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Jabba's Palace was the home of the Terracotta Army Academy

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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We played Last Aurora


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After that pretty big game, I figured it was time to try a lighter game that I just got called Star Wars: Jabba's Palace – A Love Letter Game. New to me!

Honestly, I find that I play the Love Letter games mostly as a 2p game, so I knew I wanted to try this with more than 2p to see how the interaction works. There is always some rule for 2p and it just always feels easy/slightly off somehow. Generally, it works with 2, but I think with more players you will just have more fun.

I have found the Love Letter series to be interesting. I like what they have done with the different themes. I recently tried Hobbit and Marvel, and both of those are different and definitely fun. I was happy to give Jabba's Palace a whirl too!

Obviously, this is great for Star Wars fans and I am kinda surprised it hasn't been created yet!

In Jabba's Palace, you will find a whole bunch of characters and abilities. From the Rebels Alliance and the Denizens of Jabba's group.

Jabba's crew controls the deck of cards, and each character will have slightly different abilities. For Example, Han Solo is the 0 card and will gain you an extra point at the end of the round if he is still remaining, you know in carbonite and all. He has the advantage that he can't be eaten, so there is that.

The game plays out like Love Letter. Over several rounds where you are trying to be the last one standing. On your turn, you will draw a card and then play one of the 2 cards in your hand. You want to try and learn information about other players' hands or cards or simply guess and try to get them eliminated before you. It is all about taking risks and just having a good time. With 3 players you play until one person has won 5 rounds.

For the first 3/4ths of the game, James and I weren't trying to pick on Michael, but he was sort of an easy target. I don't think Michael got a point until really late in the game.

It was a closer race between me and James. James was particularly good at this game though. He would just KNOW what to do. Maybe he was psychic. In the final rounds, I just couldn't maintain my wins. James took it away with 5 to my 3 and Michael ended with 1 point.

I think James got luck with a Han Solo double-point finish once so that definitely helped him!

We had a few surprise moments that really made the game fun and exciting. I think this works well for a lighthearted game. Definitely, a good pub game if you are looking for that type of game. The Love Letter games are always interesting depending on the twist. I do enjoy the game better with the different themes attached. I would be up for playing this one anytime. I think I still prefer the Hobbit theme best, but I am happy to play any of them. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy Star Wars.

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Rainer was around and he offered to teach Terracotta Army! New to me!

I have been wanting to play this one for a while! The theme is intriguing and of course, it is a "T" game so it was going to be on the heavier side.

Terracotta Army is a worker-placement game that is played over 5 rounds. The number of workers you will have each round depends on how many people are playing! You will want to have the most points at the end of the game to win.

During the game, you will place your workers in one of the available spaces around the wheel. The wheel is a really cool feature in the game. There are 3 sections that will rotate either by paying to rotate them or just at the end of each round. The top section goes clockwise and the midsection goes counter-clockwise. The bottom section is always static.

Each section can hold one smaller meeple and one larger meeple. If the larger meeple is placed first then the smaller meeple will not be allowed to take their action there.

Each space will have 3 actions that must be activated from the center of the wheel outward.

As you can imagine there are a bunch of different types of actions and things you will want to do. The resources in the game are clay and money and you will want to have enough of both to do everything you can. The clay is good for only one round then it will dry up if you still have it. There is a space on the wheel that wets all your clay back to a usable side though. Ideally, you will pick up some clay and use it the round you get it.

Some actions will allow you to spend clay to craft a statue for the mausoleum. Other actions might allow you to hire advisors for small benefits and from that point on you will be able to use their abilities for free and gain income.

So much to think about and how you can best use the special bonus abilities for certain actions as well.

Whenever you place a statue in the mausoleum you will want to think about how it will score for the current and future rounds as well as the end of the game. Figuring out the placement for statues is pretty important since it will provide a lot of points, so you have to know what you want to build when you go to build something.

The game isn't actually too hard to grasp and understand. It is more about figuring out how the game will play out and what final scoring will look like.

I focused my game on getting out a bunch of statues in the first round and then worrying about clay in the next few rounds. I was going 3rd in the first round so it gave me 2 clay to start the game and that gave me a cool boost with the statues. Since a specific type of statue was scoring in the first round, I wanted to play that statue to be the game. I was hoping that people would build next to me so the end of the game scoring would happen and we could gain a bunch of points.

In the later rounds, I knew I wanted to get out the archers so I could make their bonus point scoring work so I could get a bunch of extra points. I was literally the only one doing that all game. I was SUPER far in the lead for most of the game.

I figured that everyone would make up the scoring with the end-game points. Turns out I did pretty well with the end of the game points even though I was focusing on it less than everyone else. I was more focused on gaining points in the game.

It did end up working out for me as I won with 217. Rainer and Shrey tied with 189 and Dan had 157.

I really enjoyed this game a lot. So many things to think about and to plan for. I love the use of bigger meeples and how the wheel turns. The actions aren't hard, but it is a challenge to make everything work, and that is something I totally love in any game.

The mausoleum has some interesting interactions that really work too. Crunchy goodness is what I will call this.

I am super excited to play this one again and see the final product! Great game.


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Michael and I were looking for an easier game to try out so we put the newly acquired Abstract Academy. New to me!

As you might imagine, Abstract Academy is an abstract game with 3 colors that are in groups of blocks on a card. Over 3 rounds, players will try to fulfill the objective both public and private to score the most points by the end of the game.

Each round, players will take turns playing cards to the tableau until the 4x4 grid has been formed. Once the vertical 4 cards have been set, the lines have been drawn and the 2 rows closest to each player will be scoring for that player. Also, once the 4 card vertical has been set the lines on the outside closest to the players are protected and only the player in control can play to that side unless there is no other option.

Each round there are 3 objective cards out on display that will be claimed at the end of the round for the player who met the requirements better. It might be to have the most painted section or have more red quadrants. As far as private goals they are usually a specific shape has to be found on your section of the board.

You can play this as a team game, but I do think it is likely best just as a 2 player game since it is an abstract game.

During our game, I was having a hard time creating the patterns I needed since Michael kept messing them up! Not only that, I couldn't gain the majority of any of the objective cards.

I was simply no good at this game. Michael beat me by double my points!

Okay, so I have a lot to learn. I am not great at planning for the goals and taking out my opponent at the same time.

It is a very clever game though. I quite enjoyed it. Of course, the theme is great. I love the vibrant colors and the quick playtime too. I will be glad to show this on the Livestream and play it again. Maybe I will learn from my mistakes?! Well, hopefully!

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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Feb 9, 2022 12:00 pm
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From Ostia to Paris the Pathfinder lead the Wrath of the Righteous

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


Thanks to Dfube, I now have a chance to sell some cool All the Meeples of the Rainbow shirts!
If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
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Steph & Michael's Top 10 of Jan


Of Dreams & Shadows


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I was looking forward to trying the new expansion for Paris: La Cité de la Lumièrecalled Paris: Eiffel. New to me Expansion!

In preparation for the expansion, I actually asked Shrey to play the base game with me on TTS since there is an official mod!

The game was easy to remember with elegant mechanics. I wasn't sure Shrey would love it since it is a very abstract game. You need to see the patterns and work with polyomino shapes.

If you aren't familiar with the base game, it is has a great flow so it is easy to understand.

The game has 2 phases, in the first phase, players will either place a cobble tile on the game board or draft a polyomino tile. Once all the cobble tiles are placed and players have drafted polyomino pieces to their satisfaction, then phase two starts.

In the second phase, players will take turns either placing one of their polyomino building pieces on cobblestones that are their color or the purple shared color. Or they can choose one of the 8 special postcard actions around the gameboard. There are 12 postcards in the base game to mix and use each game.

The new expansion adds solely 8 more postcards to mix into the base game. There is also a scorepad, but no other new mechanics.

When Michael and I played with the expansion, we played the game with all the new postcards to see what everything does and how to play it well.

Some of the new abilities are: The Eiffel Tower takes up 4 cobblestone squares, one of which has to be a light, and it will double the light bonus. It is also going to give 2 points per space to the players who control the other spaces it is blocking. There is the Louvre which holds the Mona Lisa. She provides 1 point per empty cobblestone space adjacent to the building. The Notre Dame Gargoyle will provide a connection bonus to a player who places it on an opponent's building to connect their buildings. It won't score points for the player who controls it, but it will count towards the biggest region at the end.

So that is only a few different abilities, but there are more and they all work great!

I did end up beating Michael in the game we played, but the first thing he did in phase 2 blocked my space for one of my buildings. I don't blame him, but I then had to start playing dirty and I placed the Eiffel Tower in a spot he was planning on using. It seemed like the right thing to do.

This is very much an abstract game so if you don't like the planning and the blocking, then it might not be a game for you. I find it puzzling and challenging. I LOVE how beautiful the game is and how it plays out. For me, the game just works well. I very much enjoy it. The expansion is great since it adds in a bunch more postcard actions that will give the game more variety and possible combos. I definitely recommend it for those who play 2 players.



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Shrey read the rules to a game currently on KS called Ostia. New to me!

I didn't know much about this game, but I did know there was a Trajan-like rondel in the game. I really like that rondel and was definitely interested to see what the game had to offer.

There are 6 types of actions on the rondel wheel. These actions will help move your ships, build ships/buildings, trade resources, complete contracts.

There are a bunch of little ships that move around the rondel and then you choose a location the number of ships in the location will populate the many resources that produce in that location. The ships will drop in order like mancala and where the last ship ends is the main action you get to take for your turn.

So, as you can imagine, there are is a lot of planning that you should do. There are many ways to score and the higher up the rep track the more you will get for the different categories (like in Scythe).

The Administrative action is the only action I am unsure about. If you land a ship there you can take any one of the 4 other actions pictured, and then move all the boats from the location to take another action. It just seems super powerful if you line up everything perfectly.

We definitely had a learning game, but I think everyone played pretty well. I sort of felt like we were all doing different things and The scores were decently close. Dan did do better since he was doing very well at getting bonus actions from the admin space.

I have to say I was really impressed by this game. There are a lot of great mechanics working and I love the use of the rondel. I really don't like the artwork and drab color scheme, but I can look past that. I very much look forward to my next play!

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It is safe to say I really enjoy all the games in the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set series. Michael and I have started the next campaign which is using Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous – Base Set to play a Pathfinder society scenario called Season of the Righteous. It is set 1 in if you look on the Paizo website for it.

I always love starting new Pathfinders and getting a new character that I can develop over the campaign.

This time I choose to play a fighter and he has a cohort that is a horse. I was definitely more interested in the horse than the character, whatever his name is.

I realized that last time I was playing a fighter too, so I really should try a different role next game we play. I do want to play Mummy's Mask on stream next, I think.

Right now, we have played through the first 10ish games (2 paths) but we had a MAJOR issue with game 10. It was incredibly difficult. We almost had another issue in an early game too where we just didn't think we had the ability to get the results we needed since we didn't have the traits needed to do it. We found a way with that, thankfully.

If you are interested in seeing our progress, I have uploaded all of the videos below.

I am super excited to get back to the Pathfinder world. It really is so much fun.

























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New to the Collection:






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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The Trek to Le Granja was Legacy and we made a lot of Clank!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


Thanks to Dfube, I now have a chance to sell some cool All the Meeples of the Rainbow shirts!
If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
From gallery of punkin312



Recent videos!
Static Blood Moon



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Oh Hey, a bit after the fact, but if you saw my New to Me blogpost from Wednesday, you know my #1 game of Jan was Clank!: Legacy – Acquisitions Incorporated. New to me!

Oh, the joys of starting a new Legacy game. Everything is exciting and fresh and the world is your oyster.

Everyone has played Clank by this point, no? Well, if you haven't then you are missing out. Clank is a great deck-building game where you have to get in and get out as quickly as possible without dying. Sounds easy, but there is definitely a lot of push0-your-luck going on. The Dragon is out for blood!

Clank Legacy is a whole other level of awesome since it is played over 10 games. New rules are added, new cards, new quests. So much is going on, and each character is out for themselves to do the best they can and fulfill the goals they are handed.

The first game was just setting the scene for what the main mechanics are. Game 2 throws in a lot more variety and possibilities.

I don't want to get into spoiler content, but I will tell you what happened during the 2 games I have played so far.

Buck hadn't ever played ANY Clank before but he knew the basics from the videos he watched before.

Buck and I are sort of excitable and we sort of jump the gun, so we ended up with a pretty big retcon at the end of game 2 since we missed a pretty big section of the rules when starting the game. So, yeah, mistakes were made and we are definitely to blame for that.

I can't stress it enough that you really need to read everything carefully and don't jump the gun. We did the best we could to fix it at the end, and we will just go from there into game 3.

Buck was super hasty in game one, and pretty reckless, but for him it made sense. He ended up dying on like turn 4 or 5. It was SUPER QUICK and it turned on the timer for me and Michael. It was a rough first game. I was really the only one to make it back and it was a close one.

So far, I love the different quests and trying to figure out if they are worth the time or not. I can't wait to see what happens next! So many risks to take and traps to fall into, I am sure. It is exciting and I want to play more ASAP!

I love what is happening so far so would totally recommend it to everyone else who hasn't played already.

clank legacy

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Not really spoilers but just in case
Spoiler (click to reveal)

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I was so excited to hear that Pandasaurus was picking up Trek 12: Himalaya to sell in NA!

I love this game. It has been a go-to game on BGA for a while now since it showed up many months ago. Trek 12 was actually in my Top 9 games played last year because I have been enjoying it so much!

Michael hadn't actually played this one before getting it to the table with James the other day.

Hey, a real copy of the game! I whipped out the markers so I could color as I went.

We ended up playing the first 'easy' board since they hadn't played before.

If you aren't familiar with the game, it is a pretty simple roll n write game where any number of people can play at the same time. 2 dice will be rolled and everyone will have to use one of the possible results.

On your board, you will want to create clusters of the same number and links of sequential numbers.

It is so easy to just play on BGA since it does all the math and you just clicky click through the game.

Playing IRL is more quick math and figuring out the correct plays. It will definitely take a longer time to play the game, but it is still super quick in the end.

The experience didn't pay off for me this time. I super duper lost the game with 44 points. James won with 62. I had a few bad rolls and ended up taking bigger risks and having them blow up in my face in the end.

Love this game. I want to play through the different packs of cards and see all the different boards, though I might have already played them all on BGA, I am not sure if there are some I don't know!

I think this is a clever game and I look forward to more sheets and packs that are coming out! Definitely recommend this game for a light roll n write game.



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Since La Granja: Deluxe Master Set is on KS RIGHT NOW, I knew I wanted to check it out on TTS since I was given the opportunity!

I don't really count this as a new game since none of the rules have changed. Only a few cards have been tweaked and I didn't even notice them.

On TTS, there were no rules so we couldn't incorporate any of the new modules that are included with the KS, but I certainly look forward to seeing what those are all about when I get a copy!

I have always really enjoyed La Granja since it first showed up in 2014, which seems like a few years ago, but I guess like 8. laugh

Shrey and I played a 2-player game. It was cool since there was a special side of the board for 2 players which is awesome! Not needed, but really appreciated.

During the game, we were rolling particularly badly. I had some cool card abilities if we just rolled properly. Yeah, we didn't.

I still managed to make it all work with the loads of money I was collecting. I won the game with 74 and Shrey had 64.

The art is lovely and the game is great. I always enjoy getting this to the table and it is always pretty quick with 2-players which works well. I love seeing the KS do well, and I am super excited about the results. There is still time to go check it out and see if this new deluxe version upgrade is something you would want to invest in.

Great opportunity for any gamer who doesn't already own La Granja too. The game is also available to try on BGA (regular edition), so I highly recommend it.


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New to the Collection:
Cuisine a la Card
Problem Picnic
3 Laws of Robotics
Manasurge
Karma
Dragon's Cave
Berrymandering
The Manhattan Project Chain Reaction
Emntropy Worlds Collide
Creeps of Keister Island
Mia London
Tao Long
Solstice
Llamadrama
King's Road
Shadows over the Empire
Jetpack Joyride





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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Fri Feb 4, 2022 12:00 pm
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Tapestry Arts & Architecture and some Imperium Classics!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


Thanks to Dfube, I now have a chance to sell some cool All the Meeples of the Rainbow shirts!
If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
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Thursday night was game night and Susan wasn't feeling well so it was just James this time. I have been trying to get Tapestry played for a while with the new Tapestry: Arts & Architecture expansion, so we started with it! New to me Expansion

Michael and I recently learned Plan and Ploys and really loved it, so I knew I would enjoy Arts and Architecture even more, if only for the theme.

In the new expansion, there is a whole new track that you can advance on! YAS! The Arts advancement track. There are new Civilization boards and new capital maps. Of course, there are new cards of all types to mix in and now the stack of cards is greater than ever.

Obviously, the biggest change is the new advancement track. On this new track, you can claim masterpiece cards which will give you the chance to gain more income each round. These cards will provide ways to score points or gain resources. A number of different things might happen and these cards trigger at the start of the income step.

Along with the new track, you will get a bigger green die to roll that includes the Arts icon for the science track.

I will mention that the new plan cards that are included with this new expansion have incorrect graphics. I heard from Dfube they had issues and in our game, we had issues with this. When you draft the plan cards, you don't really grab the building to look at the shape, you look at the card, and 3 out of 5 cards are incorrect. I will likely be grabbing a sharpie to fix the shapes so I don't get confused in future games. This is something to be aware of.

It all integrates really well once you get everything set up. It is easy to get going. Now that we have played, I don't see why we wouldn't always just include the new content, just like we were able to include all of the Plans and Ploys content as well.

During our game, I tried out the new Renegades and Cloud City board. The Renegades are awesome!! They have their own track that I was able to advance on. I can only advance on the track when I advance on a track as normal but choose not to activate the space I am on. Instead, I activate my player track for the reward. The rewards are so great! It is generally a better option to advance on the renegade track, but the catch is that I can only advance on my track if I am in the same grouping when I advance on the main tracks. It doesn't much matter, it is almost always better to take the advancement on my player board than the main gameboard, I can choose when to activate it anyway.

The CLoud City was awesome as well. It gave a bonus that I could move up to two income buildings at the start of the income phase. The regions on that board are all crazy, but work the same way when filled. It was a neat change and I enjoyed the flexibility. James had a board that had to be built top-down and it would only score for the rows. I thought that was super interesting and challenging.

It was hard to really follow what everyone else was doing since I was hyper-focused on what I was trying to do. My main goal of the game was to work on the Arts track. It was the big new feature that the expansion had to offer and I wanted to see what it was all about.

I picked up a few masterpiece cards and the first one was to spend a resource to advance on the Arts track! The biggest problem with this card was that I needed a resource! Meaning, I had to end the era with an extra resource. That was quite a challenge, but worth it. Eventually, I picked up another masterpiece card that provided a resource that I didn't have to end the era with an extra resource. That was a big help!

Also, on the Arts track, a new lightbulb action gives you a chance to upgrade your production tracks for more opportunities to score points. I love that and I knew I had to get a few of those upgrades.

I was working the Tech track and the Arts track the most during the game and didn't really try to push any of the other tracks, and that actually hurt me later in the game when I was trying to get out my final grey building for and extra 15 points.

I supposed I did a pretty great job managing the tracks since I was really the only one to make it to the top of the different tracks. I was pretty far in the lead once the game had ended. I won with 269, and Michael was second with 216 and James doesn't want to talk about it at 190.

The Arts track was super awesome and the guys didn't really explore it very much. I thought it was super cool though and I will be sure to play with it going forward.

When playing without the Arts track I tend to lean towards the Science and Exploration tracks since I like their higher spaces better. With the explore track you can get some space tiles which are awesome. With Science, you can just get a whole bunch of other track pushes.

The more I play the game the more I love it. You can actually play Tapestry on BGA now, so if you haven't had the chance to play the base game I would highly recommend trying it on there. I really enjoyed learning this new expansion and this is just awesome.

This is a perfect addition for anyone who already loves the base game. It is just more of a good thing. You really can't go wrong, just make sure to change the plan cards before you play.

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Since I have had it a while, but never played my copy of the game, it was time we got Imperium: Classics to the table.

We first played Impirum Legends last year in May, and I really enjoyed the game. Since then I have taught it a few times and played several games, including Classic. I just haven't broken in my copy of Classic yet!

James hadn't played before so it was time to show him what it was all about.

There are a lot of small details that happen in this game, but for the most part, it is fairly straightforward, which I love.

I chose the Greek Nation deck thinking I hadn't played them before. After we started it was clear that I had played with them before, I just forgot. I should do a better job keeping track of what nations I have played! I just get drawn to the nations I typically enjoy the history of.

Michael had played a few times before, but I had played 4x before so I definitely had the experience to know a certain strategy to try. I hadn't really ever tried to get the Glory cards before. This time I made a point to try and get a few of them for the big points. I did end up getting both 11 point cards!

It was pretty crazy since James and Michael were also going for the Glory cards. That was very much unlike the other plays I have had of this game. We actually ended the game by running out of Glory cards. I hadn't seen that before! Usually, it ends with someone building all of their Empire cards or some other way for a special nation.

So, yeah I had the advantage for sure. I was super focused on what I was doing to become an empire and get the Glory when I could. I picked up a few good cards early on that allowed me to start throwing cards into my history and I would take that opportunity whenever possible.

Worked out! I won the game with 61, Michael had 53, and James had 49. I didn't really have many points that I collected in-game, James kept stealing them. I wasn't sure how well James was doing, but he had 3xGlory so I figured it was pretty good. I did get those 11 point cards so that helped me tremendously.

I really love exploring the different nations seeing what they all have to offer and figuring out the best path. Such a great game. So glad to have both Classic and Legends to mix up the nations from time to time.

If you are into deckbuilding and civ-building then I think you would enjoy this one. Either Classic or Legends would work. Just do it! Really enjoyable!

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New to the Collection:






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Mon Jan 31, 2022 12:00 pm
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The Last Garden was called Project L in the BoardGameGeek Game

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


Thanks to Dfube, I now have a chance to sell some cool All the Meeples of the Rainbow shirts!
If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
From gallery of punkin312





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During the last game night we played a bunch of new (to us) games and we started with The Last Garden. New to me!

I figured this game was about flowers and Susan has been trying to play a bunch of games with different plants, I figured it would be a good fit. Well, there were no flowers in the game. The theme is actually about robots trying to build a garden from memory out of metallics and such, I honestly don't really understand the theme much at all or how they relate to the mechanics.

The game lasts 4 rounds and you are trying to collect points from where you send your robots to work. Each turn you will play a card from your hand which will be 1 of 3 possible actions. You can add a gem to the garden, you can move a gem in the garden or you can change the value of one of the dice in the garden.

Each section in the garden will have a die with a value and that value will dictate where cards can activate one of the actions, it will also score at the end of each round.

Once you play a card, you will then have to play a robot to a location. You can play to a garden section, or to a few different spaces on the board. You might try to go for majority scoring for most of a specific color on the board. You will more likely try to gain points from a specific value in the garden. You can play in the 5 columns for example. At the end of the round, you will score points for all the gems in the 5 regions of the garden.

The catch is, and a region with 6+ gems will clear before the scoring and anyone who might have scored for it, will no longer be scoring for it unless they bet for it to be cleared.

In general, the game is pretty abstract, and there is a lot of take-that. So many cards to screw other people overall while you are trying to collect points and not to be screwed over. I think there is a pretty big imbalance with the 4p game so perhaps it is better with fewer players.

The game is fine, but it is definitely not doing anything special. I felt going first in the last round is a crapshoot. The whole board drastically changes before the game scores so really anything could happen in a 4p game. No control over anything. I didn't like how the game made me feel, so it just really wasn't for me or anyone else who play with me. I am sure there is an audience for the game, but they will have to enjoy the take-that nature of the game. Perhaps would be best as a 2p game.


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We decided to venture over to the 3+ player shelf and Michael pulled out The BoardGameGeek Game. New to me!

I had heard mediocre things about this game but was willing to give it a go. I obviously love the theme since it has all the games and the theme is acting as a publisher and making the most money from selling games. That's awesome.

I generally enjoy Richard Breese games so had been curious about this. I didn't really know what type of game it was.

There is some push-your-luck and some set collection involved. Ideally, you want your games to sell for as much as you can, or to have them not sell at all. If they don't sell at all, then the other players aren't making their sets to score the big points at the end of the game.

James tried the strategy of keeping all his games off the sale shelves for as long as possible. He missed out on collecting games a few turns in a row and then decided he didn't want to sell games anymore. There is a mechanic where he will have to put all his games on the shelf but the end of the game, but if he waits till the last minute then there are only 3 possibly titles you can buy in each round, so people will ultimately miss out.

I picked up enough of James' titles in the first couple of rounds where I could get the big sets for the end of the game. I wasn't trying o manipulate my dice much, since I didn't want to spend my points to do that. I just took my chances, most of the time.

I just needed to hold back one more point since at the end of the game Michael and I tied for 1st place, and he won with the tiebreaker. Grrrr. 140 and Susan had 128 and James 125. It wasn't too far off, but I think we did better since there were a few rounds where James and Susan both put out no titles.

This game turned out to be more interesting than I thought it would be. I liked what it was doing for the most part, but it was quite a long game. I can't even imagine playing with 6 players, though the interactions would be interesting to see.

Definitely glad to have tried the game, not sure it is a game that I would want to play again though.

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I had been wanting to try Project L for a while. New to me!

I do love polyominoes and figuring out how to best place them. Hey, that is what this game is all about.

Each turn you will have 3 actions to take. Maybe you will grab a small 1x1 tile or you can upgrade a tile you already have in your supply. You can choose a board from the display to add to your collection or place one tile on each of the boards that you have. You can also just play one tile to a board you have.

Ideally, you will be trying to complete boards as quickly as possible. When you complete a board you will gain a piece to your collection and possibly score points at the end of the game for it.

It is a pretty simple game about grabbing the right boards and the right time for the pieces you have so you can complete them faster. The most points will win so you want to gain as many points as quickly as possible before the deck of boards runs out.

It is a fairly simple game. I think everyone liked this one well enough. For me, I would be happy to play it again, but there is really nothing that keeps me wanting to play more. I immediately sold my copy once I played because I don't see ever really playing it again, though I would. This will end up in a forgotten pile in a few years. Yeah, the game is beautiful and well-produced, but it is super basic.

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New to the Collection:
Bitoku
Paris Eiffel





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 Jan 28, 2022 12:00 pm
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The Cupid Crisis caused the Founders of Teotihuacan to throw some Tidal Blades

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


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If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
From gallery of punkin312



On Sunday we played Anno 1800


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A new Kickstarter is hitting 2/22/22 and that is for Tidal Blades 2: Rise of the Unfolders. New to me!

I first played Part 1 Heroes of the Reef a year ago and had a great time with it. I knew there would be a Part 2, but I didn't know that it would be a cooperative campaign adventure game!

While some of the mechanics are overlapping between the games, they feel very different and will play out differently. Of course, you will already be familiar with the characters and theme of the game.

I can tell you right off the bat that if you enjoy Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion then you will enjoy this one. I could compare the two all day long, but I wanted to put that out there to start so you can already consider how it plays. Of course, there are some major differences, but the feeling is there.

Rise of the Unfolders is a campaign-style game where your characters will gather experience and level up throughout the many levels. To start the game, you have a deck of 10 cards one of which is a power card. Each character has a special ability/starting differences.

Each scenario will have different objectives to complete. Generally, the faster you can complete them, the more experience and bonuses you will gain at the end of the scenario.

There is an initiative track and a book of maps that will be flipped to the appropriate pages for the current scenario.

Each scenario will provide a setup and include the monster figures you will need. Each type of monster will have several figures in different colors. The colors are great because there are health trackers to easily see which monster is which and how much life they have. It is an easy way of keeping track of all that. I really liked how they manage it.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this game is the nexus board. Each player has a nexus board to play cards on. At the start of the game, everyone just places their initiative token on their starting spot. From that point, each card chosen at the start of the round will manipulate your initiative either up or down or stay the same.

Once the initiative is set for the round, then players and enemies will take their turns. When it is a player's turn, they will place the card they chose into the nexus and activate a row or column with that card. This gives the player some control over what happens on their turn and can think one thing might happen, then end up doing something totally different because of what happened before it was their turn.

If the newly placed card triggers a now complete column or row, then those 3 cards will be discarded from the nexus. It is important to manipulate your board so you will still have valuable turns after a row is cleared.

Once all of the objectives have been fulfilled you will win and gain rewards and gather XP to spend in various ways. If you don't win, then you will either play again or take penalties and proceed with the next mission.

Michael and I only played the first game in the campaign. Since we have a prototype copy of the game, everything is subject to change, but I anticipate the cards and artwork are pretty close to the final product. Rules need some work, but that is expected with prototypes.

The first objective was to kill off the 4 tentacles that were out and about. This was pretty basic, but it was great to get the hang of the flow and how everything works. We even played incorrectly since we forgot to put out reward tokens when the monster is killed. I will remember that going forward since those rewards would be a big help!

We did manage to win the first scenario, but it could have gone better for us. We did OKAY, but we did take some wounds which could be bad going into future games.

It was just a trial run though. We will play to have a publisher night once the Kickstarter is up and running to show off the game and we will revisit that first scenario.

For me, Rise of the Unfolders is far superior to Heroes of the Reef. While I enjoyed the first part of Tidal Blades, I am highly interested in this new campaign offered in Part 2. I love the way the Nexus works and that it is cooperative. The game is challenging and exciting so I am very excited to play through the campaign once I have the finished product. This game will appeal to many gamers and will do well on Kickstarter. Definitely a game worth looking into if you like what you hear from this review.

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I got Rainer to show off a new game on Tabletopia called Founders of Teotihuacan. New to me!

I have been interested in this one for a long time since it had Teo in the name and polyominoes on the board. I was so totally in!

Teotihuacan has been a favorite of mine for a while. So many juicy decisions and really just the best of the "T" games in my opinion, even though there are so many great games in the series.

Founders of Teotihuacan is a lighter game but still, there are big choices and few actions to accomplish everything you want to by the end.

There are 4 rounds and in each round, you will lose one of your worker discs, so the final round will be super quick and you will want to do everything, but you won't have enough to do it all.

When you go to place workers you can choose to place 1-3 discs at a time to get a better strength for the action you are taking. You might take regular resource buildings that will immediately populate when you take them to your board, you can choose to build temples if you have the appropriate resources to pay for them, or you can construct the pyramid on your board if you have the resources.

If there are no discs on a space you will get the weakest of all the actions, but you will gain a reward for taking the space first. Once there are discs there you will get a higher strength value action which usually means a bigger building tile to add to your board. There is a whole bunch of scoring that will happen at the end of the game and you will want to place your new buildings in the best space they can go so they will score you points at the end of the game, if possible.

You are restricted to where you can place, however. Each turn your meeple will move to the next side of the board and you can only add pieces where that meeple is standing. It will really matter for the actions you take since you might not want to place the building in that region.

If you don't like any of the main build actions, you can choose to take the second actions on the board instead, those actions don't need a strength value, you just do whatever the action is. They are usually weaker actions, but can definitely help with whatever strategy you are going for.

After 4 quick rounds, the game will end and you will realize all the mistakes you made in the game. haha, okay that was me.

I was quite terrible at this game! Shrey was hyper-focused on what he was doing. He was gathering all the blue temples in one location of his board for massive end-of-game scoring with the pyramid tiles he was collecting.

I was not very focused at all. I was more at the moment and grabbing the in-game points that I could manage. Rainer even beat me to those and I wasn't doing a very good job at what I set out to do. I had hardly any end-of-game scoring and totally realized all my mistakes. Okay, so mistakes were made, but I still had a great time playing.

Founders of Teotihuacan is super puzzly and if you aren't planning properly then the end of the game will just sneak up on you and ruin your plans. I love the tight actions to take and the limited tiles available each round. It really keeps it interesting.

I am super excited that this is being released at the end of March because I definitely want to play it again soon. I think this will work for a lot of people. It kind of gives me Calico vibes with placing tiles and a number of ways to score points so I think gamers who enjoy that type of game would probably enjoy this one. Can't wait to see the final product!

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On Sunday's stream, we had some extra time and I was really looking forward to playing Holiday Hijinks #4: The Cupid Crisis. New to me!

Cupid Crisis is the new installment in the Holiday Hijinks series that was just released in time for Valentine's Day!

The level difficulty of this game is 3/3 and yes, I can confirm it was harder than the others that I have played, but it was still manageable without any hints. We did consider the hint tab a few times though.

In this game, we definitely had to use the materials provided on the website, which was super helpful! I love that all the information we might need is available on the site itself. It is all very clever and well organized.

Since we played on the stream, we had helpers. In the video below we talk about the game before we play it and then I put up a spoiler tag for those who don't want to get spoilered. We then talk about the experience afterward and remove the spoiler tag so you can pick it up at the end for more comments.

It is safe to say Michael and I really enjoy this series of games and it is just a perfect 18 card game with so much going on and fun puzzles to solve. I would highly recommend these games to any fan of escape games in general or just casual gamers who want to solve some puzzles. So totally accessible and super clever and fun. I can't wait to see everything they come up with.

It is a perfect gift. Definitely check it out.

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New to the Collection:
New The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine Geekup Bits!
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Oh and more from the BGG Store
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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:00 pm
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The Surrealist Dinner Party in Dunhuang was a Dream & Shadow

Steph Hodge
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We played Hammer Time, and I made a fool of myself many times!


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Coming soon to a Kickstarter near you... Dunhuang: Pearl on the Silk Road which I was able to check out ahead of time! New to me!

This was previously just released in China but now Jing Studio is putting together a Kickstarter just like they did for Pingyao so they can distribute an English version to NA.

Dunhuang is a big box worker-placement game. It feels very different from other games in this genre because there are 12 starting boxes and each game will use 3 of them that make up the contents of the game you play. Every game will be totally different since all of the goals will change and interact differently together.

Over 6 rounds, players will want to gain the most points from a variety of options in order to win the game.

In each round, players will have 3 turns, so really only 18 turns in the game. There are spaces on the board where players can place their meeples, but there are also customizable spaces that players will control that will change up each game with new possibilities.

There are 3 basic resources in the game and coins. The coins can be used to hire assistance to make actions more powerful. The assistants will get assigned to a worker so when that worker activates the assistant will get to do that power as well. They only stick around for a limited time though then you will have to get another assistant.

There is a lot to try and accomplish in the few actions you get, but you will want to gain pigments to place other possible actions for you and for others to use. If other people use your actions then the die ticks down next to the action and when it depletes then you will gain the points, but the action space will go away. Limited time action spaces are generally better than the general spaces on the board.

With each of the 3 packs you choose at the beginning of the game, you will also get 3 scoring boards. Each of the boards corresponds to the type of materials you include with each box. There are generally things you will do and you will gain access to the board so you can score points. For example, the silk board would trigger whenever someone builds a new clothing type. The first person to gain a new type will gain more points than if someone already had it. There is also a set collection element with the silk where you gain bonus points for the variety of different pieces you have or if you collect all types.

Each box is totally different and will give different points and objectives. You will likely want to work on something from each box, but really focus on one of the boxes to gain the max points from the board.

I really appreciate all the content in the box. I don't even feel like we scratched the surface with everything included. We ended up playing with the suggested starting 3 boxes, but we had trouble figuring out one of them, so really ended up playing with 2 of the boxes even though the 3rd box was still mixed in with everything we were doing.

The rules aren't yet fixed well enough for the English translation, so it was hard to navigate. Since it is only just going to KS in the coming weeks, I am not worried about it and anticipate it will get a better edit before the final version.

During our game, I was highly focused on getting the collection of clothing items. They provided a lot of cool bonuses during the game and having more of them just gave me more options. Michael was focused on the tea strategy and he was gaining income from tea each turn. He was focused on trading tea for points and working his way up the tracks for some big points.

I was feeling pretty good that I would win since my clothing strategy was going to score me 45 points at the end of the game. I also managed to pick up a tea field so I could at least get on the tea board for some minor scoring at the end of the game.

Definitely worked out in my favor. I won that game by quite a bit. I do think if we understood the gold box a bit better, things might have changed the outcome. I also think that if more people were playing then it would have been a tight competition to get the clothing items and tea fields/trades. I can see the dynamic totally changing with more people.

I thought the game was interesting and I would play again. I don't think it really did anything great for Michael and he wasn't impressed. For me, I could see the flow and how it all plays out, but the rules don't really explain the flow at all. We had to figure it all out. Again, we are playing an early translation of the rules, I expect they will improve in time. This is a very beautiful game and I would enjoy seeing more combinations of boxes to see how everything changes up.

If this game sounds interesting to you, then you can check it out on TTS and the Kickstarter when that hits in a few weeks. Definitely glad to have tried this.


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Michael and I have been excited to try Of Dreams & Shadows for a while now. New to me!

Of Dreams & Shadows is a narrative game where the players take the role of a hero and work together to defeat the villains.

The game is actually fairly straightforward to get into and start playing. Michael and I are familiar with this genre of games. Off the bat, it sort of reminded me of The Witcher or other adventure games of the sort.

There are 2 acts to the game. The first 5 turns and the last 5 turns. Our goal is to defeat the big baddy by the end of the game and to do that we need to gather items to help our attacks and defeat all the other enemies along the way.

Each character has a unique ability and stats that will help make various checks for the skill tests. Each turn the players will take their actions going to locations fighting monsters gaining items etc. Then there will be the enemy phase and events that will happen. Depending on the villain, the monsters will behave differently.

All of the quest cards are also aligned with the villain. The quest cards paint a full picture of the task at hand and the play who is on the quest will face the outcome by themselves.

In the first 5 rounds, you might die and come back as another character, but once you hit the second part of the game you won't have that luxury.

In our game, we ended up choosing the hardest villain to take on because it was the villain pictured in the rulebook. We didn't know it was the most difficult villain until afterward.

It was pretty clear by the end of turn 2 that we were toast. Monsters were just everywhere and the 2 of us could not manage all of them at the rate they were populating the board. It was definitely a rude awakening. Michael ended up dying 3 times before act 2 and I died twice. We had nothing going into act 2 and just called it a loss.

We were able to figure out how to play the game and how everything works. The plan is to play the easier villain who we probably should have started with to begin with (but there is nothing in the rules to suggest this).

As far as the game goes, I am definitely interested in playing again. I like what I see for the most part. I worry that there is too much running around to maintain the board with a roll of a D6. I hope that there will actually be a chance to grab the items and that I won't actually lose the character that I start with.

I really enjoy the events and how they play into the state of the board and what happens. Those events are the most interesting part of the game and where the choices really matter.

We had a similar situation with another game, where the first level was impossible. I think the biggest disappointment was that nothing in the rules stated the villain we should have played first and even pictured the hardest villain. If you go into the forums you will see a lot of similar comments to mine. I will give the game another chance because I like the bones of the game and have hope that I will like the game more with the easier villain to grasp the game better. Not everyone will give that chance, so I think that was a pretty big oversight in the rules and suggest they change that if there are future printings.

In any case, there was a new expansion released recently and I am sure Michael and I will check that out once we actually win against a villain in the core box.

We hope to play this on the Livestream soon!

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Michael and I were looking for something a bit lighter so we tried out Surrealist Dinner Party. New to me!

Surrealist Dinner Party has some amazing artwork that is cohesive throughout the game, but it is super cool because each card represents an artist and their style. It is crazy how it all blends together too well in the craziest weirdest way. I have to give props to the artist because it is great to work.

In Surrealist Dinner Party, there is an initial starting draft to set up the game. The cards you get in the draft will be all the cards you get during the game! The game is played over several courses, and whoever has stashed the most tokens by the end of the game, will win.

The idea is that you want to feed your guests the food they want and provide enough compliments and drama for their tastes while possibly disappointing your opponent's guests.

The turns are simple, you can seat a guest and have up to 3 seated guests at a time, you can deliver a food item to one of your guests from the platter, you can activate your guests if they have abilities once per course, or you can send a guest home.

Some guests have persistent abilities or on arrival abilities. Most of the guests have a when-activated ability that might affect other players.

Ideally, you will send home the guests when they are perfectly content and gain all the tokens as points for the matches you have made when sending them home.

Michael and I have chosen to use the Faux Pas cards which provide additional points for completing a task first or for having the most of a food type at the end of the game etc.

The game plays out pretty quickly since each turn is super quick. Once all of the courses have been cleared from the platters then the game will end. There is some take-that type of actions and cards, but it isn't too much where it bothers me and for the short length it hardly matters much. If you can get in a few perfectly content guests then you are doing well.

I think this game is pretty special. It has a unique theme and amazing artwork. It will appeal to many people the gameplay is easy and the flow is nice. I was really impressed by Surrealist Dinner Party and it is for sure a keeper in the collection. Very nice game. I look forward to trying it with more people.


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New to the Collection:
faiyum
trek 12





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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Only the FINAL GIRL!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


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If you enjoy the blog and want to support me and my good friend Dfube you can check them out here: https://bit.ly/3lzvtcV
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Wednesday night we were excited to have AJ from Van Ryder Games come hang out with us on the Twitch Stream and show off one of the new Season 2 Final Girl films Final Girl: Terror at Station 2891!

I don't know how to categorize this game. Are the featured films counted as expansions? So is this a new to me expansion? I think I will treat each feature film as a unique expansion.

Final Girl is currently on KS with several days to go for Season 2 Feature Filmes. You can also get all of S1 during this KS.

If you aren't familiar with the series, it is a solo adventure, which I actually like to play as a cooperative game where we discuss decisions together. I have to say if you are into the horror genre at all then this is definitely a game to check out. It is totally thematic.

On stream, we played Terror at Station 2891 and this is actually a very different type of feature film because you don't have a villain right off the bat. There are victims that have been contaminated, but we aren't sure if any of them are actually bad or not, you have to make tests on them in order to find out if they are organisms that need to be taken care of.

As you play out the game, you will find out who has been infected for the worse and who hasn't.

AJ explained the rules in the video below and we actually did an EPIC job controlling the situations that arose.

There was an added mechanic with a helicopter where you had to get the victims to the helipad and get on the helicopter so they could travel back to the airport away from the station. Uki was our Final Girl and she was pretty awesome. Once we were able to save 4 girls, she gave us a sweet power that allowed for a guard action I believe it was to automatically happen each turn.

I was very impressed by this feature film. It felt different from the other ones. So I can definitely say VRG is keeping it fresh with new ideas.

It was helpful to play again with other people since my first game of Final Girl: Carnage at the Carnival went so poorly. I didn't really know what I was doing, so I was just trying to figure out the mechanics. The dice were just not cooperating with me that game. I find the carnival theme the most fun, but I did choose a more difficult entry into the series.

Once AJ left the stream, Michael and I continued the night with a game of Final Girl: The Haunting of Creech Manor! (New to me Expansion?)

We were playing against the Poltergeist and we had a rough go of it. It reminded me of my first experience playing in the carnival!

I think we might have done well with AJ because he is the lucky charm. It was pretty hilarious how fast our game against the Poltergeist went south. The first event was brutal! Girls throwing themselves out of windows, yikes. Okay, so we lost it pretty quickly. Maybe we will do better next time.

So far I have played three of the feature films and have really enjoyed the experiences. There are so many cards that aren't used in each game so it will be a COMPLETELY different experience next time we play. I love that about the games. You just have no idea what will happen next.

After three plays I think I finally have the flow down a little bit. It was nice to play the Poltergeist after Station 2891 because it gave me reassurance that it wasnt just me who fails. The game is actually very difficult. It's a fun challenge to work through, but it can get out of hand pretty quickly if you don't manage it properly.

I will have to make sure to check out the other feature films I haven't tried yet. I am kind of a wuss though, I definitely am not into the horror genre very much, but I have managed three so far, so I can do more. I CAN DO ET!

Definitely make sure to check out the KS happening now. Definitely glad I have gotten to play this a bunch the past few weeks. Very cool game. To the keep shelf!








New to the Collection:
Cupid Crisis





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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The Corrosion was an Ill Omen in Jiangnan

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

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Tonight we are playing Final Girl on Twitch.tv/boardgamersteph with special guest AJ from Van Ryder Games!

On Sunday we played Galaxy Trucker


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I have been super excited to try out Corrosion since I only heard interesting things about it. New to me!

First off, I wanted to point out that you can buy metal gears separately that is so awesome and wonderful! The punchout gears are also cool and shiny, but the metal gears are just perfect.

Corrosion is an engine-building game where your engine will corrode away, so you have to manage everything you are doing within a limited time. The game ends when the white victory points run out from the supply and, of course, the goal is to gain the most victory points.

During the game, players will take turns taking one action each turn. There are a lot of little steps to make up the big picture.

Each turn is pretty simple since you are either playing a card for its action, or you are rotating your wheel one location clockwise.

If you use a card to perform an action, any other player with a higher value in the same color can choose to follow your action by using their own card. The actions don't have to match on the cards, but the active player's action will be the action all players take if they choose to follow.

Whenever a card is played for the action it is placed into your factory in the location numbered the same as the card whether it be the active player or the following player.

There are many possible actions you find on your assistants. You might gain one-time machines, turning machines, chrome machines, other assistants, or resources. Generally, if you get the chance to follow, you should since it is an off-turn action, and the more turns you can claim the better!

Turning the wheel will trigger a lot of different effects. If there are any turning machines then they will all trigger. They typically give resources or abilities.

If the wheel rotates and the X region hits a one-time machine then that machine will trigger. Wherever the X region is after all activations, any machines in the region will corrode and disappear along with any unused gears still remaining in the region. The cards in the X region will now go back to your hand so you can use them again.

The cards with bigger values are great for following other actions, but it will be a while before you get them back. A "4" value will take 4 spins of the wheel, unless you find another way to get it back into your hand.

The white victory point tokens are what triggers the end of the game, and those are controlled by the chrome machines. Each time someone takes a chrome machine, another VP token is added to the 3rd machine in the line as an incentive.

The game isn't quick, but if you find a way to keep taking chrome machines, then it might end sooner than expected.

In the first game, we decided it was a learning game so the 4 of us cut the game in half by only using half the VP tokens the normal game would have been. Michael totally rushed the ending that way, but it was actually a good experience since we were able to figure out the game and get a good feeling for what was going on.

In the second game, we played on stream. The video is posted below. It is a full rule teach and playthrough and you can see it is pretty long. I do anticipate it will get slightly faster, especially with 2 players.

It is the kind of game where the more players you add the longer it will be. I anticipate about 45 min per player, especially for the first play.

Michael and I both really enjoyed this one. It is super crunchy with great decisions each turn. VP's are hard to come by so you really want to focus on getting them where you can. I can't wait to see where this game leads. I hope it is a huge success and that they make an expansion in the coming years. I think after a few plays, it might start to feel same since all the machines that corrode are very similar, and it could use some additional options, but even still, I will plan to play this more. Definitely a good fit for the heavy strategy gamer out there. Very enjoyable!

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I was excited to get Jiangnan: Life of Gentry back to the table.

I first learned Jiangnan backing November and had a great time playing it. I requested a preview copy to help promote it during their KS launch. The KS launch is happening on Jan 25th.

Jiangnan is played over 6 rounds and in each round, all players will get to perform 3 actions. The player with the most points at the end will win.

Each player will have a set of 12 tiles to begin the game. These 12 tiles are used over the first 2 rounds to help determine the actions that the player will take. On the game board, there are 6 areas each with a unique action, and they are all pretty easy to understand. The challenge is that you will only have 4 action tiles available on your turn, and you will choose one to use for the action, and then the tile left that is closest to the right on your board will be discarded for the benefit at the bottom half of the tile.

You have to be careful not to discard tiles you will want to take the actions of later since you might not get that chance again. Even though you lose that action tile, at the end of the first 4 rounds you will draft 3 new tiles that will be added so you will always have 12 tiles going into rounds 3 and 5. The tiles get better and better each time you draft too.

Managing these tiles is key to success for sure, but there is another element that I really love in this game. That is trying to figure out the best actions to take alongside the boat positions. At the end of each round, the actions you take will also grant you positions on the boat aligned with that space during the round.

Boats are super powerful and will give the person who has the majority some power. Maybe they will determine what will be scoring for the remainder of the game, or if it is a private boat, they will just score points depending on the scoring conditions of that boat. Either way, it is super powerful. So powerful that you might choose a location for an action you don't want at all in order to gain the majority on a boat.

Those are the really tough decisions that I really appreciate.

I have now played 3 times and the game has really grown on me. I enjoyed it the first time and the times since, but I still can't shake the final boat scoring for all 5 boats. I still think it needs to be re-worked a bit or perhaps fewer points. In the games, I have played the boat scoring really swung the game to where the points are just all over the place with like 100 point difference at times.

Fortunately for the playthrough below it wasn't that different but actually close in scoring since I was actively focused on controlling majorities. It is definitely a challenge and must be weird to balance. I do still think that element needs work, but the core of the game is really great and I have enjoyed playing each game!

I look forward to seeing how well it does on the KS next week! Definitely check out the video below and the KS if this is a game that interests you!

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Michael and I had only an hour so it was a perfect amount of time to try out Crime Zoom: Bird of Ill Omen. New to me!

A few months ago I tried my first Crime Zoom game, and this one had a very similar flow with a story/crime that unfolds along the way.

The Crime Zoom games are pretty interesting since you will have to figure out the path and the story. Sure you can just flip over every card, but you will want to find all the answers by flipping as few cards as possible.

The Bird of Ill Omen had a lot of 'real' circumstances that I found to be believable. Of course, it was all very over the top for a murder crime, but it wasn't what we expected it to be by the end. We missed some of the questions, but we were able to answer the big questions.

I think Crime Zoom is a solid series with interesting cases to solve. the 60-minute timer really hits the mark and it is just what I am looking for in these types of games. Scratches the itch in a nice way. Definitely recommend it if you get the chance.

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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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Wed Jan 19, 2022 12:00 pm
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The Transformers played Hammer Time in Anno 1800

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Don't forget to pick up my Awesome Gaming Calendar 2022! https://stephsshop.ecwid.com/


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James and Susan came over and we plays several games! One of the games we checked out was Transformers Deck-Building Game. New to me!

It's been a long time since I have seen Transformers, and I never really got into the series at all. (My time Power Rangers was the coolest).

While Transformers is a Deck-Building game, it is certainly a new twist on the genre. In order to gain cards to your deck, you will have to first find it in the grid of cards and acquire it by first exploring the location. What's unique about this is that you will have movement values and charge values, so you are moving around this grid and who knows what you might find. You will likely find enemies that will issue attacks, so you have to prepare for such a battle.

Each player also has its own special character that has its vehicle form and its transformed bot form. Most people know Optimus Prime, so I chose to play as him. Each formation gives a player advantage all unique from one another.

There are several ways to play the game, and honestly, it is probably best as a cooperative game. We chose to play as a competitive game. The Transformers are a group of heroes so it would likely be more thematic if you play the cooperative game.

To win, you will need to collect victory points for your vault by defeating the enemies and possibly finding treasures along the way.

In our game, we had a crazy first turn event happen where all of the robots and every card would act as an enemy and in order to defeat it, we needed to deliver 4 pink energy cubes to that location. It took most of the game before someone (me) actually went over and did that. It was a situation that I really needed to take care of because of how Optimus Prime works. He wants Robot to be added to his deck as a companion since he gains benefits from activating those cards.

I knew Michael was winning most of the game since he was gaining a lot of points from barely helping other players succeed at beating the enemies. You cant refuse the help, but they will also gain the points for helping and you are the one who has to spend the time and resources on your turn to try and actually defeat the bad guys. Usually, you just stumble on the enemies since you don't know what you are exploring when you choose to explore a card.

It was definitely a different sort of deck-builder and pretty interesting. The actual battles were probably a bit more complicated than they had to be since we kept going back to the rulebook to make sure we were doing everything correctly, it really blows the game down a lot.

Michael did end up winning which was because I was damaged and needed assistance when I really didn't. Doh!

Anyway, I liked this game okay, it was a bit long, but I can see playing again. I do think fans of Transformers and fans of Deck-Builders will be impressed. I would definitely recommend it just to see how it changes up deck-building in general. Glad to get this one played!

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I knew it would be a long game, but I have been wanting to play Anno 1800 for a while now since I got the copy of the game. I first learned it last year on TTS and really enjoyed it so getting it to the table was exciting for me.

This is the resource manipulation game. It has more resources than ANY other game, at least that I can think of. I haven't played the computer game, but I did read somewhere that Martin Wallace hired someone to play the computer game to make sure the game was totally thematic. So, I anticipate if you enjoy the computer game, you will like this board game.

In Anno 1800, your goal is to complete cards in your hand to gain points, and to do that you will need to gather a bunch of resources to help along the way.

Turns move quickly in the game since you only do one thing at a time. Players use worker cubes to get the resources you need to craft other items to add to your board or complete a card from your hand. Completing cards not only gives points, but they give other one-time abilities that are super helpful.

The game ends once one player has depleted their hand of cards, but you will continuously gain cards throughout the game, which makes it hard to do in a quick manner.

An interesting part about this game is the trade tokens. You can spend trade tokens to gain resources off of other players' boards. They simply get one gold from the supply to compensate for that. While I don't generally like trading games like this, it really is done well here since it happens a lot and when it happens it seems to happen evenly across the board.

I can see why some people might not enjoy this game. There is a lot to look at and the rinse and repeat of actions can be more like work than fun.

For me, I quite enjoy the puzzle of trying to get my cards completed as well as gaining points from the various zoo cards. I like the flow with the quick turns and the whole general process. The ending is definitely odd, so it works and feels different.

Michael was able to sneak out a win by rushing the end of the game when he saw his chance. I needed a few more turns to get everything I wanted in play, but I had so many people I could play that gave extra actions that I wasn't too far behind him when the game actually ended. It was a close one.

I certainly didn't mind playing with 4 players and I think Susan enjoyed it but maybe not as much James. I know Michael liked the game and the process so I anticipate he will go look for the computer game.

Great game, glad I finally got it to the table. Recommended to those who like managing resources and hands of cards. It will be pretty long especially for your first play. I look forward to playing again on stream soon!

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Stop! Hammer Time! New to me!

A new Haba game with pretty gems! I had to try this one! James and Susan were still up for another game and this is a quick one so why not!?

Hammer Time is a new dexterity game where you use the box to hold the gems. Each turn you will use the hammer to knock off the gems from the box to try and collect the colors you need to fill the mining carts. There are also wild gem cards that can be claimed on your turn if you knock over specific gems that meet the requirement.

This is a super cute kids' game! Perfect for the younger crowd ages 5+!

I enjoyed my time hammering the box away and trying to collect the gems I wanted. It was fun for me, but my gaming companions weren't very impressed. Okay, so it isn't for the strategy gamers, but for the family.

The only change I would have preferred would be that the game end not be a race to finish the mining carts. I always feel unfulfilled with race games like this. Anyway, Hammer Time is a game I could play anytime, it is harmless, and who doesn't like hitting things with hammers!?

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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:00 pm
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