Games & Llamas

A blog about what we (Llama Dice) play and sometimes design.

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Week 10: Eye candy

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

This week will be an awesome one! Madrid (the city I live) will hold the first big convention in years called Interocio and will last the whole weekend. We'll be there signing and getting in touch with people that play our games... ah... we really need those vibes of "normal" conventions and times before COVID


Apart from that, Devir, the publisher from The Red Cathedral will make a party, and we cannot wait!! They will show Walkie Talkie to the audience for the very first time. We are really excited about it <3


Components
From gallery of israperrillo

From gallery of israperrillo


A publisher requested us a copy from "Super secret project that we are super excited to talk about, but we can't" and realized that we don't have enough meeples and cubes to build a new one... and that always means: Time to order stuff from Spielmaterial!! (even though I think we don't need so much excuses to order from Spielmaterial hahah)

Every time we "inventory" our components, we spend hours touching and marvelling with those shiny wooden pieces... for us, when we are at Spiel at the Spielmaterial's booth, it is like Willy Wonka but with game pieces.

Next week will arrive the order so will post an update <3


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Boonlake
From gallery of israperrillo


One of the highlights from Spiel last year and totally deserved! This game is another compendium of finest Pfister mechanics with some new twists and a really cool action selection mechanism.

Plus, every game that starts with a personal board filled with wooden pieces that eventually end on the main board, for me is a winner.

Need more plays (specially at 2 player count) to get a good idea about how the game can evolve

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Patchwork
From gallery of israperrillo


Sometimes we just want to play something quick to evade ourselves from the noise, and Patchwork is one of our favorite games from Uwe to do so. I'd love to try the other variants but I don't feel the necessity to buy them all. We'll stick to the first edition.

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Isis & Osiris
From gallery of israperrillo

And then something awesome happened. My sister-in-law and my nephew showed up at our place and he saw the games that we have been playing. Immediately he got really excited and wanted to play with me, so I pick this winner from Michael Schacht. We played twice and he loved it. I already played this one with young lings, and they always get it from the first move and enjoy it.

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Patchwork
From gallery of israperrillo

My nephew is more into destroying, yelling, sports and everything that has to do with not being sitting at a table thinking, but this time he really wanted to play Patchwork and this was magical.

He really got the mechanics and with a little help from me, he managed to do it pretty well! He wanted to play another one but it was late so, the next time, I'll have my quilt ready (and another more complex game to keep him trainig!)


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See you next week!
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Fri Mar 11, 2022 11:23 am
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Week 09: Nidabitokur

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

Phew! I made it through the week!



Bitoku
From gallery of israperrillo


Everything you read about this game is true. Is REALLY good!! If you look at the board, probably will think that it will be too complex for what it is but NO! Actually is pretty simple in rules terms but hides a lot of depth in its choices. Once you learn to read the iconography, you're good to go.

Sure thing it could be much easier with some of its mechanics getting simplified, but the mix between complexity and depth is excellent because everything is quite well thought in its environment (like, if you simplify this thing, this other action will be weaker and so). So it's just about gaming tastes.

We know German for so long and Shei and I cannot be more happy seeing one of his designs killing it so hard!!

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High Score
From gallery of israperrillo


A couple of friends visited us to spend the weekend with us, and that meant playing a lot of games! But as I promised myself, I'll only talk about some of them that I want to talk about.

Normally, when we are at Spiel, we don't try the games we buy because we don't have time for that, we just buy and then try it at the apartment or at home. But we played this standing up at Kosmos's booth (surrounded by, like, 10 tables of people playing The Red Cathedral <3) and right after playing it, we bought it.

Every time I can pull this game out of the shelf, I do. I love the silly randomness of this game and the variability the cards gave it to it.

For Shei and I, High Score was a Can't Stop killer. Try it if you can!

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Nidavellir
From gallery of israperrillo


One of the finest surprises of 2021 was this one. I just love the selection mechanism with the coins (I bet those coins were cards in the original prototype!) and how the cards score.

We bought the expansion but we didn't try it yet. The next time we'll use it because I heard some good things about it.

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See you next week!!
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Fri Mar 4, 2022 9:52 am
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Week 08: Love is an abstract concept

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

Another week of light gaming, but a lot of heavy prototyping. Sometimes I'd love to have both but as always, we have to choose

Don't feel that I want to write right now, but I have to. I'm decided to get this done, at least for a whole year!


DVONN
From gallery of israperrillo

On Saint Valentine's Day, we think that the best sign of love is destroying each other on a board, and there isn't a better battlefield for that than the abstract games.

This game left me a bittersweet memory. We purchased this game in a flash sale during the lockdown, when the COVID was hitting really hard on Spain, and still we have to wait like 3 more months to end the lockdown. We played this and more games from the project GIPF during these days to escape the situation. I love them, but will always remind in my memories the days during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the only thing that I dislike (but I do understand) is the random setup. I know that it shouldn't be that random but honestly, is the way how the game flows that love from it.
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YINSH
From gallery of israperrillo

And the winner from the project GIPF is this one. It has tension, depth... it has the kinda random setup placing the circles like DVONN but you only have to place some of them (not the entire piece set)

That Reversi move of flipping to the other color -all- the pieces placed in the board... I love it!

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Abalone
From gallery of israperrillo

Our second abstract game ever and probably our favorite. We went to plays of 10/15' to plays of 40 minutes super tense! It's amazing how deep this game can be and how similar (in terms of setting traps to the opponent) can be to chess.

One friend of us gave us the travel version of it, and now NOW finally we purchased the big one. Ooooh what a nice feeling pushing those big marbles <3

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Abandon All Artichokes
From gallery of israperrillo

I really like this small game about deck-destruction and specially the first turn when you teach this to new people: The faces they put and the dialogue it happens when you say: "Draw 5 cards" - "But they're are all artichokes!" - "Just draw 5" -"But it has any sense!!!2 -"JUST DRAW 5 YOU'LL SEE" Love it!!

This is a really clever game and an amazing idea.

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Ellie
From gallery of israperrillo

From gallery of israperrillo


And now, why not, an Ellie update. She's doing fine and the vet told us that she's healthy. And also, they're not besties (yet) but Grunchie accepted Ellie and Ellie accepted Grunchie. They don't fight (yet) so we can call it a win. She still hide and run away from us but when there's food around... she comes

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See you next week!!
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Thu Feb 24, 2022 11:33 pm
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Week 07: Newton Expedition

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

I know that this will sound like the groundhog day, but we're still working our asses to the bone to get the Expansion for Red Cathedral finished, and other projects done for Spiel and as you know, all the time we spend "working" we don't spend it "playing".

But we play some interesting things!


Flatiron
From gallery of israperrillo


Now we're just playing for the sake of playing. The final touches suited very well to the game and I think that we can leave the game in Publisher's hands

Meanwhile, when they're with production stuff, we'll develop the solo mode that any eurogame should include nowadays

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Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition
From gallery of israperrillo


Instaloved the game! I might like this one more than Race For The Galaxy, because, you know, that was a blatant copy of the main mechanism of that game. It would be nice a side note in the rule book or something. It's just too blatant.

Probably this will be a killer for RftG for me because I tend to love more the resource management rather than hand management, and the iconography, far from being perfect, it's easier to remember and manage than the other one.

But probably will play again RftG and will keep both because despite not wanting to play RftG due to the iconography and all the laziness that gives me the fact that I should re-learn the game again, it's a superb game.

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Newton
From gallery of israperrillo


One of my favorites Italian games out there that didn't have the buzz it deserved (at least in Spain). When you can spot a lot of same pieces in games from these designers interchanged between games, this stands out because the only thing that I can recall that is similar in earlier games, is the move when you can pay 1 coin to perform your action 1 point stronger like in Grand Austria Hotel or Golem.

This one won't leave my collection, never! Waiting for my copy of Darwin's Journey with a lot of hype!!

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More secret prototypes
From gallery of israperrillo


That's it, this is the only picture I can take without giving too many details. We're testing physically and on TTS, and it is getting better in every game.

Cannot wait to say more about it <3

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Tholos
From gallery of israperrillo


And we closed the week playing this little abstract game that was really really good! Not sure how many games can stand if you play regularly with the same person but it has some very interesting ideas! Plus, the table presence is outstanding!

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Tue Feb 15, 2022 10:00 am
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Week 06: Beyond the Tamany Hall

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone!

What a rough week (and this week too!). Too many work, too many prototypes, too many components revisions for the Red Cathedral expansion... oof!

And 3 news that make us very proud and very touched about what's happening to us and to our games lately:

The Red Cathedral reached the TOP 300 here in BGG
From gallery of israperrillo


We received our designer copies from other countries (and still pending some countries yet! It's unbelievable)



Shinkansen: Zero Kei hits the US market and Eric Martin published our designer's diary for the game. What a ride it was <3


Aaaand also the Italian copy from Shinkansen: Zero Kei arrived too!!


The ones that read this blog, before The Red Cathedral and stuff, knows how much this means to us.


So let's talk about the games we managed to play with friends!



Tammany Hall
From gallery of israperrillo

My friend asked me to read the rulebook for this edition and first I was worried about the complexity (because it looked like complex with all the text and that many wooden pieces) but it turned out that it was a pretty straightforward game, but it felt too long.

We played with 5 players and you can feel that the game has some years (despite a flawless production from Pandasaurus) because... I don't know, some decisions felt kinda random (probably due to inexperience) and as the board got crowded, it was difficult to see what's going on in each district.

Nevertheless, the mechanic of assign offices chosen by the mayor was suuuuper fun. Loved that idea.

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Beyond the Sun
From gallery of israperrillo


Finally I managed to play this spreadsheet game from space. I liked it very much but I don't know... it didn't click to me. The turns are really fast and a 3 player game only took us one hour and a half. And also has a really cool mechanism to gather resources and cool combos discovering the universe.

Maybe is because it has a space theme and is something that I tend to not like.

Besides, the feeling of playing a prototype is really present in those non-illustrated boards and cards. Everything was so white!

Overall, it will please anyone that likes heavy-but-not-that-heavy eurogames

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Herd Mentality
From gallery of israperrillo

To me, the hit of the afternoon session. We had truly good laughs playing this one. It's just another guess the word and try to match anyone (rather than not matching) but I don't know, these games are always fun and generates funny situations.

Plus, foam angry cow!!

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Blockbuster
From gallery of israperrillo

What a cool production for an elder millennial like me! All the memories it brings for renting VHS and stuff was very charming.

But the game itself is just "the movies games" with some cool twists that, in the end, has the sames flaws like Pictionary or Trivia: The one that knows more about movies or has a better memory remembering movie lines or scenes, will win and the ones that not, will get frustrated (like me)

If you and your friends are into movies, this party game is a winner!

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Don't L.L.A.M.A. Dice
From gallery of israperrillo

For me, the biggest deception of the day

A couple of years ago, we made a marvellous mistake playing L.L.A.M.A. wrong, that made the game super fun, and we came up posting in BGG "our" variant https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2323973/alpaca-variant

That happy mistake prevents the game for being "automatic" and added a new dimension to it.

And that's not happening in this game. It is automatic and random. Just roll the dice and see if something matches. If you quit, you just quit and see how everyone is playing.

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See you next week!
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Fri Feb 11, 2022 8:47 am
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Week 05: Kitty of the West -Kingdom

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

Another week of almost no gaming because we're deeply working into three things:
* The Red Cathedral's expansion rule book and components proofreadings
* Flatiron from Ludonova final development
* The supersecret project we cannot tell anything about it: Still in progress and going back to the bench after an awful playtest.

So, as many of you know, our gaming time gets shrunk when we have plenty of design stuff to do. That's wonderful, but sometimes is frustrating. But deadlines are deadlines!

Since I have this post ready on Tuesday, why not post it right away?

Paladins of the West Kingdom
From gallery of israperrillo


We have the 3 games from the "West Kingdom" series of Garphill Games and we tried to play all them 3 this week but, you know, stuff happens.

This is still my favorite game from them because despite not having too much interaction, the puzzle that offers every round, pleases all my gaming tastes. This game is fantastic and next week the expansion will finally be on sale in Spain... and I already preorder our copy!

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Viscounts of the West Kingdom
From gallery of israperrillo


As you can see, we were ready to accomplish the incredibly low-bar challenge about playing these two and Architects of the West kingdom, but because of the last part of this post, we could achieve it.

I really love how the mechanics in Viscounts are interwoven and how engaging is, but my heart always will be with Paladins.

The mechanic from the castle is superb!

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Glass Road
From gallery of israperrillo


We traded our German copy many years ago and now, with the new Spanish edition, we wanted to give it a new try. And I loved it, even thought I already knew that 2 player is not its best player count. I really want to play t with more people.

I think that the new game from Uwe Oranienburger Kanal has the super cool mechanic from the wheels and oh boy, I'm really willing to give it all my money to Uwe again!

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Flatiron
From gallery of israperrillo

We are in the final steps of the development, balancing the cards and adding some few changes that suits better to the design... to make it more polished (even though it is already polished) but had some minor issues that turned into a couple of mechanics that suits it very well.

We cannot wait to see it published!!

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And now something totally different.

I think that Grunchie (our cat) popped in this blog time to time. He is 10 years old and after thinking about 2 years what to do, we finally decided to adopt a new kitty from a cat shelter to give him (and us) more joyful company.

So, BGG, this is Ellie <3
From gallery of israperrillo
From gallery of israperrillo


She got hit by a car and stabbed with a spike or something in the bely when the people from the shelter found her in the cold. Now, with half ear and a fractured tail after a couple of surgeries, is at our home now. She's a survivor and a fighter, so that's why we called her Ellie because of the main character from 'The Last of Us' video games.

She still hisses us when we try to lift her up (but as soon as we do, she snugs in your lap). At least, 4 days later, she does not try to attack us like the first day. But whenever she wants all the love we have for her, we'll be ready <3

See you next week!
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Tue Feb 1, 2022 2:50 pm
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Week 04 - Tile Capital

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

How about that, huh? First month complete! I think that it was a good thing just to pick some games to talk about, instead of micro reviewing ALL the games we play in the week.

Nevertheless, it is sometimes hard to find the time to write this tiny bits of text (specially when English is not your mother language) but I think that I can keep up the pace!

So let's see what we played last week!

Travel Carcassonne
From gallery of israperrillo

We do not play too much Carcassonne during the year (it is a game more like to Christmas or travels) but the bag of the travel version was staring to us while getting coffee in the afternoon so... we had to play it!

If you love Carcassonne as much as we do, I recommend you to get a travel copy somewhere (can be hard to find, honestly) because it's super cute and convenient!


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NMBR 9
From gallery of israperrillo

One of my all-time favorites is this game. I played it very often before the lockdown and was a routine playing it during the lockdown every day as a mental-stabilizer.

I love this game so, so much that I could bring it to a desert island.


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Super secret project that we are super excited to talk about but we can't
From gallery of israperrillo


Yes, we have been working on this game for a year or so. This game had raised our imposter syndrome to a point that we thought that we are a fraud, and we don't know anything about designing games. To the point of thinking that The Red Cathedral was a lucky draw, and we won't design anything remotely good as it.

I'll write a post about it when this projects come to light (because it will) about success, deception and imposter syndrome levels that almost made us to quit. Seriously, despite having a huge success with The Red Cathedral we thought that we cannot design anything.

And I'm not afraid of showing weakness, because... we have sometimes (well, almost all the time) a low self-confidence in this.

By the time I took this picture, I thought that this games was ready to print, but after two more playtesting is again in the stress bench because one strategy was really broken

Playtesting is like going to the dentist: You know it's going to hurt you, but it's a necessary evil.


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A prototype about mushrooms
From gallery of israperrillo

We played a prototype from one of our designer friends that will publish two games with Primigenio (Ediciones Primigenio). He will publish a small card eurogame that will be published at the same time as Flowar (hopefully by this Spiel)

The game was about mushrooms and how they reproduce and stuff. He changed completely its core mechanism, and it worked kinda good. It didn't work perfectly, but he's near to get a sweet point.

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Llamaland
From gallery of israperrillo


Of course, we have it. Of course, we love it! For me, this is way better than Bärenpark and Gingerbread House. The variable score mechanism really gets me!
The only two bad things that I have to say about it are: 1) I'm not sure about its replayability, since all the games we played were joyful but more or less the same. 2) We didn't design it

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LUNA Capital
From gallery of israperrillo

One of the coolest mechanism I saw in the last Spiel was this tile+card draft mechanism. I love Luna Capital!!

The thing is, that evolution of drafting 1 card + 1 tile, then +2 tiles etc. etc. is amazing.

Maybe the scoring mechanism is a little bit confusing in the first plays, but as soon as you internalize what gives you how many points, it's fantastic.

And also, with two players (and specially with us, that we play a game of Azul in about, 12-15 minutes) it gets played under 20 minutes and that's folks... that's a win-win! Good game - Short playtime!

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Wed Jan 26, 2022 12:02 pm
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Week 03 - The Castles of Prototyping

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

Shei and I forced us to play something on Sunday just to have something to write today

When all the projects you have ongoing wakes up at the same time, all of your "play time" turns into "work time". But this is not a complaint, this is a blessing <3

So let's see what we played this week!



Flatiron
From gallery of israperrillo

Actually, despite being working in a ton of new stuff such the The Red Cathedral expansion, or our new big game for 2023, this is the only image I'm allowed to post: The TTS mod for Flatiron.

Still getting better and better with the final touches. We already know some candidates for the artwork and we cannot be more excited!! <3
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The Castles of Burgundy
From gallery of israperrillo

Since we bought the special edition, we haven't touched the old one. I don't know, the artwork sin't great but it isn't in the old version so... Who cares? Having all the miniexpansions at once is a great thing, and the thickness of the tiles pays off.

But we're not culling the old one because, you know, the feels (It was our first big euro played ever and is also our favorite game ever).
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K3
From gallery of israperrillo

One abstract game that we snagged from Helvetiq's booth at Spiel. The game could last 1 minute or 15, actually (if you didn't plan more or less careful). Feels random sometimes at planning (you have to build your mountain first, and then de-build it to select a stone to place in the middle) but with more plays does not seem that random.

Nice abstract game to play while getting coffee. And it takes about 10 minutes to play, so the randomness thing is nothing
---------------
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Wed Jan 19, 2022 9:48 am
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Week 02 - Underwater Kahunas

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everybody!

Second week in a row, let's see how it goes! I definitely played a lot more than this batch of games, but as I promise to myself, I'll only talk about some of them that I wanted to say something


Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula
From gallery of israperrillo

I liked a lot some mechanics of this game and the iconography wasn't that bad as I was warned, but no, I don't need this level of complexity in a game to enjoy the hobby. Too convoluted and rules that sometimes apply and sometimes don't... I don't know, this game seems to appeal to a lot of people but definitely, this game is not for me.
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Kahuna
From gallery of israperrillo

I played this a lot on the iPad because we had it in our collection some time ago and we traded because Shei didn't like it. We bought it again at Spiel and finally hit the table. I like this game, but I feel that sometimes luck has too much to say. Another thing that happened to me in the digital version and in this one is, if a player is losing, it will force they play extremely well to catch up.

It is just a feeling because I did not play as many plays as needed to say that this will always happen.

Overall, I like it very much!
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Cascadia
From gallery of israperrillo

Despite having magenta desert salmons and spending as much time replenishing the display as playing, I love this game. I cannot tell too much about it because -everybody- has played or owned it. We have already played all the cards and now we're starting to mix sets!
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Underwater Cities & Underwater Cities: New Discoveries
From gallery of israperrillo

Finally, hit the table the expansion of one of our favorite games! And Whoah! That's a lot to swallow with just a few tweaks of the original rules.

The elimination of one entire round thanks to the starting variant made me love this game even more. And the Museum module was superb! (Although I think that is not needed in this game honestly)

All the new agents seems so broken but in a good way. Won't play again without it.
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Azul: Queen's Garden
From gallery of israperrillo

If you have to keep only 2 'azul', I'd pick the original one and this one. I liked the Summer Pavilion, but it was just too similar to the original one. This one has some twists that give Azul a "Burgundy" feel that suit it very well.

Glad I pick one at Spiel because in Spain is currently hard to find (it will be wide available with the time for sure)
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Flatiron
From gallery of israperrillo

Now some shameless self-promotion about our upcoming game Flatiron (the iconic building from New York). A 2 player euro game in the fancy of 1987 Channel Tunnel or Targi that will be published by Ludonova by Spiel 22. It is in its final development stage and probably won't differ anything from the final version.

We're really excited about how it is going to look the version with the final artwork!!
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Karekare
From gallery of israperrillo

Aonther game crossed out from our pile-of-shame. I loved the simplicity of the rules and the possibilities it brings in the gameplay, although I think that 2 player is not its best player count. It will shine at 4, probably.

I don't know why this game didn't have more attention but is a common thing of the hobby. Sometimes good games does not have the buzz they deserve.
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Alice's Garden
From gallery of israperrillo

I played this game a lot and still amazed about the draft mechanism! Nevertheless, it was the first time that I played with more than 2 and two bags got empty too soon in the game... and that was a bummer. Love this game, but I won't play it with more than 2 (maybe 3)
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Savannah Park
From gallery of israperrillo

And I closed the week with a new game in the category: A friend's game (a game that you won't own because you're not going to play it with your partner, but you're always up for a play at anytime)

Love the simplicity, love the mechanism, not sure about the replayability but... for a friend's game, that is not a problem.

See you next week!
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Wed Jan 12, 2022 8:21 am
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Week 01 - Hab & Barrage

Isra C.
Spain
Valdemoro, Madrid
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Alright, let's do it!

In the very first two days of 2022, Shei and I managed to play a lot of board games in that weekend.

When I did the weekly logs, I commented EVERY game I tried, but eventually that caused the ending of that posts because I couldn't keep up the pace. So I decided only to talk about the games that I really want to talk about, so... let's start!


Travel Carcassonne
From gallery of israperrillo


Every NYE (or the day after) we play a game of Carcassonne (travel or not) because we have fond memories with that one. This year, instead of playing it in the night of 31st, we played right after having breakfast. I think that Carcassonne is one of the games I can play everyday

Barrage & Barrage: The Leeghwater Project
From gallery of israperrillo


Scrolling through the BGStats app, we saw that the last time we played Barrage was in September 2020, so we decided to fix that. One of the best Euros of the lasts years, even though it's not that good for a 2 player game. The only thing (apart from the aesthetics that don't appeal to me) that I don't like, is the snowballing effect I had in every game I played of it. But still, is really enjoyable to play and is a keeper!

PARKS
From gallery of israperrillo


We spent a whole day with the people of Analisis Paralisis and we played a ton of games!!

One of the highlights is that I finally played the Spanish version of Parks, and I really liked it. No for a €50 price point, for sure (and that's the reason why it's not in our collection). The illustrations are just amazing. I could frame many cards of the game because they're outstanding!


Living Forest
From gallery of israperrillo


I played Living Forest expecting nothing, honestly. I just wanted to play because I heard some good comments about it from Analisis Paralisis and colored me intrigued. Turns out that is a great race game! Different ways to trigger the endgame, despite not being a fan of push your luck mechanisms. Would choose this instead of Port Royal (not saying that I don't like PR, but they have the same mechanism).

Savannah Park
From gallery of israperrillo


I'm a sucker for K&K games and tend to like everything from them... and I did. Not sure about the replayability of this one but is a really sweet puzzle. And very original too! I don't know how this people can keep designing these great games.

Hab & Gut
From gallery of israperrillo


And finally, we played our coolest finding in the Spiel Mathtrade: A shrink-wrapped copy of Hab & Gut!! And this time I loved it. I played Hab & Gut 3 years ago, and I disliked too much the rule of charity, but this time, with that rule in mind the whole game, it was super enjoyable (my friends still remind me about my rant). Not sure if it should have any last player compensation, but it's a quick light game so... no problem.
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Tue Jan 4, 2022 10:59 am
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