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From Tallinn to Douro the Bear was covered in MUD.

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. TODAY I will Review my Top 10 Favorite games learned in October! Join me at 2pm CST!


Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CST for more fun!!


Here is a video Michael and I played on Wednesday's Livestream event!! If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch.

Duffers



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I am always up for a quick kids game and this time we played Bear Down!.

This was a game I first learned back in November and it was under a different name called Grizzly.

Bear Down is a push-your-luck dice game where you are moving your bear towards the falls to try and catch big stacks of fish. You can never truly predict the current and you might get pushed over the falls if you aren't careful.

The dice are rolled each turn and the current might flow and some fish will populate the stream. Then the active player will move any number of spaces without crossing over another bear or wall or fish token. They land and will bring any already acquired fish along. Maybe they want to head back to the safe rock if they already had their fill of fish or don't want to take any more risks.

Michael and I have played this a few times now including once on the Livestream (posted below).

I have to say I was very good in the first game and I think I actually won. I was playing on the side of caution and taking the fish when I could. Michael was falling over the edge a few times and it allowed me to get ahead.

Now on the Livestream, it was quite an opposite situation. Super fast and super cute. We had a good time making fun of me, so you can give it a laugh when you watch.

Great little family game. Not a whole lot of strategy and could be great for smaller kids. Probably not a game I want to be playing very frequently, but I am glad we could show it off.

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Michael and I checked out a new game that just funded on KS called MUD. New to me!

My copy is just a prototype and is subject to change.

In MUD, players are trying to collect a specific set of cards in order to win the game. It is a political-themed game where you want to have so many people in the different brackets and this and that to get bonuses. I honestly am not into this theme at all so I can't really tell you all of the various sets and shenanigans needed to do well.

There is a high element of take-that and various actions let you steal from other players and reveal scandal cards which might make them lose a turn or something.

Ultimately, Michael and I played through and he kept stealing my cards and I was basically left where I had to switch strategies since he took all my cards. He had tons of round to round bonuses and I was just trying to stay afloat. I somehow managed to get a few bonuses of my own with some scandal cards that revealed to target him a bit and he ended up losing about 3 turns. So, I ALMOST caught him in the end, but I still wasn't successful. Michael won!

Ehhh, this isn't really my type of game. I dislike the theme, and I am not big into take-that. It certainly wasn't the worst prototype I have played, it seemed to work well enough. It just isn't for me. I could play again, but it doesn't excite me. It will work for the casual gamer group and I can see why it did so well on KS.


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Next up, Michael and I played a game of Tallinn. New to me!

I am always up for learning a new card game and this looked easy enough!

Tallinn is a light set collection game with some area control. During the game, you will want to have majorities in the 3 colors Yellow, Blue, and Red. There are opportunities to score points for specific colors and if you can stop the other players from having the majority you willprevent them for getting points.

The real game happens when you play those scoring cards since you will be presented with the opportunity to flip a card over and make it a castle. You will lose some of your influence during the in-game scoring, but you will will laetr qualify for the end of game majority and scoring for the castle cards.

It can be very tricky to know what to do.

I know when I was playing I was aiming for those castle cards, but I wasn't being careful about the colors I was putting face-down and ended up not focusing enough on one specific color. Michael ended up getting a bunch of points in-game and then TAKING all the points from the castle cards as well. I thought for sure I would win the castle cards, but he was more focused on collecting the same color for that and ended up totally crushing me.

I think it is a nice card game and has some interesting decisions. It is super quick which I think will help in the long run since you can easily play it and it won't overstay its welcome. I have a promo I can add for the next time we play, so that will be cool. I would be happy to play this again.


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Michael and I had time for anothe quick card game so we settled on learning Douro 1872. New to me!

This has a player count on the box of 3+ plays but there is a variant in the rules for 2 players. As Fado worked really well with 2, I was hoping for the same type of experience.

Douro is actually nothing like Fado as they have totally opposite mechanics. In Douro, players will simultaneously select a card from their hand of cards to play. They are essentially trying to fulfill the wine orders that are pictured on the card. If all players can collectively make the total then some points might be awarded. Who gets the points is the tricky part. many cards are special and have special rules, but for the most part, the player who had supplied the most will gain the points.

Everyone has the same set of cards, and you will run through your hand of cards twice and the the game will be over. You have to know when to play the high cards and when you think it will b a bust.

So as Michael and I played, we found out fairly quickly that this game doesn't work so well with 2 players since you need to use a dummy hand to act as a 3rd player. You really can't predict what might be a success or failure and everything is a luck-fest.

It is true, we did have a few laughs since there was a ridiculous instance when we needed a value of 3 and I played a 1 thinking the dummy player will play something high and no they played a 0 and Michael played a 0.... so we ended up failing that round. I wasn't penalized thoguh since I supplied the most. hahahahahahahah We laughed. So it definitely provided some entertainment though completely random.

I ended up kicking some butt, which was nice. I guess I just knew how to pick 'em.

This game will definitely be better with at least one more player and probably even more than that to keep it interesting. I would definitely play again. Nice little card game.

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New to the Collection:
Elements of the Gods (proto)
Raiders of Sythia
Viscounts of the West Kingdom
chisled
Meep Frog
paris
panjun






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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5 Comments
Fri Nov 6, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Batman Who Laughs took over the Haunted Mansion and drank Tee with Ganesha during the Paleolithic age.

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
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Please thumb deserving posts

From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Duffers, Machi Koro Legacy (game 1) on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Here are some videos from Sunday!

Mariposas


Scribbletown


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I am always excited to check out the new Hans im Glück title and this year is Paleo. New to me!

Paleo is a cooperative survival game. Your objective is to collect the 5 mammoth painting pieces for your cave wall. You need to do that before you have 5 deaths/ 5 skull tokens added to the board.

Each day phase players will deal out all the cards to a personal deck they have. There are several types of cards that all have unique backs. Each turn, all players will look at the top 3 card backs and decide which card to take. They reveal the cards at the same time and decide as w group how to proceed. Some cards allow players to work together and use skills to overcome a different challenge. Some cards are attack cards and might cause you harm if you aren't prepared.

Ultimately, you will want to focus on getting food and resources so you can take on the big mammoth cards and other wild animals so you can craft the drawing on the wall.

Eventually, the stack of cards will be depleted and it will become the night phase. In the night phase, players will have to feed and find shelter and if they can't do that then they start losing people and gaining those skull tokens you don't want.

Michael and I played the 1st game in the box A/B card mix. This game is pretty cool since there is so much variety just using different sets of cards. the rulebook provides 10 scenarios but really you can have unlimited scenarios by mixing and matching different sets of cards.

In the first 3 turns, Michael ended up losing a hunter since we was pulling red card result after red card result. He had some pretty rough luck, but we were able to turn it around on the second day when we found hunters to add to our group and we were strong enough to take on the big animals we needed.

It was a narrow finish but we were able to secure the final painting on the wall before the end of night 3! It would have been doom or gloom at that point since we were not going to survive the night since we didn't have enough food. We got pretty lucky!

I posted about the win on Instagram and the Hans im Gluck guys were like nice job... oh it was just the tutorial. hahah he was making fun of me. It was really funny. I guess I need to develop more skills in this game.

Michael and I played on the Livestream as well and had a blast!! You can check out the video below!

I am so excited to play through more games. It is a challenge! There is no other game like it. Innovative and unique which is awesome. I would definitely recommend this! One of the best games I learned recently!


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Since it was the time of year, we felt we had to play the new released game called Disney: The Haunted Mansion – Call of the Spirits Game. New to Me!

The Haunted Mansion is a highly thematic set collection game where players are moving around the mansion and collecting ghost cards. Each round an event is drawn and the ghost figure will move to a location haunting players as he moves. There is one card seeded in the bottom 4 cards that will trigger the end of the game once revealed.

So during the game, an event is revealed the ghost figure will move. If a player is haunted they will draw haunt cards that are valued 1-3. At the end of the game, the player who has the highest value of haunt cards will have to lose their biggest scoring set of cards.

Once the ghost figure lands in its space, new ghost cards are added to the board in clockwise order from where the ghost landed. Then each player will take their turn consisting of 3 actions.

I think one really cool action happens is that you move the whole center platform as one action so you are facing the way you want to face. It reminds me of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney. If you move the whole platform the other players are moved as well. Or you can simply walk to an adjacent space if you don't want to move the platform. If you are in a room with a ghost card, you can take the card as an action. Some cards have instant abilities that are carried out.

It was fairly simple to pick up and play! Michael and I could easily get into it and start collecting those sets! There is an attack action to duel for another players' card, but we don't really do that in a 2 player game since it seemed less fun. We just stuck to collecting. Michael totally let loose and took all the haunt cards he could manage. He embraced the haunt cards and basically said I know I am going to lose my biggest set, but I will have ALL THE CARDS, MWAHAHA. I was playing on the side of caution and got rid of my big haunt cards. Since I was spending too many actions trying to get rid of haunt cards, Michael was collecting many more cards than I was.

I knew I was going well with my ballroom dancers but was it going to be enough, I wasn't sure. Michael did love a 25+ point set at the end of the game so I thought I was in the clear. Michael won 95 to my 89! Nuts! I was so close!

We later played on the Livestream and it was a nail biter at the end! Check it out!

This is a solid game. It might not offer anything new/unique but it is a solid game with a strong theme. I am thinking about keeping it around for future October Livestreams. I think this will be a huge hit with many families and gamers. Cool game and worth checking out.



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I really enjoy the Rising series from The Op. They have great IP's and I am always looking forward to checking out their newest titles. This time Michael and I played The Batman Who Laughs Rising. New to me!

Each Rising game has a new little twist all while feeling the same as the other games. They take the concept and make it unique depending on the theme.

This time they took the Batman Who Laughs character and made the game. Fairly dark theme but a pretty cool centerpiece. It works much like the other Rising games where players will work together to defeat the evil characters that show up and try to acquire allies for their teams. You will be rolling dice to complete these checks. As your team grows your abilities grow and you might gain more dice or have cool powers. Eventually, you will have to take on the big boss Batman Who Laughs and just hope you don't die before that!

It was easy to get into this game since Michael and I are already so familiar with the series.

I do like Batman and the whole DC world. Much like the theme the game is super dark. I don't particularly like the Batman Who Laughs character and I really don't like the box cover. It is much too dark for my taste. So, I wasn't particularly grabbed by the theme, but people who LOVE the character and the theme will totally dig this game.

During the game, we were getting hammered by evil characters and just the powers that unleashed on us were detrimental. Fortunately, Michael was able to build up a strong team in time. When he was able to do that I lost my Batman character sadly. But, I picked up Superman and he was helpful. Batman Who Laughs showed up and with-in 4 turns we were able to defeat him. It would have been close since I was about to lose all my characters. We were able to fend him off long enough to win though. Close call!

I had no problems with this game and I still quite enjoyed playing it. Again, I think these Rising games are preference depending on which IP's you like the best. Not sure this will stay in the collection since I will always want to play Harry Potter Death Eaters Rising or Plankton Rising both of which I like more.

Definitely glad I got to play and would play again in the future. Nice game!

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I was looking forward to checking out the beautiful new game called Ganesha. New to me!

Ganesha is a light abstract game of collecting gems and supplying the board with gems to gain points. After 12 turns the game will be over.

In the game, there are 4 rounds each with 3 turns. On your turn, you will take one gem from the board. Sometimes there is an action that is tied to the space from where you took the gem. You will get to activate that action for a potential bonus. If the gem you take matched one of the gems in your upper window on your player board then you will get to take one more adjacent gem from the display.

When you take a gem you can place it in the window at top of your player board or just put it in the general supply area. After you take a gem you can choose to use those gems for points but it will come at a cost. In order to supply gems to the board for points, you will have to give up a matching gem of that color or spend a yellow gem to do so. There is no gem payment required to place yellow gems on the display for points.

So you continue playing and after 3 turns the gem board will be refilled with gems to draft from and the start player rotates and 3 more turns happen. the board that collects gems for points will never be emptied. After 4 rounds the game will be over.

Michael and I set out to collect the more valuable gems. I was trying to collect gems for my window that I could later acquire 2 gems on my turn to hopefully bank up a lot of gems that I could then score.

There is a timing element involved though, you don't want to wait too long to score since some of the best points to grab are the earlier spaces so you really have to be ready for the taking whenever possible.

I did okay with the first round, but in the second and third rounds, Michael really went to town collecting blue gems which are the most valuable. He had some MAJOR turns and took a commanding lead. I was worried I wouldn't be able to catch up. Turns out I was correct. Even with the final boost of my score at the end of the game placement, it wasn't enough to make up for the big boost he had gotten.

Michael won with 58 and I was behind with 51. So, in the end, I wasn't too far behind unlike most of the game, so I had a decent shot if I had gotten a few more points during the game.

Easy to learn and play so will work great with families and casual gamers. Big chunky gems and the whole game is just beautiful. There are different boards for the number of players you are playing with too so it scales very nicely.

I had fun with this and expect to see it on a Livestream in the near future. CrowD Games helped fund my Kickstarter recently and we will be hosting a CrowD publisher night! I look forward to checking their other titles out soon too and feature whatever games we can on the stream! It will be a fun night for sure.


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Michael and I also checked out Tee Oder Kaffee Refill which is a simple card game. New to me!

I should say this is a new edition of Tee oder Kaffee with a new refill card and the ability to play up to 6 players. The refill card will bring a tea card back to your hand after use then you will flip over the card and it will provide a point when playing a cake card. You will keep using this refill card over and over to help generate more points and keep tea cards in your hand.

The game is otherwise the same as the original. A light set collection card game. You will want to form sets of cards in your hand to play on your turn. If you can empty out your hand of cards then you will get a few bonus points as well.

Michael was going for the big sets and the big points. I kept drawing the same cards over and over and he would steal from me, so I was having some worse luck and making smaller sets when I could. I knew I wanted to try and score the cake refill card as many times as I could so I could get some bonus points, but I wasn't getting enough cake cards to make it work the way I wanted to. I can see some strategy in that though and finding the right time to play the tea card so you can get it back into your hand for the next set.

In the end, Michael won the game 40 to my 28, ouch! kicked my butt! I didn't get any large sets as he did and that pretty much ruined me.

I like the game. It is easy to play and the theme is nice. I do like the refill card addition and I do think it makes the game a bit better. I don't think it is a game-changer, but it is a nice extra. Happy to play this again.


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New to the Collection:
Posthuman saga deluxe
Posthuman saga
posthuman resistance
My Little Flower Shop
Smile
Wonder Woman
Animix
Adventure Games Volcano





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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7 Comments
Wed Nov 4, 2020 12:00 pm
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Playin' the King of Scribbletown, USA was a the Sweet and Spicy

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming. I will rundown the cool games I have been playing and what I am excited to play coming up, and who knows what else?! I am starting a bit later today, but hope to be on by 3pm CDT


Join us SUNDAY at 5pm CDT for a playthrough of Paleo, Mariposas, & Scribbletown!! Be sure to stop by the stream!

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

Under Falling Skies


Blue Skies


Point Salad



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Michael and I managed to get a few games played on the Livestream with participants! We played King of Movies: The Leonard Maltin Game. New to me!

King of Movies is a party game where players are making up a quick review of an obscure movie that no one has ever heard of. There is a card with a review from Leonard Maltin and players will want to try and pin-point the actual review. You get points if people guess your answer though.

Really simple game and we got people in the chat playing along. It worked really well! I think we played 3 or 4 rounds and ended up making it QUEEN OF BOARDGAMES: The Steph Hodge Game

We take a boardgame no one/many have heard of and everyone writes a review of it. Then everyone will guess which review is mine.

Haha, this game was absolutely amazing fun, and it should be made into a real game, IMO. Even if people know the game, it could still work since you want to try and write in a review style as I would.

Anyway, I hope to make that a regular segment in future streams. It is so much fun!

Harder to do it with movies, and in the style of Leonard Maltin since I don't know how he would write. It was a tough challenge. King of Movies is a game I think could work with the right crowd!



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Another one we got to play on the Livestream with a bunch of players was The Sweet and Spicy Truth. New to me!

This is a party game for 3+ players and it is super simple to learn and play. You will roll a die and then draw a card with a Yes/No response or an A/B response. you will have to pick your answer secretly and everyone else will want to guess what you answered in order to gain points.

It was so much fun to play with the chat. Everyone wanted those spicy cards to be revealed. I get so embarrassed though, I really didn't want to be flipping those. Most of the questions were mild though. Chat was having a ball with the spicy ones though.

We would have everyone answering in the chat and if it was one of their turns they would send over a whisper text to Michael so it was hidden. Michael did a great job of keeping track of who was playing and the scores

I was apparently very bad at guessing what people would actually answer, but it was still fun to see the various responses.

I am glad we got to check it out with the chatters and it is all on this lovely vid below. We had a good time. I could definitely see playing this again.




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I was in the mood to learn a roll n write and this time we pulled Scribbletown off the shelf. New to me!

Scribbletown is a roll n write game to build up a little town to generate points. You will gain points from the buildings you place and the road network you build. The game will end once one player has no more spaces left on their board.

Each round 4 dice are rolled. Players will choose 2 to use on their board. There are road dice and building dice and players can use any combo of the 4 dice as they choose. Instead, they can bypass using dice and build a special building provided they have the proper arrangement of required buildings somewhere in their town.

The special buildings provide a bunch of points for various arrangements on the board. For example, the post office will score points if there is a road from the post office to a house. Easy enough. You will want to make as many connections as you can to score points.

During the game, you will generate waste from building factories, special buildings, and doubling up on the road spaces, so those will build up and you will have to make a waste space on your board which is just a problem so you will want to try and avoid it is possible.

In our game, I wanted to focus on getting a bunch of buildings and special buildings to boot. I was going to leave some open spaces to build a road through the down, but that didn't end up panning out for me. There was a time when Michael had to place some waste into my town and he blocked the possibility of me making a usable road to actually score points. Ehhh #mistakesweremade

Nevertheless, I pressed on and continued building up my small town full of buildings and special buildings. I was feeling pretty confident about it. Michael did manage to fill up his board and caused the end of the game to be triggered because of it.

It all came down to the final tally...I had 64 and Michael had 55! Yay! I managed to make it work despite not getting points for the road connections. All of the buildings I had were enough to bring it over the top for the win!

We had a great time playing and really liked what was going on. This is a game we will easily be able to play on the Livestream on Sunday and everyone will be able to play along with us as we do! Be sure to stop by the Twitch channel and play! Solid game and one I look forward to playing again!



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I got a recent delivery of 3 Boomerang titles and I was SO EXCITED to check one out so we played Boomerang: USA. New to me, sorta!

So, I will count all of these Boomerang titles as New since they have their own BGG entry and some even have different rules. They all do have different maps from each other since they are focused on different parts of the globe. Each game does have the same basic rules though so it is very easy to pick up and learn if you already know Boomerang.

I have the original Australia Boomerang, but they decided to re-design it will a whole new layout using bright graphics, which I absolutely adore! I love the added locations as well!

If you aren't familiar, Boomerang is a drafting roll n write game. You will draft cards to check off locations on your map and then have an end of round coring for different sets you make. The USA version actually uses the basic rules from the original Boomerang. The New AU and EU rules have slightly different scoring, but otherwise, it works the same.

If you wanted to check out the new Boomerang Australia, you can play it on Boardgamearena.com it is awesome!

Michael and I played a 2-player version where we had one dummy hand that was in the mix to give us a few more cards for variety. Since we were on a roll, Michael and I also played it on the Livestream on Wednesday too, and that was awesome! The video below!

In USA, there is an added bonus if you can make it across the country first/second/third sort of thing too, so that is a change. I was working on getting the groups first and I was doing okay. Michael did manage to get that across the country bonus first, so that wasn't good. But at least I managed to GET the across the country bonus, which I wasn't sure I would actually do since the cards didn't seem to be going in my direction when I started working on it.

it didn't pan out for me this time since Michael won with 103 points. I only managed to get 94. I might have paid him back during the Livestream though!

There is one criticism that needs to be mentioned because the score sheets are just too tiny! I wish they were bigger or even better if they were dry erase. Otherwise, I freaking love this game! It is one that I will always play so I am glad we played it and I can't wait to play the other titles as well! It is such a great game and I hope they keep making more in the series of new places!


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Michael and I played a few games of Playin' Possum. New to me!

Playin' POssum is a cute bluffing game where you are playing 1 of 3 possums to the center to try and steal some food. Other players might try to stop you from stealing, or they might try to steal for themselves.

If you are caught trying to steal some food then you are out for the game.

As you can imagine, this game is likely much better with a larger player count. The game plays up to 10 players, so playing 2 players is a bit less than ideal. The game was over before we said Possum.

So we played a few rounds. In the 3rd round, we actually stole some food, but Michael was soooooo good about knowing exactly when I would go to steal. So, he ended up winning all the games we played.

Simple and cute. I like the little garbage can that the game is packaged in. Not a game I would want to play all the time, but I can see it working with big family gatherings for a few laughs.



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New to the Collection:
captial lux 2
Magnificent exp
a game of cat and mouth





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.
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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 Oct 30, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Heroes Under Falling Blue Skies Finished on the Seastead.

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Under Falling Skies, Blue Skies, and Disney: The Haunted Mansion – Call of the Spirits Game on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Tonight's featured games!
From gallery of punkin312


Here are some videos from Sunday!

Beez


Truffle Shuffle



Essen was fun!

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Seastead arrived and I was so excited to play!! I had played a few times on TTS before its release, but having the game in person is just so great

The box is the same sized box as most 2-player only games so it fits nicely on the shelf with those games!

So much stuff in the small box. It was great to see and play the final production!

Michael didn't get the chance to play on TTS so he read through the rules and I took some pretty pictures.

During the game, I seemed to be the only one who was scouting for resources and this put me at a huge disadvantage! I wasn't getting many buildings out at all. Michael had all the resources he needed to continually build building after building. I was trying to get cool locations from the buildings I was placing, but it wasn't enough to keep me afloat.

I was in drastic need of resources, as I was always struggling to keep up with him. He was generating combo after combo and gaining all the resources he needed from actions and of course the diving actions I took.

It as a crippling defeat this time around, Michael won with 46 and I was 25. Dannnnng that's bad.

I just couldn't get the combos he was getting with clever actions and building placement. Let's just say #MistakesWereMade!

Still, this game is amazing fun with so many awesome choices to make. The timing is everything! If you play 2-player games this is a game I would highly recommend!

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Another CGE game showed up and it was hitting media all over the place so I knew I wanted to check it out. Under Falling Skies! New to me!

Be sure to check out our Livestream tonight!

Under Falling Skies is a new solo game to fend off the spaceships coming at you. The cool feature of this game is that it is also a campaign-style game with a choose-your-own-adventure type situation when heading into the various missions. It is fully replayable so you can see storylines that you might have missed on the first go-through.

In the game, players will be using dice results to manipulate actions. each roll you can place any number of gray dice to the board and must place exactly 1 white die. Each column will contain 1 die at the end of the round. Whenever you place a die, the ships in that column will move a number of spaces equal to the pip value on the die. The ships move and they might trigger the mothership to activate or end on a space that makes them change lanes. Ideally, they land on a space that we can fire at and take them out when it comes time for our actions to trigger.

The goal is to build up enough research to defeat the mothership before she reaches the mainland and wins.

Since it is a solo game, Michael and I played cooperatively alternating turns. Discussing options as we went. We knew we needed to move the digging car along to open up better actions for the future rounds, but the mothership had some actions to push him back on the track. We were locked with pretty weak actions for a good part of the game. It was hard to keep up with everything!

We were always in need of energy. the energy helps us research and more importantly, to fire at the incoming invaders. We had focused most of our time on getting the invaders positioned nicely on the map to fire well and knock as many out as possible. It was working for a while, but we needed to switch gears and then focus on the research since that was how to actually win the game!

Once we started focusing on research, the invaders kept attacking and hitting land so we were losing our life quickly. It came down to an all or nothing situation when we had only a few turns remaining to get that research we needed! We got some lucky rolls and made it work to get that final boost in research to win the game!

This was just the tutorial mode, and it was still a challenge! We didn't use and city powers or have any advanced boards, but we made it work and won the game. Tonight on the Livestream we will maybe make it a bit harder and add in a city with an ability! I think it will be a fun challenge!

I have to say I am impressed! If you are in the market for an involved solo gaming experience, I think you will find Under Falling Skies a really cool addition to your collection. I am highly intrigued by how the progression of the campaign will flow and the challenges it brings. You get character abilities and location abilities so I can only imagine how difficult the aliens will be. It will be a fun game to play! I look forward to playing more!


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Hey Joe H has a new game out called Blue Skies and I wanted to check it out! New to me!

Hey, we are also going to play this game tonight on the Livestream! Come join!

Blue Skies is a light area control game where you will want to have a presence in various airports to generate an income of points each round for the number of passengers you have at your gates.

Each round you will have an opportunity to open new gates in the different airports and populate an airport with new passengers using a card from your hand. There are green cubes you might pull from the bag which won't stop the population process so you pull another cube. When you pull a red, you will stop populating the airport. Otherwise, the colored cubes have no other distinction.

When an airport has more than one gate open, the cubes will spread evenly among the gates so you might have a fluctuating point total from round to round. Worse, if another player chooses to buy your gate and you will simply lose the population from that gate fully. It is usually double the cost of buying a new gate, so this won't really happen until later in the game when everything is so pricy anyway, and you are looking to steal some big points from the other players.

Eventually, a player will trigger the ending by collecting 100 points in-game or used all their gates. Then all the regional bonuses are handed out and there are some really big points to be gained during this final area control. You will want to be thinking about these majorities during the game.

In our game, I was trying to focus too much on the end scoring for the region bonuses. But Michael was living in the moment and taking a bunch of opportunities. My cards in hand were really really bad for the situation I was in. All of the cards would be helping Michael. I ended up using the "once per game" ability token to dump my hand of cards in hopes of finding better cards.

In the final round, I spend the majority of my action points to take over one of Michael's gates and then he immediately did it right back, so that was wasted efforts on my part and I could have possibly done something else more destructive and sustainable.

I wasn't sure I could pull it off since my area control ended up not being as great as I wanted it to be, but it still nearly caught Michael in the end. Michael won with 150 and I was just behind with 145. Ohhhh it was so close I could taste it!

Perhaps on the stream tonight, I will get him back!

Quick-playing game! I think 2 player works well, but I anticipate this game being better with more players. I would like to try it with 4 and see how it differs. Definitely a game I would like to play some more.



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During Spiel Digital, I was scheduled to host Friedemann for his new release Feierabend so I made sure to get it played beforehand. New to me!

Finishing Time is a worker placement game to collect the most relaxation points.

Your workers will leave work and go on leisure activities to gain these relaxation points. You will likely have to spend money on better actions or just a simple beer at the pub.

You might want to go on strike and gain some strike tokens. When you spend strike tokens, you can increase your wages, or vacation time, you might even reduce the number of hours you are working each week that will set you stress level a bit lower. Of course, you can spend strike tokens to advance the strike track so you generate additional strike tokens each workday.

So once you place your final worker you will immediately return all of your workers to work and collect wages and strike tokens depending on the tracks. You will also gain a bunch of stress and have to lose out on a lot of that regained relaxation you just acquired.

The game will end once one player has hit 40 relaxation points and meeples aren't removed from the board after that.

In a 2 player game, there is a gear token that allows the first player to take 2 actions in a row at some point, now the catch is that the gear is then passed to the other player to use and so on. So it is a very powerful tool that should be used wisely.

In the first game Michael and I played, I used it to take up the 2 spaces that got partners. The partners will help generate more relaxation points and all that jazz, so they seemed really great to have.

I always seemed to be very low on Money all game. I was working hard to get my strike tokens income up and my work time up. I didn't focus on getting my vacation up at all until the final rounds.

Michael managed to get his money up and vacation up and he was utilizing those vacation spaces a lot during the final rounds of the game. I was winning for the majority of the game, until the end where he just shot up the relaxation track and whooped my butt.

I had a solid strategy of putting a couple of guys in retirement and chopping my hours down so I was not very stressed at all.

In the end, Michael beat me by a few points.

I MIGHT have paid him back during the Livestream. Check it out!

This is a cool game. I like the timing aspects of when you have to send your guys to work and figuring out the best tracks and strategies to gain those relaxation points. Probably one of my favorite FF games. I would be happy to play this again.


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Michael and I had time for a fast game one night and we settled on learning Half-Pint Heroes. New to me!

Half Pint Heroes is a trick-taking game where you don't have to follow suit, but you will need to make a bet on how many tricks you believe you will win. There is a flop of cards that shows up each hand of cards, and players will play tricks as if they were playing poker. The highest set of cards will win the trick. Cards in the flop will remain in play but will be used to boost the result.

You can call the other players bluff if you don't think they can get their bid. You will gain a bonus of 20 if you called correctly, but they will get 20 if you don't (in a 2 player game).

The game is played over 10 rounds or if someone can get 6 x's in a row on their sheet. You claim an X when you hit your bid exactly. There is a point system if there is no automatic winner.

Michael and I mused at the artwork featuring game designers. I really enjoyed that little added feature of the game.

It took a while to try and guess my bid correctly since it is so hard to judge if you have a hand of 3 cards on how it will all play out.

I do have to say I wish there was a mechanic where you had more cards and could possible hold cards from round to round so you might be able to build up a better chance for a big power play. We rarely got better than a 2 pair in our game, it would be near impossible to get a royal flush, I am sure. Maybe with more players it would feel different, though I am not sure.

As it stands, I still had a fun time playing. Michael absolutely crushed me. I thoguht he would get 6 x's in a row for the win. I was just losing each and every round. I guess I managed to put a stop to it. But it didn't matter he had sooooo many points from all the tricks he was winning and my poor bonus 20 bids that I ended up losing. Whoops!

He won with 380 to my 300. I wasn't toooooooo far behind. I had a pretty good time with this game. I hope to show it on the stream at some point when we have another random game demo day of all the smaller games! I think this could be fun for many groups. Not sure it adds anything new, but it was solid.


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New to the Collection:
Beyond the Sun
Photosynthesis exp
meeple land
cloud city
tee oder kaffee + Refill expansion
Blindes Huhn
Tallinn
Riga
Novgorod





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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Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Duffers Fado was just Deadly for the Beez and Mariposas!

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I play through three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! Right now the plan is to play Under Falling Skies & Blue Skies and more!



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I was excited to check out the adorable new game called Beez. New to me!

It definitely seems to be a hot theme these days! Next Move Games always has a four-letter title in their games, and most are familiar with Azul. Beez has a shiny production just like the rest of their titles with a quick to learn rulebook.

Beez is a light abstract game where you will be moving your bee worker around the board to collect nectar so you can turn it to honey in your hive. Each game will have common objective cards in play which all players can score for at the end of the game, but each player will also have a few private objectives they will work on as well!

Each turn, the active player will decide which way the bee will go and how far. The bee can not travel in a straight line, so planning your movement a few turns in advance will help you a bit if you have an idea on the different color nectar tokens you wish to collect. I like the clever flight patterns you have to deal with.

When you land in a hex you can choose to collect nectar if there is some to collect and place it on your board. Depending on the scoring cards open and private you may or may not want to take the tokens and they will have to be placed in the rows that match how far the bee just moved, so, that is one more thing to consider!

Each time a bee takes a nectar token, that player will advance their pawn one space forward on the hive board and once it hits the end of the track, the game end will trigger.

Michael and I learned with ease and the whole game played out wicked fast!

I had a cool objective that wanted me to have a variety of colors in the 1 movement row. I gained more if all of the tokens were different colors, but as long as it was filled I was going to get points. This didn't exactly help out with the other goals since we wanted to collect a bunch of yellow tokens for extra points. I discarded one of the objectives that totally clashed with it at the beginning of the game and kept one that worked better with it.

It still wasn't enough to win the game because all of Michael's cards seemed to line up perfectly with the common goals as well. So, he won 47 to my 41. I wasn't TOO far off though. I think I learned my lesson and plan to kick butt in another game.

Beez is a delight to play. I am thrilled I got the chance to learn and play it. This fits in perfectly with the Next Move line of games, and it is definitely one I wanted to play again soon! Very cute and fun!

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The theme of butterflies is definitely quite interesting so I was looking forward to checking out Mariposas. New to me!

In Mariposas, players are making the trek with their butterfly tokens up north to ultimately head back south. It is a long journey and there are many pit stops along the way. Over three seasons, players will level up their butterflies and aim to score points from the different end of season goal cards. If you have the most points at the end of the game you will win!

Each space on the board has either a flower on it or a waystation. Every player has a hand of 3 movement cards to select from and they take turns playing cards to move their butterflies. Depending on the card they will collect flowers on where they land, but sometimes other adjacent locations as well. If a player is first to land in a Waystation, they get to roll the die for a flower and claim the matching card depicted on the Waystation token, revealing it to everyone. There is a bit of a set collection element to gaining those Waystation cards.

The goal cards will help guide your path and give you a direction, but you will always want to use flowers to breed and make additional butterflies if you end up in a space that allows for it. After the first season, the 1 butterfly will die off, after the second season all of the 2 butterflies will die off, so you really want to make sure you breed enough butterflies to keep active on the board and score the most points possible.

Michael and I didn't really have many plans for the game. I knew I wanted to head northwest. With the cards I was given, they sort of dropped me in the right places at the right times. Michael seemed to have a similar idea though and he was going first! He managed to get to the Waystations before I did, so he was getting some additional bonuses. I sort of switched plans at that point. I focused hard on getting more butterflies and just gaining some insta-points for breeding since that was one of our seasonal cards.

Turns out that all those additional 2 points really added up and I managed to win this game with 47 to Michael's 40. It was cool! I wasn't sure I could pull it off since Michael actually made the return trip and got some bonus points for getting butterflies home. I was trying to but it wasn't worth my time in the end and I should have been doing other things!

Just depends on your strategy! I might try something new next time.

Cute game, I would certainly play this again. I like the abstract movement and planning. It is fairly light, but I can see it working well with a casual group or family setting. Glad I got to play it!

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My family consists of all golfers. Each one of them loves to golf. I have probably watched more golf than any other sport. Anyway, I heard about a new deck-building game about the sport and wanted to check it out called Duffers. New to me!

As I mentioned, Duffers is a deck-building game where you are adding clubs and items to your deck of cards. These cards will help you made long drives and give you a certain amount of strokes/swings. Your goal is to hit the target hole with the correct yardage within so much. You will add up the strokes needed for it, and you will get the score depending on your stroke count. Golf rules, closest to 0 will win the game.

There are a bunch of holes laid out at the beginning of the game. You are able to complete them in any order, which helps! You start the game with some lame-o cards, like any standard deck-building game. But, you will build up a cool deck with long shots. The catch is you always need a putter to make the shot successful. Finding some good putters is key so you aren't using a bunch of strokes at each hole.

There are special cards that make you draw a lucky card. Sometimes you get super lucky and gain extra yardage, but sometimes you will hit some bad luck and you have to add strokes. There are even DUFF cards that will put a damper on your shot for the turn if they are I your hand.

Each card is multi-use, and you can use it to make a shot, or you can use it to buy cards from the pro-shop. Sometimes you have enough to do both, but often you are just buying cards since you need to build up that deck of cards! You also have a caddy and he can hold a club for you from round to round if you wanted to save one you didn't use.

During our game, I was having a hard time since I didn't have enough putters and Michael was buying all the putters from the pro-ship! I was stuck buying the always-available putter that gave a +3 stroke. Definitely not ideal when most of the holes are par 3 or 4. Still, making a shot is better than NOT taking a shot since you will get up getting double the par value at the end of the game.

Michael absolutely crushed me this game. He was getting all the shots and my clubs were just not working well together to make the perfect long shots I needed. I probably had too many items. I was SUPER lucky on the last turn and pulled a lucky card that said HOLE-IN-ONE so I managed to get one final mark on the score sheet. It wasn't enough to come close to winning, but it certainly helped!

Michael had 32 and I was 38. Not too far behind considering all the big holes I ended up missing at the end.

I have to say the game is highly thematic. I am not even a big sportsball fan, but this game is super cool and solid. I love the idea of getting trying to hit the target goal perfectly to gain a bonus. There are so many little details that just work. Building up your deck is so much fun. It is hard to hit the later holes and you really need to have a good mix of clubs to make it work! I really enjoyed this and would suggest it for any golf fan out there. Definitely a game I will be playing more.

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Michael and I checked out a musical card game called Fado: Duetos e Desgarradas. New to me!

Fado is the music of Portugal and is a very specific type of music. I learn something new every day!

Fado is a light card game with some set collection and hand management. You are looking to create sets of 3 matching things. There is the person singing, the color of the card, the music symbol, and the value on a card. If you can find 3 things that match you can claim a set on your turn. There is a lineup of performers in the center who can also assist you with creating the sets you are looking for.

Each of the 4 things will have an associated stack of tokens with points on them. The first person to make a set will get the 9 points token and the second will get the 8 point token and so on. Obviously, the sooner you can make a set the better the points will be. There are also bonus points if you gain one of each type of tokens and a bonus for gaining 4 of one type of token. Lots of ways to score points.

Since we were playing 2 players, Michael and I were using the 2 player variant. Nothing much changes for 2 players but you do add an additional card to the mix each round for players to draft new cards from. It is very simple and actually works pretty great for 2 players.

We liked it enough to even play it on the Livestream! See the video below!

I won't lie it took me a while to wrap my brain around how the bonus reward cards worked and when to draw new cards. For some reason that just wasn't clicking for me. Even in the second playthrough on the Livestream, I thought I had it but I was short on cards a few times. So clearly, it is easy to forget to gain bonus cards for completing sets.

I ended losing the first game pretty handily to Michael who just crushed me. He understood the game better and by the end, I was grasping it but getting the smaller point tokens. He won 67 to my 62! Still, I was pretty close.

Love the unique theme, and I think this is a very interesting card game. Definitely one to keep on the shelves. I look forward to trying with more players! Solid game!!


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On Wednesday, we featured a lot of cool games on the Livestream. I was excited to try out the new expansion for Deadly Doodles called Deadly Doodles 2. New to me Expansion!

If you already own and enjoy Deadly Doodles than this new expansion is a no brainer! There are 6 new boards added to the game and lots of interesting new modules that will be incorporated as you progress through them. The first board is just another basic board, but starting on board #2 you will include diamonds.

Diamonds will have one player rolling a die each turn. the result of the die will having you marking off the matching diamond on your player board. If you pass through diamonds at the end of the game you will get 1 point if they are marked, but if they aren't marked you will gain a number of unmarked diamonds as its value.

Not only the diamonds are added but there is a cave feature with more entryways into the cave.

Since we only played the 2nd board at this point, I am not sure how the other modules work, but there is some sort of special walls you will have to get into in later boards. It looked fairly cool.

Since we were playing with the chat in the video, I was unsure how I would hold up in the end. The last time we played Deadly Doodles with the crowd, I lost horribly! Well maybe not horribly, but I didn't win!

This time I managed to avoid all traps and kill some of those pesky monsters. Fortunately, I wasn't focusing too much on Diamonds since they all ended up being only 1 point anyway!

I won the bragging rights this time with a score of 29.

You can play along in the video and see if you can beat my score! It's not as easy as it sounds!

Fun game and I look forward to checking out more maps and maybe the audience can beat me next time!




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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!







New to the Collection:
boomerang Australia
boomerang Europe
boomerang US
Sovereign Skies
Baron Voodoo
Saboteur The Lost Mines
Bear Down
Playin' Possum





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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The Flotilla in Ohanami was quite a fright as Frank threw the Ketchup into the Furnace

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Hia Everyone!


It's Friday!! Every Friday 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 videos Michael and I played on Special Edition TUESDAY for Pre-Essen and of course Wednesday's Livestream event!! If you enjoy the content, please consider following me on Twitch. We plan to play a few games later on Sunday night! Be sure to stop by the stream!

Mine Deeper


MEOW


Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game


Monster Dentist


Shadow Network


The Red Cathedral


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I got a copy of Flotilla since I have been absolutely loving it when playing it online with Shrey and Derek.

This time I actually set up the game as we played online so I could photograph the awesomeness that is Flotilla.

This is a big sprawling game. So many bits and you really need to be able to have the space available for players to expand with the water tiles.

Since we were heavily focused on getting lots of tiles, I was having to manipulate the board a whole lot! I was trying to get alllll the tiles to score the outposts I could and then switch over to the sky side so I could score even more points after collecting tons of resources from the sink side.

To my surprise, I switched over to the Sky Side before anyone else. I thought Derek would switch a lot sooner than he did, but it worked out for me since I was eyeing some of those objectives.

All game, I seemed to be heavily focused on getting those objectives scored for max points. Shrey and Derek seemed more focused on getting additional cards, which I knew would be better for the end of the game.

I kept the focus and when the game finally came down to the end, I was sitting pretty. I was feeling good.

Turns out, I was right to feel all those things since I won with 170 points. Derek was second place with 139 and Shrey got lost in translation somewhere and ended with 104.

So glad I could take some awesome pictures of this game and play again. I am still loving it. So much to explore and strategies to try. Each game is very different and you have your goals set in your mind. Plans change like the wind, and you find yourself doing different things. It is so cool! Can't wait to play again!

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Michael and I had some time for a couple fast games so we tried out the new HEINZ Ketchup Dice Game. New to me!

Ketchup Dice Game is actually part of a 3-pack variety pack found at Target. In the 3-pack is also the Mac & Cheese Game and Jell-O game both of which I haven't gotten to try yet.

The Ketchup Dice Game is a quick dice game where players are pushing their luck to try and score points. The first person to hit 57 points exactly will win the game. If you go over you will be eliminated.

You will get to roll the dice up to 3 times on your turn. The catch is you don't get to save dice from roll to roll and each roll will be counted towards your total. You are looking to get as many Ketchup results on your dice as possible. If you manage to get super lucky and roll all ketchup you will get a bonus. There are also "57" faces that may show up, those are a bonus as well. They also prevent you from busting. If you roll and there are no ketchup or "57" faces then you bust and the next player will go. If you are really unfortunate you might roll all mustard and get -10.

In our game, I managed to roll fairly well, and I was snailing till the end. I kept an even pace. Michael on the other hand was busting left and right. Even one time he rolled 5 mustard! I laughed sooooo long. It was unbelievable.

But, even though I hit the target of 57 in points. I was done. Michael still had a shot to catch up. He takes turns until he surpasses 57 or hits the target as well, so all players have the chance to make the score.

He wasn't able to do it so I was declared the winner.

Cute dice game, but not much to it. I think the packaging is clever and fun. Probably not a game I would play on the regular. Sort of reminded me of Tenzi.

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Michael and I had another quick dice game to check out called Franky: Rock'n Vegas. New to me!

Franky Rockin Vegas is a push your luck dice game. You are trying to target 66 points. There are different Frankenstein combos you are trying to roll to score points. In addition, there are a few other dice that serve different purposes.

You have to lock in some dice each time you roll them, so you have to plan accordingly. The Yellow D10 will have to get locked with the number of dice the value shows, so you have to make sure to do that before you run out of dice to lock in, you might end up busting for the round.

During our game, I got some incredible rolls. I locked in 0 dice and was able to continue to go on and get the super bonus points and all the Franky combos. It was definitely rockin'!

We were done with the game in 4 rounds since I managed to pass the 66 total and ended with 68! Michael still had one more turn and was able to catch some lucky dice and pull ahead with a final score of 69.

Soooo Close!!

This is a cute dice game, I will generally push my luck, so this was my chance to win, but I could see playing it again. I am not sure it is a game I would really want to play again, but I am happy to have tried it.

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Friends wanted to check out Furnace online so I taught them all how to play on Tabletopia.

We all really dislike Tabletopia, but it also showed up recently on TTS so we can play on there from now on.

The game feels different with 4 players, but the same. You really have to be on the lookout for what everyone wants and is considering.

Everyone in this game was very upfront by placing their "4" tokens early and often so it essentially made our "3" tokens worth more. Dan even made a comment on how much he liked how we played our 4's so quickly. It made for a nicer game.

I was just trying to gain those upgrade tokens as often as I could. Dan was doing a much better job managing everything since he was picking up factories that actually gave him points. I was trying to get them but ended up generating more resources. I was full-up on resources. At the end of the game, I even had a bunch of resources left over, but not as many as Shrey had.

Dan ended up ahead at the end of the game with 92. I was feeling good, but I knew I couldn't beat that. I had 83 Pat was 77 and Shrey was 50.

Great game! Glad we had the chance to play it, this is one I definitely want to play more of!


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We were waiting for Dan to join a game, so Shrey and I taught Pat how to play Ohanami.

I am always up for a game oh Ohanami, so I was glad when Shrey suggested it. Drafting cards is one of my most favorite mechanics and in a short card game. It is a perfect combo for me.

In this game, I was trying to gather all of the pink cards to try and stop Shrey from collecting them all. Pat joined that party too late to score much of anything from it. I managed to get my best score to date because of it. I got 200! I kicked some butt. Pat was at 168 and Shrey 165.

All around great. A game I want to keep playing!

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New to the Collection:
Paleo
enigma beyond code
ganesha
artbox
deep state + global conspiracy exp
windmill cozy stories
under falling skies
Materia Prima
Disney The Haunted Mansion





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.
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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 Oct 23, 2020 12:00 pm
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It was time to Escape in the Shadow of the Red Cathedral that was located in the Lost Ruins of Arnak

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Hia Everyone!

Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Shadow Network, The Red Cathedral, & Deadly Doodles 2 on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Tonight's featured games!
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Here is one of the videos from Sunday! Other ones in the reviews below!

Honey Buzz


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I was asked to check out a new prototype called Shadow Network which just hit Kickstarter yesterday! New to me!

In Shadow Network you get to be a super spy/ secret agent. You are traveling to various locations and collecting intel. The intel will help capture your targets. After 4 rounds, the player with the most points will win.

Shadow Network is a worker placement game where you send your agents off to a location to gather that intel. With help from handlers, you will trade intel for better intel. The Intel tokens are resources that makeup briefcases. You will need specific colors and quantities to get the proper briefcase you need for locating that target.

There is a really cool mechanic in the game is when you visit a location, there is intel that leaks into other locations. You are essentially making a location sweet for another player to visit. Or, if you are lucky you might be able to grab that extra intel on a later turn. All that juicy intel just stays on the location and piles up in time until someone takes the space.

Some locations have a bonus Black Market action tied to it. These spaces are in high demand since they give a player sweet advantages to buy intel or gain cool abilities like unlocking another agent worker. Of course the more workers you unlock, the more you have to pay at the end of the round during the upkeep. Balance is everything!

The game ends after 4 rounds and whoever has scored the most points from collecting them in-game and from their targets acquired, will be the winner!

Michael and I took a while to learn the game, but we managed and the overall flow of the game is nice. The flow of the rules needs work.

Since you are taking your turns individually, there is a part of the game where you are essentially doing upkeep in between turns. So after you finish your turn you do a lot of maintenance on your player board. Moving intel around and creating the hard evidence you need. Since that is all internal, you can do it off-turn.

For the most part, the game is easy to understand and fairly streamlined. I was so focused on getting my other workers out on the board so I could gain more actions. Always better to have more workers in a worker-placement game. Seemed to work out for me. In the final round, I was less focused and I had a few throw-away actions. But, it worked out since some spaces had a bunch of resources just laying around including a bunch with just points. I snagged those up.

Michael was working hard until the last minute to get the final intel he needed to make find that final target.

In the end, I won with 123 to his 105. Close game!

The theme is awesome and the game is fun. I am super excited to show it off on the Livestream tonight and you can learn all about it as we play. I hope you have gathered enough intel to know if you want to back this game on KS or at least join us tonight!


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I was super excited to check out the new big box game from CGE called Lost Ruins of Arnak. New to me!

About 10 minutes into the game I knew we would have to feature this ASAP on the Livestream. So, as it happened we streamed the game on Sunday! See the video below for the full playthrough! Please keep in mind that I have a prototype copy of the game.

Lost Ruins of Arnak is so totally Indiana Jones the boardgame. It is an exploration game that is dripping with cool artifacts and mystic guardians.

You are an archaeologist who is looking to explore the lands and research the different findings. There are several paths to try over 5 rounds. You are looking to collect the most points by the end of the game.

During the game, you will want to acquire items and artifacts to build up your deck of cards. Each round you will only draw 5 cards, but you will use those cards for various actions and possible resources. Each card is multi-use so you have to pick and choose wisely how you want to use the cards. Each player has 2 meeples to use that can collect resources or go off and explore, but you are doing a lot more than just using meeples for actions. You might research or write in your journal to advance on the research track for cool bonuses and a lot of end-game points. There are other options for actions like buying a card or defeating a guardian.

The turns are quick and the strategy is deep since you want to be sure to plan for your best success. You gain small bonuses in many places that will help trigger other possible actions so figuring all that out makes for a fun game!

Michael and I immediately loved it from the first playthrough. I was heavily focused on the exploration and finding cool locations. With my terrible luck, I wasn't defeating the guardians in the same turn and ended up picking up a bunch of fear cards. These cards ruined my deck and it made it difficult to find the good cards I actually wanted/needed to make the rest of my turns a success.

Michael was focused on research. Using my explored sites to gain the cool resources and he just glided up that track and started exploring the temple for the big end of game points. I knew if I wanted a shot at winning, I would have to stumble up the research track behind him. It meant I wasn't getting all the cool bonuses he was getting, but I still managed to get some significant points.

Was it enough? Nope! Michael won with 76 and I had 69! Ouch!

Here I thought I was doing an amazing job, yeahhhhh nope. Not true, I did do a great job and I certainly learned some new strategies to try. I did much better in my second playthrough on that Livestream below!

This is a fantastic game. I can't wait for the final production copy, it will be amazing. This will be near the top of the best games of the year, I can already tell you. Such a great game, and one I will be looking forward to playing for a long time! Check it out!

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A game I had been curious about was The Red Cathedral which is currently the LEADER on the GeekPreview most thumbed game! Wow! New to me!

I thought this one might fly under the radar a bit since I hadn't heard much about it, but I was sent a review copy and definitely wanted to check it out.

To my delight, this game has one of the best rulebooks ever. I have decided if I ever need an example of a perfect rulebook, this is the rulebook I will refer to. Crystal clear rules with examples for any scoring condition. I mean, they answer any unknown within a sentence of you asking the question in your mind. So props to the rulebook and all those fine detailed examples.

In The Red Cathedral, players are selecting 1 of 3 possible actions each turn. The actions are simple and straight forward. Claiming a section of the cathedral, delivering goods to the cathedral to build, or gathering resources. This continues until one player has built all of their sections (in the 2 player game that is 6 sections).

As the rules state, the heart of the game is within the gathering resources action. This is where you will select a die from teh wheel and move it according to the pip value. Where it lands will be the reward you get multipled by the number of dice at that location. You will gain those resources and take a bonus action depending on the quadrant it lands in as well. Depending on the color die you select, you may gain additional bonuses if you have previously picked up a token from the cathedral and placed it on that colored die space on your player board. Alllll of that happens and then you re-roll all the dice at the location. Each location can hold a maximum of 3 dice.

If I am the red player, I automatically have a special ability to move the red die additional spaces by paying 1 coin for each space. everyone has that ability including the white die as well.

Each player has a maximum holding area of resources, so you have to collect them wisely so that you can use them.

When you go to deliver to the cathedral, you can only deliver 3 goods at a time. You maybe delivering to a section you own, but you also may want to add a decoraction or feature. Those additional add ons give you a presence in the area and will allow you to compete for the scoring at the end of the game.

Each tower of the cathedral will score individually depending on teh number of floors built x2 and the decorations x1. The person with the most influence will gain the full value and the second most half of that etc.

Something to note about this game is anytime you complete a section you will gain some amount of recgonition points which help boost your score, but the final score will be the prestige points. They use the same score track but the prestige symbols are few and far between at the start of the game. Towards the end of the track, they become one in the same. It is a clever scoring system.

Michael and I drove right in, without really much of a strategy in place. I knew I wanted to claim some of the towers so I could start gaining cool bonuses from the dice I was selecting. I found out quickly that money was hard to come by and I needed it in order to place those bonuses on my player board.

I was trying my best to collect the special gems so that when I built an upgrade I could get the full 3 prestige points. Jumping early 3 prestige is way more beneficial than trying to gain recgonition points. I needed to make it work!

I was also trying to manipulate the towers so that I was the one who had the influence so I would gain the points at the end of the game. It seemed to be working for the most part.

Michael was being stubborn. He had resources, but wouldn't flip over his floors. I was waiting to pounce and add in a window to his floor, but he never did it! grrrrr I guess he could see me coming. But, when I had the chance to end it, I had to end it. I couldn't let him just have a few major turns.

Then it came down to the final tally of points. In the end I nudged him out for a score of 45. He ended with 42 so it was close until the final scores! I wasn't sure I would take that one home, but it worked out.

I simply can't wait to show this on the Livestream tonight. I hope you will be able to join in and learn more about it. Such a clever game and super solid. I hope it becomes a huge hit for everyone. I am really excited to play this one more!



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On Sunday, Michael and I finished the stream with the first scenario of Part 1 in Escape from the Asylum. New to me!

Escape from the Asylum is a 2-part game each with 5 scenarios inside the box. That is 10 (!!!) scenarios to work through! The box says each scenario lasts about 60 minutes. That is a lot of awesome puzzle-solving goodness wrapped up in a small box!

Since we tried the Escape Room game last week on the stream and the audience had a fun time, we figured we could show off the first scenario and get everyone hooked! I mean it was just 1 scenario out of 10!

Each scenario has us following one specific person and that person will change from scenario to scenario. I think the idea is that we need to get everyone to escape this mental place. Maybe there is even a bigger picture, but I am not sure at this time.

Let me tell you, we had a fantastic time playing this game. The puzzles were innovative and clever. Nothing seemed farfetched. We did need to use some hints, but we were generally able to figure out the solution with 1 hint.

I think everyone in the audience fully agreed on liking this Escape room. Everyone seemed really interested and happy that we were able to show it off.

Michael and I really enjoyed it and definitely want to continue the adventure. Maybe we will play scenario 2 next week on the Livestream. We haven't decided yet, but people definitely want to know more about this game. One of the best escape room puzzle games I have played. Check it out!


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New to the Collection:
MUD
Gods Love Dinosaurs
Machi Koro Legacy





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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The Castle in the Forest is where the Cat and the Frogs played with Ribbons

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

It is Essen Spiel TIME!!! Wooooooo!!
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If you missed it on Friday, here is my Essen 2020 video I made! It's long as I have MANY games I am interested in!



Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I play through three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! Right now the plan is to play Shadow Network & The Red Cathedral and definitely one more!



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Michael and I have enjoyed some of Pythagoras Games recently, so I was looking forward to trying out 6 Castles. New to me!

6 Castles is a tile-placement game where each turn you are adding to the big playing area. Each tile will be 2x2 with 4 areas. You are trying to arrange the map to work to your benefit. Depending on the strategy you are going for you may want to place your guys on the tile and try to gain faith points, or you might take a differnt route and explore the lands and generate resources.

In this game, you really have to focus in heavily on one strategy since you aren't going to score very many points. The more you can focus the better off you can score so it really makes sense to dabble a little in one area while putting your primary focus in another.

Michael was clearly going the explore route in our play. He was getting al the access to the castles that were being built, but he was having a difficult time since he was essentally forced to play his tiles in specific regions to ensure the castles get built. He was feeling that there wasn't much strategy for him to work out since his tile placement was always mandatory.

I was having a harder time exploring so I focused on getting my meeples out and I could run up the faith track the best I could. It seemed to be going well for me. Michael was selling his resources though and he was going to get the bonus points for occupying the castles at the end. I had no idea who would end up the winner.

When it was all said and done, my final score was 26 to Michael's 22 so it was fairly close!

I liked the game well enough. Michael really didn't like it very much. I think if there wasn't a mandatory tile placement for tiles with the white areas I think it would have worked better for us. Michael kept drawing those particular tiles over and over so he wasn't really given many options and it soured the game a bit.

I could see playing the game again, but I think I will stick to Rossio!


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Fortunately, Shrey was up for learning some rules and was able to explain Cosmic Frog. New to me!

There are 2 player rules under the partner game variant in the rules, but this seems like a game that would be better with more players. Since there is a TTS mod available, Shrey, Pat, and I were able to check it out.

I did a mock-up of the game being played online with what I set up on my game tables so I could take some snazzy photos of this psychedelic game.

The theme is unusual, to say the least. The artwork clearly reminds me of the 70s. The game introduces its own languages and terms when it comes to the various actions you will be doing. So, we are 2-mile high frogs who love to devour the land. Our goal is to collect land tiles into our vault to score at the end of the game.

In the game, the turn order will vary depending on how the cards are drawn. In a 3 player game, each player has 6 cards in their color added to the deck. The deck is shuffled and then revealed one at a time. After the first time through then we add in specialty cards that will start disrupting our world and events will happen.

Once we have destroyed 6 tiles with the barren cracked symbol, then the game will be over. Only the tiles that have made it to your vault will score depending on their arrangement and types.

Each turn you will have a standard action depending on if you are in the Aether or on a shard. Maybe you move or harvest a land tile. If you harvest you will eat that land tile you are on and add it to your gullet. Your movement will be determined by how full you are in future movement actions. You can spend 2 oomph to take another action if you desire. This is important since you may want to first move into the aether then take a bonus action to devour those land tiles in your gullet before someone comes to try and attack you.

Yes, there is a lot of attacking in this game. You might get knocked back and people might steal tiles from your gullet. In order to get tiles into the vault you have to be in the aether, so there is a bit of rush element to get those in your gullet to the vault if you are full up.

Shrey, Pat, and I are all fairly nice gamers. meaning we are a bit of a carebear pack. We don't really like to beat up on other people for the sake of beating up on people. For most of the game, we were just letting everyone do their own thing. Eventually, Shrey decided to pick on Pat a little bit. Shrey was them looking really flesh with tiles in his vault. I knew I needed to make an attack action when I had the chance.

It happened that I had a very handy ability card in play at the time that allowed me to take from Pat's vault and add it directly into my vault if I was successful with my RAID on Pat.

Totally worked out for me. Those extra points I got from the different land type and the actual tile was enough to push me to the winning position.

I won with 42 points and Shrey was just behind with 39 and we beat up on Pat too much. He got 22.

Overall, I see why people have been enjoying this game. It is definitely unique in terms of theme. The mechanics were interesting and I like the use of the player action deck, much like Aeon's End. In the end, it is not really my type of game, since it is very much head-on attacking is something you will want to do at least a few times in the game to keep people on their toes. Not really my style of gameplay, but it will be awesome for other game groups.

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I wanted to check out the new Kodama game called Kodama Forest. New to me!

Kodama Forest is really 3-6 players, but there are variants in the rules for 1-2 players as well as cooperative play.

For the 2 player variant, we each control 2 boards and will draw 2 tiles each turn. Each board will get one tile. the game will end once one player has covered up all of the printed numbers on one of their boards.

Each space is -1 point or if there is a 5 it is -5, or worse, if there is a 10 it is -10 points. You are trying to get the closest to 0 you c
On the tiles, you will find different patterns. If you completely create a flower, pond or bamboo patch, you will gain a bonus tile which you will then place immediately onto you board. These tiles are the key to winning this game. The more bonuses you can create, the better off you are doing since you want to cover your board the best you can.

In the solo game you only have 10 rounds to complete what you can on 2 boards. You can watch my video below and see how poorly I did!

We played through the game and I thought I was doing okay, but I wasnt sure since Michael seemed to be getting a lot of pandas as bonus tiles. The pandas are a 2x2 tile size, and it seemed SUPER helpful to have those. He seemed to disagree, but maybe it was the way he was arranging the tiles he was drawing, I am not sure.

In the end, it wasn't clear who would win but it came down to Michael with 29 and I had 21, so I won with the lower score!

Ugh, my score in the solo game was -131 soooooooo, yeah, the solo game is a super huge challenge. You do have to add up BOTH boards. Hey, I think next time I play solo, I will be able to beat that score though. hahaha it was fun though.

I really enjoy polyominoes, they make my brain work in ways that I like! It is always very interesting to me! I would be happy to play this one again soon!


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Michael wanted a familiar game, but we decided to keep up with the new pile shelf at the same time so we played the new expansion called Cat Lady: Box of Treats. New to me Expansion!

Most of the expansion is geared towards higher player counts, so we couldn't use the paw tokens or a variety of other cards set for more plyers. We did add in some of the treat cards though. The treat cards allow players to use treat tokens in place of any one food item, but then the card is only worth 1 point.

We added in more cats with new scoring opportunities, and I believe that was all. There is another whole part of the expansion we werent able to play with, but will eventually.

Our game was super close. I was trying to gain a lot of cats but also control the costumes at the same time. I picked up my full set of toys early, but then later didn't stop Michael from getting his set of toys and I should have!

He was effectively using the water sprey bottle to get cards he wanted.

It was a close one until the very end and somehow I managed to sneak out a win with 61 to his 59! Close game! Good times!

I like Cat Lady, I think it is a nice relaxing game. I like drafting a bunch of cards, I think that is fun. I am not sure the expansion is a must-have. If you play the game a whole bunch then it would be a no-brainer, but otherwise I could play with or without it and be fine. I do like the small additions, so I would choose to play with it going forward.

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Michael and I were looking for a quick game and settled on Ribbons. New to me!

Ribbons is a light abstract game. You are trying to connect your hidden color ribbon to the bow at the right location. You need to have the ribbon creating 2 lines of 3. So depending on if the bow is anchored to the middle you need to make a sort of T shape 3 across and 3 down the middle. If you have your bow anchored to the corner you have an opportunity to use the diagonal as one of the lines. The FIrst person to correctly assemble their lines will win.

Each turn you will place a card to the tableau and then tape the piece down so other players can't play over it immediately. You can choose to flip over cards or swap adjacent cards instead.

Michael immediately compared the game to tic-tac-toe. It is fairly light.

In the first game, I almost immediately won. I don't think Michael was paying much attention to what I was doing. I don't think I was particularly sneaky or anything, but he was actively blocking me.

In the second game, it was a much longer ordeal. We were going back and forth. I knew what color he was. I was sure it was following my every play with a scheme in mind to screw me up upon first chance.

I think we ended up neutral since we ran out of cards. There was no winner. I think it will be a bit more chaotic with more players, but perhaps it will be easier to fool people into thinking you are going for something else. It is hard to say.

In the end, this game probably works for kids and casual gamers. It aws a bit light for my taste so I am not sure I will end up playing it again.


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In case you missed it, here is Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming from Friday!



Other cool solo games I played on Saturday:
Kingswood


Tiny Towns


Calico






New to the Collection:
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Game
Jello Jiggler Slap Game
Heinz Ketchup Dice Game
Blue Skies
Kingdom Rush
Elf: Snowball Showdown Card Game
Frosty the Snowman Follow the Leader Card Game
A Christmas Story A Major Card Game
Gremlins Holiday Havoc Card Game
National Lampoons Christmas vacation Twinking Lights Game
Elf Journey from the North Pole
The Sweet and Spicy truth
Fumbling Ferrets





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 Oct 19, 2020 12:00 pm
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Macarons and Point Salad at the Overlook Hotel! MEOW!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Today is the FINAL DAY for supporting my Kickstarter! Thanks so much for the support and this awesome Journey!

Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021

It's Friday!! Every Friday 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?! I am also adding in a special addition of STEPH's AWESOME ESSEN PICKS! I will run down my top Essen releases I am excited for.


Make sure to join us on Sunday as I play through these awesome titles on Twitch!! Gonna BEE FUN!!!

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

Aeon's End: Outcasts

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Furnace



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A Few weeks ago, I got to check out Macaron on Tabletopia. We gave some good feedback to Ta-Te who then implemented an advanced board for experienced players.

Since it is ready for Kickstarter and production, everyone wanted to give it another go with the advanced scoring. Ta-Te had sent a review copy to me as well so I could photograph it as we played through the game online.

Since it is a trick-taking game, it is better to play with more players. We still haven't been able to give the partner variant a try, but we hope to soon.

During our play, I had misread what the trump cards were and thought that I was sitting on a bunch of trumps, yeah, I wasn't. So, I ended up way overbidding in the first round and sat on the 0 space.

I managed to recover a bit in the later rounds, but still was no match for Shrey and Derek who were in the far off lead for playing it safe. I suppose playing it risky can have rewards if you actually succeed.

This is still a game I am feeling out. It is really hard to know how to bid since those pesky allergins make an appearance at the most inconvenient time. I really enjoy the allergin mechanic for this reason. It makes me want to get better at trying to read if a hand of cards is good. It is a challenge!

Macaron is an interesting trick-taking game and fairly unique. I would be happy to play this more!



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Hey! I recently got my own copy of Point Salad!

Michael and I played a quick game as you do. Super easy to learn, I think Michael learned in about 1 minute for reading over the rules. Everything is streamlined and easy to follow. Love that!

I found that playing 2 players felt very much the same as playing with more players. I think this game scales very nicely for any player range.

During the game, I was shooting for the veggies that Michael was trying to avoid. Then I could pick up all the cards that scored positively for those veggies. With the scoring cards I found and the mix of veggies, I managed to nudge out a win 52 to 48! It was so super close though!

It could have gone either way near the end. I guess I picked up some good veggies!

Love this game, it is no wonder it was a huge hit for 2019.


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Last night on the Livestream, we opened and played through several rooms of The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel. New to me!

The video I uploaded to Youtube is posted below, but we played on longer during the stream if you wanted to watch more. We were at it A LONG time.

The Shining has mechanics like you would find in Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, as I believe they are a part of the same Escape series. The Shining has an adult theme and more challenging puzzles.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't say how true to the movie the story falls, but from the few scenes we played out, it felt very thematic and had a great (scary) story. So if this is a theme that interests you, I would say check it out!

During the stream, we had a bunch of help from the audience to try and get input and to help us solve various puzzles and to examine the rooms.

We got to one puzzle that just stumped us for the longest time, though we were sure we were on the right path. Michael ended up solving it for us so we could move past. That is about when the video stops. We continued to the next few puzzles and it was running super long since we just couldn't figure out what to do even with the help of everyone from chat.

We took on a few hints to try and navigate us. Even when the answer was revealed, we still didn't know what the answer was referring to. At that point, we called it quits. Puzzles such as this final one that stumped us completely EVEN WITH THE ANSWER, makes me less interested in continuing the escape.

Michael and I really enjoy the system of these escape rooms which almost feel like a choose your own adventure type of game. Some of the puzzles were pattern based which is what we enjoy, and some were visual abstracts that we like less. So, there are definitely some interesting puzzles in the box.

If you like escape games, then take note this is the topmost difficult level from this series, and you might run into longer sessions as we did. Glad we got to play on the Livestream and so many could check it out with us!



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Michael and I had time for a quick game so we learned a new Knizia game called MEOW. New to me!

Meow is a trick-taking game that can be played with 2 players. There are 3 suits of cards and the number range varies depending on the player count if you are using the expert variant.

the rules are fairly simple since they are standard trick-taking where the leading suit must be followed if you have a card in that samesuit. Now, if the 18 is played, then it will win unless a 1 in that color is played then the 1 will win.

There is one suit that is always trump too so that trump suit will also trump any other card. The winner of the trick will take the next token in the line up tokens. Some tokens are positive points, others are negative. You are trying to collect the most points from these tokens to win the game.

The game is played over 3 rounds.

It worked fairly well as a 2 player game, though I suspect I will like it more with a few more players.

I was dealt a few really great hands of cards so I could dodge a lot of tricks and I stuck Michael with a load of negative points. It definitely worked out for me in the end as I won with 24 points! Poor Michael was at -2... which I thought would be more like -20 so he did better than I was anticipating he would do. devil

Simple and light. I would be happy to play this one again. I would definitely want to try again with more players to see how the dynamic changes. Solid game!



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New to the Collection:
mekhane
Meow (2020)
7 Wonders New edition
We are the Best
National Epidemic Prevention
Roibbons
Half-Pint Heroes
Rock'n Vegas
Duffers





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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Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Outcasts of the Shadowed Kingdom Divvy up the Truffles to Feast on around the Furnace.

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!


Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021! now on Kickstarter! Till the end of this week! Please let your friends know!

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Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Aeon's End: Outcasts followed by Furnace on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!



Here are some Cool videos from Sunday!
The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising

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Welcome To...: Halloween Thematic Neighborhood




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Ever since it arrived, I knew I wanted to play the first game of Aeon's End: Outcasts on the Twitch channel!! Michael and I had to get it played ASAP!!! New to me!

This game is particularly cool since Michael and I got to get a glimpse of it when it was in progress since they were looking for some fans to pre-read the backstory and give some input. So that was super cool and our names appear in the back of the rules!

But, As many of you know, we are pretty much super fans of Aeon's End and all the content for this game. It is always a fun new adventure when we get to try a new expansion or a new big-box standalone game appears!

Here we have the Outcasts! It is a 4-game campaign game much like New Age from 2019. There is a new Curse mechanic that is introduced, but otherwise, it plays out very much like any Aeon's End game except we have all new characters and a bunch of new content!

So, Michael and I have only played the first game, which is what we will feature on the channel tonight starting at 5 pm.

In our first play, it was a nail biter since we felt pretty doomed. So very many bad things were happening to us. The FIRST FOUR ALMOST FIVE rounds we had back to back nemesis cards. The 5th rounds had the first card being a nemesis, but thankfully it switched up after. It was absolute chaos.

At one point during the game, Michael was down to 1 life, but he had a powerful ability that gained him 3 life back, so he was using that as much as possible. By the end, I was at 3 health. Fortunately, we were able to keep Gravehold alive and well. We would have been toast if the cards revealed in a different way than the final round. We got seriously lucky and had enough attack power to kill off the remainder of the nemesis before a bunch of unleashes were about to happen. It could have easily been doom and gloom, but we pulled it out the last second.

We rocked it!

This game is just so awesome! I love every second of playing it! On the stream tonight we will try some different characters and see how well we do! Come join us!

More of Aeon's End is BETTER! If you like Aeon's End then you should definitely check out this new release. So great!


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Shrey had requested a playthrough of Furnace on the Livestream so Michael and I wanted to play that next! New to me!

Furnace is a light economic game. In the game, you are looking to gain factories for your production line. You will get to run this line each turn and will want to gain as many victory points by the end of the game as possible.

Over four rounds, players will be using four differently sized discs to essentially bid on different factory buildings in a lineup of cards. Each card can hold only one disc of each size and color. The biggest disc on each factory card will claim the card, but the other disc will get a small compensation for their participation. There are resources printed at the top and depending on the size of your disc you will get a multiplier 1/2/3 times the resources printed on the card. You can never get a multiplier of 4 since that disc would have automatically won the factory as the reward.

With careful planning, you might get the resources you need to run the factories you have and gain a bunch of points that way. Having more factories is not necessarily the way go to. You really have to be clever.

Each player also has a special ability they can use once per round so they will help guild you in a particular direction as well.

In our game, I was focused on getting coal since my cool ability was to spend extra coal to re-activate a factory card. I tried to pick up all the cards that gave extra coal when I run teh factory card, and it was working okay.

The catch with the 2 player game is that we have to use an AI to help block locations. I actually found this mechanic to be very well implemented and it did an incredible job blocking me from what I wanted to accomplish. One of the best AI's I have seen for a 2 player game.

As a result of always being blocked from acquiring the factory cards I wanted, I ended up with tons of extra resources. I was able to use those resources in the factories I had and I totally kept up with Michael's score and sometimes I even had MORE points than he did.

In the end, Michael just had a KILLER line of factory cards and had a fantastic final round. I got shut out of some cards I wanted. Curse you AI! Michael won with 87 to my 76!

Really enjoyed this game! I think it will be a lot of fun to demonstrate on the Livestream tonight and I hope you all can join us as we play! This is a very clever game and one that will remain in the collection. I definitely recommend checking it out!



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Roll n write games have been a constant hit for me. I always enjoy learning new and playing a roll n write game! This time I had the pleasure of checking out Divvy Dice. New to me!

I am still not sure I know what the word divvy means, but I thought it meant like divide it up. Not sure I am accurate, nor do I understand how it relates. Ah well, it is still a fun word, nonetheless.

Divvy Dice is a game where you really have to be clever and timing is everything. The game-end will trigger when one player takes their 9th card. You can take a card each turn if you wanted, but you will only score points on the cards you completely fill up with numbers and X's.

There are 2 types of cards. Cards that will score you points and cards that will give you some special abilities you can use. You will want to collect sets of colors to help score points for the cards that need a specific pattern or variety of colors. But you will want to gain some extra abilities too that will help fill in the cards and mitigate the dice rolling you will be doing.

Each turn you will roll the dice and then choose to re-roll as many of them as you choose up to twice more. Each roll after the first one will let other players gain a bonus from the results so maybe you just suffer from your first roll, thus punishing the other players so they get NOTHING. devil

Ofter you will need to reroll to get that perfect number for a space on your card. It is hard to get lucky on the first roll anyway, though possible.

Michael and I had a fun time with this one. We both agree that we think playing with more players would be better though. I was getting a lot of lucky rolls and not needing to re-roll a 2nd or 3rd time and Michael was missing out on extra dice he really needed. He was rolling a bunch so it was very helpful for my cards!

I think he ended up triggering the ending and getting his 9th card. I was just one card away and going second so I had essentially 2 more turns. I could claim a card and if I was lucky, I would be able to complete it in the final turn. Turns out luck was on my side and I ended up doing just that. It gave me the win! 93 to 74. I had some killer points on my scoring cards. It worked out this time.

As far as roll n write games go, I do like this one. I don't think I would ever choose to play this over Ganz Schon Clever, but I think this was pretty interesting. I do think it would be better with more players and more interaction with the dice. I would definitely play again.


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There is a new Disney game out called Disney Shadowed Kingdom and it is for only 2 players! I had to try it. New to me!

The theme in this game is very dark, it is such a cool twist on the normal Disney image you might have in your mind. I think the setting is super cool and the artwork is dark and mysterious which is very nice.

In Shadowed Kingdom, players are working together to find the Wish cards and boost the Wish track up. They have to avoid Shadow cards. If the Shadow cards are revealed then the Shadow track is pushed up and if that goes too high then the players will lose.

In front of the players are 4 facedown cards 2x2 formation. The active player will choose to push a card off to one side left or right and that card will be eliminated and discarded. If the active player pushed the card straight across that revealed card will be activated by the opposite player. That card is them put into the other player's hand and then they will take their turn.

The catch is when you play a card, you will have to play the oldest card in your hand, so you don't have a choice of cards when you go to play. There is definitely a few parts of this game where you need to remember a bunch of cards and information you know or think you know, since you don't want to misplay.

Michael and I learned I had two of the Wish card in my deck so we had to be careful with my cards. We had a some good luck wish discarding Shadow cards and finding those Wishes!

While we did end up winning this game, it all felt very luck driven. There aren't many choices to be made since you are forced to play the oldest card in your hand. It doesn't really give you many options, but I understand the rule since you wouldn't play a Shadow card otherwise.

This whole game felt underdeveloped. Maybe my hopes for it were too high, but I did want to love it. I just don't see playing this game again. Not enough interesting choices. Felt like just a memory game with limited options.



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Well, I love chocolate, and if there is a game about Truffles I am all in... Michael and I played a game of Truffle Shuffle! New to me!

Truffle Shuffle is a light card game with some set collection to gain the most points. Over three rounds, players will collect cards and use cards to form sets. The better the set the more points it will be worth. You want to have sets all in the same color for even more points. There is a handy player aid to help direct you in the different sets and what everything is worth.

Each round the tableau of cards is laid out with alternating rows of face-up and face-down cards. you will always know the color of the card by the backside if it is face-down.

You will simply take one available card in the tableau and you have the choice to form a set and collect points afterward. You just keep doing this until there are no more cards in the tableau.

Some cards have abilities you can use like Take 2 where you gt to take 2 cards on your turn or there is an ability to change the color of a card. Cool little twists to keep you on your toes.

Each round I found I was looking for the most common color in the tableau and tried to collect those colors whenever possible. You do have a hand limit when you go into the next round and you have to be cautious of that, meaning you don't want to have too many leftover so use them in sets when you can!

I think because of my overall strategy, it allowed for me to get lucky at times but ultimately have the cards I needed for bigger and better sets. It was a close one though since Michael seemed to be right there with me in points. It was down to the wire and my few extra points from creating bigger sets edged me out in the end for 84 points to Michael's 81!

Super close game. I think it works great with 2 players. I played it again with friends on TTS and had a great time with 4 players as well. Fun little game to close the night with.

We played this game easily and quickly! I immediately knew this was a perfect game I could play with my family during the holidays. Easy to understand and simple strategy with some luck. I would definitely recommend checking out Truffle Shuffle!


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My recent play of A Feast for Odin

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New to the Collection:
The Shining
Scribbletown
macaron
suburbia collectors
Lost Ruins of Arnak (prototype)
tawantinsuyu
Beez





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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Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:00 pm
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