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The Tales of Evil Dinosaurs who killed for Crystallo Horrified Marco Polo's Alma Mater

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My Kickstarter is still going on for another week! Let all your friends know! Thanks so much for the support
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?!


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

Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

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Cartographers Heroes

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Horrified



Coming up on Sunday's All the Games with Steph we are playing The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game, SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising, and SOME Halloween-type game!


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Since October started, it was time Michael and I tried out the new Tales of Evil. New to me!

Tales of Evil is an adventure game set in the 80s. Basically right out of a Stephen King Novel. You will be choosing your own adventure so to speak. The game will offer up paths to choose and you will select the way to go and read different passages in the book to unfold a story. Sometimes you will have a multiple-choice question on how to proceed, and other times you will encounter a monster or trap that you have to roll the dice and succeed at skill checks.

Players are working together to escape the house and collect some valuable treasures from within. Each character has their own set of stats and various health states. If a player loses all their hearts and sanity they will be revived by in a weakened state. If all 3/4 of these various states have been depleted then you will lose the game and will have to start again.

The rulebook was fine for explaining the mechanics of how things worked but were less fine in explaining the flow of the game. We proceeded to have a lot of questions and had to refer to the forums a bunch to find the answers.

There is a tutorial mode, but even that left us with more questions than answers. So because of this it bogged down the game quite a bit and felt a lot longer.

Now we have only played the tutorial game, so I am sure getting deeper into the game you will find a rhythm and uncover some cool mysteries.

We didn't manage to win the tutorial mode since we both ended up dead, which was my fault for leading us astray and the monsters were attacking us. I am not even sure how much we were missing since we didn't even see many rooms with locked doors. Much to be discovered for sure.

All in all, The box and components are really cool. I love the glow in the dark box and dice. You have miniatures if you like to paint, and a huge adventure book to explore. For me, the game didn't quite seem ready, at least from the rules. Everything was very loose and we were just sort of guessing on what to do and why. Can be a bit of a luck fest with the cards and events you get. For example, I found a cartridge but needed the second item in order to make it work. All of the items are shuffled together at the start of the game, so it would just be luck of the draw to find the missing item. So that didn't really amount to anything, but we lost anyway.

I definitely think people will have an enjoyable experience with this one if you like adventure games with some luck and loose rules. When we play games here it is always a play by the rules and if there is no rule for something we have an issue. Some game groups don't care about that sort of thing and just play for a story and some dice chucking. This is a game for them.

I could see playing the next level and see how it goes, but with all the games out there, I am not sure it will find its way back to the table.

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During the recent BGG.CONline I got to hot Deep Water Games and they featured a new game called Crystallo. I knew I wanted to check it out so I played on the Livestream! New to me!

During the overview, I felt I got a fairly good idea on how to play the game and I was able to jump right in on the stream.

Crystallo is played out in 2 phases. In the first phase, you will attempt to release all 6 creatures by collecting 3 gems of each color. If you can do that, then you will move into the second phase when you take on the dragon and will need to collect all 6 colors with a very minimal amount of cards.

The actual gameplay is very abstract. You will be drawing and playing cards to the table to try and get sets of crystal next to different orbs. Cards can be overlayed so once you release a gem to the orb space you can then cover up a crystal that was used for that purpose. You can't play over the gems that were released to the orbs though!

I did VERY well during the Stream. I definitely got some help from the chat as I played, so I have to give them some credit for helping me out but I ended up with a bunch of extra cards going into phase 2 which gave me a huge leg up! I was able to defeat the dragon with 4 cards remaining so that gave me a score 1800!

Kicked some major butt! It was awesome.

If you are into solo games, then this is definitely one you should look into. It works great as a cooperative game too where players can collaborate together. I had so much fun playing on the stream so you should definitely check it out below. I really liked this! I love the little velvet bag it comes in too and all the chunky gems. a real brain-burner!


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I was invited by Pandasaurus and MvM to play along as we learned Dinosaur Island: Rawr 'n Write. New to me!

The TTS mod is up, but not totally functional so we had to print out the boards and play on paper in front of us as we used the cards and dice on the display.

Brian Lewis the designer walked us through the rules quickly and we started off. If you watch the video below, you will see I had a lot of questions since it was quite a challenge to learn the game this way.

We muddled through and made it work.

My overall thoughts are very positive. I love the use of drafting dice and followed by taking actions. Everyone will get the remainder die to use but also take the threat from. When you take an action and if you wanted to use a space already occupied you will have to take the threat on the die below it. All of that is super clever.

Right off the bat, there is so much to consider with any given action and path to victory. So much to do and you have only so much time. You will want to hire people and build buildings and attractions. You want roads to generate excitement and lots of dinos for excitement. You can't do it all so you just have to do your best all while managing your security so the threat level isn't too high and people aren't dying.

We had a fun time playing and I am so looking forward to the real deal! I think it is on Kickstarter right now so I would definitely urge you to check it out and our playthrough which I linked in below. It was a ton of fun! I can't wait to play again!


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Monday I got some peeps together and we played Alma Mater. I was so happy this showed up on TTS because this is a game I want to play more and more!

For some reason, I am just terrible at this game and I keep trying different strategies, but it is always such a challenge to do well.

this game I started with $0 but a lot of great research advancements and other bonuses. We were playing with 4 people so there were a lot of opportunities to buy books from others. I had the councilor that gave extra money when I took that action so it was wicked helpful! I needed all the money I could manage.

I was trying to get lots of professors and activate them to my benefit, but everyone else made it super difficult to do that since they kept buying my books and I was gaining money and points from having books in my store. I just couldn't keep up!

In the end, I was 3rd place and it was rough going since I foiled my final turns.

Oh man, I just want to play this game more and more! I think it is so awesome!

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Jeremy H. wanted to play a game and I was playing with Derek and Shrey that night so we settled on Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan.

I ended up teaching it since I played a few times. Jeremy hadn't played ANY Marco Polo game so I started from the beginning and went through it.

It was cool to play again since I just got a copy of it so I could pull it off the shelf and read the rules to teach!

Since I have only played a few times, I wasn't totally confident in my strategy or what I was doing. I tried to take a character I could run with and find the best strategy. I picked up the guy who let me get seals for 1 meeple so I was able to get all of my seals wicked early.

Getting to the special locations I knew was a top priority since you get some cool actions from those locations.

Derek ended up winning this game with 87 points!! I managed a 2nd place with 80 so I was feeling pretty good. Since Jeremy and Shrey were just learning let's hope they liked it enough to want to play it again sometime.

I quite enjoy Marco Polo II I think it feels different from the first one and I will gladly play this more and own both editions! So much love for it and I am glad it is available for us to play online



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New to the Collection:
Divvy Dice
Shadowed Kingdom
Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Shadow Network (proto)
Rome and Roll + expansion
Seastead
Flotilla





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 Oct 9, 2020 12:00 pm
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It is Unfair but true, we are playing the prologue game of PANDEMIC LEGACY SEASON 0 TONIGHT. Even Spongebob will be there so come to the Kingswood and JOIN US Tonight!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
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Hia Everyone!

Fully Funded Kickstarter still in progress!
Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021!
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EXCITING NIGHT OF GAMES!!! Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 the prologue game (no spoilers!), Play along as we play Cartographers Heroes, and finally we will check out Horrified all happening on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Tonight's featured games!
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For Charlotte my crazy Livestream setup...

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OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG MY EXCITEMENT!!!! SO FREAKIN EXCITED TO PLAY THROUGH Pandemic Legacy: Season 0!! New to me!

So, I will write up a short preview of the prologue right now, but I urge you to join me tonight as Michael and I play through the prologue game so you can see how it is played out! There won't be ANY spoilers just the intro game which the rules advise you play a few times before starting the Official game. This is happening tonight t 5pm CDT, please come! It will be awesome.

Michael and I are also toying with the idea of LIVESTREAMING the entire campaign with the big SPOILER tag so people know not to watch it if they plan on playing. I just have to get a feel for who will want to actually watch it. A few people in the Twitch chat the other day were interested in the full live playthrough, so we will see what the audience thinks tonight!

It wasn't until we were in quarantine that I actually even got the chance to play PL1 and PL2, so I am fairly fresh on playing BOTH of the previous Legacy games, and Michael and zipped through it all wicked fast. I anticipate a similar couple of days with long sessions just playing through it all.

Everything I describe below is just the prologue so I won't bother using spoiler boxes since it will be basic knowledge when you go to play the intro game. When I talk about the game going forward, I will be sure to put words and images in the boxes so spoilers won't be revealed.

Right away the prologue game feels very different than the other games. You are no longer dealing with outbreaks but dangerous spies that are up to no good. I am not the best with a theme, but I do know when I get to name all of my characters, they will have character names found in ALIAS aka my favorite tv show... Jennifer Garner kicks butt and is the best. Locations on the map are labeled as allies, neutral, or Soviet, and we will have to locate a target and get a team in place to eliminate the threat before we are too late.

So there are a bunch of new actions we will be doing. We still need to set up safe houses and go there to deploy a team. We can then move the teams like we would move our own self but we don't have to be in the same location, which is nice.

All of the cards will be tied to a region on the map and have the type of location on it as well so they are multi-use cards and you have to decide which is the best use for any single card. Locations might have surveillance and you will want to avoid starting your turn on those spaces since something bad might happen. In the prologue, you just have to discard a card, but in the real game, it could be very very bad and you might become the target, who knows!?

If the spies get out of control and you would normally expand into other areas as in the other Pandemic games, this time it works a bit differently. If you were to expand you would instead place an ! token and those will add surveillance to that location at the end of the game. Ouch, that could be really bad in the long run so we have to be careful not to let that happen.

Michael and I played through the game a few times and are pumped to show it on the Livestream tonight. We did manage to win the game both times but we ended with 3 and 4 ! tokens at the end, so we hope we can do better than that. It was really hard to manage!

This is going to be quite a challenging game and I am PSYCHED to play it all the way through! GOTY?! We will find out.


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The other day Michael and I played a game of Unfair. This was so he could learn the game and then we could play the new expansion on the Livestream (below) Unfair Expansion: Alien B-movie Dinosaur Western! New to me!

It had been so long since I played Unfair but it is always a game I have enjoyed and I was super excited to get the expansion and see what the new themes had to add to the game.

The expansion themes are awesome since it adds in a few themes I am excited about. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough sleeves to sleeve the whole expansion, but I did have enough to sleep Dinosaurs and B-movie themes so we ended up playing with those on the stream. I am excited to see the other themes in action: Westerns and Aliens.

With the Dino theme, you will get to add in actual dinosaurs to your attractions. They have a new mechanic that you will have to roll to see if they escape. You also can't have multiple dinos in the same attraction or they will eat each other... So much danger, are you a risk taker?!

During the play online, it was awesome. I picked up an "insane" blueprint which asked me to have 3 specific types of dinos in my park at the end of the game and bonus points if I had the T-Rex... of course, Michael found the bugger and kept him. Doh! We were putting the electric fences to good use though and kept the dinos caged so we didn't have to roll at the start of each round to see if they would escape or not. Worked out with those fences!

I was trying really hard to get my panorama and managed to get a 4-panel panorama of my park. Turns out we forgot to add in those extra points at the end of the stream! Whoops! I guess I might have won by even more.

Man, I just love this game. I am super excited to check out the other new themes and play more. If you are a fan of Unfair, I don't think you will be disappointed with this new expansion. I would highly recommend it. Check out the video below!

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Honestly, I don't know much about Spongebob Squarepants as I haven't ever seen the show, but I was still looking forward to checking out SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising. New to me!

If you are familiar with Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War or Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising or really any of the Rising games, you will feel right at home with Plankton. What I automatically like about Plankton Rising is the bright bold colors and the fun feeling you get when you open the box. It even kinda makes me want to watch Spongebob! I think there is a new movie coming out (or came out) recently.

The game is a little different than the other Rising games since there are only 2 locations for players to choose from when it is there turn to go to a location. Plankton will show up and cause chaos, but he also might step away and visit the Chum Bucket instead. Plankton's mission is to steal the recipe for the Krabby Patty. Each turn he will be adding cubes to different parts of the patty and if he figured out the recipe the players will lose!

Meanwhile, the players are trying to stop him from obtaining the recipe by collecting order cards and friends. The way the players can win will be by collecting 7 order cards before Plankton steals the recipe or collects too many of our friends.

Michael has a long history with Spongebob so basically knew most of the plot as his sons were very much into Spongebob as they grew up. I was shocked at his knowledge on the subject, I wasn't expecting a full-on lesson of the show before we got started, but there we were!

We proceeded to roll the worst possible rolls EVER! I think we went turn after turn with collecting only a few orders and just getting rolled over by Plankton. We didn't have luck on our side. The cards that came out were more harmful than helpful and we just couldn't keep Plankton under control. I am surprised we even managed to collect as many orders as we did! We didn't have any friend cards, so our dice pool was super limited for most of the game.

We just floundered until the bitter end when Plankton just took over and snagged the Krabby Patty recipe. It was rough going, but I think we will know what to do better in the second game! (stack the deck of cards! I'm JK)

A super cute game that would be great for any family. I will definitely be playing this again soon and on the Livestream this Sunday! So be sure to check out the Twitch channel this Sunday! I am looking forward to playing!

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I have had my eye on Kingswood for a while now, and I was excited to finally get the chance to play it. New to me!

Kingswood is a light action selection game with some resource collection and management in order to defeat the monsters in the wood.

Each turn you will activate a location that has an adventurer, then you will move that adventurer to another open space. Depending on how far he moves you might have to pay additional coins, but the first space is always free. Once you get to the new location you will also activate that action as a second action. Finally, the red knight will move to the location the adventurer just left and block that location.

The race is on to defeat monsters and collect victory points. The game end will trigger once someone has collected 20 points and the round finishes out. The player with the most points will win!

Each game will be a little different since there are a number of locations you might see in a game. You will always have to have the 3 locations that help gain certain resources, but otherwise, the other locations will change up from game to game offering new actions to try out. You have to have a forest so you can go take on the monsters too.

In our game, we had a space that mimicked where the red knight was standing, and that was really helpful since we were never truly blocked from an action space when it was our turn. I often needed to use an action where the knight was standing so I found I was taking this location space a bunch.

Perhaps I was a bit hasty since I visited the forest as often as I could. Maybe I should have tried to gain more resources first and then I would be able to attack more monsters when I went to the forest. All in all, it was a close game and Michael ended up winning with just a few more points than me. I think It was 22 to my 19 so I just needed a few more resources to get those kills in the end.

Super light game. easy to teach and play and fun for the family. Not too heavy on strategy, but you are making choices each turn. This is one I definitely want to feature on the Livestream soon, so I will be letting you know about that when it happens. Beautiful game and one I am glad I got to check out!


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Michael and I were looking for something light to play so we checked out Monster Dentist. New to me!

I didn't think I would ever like a dentist game, but here I was proven wrong. These monsters are so cute and the little mirrors you use are just like the mirrors at the dentist's office, but these are cute mirrors.

In the game, you are looking at the teeth and using your teeth tokens to try and mimic what you see in the mouth as fast as you can. If you can correctly match the pattern first you will gain the problem card and the first person to collect 3 problem cards is the winner.

Very simple and cute game with a lot of flipping the teeth over to find what you are looking for. I can only imagine the chaos with more than 2 players since multiple people will have to use the same mouth. Michael and I were already butting heads without mirrors dring the real-time play.

We were fairly evenly matched, but I was using all of the wild teeth you have at the start of the game so they get lost after you use them. You don't want to use them if you think you will lose the round since that would be a waste.

Michael ended up winning this time, but I will get him next time!

Super cute game and very cute mechanic of using the mirrors. It felt different, and I liked that. This is a game I would recommend for kids and families. I would totally play it again though!


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New to the Collection:
aeons end outcast (!!!!!!)
aeons end return to gravehold
aeons end southern village
magic money
scape goat
sherlock files vol 2
mega 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.
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 Oct 7, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Princess told the Story about the Firefly who Dropped into the Gauntlet!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021 - Now On Kickstarter!

Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I playthrough three hot games: Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, Cartographers Heroes, Horrified! We will play the Prologue to Pandemic Legacy and NO Spoilers will be revealed!
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Last night on the Livestream it was just a joy to show off the new game called Storytailors. New to me!

Michael and I played it the other day to learn it and we knew we wanted to show it on the Livestream since the chat could chime in with voting.

Storytailors is a really fantastic story-driven game with some interactive gameplay. This game would be really excellent in a classroom setting or great for children.

Michael and I played the cooperative 2 player game. During the game, you will read off the first story card and there is an italics descriptive character that players will look at their hands of animals and choose the best one to put up for the voting process. Then all players will vote on the best animal to fit the role. There is a point system so depending on the animal with the most votes and if people vote on your card you will gain points. In the coop game, you will have to play against the game by placing extra animals randomly from the deck of cards.

We ended up losing against the game! I was glad we were able to gain almost enough to win though. We were playing on SUPER hard mode for the 2 player coop game.

When we played on the Livestream (below), we were playing a competitive game where people were voting in on the animals who would work best in any situation. It was fairly close too! We had added in a game player so if the audience voted on a game card they would gain the points for it. It worked out really well and showed off the game nicely!

I am very pleased with the stream and had a great time playing!

In the box, there are 10 stories you can play through and some have a choose your own path scenarios. As you are picking new characters each time, I think you could easily replay this over and over. As a kid, this is something I would have absolutely LOVED! Very cute and innovative. I think it is really well done.

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The other day Michael and I wanted to check out The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game. New to me!

This is a movie I had seen before, but never really got INTO it. Michael rates it like a 10/10 but I am more like a 7.5/10. We ended up watching the movie as we played the game. It is timed almost perfectly!

It was important that we watch the movie since I was catching most of the theme or the quotes. I must say, in the 6 chapters of the adventure book, they really nailed down the theme and there are about a bagillion quotes sprinkled all over the place. So I think it is highly thematic.

The game is played out over 6 chapters each at a new location with different challenges to overcome. It is a cooperative game for players to work together to use cards in order to progress the story. You have to look out since the kid (Fred Savage) might interrupt you at any time and try to throw you off your game.

You don't have to play all 6 chapters at the same time, but like I said before if you do it will likely last the length of the feature film. Sit back and enjoy the movie/game.

During our play, we ended up losing one of the levels. You know that part where he climbs the wall... that whole scene. We had some really bad luck fall upon us and we had to replay that scene. The second time through we weren't even close to losing, so it just goes to show sometimes you can get what you need no problem, and other times you need to plan better.

We completed all of the other chapters without trouble, so perhaps the movie helped us. It was certainly enjoyable to watch again as it has been like 18 years since I have seen it.

If you are at all a fan of the film, I think this game would be worth checking out just for the theme. Michael said this was the best Princess Bride game he has played to date. It is light but very enjoyable. You will certainly smile a lot if you have that thematic connection.

I thought it was very good and I am really glad we got to play it. This is one we plan to play on the Livestream in a week or so. Be sure to check it out when we do!


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We were looking for something light to play so we ended up learning Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game. New to me!

I have enjoyed Love Letter in the past, and this is a new take on Love Letter.

In Infinity Gauntlet, One player takes on the role of Thanos an the other players will take on the role of the Heroes. Thanos is trying to collect all 6 stones, obv, while the Heroes are trying to stop him and make him lose all his life.

Thanos is strong and will likely win a battle, but if a hero attacks they will have an advantage of surprise and Thanos can't pick the card to use in battle, it will be randomly decided. It is very tricky to win as the Heroes.

In a 2 player game, the dynamic is a little different but you are still doing the same thing.

All of the different numbers will do different things and it plays out much like Love Letter, but with slightly different mechanics. I like that one player is doing something completely different. I like the race to collect the stones. I love Capt America....

Seems nearly impossible to win as the Heroes, but I will keep trying. Michael was Thanos and obviously destroyed me. I was lucky I even managed to get any hit points on him at all. I didn't think I would be that lucky. Maybe I will try playing as Thanos next time and have all the power!

Cool game. I had kinda written off Love Letter style games, but now it makes me curious about the LOTR edition. I certainly enjoyed this one well enough and would play again for sure! Nice bag with quality components. Seems like a keeper to me, I liked it a lot more than Love Letter, maybe I should let Charlotte know, she is the one ALWAYS playing Love Letter. I liked this.

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Next on the table was Dungeon Drop. New to me!

Dungeon Drop is a fairly unique abstract game! In the box, you will find a TON of various cubes in different sizes and colors. They are all types of treasures or monsters!

At the start of the game, you drop a bunch of cubes on the table to set up the dungeon. The silver cubes are pillars and the cubes you will be using to capture the treasure and possibly encounter monsters.

Before the game starts you will find your character and your class! Each of those cards will offer you a special ability you can use during the game.

Each turn you will pull 6 cubes from the general supply and drop/add them to the dungeon! You will then use an ability if you wanted to. The main thing you will be doing during the game is forming a triangle with 3 pillars on the board. You will collect all of the cubes within that triangle you formed.

You have life points so if you can't collect too many monsters since you can't purposely kill yourself off!

Super easy to play since we learned and played in like 15-20 minutes. I was doing fairly well and I managed to collect a potion that allowed me to kill the dragon which was worth 8 points! It helped me keep my total ahead of Michael at the end. We each had hidden goals we were working on as well, so it was cool to see that big reveal at the end of the game. I wasn't sure I could pull it off when he revealed his. Fortunately, I still managed to win with 36 to his 23!

Very cute family game and felt really different than many other games. You never know how the cubes will drop or what to really expect. I can see the cubes getting lost very easily though! They really just go everywhere. Beware if you buy this game used. I am really glad I got to check this one out!

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Michael and I played the most adorable kids game next! We checked out Firefly Dance! New to me!

Firefly Dance is a light family game where you need to have a sharp memory to do well! There are 4 fireflies in the game and they are each a different color. As the fairy moves around the board she will land on a space and the active player will have to reveal that firefly on the board that matched the color she lands on. If correct, you gain a gem and you will witch the firefly with another one on the board.

There is a magic wand you will use to LIGHT UP the firefly! It is so cool!!!

Michael and I played through the game really quickly. I was much better at this game. Since you are rolling a die each turn and moving the fairy around the board. Sometimes you will have to draw a card and reveal a specific order of many fireflies! Then you will have to rearrange basically the whole board. Michael got lost a few times, but I was remembering patterns and winning the gems I needed to win the game!

Super light game but ultimately really cute and fun family game. Great for younger kids too. Love the components and overall look of the game as well! I would play this again for sure!


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Michael and I played a few rounds of Fast Forward: FEAR on the Livestream!






New to the Collection since last Weds...:
new frontiers
Cosmic Encounters Duel
Furnace
Jurassic Parts
Kingswood
Batman who Laughs Rising
Plankton Rising
Munchkin Disney
Pandemic Legacy S0
Pandemic Hot Zone
Infinity Gauntlet Love Letter
Monster Dentist
Firefly Dance
Mine Deeper
crystallo





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 Oct 5, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Dinosaur Guild and the Hedgehog Guild danced around the Bonfire

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!

Exciting news! I launched my first KS yesterday!
Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021!
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Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Guild Master on my new Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Tonight's featured games!
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I was excited to check out a big box new game called Guild Master. New to me!

Guild Master is an action selection game with some bluffing. You will need to figure out how to read people and anticipate their actions so they don't interfere with your own. The player with the most prestige will the game after 9 rounds.

Each round there are a number of phases that take place. Some of the adventurers you have in your guild have Plot events that trigger so those happen first. Then players will secretly use adventurers and money to assign Orders. By default, you start the game with 4 adventurers and 2 orders allowed. You can gain upgrades with a builder's action to allow for more orders, more adventurers to take part, and increase your income amount.

When you select the action you want to do, it will matter the order since all of the orders in the 1st location will carry out before the 2nd position. If I send my guys out to recruit new adventurers in space A in the first order and no one else did, then I will be able to pay for that adventurer to join my team during that first order. If you were unlucky and had assigned a team to recruit that same adventurer in the second-order then you have missed out since that adventurer is already gone.

There are rules for when multiple people target the same location and how to determine who wins.

You will primarily be building upgrades, recruiting new members to the guild, and completing contracts! If you lose out on a battle or someone claims something before you can, then you will get to wander for extra money and fame, or you can try to complete a hidden objective card that only you can complete.

So you assign all your orders and then all players reveal and start carrying them out one at a time.

Once all players have completed that step there is a reset phase where the board is sort of reset and players will gain income and the moon transforms. During the blood moon phase, special upkeep of the board happens and other things will trigger.

The game isn't overly complicated, it is a mind game to choose the best action during the best time and hoping the other players won't stop you!

Michael and I had a fun time playing but man we were vicious to each other! We both agree the asymmetric novice cards are a really great addition to the game to keep us on our toes. It offers very dynamic gameplay.

So much to consider when sending your adventurers out to complete a task. You want to make sure they are offering up a bunch of dice in case you have to compete on a challenge or fulfill a contract.

I happen to love all of the choices you are given and how money is super tight in the beginning.

In the beginning, I had a strong lead with my upgrading. I focused on building up a solid base, but Michael was collecting tons of adventurers and getting cool abilities and better stats. he was able to complete several contracts before I could even really think about it. I failed a few easy contracts since my novice guys were weak sauce.

It was a nail biter until the end. I was in the lead then Michael was in the lead. It was neck and neck almost the whole game. Super close finish with only a few points in between. Those 3 points I lost during the events that took place! DOH! Michael won with 89 to my 86!

Really cool game and felt different from other games. Perhaps not for the light-hearted since you have to be able to lose some actions and face the music. It will hurt for sure, but you have to find ways of bouncing back.

I am very excited to show this game off on the Livestream tonight! Come join us as we play!


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Dinosaurs are a great theme for me, as I just love Jurassic Park! I definitely think there has been an abundance of Dino games in the past few years but it doesn't mean I am less excited to play them. This time I got to check out Tiny Epic Dinosaurs. New to me!

Let me start off by saying I have posted the Livestream video of Michael and I playing below! We explain the game and play through the full thing! It was a blast so you can check it out and see my horrible disastrous round 5... (there was a meteorite)

Tiny Epic Dinos is a worker-placement game where you are catching dinos for your park and building up enclosures to hold them so they can make babies and you can fulfill contracts. You will want to generate the move victory points to win the game!

Over 6 rounds, you will perform 7 steps. You will generate resources depending on the icons showing in your park, then you will start taking turns placing meeples down and performing actions. Each player will use each of their ranchers and take an action. You might catch a dino, gain some walls, fulfill contracts, visit the research station, or gain additional resources.

Once everyone has finished with that, then you will have to arrange your park and place new walls down and bring the caught dinos into the park. Then all of the dinos have to be fed according to the chart on your player sheet. Some dinos might escape if you can't feed them. Dinos will then breed if you have 2 of a dino then one more is made. Again, they might escape if you don't have the space to hold them. tricky business!

You will lastly have to refresh the board with new cards in the research area and possibly add to the contracts row.

All in all the game is very simple to understand and play. It is more challenging to build up a successful park and complete various contracts along the way!

In the first game Michael and I played, I was running a very successful park and had all my plans ready to go for fulfilling contracts both public and private. Michael was having horrible luck on the other hand. He was rolling the dice poorly and couldn't manage to catch the dino he needed without being injured and it foiled up his plans.

I ended up winning that game. When we played on the Livestream there was a much different outcome! It was horrrrrible for me, but overall kinda funny and devastating at the same time. I hope you watch so you can see the s*** storm that took place. It was insanely bad for me! But you will laugh.

I quite enjoy this game and might go so far as to say it is my favorite Tiny Epic game in the series. I need to revisit Quest, but I do think this is my favorite!

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I am not quite sure how I heard about Vidrado, but I think FB and I am always up for learning new games! New to me!

Vidrado is a small box card game with a big table presence. This game is all about the production of painting Portuguese tiles. I love that there are so many beautiful tile games!

In Vidrado, you will be performing actions to increase your production line and upgrade the cards so you can move brown to white to get to the finished painted blue cards. It is a common workspace and everyone will be using the same cards! Timing is everything to make sure you can become to next plant manager.

Michael and I will run through the rules on the Livestream tonight, so you can join in for that!

I wanted to highlight some cool details that I really liked in the game.

Some actions are just simple, but even when you play a card for activation once you gain cards in return. When you are able to perform the action twice, you are UPGRADING your tech and thus getting better rewards for the next time you perform the action. It is really great to upgrade your actions, but the downside is you don't get additional cards. I think the hand management in this game is smooth and interesting. You don't want to be empty-handed, but you also don't want to leave anything open for other players to tackle before you can get there.

Michael and I were playing pretty cut-throat. It was a bit vicious! He was stealing possible upgrades when I wanted to activate them, but I found other ways to score a bunch of points. It was a fairly balanced battle till the end.

We had very different paths for collecting points and Michael ended up winning by just a few points 164 to my 158! Doh!

I am excited to show this game off on the Livestream tonight after Guild Master! Be sure to stop by! This is a game I am happy to play more of and look forward to it!



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Next up Michael and I checked out a new HABA game called Hedgehog Haberdash. New to me!

This game is so stinking cute!! How could I not want to feature it on the Livestream tonight? It won't take us very long to play and demonstrate, but we still want to show it off!

Hedgehog Haberdash is for young kids, as young as 3 years of age! A perfect family game and fun for anyone.

In Hedgehog Haberdash, the active player will roll the die and it will result in drawing 1 or 2 leaves from the bag or blowing a leaf off of a hedgehog onto another hedgehog.

All of the leaves are duel colors and when you place a leaf it has to go on one of the matching hedgehogs. So if a leaf shows pink and blue you have to choose to place it on the blue or pink hedgehog with the matching color showing.

There is a little memory game here since if you roll a wind icon, you can try to recall a leaf that you need to match your hedgehog color that got placed on another hedgehog by another player.

You want to do that since your only goal is to completely fill up your hedgehog with 7 matching color leaves.

Super quick and cute game. Michael and I played in about 5 minutes.

Definitely designed with small children in mind and would make a perfect gift for such an occasion. I think it is really great and would recommend to any family with kids. Probably not a game I would play often as a strategy gamer, but I am certainly happy to play again and look forward to sharing it on the Livestreamm tonight!


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Since it was there, Shrey and Dan read the rules for Bonfire so we could play onn TTS last weekend! New to me!

I am always up for learning the new Feld game! Right off the bat, you are hit with sooooo many rules and so many paths to try and follow.

Very Feld, to say the least. There are tiles you have to place in order to get actions, but you are also trying to fill various goal cards and scoring conditions that are presented in various places on the gameboard. So much is going on and I guess the theme is all revolving around a bonfire. Yeah, there is not much in the way of theme, it is all about the moving mechanics that are sort of mashed together.

You will still want to focus on only a couple of paths since if you do a little bit of everything you will miss out on some big points.

I was so focused on getting my boat out and gaining the guardians and scoring tiles, but it didn't much matter since I didn't have bridges I needed in order to score the guardians. It was all so hard to manage everything properly. But, I was able to figure out what I needed to do in the final few turns to rack up some points.

It wasn't enough to beat Dan but I did have a solid score in the end. Dan had 67, Derek cored 56, I managed 50 and Shrey was at 49.

I am still trying to wrap my brain around this game. So much happening and so many things to consider! I quite enjoyed it and would definitely want to play again in the future! Definitely, a must-try for any Feld fan!


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It was recommended to me that I check out Trekking the World. New to me!

Trekking the World is a cool lightweight entry-level type of game. You will collect colorful cards and take them to a destination to acquire the destination card if you are able to turn in the right colors. You will collect cubes from where you land each turn too. So you are collecting cubes for points, there are bonuses for clearing a continent too. The game will end when 5 continents are cleared or someone completed 5 destination cards.

Each turn you will always move using one or more of the colored cards for movement points and you land on a space. Once there, you can complete a destination card, use a journey card for a cool activation, or you can simply take 2 cards from the line up of card or from the top of the deck, a la Ticket to Ride.

Fairly simple ruleset and a nice-looking game with bright bold colors. Very attractive.

We played once with 4 players then once with 5 players and determined there needs to be a house rule for players who go last. So there is a big starting player advantage since the game automatically ends under 1 of 2 conditions. So either extend the game to finish the round, or give the people later in turn order more cards to work with at the start of the game. So that would be an easy fix and I am not sure why it wasn't already in the rules.

Otherwise, I think the game is a delight and had a great time playing both game. I like the race to collect cubes and try and get the right cards at the right times. It is quick and fun. I might look at adding it to the collection. I do think it will work best with 2-3 players. I will play again for sure. I am glad it is on BGA, so if you wanted to check it out you can!


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Cool 10v10 was posted last Friday!




New to the Collection:
The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game
Scrolls of a Northern City
The Apocalypse of Darkness Warfare





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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Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:00 pm
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If you aren't Obsessed with Funkoverse, then Why You Lying?! I think you should steal some Marshmallows from the Monsters...

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

Tomorrow I launch my very first Kickstarter! You can get notified on the launch by following here:
Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I playthrough three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! Other games will be played too! If you have any suggestions, just let me know!



You can play along with us as we play Cartographers




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I think Funko Games are pretty cool. I have been consistently playing the new releases in the Funkoverse lines. So many great IPs!!! How would I NOT want to play them all? I was super excited to check out Funkoverse Strategy Game: Game of Thrones 100. New to me!

Yeah, if you are familiar with the line of games, you won't be too surprised with this one. Not many rules changes from game to game. There are new maps and obviously, new (EXCELLENT) characters.

What they did change up was adding in a companion, and in this case, it is Ghost, you know Jon Snow's pupper heart who is just the cutest!

You can balance it out by having another player have an item, or if you have other new editions of the Funko games, I believe some of them have other companions you can mix and match sort of thing.

In this game, I was Jon and Arya! Michael took on the roles of Daenerys and the Night King.

It was so hard to pick since I LOVE Dany too... but I can't be 3 vs 1, I don't think that would be fair.

Dany is pretty stong since Michael was using the dragon to fly wicked far and try and beat me up. Arya is a little ninja though and was able to knock Dany down at one point. Night King just wouldn't die! I punched him so many times, but he would just rise back up with ease.

Jon ran to the center and just sort of sat on the throne and collected some points. In the end, that was enough to grant me the 6th point I needed to win. Epic.

Oh man, I want more characters now!! Maybe the next small box will have Jaime or Joffrey which would be great! They aren't my favorites by any means, but we need someone to fight with the Night King. I would be really happy with Tyrion so... Maybe him first. So many great people, such a great show!

Of course, you have to listen to the soundtrack when you play the game to really get in the mood.

I think you will like this game if you like the other Funkoverse games or have a really strong connection to GoT! Its a keeper for sure.


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Michael and I played Obsession last week, and then we decided to learn the expansion Obsession: Upstairs, Downstairs and play on the Livestream! New to me Expansion!

We talked about most of how it is all played in the video below, but I just wanted to touch on it since not everyone will watch the video!

If you have the 1st ed Obsession, I think the new Upstairs Downstairs Expansion would definitely be worth looking into in order to get all the upgraded stuff. Bigger cards, more meeples, board extension. I think there is a lot of content in this expansion box that fans of the game will really want to have.

We had a fantastic time on the Livestream! It was super cool since we had a RAID party from the UK show up and I think there were about 400 of them! It was so crazy and awesome at the same time. It was wild to see and they were all excited about Obsession.

Michael and I were so focused on what was happening in the game, it was hard to pay attention to everything happening in the chat, but I did my best. It was a blast!

Such a fun game and I am glad we were able to play and show off the new content!



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I was looking forward to playing Why You Lying! which can also be combined with Why You Lying!: Duel for a 6 player game! New to me!

Why You Lying is a card game that is very much like Liar's Dice. Each round you will get a hand of 5 cards and the start player will make a bid of X amount of animals and Y amount of either Legs or Wings among all players. The next player will have to increase that bid by adding MORE animals or that or a different type, and/or increasing the number of Legs or Wings.

There are mascots in the mix which act as wildcards, but they are just people with 2 legs and no wings.

There is an additional rule that the active player can say "why you lying" to the person before them. That means all of the mascot cards are no longer wild cards and can not be counted as animal cards. That player who said "why you lying" can not call the other person's bluff but instead must then raise the bid. It is a huge gamble!

I thought this was loads of fun. I already love Liar's Dice so this card game that gives me the same feeling with really adorable artwork, presses all the right buttons for me.

Michael and I played through a game and he was beating me most of the game. I had a major comeback near the end so it was 4 to 4 and the 5th card would take the win. Sadly, he was the one who ended up winning the game. I thought for sure I could come back! I think I managed to get like 3 wins in a row, but I couldn't get that 4th one so I didn't end up winning the game.

We had such fun playing it I wanted to feature it on the Livestream on Sunday! Michael and I played through a game, but it was even better when Michael helped out 2 participants in the chat! Shrey and NarcoDanddy played against me.

It was a nail biter and we had a great time playing! You have to check it out! It was a rollercoaster of rounds. Necro totally had us and pulled far into the lead early game, but then Shrey and I had a comeback and it was 4/4/4 so the final round winner takes all. It was epic! So much fun! I posted the link to the video below if you wanted to check it out!

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Michael and I wanted to play something light and fluffy so we chose Marshmallow Test. New to me!

Funny side note about me... well apparently I am not the brightest bulb in the box since I ALWAYS thought the spelling was marshmEllow since that is how I say the word. Never would have guessed there is an A where that E is. I guess I haven't ever thought about it or had to search for it in BGG until now, and I couldn't locate the game. I feel so silly! But I also thought that was an embarrassing story that people wanted to know about me so I am sharing it!

I haven't played Voodoo Prince, but the Marshmallow Test is a reimplementation of that trick-taking game from Knizia.

I have to say I like the theme of Marshmallow more than voodoo, so it already has that going for it. It works fairly well for a theme since the longer you wait the sweeter the reward, which I think is based on a real experimental test involving marshmallows, but I don't know the history much at all.

Each round, you will want to claim the 6th trick in order to gain points. If you gain a 6th trick the hand ends and you will gain points, but you only gain points for the number of tricks the other players have collected... sooooo the trick here is waiting to claim the final tricks after everyone has gained 5 tricks. There is a trump that a player will call for so you have to be careful.

Playing with 2 players can be a bit direct. Generally, with trick-taking games, you want to play with more players, but this seemed to work perfectly well with 2.

Michael and I zipped through a game and collected those marshmallows to the best of our ability.

I was doing alright. I had some strong hands, but then you win trick you didn't think you were going to win because Michael didn't have a specific color or just didn't want to win a trick, so I got stuck with some tricks. The hand can turn on the drop of a dime so really anything is possible. You just don't know! But I like that about the game, You can't really plan for much of anything. You want to take the tricks so you can go out and win, but you also need your opponents to grab them so you can get points.

There is a fine balance! I ended up winning but we were pretty even all game. So it worked out fairly well! I definitely want to play this game with more players. If it shows up on TTS I will play with the gang. I think it could be a lot of fun. Neat little Knizia game. check it out.

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My family got together over Zoom and we played a few games. I was looking forward to checking out a new drawing game called MonsDRAWsity. New to me!

MonsDRAWsity works really well online since people just need to close their eyes while one person looks at a card. They have 20 seconds to memorize everything they can about the card and then 2 minutes to explain what they say. The other people will be trying to best draw the monster being described. Questions can be asked and are encouraged to get as much detail out of the person describing the monster.

Once everyone has completed drawing they will reveal their drawings and the person who saw the Monster will secretly choose who they think is closest to the actual picture. Then the picture is revealed and the players drawing will get to vote on who they think is the closest. Points are awarded depending on what the drawing players say.

It is a fun party game. I love hearing the descriptions from everyone and trying to draw the best monster I can that match what is being said. I have always enjoyed drawing games though.

Christina was actually fairly good at this game. She was getting a bunch of points for her monsters. I thought mine was particularly great, but sometimes the descriptions were just not what I was envisioning! So hard to get on the same wavelength as other people!

We had a great time and I hope they will want to play it again in the future, I will be sure to keep it handy in case they wanted to try it again. It is one I definitely want to play again as I had a blast playing. Fun times. You would vote for me right...


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







New to the Collection:
Vidrado
Escape from the Asylum
Storytailors





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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I am Hi Queenz of Le Havre and the Calico Cat just loves to play with the Robots in Zen Garden

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

First off! Exciting news! My KS has been approved and now you can follow along and be notified when it goes live!
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?!


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

Queenz: To Bee or Not to Bee

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Robots


We also played Ohanami which I have in an entry below!

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Michael and I were looking for a quick game and we chose to try out Hi Lo Flip. New to me!

I have to say the cover just grabbed me! It is a bridge colorful box that just screams STEPH PLAY ME! I just love the mix of colors!

The goal of the game is to collect a bunch of cards for points and to primarily do that, you will want to empty your hand of cards each round or force other players to not be able to play so you gain the discarded stash of cards. The game is played over a number of rounds until one player hits a target score.

The Hi/Lo coin is flipped and cards will then be played to the discard area one at a time. If you don't have a higher card and the coin says hi then you will have to draw a card and see if you can play. If you can't then the coin is flipped and if you are lucky, you will flip it to be Lo and you play a card. If it remains on the Hi side of the coin, then the other player will gain all of the cards in the discard pile and a new discard pile is then formed. You play until one player is out of cards in hand.

Some cards have special abilities like being a value of 10 points otherwise they are all just one point each. If you go out you gain an additional 10 points. If you play a card ending with the number 2 then you must also play another card with it. So it can be tricky to work ut if your hand doesn't support what needs to be played.

As Michael and I were playing, we found a lot of similarities to Uno, but this one is much better because there seemed to be a definitive end of the round and you are actually collecting the discards for points.

I was doing fairly well, but Michael was playing a bit cut-throat since he was trying to play really hi or really lo when the timing worked out. I was playing more cautiously and gave myself some wiggle room if he was able to play. The deck is made up of 1-100 cards so I tried to save my really high or really low cards.

In the end, I won! My conservative gameplay gave me more opportunities to play cards later on when I had fewer cards in hand and ultimately gave me the win. I did get a few lucky coin flips too, so that didn't hurt!

Very light card game and easy to play. Probably best for casual gamers and I think it fits in with other Target games like Uno. I could play this again, but I probably wouldn't request it.

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The other day we were looking to try out a few new games that showed up to TTS and we found Zen Garden. New to me!

I am always up for some new tile-placement games and this looks beautiful.

Right off the bat, when learning the rules, everything seemed familiar so I could easily pick up on the concepts and gameplay.

The game will take place over 16 rounds where you will draft a tile and place it into your garden. You will end up with a garden in a 4x4 area space (much like Cities!)

You are free to move your garden up or down as long as there isnt 4 tiles in that row or column.

At the start of the game, you will lay out a bunch of common goals that you will work towards to please the emperor. so all game you will be looking to get tiles that fit your garden and please him.

There are so many paths to try and go for.

I was trying to get clusters of the same terrain type with matching walkways. I was caring less about the symbols in the upper left corners. Shrey, on the other hand, was a hot mess of colors and terrains but was HIGHLY focused on getting the matching symbols in the upper left corner.

I honestly had no idea how well I was doing or how I would do compared to everyone else. My board was split in too many directions and I didn't end up planning as well as I had hoped.

In the end, Dan had been the most successful with the stork birds and pleasing the emperor with a score of 70. Shrey came in second with 61 and I had a miserable 50! #MistakesWereMade!

I have to say this is a fairly light and puzzly game. I quite enjoyed it. From Queen Games and I think I like this more than Copenhagen and it definitely falls in the game easy to play game genre. I would absolutely play this one again!

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Since Dan was crying about it before and I can't seem to get enough of Ohanami so we played!

We had a 4 player game of it this time as Shrey and Scott joined in.

Shrey and I were going for those blossom cards early and often. Only in round 3 did Dan and Scott start taking them and they were far behind in that already. They shouldn't have even bothered at that point, but they were trying to hate draft at the same time, so I KINDA get it.

I like playing with 4 players since we see more cards and the choices are more critical, it seems.

Totally worked out for me since I had a TON of pink cards maybe even max, so I was way up at a score of 190! Shrey was second with 175 and Dan and Scott were around 155. So it was quite an excellent game.


Also! The other day on the Livestream Michael and I played 2 player wicked fast. You can check out the video below. I went for a different strategy to see if it worked better with 2 players, and did fairly well. You will have to check it out to see what happened!

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I had been wanting to play Calico again! There was a mod on TTS so we played it.

Dan has played it recently as he backed the KS that was just delivered. He ended up teaching the game to us.

I figured Shrey wouldn't LOVE it, but would still be interested in trying it. It is fairly abstract.

The whole game is super puzzly and awesome. I want to make everything work as well as get a bunch of kitten tokens. If I can place everything just right and do exactly what I want to then it is perfect. Having that sense of accomplishment is always super satisfying, and I get that feeling when I play this game.

I was holding out for one special tile for most of the game. The problem was Dan already picked up TWO of the 3 yellow polka dot tiles and I knew ONE more was going to show up for me. Yeah, it showed up! Nooooo Scott stood in my way and grabbed it before I could claim it. I knew that I wouldn't be able to score the full value of one of the common tiles. But, I still managed to score the full value of the other 2 tiles and the small value of that one I was aiming for.

Still worked out for me in the end as I ended up winning with 76 points. Dan had 66, Scott 60, and Shrey 58.

At this point, I have played the game twice and I am undefeated! I have to keep playing until someone beats me... or perhaps this will be my new game that I will win all the time. Never hurts to have one of those in the back pocket.

I really love this one, and look forward to playing more!

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Since they hadn't played before, I wanted to show them Carnival of Monsters.

Right when we were about to start Scott stepped away and didn't play with us. I probably would have suggested playing another game but I just explained the whole thing, so we gave it a go.

I think the biggest issue this game has is that there is no progression with the cards and you get what you get. At least with more players you can see more cards since more hands of cards are moving around the table and you might find what you are looking for.

Sadly, with 3 players, you just don't see enough and you get screwed over pretty early with the possible drafts. You can rarely fight to get the common goal for the round since there aren't usually enough cards to draft to qualify. I think there needs to be a special 3 player rule set, or just make the game 4-7 or whatever.

I don't think it works very well with 3 at all and would recommend avoiding it with that player count.

dan ended up winning with 107 and Shrey had 97 I was stuck back at 80 since I just collected too much land and not enough monsters. Whoops!

I still like the game and plan to keep it for now. I will see what the new expansion brings and maybe it will make the game better. Should be interesting.

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One night I found myself looking for a game and Shrey and Scott were around so we ended up playing Le Havre.

I knew Scott really enjoyed it and Shrey was happy to give it a chance again after many years. I explained so he could grasp it. About halfway through Derek joined us to Kibitz and hopefully, he caught on to some of the flow since I hope we can play again soon.

Le Havre is one of the best Rosenburg game! Though I saw that about most of his games since he is easily my favorite designer.

Our game was kinda long as we were having a rough go with the set up of cards and not seeing the brickworks for a while and not finding Ironworks until near the end. It was rough, but we muddled through. I was picking up as many buildings as possible and everyone kept paying me to use them, which was excellent.

Scott really needed to buy the 2nd Wharf with all the money he was hoarding. He kept having to pay me or Shrey who later picked it up. He said he was really bad about buying buildings. I think you have to, especially if you have the cash flow, which he did!!

Totes worked out in my favor since I ended up winning with 243 to Shrey's 203 and Scott had 192 (as not pictured below).

LOVE this game!!!! So glad we played. It is just fantastic.

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Jeremy and I have our second week of Pile of Games Podcast!! Check it out!




New to the Collection:
Chronicles of Crime: 1400
Honey Buzz
Cartographers
Hedgehog Haberdash
The Red Cathedral





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 Sep 25, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Dwarf had an Obsession with Funny Dinos who loved to eat Artichokes with Garum

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Obsession on my new Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Tonight's featured games!
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A few years back I tried out Obsession for the first time and quite enjoyed it! It has been on my shelf since then, and only just recently was the 2nd Edition of the game published. It was updated with a whole new printing and even a big box expansion to boot. That Kickstarter just delivered and I was excited to check it out. You can find my initial review HERE

Since Michael hadn't played before, we didn't add in any promo tiles or expansions and just played the basic game. If we think it is feasible to try out the expansion on tonight's Livestream, we will be playing with that! We will definitely be talking about the expansion nonetheless! So join us tonight as we play!

During our game, I wasn't focusing enough on winning the courtship bonuses each season. We were playing the extended game, so we had more time to plan and get ready for it, but it just never worked out for me. I was trying my hardest to get more cards to use so I wouldn't have to take back all of the cards as a full action. I did only managed to have to take back my cards once in the game, but it came with a cost. Michael was winning all the courtships and gaining that awesome bonus card to use each season. He was also winning extra VP cards for it too.

I missed out on a lot of opportunities trying to buy the tiles I needed to score the end goals I had. During the final season when we got 2 more goal cards, they BOTH didn't work for me so I ended up missing out on a possible goal card to score. Everything seemed to be going so poorly for me! #MistakesWereMade!

Yeah, Michael crushed me that game with 183 to my 155, ouch! I will have to get him back during the Livestream tonight!

Really cool game and one I am glad to play again. It is made even better when you play the Downton Abbey Soundtrack with it. I look forward to checking out the expansions!

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Next on the table, I asked Michael to play Garum. New to me!

Rossio was a hit and Garum is in the exact same box shape and looked to be similar is light abstract gameplay.

Garum is indeed a lighter abstract game with some tile-placement which can result in some cut-throat gameplay.

In the 2 player game of Garum, each player will take on 2 colors each. The game is played over 16 rounds and each round, one of the small rooms will be filled up with tiles. The start player reveals a small token which states which room tiles will be played in. They will select one tile from their hand of 4 tiles and place it in one of the 4 available spaces in the room. If they covered the bonus space with a matching color they will get 1-2 points depending on what they covered. Then that player will have the chance to place a meeple down either in the column below or row to the side.

The meeples will be the main source for scoring points at the end of the game. Each meeple will evaluate the row/column they are in and count up all of the spaces that match their color. 1-4 spaces will result in a negative score but 5+ spaces will result in positive points. Ideally, you can get 9 spaces in the line and get the max points for that meeple.

Each player will then do the same in turn order and then a new round begins and the start token passes to the next player.

Once all 16 rounds have been played out, you tally up all the points for the meeples and see who won!

The first game we played, I was focused on one line at a time and ended up ruining my meeples that were scattered on the board. I learned a lot from that game and tried to take my knowledge into the Livestream event where Michael and I played. (see below)

Michael was proving to be far superior at this game. It meant I wasn't doing enough blocking.

Ohhh during the Livestream, we got pretty cutthroat! I was blocking every chance I could so he wouldn't score the points he needed. Unfortunately, I misdirected many tiles and ended up costing myself many points.

The first game I lost, and I lost BADLY. The second game I lost, but it was MUCH closer and not a crushing defeat.

What a cool game, and definitely benefits from repeated plays. I find it easy to teach and play and would play this anytime. Very solid and interesting game. I hope you get a chance to watch the playthrough below!

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I was looking forward to checking out Dwarf since I got to learn about it from the designer during one of the BGG online events. New to me!

Dwarf is a game for 1-3 players and it is a light worker-placement game to gather resources and defend the mines. There are 3 types of resources that will be evaluated at the end of the game and the player with the majority in 2 of those types will win the game.

When setting up Dwarf, you will reveal the 9 starting cards. Each of the cards has a different action or ability. At the start of every round, 2 cards from the deck will be revealed and placed in their assigned spot according to the table in the upper right corner. Some cards give resources or the chance to forge new resources and items while other cards will be monsters that you will have to fight off/defend so they don't steal your stuff or prevent actions.

What is an interesting dynamic is that the monsters will affect everyone who is playing, but only one person has to go to the location to prevent the harm from happening to everyone. How much does it mean to you to save yourself, or hope the next person takes care of it so you don't have to. Things to ponder!

The game will end once one player has forged 4 items, or the deck of cards has been depleted.

Michael and I worked pretty well together to evenly take on the Monsters. Some monsters were fine and we just let them be, but other ones were super nasty so we didn't even want to get hit by their ability so we put a stop to it.

I wasn't sure who would win during the game. We were so neck and neck the entire time. I was trying to stay ahead of Michael with Gold since that was one of the majority bonuses. He was spending his gold on items. I was afraid he would get the final item and have more steel and win the game, but he could make it work. We were so overrun by monsters.

I wasn't sure who had actually won the game as we were tied on 2 of the 3 resources and Michael had more Items but I had more Medals which I thought were the tiebreakers. It was a bit unclear in the rules on that. I asked and was told that the more items won the game. Soooo I guess that means Michael won!

Pretty clever ever-changing map of cards. It is so hard to know what will happen next and what to try and plan for. 2 cards is not a lot, but monsters can be mean and hard to manage. I found it pretty good. I would be interested to try out the solo mode. Could be fun. I think this will work well for a bunch of people. I would definitely play it again.


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I was looking forward to trying out Abandon All Artichokes. New to me!

Abandon All Artichokes is one of the cutest games! I didn't know veggies could look so cute! This is a deck-building/deconstruction game.

In the game, you start with a hand of 10 artichokes. Your only goal is to end your turn by drawing your hand of cards and have NO artichokes in the hand. Then you will win!

Each turn, you will grab a card from the garden row of cards and add it to your hand. Then you can play any cards that have actions on them and perform the actions. Some remove artichokes from the game, another will swap cards to target other players in some way. Doesn't matter since all you are trying to do is get more veggie cards and kill your artichokes! It is a heartless card game after all.

You take your actions and discard your hand of cards and draw 5 new cards. You keep playing until one person finds a hand with no artichokes!

So far, Michael and I have played twice! Once to learn it and once on the Livestream (below).

It is a super quick filler game that is easy to learn and play. In the first game we played, I didn't know what a good or better action would be so I just went with anything to scrap the artichokes. I eventually learned that figuring out a way to gain more cards was also very useful since they will start diluting the hand of artichokes and you could luck into drawing 5 non-artichoke cards.

It didn't work out for me in the first game though. Michae was one step ahead of me the whole time and seemed to know my every play and somehow ruin it! How rude!

On the Livestream, things were going fairly well and I was scrapping more than ever! So much so, I didn't even realize when I won in the end. I had a hand of 3 cards with no artichokes. I thought I needed 5 cards with no artichokes but the rule is that you draw a hand of cards with no artichokes. Tricky. Michael would have won the turn after though so it was a real nail biter! You should check out the video below!

Cute game! I have had a fun few games with this and could see playing this anytime as a fast little filler. I would definitely recommend checking it out if it seems like a good fit for you and your gaming family.


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Michael was ready to continue playing games and we finished the night with My Funny Dinos. New to me!

I am always up for some fun Dexterity games! My Funny Dinos is a super cute dexterity game.

At the beginning of the game, the board is set up by placing all the bone tiles on the dig site and the camp tiles are place on top of them in the 4 corners. 3 rock tokens are added to those camp tiles. (Please note my images have purple rocks since I misplaced the grey ones that were included in the box. I later found the correct ones!)

Once the game begins, players will take turns using the pick tool to carefully pull out dino bones from the stacks. If they can successfully get one of the tiles without knocking over the stack of rocks on a camp tile and no other bones fall off the platform, then it is all good! Otherwise, the bone tile must be placed back into the center of the dig site.

Players are trying to collect sets of bones in specific colors so they can create dinos! If a player creates a dino of all the same color they will get 10 points. Dinos can also be formed with multi-colors and generate 6 points instead.

There are common goals to work towards and some done tiles that give special actions. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Michael and I were on fire! I think I made the rocks spill once or twice during the game. I was doing fairly well! There came a time when I had to really dig deep and move things around with precise accuracy.

Worked out for Michael in the end since he managed to create 3 dinos even though one was funny looking. He was also winning most of the majority bonuses and the small bone tokens helped gain him a lot of points.

It was fine since I was busy taking lots of fun photographs of these dinos! So cute!!

Great fun for the family and a very enjoyable dexterity game. I love that you are actually building the dinos as you find the bones. I think it all works really well! This is definitely a game that I would enjoy playing again and could play with anyone.

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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.
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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 Sep 23, 2020 12:00 pm
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Caleocatra the Fox tried to Escape the Dollhouse when the Samurai came!

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I playthrough three hot games! Be sure to follow & Subscribe for notifications! Other games will be played too! If you have suggestions, just let me know!

I LOVE my new game mat! I will be using this Game Toppers LLC playmat on all of my Livestreams going forward!! Check them out if you were looking for a playmat!

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Checkout this awesome playthrough of Last Bastion



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Michael and I decided to try out the game Starship Samurai. New to me!

I haven't ever been big on the space-themed games, but I do enjoy the Japenese theme quite a bit. There is no question that the art in this game is unique and quite impressive. It is a mash-up of Space and Samurai. Yes, you get cool Samurai Mechs. However, the location cards are just masterpieces full of color and an interesting perspective that I haven't seen before. I want a large poster size image of one of those locations, they are sooooo cool!

In Starship Samurai, players are attempting to gain area control in locations. Each turn, the active player will use one of their 4 tokens 1,2,3,4 on one action space. Depending on the token, they will gain that many coins, cards, unit movement points, or movement of allegiance tokens.

Players take turns using each of their 4 tokens and taking actions then the round is over. Each of the locations will be evaluated and rewards will be gained. Players will have the chance to play cards that help give them influence and possibly win the majority. Points are awarded and allegiance tokens will adjust. players will score for the different strengths of allegiances they have secured and the game continues.

Depending on the number of players, the game will last a specific amount of rounds. The player with the most points at the end will win.

Each of the mechs have cool abilities, the ships have influence power as well. You want to use those to help gain control of the locations.

What I really enjoyed was the small rewards you have for controlling the location from turn to turn. You gain small boosts of that allegiance and it can really help you.

Michael and I played 2 players and I chose the most awesome looking mechs to be on my team. Otherwise, I think you are supposed to deal them out randomly. Since we were 2 players we only had 2 locations in play.

Michael had a 6 influence mech that was just BOSS. He proceeded to whoop my butt in all the majority checks. I couldn't manage to stay afloat for very long. He was stealing all the small bonuses from turn to turn, and then ultimately winning the location battles in the end too!

I managed to win a few locations since I was focused on it and had some helping cards, but it wasn't enough to come close to beating Michael once it was all said and done.

I haven't really been a fan of tug-of-war type of games with a lot of area control, I think I am just not very good at it and maybe it is too much of the same repetitive action for me. The game didn't work very well for me. Now, I think it WILL work for many groups! The game is solid and there are a lot of interesting choices if you like that area control mechanic. So, I think it will really depend on a player and their group for how well this game is received. The production is top-notch and the art is fantastic, so all of that is great, it is just a matter of opinions when it comes to gameplay. Glad I could try it!

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I mean, I am pretty sure everyone needs more cat games in their life! Cleocatra found a way onto my table and I was delighted to give it a go! New to me!

Cleocatra is a light tile-placement game. Each of the tiles has a unique power, but the variety of colors helps you score more points. Each turn you will perform a couple of actions. There are a variety of things you can do, but you will mostly be drawing a tile and placing it. Followed by placing a worker meeple on the tile. If you have a lot of os surrounding tiles from before including extra meeples surrounding that tile, then you may choose score instead of place a meeple.

You will score depending on the different colors around the tile and for the extra meeples you have on those tiles.

The first person to get to 23 points first will trigger the end of the game and the round finishes.

There is a small stack of tiles so the game doesn't last very long at all. I think maybe 10-15 minutes at most. It is very straight-forward.

Michael and I weren't really sure what we should be doing early in the game, and how we should be focusing our time and tiles. I knew I wanted to get in my special big cat meeple to score extra points, and I wanted to surround my tile with a variety of colors. I focused on doing that and getting my meeples into play to gt max points for when I would score.

I did fairly well with my placement. Maybe I got a few lucky draws so I could use the action to move around a tile and score better. I scored a few times before Michael scored once, and I took a commanding lead. It wasn't long before I ended the game and Michael wasn't really close to catching me.

Super lightweight game and super cute. I think it could be fun for families and casual gamers. There is not much depth as to what you are doing or playing each turn, so it didn't really hit home for me. But, I think there can be an audience for Cleocatra. Glad I got to try it!


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It is almost October! That means more creepy/ scary games are hitting the table. Thinkfun has a perfect game for you to try coming out called Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse. New to me!

I have enjoyed Escape the Room games in the past and I was highly intrigued by the dollhouse theme! I LOVE the look of the game!! You have to use the box top and box bottom in order to make your very own dollhouse!

The game is not on a timer, but you can time it and they anticipate 2.5-3 hours to enjoy the entire game. You could break it up into sessions and play one room at a time if you felt that it was running too long. There is an app you can play music from and give you clues when you are having a difficult time figuring out the puzzles too.

Inside the dollhouse, you will face a number of challenges and puzzles to get through the house and eventually lift the curse!

Michael and I got through the first room fairy easily! Only 1 puzzle wasn't making much sense to us, but we were able to figure it out and put the pieces together to make it work. I won't get into too much detail since it is all a one-through play and you will want to solve everything for yourself. Through-out the rest of the house, we had a much harder time figuring out what to do, but we got a few hints and plowed on through.

I generally like the puzzle-solving challenges as you find in the Escape rooms. If they aren't too challenging to solve, I think they are a lot of fun. Many of the puzzles to solve in this game were different and interesting. Some were far-fetched so we had a more difficult time figuring out the answers.

Regardless, we had fun playing and I would definitely recommend checking this one out to fans of Escape Room games like this or the Exit series. If you aren't interested in those types of games, I don't think this will change your mind. I had fun with it and I think it would be perfect for anyone who wants to have an October Freight Fest of gaming! It would be a great addition.


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I was interested in checking out a quick and easy game called Dali The Fox. New to me!

I didn't know much about it, but the rules were wicked easy and fast. Dali the Fox is a push-your-luck dice game!

On your turn, you will roll the 3 dice and claim an egg by pushing out the tab of a specific egg color on the barn. Look out for the farmer who is trying to stop you. The farmer die will block a specific color and you can't take from there.

If you roll a yellow egg, blue egg, and blue farmer, your options for capturing an egg would be Yellow, or green. Blue and yellow make green so those two dice will also give you the option of green. If you claim an egg you can choose to stop, or try your luck and roll the dice again. If you can select an egg from the available eggs that you haven't already chosen this round, then you can keep rolling the dice. If you are locked out, then you bust and have to give up all the eggs you could have otherwise claimed.

I found I busted a lot because of some bad dice rolls. For example, I would roll a blue egg, blue egg, and blue farmer. Ouch! Busted! At least Michael was rolling as bad as I was! I would keep pushing my luck and I made it out with 4 eggs twice!

The game ends once one player reached 10 eggs, so I only needed 2 eggs to win and sure enough, I managed it on my next turn.

Super cute family game and so colorful!! I caught some cool action shots. I would definitely recommend this to any family out there. I would happily play this one again and even got to feature it on the Livestream last night (see below!)!


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




With so much going on, I am not sure if I linked in my new Podcast with Jeremy! Here is our Episode #1 of Pile of Games!







New to the Collection:
Guild Master
Unfair Expansion: Alien B-movie Dinosaur Western
Fairy Season
Tales of Evil





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:00 pm
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Today is your Lucky Day! Lots of Bites to chew on in this Friday blogpost!

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 @ 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 Wednesday! If you enjoy the content, please consider following and subscribing (it is Sub-tember and Twitch has a special for 20% off Subscriptions!) to me on Twitch.

Cascadia

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Aqualin

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Play along in Metro X



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With so many new games arriving, it can be hard to keep up! Thankfully, many of the games are quick and easy to learn. Michael and I decided on trying out a new family game called 9 Figure. New to me!

9 Figure is a speed recognition game. You want to grab the correct shape and color in order to score points. The first person to get 5 points will win!

There is a deck of cards and they all have patterns on them. On the reverse side of the card will give the results to tell you if you were correct in your selection of shape and color.

Each round, someone will roll the 2 dice and determine what will be scoring. The figure that is repeated most on the card, the figured that is not on the card at all, and the figured that is only on the card exactly one time.

There is a blue, Red, and Yellow shaped in each Circle, triangle, and square figure for a total of 9 figures.

Once you know the scoring condition a card is revealed and people can grab a piece from the center as fast as they can so they can possibly score a point. If 2 dice are rolled there is a possible chance for two people to win that round.

Since we were playing 2 players we opted to just play with one die and score just one piece each round.

Some of the rules are fuzzy since they were clearly not translated properly, so I am not even sure we were playing 100% correct, but we tried our best. We found many issues on the cards that had 2 possible right answers, so again we weren't sure if we were playing it the way it was supposed to be played. In any case, we went with the "correct" answer on the back of the card and awarded the points from that answer.

I somehow managed to win that game. I am not really sure how since Michael pulled ahead in an early lead. Hey, I will take the win when I can get it!

Could be a cute family game and definitely one for the kids to play. Some of the cards I think need to be looked at again since we had some serious questions about them or we could have been playing wrong. Kinda hard to know. At this point, I am not sure I would want to play again without knowing the proper rules if there was a mistake. But it is definitely quick enough where I would play again down the road.


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There was a random burst of need to "cull" my collection and I pulled like 30 games from the shelf an added them to the sale pile. It resulted in playing a game from the need to play one more time shelf. Michael and I played Valletta.

This is a game that has been in my collection a few times and ended up leaving a few times. Michael hadn't had the chance to play it before but the rules are only a few pages long so it wasn't hard to recall them at all.

There are a lot of interesting choices in this game as you go an I am always reminded that I do enjoy the deck-building aspect of the game. At the same time I remember about that, I am also underwhelmed with my choices for collecting materials and building buildings. I just feel it is missing a critical element that really hooks me in a game.

Michael seemed to be enjoying it well enough and he even ended up winning 57 to my 55. So he did well! I thought I had it too since I was upgrading all of my buildings, but I misjudged in the final rounds and needed to get out one more house, however, I didn't have a build action left to do it! #mistakesweremade.

In the end, it is heading to the sale pile again. There is a lot to like about the game, but it is all-around forgettable in a house full of great euro games. I don't think it will ever hit the table again, or if it does, it will be to decide if it is a game to keep or not. Eh Might as well make room for another goodie.


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Now, the rest of the games are random nights I was able to get some folks together for some online gaming.

I was delighted when Dan, Shrey, and Derek were all interested in playing a game of Teotihuacan: City of Gods.

Every since it has shown up on BGA, I have wanted to play it and play it and play it more! Gosh, I love this game so much! I love Tzolkin, but not as much as I love Teo. Teo has stolen my heart when a "T" game is mentioned, it is the one I would always choose to play. I love most of the "T games and would definitely want to play the others, but my vote will always be on Teo! Teo is even better with expansions, so I hope that they show up on BGA in time. I am hopeful!

Dan had only played one time before, so we refreshed him a little bit. Derek was excited since he loves Teo as much as I do!

During the game, I was focused on getting masks and trying to gain a bunch of points from the temple tracks. It was helpful that I picked up a bunch of techs to help boost my actions.

I found I was running out of cocoa a whole bunch, but I kept spending it to advance my dice and ascend to get the bonuses. I tried to build the pyramid whenever I could, and it helped get me up the pyramid track so that worked out.

Shrey and Derek were building houses like it was their job and they ended up costing themselves a bunch of points since all of the houses were gone by the end and they weren't getting very many points from advancing on the dead track.

In the end, I soared far above the rest and ended with 222 points. Dan was a distant second with 167 and Derek at 165. Shrey doesn't want to talk about it. I got so many points since I got up each of the 3 tracks and it all just added up in the end. The stuff worked out! Makes me happy when all the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted. Perfect!

Amazing game and I am glad we could play. Maybe we can convince them to play it again! Love Love Love it!


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Since we try to always default to playing The Oracle of Delphi we dragged Dan into playing this time.

I simply can not play this game enough. We are now at 12 plays this year, and I am loving it more and more. Since we have been playing so frequently, Derek added it to his Top 10 list. And you know what, my ranking keeps going up and up! I have this weird addiction to it.

There is something exciting about this game. I think it is the combo of using your dice and planning everything out in hopes that nothing goes south. So freaking great.

This game I was way behind. I got a few lucky hits with the gods at the right time, but there was one monster attack that ruined me and ate like 5 of my tokens an I just didn't win. It set me way back. Somehow I still manage to NEARLY finish the game. Shrey ended it, but Dan and Derek weren't in sight at all. I pulled out a lucky trick and NEARLY got to the goal. I was one space from the end. Shrey would have still won on tie-breaker, but still would have felt good to actually make it back!

There is always next time! Seriously, amazing game!


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We topped the night off with a quick game of Kingdomino.

Perhaps a game I might not normally mention since it plays out so quickly and there usually isn't much to say, however, I was particularly pleased with my final board situation at the end of the game. 4 distinct areas with no break. It is quite a sight to behold and I figured I would share this loveliness with everyone.

Hey, I even ended up winning. I mean, it was to be expected with a pretty board like that. I did manage to get a few crowns after all! It was a win-win situation.

Cute game. I do like Queendomino better with the Age of Giants expansion mixed in. I think all the added challenges really give the game some strategy and I like that mix better. Still happy to play Kingdomino once in a while.

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Another night I found myself looking for games to play and pulled in Derek, Shrey, and Scott! We played a few games of Lucky Numbers on BGA. New to me!

We all said, how hard could it be, and just jumped into a game. I think Shrey went through the rules, but it is honestly not hard to figure out just by how the game is scripted.

Your goal is to completely fill in your board with tiles before anyone else at which time you will win!

Each row and column has to be in ascending order from the lowest number in the top left space of the board all the way to the highest number in the bottom right.

You can pull a tile from the stack, or take a face-up tile from the display if there is one. You will likely have to replace a tile or two from your board at some point and those tiles will get placed in the display for others to take.

Very simple and straight forward. I believe that Derek won one of the games and I managed to win another. It is definitely a good game to pass the time and just push your luck a little bit. Nothing too deep will be found here, and definitely a game I don't need to own a physical copy of.


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One night Shrey and Derek were around, so we ended up checking out a new TTS mod called Bites. New to me!

Bites is a game that reimplements Big Points. I know I played Big Points, but it was so long ago I don't really remember it at this point. At least, I couldn't tell you the differences.

I do know that in Bites, you are moving along some ants and eating the food tokens around where you land. You get to collect one token at a time. If you find a chocolate bar you can use that chocolate on another turn to essentially re-set an ant, then take 2 move actions. The ants will all eventually finish on the anthill in a space with a number. Depending on where the ant lands the color tokens associated with the matching ant will gain points equal to the ant's space.

Fairly simple. There are cards in play that will give some other scoring objectives or rules changes. You will always play with a mix of these cards, but it is pretty easy to grasp.

I wasn't sure what I was doing, but I started collecting a lot of green peppers since it looked like the green ant had a lot of ground to make up to get to the end. Unfortunately, since I ate up so many, it meant that the green ant would actually move QUICKER because it was easier for him to move. I was my own worse enemy. I also picked a color that Derek and Shrey were not interested in, so they pushed green right on along the path. #MistakesWereMade.

I did manage to pick up a bunch of wine tokens that scored me 5 points each thanks to the card in play, but I didn't think I would win the game when it was all said and done.

Nope! Shrey ended up winning this game with 39! Derek was second with 33 and I was just behind him with 32. I needed to re-focus once I lost the green ant to the anthill.

Cute game, I like the re-theme to ants and fun colors. I am not sure Big Points needed to get remade, but I would be happy to play this one again. Derek automatically compared it to Deep Sea Adventure since they both have tiles laid out in a winding pattern to start the game. The games are nothing alike, but both of us like Deep Sea Adventure more. Maybe we just like rolling dice more. Anyway, I would play this again for sure, but I am not sure I would request it.

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Since I just played Ohanami, both Shrey and Derek were interested in learning and there happened to be a great TTS mod for it!

I easily taught them how to play, and we figured out how the TTS scripted mod flowed, and it was pretty smooth.

Drafting games are among my favorite and this is an awesome drafting game. I love that you draft 2 cards at a time. The game is so elegant. Playing it back to back like this, I just want to keep playing it. There is something so nice about this game.

I managed to beat the guys this time since I collected a bunch of pink cards early in the game and scored heavily for them. They weren't far behind though. I won with 182 to Shrey's 172 and Derek's 163.

Now that they know what they are doing, I am sure I will be crushed next time! So happy to play this game more!

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New to the Collection:





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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A Wednesday to remember! Reviews for Cascadia, Aqualin, Gizeh, Robots, & Haiclue!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we playthrough Cascadia, followed by Aqualin, and you can play along with us when we play Metro X on my new Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!

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A new Kickstarter game just hit the scene called Cascadia and to my delight I was asked to preview it! New to me!

Cascadia just hit KS yesterday! After my first play with Michael, I knew I wanted to feature this game on the Livestream so everyone can see how it plays out. So be sure to check out the Twitch channel tonight at 5pm CDT!

Cascadia is a tile-placement game where you create your own landscape filled with animals. Every animal has its own unique scoring pattern you will want to score from at the end of the game. The different land terrains will also score some points. The person with the most points will win.

Each turn, you will draft a tile that also has an animal token randomly assigned to it. The tile can be placed anywhere and the animal token can only go on a tile with a matching animal icon on it. Each tile can only hold one animal. You will draft a set and place in your own personal area and refill the line so there are always 4 options for the next player.

The game will end once the stack of tiles has been depleted and you will add up the points for the different animals and the land majorities.

The game is fairly simple to learn and play. There are a bunch of different patterns for each animal type so the games will always be slightly different. I hope the Kickstarter can bring even more pattern cards to the mix!

Michael and I just played with the recommended starting goal cards to keep it simple.

I knew the foxes liked to be adjacent to many types of animals so I tried to focus on that variety a bit. I also was working on getting a lot of fish in a line for big points. Michael on the other hand was working on pairs of bears and that was getting him a LOT of points. He has had a wide range of eagles all over the place. I really ha no idea who would win the game.

It was only during scoring that I figured I would lose the game. I wasn't focusing on the terrain so much and I didn't notice that Michael was beating me in nearly all of the terrain types. He was getting so many extra points and I knew I would be crushed! Yep, he indeed won with 72 points but I wasn't far behind and scored 67! If I paid a bit more attention to the terrain, I think I might have had it!

I will have to get my revenge tonight! Can't wait to play again! I think this game will be a big hit and so many people will love playing it. Simple and elegant. Love the animals and theme. Definitely one to check out. (like tonight at 5pm CDT )

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A beautiful game I learned about during GenCon Online was Aqualin and I really wanted to check it out! New to me!

Aqualin has a very simple take on abstracts and it is a gorgeous production! Kosmos has a great line of 2 player games and this sort of abstract definitely fits in well!

There are awesome tiles in the game, which is sort of the norm these days. great tactile tiles really satisfy the customer!

In Aqualin, one player will score for groups of matching colors, and the other player will score for sets of sea creatures.

Each turn, the active player may move one tile NSEW any number of empty spaces in a row. Then they will draft a tile from the face-up tiles and place it anywhere on the board. You do that until the board is completely full!

It is super simple! I love it!

There is so much pressure to get your tiles all grouped up as best you can, but you want to move the tiles to make the other player lose their advantages. So much to think about! You will want to draft the best possible tile so that it doesn't help the other players but also one they might not want to move so you can keep your advantage.

The choices are simple, and yet SO HARD!

Of course, I was playing for groups of colors! Every turn, Michael would ruin what I just placed. At one point I managed a group of 5 purples but then he was evil and ruined it and placed some other color smack dab in the middle! There was nothing I could do. Purple was then dead to me. I was only scoring for groups of 2+ so I really needed to focus on other colors and get larger groups. The larger the group the more potential points.

Since most of the red tiles came out late in the game and we weren't really drafting those tiles, they all sort of fell in line for me and I managed to get a couple of big groups of 4. Because of the few extra groupings, I managed to pull out the win with 25 points to Michael's 19! Super close!

I am excited to show this game on the Livestream tonight. The game is not very long so it will be fast and fun!

Great 2p game that I could easily play anytime. Would highly recommend it for those who enjoy quick games to enjoy maybe during lunch or just as a filler in between bigger games to clear the mind a bit. I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to playing more.


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Since Michael and I were on a learning spree, we decided to try out Gizeh!. New to me!

I am always drawn to Egyptian themes and will always want to play any game I can. There is something mysterious and exciting about Egyptian Mythology that I am attracted to. So, please let me know which Egyptian theme games are your favorite.

In Gizeh, players are working together to run into the crypt and find as many sets of items as they can, and then escape before the mummy catches them. Each time a new crypt card is revealed, all the players will have to reveal one of their cards to succeed at moving forward. Some of the requirements are specific symbols that have to be found, others are a math problem of finding exactly enough scrolls to move on. If the players are successful, sweet they can advance to the next space. If they aren't successful then they will stay put and the mummy advances. Not only all of that, but they will have to take the card they revealed and shift all other cards down and add that card to the end of their line.

Many things are happening. You have to keep track of what you have learned and how your own cards are shifting as the game progresses. Ideally, you can keep track of your teammate's cards as well, so you know if you need to select a new card to meet the crypt requirements.

Once you decide you want to escape you have to turn around and do all of the cards over again. By that point, so many of the cards have moved around and you don't necessarily know what the other players will be picking. It feels a bit hectic even though there is no time limit. You just don't want to forget everything you have just learned.

Michael and I decided to try for the very hard mode. We easily found the first set of 3 treasures. In order to complete a very hard mode, we needed 3 full sets of treasures. Seemed to be a piece of cake. I think the mummy only ever got as close as step 4 away from us. We totally nailed it! I wasn't even worried!

Now, I think this game will get MUCH harder with more people, and trying to sync up with others and make everything work could be quite a challenge.
I think it is a clever twist on a memory game. I love that the cards are always moving and it is very easy to forget what went where. Overall it is simple to learn and could be a good filler to play from time to time. I would play again for sure.


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I was excited to check out Kinderspiel des Jahres Nominee Robots! New to me!

This game is essentially The Mind, for kids.

In Robots, there is a deck of cards, and on one side is a track and on the other side, there are different speeds. The speeds are slow, regular, and fast.

On your turn, you will pick up the top card and look at the back and find the speed you will be using for the turn. That speed will also provide an object that is found on the track. You announce the speed you are going and say beep to indicate you are starting. When you think you have hit the target object you say beep again and players will guess where you landed. Points are awarded depending on how close you are to the target.

One the stack of cards has been depleted then the game is over! I know for a 2p game it is cooperative and you are trying to get the highest score possible! Maybe with more players, it is competitive or cooperative, I am not quite sure.

Michael and I did fairly poorly in our first play. We didn't have a rhythm. We were once just soooo great at The Mind, but it has been quite some time since we played. We did less than steller the first game of Robots that we immediately had to play again.

Thankfully, we did much better in the second game. While there is still room for improvement, it wasn't a poor showing.

All in all, a very cute game and one that is perfect for families and kids. It wouldn't ever replace The Mind which I hold near and dear to my heart. I would play Robots again, but always request to play The Mind first.

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A new party game that Michael and I could try at 2 players was Haiclue. New to me!

Haiclue is a word game where you are trying to gain points by cluing people into a specific word on display.

Each round 4 words are put on display and attached is a color. Everyone will be dealt a card with a color that they will have to use their own words to clue in the one word on display.

Everyone will guess each player's clues to try and gain points. The clue giver will gain points equal to the correct guesses.

If you play the game as a 2 player game, you will play it cooperatively where you are trying to get so many points over 4 rounds.

Each player will have 15 words to create clues.

Michael and I played through the game a couple of times. Most of the clues I was giving weren't very great since you are pretty limited with options. It is even harder when the displayed words are similar in any way and all of your personal words don't relate to one another.

Our first time playing through we didn't do very well at all. Michael wasn't relating to the clues I was giving and I was doing okay guessing his clues.

We later tried on the extreme mode where we gave clues in form of a haiku. Michael wanted me to write this whole review in a haiku. I am not that talented, but I had fun trying. We did seem to do better when the clue was in the form of a haiku, so it is totally possible.

I am glad I played.
Haiku clues are where it's at.
I would play again.

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With a huge shipment of games from Gamewright Games I was excited to dive right in. Since I was already familiar with Qwixx Card Game, I figured we could play that easily enough!

I played this and owned it a while back. I recall enjoying it well enough so figured I would give it another shot as it is newly released in the US.

Michael hadn't played before so we went through the rules.

In Qwixx the card game, players are using cards in their hand to gain ticks on their player sheets. It plays out very much like Qwixx but you don't get to roll dice. You are still trying to fill in the same line of colors from left to right marking as many as you can.

Players will first refill their hands to 5 cards from the display only knowing their numbers. Once the display has been refilled the top card of the deck is announced and all players will have the chance to take that number on their board in any row. If a row is locked, other players still have the chance to fill in that row, so that is a little different than the regular Qwixx.

The active player will then play one color of card from their hand and mark in their board with only skipping up to one space between the first number the tick off and the last.

It is interesting and I think a lot quicker than the normal Qwixx.

I could tell Michael was displeased with the game since he was struggling to play cards on his turn. He got a bad initial draw of cards so his hand was clogged with high reds or yellows.

I was having an easier time of it and found cards that worked well for what I was going for. Eventually, I started pulling not so great cards, but I still managed to lock 2 rows and end the game fairly quickly.

Michael managed to get 57 and I was the winner with 77.

I think this game is pretty good but I would always want to play Standard Qwixx over the card game. Rolling dice is just so much better! I hear there is a Qwinto card game so that is something I will want to try in the future as well. I would be happy to play this again though.

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New to the Collection:
Cleocatra
Abandon All Artichokes
Dungeon Drop
MetroX: Sendai & Hakata & Nagoya
Hi Lo Flip
Marshmallow Test
Qwixx Card Game
Dali The Fox
My Funny Dinos
9 Figure





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 Sep 16, 2020 12:00 pm
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