvantage in the next round because you will have to set your hydrant one space back and other players will have an advantage by setting the hydrant one space closer to the fire.

So I have to say I really like that catch-up mechanic or you can start with the hydrant closer for smaller kids to have a leg up at the beginning of the game.

Michael was amazing at this game. I just could not find the pieces I needed. In the first round, I was SOOOO CLOSE! I needed one more piece that I just put in my hand, but Michael called done and he won the trophy.

I was feeling good after the second round since I managed to get that slight advantage of being closer to the flame, so I won that!

After that, I was a bit distracted with Michael's hand always being in my way and I couldn't focus. He managed to win the next 2 rounds!!! He was zippymczippersonn and just destroyed me.

Michael for the win with 3 trophies!

Super cute family game. Plays out wicked fast with easy to learn rules! I would definitely play it again. Maybe I will get better at it.

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Michael and I completed Chapter 2 of Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion!!

I have put all of the photos in spoilers in case you plan on playing the game and don't want to see anything. I also won't talk too much about what happens in Chapter 2 since that could also be spoilers.

I will say that you won't always find an entry that you think should be there. For the most part, you will, but it was kind of sad to not find entries we thought should have been there, even if it would say something like they wouldn't find it useful, or whatever.

Michael and I definitely got stuck in Chapter 2. We went back through the house trying every possible combo and it was clearly something we were missing or overlooking. Some things were just not very clear to us. So, I will have to say some of the parts in chapter 2 were a bit abstract and didn't quite work for us.

The overall experience was really great though. I think they really took the world of Scooby-Doo and turned it into a fantastic Escape the Room type game. I forget what we ended the game with but we were pretty good. Not the best investigators, but closer to best than worst. Let's just say a room for improvement. We just loved to eat those Scooby Snacks.

I would highly recommend this to families and casual gamers or anyone who loves to solve puzzles and enjoys Escape The Room Type games! I had a great time with this!

Spoiler (click to reveal)
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I had the pleasure to play a game of Kokonana! on the Livestream during Comic-Con @ Home with Josh Cappel and Nikki P.! New to me!

I am sure it will be posted in a few days, but it can be currently found on the BGG Twitch channel from Sunday 7/26/2020 recording.

In Kokonana, players are trying to race across the water and find treasure on the other side. Along the way, they will have to pick up a key and then find the appropriate treasure to unlock in order to win the game.

Kokonana is a memory-style boardgame that is great for families and kids. It takes the game Memory and puts a little twist on it. When you get a match you are able to move your runner one space forward even on diagonals. You will also get a free move at the beginning of your turn, so you might not need to make any matches in order to win, just have to keep up!

I was swinging right out of the gate! I got a match after match just from the luck of the tiles. It didn't help me too much since I provided stepping stones for Josh and Nikki to make it across faster than I could! I was stranded at one point!

Nikki made it to the treasure first but didn't have enough luck finding the treasure she needed right off the bat so we all hand another turn to catch up and try to find it ourselves. I didn't have any luck when I pulled the treasure tile, nor did Josh. Nikki won the next turn when she found the right treasure.

I was soooo close! Should have been me!

Very cute game, I am glad we could play the whole game on the livestream. I had a great time. I would definitely recommend it to families. It is a game I would have loved when I was growing up. Super cute.

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Since it has been a go-to game recently, Shrey, Derek, and I played a fast game of The Oracle of Delphi.

During the game, I had the power to use my favors in either direction, which is definitely one of my favorite abilities since I never seem to have the right dice or the right amount of favor tokens. Having the ability helped me out for sure.

This was a weird game for sure since everything was in crazy spaces all opposite from where they needed to be, and nothing really made any sense. It was super challenging to plan during the game. I worked my way to the top right then to the top left doing what I could. Fortunately, I had my blue god all the way up so I could zip to the south part of the board very easily. So I had a major catch-up turn.

In the end, it wasn't enough to fully catch up and beat Derek who managed to knock it out a round before I would have been able to.

I have to say, I blame the skulls since I ended up losing a turn that game. It was rough, as it always is. I have to manage those skulls better.

Such a fantastic game!!

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We had time for another game so Shrey suggested Glass Road.

At one point I was playing this game so frequently! It rarely gets played nowadays. I really don't like it 2p anyway, so stopped playing that way a long time ago. Fortunately for me, all those times playing 2p Glass Road made me really good about guessing which cards people would want to play during the round.

This game was fairly easy for me. I was always on point with my predictions and managed to play all 5 cards in each round. Easy Peasy!

I was feeling really good about my setup with the buildings I was getting and how I was managing the resources. I would have been shocked if I didn't win this game, but stranger things have happened.

Yep, I won with 23 to Shrey's 19 and Derek had 17. I think if Derek was able to copy a few more actions he would have caught up a little because he was not matching anyone.

Great game, I am glad we could play!

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One late night after the livestream ended, I joined the crew for a game of Skull King on TTS.

It is always incredibly challenging to decide on what game to play. We look at a bunch of TTS mods and then eventually we agree on what to play, this time I was happy and insistent we play Skull King. I wasn't good about taking pictures so my screen captures were pretty horrible. One was of the OTHER Skull King game, which we didn't even end up playing, but just looking at it. I do like Grandpa Beck's edition, but I would be willing to try the other one at some point.

I was playing fairly well until I wasn't I gained enough points so that I stayed in the positives long enough. Eventually, I started losing points since I wasn't making my bids. Those pesky Krakens just taking over.

I was down to 20 points in the final round and decided to go big or go home. I bid 0 even though I was holding a Skull King in my hand.... SUPER RISKY. I was taking the chance that he would be eaten up by a Kraken, or that a mermaid would claim him.

Not only did he get eaten by a Kraken, but BOTH mermaids were in player's hands that round. I totally made my bid of 0 even holding the Skull King! I got my 100 points for a 3rd place finish with 120 points. Shrey absolutely killed us with 380 or something ridic.

LOVE THIS GAME!

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Some highlights from Comic-Con @ Home! Thanks, Barb for many of these captured images!


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New to the Collection:
none





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Confrontation of Jaws of the Lion's Response was to build a new Opulent Civilization

Steph Hodge
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Got some cool inserts from Meeple Realty! Now to find time to put them together!!
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Michael and I got in a few more games of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion.

I won't lie though, we had a rough few games. I think we were playing scenario 14 and we played and played wrong by screwing something up, then we started over. The second attempt we also screwed something up and we were NEAR THE END. Ugh, it was fairly frustrating. I think Michael wanted to stop at that point, but we plowed through the scenario again, and finally played everything as we should with shields and whatever else we forgot the first few times.

Successful 3rd play and we continued the adventure to scenario 15. Oh, man 15 was a BEAST. We were brutally owned in the first game.

By this point, we were mentally drained, but I explained my brilliant plan to Michael and we ended up going forward to try and see if we could succeed without lowing the difficulty.

My plan was working very smoothly! We were actually flipping helpful modifiers for the checks and not being screwed over. All of a sudden once we were getting comfortable, everything started turning in a bad way. Missing easy shots and just dumb bad luck of the draw. Swimmingly to sinking just like that.

It was a tough game for sure, and fortunately, we were well enough ahead to BARELY succeed in the mission. I think Michael and I were both on our final turns before it would have been game over. Definitely a close call! I think that's what makes the adventure so pleasing. We had to work hard to win, and it paid off!

I think we will be boxing up this game for a bit while we play through a bunch of other games. But it will be back sooner than not. Always a great time!


Spoiler (click to reveal)
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Michael and I played a few games off of the unplayed shelf starting with Death Note: Confrontation. New to me!

I have seen several episodes of the Anime, so I was definitely curious how they transformed it into a boardgame. Death Note Confrontation is a 2 player deduction game.

One player plays the role of Kira who is out to kill horrible people in the neighborhood based on the news, and the other role is L who is trying to locate Kira before Kira makes at least 15 points of kills.

It is a fairly straightforward deduction game with some luck of the dice and how well you know the other person.

I was playing as Kira who was trying to not be found. Every turn I was selecting the same letter as Michael, and I wanted to select the opposite of what he was picking to make a bonus kill for points. Since Michael was so great at reading me and knowing what letters I would be picking, I didn't manage to get any points that way, and I had no other way but to lie when it was time to make an actual kill on the map. Since you can only lie twice, it was really easy for Michael to narrow down the results and find me.

I am sure he could have found me sooner, but he ended up still finding me, and I was nowhere near close enough to winning. I was only at 10 points of kills. It was super challenging. It would be easier if Michael didn't always match me when I had a shot at bonus kills.

Since there are 2 chapters, I would definitely want to play again as L and try chapter 2 which looks a lot more complicated, but fun. I can see replay value in this game since you will always have different suspects and different dice results. Things will change up from game to game. I liked it.


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Michael picked another game off of the unplayed shelf and this time he chose The Opulent. New to me!

I didn't know much about this game, but he had actually been a part of the game by being a model for 2 poses, so he is happy he could be in the game as a couple of characters. (see pics)

The Opulent is a cooperative game about running a speakeasy. Players will take on the roles of the locations in the speakeasy and ultimately want to make the customers happy so they will spend more money and so we can gain a profit on their exit. There is a campaign you can play through, but the first game you will have to acquire a business license and end the game with so much money in order to win. Of course, the club might be raided and you will lose everything, so you have to hope that doesn't happen!

There are different areas of the club to run. In our game, I was running the front door and the dance floor while Michael was running the bar and the manager's office. Once people enter the club, they will head to the dance floor or the bar depending on the direction on the card and will remain at a location until they are fulfilled with the song choice or drink of choice and then they will move to the next station. Fortunately, they won't be visiting the manager's office so they will leave the club after they have successfully visited both areas in the club.

During our game, we were managing everyone fairly well. We pushed hard in the beginning to get as many people through the door as possible and work from there. It was soon a burden because of the unfortunate die rolling I had holding up the line at the front door. We had people waiting around the block because we weren't getting enough people through the door.

Thankfully, Michael was being a very good manager and was able to help with that and will stocking the bar when needed. The Manager is multi-talented and will focus on spots where it is most needed.

We got raided. It was horrible. We lost all of our money and alcohol. I was sure we wouldn't win at that point since the game was half over and we didn't make any progress with much of anything since we literally lost all our money. It was super rough and discouraging, but we continued to play to see how far we could manage to get.

In the end, we managed to get the business license and ended with $13 bucks and we needed $20 so we really had a great comeback!

It can definitely be swingy, so it probably isn't a game for everyone. I am glad to have tried it. I certainly wasn't blown away by it, but I would play it again for sure. I like cooperative games. I am not terribly interested in the campaign, but I can see trying a few rounds to see how it goes and how the story progresses.


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In a recent trade, I got a real-time cooperative game I had been wanting to play called Pandemic: Rapid Response. New to me!

I love Flatline and I was hoping for a similar experience playing this one. I love chucking dice under the added time pressure in Flatline. In Pandemic Rapid Response, it works a bit differently though. The major difference is that only one player is playing at a time, so there is added tension and pressure as everyone is watching you as you play.

Your mission in Rapid Response is to deliver the goods needed to 5 locations around the world before time runs out. The timer is always going and on your turn, you will roll the dice you have and you have up to 2 rerolls. You can use dice to move around the board, but you will want the same symbols so you can gain the resources needed which are delivered to the cargo area. Someone will have to be in the cargo area in order to actually deliver the goods if you arrive at the right location.

Dice might be locked from round to round in a location, only when someone removes dice from the location and creates waste do you get the dice back. The more dice in the location, the more goods you can make so you might want to keep them there for someone else to try and create more or for your next turn. Just depends on what you need to fulfill the demands.

Michael and I ended up playing the game 3 times. The first time we screwed up the placement of the dice so we reset the game and played on easy mode. We were able to win easy mode with ease, I had a sweet ability that allowed my "plane" die result to be wild. It was awesome.

In the final game, we switched up the rolls and I had the power to move the plane 2 spaces with one plane die result. I still liked the wild better, but this ability also proved to be very useful. We also threw in some crisis events. Those triggered each time the timer ran out so we had to deal with those events which mostly made us lose resources.

Ultimately, the easy mode with the crisis deck was doable and we managed to win just fine. Since we were playing on easy mode, I am sure we will take it up a notch and play on (gasp) Normal mode next time!

I am sure I would play this again, but I would never EVER suggest it over Flatline. I honestly didn't enjoy the 1 player plays added tension. So in the end, I would rather play something else, but if the crowd wanted to play this, I would. Just, Flatline is so much better.


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To my delight, Derek was interested in learning a Civ game and I knew Scott enjoyed Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game so I suggested it, not thinking we would actually play it, BUT WE DID!!

Shrey had played back in 2012 and it had been a long time since Scott played, so I knew it was up to me to teach everyone how to play. There is a pretty good module posted to TTS which includes all of the expansions and is needed in my opinion. The Warfare expansion really helps the combat system in the game, not to mention the expansion adds a lot of cool features and extras that I like to use!

It took a good hour or more to get through the rules. I had to be very clear on everything since there is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of different paths to take in the game.

I got to play as the Chinese this game, and I freaking LOVE the abilities and powers they start the game with. Derek was playing as Egyptians which I think is a great starting nation. Scott was playing as the Germans and Shrey took the English.

During the game, I was trying to help with suggestions about what to do, but I don't want to play the game for anyone either, so I tried not to help too much. We ended up getting a lot of variety in the map tiles we flipped over. I think we found 4 different ancient locations, and we found A LOT of city-states. It was pretty cool to see all the expansion bits making a difference in the game.

I basically always choose military social policy. It is basically a free unit every turn. It is just too good not to do that. Derek was trying to go the culture route, but it is hard to really know how to manage that in the first game.

I had some pretty fierce military strength and I was advancing on my tech tree fairly quickly with all my trade income. Life was good for the Chinese.

Since we had such a long teach and long first half of the game, we ended up calling it quits about halfway through. Everyone had declared me the winner. I was sitting pretty, and I most likely would have won.

But, I think everyone liked what was happening in the game and would want to give it another go sometime soon. OHHHH I hope so. Civ is a 10/10 for me. So many great choices and paths to go. I love everything about this game. I really hope we get to play it again soon! So much fun!

It also reminds me that I still have to teach Shannon whenever this quarantine life is over and we can go outside again. It was a PIFF from a while back I offered to teach a few games, and he wants me to teach this one. So, I am definitely happy to have played it again so I am good to teach it! Love it so much!


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New to the Collection:
2 Minute Dino Deal
Wendake
The Glorious South
Tadmor
The Dutch East Indies





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Super Kraken Attacked Tekhenu in La Stanza!

Steph Hodge
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Oh man, I was so excited to get Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun to the table! This is a game I played a few times online but was really looking forward to the final production copy.

Michael had played online with me in the first game, but we wanted to make sure we had all the rules correct so we started from scratch and made sure we had everything correct before playing.

If you play the game with fewer than 4 players, not many rules change but you do use fewer dice. Another major difference is the statues you place around the Obelisk you are able to activate yourself if you take that action. I didn't utilize that at all, but I can see it is pretty powerful. I think you have to remove a few cards, but otherwise, the world is your oyster.

I knew this time, I reallllllly wanted to get up the population & happiness track. In the past few games, I have been wanting to do that, but for whatever reason, my path always seemed to lead in another direction.

Yeah, you will want to go where your path leads. if you see a cool tech card that gives you cool bonuses during the game, focus on that and get those free rewards as much as possible! It also might have to do with starting cards and the quick starting materials you gain that will also lead you in a direction. All of that at the beginning of the game will help guide you.

This game with Michael I purposely picked starting materials so I could FOCUS on getting up that tracks. For example, I drafted a starting card that gave me 5 resources of my choice and I primarily choose papryus and bread as I needed to build buildings to gain population, and I needed to have papyrus to gain happiness.

I set out on my goals, and it seemed to be going pretty well for me. My initial starting goal card said 3 points per scribe, so I went HARD on collecting scribes all game, it also meant not spending scribes, which was hard since there were MANY times I wanted to, but refrained because it was often better to have 3 points than to do whatever action I had wanted to at that time.

Michael was focused on getting out statues, I figured that was a goal card he had. He ended up taking the majority for the workshop areas, and scoring points for in there. I was just so focused on getting that population up, nothing else seemed to matter as much. I took points when I could and let the rest go.

In the end, I ended up winning 121 to Michael's 91. I did score one thing wrong in the game. I didn't realize that I was only allowed to score 3 end game cards, so my end score would have been 4-6 points less so I didn't end up winning AS much as I thought I did.

Tricky game! I never seem to do enough of anything, but I still manage to get the points, so that works!

Will definitely be playing again soon!

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I will ALWAYS want to try a new Antoine Bauza game, so I was excited to learn the new game called Kraken Attack!. New to me!

Kraken Attack is a family game where players are cooperatively working together to fight off the Kraken and keep the boat from sinking! The goal is to damage the Kraken 3 times before the boat has 4 holes in it. You will play until one of those things happen.

On your turn, you will roll all of the active blue and red dice. Each result on the die will move the indicated tentacle toward the ship, if they are already in the closest location to the ship they will deal damage to the ship knocking over the railing. If there isn't a railing, then they will cause a hole to be made. Holes can not be repaired, but rails can be. If a tentacle is successful in damaging the ship, it will return to the depths of the ocean and will have to rise up again before dealing more damage.

If you roll an eyeball you will have to move the Kraken ahead on the track or if you use a card during the round with a silly face you will have the move the Kraken ahead one space on the track. When the Kraken reaches the ship, he will replace one of the tentacles and then you can start attacking him in an effort to win the game.

After all of the dice have been resolved, you will use one of the 2 available cards you have in order to take actions. If you have a boot you can move one space orthogonally. If you have a weapon you can move tentacles back to the depths by fighting them where they are located. If they are on the cannon level of advancement you would need to use a cannon icon to fight it back. The next level is the gun and the closest level to the ship is a sword. You have to use the appropriate icon to fend the tentacle off. The wrench icon will repair a railing if it has been destroyed.

The game plays out fairly quickly. Michael and I worked well to fend off the tentacles. Since each player has a special ability, we were using those very well. Michael had a cool power to push back every tentacle on the cannon line whenever he pushed back any on a particular side. I was able to just ignore the eyeballs. In hindsight, advancing the Kraken is something you want to happen. The quicked you get the Kraken in play, the soon you can damage him, so maybe my power wasn't all that great. It is hard to say.

We kept the tentacles at bay for the first 2/3s of the game. Once all of the dice were in play, it was a lot harder to manage the tentacles and we were getting wrecked every turn. We couldn't handle it all by ourselves. Fortunately, the Kraken appeared and we could start focusing on damaging him instead of maintaining the ship. There comes a time when you just have to do what you can to win the game and essentially abandon ship.

We ended up dealing the 3 damage needed to win the game, but we were down to only a few rails and 3 holes in the ship. It could have been a disaster on the next turn.

There are whirlpools that can make the game harder. the more whirlpools the harder it gets. I can see easily losing this game if the dice are never being rolled in your favor. I would be interested in trying it on a more difficult level. Michael felt there were no real choices to be made since there was always a clear best choice. I agree with that, but you do always have 2 cards to choose from, and a choice on where to move on the ship. But, it is true you never know what the dice results will hold so you just have to plan to go with what works best in any given situation.

I had fun and I think it could be a great family game. I love that it is cooperative so families can work together to stop the Kraken. The production is amazing and so stinking cute. I would definitely play again.


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Hayden was around and we managed to pull him in for a 3 player game of Super Cats!

I remember playing this at Origins last year with WEM and a bunch of others while we waited for the day to begin. We had a lot of laughs then and I was sure we would have some now.

Super Cats is a fast-paced game that reminds me of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Each round players will hold up one had with pointing fingers 0-5. If there is a tie for the highest they are cancels and the highest after that will win. You want to be the highest single participant in order to gain the reward. In the first phase, all players are competing to gain SUPER CATS!

Once a player gains all 5 Super Cats on their team we will advance the game into phase 2. Phase 2 is where the Super Cats will take on the Robo Dog. The player who finished with all 5 Super Cats will take on all other players. The Super Cats will do everything they can to defeat the Robo Dog destroying the dog piece by piece.

All other players will try to stop the Super Cats by making them normal cats again. If the Super Cats all turn normal the other players win or if the Super Cats can defeat the Robo Dog, that person controlling the cats will win.

You need to have 3 players to play the game, so I was very happy Hayden decided he wanted to play a few games with us.

In the first phase, I wasn't winning any of the initial fights. By the end of phase 1, I did manage to collect 2 super cats, but it was nowhere near the team Hayden managed to obtain.

So in phase 2, Hayden's Super Cats vs Steph and Michael as the Robo Dog team. Since we were only 3 people this game. It allowed for Michael and I to use both hands when combating Hayden. It gave us 4 opportunities to match him.

Believe me when I say it is really hard to focus on throwing out 2 numbers using your hands. I kept sending the SAME number on both hands even when I didn't mean to. It is just instinct I guess. At times it worked in our favor since the more we were able to match Hayden, the more cats we could make normal. It also meant less chance for matching and Hayden causing damage to Robo Dog.

I think Hayden did about 5 points of damage before we were able to turn all of his cats normal again. It was definitely a rough road! It must be SUPER hard to win as the Super Cats team.

This was a silly and fun game to play. It is Super quick and easy to play. I am glad we were able to get in a game. This is one I would definitely play again!


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I had some time one night and asked some peeps if they wanted to play a game. Shrey and Pat were up for a game and we settled on playing La Stanza on TTS.

It had been a long time since I played the prototype and Pat hadn't ever played so Shrey walked us through the rules.

I remember liking the game well enough, and thinking it was a fairly quick game. There are some quirky rules about hiring and firing people then activating rooms. It is definitely an interesting theme with unique mechanics.

It takes a few rounds to really figure out a strategy and what you should be working on, which is fine. Money is super tight so making sure you have enough money to hire people is important.

This game I was focused on gaining the artwork majority but that was also my problem. I easily gained that majority but didn't do much of anything else. I didn't have really much scoring for anything else. Pat was scoring left and right for various things and Shrey managed to get a lot of masterpieces in place. I knew I would be hosed!

Yep, Pat won this game with 54 and Shrey managed 42. I was shamelessly in the back with 34, ouch!

Tiles were just not falling in the right place at the right time. I seemed to be always one step behind everyone else. #mistakesweremade

I have a copy of La Stanza, so I should really get that played with Michael at some point! Maybe I
will do better next time.

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Since La Stanza was so quick, Pat and Shrey had time for another game and they were happy to learn a new game. I suggested playing a game of Copenhagen.

This is a game I just never got to play enough when it first came out. I played it several times but wanted to play it more. I was happy to learn that it was available on TTS so I could teach them how to play.

I do consider it a filler and a game that can be played in about 30 minutes. I think it works really well as an end of the night type of game.

Once the game started, I was doing great things and getting a bunch of points early on by creating rows of windows. Everything was going swimmingly. I even made it to 11 points before Shrey hit 10 points. I thought for sure I would be able to win on my next turn, but as it happened, the cards didn't work in my favor and I couldn't obtain the piece I needed to get the final points! Nooooooo.

I wasn't sure if Shrey would be able to win, but sure enough, he found a way to break 12 points. There I was sitting at that 11 points. It was a rough finish for sure. Nicely done to Shrey to come in from behind and steal that win!

I think this game is just great. I am glad I was able to teach them. I think both Pat and Shrey liked it. They were shocked by how fast it was. Always happy to play this one.


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New to the Collection:
5er Finden
In a Flash Firefighters







Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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