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Tennessee Game Days Part 3! The Conclusion!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Tennessee Game Days convention continues!

Part 1: Tennessee Game Days Part 1! The Aftershock of an Awesome Convention!

Part 2: Tennessee Game Days Part 2! Bucket List Checked!

Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar on discount: Learn More Here


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One night I managed to find a bunch of willing players to give Spyfesta whirl! New to me!

We played with 6 players but really, you can have any number of players since you are divided into 2 teams. Spycon reminded me most of Codenames since one player will be giving a clue but everyone is trying to decipher that clue.

In Spycon, You are playing with a group of characters and artifacts. Each turn the active player will draw an artifact and a character. The teammates of the active player will also see the artifact. Ideally, the active player will provide clues that will use the artifact and allow the teammates to guess the correct character. The other team will be able to guess first, however. Each team will guess up to 3 times. As the teams are guessing the active player can answer yes or no questions or even keep talking about the character. Once a team has guessed correctly they will get points 3/2/1 depending on how many guesses they made and advance their pawn on the red carpet.

Once a team has made it to the end of the red carpet they will be the winner.

Each space on the red carpet also has events that will trigger when that team will give clues in the next time they are giving clues. It will alter their play slightly. For example, in my case, I had to try and give clues on the artifact and use the character to my advantage. It was super challenging to be a guitar in Red Riding Hood's world. I had no idea what I was doing!

We had a great time playing this one. We all got to be the active player once and I think that was enough for an entire game. We just played 6 rounds. You can make the red carpet really long so it can go on a while, or just stop when it feels right. Both teams were located on the same space so it made sense to have a final-round battle. Turns out my team wasn't the one to take the win! Doh! Charlotte, Susan, and Michael for the win!

I blame my being a guitar. No one actually figured me out! I tried to get clever by saying words like "pick" and "Into the Woods" (being a musical after all). I was playing to the wrong audience. I hope I will do better next time!

Let me just say how much I love the artwork in this game. I mean we were all belly laughing over it. Oh and James looks like Santa (see pic). Amazing work. I only took pictures of the fictional characters there is also a set of non-fictional characters as well!

I am so bad at games like this, but I love trying to think of clever things to say. It is a fun challenge. I had a good time playing and will definitely play this one again!



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Charlotte requested a game of Warehouse 13: The Board Game since Dustin has been playing it frequently and loving it she was curious. Who better than to ask Michael to play and guide through the game? We ended up playing with the now in prototype expansion called H.G. Wells Expansion. New to me Expansion!

Yay!! I got to play as H.G. Wells! I love her so much!! She really makes that show so excellent, even though it was already excellent before her!

Charlotte and Mark hadn't played before and watched the tutorial video. Michael then explained the expansion rules and what happens. He was playing a new character MacPherson and I was playing a new character H.G. Since MacPherson was in play he has to draw 2 of the loyalty cards which increases his chances of being the traitor.

As H.G. I have to start the game in the Bronzer and someone has to unbronze me in order for me to participate in the round... ouch! But, it makes sense.

The traitor is trying to find and reveal the trident, all while trying to stop the agents from obtaining artifacts along the way. If the agents get 3 artifacts they will win otherwise it will all come down to the final battle to gain Minoans Trident. If the traitor wins the Trident he will win the game. Otherwise, the agents will win.

There are a few new mechanics involving Mrs. Frederic's cards and gaining assistance from her cards as a new Warehouse action. The Minoan Trident will be located in a mix of tokens. Each round some number of tokens will be revealed and when both of the pieces have been found the agents will have to battle it and hope to defeat it.

We had a pretty good start to the game. I was focused on defeating obstacles using my cool card and the ability to keep that card from episode to episode. H.G. is kickass.

Suddenly Charlotte comes out of nowhere and triggers a Whammy! where she is forced to switch roles with the player to her Right. Just like that, I was suddenly Artie. !#$)@!#$@ Are you kidding me?! I was so pissed. Now, Michael was playing MacPherson, and he has the ability to stop a Whammy from happening. I figured I could suck it up and deal with being Artie. I was just bummed about it. I was thinking Michael was the traitor since that would have been an easy way out.

In the 3rd episode, my intuition levels were directly pointed at Mark who was oddly suspicious. He definitely seemed to be a traitor. Sure enough, come the end of the 3rd episode he revealed to be a traitor. It came down to that final battle over the Minoan Trident.

Mark came flying at us with all of these Adversary cards and knocked us down left and right. We tried so hard to get back up and did fairly well! But he just took so many dice from us and we ended up rolling super poorly. A few solid rolls and we could have had it.

MARK - JINKS - Traitor at large for the win. MMmmmmhmmm smh We should have had him! #mistakesweremade!

Excellent time. I think the expansion is well done and fits right in with the rest of the game and theme. So happy to have H.G. Wells to play with! Kickstarter coming soon!



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I just recently got Nova Luna and was looking to play it. I first played it months ago in November and had a great time. I found a random gamer to teach and we played a quick 20-minute game.

He was colorblind and this game is kinda difficult to play if you are colorblind. He managed it okay and confirmed colors frequently. He asked me to double-check his placement as we played. It all worked out and he was able to pick it up with ease.

Nova Luna reminds me of Patchwork and Habitats if they were to make a baby. Baby Luna.

It was super easy to recall the rules and teach which also make it an attractive game for the keep shelf.

I won the game handily since I had previous experience and could easily tell the colors apart. I hope he had a good time playing. It was fun to get to the table again. One I will be wanting to play more of in the coming weeks.


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I was so excited to try and get in a game of A Feast for Odin. Kyle wanted to play and Eric sat down to play as well! I taught them both but they were very quick to pick it up and learn.

I threw them both into the crazy harvest mini promo and the Norwegian expansion. They didn't know the difference anyway.

I was focusing on getting Horses early on. I started with some extra money from the harvest, so I dove right into getting horses pregnant. We started the game with 1-4 harvest so we were all set for a while.

Once they saw me exploring the island they weren't shy in going out and exploring too. Eric totally focused on filling up his player board and essentially got no negative points at the end of the game.

Kyle, on the other hand, extended himself too far and picked up an island that he wasn't able to really touch at all so he lost points.

I ended up winning with 133 points and Eric was 91 and Kyle 82. Everyone really enjoyed it and I was so happy to get it played. So good!!


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I have been wanting to check out Eldritch Horror for some time now. New to me!

Michael and I played with Jeremy and Eric. Eric had played before so he was helpful in setting up.

It wasn't too hard to get through the rules. Michael played a while back, but I think all of us were familiar with Arkham Horror's experience enough to be familiar with how it all plays out.

You will have a character and some stats that will tall you what your health and sanity are. You also have stats for the different checks you have to make when you encounter something at a location.

I chose to play as Aquaman aka the sailor who looks like Aquaman. He likes to be on the sea so I got to move on waterways easier than everyone else.

The goal for us as a team is to solve 3 mysteries. We want to solve them before the Ancient One awakens and then we would have to deal with him. But, there are tons of monsters on the board and things to take care of from round to round it is hard to locate and solve what we are looking for.

In our game, we managed to solve the 1st mystery. But, by the time we were looking at solving the 2nd one, we were really close to having a 2nd level demon thrust upon us. He started on the board but we put off dealing with him for too long. We didn't have enough time to kill him off.

In the end, he attacked everyone at the table for 6 damage and no one was able to survive that blast. In the rules, if everyone is dead the team loses. If even one person survived then everyone else would gain a new character and continue on. It was a huge blow!

I look forward to trying to win again. Seems impossible. But, I had a good time playing!


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Keeping up with the Arkham Horror theme, Michael, Jeremy, and I learned Kingsport Festival. New to me!

All I really knew about this game was that it was like Kingsburg but with Cthulhu. That is not totally a bad comparison, but there is more going on in Kingsport with a negative effect.

In Kingsport, you will have the chance to roll and place dice. The locations will be resolved in ascending order and depending on the elder god in play, some locations will allow for more than one person to occupy it. The locations will give you the resources needed to take over locations on the map and use different spells. Each turn you can spend the resources needed to build a location and gain the bonus of the location permanently.

Every few rounds there will be an event and an investigator that will attack. If you can't meet the requirements of the events and investigator, you will lose points and/or locations you have already claimed on the board.

it is a rich get richer situation and there is no coming back. There is not even a trace of catch-up mechanic in this game.

I am glad we played 3 players since 4 players would have made an already long game go on longer. It was insanely long. I was done by round 3 and there were 12 rounds. It totally overstayed its welcome.

I was rolling really poorly and I was negatively impacted each time an event hit. There was nothing I could do to maintain status. It was clear Jeremy would kick our butts since Michael started in a decline also.

Jeremy ended with about double our points. It was horrible.

I won't ever play this game again. There were some interesting choices, but mostly not balanced at all and just needs a lot of work for it to be playable. Baaaad.


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On the Play-to-Win section was The Grimm Masquerade which we decided to play. New to me!

This game Michael, Charlotte, and Mark joined me. This is a deduction game. You are looking to collect sets of the item you most want as a hidden character. But if you collect the wrong item it will reveal you and you don't want that to happen. Each turn you will draw a card and choose to keep it or give it away. If you keep it the second card you must give away and vice versa.

You will start giving away information once you start collecting pairs of cards. People can start trying to accuse others.

It happened a lot in our game, where I thought I knew who someone was. I picked out Michael from the start that he was the wolf, mostly because I wanted to be the wolf so badly. In all of the rounds, I never got to be the wolf once!

Mark had us all beat in the end. He was able to get that final round victory and it gave him the overall victory. I totally got wicked lucky in the second round and it was almost immediately over since I had a set of 3. It wasn't enough to win though so congrats to Mark.

It is certainly a gorgeous game. I found it to be interesting, but not enough to want to play again. Happy to have tried it, but all in all not really a game for me.


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I recently acquired NEOM. This was a game I played the Essen this came out and I was so excited about it. The first game at that time was so difficult since we had 5 players and it was just so slow-going. People needed rules and this and that and everything just took forever.

I wanted to love it and ended up not enjoying it, but I didn't want to give up hope. This game I got used and had colored print outs of all of the tiles for everyone so it would speed up the game process a little. It still has that initial play slowness that just drags on while people are getting familiar with the tiles and what the icons mean.

We played 4 players and Crystal, Daniel, and Michael were all learning. By the end, it was clear that everyone was enjoying the game and that they would want to play again now that they understood it.

During the game I was focused mainly on the end scoring tiles I selected at the beginning of the game. I knew I needed to generate money and lots of it. Every $2 is worth a point so it shouldn't be passed on lightly. It worked in my favor too!

I ended up winning with 110 points but Michael was right behind at 104 and Daniel 95 and Crystal ended with 72.

I think this will work well for 2 players. Michael and I will be able to quickly play it going forward. I think I will end up liking it most that way. Playing with 4 was till slow, but we had a good time. I look forward to playing again soon.


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Hey 10v10!




New to the Collection:
LOTS: A Competitive Tower Building Game





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Mon Mar 16, 2020 12:00 pm
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Tennessee Game Days Part 2! Bucket List Checked!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!

Tennessee Game Days convention continues!

Part 1: Tennessee Game Days Part 1! The Aftershock of an Awesome Convention!



Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar on discount: Learn More Here


Microbadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blogMicrobadge: All the Meeples of the Rainbow blog



On Charlotte's bucket list, she had "play Ginkgopolis with Steph". How could I not play with such a fantastic bucket list item such as playing Ginkgopolis! With me! Twist my arm why doncha!

I taught her and her husband, Mark how to play. I could see the steam out of both of their ears by the time the rules were complete, but they were able to catch on by the end.

It is always a challenge to teach this game, but I have come to learn that all of the rules up front isn't the best method in this game. There is a time in the game when you will change strategies and shift your mind to think a different way. That is when I start explaining the end of the game area control aspect. I think it works best this way since the players already have an idea of how the mechanics are working and they are starting to see the patterns of the board evolving. It is always tricky to visualize the end of the game scoring at the start of the game, anyway.

I tried to provide tips on when to start collecting the end-game scoring cards and what might be a good play if they needed X and Y. I tried to help as best I could without playing their turns for them. It worked pretty well. There was one point in the game I thought I was going to end it, but I looked at the board incorrectly and calculated my pieces wrong so I couldn't end it. No matter though since I did end up doubling their scores. What really matters is that they both enjoyed the game!

On another bright side, they announced a reprint of Gink recently so maybe I won't have to do much teaching anymore since everyone should just own it and know it. #Wishfulthinkin.

I hope I lived up to the Bucket List challenge for Charlotte! I certainly had a great time! #BestGameEver

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I have had an Oink Game on my unplayed shelf I had been wanting to get played so I brought it along. Amy said she enjoys Oink titles so she was interested in playing Troika. We roped in a few other guys and played it 4 players. New to me!

It was up to me to read the rules (yay... wooo...) But they were easy.

Troika is a very simple set collection game. You want to create runs of 3 numbers and collect sets of the same number. In order to score, you must have a set of 3 of the same, but the set of 3 won't score you anything. The runs will score you points depending on the final single-digit number in your run. If you have a run of 11, 12, 13 that will score you 3 points. 7, 8, 9 will score you 9 points, etc. You play through 3 rounds and you want to score the highest each round which will gain you a 2 point chip second highest will get 1. If you don't have a set of 3 you can't score and you lose a point.

As you play you will be revealing tokens in the center of the table and selecting one to place in front of you. Again, there isn't much here in the way of strategy.

I was pretty much over this game after the first few turns of round one. Everyone else wanted to stick through and play it out.

In the first round, I didn't do so badly and actually came out with the highest score. The subsequent rounds I didn't do well at all. I managed to score some points in the 2nd round but wasn't high enough to gain 1st or 2nd place. In the final round, I didn't even collect a set of 3 so I ended up getting a -1 token. Yeah, I didn't win that game at all.

It was much too random for my taste. I didn't feel like I had much control over anything. It was just a time suck. I still can't believe that I played through 3 rounds. Sold that game during the flea market.



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I found Susan and James and we had some time to kill before Michael would join us. We played a quick game of Twice as Clever!.

Susan had mostly played on the app and was used to playing with highlighted spaces which are easy to spot choices. I have been playing a lot on the app too, but the .5 version more. I was all mixed. I was also rolling poorly which resulted in a fabulously low score. It was a train wreck of a game for me.

I was just shy of a late-game combo but never made it work. I super lost this game. Susan absolutely killed us with 231 points. James had 171 and I was 163 OUCH!

Destroyed!

Love this game so much, I am glad we got to play. I will stick to the app for now! I am much better on there.


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Since Michael showed up we all played a game of Carcassonne: Star Wars.

I had talked this version up so much recently with all the Star Wars happenings. I was super excited to play since it had been a long time since I last played.

I ended up teaching the rules and James was almost immediately in hatred of this version of the game. I think because he was the Stormtroopers.

Once the game started, it was clear James was not enjoying the way the battles resulted in a die roll. In my opinion that is what makes the game so much fun.

Not ONCE in the whole game did anyone tie! I couldn't believe that there was never one tie that happened. When you tie in a battle both people gain a point and roll again. An easy way of gaining extra points and more incentive to battle for territory.

I wasn't winning many battles, but I still like to try! James was winning even less than I was (Stormtrooper style), but he did manage to enclose a region worth 24 points, which was most of his points. Susan basically lapped him in the end.

She absolutely crushed us this game too! She was on fire! Susan 135, Michael 107, I had 100, James 85.

Love this game, but I don't think I won anyone over with it. Sadness!


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I have been itching to play a game called Black Hat from the unplayed shelf. A con is a great time to get to play games with larger groups, so I took my chance! New to me!

I thought this was a deduction game, nope! It is a trick-taking game with pawns to move on the board.

We ended up playing 5 players and it took a full round to fully understand the black hat mechanic. Generally, if you win the trick you will move your pawn on the board to a new location. You want to move to a location with little or negative points since you want the lowest score possible at the end. If a black hat card is played in teh round then no pawns will be moving and it reverses who will win the trick to lowest rank. A lot of weird things happening, but I liked it!

I took to the mechanic right away and found it very interesting. The less interesting thing was moving on the board. It is very hard to control when you might win a trick. I thought I would win several tricks when I ended up not winning them. Or the black hat will screw you up.

Anyway, we played through the entire game and I ended up winning. James was super loser he had a special ring we gave to him for being so very last place.

There are a lot of good mechanics in this game. However, it was the consensus that it still needs a lot of development, in order to be a game we would want to play again. It was my suggestion just to play it as a trick-taking game and remove the board aspect altogether!

In the end, it was worth trying but won't stay in the collection.

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Charlotte and Mark were up for anything so I decided on the teaching the Play-to-Win game Swordcrafters. It had been a while since I last played and I figured Charlotte would get a kick out of it. She should play it with her group, I want to hear the stories. #gigglefest

This wasn't the extended edition so no personal goals to add in and set collections either. It was just a simple split and choose and add to the sword. It was still good times.

Charlotte had the longest sword... of course, she did! Gaining those 6 points definitely helped her win the game. it was a close one though. I think Mark had enough of the fun and games since he decided to take a break after that. We didn't even make TOO many jokes!

So much fun and I captured that fierce picture of Charlotte below!

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Crystal and Daniel had been playing in the Play-to-Win area, so they were up for teaching us a quick filler called Bears in Barrels. New to me!

I am always up for a dexterity challenge and this is certainly a challenge. You are trying to flick the bear right side up. It starts on its head and the barrel has an uneven ball inside of it that makes it tricky to flip right side up. It was totally not fair that Daniel had mastered knocking over those bears perfectly to be right side up. Michael and I were newbs. I had beginners luck on my first knock and managed to get it in one shot. The rest of the time I was less precise.

Sadly, I was the first person knocked out. Michael was next to be knocked out and finally Crystal. Daniel is just too good at this game!

It is a cute little filler. I would keep those bears around for just something quick now and again. Charming!


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I recently acquired a game I played long ago at a GenCon called Arcane Academy. I remember liking it well enough that I wanted to play again.

Michael read through the rules for me, Daniel and Crystal. It is definitely easy to learn and play.

The cards are sooooooooo frustrating. Some are 0 costs.

Everyone was trying to gain up resources and Michael kept playing 0 cost cards and taking away those resources. he had built up an engine using 0 cost cards before anyone could even afford to play any cards.

I think by the time I had played my first card, he already had 3 or 4 cards on the table. The game ends when one player his 8 cards.

By the time I could play my second card on the table, it was actually my final turn of the game since Michael and just ended it.

I was ridiculously frustrated with this game at that point. Michael won 17, I had 8, Crystal 7, and Daniel 6.

This is a game going to my sale pile immediately.

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New to the Collection:
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Tennessee Game Days Part 1! The Aftershock of an Awesome Convention!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

I just had an excellent weekend at Tennessee Game Days! TGD is a local con for me so I got in plenty of excellent games and it will take me 3 blogs to cover it all! Enjoy!

Started the con out missing my friends that went to G2S in NH. I supported the con by wearing the G2S shirt!
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A game I knew I would want to get played asap was Aftershock: San Francisco & Venice! New to me!

Knowing it was from designers Alan R. Moon & Bobby West, I was interested in finding out about this new release from Stronghold Games.

At first glance, Aftershock appears to be another Ticket to Ride-esque game. There are connections on a map to be made by placing bridges down. The mechanics in the game are much different, however.

In Aftershock, players are competing for majorities in areas on the map. There are cards that will cause aftershocks which will make the meeples from a territory to another territory if there is a connection with a bridge. After each round, there will be a scoring depending on the players' secret selection. After 3 rounds the game is completed and the most points will win.

Each round players will have some money to buy cards from the cards that were dealt to them. The cards they don't wish to buy, they will then put up for sale to the other players. In turn order, players will be able to buy cards one at a time until everyone passes. The cards they bought from their hand and other players will assign meeples to locations. There are also cards that will cause aftershocks, and allow for players to place bridges.

In phase 2, the players will use the aftershock and bridge cards to secretly assign where they will be placing these items. Reveal them in turn order since knowing what people are going to try and do might affect where you play.

The Aftershocks take place in phase 3, and the player will roll a die and in the region, they selected they will say who has to leave. The player who is leaving will have to use a bridge to get to another location or simply remove the meeple from the game board. If that player doesn't have a bridge they can pay another player to use that person's bridge. Any number of connected bridges can be used and maybe the aftershock will be a good thing, in many cases.

Points are then awarded based on what players choose to score. The catch is, each player must select 4 locations and/or bridges spaces on their mat and those locations will only score if another player chooses for them to score as well. Each region will have a different scale for scoring 1/2/3 place etc.

Michael read the rules to me and Eric, and we all figured it out easy enough. Definitely on the lighter side. It went fairly quickly too. The first round was over before we really knew what was happening.

Eric took a bunch of bridge cards and sprouted up bridges everywhere. I was slowly building, but by the second round, Michael had done the same thing. I didn't want to miss out on building those connections and gaining bridge points so I also decided to gain more bridges in the final round. Bridges aren't really necessary, but if people are choosing to select you to move meeples around, you don't want to have to be paying lots of money either.

I had managed to remain in the first place almost the whole game so I was a clear target in the final round. I was getting shocked left and right. Every $2 is one point so I didn't want to spend my money to move. I ended up spending it on cards to try and gain last-minute majorities. When it came time to select the locations to score. I would try to gain points from being in second place. I am not even sure I had a region that I was fully in control of. I wasn't sure I would end up winning if people didn't vote for the regions I would score points from.

Turns out I didn't have much to worry about since I did end up winning with 74. Michael was at 69 and Eric at 65. Not too shabby and a nail biter in the end. Anything could have happened with all those different aftershocks that took place.

I had a good time playing this one. I felt there was a lot of take-that, but since you are still using the meeple to move around the board, you aren't really in too much danger of being "hurt" by the incident. It almost felt a bit random, even though players are in control. I would just buy the cheap cards and get my meeples on the board and then evaluate from there. I tried to save as much money as possible, and it seemed to work since I won the game. It must be totally chaotic with 4-6 players, but I would be willing to give it a shot. Not sure how much there is to "explore" in this game, but I would be happy to play again.



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Over the weekend there were a lot of great games in the Play-to-win area! I got to play many of them, but I didn't actually win this year! Doh! One of the games I was very interested in checking out was Campy Creatures. New to me!

Campy Creatures is a delightful card game with amazing artwork. Keymaster Games is always top-notch when it comes to artwork and design.

In Campy Creatures, players have the same deck of cards 0-8 with monsters and abilities. over several rounds, players will be using the cards in hand to try and claim the revealed cards in the round. The general rule is the higher the card the first to select from the revealed cards. You want to claim the higher valued cards so you will have the most points at the end of the game. There are different types of cards to mix in and try and claim, but we were playing with the teenager cards. The teenager cards were collected and whoever had the most at the end would gain 7 points and 4 for second-most. There is also a new location each round, and those locations will provide a benefit for the person who has the most location symbols they collected.

A super quick and simple game to learn. Michael and I pulled Julia in to make it a 3 person game. A lot of the cards you play will have actions on them that might cancel out another players' action or trigger off of another played card.

After the first round, I thought I knew what I was doing, but man, did I get beat over the head in the following rounds. I could not outwit my opponents. I got a few lucky wins but it wasn't enough points to keep up and in the lead.

The final scores were Michael 60, Julia 46, and I was last with 42. I will do better next time.

We had a great time playing this. The artwork is fantastic and I love simultaneous card selection. I would be happy to add this one to the collection to play it more. Interested in the expansion to see what it will add. Glad to have finally tried it!


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One morning, Kyle was looking for someone to play some games with and we busted out a few games I had been looking to play. First up was In the Hall of the Mountain King.

I was excited to get this played again! I was able to easily recall and teach the rules to Kyle and we were up and running in no time. All in all this game is super easy to teach, which is great.

I was focused on trying to collect money so I could gain better use of the trolls. Kyle wasn't as efficient with money and he was obtaining weaker trolls. It meant he was moving the game faster because he didn't have the resources to keep expanding his tunnels. I was having a harder time focusing on what to do. There were so many things I wanted to do but just couldn't get to everything.

When he finally ended it by acquiring the final troll, it was do-or-die for me. Thankfully, a new spell was just uncovered and I could actually do something of note on my final turn. I could move and gain a pedestal in the red region. I could still feel that I was going to lose since I just didn't move a lot of statues close to the heart of the cave.

It's hard to manipulate everything you want. You want to build those pedestals to gain the bonus tokens, but you also want the end of game scoring for having the statues in the center of the board. Tough choices and it all happens so fast!

I ended up losing 11 to Kyles 120. Close game! I think he really enjoyed it. I really love the spell cards to help manipulate your turn how you can most efficiently take your turn. Really enjoying this one!


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Kyle was also very interested in learning The Magnificent. I was excited that he even knew about it and even more happy that he requested it!

This is a game I just want to play more and more!! I get over so slightly better each time. One day I will break 200 points, I hope!

He picked up the game easily and by the 3rd round he was saying how it all ramps up so quickly. So freaking true. Magnificent fits so much into just 12 actions. It all speeds by and then you are in the final round with 4-3-2 actions left and so much you want to do but just can't do it all.

So much to love about this game and that is one of the many things I enjoy. Trying to pack it all in. I managed to perform a 4th time this game so I felt like I did something right! Is it better to perform more times or fewer times with more shows? It is so hard to say. I need to play more and find out!

I ended up winning this game with 175 but Kyle was right behind me with 163! He had a really great first game. He also loved it so that helped too!

Super excited we got to play and had a great time doing so. Love this game so much and I look forward to playing it again soon!


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Yay! Charlotte came to TGD to play some games! We managed to play several games together over the gaming weekend. One of the games we ended up playing twice as a 2 player experience was Space Explorers.

She hadn't ever played before but was basically willing to give anything a go. At first, I didn't sell her on it when I said it has parts that reminded me of Splendor, but once we got into it she was digging it more.

In the first game, I managed to acquire all of the project tiles. She wasn't focusing so much on the set collection aspect of the game. She was more focused on trying to gain cards and see how all of the mechanics intertwined. I ended up winning 37 to her 20.

She immediately wanted to try again since she figured out what she was doing and needed another shot at it.

The second game ended much quicker. She was focused on getting project cards and working her combos to gain additional cards. It seemed to end in about half of the time as the first game. Poof! The game ended.

I really just needed another green symbol to make it all so much better, but I never got that card! I still won but this time it was a much closer game 20 to 17.

I was glad to have played this one again. It is a nice quick game with meaningful choices. The player aids are totally needed since the icons aren't so obvious. I still have no idea what many of them are and have to look to figure it out. I do like that there are so many unique abilities though, it really keeps it interesting from play to play.

Charlotte had a good time playing and I was happy to play this one again. Good times!


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I brought around Fickle since I knew I wanted to play again before I forgot all of the rules.

Daniel and Crystal were interested in trying it out and Michael joined in too. I gave the box to Daniel to select which decks we should use based on the name of the cards. I figured that was pretty random.

I love that there are so many different decks to play with each time you play will be a new experience.

In our game, we were playing with Illusion which are the rainbow fairies that will act as their own family at the end of the game, or they can mingle with another family. They are 'fairy' cool. (don't hate me)

We also played with the familiar deck which has fairies that their value gets paired with another fairy card of a different family that card is not more valuable.

Those 2 combined cards really make for a high scoring game. Michael was easily collecting those cards and creating a family that had more than 5 cards in total. He was going to score a ton of points. I was trying to do the same, but round after round, I was getting stuck with the lowest numbers possible. All very low! There was no way I was going to win this game with all low valued cards.

It still ended up fairly close at the end but he ended up winning with 19 points to my 16 points. Daniel had 12 and Crystal 6. Certainly easier if you have played the game before. You kinda see patterns on how to draft/take your cards and what combos to look for.

It is an interesting game. I am glad I got to play it again.


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In the Play-to-Win section, I found Amul so Michael and I could teach to Daniel and Crystal.

This was certainly one of the best games of 2019. It shows up all over the place and Michael and I are always teaching it. We love it!

Fortunately, Crystal loves drafting games and she immediately started out enjoying this game.

By the time we started changing up turn order by military ranking, she was drafting those military cards so she could be first in order. I had to draft extra so I could regain control. I really like being able to draft first. I have been screwed over too many times by being last to draft cards! It was on!

I managed to get a great card that gave 2 of each of the symbols that scored for the majority at the end of the game. I was well on my way to gaining the top majority for both. By the end, I did have enough to gain those 16 points. It was significant enough to help boost my score into the winning position. I won with 65. Michael was at 57, Daniel 54, and Crystal 42.

I am glad everyone enjoyed the game. I think it is so much fun! This is a game I am always happy to play and I anticipate it being requested in the future!


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On Rob's Channel, I talk about my Top Games learned in Feb 2020!





New to the Collection:
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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Taking a Walk through the Cutterland just to see Crazy Creatures eating Burgoo....

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar on discount: Learn More Here


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What's that about taking a walk? Oh you are asking about Auf der Walz. New to me!

Coming home from Dallas in Jan, I took home a few games that are sold in the BGG Store. I was looking forward to trying them out so Michael and I finally took the time to learn Auf Der Walz. Translated roughly to on the walk/hike. Something involving a journey.

Auf Der Walz is definitely about taking a journey! Over 3 rounds, players will use cards one by one to gain footie points. These points will be used to move, explore, and encounter areas on the map. You will be looking to gain colorful sticks along the way which will help gain you bonuses and points. At different locations, you can share the news, pick up a hitchhiking buddy, work for $$, or maybe just spend it leisurely.

Every point totally matters so every decision you make will impact you. You might push your luck as a work location and gain lots of gold, or you might gain very little. Either way, it will end your turn, so you have to hope you succeed!

I think playing 2-players was a good way to learn the game and mechanics. There is another players' variant that I think will work really well for the "dice game" mechanic and I would definitely want to try it out with more players.

Once we got through the first round, I made a huge mistake in not exploring one more time before the end since it would have gained me points and a cool bonus going into round 2. I learned quickly and collected those sticks as fast as I could. I had to over expend myself at one point and I ended up losing my earring which was worth a point, but it gave $8 which I needed in order to complete my turn. At the end of the game, every $10 is a point so it wasn't that big of an issue.

I was seriously ahead in the round 3 scoring phase. I managed to complete a lot of regions with sticks and I pulled pretty far in the lead. The final score brought Michael closer in the score to me, but it wasn't enough. I won 61 to his 50.

There are a bunch of mechanics in this game that work well together. I love exploring the world and how quickly you come to realize you don't have many turns left to accomplish everything you want to. Some of the hitchhikers you can pick up along the way aren't the greatest so it is a bit of luck of the draw. Some mechanics could have been developed a bit more. But overall I had a pleasant time playing and would definitely play again!

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I got a few games recently that I was itching to get to the tables. I was most excited to cut things up in Cutterland. New to me!

I got a pre-production copy of Cutterland and it didn't come with scissors, but most people have them anyway. It didn't impact our play. If I were to bring it to a game night it might be more difficult, so be prepared!

Inside the box, Cutterland comes with baggies of cards, I was nervous each baggie would be its own game but was delightfully surprised that you only use a handful of sheets each game.

Since we were playing 2-players, we used 4 sheets each for a total of 8 sheets in one game. There is definitely a lot of opportunities to play this game so you don't have to worry about the replay value with the destruction of the sheets.

Each turn, the active player will select one of their sheets in hand and cut it into sections. It changes how many sections you make depending on player count. Since we were 2-players we cut it into 4 pieces. The pieces were then drafted starting with the alternate person. If I made a really great region, it was likely that Michael would draft it away first.

Once the tiles are drafted, players will add them to their realm with at least one side touching an already placed tile. At the end of the game, players will be evaluating their land and scoring each region accordingly. The player aid helps remind you how everything scores. Big monsters like the Kraken will eat all creatures in the surrounding spaces and the dragon will eat creatures in its own area.

After all players have cut up all of their sheets in hand the game will end and you will score your land! Most points will win.

Michael and I played and it moved along quickly. I felt that the 8 sheets between us gave enough time to really create the landscape you want and keeping it quick enough where you can't complete everything you might want to. I was definitely feeling the pressure at the end to get another dragon and score for the dragons one more time. It ended up not working out, but I did get a bunch of points from the Krakens I had.

It was definitely a nailbiter. We were wicked close in scores doing different strategies. We were tied but Michael did a recount and he ended up missing 3 points! He won 60 to my 57. Doh!! So close!! Maybe I should have recounted too...

It is a fairly simple game, the fun part is figuring out how to best cut up your sheets so you can give people what they want, but also leave areas that will help you in the end. A special I split you choose mechanic. I think it works really well. I had a great time playing and will definitely be looking to play it again soon!


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I ended up selling a few games on the Tennessee Game Days VFM and I wanted to make sure I played them before handing them off. First on the list was Burgoo. New to me!

I had been wanting to try this microgame for a while so Michael humored me and we played it.

Burgoo is a light abstract game. You are using ingredients to manipulate the lines you have formed at the beginning of the game. Your object is to get rid of all of the ingredients before the other players. For example, you can use a carrot token in your hand to get rid of all of the carrot tokens on the topmost space or bottom-most space of every line including other players' lines. You can also use an ingredient to split your lines and create new ones.

It is all about figuring out the puzzle that lies in front of you without helping the other players.

Since we played 2-players we were each in control of 2 Burgoo lines and had to manipulate both in order to win the game.

I was feeling pretty well for the first half of the game. I was getting my ducks in a row, if you will. There was even a turn I helped out Michael but discarding one of his tokens. At that moment the tables turned and he was getting everything left and right.

Basically, #mistakesweremade I was then in a position where I just couldn't keep the pace. He was able to end it for BOTH of us in the same turn. Because he had more ingredients in his hand, he was the winner. Boo! I helped him too much!

Super cute and quick abstract game. I enjoyed the play. I am glad it will go to a good home. Definitely pleased to have tried it and it is certainly a game I will be glad to play in the future.


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Also being sold was a small tin boxed game called Crazy Creatures of Dr. Doom. New to me!

Crazy Creatures is a card game where you are trying to get rid of all of your cards.

The game is played over as many rounds as there are players and you will be adding cards to columns in ascending and sometimes descending order. If you play a matching number on a stack to the card directly below, you can change the direction of one of the stacks, or force another player to draw a card.

You play until you can't and any cards leftover might be negative points at the end depending on how many skulls they have. You want the least amount of skulls at the end.

A super simple game that Michael and I played in 15 minutes. Since it was only 2 rounds, it moved along. In the final round, you don't have cards to hand out when you play matching numbers. I don't understand why not since I think that is a pretty significant part of the game. Being able to play those dupes if critical to your success. He had the perfect cards to go out each time and I was stuck with one skull. I ended up losing the game since he had cards, but they didn't have skulls on them.

It was an okay game. I think it could use a little dev work, but it was fine. Glad to try it before passing it along to another home. The creatures were super cute though.

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Before selling it, I wanted to at least try Karnickel. New to me!

I am generally a fan of Lookoutspiel titles and this looked cute enough. Little bunnies hopping around and eating up the carrots!

Karnickel is a dice game where you will roll the available dice and pick a bunny to move. If the result shows arrows it gets put to the side and once all the dice have arrows the train will take a turn and roll all of the dice and move spaces equal to the number of arrows just rolled. If the train passes and bunnies along the way the bunnies don't score carrots. If the bunnies weren't scared away they will collect carrots. The game ends once a bunny collects 8 (or 12 in a 2-player game) carrots.

Michael and I played in about 15 minutes. It was super quick! He kept moving along my bunnies and I would ultimately get squished! I was definitely behind when he was able to claim victory. He won with 13 to my 10.

Super cute and charming little game. Definitely good for families. I thought it was fine to play and could be fun to play again. In the end, I am glad it is going to a new home to be enjoyed by a new family. Happy to have tried it though.

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New BGG Show!!






New to the Collection:






Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Tantrum Con Part 2!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

In case you missed out on Part 1: Tantrum Con Part 1!

I had an excellent time hanging out with friends and playing a bunch of games. Here are the rest of the games I got to play!



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I was excited that Michelle and Justin decided to come to the con. Michael and I played most of the games with them and had a blast.

The first game we ended up playing was Hadara. This is one that we all have been playing a lot. Evan joined us for a 5 player game and I refreshed him on the rules.

He proceeded to beat us wicked badly. I mean he absolutely smoked out scores, but we need to call it an asterisk game since he was doing all sorts of funny business with the discard piles and who knows what.

Nah, I think it was fine, he just went full-on with statues and got some major points from cards. He was just well rounded. I ended up with the highest score I have seen at 215. I was in second place with 191. Here I thought I would win that game. I was collecting most of my points from the cards. I think I had about 90 points so so just from cards. I also got all of my military which didn't hurt.

Fantastic game and one I will always want to play. I told Michelle she really needs to get the bonus cards and mini-expansions. Apparently they are VERY hard to locate. #worthit.

Love this game!


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We walked through the vendor hall and there was a booth selling KS games at the KS prices. I told Justin he needed to buy The Isle of Cats since I knew he would enjoy it. He went all-in and got the late arrivals too. He only spent the KS price which was under $100 for all that. I told him #worthit.

So we immediately punched the game and played it! As you do.

ohhhh boy, this was a brutal game. We had the modules D, E, F in the game and E stands for EVIL! Module E has a lot of lesson cards that will make players lose points. For example, in our game, we had one that gave -2 points for each Rat you had on your boat at the end on top of it already being -1 point. It was critical that you cover those rats up! (I played that card and I laughed at everyone losing so many points when I covered all my rats up! devil )

So, I will likely not be playing with module E going forward, it was the lowest-scoring game I have even been a part of. Justin and I tied for the win with 53 points. In the past, the winning score was just about 100 points so we were significantly lower than that. Poor Michael only scored 14 points. He was getting hit with the negative points from all over the place. Nothing fell in line for him, but he did manage to get the RAINBOW CAT BONUS! See pic below. That card must have been soooo very difficult to claim, but he did it1!

Justin and Michelle both really enjoyed the game and were happy to have picked it up! I knew they would like it! So much fun! I am glad I have been able to play it so much this year already!


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Michelle recently picked up Maracaibo so was looking to play that. I ended up teaching her and her friend Dave how to play.

This is a game I still need to add to the collection. I have been LOVING it!! The more I have been able to play this game the more I want to play this game. I have gotten fairly good at teaching it, which helps since the rules are lengthy.

This time we tried playing chapter 1. I had played chapter 1 before and I didn't quite remember how it all worked.

I screwed it up since I didn't turn the cards around once we finished the round. I just moved to the next card. It was a mistake and we ended up doing both paths, I think. I am not sure what happened, but Dave and Michelle were fine with it. We got the basic idea of how it was to be played and I know better for next time. #mistakesweremade

I still enjoy playing with the chapters a whole lot more than the basic game. There are more interesting things happening from round to round and the board changes. It is exciting.

This game I was heavily focused on exploring. It worked out since I made it to the end fo the explore the track and I still could find time to fight and gain some influence on the different tracks. My income was very high, which helped me gain lots of cards. I did end up winning with 131 to Michelles 93 and Daves 79, but they both really enjoyed it and were very happy to have it taught to them.

I told them to play again recently so they won't forget the rules. So that was fun!! Super love this game and can't wait to play again.


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Michelle loves solving the case type of games and escape room games and all that jazz. She ended up picking up Detective: City of Angels. Since Evan was only there for the day, we pulled him over and he explained his game to us. We played the cooperative game, so Michelle would know how to play the solo game when she got home.

In the cooperative game, players will individually take turns as their day. they will get 4 actions on their turn which could mean a number of things. Ask questions, move to a location, search the scene. All of these things we want to find out in order to solve the case.

We played the intro case and a girl has been murdered we have to figure out the weapon, the culprit, the motive in order to win the game.

As we were playing, we heard some responses that lead us in a direction. With one response Justin and I figured he would be the killer and it was as easy as that. With some reasoning and logic, Michael and Michelle swayed my opinion so it could lean either way.

Justin stuck to his guns and as it happens was accurate in the end. We managed to win the game, but we declared Justin the true winner since he was so dead sure he was right the whole time. It was pretty funny.

Totes solved the case!

Fun game with lots of scenarios and discoveries to be made. I played the game way back in prototype form years ago. I did like the competitive mode better. I think it was more sneaky and clever. But Cooperative worked too. Not having to try and hide your information is nice. Fun game!!

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The 4 of us continued to play cooperative games and then played Exit: The Game – The House of Riddles. New to me!

Now, because this is an EXIT game, I won't get into too much detail about the game-play and puzzles. House of Riddles is on the easier side of the scale and that appeals to me more since I am more likely to figure out the puzzles and not get frustrated.

AS it happens, we did many of the puzzles with ease. I thought there was a clever puzzle that involved us listening to directions and acting out the descriptions to get a number. That was fun!

We did extremely well in the game I think we scored a perfect 10/10! Nothing was a stretch or out of the ordinary as some EXIT puzzle have been in the past, it was fun. Easily the best of the EXIT games I have played so far. I am glad we got to play it!


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Next, we played Escape Room: The Game – Virtual Reality. New to me!

I picked this up and it said 3-5 players on the box. I figured Michelle would play with us since she has played the other Escape Room games in the series.

The Virtual Reality game comes with a cardboard VR case and you use your phone so you can see inside and figure out the clues. You have to use an outside tablet to run the timer and app that way too.

Everything about the multi-app system is very confusing and nothing works well.

We had a miserable play of this. The only redeeming thing I have to say is that I enjoyed the puzzle I was able to solve. Otherwise, Michael was able to hack the VR system and it was not in line with tablet app. There was no way of going back and trying to fix or figure out where we went wrong. It was all just a mess of confusion. This is one that I would advise everyone to avoid, at least until there have been some major app improvements.

Such a waste of timeeeeee. #avoid


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Michael and I played Unlock!: Exotic Adventures – Scheherazade's Last Tale. New to me!

I think my hopes were extremely high for this one. I love the Arabian Nights theme and ultimately I was let down.

We started off strong, we were able to figure out the initial puzzles and combos we needed. One puzzle was pretty difficult and we spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. That wasn't the rough part, however.

The ending of this game was probably the worst ending to ANY game ever. I mean, it was bad. It almost makes me want to say don't bother trying this Unlock game. But, the music and the rest of the game was seriously fun. So, I am basically on the fence with this game.

If you like the Unlock series I think you will end up playing this one anyway, and I would be interested to hear what you think about the ending. It was definitely more frustrating than fun by the end.

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I look forward to heading to Tantrum Con 2021!



New to the Collection:

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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Tantrum Con Part 1!

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

I spent the weekend at Tantrum Con! It was an excellent time hosted by wonderful people. I got to see some friends and learn some games, what more could I ask for?! Here are some highlights:

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I ended up learning several games, but I figured I would talk about PARKS Memories first! New to me!

Parks Memories is now on Kickstarter! There is also a new expansion for PARKS available on the KS as well. I didn't get the chance to try out the new expansions so I will just talk about Memories.

In Memories players reveal facedown tiles and attempt to match terrains for actions and claim tiles in order to win the game. The first player who claims 3 pictured matches will win.

Each turn, the active player will reveal 2 tiles and if the symbol in the bottom right matches for terrain type, they will get to flip their special action token that matches the symbol. Then the player will claim one of the 2 tiles. If the pictures match when revealed they still only claim one tile. A new tile is flipped up to replace the claimed tile and the active player will move the hiker pawn onto a revealed tile. The hiker will prevent the next player from taking the tile that is under it. The other face-up tiles are now flipped back facedown and the next person will take their turn.

Parks Memories was super easy game to learn and play. Michael and I played a 2-player game in about 10 minutes.

There is more strategy than meets the eye since you get some actions when you match the terrain type. You can block an entire row in one instance. If I know Michael needed a few different tiles from a row I would want to make sure I had the action to block available to me. There is a slight memory in the game, but it is more about how to position yourself to succeed in the next round of turns.

I ended up claiming 3 matches before Michael was able to, but he was super close to gaining the tiles he needed as they were on the 3x3 board for the taking. I got super lucky with some wild tiles that provided me with actions I could cleverly manipulate.

Parks Memories is not your typical memory game, which is nice. I like that you aren't looking to match the pictures on the board, but you still want to collect the same pictures in order to win. It is a simple filler that I could play anytime, and it has the same wonderful artwork that PARKS has, so that is an added bonus. I will play again, for sure.


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Another prototype I got to play was Jurassic Parts. New to me!

Jurassic Parts is ALSO Now on Kickstarter!

In Jurassic Parts, players are chiseling away! They are breaking apart the fossils to create collections of bones that form different dinosaurs. The person who collects the most points will win the game.

Each turn, a player will sharpen 3 tools to use on the dig. These tools can be placed along the hex lines on the main gameboard. Sometimes there are rocks in the way and each rock you have to chisel at will cost one additional tool. If there is a complete line of tools so there is a divide, the players will reveal the smaller half of the divide. The person with the most influence over the dive will gain half of the tiles, and each other player who participated might gain leftover tiles as well. 1st place gains half rounded up, 2nd place gains half of those rounded up and so on.

The tiles you claim will be added to your collection for various set collections. Depending on the dinos you can create, you will gain points and always 1 amber. Amber is used to buy tiles you might need, or sharpen more tools, or gain abilities for a turn.

While it looks to be a simple abstract set collection game, it is very cutthroat. Chad and I played 2 players and in the first half of the game he was overtaking everything I had started and it left me with very few tiles. I knew I had to make more of an effort and be sneaky with the second half of the game. With that, I managed to separate a HUGE portion of the board for my own taking. I was able to complete the biggest collection of bones to form the brachiosaurus for 15 points. It was epic. I totally came back in that game and managed to win with 36 points to Chad's 31.

I really liked the use of amber in this game. It helped give me a strategy on how I wanted to play my future turns so I was constantly thinking about what I would be doing and the best spots to use my tools. It is a light game and didn't take very long. I think I would like it best with smaller player counts just to keep it snappy and I would have more chances to claim tiles. Pretty fun set collection game and one I would definitely play again.


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Chad wanted to show me his new game called Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. New to me!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner is a push-your-luck filler game about collecting chickens and turning them into dinner! It is fast-moving and has a little bit of take-that in order to collect the most points.

On your turn, you will roll all of the dice and you will have the chance to reroll up to 2 more times any number of dice. When you roll a dog (Toby) you must keep him from roll to roll. Toby meeple will move on the game board when you are done rolling dice according to the number of dogs rolled. If Toby reaches the 30 space the game will end, or if all of the chickens have been collected from the hen house.

On the dice, you will find 6 unique sides: Toby, 1chicken, 2 chickens, a fox, chicken wing and a double chicken wing. In order to collect chickens to your bag you need to roll chickens. You will collect one token for each picture of a chicken you rolled. If you roll the chicken wings you need a matching pair in order to cook your chickens. So, a double chicken wing result and a single chicken wing result will not work in order to cook dinner. Each cooked chicken is worth 2 points at the end of the game and can not be stolen in the game. Now the chicken tokens can be stolen depending on the cards other players might take. The fox result allows you to buy cards from the display and they are often allowing people to take from the bags of others or have a cluck off. A cluck off is when people have to act like chickens and there will be a winner!

Super quick and funny game. The quality of the game is outstanding and there is even a rubber chicken included in the box. There is no functional reason for this chicken, but in the rules, it says you can make your own rule for using the chicken. I might just keep him on my game shelf to overlook us.

In our game, we indeed had to have a cluck off. I had just snagged a whole bunch of chickens on my turn, so I am not sure it was very "fair" conditions for me losing the competition. I like to think I clucked very well!! As it happened I lost the cluck off and had to cough up a couple of chickens to the winner and judge. #notcool #ICluckLikeAPro

The turn following that, I rolled a whole bunch of chickens again! I didn't seem to roll many dinner results, however, and it really ruined me. I got my bag stolen. That was in the final moment too. I ended up losing this game wicked badly! The winner had 25 and I was down at like 12.

amazing production and an enjoyable filler. I would totally play this anytime. It is really a perfect family game that will bring lots of laughs and silliness. I look forward to playing again soon since I was able to take a copy home with me! I loveeeeeeeeeeeee that rubber chicken that is included
!!

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Since I still wasn't done learning all of the possible 25th Century Games, I felt it was an opportune time to learn Color Field.

Color Field is still in prototype form and will be hitting Kickstarter in March.

In Color Field, Players want to have the most beautiful work of art by arranging their art to have continuity in their piece. Points are awarded depending on how many sides match the adjacent sides it is placed next to and the bonuses the tiles give. Players take turns drafting tiles from the display (or top of stack blind) and will replace a tile already on their board or choose not to use it at all.

There are only 5 rounds in the game so you have 5 chances to improve your board. There are also bonus actions you can take with your pawns. If you don't use them they are 1 points each at the end of the game.

Very simple abstract tile-placement game. We were able to play in about 15 minutes. I managed to get a perfect board, and the designer said, he hadn't ever seen a perfect board. Now, I didn't score the best score he ever saw but I was close. I ended up winning with 31 points (the best he had seen was 32... RATS, so close!) But, Michael was right behind me with 29 points.

You can play over a number of rounds but we just choose to play the one round. I think it could be a fun filler to have around. Easy enough for anyone to learn and play in a few minutes. I always love a good puzzle. I will be on the lookout for that Kickstarter.

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When I went to Dallas the other week, the team couldn't stop saying how great Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein was so I knew I wanted to try it out. New to me!

I didn't know much about the game other than Frankenstein-like Monsters.

It became clear early on in the learning process that I would probably enjoy this game.

Abomination is a worker-placement resource-management game with a little bit of story-telling and choose-your-own-adventure mixed in. You are collecting body materials such as blood, muscles, and bones to create a creature. You will need to manipulate the materials you get into parts of the body and then do it again for the second layer. Once you have created a second layer with the skin for each part you can start running tests. You want to find the perfect power source and awake your creature. If you can successfully wake your creature (each body part) you will trigger the end of the game. In the meantime, the chief is counting down like a timer and the game could also end at the end of the 12th round if no one has successfully won by then.

I think one of the most interesting parts of the game is the event that takes place each round. the 1st player will read the event cards and it might be a hidden event or a spoken event. If it is hidden, it means it is kept secret and only read once someone enters that location next. At that time, the person who triggered it will have a few options within the story. They will choose which way they want to go.

In my game, I actually entered a location and ended up choosing my path that lead me away from the space I wanted. When Michael choose his path he ended up losing his turn altogether. There is no saying where the event might lead, but you will have a few options, just pick the right one!

I did pretty well in the game. I was often drawn to the raw materials and even animal parts for my creature. They were easier to come by. I would score fewer points, but I would be able to get the job done quickly and work on other areas of expertise. By the end of the game, my humanity was very kind and I scored a lot of points from that. I was also a pure expert in my trade. I could have used some more reputation, but I did manage to have the creature come alive.

It wasn't enough to entitle me the win, as my body parts weren't pure enough. I was behind Michael by 9 points! He ended up winning with 183 points to my 174. Doh! Close game.

I have to say there is a lot to like about this game. It was a bit long for my taste, but I would really like to play again, especially with the shortened rules I heard were available. I think the theme is different and gruesome, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. "Here, let me go to the dark ally and kill someone, I get a whole lot of fresh materials that way!!" Yah, that happens... You lose some humanity if you do that though. Too funny. A highly enjoyable game, I am glad I got to try it.


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Michael and I wanted to play a game from the Play-to-win section and I have been wanting to try Tudor for a while now! New to me!

In Tudor, you are taking seats at different tables to perform different actions. Only if there is a noble present at the table can you take the action. You have to pick and choose each round where your noble will be seated. Having the most points at the end of the game will grant you the title of "Your Majesty".

It didn't take long to learn the rules and it was all pretty straight forward. We played a 3 player game so there was some push and pull for locations. It was probably best to play with 3 because then there is a chance for each of the locations to be occupied with a noble and therefore all of our meeples could be used each turn. Eventually, meeples will be kicked off the table to make room for other meeples, so you have to be cautious of where you are seated and prepare to be removed.

During the game you are using the actions to move up various tracks and collect tokens. If you make it to the top of a track you claim a lord status and gain points. At the end of the game, you will gain victory for the tokens you have collected.

You know I love a good gimmick. I was originally drawn to this game for the giant hands that are the player shields in the game. They hold your rings that you collect during the game. Depending on the finger the ring is on it will grant a different upgraded ability for the different actions you can take.

I didn't have a clear strategy other than going for red, which was not a winning strategy. The guy next to me would zoom up the track in one go and I figured he would utterly destroy us! I wasn't wrong. His Majesty killed by the end. He clearly had a path he wanted to take and went with it. He won with 141 points and Michael was second with 133. My sad 122 had me in the last place. Perhaps I was always meant to be the jester. But I tried!

It was a fun game, and even better that I got to take home the play-to-win copy! I will get to play it again soon!


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Michelle had a 20 minute game for me to learn called Grind House. New to me!

My first thought was: Oh no! How could I be playing a Scott F. game without Scott forcing me to play?

I caved and played anyway, what's 20 minutes... (as Justin walks away from the table and claims Never Again...)

Grind House is a push your luck dice rolling story-telling game. Each room you encounter you will have some goal to succeed at or you will likely take damage or just straight up die.

In anticipation of death, I choose my player to be a weakling and that I would score 10 points if I died. I also choose my item to be a dog that was a ghost and would benefit from my being dead.

Of course, I was the last one alive and nearly made it out of the house alive as well. Turns out I still died, but even still I would have won with 7 being alive or with 10 being dead.

Weakling for the win! I have to say we did have some good laughs. Crazy rolling took place and it was more enjoyable than I had anticipated. Not a game I would frequently play, but I would give it another go.

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My video from Takeover Tuesday on Rob's channel. I cover my hobby of Buying and selling. I also take a closer look at Enchanters: Overlords and Gentes.





New to the Collection:
(see part 2)





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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BGG.CON Part 3!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

In case you missed it:
BGG.CON Part 1! Some of my Most Anticipated Games!
&
BGG CON Part 2!

Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar for sale: Learn More Here


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The night before BGG.CON started, the halls were already filling up with gamers playing. I ran into a bunch of friends. No one had any games to play, and the library wasn’t open yet. I had a bunch of games I was planning on selling that I would happily teach. I had brought along a copy of Show Manager that I was selling because I found the original edition!

I was shocked that no one around had played it before. How is that even possible?! I am still shocked that everyone who walked by didn't know. Queen Games really needs to create a reprint with catchy artwork so that people will play this wonderful game.

So I ended up teaching 4 players (including Ryan Bruns who currently is employed by Queen Games) how to play this beloved title. I was educating them on a classic.

I ended up super losing this game because I was so focused on helping others. I managed to get the middle of the row scores on each performance. It was definitely not a great finish. The winner had 46 and I was sitting at 35. While I didn't win the game, I still had a great time and was happy to show this to a bunch of new players. So good! Now, I demand a reprint!


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People were all around talking, so while we were waiting for food, I managed to round up some players for a 4 player game of Pictomania. Most of them hadn't played before.

Pictomania is a game I love since there is so much happening at any given time and there is hardly any downtime. It is always interesting to see how people draw.

I had one round where I completely drew the wrong thing and it ruined me. I should have double-triple checked my number when I thought someone had the same number as me. I ended up not winning this game. #mistakesweremade

Love it.

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Barb, Matt, and Derek mentioned that they were interested in learning Amul.

Michael and I were happy to play this with them. It was a great option because it handles 5 players well.

Everyone seemed to understand the rules. Once we got going, the gameplay was fairly quick. I knew Michael was going for gems, and I didn't want to help him out, so I focused on getting a bunch of other sets. I didn't manage to meet the requirements for the contract I picked up, so I had a missed opportunity there.

Michael still won by a lot with 67 and I was second with 53. Everyone else was close to my score.

Amul was a success - I think everyone enjoyed it. Definitely one of the hits of the year for me. Really easy to play and teach, so it has hit the table a bunch.


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Michael and I teamed up against Nathan and Mark for an epic game of Tichu.

At each convention, I always have GRAND ideas that I will play at least one game of Tichu each day. Usually, I am lucky to play even half of the days. But during BGG.CON, we only got to play one game of Tichu. Well, I’m glad we got to play what we could!

The first several rounds, Michael and I got realllllllllllllllllly crappy hands. Nathan and Mark pulled into a far lead. Fortunately, Michael and I had some killer comeback hands and I was able to make a GRAND call with us going 1-2. It was super sweet.

The game was down to the wire. Both teams needed less than 100 points. Michael and I didn't quite make it and ended up losing. We will get them next time for sure. Such an amazing game! MOAR TICHU!


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I have only ever played Texas Showdown BGG.CON, so it seemed appropriate to play a round with Nathan and friends.

You really don't want to take tricks in this game at all. I was getting some really poor hands, with a lot of high cards and top cards in their colors. Steve was incredibly sneaky and being very good at not taking any tricks. He killed us this game.

I didn't end up being the biggest loser this game as Kris ended up taking 12 tricks! Yeah, he was getting worse cards than I was, or I was just playing slightly better, hard to say. I was nowhere near winning though.

Always enjoy this challenging little card game. #whenintexas

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Vivaldi seemed like an interesting trick-taking game. I was pleased that Nathan and friends had already played it so they could teach me! New to me!

Now, I didn't realize it was in the same vein as Mü & More, or I might not have been so interested. In Vivaldi, there is an active player who wins the bid with the lowest number. Depending on the winning bid value, they will be secretly teamed up with another player who will not announce themselves. Those 2 players are working together to score more points than the rest of the table combined. There is a trump suit that will win tricks, and the opposite suit will score negative points.

All this makes more sense to me now than it did when I was playing for the first time. Man, this game was difficult to grasp. It didn't help that I was the secret partner in the 2 games we played. Ugh, it is so hard to be the secret partner. I had no idea what to play to 1) not give my position away and 2) reveal to my partner that I was trying to help. And I let my partner Jonathan down both times. Whoops! #mistakesweremade

While I didn't really like the game, it still has me intrigued. So I would play Vivaldi again, but I am not rushing to do so. I would just rather play Tichu!


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I found my friend Deb who was playing with a bunch of friends who were on the Rolling Con train. Rolling Con is a several-day train ride which ends in Dallas, and on the ride, they play a bunch of train games.

Anyway, I sat down to talk a bit and ended up joining in a 6 player game of Going Postal. New to me!

If you read through my New to Me List posted earlier this week, you might recall I wasn't a big fan of this one. #understatement

Going Postal is a simultaneous card selection game where you pick up and deliver packages to gain points. Depending on the cards other people play, your deliveries may or may not happen.

This game had way too much chaos. It was impossible to plan or accomplish anything. People were doing the same things, so we all bottlenecked at the end, with the same actions over and over, cancelling each other out.

Going Postal didn't work for me at all. I was super relieved when it finally ended. Don't care who won, just wanted to do anything else.

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Oh yes, it happened. The 7 Wonders: Armada BGG.CON 2019 World Championship happened.

We needed more than 2 players, so Stefan and I pulled in Barb and Matt for a 4 player fight for the title crown. Barb and Matt hadn't played before and Stefan forgot some cards so there was definitely an asterisk on this World Championship. Still, always happy to play 7 Wonders! #Top5!

Barb and Matt picked it up with ease and it was smooth sailing. I had Halicarnassus so I was getting free cards from the discard pile. But I was not playing wisely enough. I had a huge error towards the very end of the game where I could have won the navy battle. It would have been an 8 point swing in my favor! But it wouldn't have mattered, because Stefan won by 10 points. Still, I would have been so much closer!!!

Barb and Matt really enjoyed the game, so that was great. I always love playing 7 Wonders and will continue to play any chance I can!

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Bye BGG!

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New to the Collection:
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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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BGG CON Part 2!

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar for sale: Learn More Here


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The first game of BGG.CON I wanted to play was Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan.

I got to first play this game back in April in prototype form and gave a bunch of opinions on our play at the time. It was great to see some of the minor but impactful changes that the designers incorporated into the final edition of this game.

At the time, Hans im Glück wasn't sure if they were going to create a stand-alone game or make it into an expansion. I was pleased to find out that it was indeed a stand-alone game.

In Marco Polo II, there is a new resource called Jade that is used slightly different than other resources. I love the new rotating marketplace with different resources each round. Moving around the board seems to be more accessible. New objectives and end game scoring for number of locations you visit.

We played a full 4 player game with Michael, Matt, and Bree. Since we were playing in the Hot Games Room, it was incredibly crowded with people going in and out, which meant it was wicked loud. We were also getting interrupted a bunch. It made for a longer game than I would have liked.

I made sure to get all my relics and find my way to the high scoring destinations so I could pick up some easy to get points. Michael got there super fast since he had a character that didn't have to pay camels or coins for movement. We can just call him Zippy. It wasn't until mid-game that I found some decent combos and held my own.

Michael ended up winning that game with 135. I was at 100.

Even though we had a long game, I still love love love Marco Polo Il. There is easily room for both The Voyages of Marco Polo and Marco Polo II on my gaming shelf. Such a fun time, and I think both Matt and Bree liked the game as well, which was an added bonus!


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Out to dinner with the BGG Team! Thanks to Rodney, we had a game to play that he was carrying around called Similo. New to me!

Similo is a cooperative deduction game that comes as a small deck of cards. The gameplay is actually very similar to One Key. One player will know the correct card on display and will use other cards to try and get the other players to eliminate incorrect cards, leaving only the correct card as the last card remaining in the display.

Any number of people can play this game just by watching and giving some input with reasons as to which cards should be deleted. Super easy and fast little filler.

We ended up playing 3 games while waiting for dinner to arrive. We were using the Similo deck with fable characters and it has AMAZING artwork. I was so impressed by how gorgeous this game is.

There is another version with historic figures. The decks can be used together by having one deck for the characters and the other deck for the clues. How clever!

We won a game with Rodney giving the clues, then lost the second game. I was the clue giver during the final game, and I was terrible at giving clues. It didn't help that we were rushed near the end with food being served. We ended up losing.

I loved playing this and I love that it is so compact. This is a perfect game for any collection. I can't wait to own a copy. Similo will immediately fire One Key for a space on my shelf. Really great.

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I was so excited to try out the new Orléans Stories. New to me!

Orléans: Invasion is near the top of my favorite cooperative games.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Stories, but was shocked to find only 2 stories in the box. The first story runs like 3+ hours, so we opted to try the 2nd story, which plays in about 2 hours.

Michael had never played Orleans before, so we went over all the rules. There is a whole lot of set up in Stories with lots of different boards and different chit counts depending on player count. It is all laid out nicely in the rules, so we didn't have an issue with that.

In Orleans Stories, players are performing actions in a familiar way to that in Orleans. The actions are a bit different since you are now controlling the different lands and producing resources from those lands. You can still gain new guys to your bag and you can still cull your bag by sending your guys and other resources to the different location tiles to gain fast rewards. The major new difference is the use of a personal booklet to keep track of the current year's goals that you have to meet by the end of the year.

Figuring out the game was easy, but playing the game was a greater challenge. I think my biggest gripe with the game is the fact that you can't divert and explore the game using different strategies. Every player must meet the same year-end conditions, which means everyone is going for the same thing as you are. There is also player elimination if you don't meet those requirements. In a long game that lasts 5 years, you might be sitting out for a while watching everyone play the game.

Oh yes, this happened to me. I was out after year 2 because I couldn't meet the requirements. I wasn't planning properly and I didn't send enough resources to my booklet in time and thus I was eliminated from the game. I was trying to do other things and focus on being slightly different from everyone else. Yah, that ended up making me lose. And being eliminated is not fun.

Derek and Michael ended up playing 2 more years without me until eventually, Derek was out too. Michael won by default since he was the only player standing. He didn't have to finish the game at that point.

I like what the game is trying to do, but it would be better with different player objectives each round. Because the story never changes, it will probably feel very samey after a few plays. Perhaps if Stories was a cooperative experience it would be a better one. But I would much rather play Orleans Invasion.


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While I was waiting for the Orleans Stories game to finish, I ended up running into Tiffany who had some time to teach me the new Haba game called Miyabi. New to me!

Miyabi is a tile-placement game where you build up your board and score points as you go and at the end of the game for majorities. The tiles range from size 1 to 3 and will score immediately upon placement. They score their size multiplied by the level they are placed on much like the scoring in NMBR 9.

If a player reaches the 5th level, they will gain a bonus token which is worth some extra points. At the end of the game, each row will be evaluated, and the player with the most of that symbol will gain 1st place points. There is a 2nd place scoring as well.

The challenge in Miyabi is that you always have to place the tile so that the symbol is in the correct row and that you can only activate each column once per round.

With 2 players, you play 6 rounds. Tiffany and I didn't actually get through the entire game because it was late. But Orleans Stories had finally killed off Derek, and Stefan showed up. So Stefan, Michael, and Derek joined me for a full 4 player table. After being taught so well by Tiffany, I could easily pass along the rules to the guys.

With 4 players, the game lasts for only 4 rounds, so it was quite a challenge to build up to the 5th level. No one managed to do it. I was getting most of my points in-game. I didn't focus at all on end-game points, which is where Stefan got almost all of his points. Derek was doing a great job balancing his points and managed to win with 102 points. Stefan was just behind with 99 points. Michael and I tied for last with 90 points.

Miyabi is a nice drafting game with strategic depth in how you place your tiles. I like that this game has different modules for adding goals and other ways to score. It could be good for a family or with casual gamers, but also great for strategy gamers too. I could play with anyone, and that's what's important! Fun times!

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Michael and I wandered the vendor hall a bit and, as always, I have to prioritize visiting The Podfather first. Stronghold has a bunch of new titles and I was happy to try out a new Fable Game called Fire!. New to me!

Fire has a cute Space Invaders theme where 1-2 players are using their cards to boost their ships’ weapons to attack the aliens. Since you are drawing cards and selecting which ship to boost, there is a push-your-luck element.

Michael and I tried out the first mission and we barely won. Every time you fire, you have to lose a card, and Michael was nearly out of cards by the end of the first mission. With one final shot, we were able to win.

I look forward to playing the rest of the scenarios and seeing how difficult the missions become! Clever little game.


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I was super excited to try out Kingsburg: The Dice Game since I love Kingsburg. New to me!

The box says 5 players, but I warn you - do not play with 5 players. The downtime is just a killer. The actual turns aren't overly long, but the combined turns of all the players just make the game go on forever. I enjoy dice games where everyone is involved each turn. This is exactly not that.

What you do with the dice reminds me of what you do in Kingsburg. But when you go to build the buildings, you don't have to build them in order. Even that slight rules alteration would make the game work more like Kingsburg and, in my opinion, be better.

I ended up winning with 19 points. Everyone else had around 15 points.

For me, the game was just a miss. Far too long and not that many interesting choices. Well at least I tried it and now I know. Definitely not a game I want to play again.

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I didn't know much about the game Pictures, but I insisted on playing because it is a game about pictures. I was already biased. New to me!

Pictures is a party game where players are using interesting materials to represent a secret picture from a display of 16 pictures. At the end of the round, players will try to guess each player’s picture. You gain points for guessing them correctly and by having them guess your picture.

Each round, you pull a token from the bag which will tell you which picture to represent. You are given a new set of materials each round. The materials are an interesting part of this game. You might have to use small colored cubes, two shoelaces, chunky blocks, sticks and stones, and a deck of cards with icons on them.

We played a full 5 player game, and it was quite hilarious when we found out that 2 of us had drawn the same token! We didn’t know that there were multiples of each token in the bag, so I thought for sure I was wrong about one of my guesses. Barb ended up winning this game with 25 points!

I saw that Rio Grande Games was picking this one up for the US, so that is exciting. I suspect we can look for it in early 2020. This is one I will want to add to the collection when the time comes. Clever and quick party game. I had a lot of fun!

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One more BGG.CON post coming in a few days!



New to the Collection:
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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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BGG.CON Part 1! Some of my Most Anticipated Games!

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

BGG.CON has come and gone so quickly!

I played 26 games and 17 were new to me. The new location was lovely and spacious. Here are some random pics!


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I am starting BGG.CON's recap with some of my most anticipated games. First off we have Offshore. New to me!

In Offshore, you are trying to dig down at various drilling sites, pushing your luck to collect coins, oil, and gas. Cooperating with other players will allow you to go even farther. Careful placement of your oil rigs will give you connection bonuses at the end of the game. The more oil rigs you have, the more juicy spaces you have to sell your oil to. The player with the most money at the end of the game will win.

My favorite part when playing this game was trying to push my luck. When you open a dig site, you will be pull tiles from the bag. The more tiles you place, the more coins you will find and the more oil you will gather and the more gas (VP) you will find. If you bust, then those rewards will either be non-existent or greatly reduced.

Another interesting part is the cooperation aspect you have between players. When you team up with other players you will mutually benefit one another. For example, if Barb opens a dig site, she can invite me along and I would get to place my rig at that site. In exchange, she will get to use any of my technologies that I offer for the dig. I am generally not a semi-cooperative fan, because I often feel left out. But in Offshore, it is in everyone’s best interest to invite the person who is losing to join the dig, so I never felt left out.

In our 4 player game, I was trying hard to find the connections for the 2 point bonuses at the end of the game. Ultimately I had a ton of connections, but I never was able to dig in high-profit areas. I also never ended a dig with lots of rewards. I often busted (surprise surprise)! #mistakesweremade

So, it came to nobody’s surprise when I ended up losing this game with 65. Barb totally kicked butt and ended with 76, with Michael close behind at 73.

I have to say, it was super easy getting into this game. I think there are a lot of fun choices and it is definitely a game I would want to revisit!


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A game that was near the top of my list to play was Maracaibo. New to me!

In Maracaibo, players are the clock. During 4 rounds representing decades, players will move their ships along the paths and perform actions. Because a player can move up to 7 spaces, any given round can be over before you know it. The round end will trigger when a player reaches the end of the sailing track for that decade..

Maracaibo is an engine builder where you buy cards to improve your actions and upgrade your ship for better actions in order to gain victory points and to boost your influence with the different nations.

Learning this game was no joke. The rules aren't good and are ambiguous in places. We had to read and reread paragraphs many times to figure out what it was trying to say. That being said, once we got past the rules, it was easier to manage.

Michael and I got through the rules and played a couple of turns but had to leave to go to dinner. This was to our benefit since Nathan agreed to play with us the following day. We discovered that we were playing a major rule incorrectly, but again, the rulebook is very unclear.

Maracaibo shares a lot of similarities with other Pfister titles, like Great Western Trail and Mombasa, but Maracaibo stands on its own. I love the multi-use cards and the hard choices you have to make when deciding how far you want to move your ship. This game can also be played in campaign mode with different experiences each time.

In our 3 player game, we were all doing incredibly different strategies and all ended up very close in score. It was quite impressive. I went all-in for gaining influence with Spain and pushing those cubes. Nathan was helping me but also boosting his exploration track. Michael was all about exploration and building up a big end game score with cards and victory points.

Michael ended up winning 194 to my 187 and Nathan's 186.

I have to say, I wasn't sure about Maracaibo after wading through the rulebook the first time. Having now played it, I quite enjoyed my play, and everything seemed to work really well together. It is even better that there are so many paths to victory. I very much look forward to playing again and seeing what the legacy component has to offer.

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I was very much interested in learning the new Arkham Horror: Final Hour. New to me!

Final Hour offers a new Arkham Horror experience that plays out fairly quickly. Players work together to fight the baddies and find the clues. It is a deduction game to figure out the hidden symbols to stop the ritual. There is a neat card-playing mechanic where all of the cards have a good action and a less ideal action, but out of the 4 cards that are played, 2 will gain the good action and 2 will get the weaker action.

Michael, Derek P, and I played a 3 player game and we actually managed pretty well. We had pretty good control over our cards and didn't make Cthulhu all that mad. We ended up narrowing the symbols down to a possible 3. Instead of playing another round and possibly losing, we decided to take a shot at guessing the symbols. We contributed as many cards with those symbols as we could. Between the three of us, we didn't quite make it. Had it been a different combination of symbols, we would have had it.

Final Hour is a super-challenging game and we did the best we could! I had a great time trying to make it all work. I felt like we could have died at any moment in that game. Not knowing what Cthulhu was going to do each turn was a bit nerve wracking. I like that tension.

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I set out to find and play Aquatica. New to me!

Underwater games always pique my interest. It is fascinating to see what people imagine for the fantastic underwater creatures!

Aquatica is an engine-building card-driven game where you buy or conquer cities in order to gather bonuses and treasures. It is a race to meet different objectives and have the most points at the end of the game.

Michael and I played 2 players and we both enjoyed the card mechanic. Like most race games, I get unfocused and try to do too many things at once to optimize all possible actions. Michael ended up running away with this game and doubled my score.

I enjoyed what I was doing, but nothing felt new or exciting. Still, Aquatica is definitely a game I would want to play again. Solid gameplay and fun card management.

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I was super thrilled to find Last Bastion on the shelf when I went looking. New to me!

Once upon a time, I played Ghost Stories and lost. I remember really liking the game, but I hadn't played since. Last Bastion is a streamlined version of Ghost Stories. It is easy to dive into and start playing.

Michael and I played, and we had a rough go of it. Dice rolls were just not happening in our favor at all. I had a cool ability that let me shoot up to 2 monsters in my row or column, but I wasn't ever rolling well enough to make it happen. We were dead pretty soon after we started. I might have had 5 turns before we were done for. I mean we weren't even CLOSE to winning this game.

Man, I love a good challenge. We had a great time playing. I haven't played Ghost Stories enough to know if you should own both games, but I know I definitely want to play both Ghost Stories and Last Bastion again soon! I want to win!

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Much like I am with underwater themes, I am always captivated by cities in the sky. I was looking forward to trying out Skytopia: In the Circle of Time because it reminded me of a Miyasaki film. New to me!

Skytopia is an engine-building, dice-placement game where you gain buildings to your sky city in order to generate coins and points. Basically, take the card activations from Deus and add in the dice mechanic from Biosphere and you get Skytopia.

I like how you can set the dice to whatever dice face you want and that you get to activate the cards when you place your die on it. The card will only become yours when that value of die is the current hour (like in Biosphere when the dice are removed from the board). In Skytopia the dice are removed and the claimed card will be added to your city which will trigger all of the cards from that same colored column (like in Deus). Both of those mechanics work well for me.

I think Michael enjoyed his time playing too. He absolutely killed me. He was activating a lot of cards to get victory points and I was just getting a lot of money. It wasn't enough at the end of the game for me to have a comeback.

I like what this game is doing and I would happily play again. I think I liked this one more than Aquatica.


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I saw a cool looking prototype being played so I asked Ray from Parallel about it and he was happy to show me. Derek joined us and we both learned Astrolabe. New to me!

Astronomy is a pretty cool theme for a game. I definitely wanted to play because all of the star patterns are really stunning to look at.

Turns out, Astrolabe plays even better than it looks. In Astrolabe, you will draft dice to research parts of the sky, to gather stars, and to complete different studies. Each round you will draft 4 dice and take various actions to try and gain the most points. After 4 rounds the game will be over and the player who scores the most points will win!

The challenge lies with how well you optimize your actions and your upgrades to do as much as possible. I enjoyed how there were always different stars to be found. You have to position your labs wisely so you can claim the stars you need to complete the different studies. The more research you do, the better your gather actions will be. It all interlocks well. You will want to do it all but you really have to focus.

In our 3 player game, I was constantly thinking through all of my moves and what I needed to do to complete my goals. If other players hate drafted dice, I would have had a hard time scoring everything I wanted.

I decided to focus mostly on the Southern Hemisphere. I tried researching a bunch and getting a few labs down. I focused there since I had the different upgrades in those areas which made my actions better. I was feeling pretty confident and managed to get all of my upgrades completed, which gave me a 10 point bonus. I ended up winning with 140. Ray said it was the best score he had seen. He was in second place with 120 and Derek at 108.

Astrolabe is a pretty simple game to learn with straightforward rules. I can see this being a hit with any group. It will be hitting Kickstarter next year and will be one to check out for sure. This is one I will be wanting to play more of.


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I love how Rio Grande Games always has a room with a bunch of tables set up with all of their games on display to try out. I was definitely interested in trying out a quick 10-minute game called Butterfly. New to me!

Butterfly is a cute and simple set collection game, with some push-your-luck. On your turn, you will collect any tile directly in front, to the left, or to the right of the hedgehog.

At the start of the game, the options are plentiful. As the game goes on there are fewer choices to make, but nets will be revealed on the game board. If you pass over a net, you can draw a random tile from the bag to add to your collection.

There are more good tiles than bad tiles, but some of the tiles will score you negative points. I love randomness, so I would always pull a tile.

In our 4 player game, I ended up pulling some super lucky pulls with the net’s bonus pulls. One turn, I managed to grab 18 points by pulling a red butterfly 2x multiplier from the bag. On Michael’s turn, he placed the hedgehog where I was forced to take a -7 hornet tile since there were no other tiles to take. Another guy had slightly better luck than I did and ended up winning with 77 points. I was at 68 and Michael at 57.

I enjoyed playing this one. Not much to it, but I can see some strategy in which tiles you take and opportunities to make others take tiles you might not want. Very simple and definitely one for the family.

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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More from BGG.CON next week! Thanks for stopping by!




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Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
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Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:00 pm
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Tennessee Game Days Part 2!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312



Hia Everyone!

Reminder that I have a 2020 Calendar for sale: Learn More Here!


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I got to play a whole lot more during the Tennessee Game Days Extra Life event. Most games I ended up teaching.

I played a couple of games of Hadara. Since I got new promos, I was hoping to find experienced players so I could incorporate them into the base game.

No luck in finding experienced players, but I found a very enthusiastic gamer who really wanted to learn after I was already in a game of it.

The first game was a 4 player game and it moved along pretty quickly. I was running low on money all game and was not focused on anything in particular. I was just trying to not have my cards killed off from not having enough food. The winning score was 197, which was a pretty impressive first score. I was sitting in second with 170.

The second game was a 2 player game and she was very excited to play. She hadn't ever heard of the game but was attracted to it by the look of it and the quick summary I gave her.

This game, I was more focused on generating military and getting some early bonuses. I did end up winning with 160 to her 153 so it was close.

In general, I think I like this game with more players since you see more cards and get more opportunities to focus on a particular path. Really love this game and think it is one of the best of the year so far.

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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I was scouting the various tables to see what everyone was playing and I came across Shannon and his friend Derek learning Underwater Cities from the rules. I offered to teach and so I got to play it with them.

This is a game I find easy to teach and play. I don't mind the length because I am constantly thinking of my next play and planning out what I am going to do with the cards I was dealt.

In our play, I was just not finding any cards that worked in my favor. I would often take an action without also getting a card bonus to go along with it. This is not how you should play the game. Derek was finding a million combos all over the place and Shannon was building up an empire of red cities. I knew I would not be winning this game, even if my end game points were looking pretty promising. Turned out Shannon won with 98 points and I was JUST behind with 96. It was super close.

I always enjoy playing this and am very much looking forward to playing again with the new expansion coming from Rio Grande Games!

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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Both Shannon and Derek were interested in playing another quick game so I suggested Welkin. They hadn't heard of it but were willing to give it a go after I explained it was an interesting resource management game.

I had only played one time before, but the rules were easy enough to skim through and teach. They were blown away with the artwork, just as I was.

The market mechanic is still one of the best draws for me. I really enjoy how that works in this game. Shannon really enjoyed it and was immediately looking on Amazon to see how much it was going to cost him to pick up a copy after I told him mine wasn't for sale. Haha!

Since I was able to maintain a pretty steady stream of income all game, I managed to win with 46 points to their 38 and 28 scores. Hey, I am happy they both really enjoyed the time playing! I love teaching new games to people. So many new and interesting titles that just fly under the radar.

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312



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The game I most wanted to play was The Magnificent. Thankfully Shannon and Derek were interested in trying it out!

We had JUST enough time to play through the full game before Derek had to leave. I was impressed at how well Derek managed to do in his first game. He was performing some big shows and getting a ton of points. He ended up winning by a large margin. He had 180 to my second place score of 160. Shannon doesn't want to talk about his score. Ouch, we got crushed!

Seriously love this game, and the guys liked it as well. I am pretty sure Derek went out to buy it after that play. He was quite fond of it!

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From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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While waiting for Michael to show up, Shannon and I played a quick 2 player game of Atelier: The Painter's Studio.

The rules for Atelier are fairly simple. Shannon was interested in learning this one since he was the recipient of this title from the 2 player PIFF forum that we both follow. I was happy to pass it along to him and his family to enjoy, and even better that we got to play it.

I managed to find some major combos to generate tons of paint and cranked out the masterpieces almost instantly. This all happened because I never managed to roll any 4s. I kept placing guys down and creating majorities, but the cards all geared towards having majorities and totally helped me do everything else I needed to do.

I won with 41 points to Shannon's 21. But hey, now he knows how to play.

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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Before Shannon had to leave, he, Michael, and I played a quick game of Drop It. Hey, a game everyone knew! How about that!?

Drop It is always fun to play. There is something especially fun about dropping pieces in a container and hoping to score tons of points based on how it lands.

Michael dropped a circle and it landed perfectly on a square’s corner. It didn't fall left or right - it was balanced perfectly. I am never that lucky. He totally won with 41 points and I was sitting at 35. Not great scores, but we weren't using all of the pieces.

I have to say, I think I still like this game best at 2 players since you get to drop a lot more pieces! More dropping is more fun!

From gallery of punkin312


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The final game of the event was a 2 player game of Carpe Diem.

Carpe Diem is a game I have been eyeing on the shelf for a few weeks now. I’ve been wanting to teach Michael how to play, but I wasn’t sure he would enjoy it. It can be fairly abstract, but there is more to it.

I managed to collect a lot of bread tokens which helped me complete a number of different goals for big points. Michael just wasn't generating the right resources needed to complete those goals. He was getting a bunch of end game cards which helped boost his score a bit at the end, but it wasn't enough. I won with 112 to his 79. Fortunately, he still very much enjoyed the game while getting his butt kicked at the same time.

I look forward to playing again (and kicking butt again) soon!

From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


From gallery of punkin312


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New to the Collection:
Town Builder: Coevorden
Ducks in Tow






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.
Thank you.
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14 Comments
Wed Nov 27, 2019 12:00 pm
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