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Strange Synergy (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Strange Synergy

A little while back I worked out a trade for this game. It was not that I necessarily was looking to acquire it, but I had a game with low trade value so I swapped it for another game with low trade value. It worked because it was all no-ship. This game did provide some level of interest because I liked the concept of being able to customize different fighters each game. However, I also knew that I was getting a game that by it BGG ratings may have some issues. So did the game end up finding synergy with our likes in games or is it just strange?

Game Overview
In this game each player has a team of three warriors. Each player is also dealt nine power cards. These cards come in a wide variety of categories. Some provide special attacks, others impact movement, several are related to defense, and then some provide unique abilities.

Players will look through the cards dealt to them and then assign them in any combination of three abilities. Once this is done the game will begin. Each player will have the objective to capture one of the opposing player's flags. On a player's turn they can activate each of their warriors.

A warrior can move and attack on their turn in any order or they can just move or just attack. A normal move is two spaces (not diagonal). A normal attack is adjacent only and it resolved by rolling a die. The attack hits on a four plus, and deals one damage. Each warrior has six health. Of course, many cards change the movement, type of attacks, or amount of health.

Once a player has finished with all of their warriors then it is the next player's turn. The game continues until one player wins by capturing their goal flag while still processing their own or is the last team left standing.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: There can be some potential balance issues as some cards are just better than others. For instance one card provides +5 health while another provides +15. It is possible for one person to get an objectionably better or worse draw then other players.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like the customization, but the base system is fairly lackluster.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme is fine, but the lackluster components really pull down the thematic experience.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is forgettable.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: I suppose there is a lot to explore with the cards and it is unlikely the same combinations will ever come up twice.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: They did include a lot in the box to explore if one were so inclined.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The game could potentially be extremely slow going.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has the serious potential to really get drawn out.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: I do like the combination of combing the cards each game to make unique warriors but the overall experience is fairly lackluster.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I did not find this game to be all that fun.

Final Score

54/100

We both like the customization option that this game offers, but we find the overall game to just being kind of dull.
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:56 am
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End of the month recap

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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From gallery of SeanXor

Most Played Game This Month: Race for the Galaxy (15 plays)
Number of New to Me Games Played This Month: 4
Best New to Me Game: MiG Alley: Air War Over Korea 1951

Best Gaming Moment of the Month
1. September 8th was Star Trek day, and out of nowhere my wife asked to play Federation Commander. Her only stipulation is it had to not take very long. I gave her a Klingon police ship and tried to outrun her with a small Pirate ship. I did not and she won.

2. Miniature Market put a set of Star Wars Destiny on clearance. It just happened to be a set that we had previously skipped. We got a booster box along with two of the draft sets released at the same time that which we also did not have. We spent a night doing a draft and playing against each other.

3. Back in August I got the Baker Street Irregular box for Consulting Detective. This month my son and I played the first episode. For the first time ever (and honestly probably last) we beat Sherlock Holmes with a score of 105.
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Fri Oct 2, 2020 4:00 am
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Bump in the Night (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Bump in the Night

Earlier this year through various means we acquired four different Twilight Creations games that we had not previously played. This was our final one to get to. So far we have liked two of the games and then really disliked the other. So did we bump into a good game with this one or should it just fade into the night?

Game Overview
In this game players take control of a legion of ghosts and monsters seeking to scare teenagers out of a haunted house. To set up the game board is constructed by putting together the six tiles to create the haunted house. Each tile is double sided so there are multiple configurations. Teen minis are also seeded onto the board and each player begins with a goblin on the board.

On a player's turn they go through the following steps. First they may lock or unlock one door. All doors start unlocked, but if a door is locked most minis then can not move through that door. Next a player may place one of their pieces, move on of their pieces or replace another player's piece with theirs. To do this though they must give up a card.

The next phase of the game is scaring, which is how players score points. If a player has a ghost/monster in a room with teens they can initiate a scare. Each type of ghost/monster has a scare value and some rooms also contribute to that scare value. This scare value is calculated and that is how many rooms the teens will move. There is a specific order that teens will move though. For instance they will go to a room without ghost and monsters before entering one with them, and they have to move in such a way as not to double back.

As they move they might end up entering rooms with other scary minis in them and if they do their fright level goes up, if the ghost belongs to another player it increases even more. If a teens fright level gets to five then they are removed and count as a point. If a teen is driven out a door and leaves the house that also scores a point. If another player ends up contributing to a scare they get to draw a card.

After a potential scare the player can then move any one of their pieces or any teen piece. Players also have cards that they can play for various effects when it is appropriate. The first player to get five points wins the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is an interesting melding of thematic game play and abstract game play. A lot of elements like unique minis, special ability cards, and a modular board come from the thematic games side of things. However, the actual play of this game feels more like an abstract. There is a lot of planning, thinking multiple moves ahead, and positioning to be in a better spot than opponents.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I really dislike how much this game requires planning ahead and I especially dislike that an opponent can easily mess with plans I have been working on for a couple of turns.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This is a fairly unique theme that is delivered well. In typical Twilight Creations fashion some corners were cut (like card quality) to provide for nice miniatures that help deliver the theme.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I feel like the haunted house theme gets lost in the mechanisms.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: There is some variety in the set up, but it does feel like the experience might begin to feel repetitive.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: One play of the game takes too long, so I am not sure why I would want to do it again.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This is an intentionally methodical game, and the pace kind of reflects that. It is not bad, but it does kind of feel it should move a little faster than it does.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game moves too slow. Turn to turn there is a lot of set up for potentially no real pay off.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is probably a weak seven for me. Personally, I think it is OK but I also feel like that might be just me. I do think for people who like methodical games that require a lot of planning and maneuvering this game is a real hidden gem.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is very much not for me. I did not find it fun.

Final Score

51/100

If my wife felt similarly to this game as I did, then this is a game we would probably keep. It would not get played a whole lot, but it is different from a lot of other games. However, our opinions diverged a lot on this one. It is not a keeper for us.
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Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:55 pm
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Buy Low Sell High (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Buy Low Sell High

In the Spring when we attended a local convention someone was giving this game away. We will play anything, so we took it. The designer is Reiner Knizia who can be a bit hit and miss for us. We got this game for low, but does it deliver a high?

Game Overview
In this game players are seeking to buy stock low and sell it high for a profit. There are three types of stocks: oil, technology, and commercial goods. These stocks are represented by plastic pieces that are placed on tracks.

On a player's turn they may buy or sell one of each different sock or buy or sell no more than two of one type of stock. When a stock is bought, the plastic piece is removed from the track and the player subtracts from their money/points equal to the value under the piece removed. When a stock is sold the plastic piece is placed on the lowest available spot on the appropriate track. The player then gets money/points equal to the spot covered.

After buying or selling stocks players will play a card. These cards will be bear or bull market cards that will eventually adjust the stock tracks. They could also pay dividends or even levy fines. When cards are played to fill the appropriate areas the trading year comes to an end. Most of the cards are then resolved and the stock tracks are adjusted.

The game is played for three trading years and then the player with the most money is the winner.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: There is a sense of speculation to the mechanisms of the game. The mechanisms work but they are not all that exciting

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Mechanically this game all works but it feels dry and procedural.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: The theme is right in the game's title. It provides a way to attempt to buy low and sell high in a no frills way.

Her Rating:
Her Comments:The theme is there but it is as exciting as watching the stock ticker on a business news network.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: While different stocks might be hot from game to game the base experience is not going to change a lot.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game does not offer much in variety to give a draw to come back to.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: I like the three trading year pacing of this game. It feels like the right length for the game to develop, and the pacing of quick turns works well.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This is the best part of the game it keeps going at a good pace.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is competent and it works, but it is kind of bland.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I am good not playing this game again. It works but it is dull and boring.

Final Score

58/100

The Economics teacher at the local high school lives just down the street from me, so I will likely pass this game on to him to see if he might get some of use out of it. It teaches sound economic strategy, we just did not find that to make for a game we were excited to play.
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Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:26 am
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It was a dark and stormy night around the gaming table

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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It seems in the past couple of years there has been a rise in games that tell a story. The contiued popularity of legacy games and the fact that even even euro style games now come with campaigns so there is clearly an increased focus on narrative in gaming.

I like narrative in games. What I really like though are games that just do not tell stories, they create stories. For instance a game like Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective or Charterstone tell a story. However,those are stories that have already been written. While the players may have some agency the story has largely been written and it is just waiting for the players to discover it.

What I really like are games that create stories. I like it when a narrative emerges out of the game organically. Experiencing a story is fine, but creating a story is what I really find fun and engaging.

These are my favorite games that create a story, presented in descending order for dramatic effect.

10. The Pursuit of Happiness
This game is in the tenth spot because it is the game on the list I have the least experience with. I have only played it once a few years ago, but the game made quite the impression. This game creates a story because choices made in the game create a snap-shot of a life that was hopefully well lived. I think it is impossible to play this game and not create an internal narrative about the life of the person in the game.

9. Untold: Adventures Await
Board Game: Untold: Adventures Await

There are a lot of games where the point of the game is to actually create a story. I have played a couple of them, and one of the problems is the story as a cohesive narrative tends to break down at some point (looking at you Aye, Dark Overlord!). This game does a great job at providing the scaffolding for creating a story. Yes, it might get goofy by the end but thanks to the game providing a five act structure the story will at least have a complete beginning, middle, and end.

8. Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
I have played a decent amount of this game with a variety of groups. One of the things that tends to happen in this game is the group creates a narrative of how the murder took place. The forensic investigator tries to find clues that tie to the murder weapon or evidence, and as they do the group naturally creates the narrative that shows these connections. This is not naturally a story telling game, but every time I have played a story has emerged.

7. Werewolf
I will admit that this is probably on me more than anything. This game can be played where the narrator is just the person who observes and reports on the most basic facts of the game. I am sure a werewolf purist will claim that this the best way to play, but not for me. I have played hundreds of games of werewolf (though for over a decade I knew the game as Mafia), and I have nearly always been the narrator. In being the narrator I like to tell a story, I like to create suspense about who died, and I like to add some fluff. It is fun when I do this and the group then runs with it. For instance, I might mention there was a loud thunderstorm which is why no one heard the attack during the night. One of the accused people might then offer up, they are afraid of loud storms so they would have been too scared to be out. Therefore they can not be the killer.

6. Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game

I have played a lot of Zombie games, and this game probably does the best at creating a Zombie story. I have experienced that this game can fall flat, but those plays have been far and few between. Generally this game creates the framework for a zombie movie. Players have to fill in the details with their own imaginations but the cards and game play provide enough to bring it all together.

5. In Her Majesty's Name: Steampunk Skirmish Wargaming Rules
There are several miniatures rule sets that provide the ability for story telling to emerge. In order for the narrative to emerge it does require the players to put some work in with the development of factions. These fairly easy playing rules really emphasize cinematic play, and the book provides a deep pool to draw from. These miniatures rules are intentionally a bit of a sandbox, which is an invitation to create stories.

4. Battlestations: Second Edition
A lot of scenario based games are narrative heavy, but in a lot of those the narrative is somewhat scripted. Here it is a bit more open-ended. The fact that this game has a character progression system where characters level up from game to game helps create the feel of the adventures (or more accurately mis-adventures) of a starship crew.

3. Star Wars: Rebellion
Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion

It is not uncommon to hear this game referred to as "Star Wars in a box." I think it functions more like an alternate history Star Wars generator. Every play creates a Star Wars "What-if" story. In one game Leia might be the one trained to be the Jedi, in another Chewbacca might be the the continual thorn in Darth Vader's side, in another the rebels might heroically blow up the Death Star above Mon Cala, and in another the Death Star manages to destroy the rebel base.

2. A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game
This game works a lot like Last Night on Earth where the highly thematic random cards can be linked together to create a cohesive narrative. This game just naturally creates a colonial era pulp horror story every time. Taking notes of a game play can easily be converted into a story. In fact, I did that once: An excerpt from "The Complete History of the Sanctum of the Moebius Malus.

1. Face To The Mat
Board Game: Face To The Mat

This uses the card and chart formula found in sports simulation games and applies it to sports entertainment and it works so well. When combined with booking and decisions from the player the random input from the game creates engaging wrestling stories. I have played this game almost fifty times this year alone, and the game continues to generate new storylines, new feuds, and new surprises. For me this game organically creates an ongoing narrative which I am invested in more than any other game.
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Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:33 am
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Romans Go Home (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Romans Go Home!

We picked this game up when we placed a game order because it was on sale and it helped push us over the free shipping threshold. The reason why this game stuck out is because of the designer. We have played a few games by him that we have really liked, so we figured this game was worth giving a shot. So is this a game that was worth bringing home?

Game Overview
In this game players play a Caledonian tribe attacking Hadrian's wall. The game is played over three rounds. Each round six tower cards are set out. Most of these cards have positive point values, but legion towers are negative points. Each player will draw seven cards and choose one to discard. Players will then assign their cards to the towers. In a two player game there is an optional variant where cards for a non-playing color are played randomly.

Starting at the left most column all of the cards are turned over. Every card has a special ability and when the cards are flipped these abilities are resolved. Once the dust clears a player adds up all of their cards in play. The player with the highest strength will win the leftmost fort. The winning player will then discard all of their face up cards. If there is a tie then no one wins a fort and it continues to the next column.

The players with the most points wins at the end of the third round. A player can also win immediately if they collect three legion forts.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: I do not want to rule out that it is just me not being able to figure it out, but it feels like this game is a bit of a crap-shoot. It is really hard to figure out how things are going to play out and plan accordingly. It all comes across a bit like a chaotic mess.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I misunderstood the rules the first round of the first game and played my cards randomly. That was honestly the best I did at any point in this game, and that speaks to how the randomness of this game is just not good.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: It is a light game with a light theme so I guess it works, but the theme's implementation is not terribly engaging.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The theme is barely there and I am not big on the cartoony implementation.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game feels so random that there is little pay-off to the end game. This means there is very little draw to return to this game again and again.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: For me the fun curve of this game is too flat to warrant any replays.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: The game plays fast, but the pacing is off. Especially with more players, every time cards are flipped it takes time to untangle and apply the abilities.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game plays quick but it is dull and feels monotonous.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This is a random game along the lines of something like We Didn't Play Test this at all, Killer Bunnies, Fluxx, or Munchkin. This game might play faster but it lacks any of the charm similar games have. I did not care for this one.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I found this game excessively boring and not any fun.

Final Score

42/100

This game did not connect with us at all. Sometimes a game is on sale for a good reason I guess.
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Wed Sep 9, 2020 4:49 am
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Command & Colors: Medieval

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Commands & Colors: Medieval

Memoir '44 is one of my absolute favorite games. I really like the system, so when this game was announced the moved the system to medieval times I was quick to back it on GMT's P500 program. Even after it was revealed that this game was not quite what I was hoping (more on that in a bit), I stuck with it because I like the system. We got the game when it came last year, and played it some then but we never wrote about the game. However, we recently got it back out. So just how much does this game command our attention and how does the medieval theme color our thoughts?

Game Overview
This is a scenario based game that contains battles from the very early medieval era. Depending on the scenario one side will be the Byzantine empire and the other side the Sassanid Persians. Units are either light, medium, or heavy. They could also be ranged, foot, or mounted units. Units will be deployed in the map and will be in the left, center, or right section.

On a player's turn they will play a command card. Many of these cards will instruct a player to command units in one of these three flanks, though some are cards that will allow for units of the same type to be commanded or units with a leader.

After playing a card the player will pick the units to order. Any ordered units may first move. If they are eligible to attack they then may do so. Each unit will have a set number of dice it is going to roll. For each color rolled that matched the target's color a hit is scored. Hits can also be scored for sword icons, but based on the unit types involved some of these hits can be ignored. Leader icons can also score hits if a leader is involved in the fight. Flags rolled will cause the attacked unit to retreat, but there are ways to ignore a flag.

When a player plays a leadership card, they may also use an inspired action token to give a unit a special bonus of some sort for that turn. As a unit takes a hit the blocks that make it up are removed. When the last block is removed, the unit is defeated and counts a point. Scenarios are played to a point total, and the first side to achieve it wins.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: The system that drives this game (and several others) is wonderful. It is easy to use, it is versatile, and it gives great tactical depth. I do like the way the system has been adapted to this time frame and the addition of the leader's command abilities.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has too many small rules for my taste. Some units can ignore others hits, some can evade others can't, leaders work different. It is a lot to keep straight and it detracts from the game for me.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: This game delivers the feel of the battles really well. Each scenario feels unique and the theme comes through. I do have a minor quibble with the theme though. The game is called C&C: Medieval, but the scope of the game does not feel particularly medieval. The battles come from 400s-600s time frame. The earliest battle in this game is less than a century removed from the latest ones of C&C: Ancients. Technically, the time frame of this game is within the historical medieval period. However, when I think medieval I am more thinking Europe 800-1200ish. I am sure with expansions we will get there eventually, and the game is very upfront with what you are getting. However, I imagine most people who look to this game are thinking knights in shining armor not Roman legions.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It feels like a battle, and it does feel different than the other command and colors games I have played.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The game comes with 19 scenarios. Each scenario can be experienced from both sides leading to a minimum of 38 plays which is a decent amount.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: The replayability comes from the scenarios, and fortunately there are several of them here.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a more methodical pace especially compared to Memoir 44. There is a lot of maneuvering, back and forth, and sustained fighting. This leads to a longer play time, but it fits the feel and flow of the game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I felt like this game was slow playing and it went on longer than I wanted.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This honestly is not the game I was hoping for because its focus is not what I was wanting. That does not change the fact that the game is still fun to play and it hits a good spot between historical depth and accessibility.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It is probably because I am more familiar with it, but I prefer Memoir 44. Given the option I would rather play that game. However, I do not really care about the historical setting. I will play cards, roll dice, and attack regardless.

Final Score

72/100

In addition to Memoir 44 we have also both played C&C: Napoleonics. Of the command and color games we have played together this is the lowest rated one. Perhaps we just like battle when guns are involved. The command and colors system is the only conflict themed mechanisms that my wife will reliably play though, so when it comes to wargames this is the system I am stick with.
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Sun Sep 6, 2020 10:38 pm
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End of the Month Recap

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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From gallery of SeanXor

Most Played Game This Month: Race for the Galaxy (14 plays)
Number of New to Me Games Played This Month: 8
Best New to Me Game: In Her Majesty's Name: Steampunk Skirmish Wargaming Rules

Best Gaming Moments of the Month
1. We celebrated GenCant during the time that Gen Con was supposed to happen. On Saturday I got to play Ogre with my son and that was a lot of fun.

2. I really like WARS Trading Card Game and the cards are avialable for really cheap, so I ordered a couple of boxes so that I now have a really deep card pool. I made a deck and it managed to beat one of the pre-made starter decks, so it is nice to know I put together a competitive deck.

3. My son is doing school in a virtual setting right now. To break up the school work we have been playing Who Would Win. We record a debate and post it on Facebook to have people vote on who made the better argument. Right now we are tied 2-2.

10x10 Challenge
We intentionally focused on knocking our ten by ten list and we got it done this month.
Charterstone: Complete!
Terraforming Mars: Complete!
Drop It: Complete!
Ticket to Ride Complete!
Mind the Gap: Complete!
KeyForge: Call of the Archons: Complete!
Memoir '44: Complete!
Res Arcana: Complete!
Kodachi: Complete!
Brikks: Complete!
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Tue Sep 1, 2020 3:56 am
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Barons (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Barons

I know I have mentioned this a lot, but this is another game we got in the flea market of a local convention back in March. We picked this game up for $3. I think the reason why my wife was drawn to this game is because she could tell it was from the same group that put out Glory to Rome and it has a similar look. So was that connection enough to build on?

Game Overview
In this game players are building up their barony with the goal of it being prosperous enough to support a cathedral. Each player starts out with a center castle that is surrounded by one of each land type (red, yellow, blue, and green). This land is represented by cards that comes from a deck of that color.

On a player's turn they can first start out by playing any action cards from their hand. These cards provide various abilities. If they have a cost then a card of that required color also has to be discarded. Some buildings that a player previously built might also provide actions that can be done during this time.

At this time a player can also play knight cards. If a knight card is used to defend, then it is played to the table and all other cards adjacent to it are protected to an opposing knight. If a knight card is used to attack than a non-protected card that another player has on the table is discarded. If a knight is played using the one resource cost, then a player must choose to attack or defend. If a knight is played at the two resource card it can do both.

Next players have the option to play a card. They can either play a card face up as a building. This is done by paying the building card by discarding the appropriate cards. Buildings provide ongoing effects or they provide usable actions. Instead of playing a building a player could also play a card as a land. To do this the card is put face down, and the color of the card determines what kind of land it is.

The final step of a player's turn is taxation. The player may pick a group of contiguous land cards that are the same color up to four big, and then draw that many cards of that color.

At some point a player is going to find and successfully build a church (it requires one of each resource type). Once a church is built, the player is eligible to build a cathedral. This requires once again finding the card in a deck and then building it by spending two of each resource type. First player to build a cathedral into their barony wins the game.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: This game does use two mechanisms I tend to like. I love it when cards have multiple uses, and I like building my own thing on the table. These mechanisms are used well here but in a fairly standard way.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: It all did work together, but an intentional part of this game is attacking other players to destroy what they made. I do not like it when people mess with my stuff.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: Maybe it is the graphic design, but the theme does not really pop for me in this game. I want to be able to look at my barony at the end and feel like I built something. Instead I just sees a pile of drab cards.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game had more a race feel than a building feel. That might be it or it could be the bad card art but I was not feeling this theme.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: The four different colored decks are all unique in their feel. There are synergies to be found throughout the game as the different decks are explored. I think this can hold up for a number of plays.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I appreciate the attempt to include variety. However, I kept seeing a lot of the same cards so I feel like I would find myself getting in a rut in this game by sticking with what works.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has a great snowball effect pacing. The first couple of turns are going to be maybe playing a land and then taxing for just one or two cards. However, with each turn a player's barony builds up and the options grow.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game has a fairly slow pace, especially at the beginning. I feel like a bad card draw could slow this even more.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: This game has some highlights, but it lacks excitement. Barons was released in 2011, but I did not play it until 2020. That might be my problem. At this point I have played games that do what Barons does, but they do them better. I did not dislike this game but it will likely always get passed over for something else.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is just OK. It all works, but I guess I was just expecting something more exciting and engaging. This game lacks a wow factor.

Final Score

66/100

I feel like if this is a game we had played around 2012-2013, it would have connected with us a bit more than it did. As it is this falls in the category of a good but not great game. We have other similar feeling games, and this one does not claim a spot on the shelf.
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Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:45 am
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Light & Dark (One Couple's Review)

Sean Johnson
United States
North Judson
Indiana
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Board Game: Light & Dark

Sometimes I buy a game because I have been tracking its release for months, reading every detail about it, and counting down the days until it is supposed to release. Then other times I buy a game because I am $6 short of free shipping, and I liked the look of the cover. Light and Dark is very much in that second category. I knew nothing about this game, so let's illuminate this shot in the dark.

Game Overview
In this two player flicking game one player takes the side of the light druids and the other player takes the side of the dark druids. In the middle of the table there are five torches. Three start on the dark side and two start on the light side. Players are also dealt a special ability card than can be used once per game.

On a player's turn they will choose one of their druids to flick. If their druid makes contact with a torch of the opposite side it is lit or extinguished. If a flicked druid makes contact with a druid of the other side then that druid converts and flips sides. If a flicked druid hits something that is already on their side then there is no effect. If a flicked druid makes contact with multiple pieces then all of those pieces will flip, but bumping another piece into one will not cause it flip.

Players are required to stay in their seat while playing. If a piece goes off the table then it returns to its side (or the middle of table if torch) and does not change orientation.

A player wins by having all of the torches lit if light side or extinguished if dark side. A player also wins if all of the druid pieces belong to their side. Play continues until one of these victory conditions is achieved.

Our Ratings
We are using a custom rating scale. Each game will be evaluated by both of us on 1 to 10 scale in five areas. When combined, this creates a possible score out of 100.

Mechanisms/Rules
My Rating:
My Comments: There is little innovative about this game, but it works because of its simplicity. It is a straight forward flicking game that can be played in minutes on any flat and smooth surface.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I like how straightforward this game is. I also like how their are two victory conditions so there is some choice about which one to pursue.

Theme/Experience
My Rating:
My Comments: Given the simple nature of this game any theme was going to be lightly applied. That being said, druids is an odd choice, because nothing about druids fits the game play. I am not entirely sure what would be better but I feel like there is something.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I realize this could have been themed pretty much anything but I feel like there are themes that would have made more sense than the one they went with.

Replayability
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is made to be highly portable and playable just about anywhere. Fitting into that niche makes it an easy game to get to the table when there are 5-10 minutes to fill.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: Even though i tend to be bad at them, being skill based does give flicking games a higher level of replayability. This game is also extremely accessible which makes it easier to play with others.

Pacing and Flow
My Rating:
My Comments: This game is fast playing, but there is real tension. Usually a player will know when they are on the ropes and have a turn to try and turn it around. This back and forth pulls a lot of excitement out of a little game.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: This game is engaging and fast enough that it is very easy for one play to turn into three.

Fun Factor
My Rating:
My Comments: We have several small card games that we consider good "traveling games". We take them with us whenever we go somewhere and know there is going to be some downtime. I like that we can now add a flicking game into the mix.

Her Rating:
Her Comments: I am not a huge fan of flicking games but this one might be my favorite.

Final Score

71/100

This is by no means an award winning game, but it is one that provides a decent amount of fun. I know that price is relative, but I am glad we got this on sale. I am not sure I would have wanted to pay full retail, but it looks like finding the game on sale is not too hard.
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Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:22 pm
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