Thoughts from the EGG head

My slightly skewed view of the boardgame world from Eugene, OR.

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TGM 17 continued Desktop Hebocon Battle

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Are you ready to rumble? Desktop Hebocon Battle will definitely not prepare you for the sumo ring or any other combat but it’s one of the coolest games I’ve played in a while. The game is themed around the real life Hebocon: The best worst robot competition. It is strictly for the technically challenged nonprofessional.

The goal of the game is to create and program your robot to do battle in the ring but not do it too well.

There are 2 phases. The first is making your robot. Your robot will consist of differently shaped polyominoes with various programmed movements or actions. You take turns collect programming pieces to eventually place on your player board similarly to other polyomino type games.

Once everyone has collect their parts, the simultaneous building occurs. THe first player to complete their board hosts a one minute timer included in the game and the rest of the players have 1 minute to finish. Players earn points equal to the number of spaces on their board covered but if you manage to cover all the spaces you get a high tech penalty of minus 8 points!


The second part of the game involves the battle. Players now take turns activating the polyominoes one at a time and move their robot or their board accordingly. The board has bonus chips for points and well as penalty spots. The big goal is to eliminate your opponents. If you push your opponent out of the ring you gain points and they lose points. The game ends once all players have used all their programming pieces (you must use all your pieces even if you don’t want to!)or if there is only one robot left standing in the ring. Bonus points for anyone still in the ring.


Way back in the day when I first got into the hobby, RoboRally was a huge hit for us with its silly random and chaotic movement and cute little robots. I tired of it since most games went on too long. Desktop Hebocon provides the same fun in a much more streamlined manner with a fixed game end. I’m sure some people will be able to see ahead and create and program their robots well (although maybe we should handicap them since it is a Hebocon) but for the rest of us it’s lots of laughs and groaning. The sumo battle is great and I feel like there should be side betting! I’m normally not into direct confrontation but in this case it’s all in good fun. Love it and looking forward to more plays.
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:30 pm
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TGM 17 continued Hidden Rooms

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I don't often play solo but I do love puzzles. I was pleased to find Hidden Rooms which has a fantastic look and lots of nice handmade touches. It seems to be a reimplementation of the designer's print and play Kidnap Machine from a few years ago.

The game play is pretty simple. A random tile is drawn indicating which page of the monster manual to use. You are trying to move the child from the bottom right corner of the board to the upper left corner.

The child can only move orthogonally along already placed tiles. In order to move you draw room tiles randomly. You can succeed in your movement if the new tile has the same number or higher or if the tile is the same color.

After the child's turn the monster moves twice along it's set path. The monster of course has it's big eye out for the child and if the child is within it's vision the monster will veer from it's path and chase the child.

Sounds easy right? well it's more challenging than it looks and trying to find a safe path and play the odds makes a great puzzle. The wonderful production makes the game even more pleasurable to play. It's quick but addicting.
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Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:29 pm
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TGM 17 continued Little Town Builders

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One of my favorite games to come from TGM in recent years is The King of Frontier which is a delightful mash up of role selection and tile placement. I was really excited to see they had a new game this year, Little Town Builders but a little apprehensive because sometimes the follow ups just don’t quite meet expectations.

Little Town Builders manages quit nicely in being a great follow up game. I’d call it a mash up of worker placement and tile placement. It comes with a double sided board for variety which is really nice. There are preprinted resource areas on the map which is made on a large grid. Each player gets a set of workers and a set of buildings. The game also comes with building tiles reminiscent of King of Frontier, wheat fields and a set of goal tiles (in Japanese, paste ups made the game easier for us). Each player also gets a hand of random goal tiles.

Game play is simple.

Players can place their worker on any open space on the board and activate the surrounding tiles directly orthogonal and diagonal. If the tile has a tree or mountain you collect wood or stone. If there is a pond you collect fish. If there is a building and you own it you may use its ability. If your opponent owns the building you can pay them 1 coin to use it.


You can build a building if you have the resources for it by placing your worker on a building area. In addition to abilities buildings are also worth points.

At any time if you meet one of your goals you may show the goal and collect the points.

At the end of the round after everyone’s workers have been played, you must feed you workers with either 1 fish or 1 wheat.

The game last only 4 rounds and the player with the most points wins.


This is a fun game. Little Town is easy to play but it does provide some challenge in decision making. Where to build and where to place your workers becomes more interesting as the game progresses. It plays in about a half an hour so it makes a great go to filler and would also make a great gateway game. The double sided board and the variety of buildings and goals give nice variability. I could easily see this game getting picked up for wider distribution. Little Town BUilders falls into that nice niche of interesting games with simple rules like Azul or Century Spice Road.
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:58 am
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TGM 17 continued Blend Coffee Lab

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Saashi & Saashi continue with the coffee theme they started with Coffee Roaster in ブレンドコーヒーラボ (Blend Coffee Lab.). Coffee Lab is a trick taking game that incorporates winning a trick with being able to select one or two of the cards from the trick for scoring.

The game is playable witn 2-4 players but like with most trick takers the 2 player version seems less interesting so far. What makes BCL different from most standard trick taking games is as follows.

First following “suit” in BCL means you must if possible play a different color card than the ones previously played.

There is a “trend” which is determined at the beginning of the hand from the previous trick. It determines whether high cards or low cards will win “priority.”

Priority allows a players to choose one or possibly two cards from the trick to use in scoring. The last unpicked card determines the trend for the next hand.Winner starts the next trick like usual.

Players are collecting cards of 3 “roast” levels to make cups of coffee. A cup consists of one each of available color cards of the same roast level.

Cups of each roast level are scored for each of the three rounds with the best of each roast being scored for the finally tally.

It took me a few plays to see how best to try and play BCL. Winning tricks is obviously great but trying to figure out how to play your hand isn’t always easy. Trying to control the trend I think is important so deciding whether when to try and win a hand vs throwing out a card that may go unpicked to change the trend more favorably is key.

If you like trick taking games BCL is worth a try.
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:32 am
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TGM 17 continued Fool's Field

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Fool's field is a nifty little 2 player game from Kuuri Keikaku (空理計画). The game consists of only 23 cards. The characters on the cards are nicely done. Each card has one of 3 symbols on the each of the 4 sides. They symbols are swords, shields and flowers. The goal of the game is to be the first to empty your hand of 6 cards after the draw deck has emptied.

Ona turn a player may "deploy" by playing a card into a 3x3 card grid.
The trick of course is that only 2 out the possible combinations of pairs of symbols on the eges of the cards can be played next to each other.

When one of the chooses or can no longer play they may "retreat", picking up all the cards in the playing field and discarding down to 6. The other player fills their hand from the deck but gets to play first into the grid.

The game is deceptively simple but the distribution of card symbols amongst the cards make it quite a challenge. "Retreating" can be a great action but it allow your opponent to set the tone of the grid by playing first. I love little card games like this, portable with simple rules but a reasonable amount of tough decision making.
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Sat Jan 6, 2018 1:15 am
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TGM 17 continued Troika

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The newest game from Oink Games. I love, the look of Oink games. Initial games from Oink were innovative and exciting. The last few have seemed less innovating and exciting but they still look good.

Troika, the newest game is space themed. Troik comes in the nice small Oink box. The tiles might be a bit on the thin side but there are a lot tiles to fit in that small box! The game involves collecting gems but you also mmust refuel. Game play is a pretty simple game of drafting tiles and push your luck. On a turn you can "excavate" a face down tile or a face up tile. If it is face up it goes in your container face up in fornt or you or if face down it can be one of 3 tiles kept secret from other players (hand limit). Alternatively you can discard a tile from hand or container back to the excavation field and the tile maintains it's face up or down orientation.

You must collect 3 tiles of the same number to be used as fuel,if you don't have fuel you are standed and take negatve points. Runs of numbers on tiles in sets of 3 are considered gems and will score equal to the right most single digit of the set. That means if you have an 11 at the right most spot you would score 1. The round ends when some yells Troika (meaning you have a fuel set and more than 5 tiles in your container) at the end of their turn or if all the tiles in the excavation area aare face up. Points are awarded to the player with the highest score in the round. The game is played over 3 rounds.



So Troika makes a nice filler and it looks great next to all the other Oink games on the shelf... Being able to end the round early with a Troika adds a nice push your luck element to the tile draw. I think I would still rather play Deep Sea Adventure for push your luck fun. If I wanted something with some semblance of control via drafting, Troika might be a choice. The scoring is also clever were bigger numbers are better but not always...
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Sat Jan 6, 2018 12:03 am
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TGM 17 continued Copulas

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コプラス (COPULAS)I am huge fan of games with polyominoes. I saw a picture of Copulas and had to have it.

Like Blokus, Copulas comes with nice translucent polyominoes in player colors but only “U” and “cross” shapes. Players use the pieces to cover up or capture Copulas, small cosmic lifeforms scattered in the night sky on the board. The Copulas are worth varying values.

The board is modular which adds nice variety. Players the must take turns playing their pieces and alternating shapes on each turn. Pieces played can not cover more than 9 points of Copulas and must touch previously played pieces.


Endgame scoring is based on captured Copulas as well as scoring based on how their pieces are grouped or not. Bonus points are given if all of a player’s pieces are connected.
Players get negative points for isolated groups and individual pieces on the board.

The end game scoring provides lots of incentive for area competition and clever placement. The modular set up is always a plus for variety. It’s a fun fast game like others in this genre and it’s small size earn a place in my collection. (It easily fits inside the Blokus box )
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Thu Jan 4, 2018 4:23 pm
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Recent Games acquired from Tokyo Game Market

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Wow, I haven’t done any posts here for a while. This series of posts will mostly consist of games recently acquired from TGM2017 although some of the tiles might be older they are new acquisitions for me. Normally I’d do a geeklist but since some of the games aren’t in the database yet I’ll start here.

First up is Era of Voyage the Dice Game.
Era of Voyage (航海の時代) the original is a nifty rondel game. I've heard rumors it’s been picked up by another publisher. It’s successor the dice game is also a trading game but removes the rondel movement and replaces it with dice.

On a turn you roll 2 dice which are to be used independently to either gather resource or “invest” in an island which will allow you trade powers to use instead of gathering resources. Everyone starts with the same basic income card where a die roll may get you a resource, mone, or VP. There is a port which also has an income on it. There is no board but the main port and islands are represented by cards.
The dice limit your actions to the islands/cards with the same number of pips or the same basic resource actions dependent on roll. If you invest, you place one of your tokenso n the island. If you have themost tokens onthe island at the end of the gameyou will earn the island's VP.

The game is triggered by using a number of VP from a shared pool based on player number. You also earn VP by having the most investments on islands.

This is a fun and fast filler and we’ve really enjoyed it. The are several island cards and 3 starting port cards which give a nice variety. The game can go very quickly or be more strategic dependent on how the rolls go. I like it, fast to set up, simple to teach, comes in a small box. Recommended and I would be at all surprised to see this game picked up by another publisher.
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Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:04 pm
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Day of the Dice

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So, I've been thinking and playing a lot of dice games lately. They are so plentiful! I've been trying to determine what it is about some dice games that I enjoy and what I don't to help me determine future game purchases. This little exercise is to help organize my thoughts. If you think you know your dice games you can have a peek at my recent GCL geeklist here for fun.

So first what types of dice games are there?
First there are "push your luck games". These are total luck fests with little strategy except maybe playing the odds. They tend to be fillers. They have to be fun! and fast! Examples of games I enjoy: Can't Stop, Deep Sea Adventure, Lords of Vegas to some extent.

Next, I'm not sure what the proper terminology is but I'll call them "games where you cross stuff off". Yahtzee falls here which I loved playing as a kid but I find much less interesting now. Current games in this category I like include: Qwixx, Rolling Japan. Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age and Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age which are both enjoyable but sometimes feel a touch long to me to be favorites here.

"Rolling dice to get more dice" is my next category. Some of these seem more luck based and others slightly more strategic. Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age might also fit here but it's not a favorite for these kind of games. I'd say To Court the King and Nations: The Dice Game feel a bit too luck based for me. I played Ciúb once and it felt a bit longish but I should try it again. Age of Craft is kind of interesting. Like To Court the King you use dice to buy tiles/cards that let you manipulate or gain dice but it adds a dice draft which adds to the game. Of course Roll for the Galaxy really ups the ante in adding to the basic use dice to get more dice. There is a reasonable amount of strategy and tactics that can go into the game which throws it into the fourth category.

My fourth and last category is dice as workers or dice as a significant portion of a strategic game. I suppose you could put games like Kingsburg and Alien Frontiers here. I found these a bit too dependent on luck for me as well as being a bit tedious. I enjoy The Castles of Burgundy and The Voyages of Marco Polo quite a lot, here the dice roll is plays a part but not as much as the placement. Discoveries is the newest one. It kind of straddles the line between my third and fourth categories. I think you could also put the classic Chase here.

I think I tend towards more strategic dice games and filler. But I think there is room in my collection for more! Now what to pick up at Essen that has dice?
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Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:34 am
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April showers bring May flowers

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It's time for nice weather and gardening time here in Oregon. In honor of that I'm writing about Hanamikoji. 21 Flowers is a 2 player card game with a small central board and two tiny player boards. There are 21 cards which represent 7 different flower factions. Some of the factions have varying numbers of cards numbers in the deck. The game is self-published by the designer(I believe) and distributed by Takamagahara.



The goal of the game is control 4 factions or to have 11 points at the end of a round. The point value ranges from 2 to 5. Faction control is determined by the player with the most cards representative of the faction in their tableau at the end of the round. In case of a tie, the position of the faction does not change either it remains neutral or in control of the player who controlled it the previous round.

The interesting part of the game, of course, is how players get cards into their tableau. You start with a hand of cards (1 card is placed out of the round at the beginning. Then the player draws one card and takes one of 4 actions. Each action must be used and each action can only be used once. After you have chosen an action you mark it off on your player board. The order in which the actions are done is up to the player. After each player has done all the actions the round is over.

The actions consist of 1)playing a card face down into their tableau,
2)discarding 2 cards out of the game, 3)choosing 3 cards and placing them face up and the opponent chooses one of those cards for their tableau face up and the active player keeps the other two for their own tableau face up and 4)choose 4 cards and split into 2 piles (a pile must contain at least 1 card) and the opponent chooses a pile for their tableau and places the cards face up with the active player taking the remaing cards to place face up as well.

So this game utilizes the "pie rule" mechanism quite nicely. It's challenging to try and figure out what cards your opponent may want, or forcing them to pick a card you want them to have. Of course when they take the card you want it is so frustrating! The way a round works is more interesting than it sounds. Choosing which action to use when in a round of course may or may not give your opponent helpful information. It's easy to forget the discard action as sometimes you have a card left you wanted to play but then you have to discard it. Once players have control of some of the factions it hen gets even more difficult as you have to choose between maintaining control and trying to gain additional factions.

This game would make a great addition to one of the big publisher's 2 player lines. Play time is about 10-20 minutes for a whole game but it there is enough depth to make it feel longer.
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Fri May 1, 2015 9:56 pm
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