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The Castle in the Forest is where the Cat and the Frogs played with Ribbons

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

It is Essen Spiel TIME!!! Wooooooo!!
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If you missed it on Friday, here is my Essen 2020 video I made! It's long as I have MANY games I am interested in!



Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I play through three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! Right now the plan is to play Shadow Network & The Red Cathedral and definitely one more!



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Michael and I have enjoyed some of Pythagoras Games recently, so I was looking forward to trying out 6 Castles. New to me!

6 Castles is a tile-placement game where each turn you are adding to the big playing area. Each tile will be 2x2 with 4 areas. You are trying to arrange the map to work to your benefit. Depending on the strategy you are going for you may want to place your guys on the tile and try to gain faith points, or you might take a differnt route and explore the lands and generate resources.

In this game, you really have to focus in heavily on one strategy since you aren't going to score very many points. The more you can focus the better off you can score so it really makes sense to dabble a little in one area while putting your primary focus in another.

Michael was clearly going the explore route in our play. He was getting al the access to the castles that were being built, but he was having a difficult time since he was essentally forced to play his tiles in specific regions to ensure the castles get built. He was feeling that there wasn't much strategy for him to work out since his tile placement was always mandatory.

I was having a harder time exploring so I focused on getting my meeples out and I could run up the faith track the best I could. It seemed to be going well for me. Michael was selling his resources though and he was going to get the bonus points for occupying the castles at the end. I had no idea who would end up the winner.

When it was all said and done, my final score was 26 to Michael's 22 so it was fairly close!

I liked the game well enough. Michael really didn't like it very much. I think if there wasn't a mandatory tile placement for tiles with the white areas I think it would have worked better for us. Michael kept drawing those particular tiles over and over so he wasn't really given many options and it soured the game a bit.

I could see playing the game again, but I think I will stick to Rossio!


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Fortunately, Shrey was up for learning some rules and was able to explain Cosmic Frog. New to me!

There are 2 player rules under the partner game variant in the rules, but this seems like a game that would be better with more players. Since there is a TTS mod available, Shrey, Pat, and I were able to check it out.

I did a mock-up of the game being played online with what I set up on my game tables so I could take some snazzy photos of this psychedelic game.

The theme is unusual, to say the least. The artwork clearly reminds me of the 70s. The game introduces its own languages and terms when it comes to the various actions you will be doing. So, we are 2-mile high frogs who love to devour the land. Our goal is to collect land tiles into our vault to score at the end of the game.

In the game, the turn order will vary depending on how the cards are drawn. In a 3 player game, each player has 6 cards in their color added to the deck. The deck is shuffled and then revealed one at a time. After the first time through then we add in specialty cards that will start disrupting our world and events will happen.

Once we have destroyed 6 tiles with the barren cracked symbol, then the game will be over. Only the tiles that have made it to your vault will score depending on their arrangement and types.

Each turn you will have a standard action depending on if you are in the Aether or on a shard. Maybe you move or harvest a land tile. If you harvest you will eat that land tile you are on and add it to your gullet. Your movement will be determined by how full you are in future movement actions. You can spend 2 oomph to take another action if you desire. This is important since you may want to first move into the aether then take a bonus action to devour those land tiles in your gullet before someone comes to try and attack you.

Yes, there is a lot of attacking in this game. You might get knocked back and people might steal tiles from your gullet. In order to get tiles into the vault you have to be in the aether, so there is a bit of rush element to get those in your gullet to the vault if you are full up.

Shrey, Pat, and I are all fairly nice gamers. meaning we are a bit of a carebear pack. We don't really like to beat up on other people for the sake of beating up on people. For most of the game, we were just letting everyone do their own thing. Eventually, Shrey decided to pick on Pat a little bit. Shrey was them looking really flesh with tiles in his vault. I knew I needed to make an attack action when I had the chance.

It happened that I had a very handy ability card in play at the time that allowed me to take from Pat's vault and add it directly into my vault if I was successful with my RAID on Pat.

Totally worked out for me. Those extra points I got from the different land type and the actual tile was enough to push me to the winning position.

I won with 42 points and Shrey was just behind with 39 and we beat up on Pat too much. He got 22.

Overall, I see why people have been enjoying this game. It is definitely unique in terms of theme. The mechanics were interesting and I like the use of the player action deck, much like Aeon's End. In the end, it is not really my type of game, since it is very much head-on attacking is something you will want to do at least a few times in the game to keep people on their toes. Not really my style of gameplay, but it will be awesome for other game groups.

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I wanted to check out the new Kodama game called Kodama Forest. New to me!

Kodama Forest is really 3-6 players, but there are variants in the rules for 1-2 players as well as cooperative play.

For the 2 player variant, we each control 2 boards and will draw 2 tiles each turn. Each board will get one tile. the game will end once one player has covered up all of the printed numbers on one of their boards.

Each space is -1 point or if there is a 5 it is -5, or worse, if there is a 10 it is -10 points. You are trying to get the closest to 0 you c
On the tiles, you will find different patterns. If you completely create a flower, pond or bamboo patch, you will gain a bonus tile which you will then place immediately onto you board. These tiles are the key to winning this game. The more bonuses you can create, the better off you are doing since you want to cover your board the best you can.

In the solo game you only have 10 rounds to complete what you can on 2 boards. You can watch my video below and see how poorly I did!

We played through the game and I thought I was doing okay, but I wasnt sure since Michael seemed to be getting a lot of pandas as bonus tiles. The pandas are a 2x2 tile size, and it seemed SUPER helpful to have those. He seemed to disagree, but maybe it was the way he was arranging the tiles he was drawing, I am not sure.

In the end, it wasn't clear who would win but it came down to Michael with 29 and I had 21, so I won with the lower score!

Ugh, my score in the solo game was -131 soooooooo, yeah, the solo game is a super huge challenge. You do have to add up BOTH boards. Hey, I think next time I play solo, I will be able to beat that score though. hahaha it was fun though.

I really enjoy polyominoes, they make my brain work in ways that I like! It is always very interesting to me! I would be happy to play this one again soon!


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Michael wanted a familiar game, but we decided to keep up with the new pile shelf at the same time so we played the new expansion called Cat Lady: Box of Treats. New to me Expansion!

Most of the expansion is geared towards higher player counts, so we couldn't use the paw tokens or a variety of other cards set for more plyers. We did add in some of the treat cards though. The treat cards allow players to use treat tokens in place of any one food item, but then the card is only worth 1 point.

We added in more cats with new scoring opportunities, and I believe that was all. There is another whole part of the expansion we werent able to play with, but will eventually.

Our game was super close. I was trying to gain a lot of cats but also control the costumes at the same time. I picked up my full set of toys early, but then later didn't stop Michael from getting his set of toys and I should have!

He was effectively using the water sprey bottle to get cards he wanted.

It was a close one until the very end and somehow I managed to sneak out a win with 61 to his 59! Close game! Good times!

I like Cat Lady, I think it is a nice relaxing game. I like drafting a bunch of cards, I think that is fun. I am not sure the expansion is a must-have. If you play the game a whole bunch then it would be a no-brainer, but otherwise I could play with or without it and be fine. I do like the small additions, so I would choose to play with it going forward.

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Michael and I were looking for a quick game and settled on Ribbons. New to me!

Ribbons is a light abstract game. You are trying to connect your hidden color ribbon to the bow at the right location. You need to have the ribbon creating 2 lines of 3. So depending on if the bow is anchored to the middle you need to make a sort of T shape 3 across and 3 down the middle. If you have your bow anchored to the corner you have an opportunity to use the diagonal as one of the lines. The FIrst person to correctly assemble their lines will win.

Each turn you will place a card to the tableau and then tape the piece down so other players can't play over it immediately. You can choose to flip over cards or swap adjacent cards instead.

Michael immediately compared the game to tic-tac-toe. It is fairly light.

In the first game, I almost immediately won. I don't think Michael was paying much attention to what I was doing. I don't think I was particularly sneaky or anything, but he was actively blocking me.

In the second game, it was a much longer ordeal. We were going back and forth. I knew what color he was. I was sure it was following my every play with a scheme in mind to screw me up upon first chance.

I think we ended up neutral since we ran out of cards. There was no winner. I think it will be a bit more chaotic with more players, but perhaps it will be easier to fool people into thinking you are going for something else. It is hard to say.

In the end, this game probably works for kids and casual gamers. It aws a bit light for my taste so I am not sure I will end up playing it again.


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



Other cool solo games I played on Saturday:
Kingswood


Tiny Towns


Calico






New to the Collection:
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Game
Jello Jiggler Slap Game
Heinz Ketchup Dice Game
Blue Skies
Kingdom Rush
Elf: Snowball Showdown Card Game
Frosty the Snowman Follow the Leader Card Game
A Christmas Story A Major Card Game
Gremlins Holiday Havoc Card Game
National Lampoons Christmas vacation Twinking Lights Game
Elf Journey from the North Pole
The Sweet and Spicy truth
Fumbling Ferrets





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:00 pm
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Macarons and Point Salad at the Overlook Hotel! MEOW!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

Today is the FINAL DAY for supporting my Kickstarter! Thanks so much for the support and this awesome Journey!

Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021

It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming @ 2pm CDT. I will rundown the cool games I have been playing and what I am excited to play coming up, and who knows what else?! I am also adding in a special addition of STEPH's AWESOME ESSEN PICKS! I will run down my top Essen releases I am excited for.


Make sure to join us on Sunday as I play through these awesome titles on Twitch!! Gonna BEE FUN!!!

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

Aeon's End: Outcasts

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Furnace



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A Few weeks ago, I got to check out Macaron on Tabletopia. We gave some good feedback to Ta-Te who then implemented an advanced board for experienced players.

Since it is ready for Kickstarter and production, everyone wanted to give it another go with the advanced scoring. Ta-Te had sent a review copy to me as well so I could photograph it as we played through the game online.

Since it is a trick-taking game, it is better to play with more players. We still haven't been able to give the partner variant a try, but we hope to soon.

During our play, I had misread what the trump cards were and thought that I was sitting on a bunch of trumps, yeah, I wasn't. So, I ended up way overbidding in the first round and sat on the 0 space.

I managed to recover a bit in the later rounds, but still was no match for Shrey and Derek who were in the far off lead for playing it safe. I suppose playing it risky can have rewards if you actually succeed.

This is still a game I am feeling out. It is really hard to know how to bid since those pesky allergins make an appearance at the most inconvenient time. I really enjoy the allergin mechanic for this reason. It makes me want to get better at trying to read if a hand of cards is good. It is a challenge!

Macaron is an interesting trick-taking game and fairly unique. I would be happy to play this more!



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Hey! I recently got my own copy of Point Salad!

Michael and I played a quick game as you do. Super easy to learn, I think Michael learned in about 1 minute for reading over the rules. Everything is streamlined and easy to follow. Love that!

I found that playing 2 players felt very much the same as playing with more players. I think this game scales very nicely for any player range.

During the game, I was shooting for the veggies that Michael was trying to avoid. Then I could pick up all the cards that scored positively for those veggies. With the scoring cards I found and the mix of veggies, I managed to nudge out a win 52 to 48! It was so super close though!

It could have gone either way near the end. I guess I picked up some good veggies!

Love this game, it is no wonder it was a huge hit for 2019.


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Last night on the Livestream, we opened and played through several rooms of The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel. New to me!

The video I uploaded to Youtube is posted below, but we played on longer during the stream if you wanted to watch more. We were at it A LONG time.

The Shining has mechanics like you would find in Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, as I believe they are a part of the same Escape series. The Shining has an adult theme and more challenging puzzles.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't say how true to the movie the story falls, but from the few scenes we played out, it felt very thematic and had a great (scary) story. So if this is a theme that interests you, I would say check it out!

During the stream, we had a bunch of help from the audience to try and get input and to help us solve various puzzles and to examine the rooms.

We got to one puzzle that just stumped us for the longest time, though we were sure we were on the right path. Michael ended up solving it for us so we could move past. That is about when the video stops. We continued to the next few puzzles and it was running super long since we just couldn't figure out what to do even with the help of everyone from chat.

We took on a few hints to try and navigate us. Even when the answer was revealed, we still didn't know what the answer was referring to. At that point, we called it quits. Puzzles such as this final one that stumped us completely EVEN WITH THE ANSWER, makes me less interested in continuing the escape.

Michael and I really enjoy the system of these escape rooms which almost feel like a choose your own adventure type of game. Some of the puzzles were pattern based which is what we enjoy, and some were visual abstracts that we like less. So, there are definitely some interesting puzzles in the box.

If you like escape games, then take note this is the topmost difficult level from this series, and you might run into longer sessions as we did. Glad we got to play on the Livestream and so many could check it out with us!



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Michael and I had time for a quick game so we learned a new Knizia game called MEOW. New to me!

Meow is a trick-taking game that can be played with 2 players. There are 3 suits of cards and the number range varies depending on the player count if you are using the expert variant.

the rules are fairly simple since they are standard trick-taking where the leading suit must be followed if you have a card in that samesuit. Now, if the 18 is played, then it will win unless a 1 in that color is played then the 1 will win.

There is one suit that is always trump too so that trump suit will also trump any other card. The winner of the trick will take the next token in the line up tokens. Some tokens are positive points, others are negative. You are trying to collect the most points from these tokens to win the game.

The game is played over 3 rounds.

It worked fairly well as a 2 player game, though I suspect I will like it more with a few more players.

I was dealt a few really great hands of cards so I could dodge a lot of tricks and I stuck Michael with a load of negative points. It definitely worked out for me in the end as I won with 24 points! Poor Michael was at -2... which I thought would be more like -20 so he did better than I was anticipating he would do. devil

Simple and light. I would be happy to play this one again. I would definitely want to try again with more players to see how the dynamic changes. Solid game!



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New to the Collection:
mekhane
Meow (2020)
7 Wonders New edition
We are the Best
National Epidemic Prevention
Roibbons
Half-Pint Heroes
Rock'n Vegas
Duffers





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Outcasts of the Shadowed Kingdom Divvy up the Truffles to Feast on around the Furnace.

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!


Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021! now on Kickstarter! Till the end of this week! Please let your friends know!

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Tonight at 5pm CDT join us while we play through Aeon's End: Outcasts followed by Furnace on my Twitch Channel! Be sure to follow and subscribe!



Here are some Cool videos from Sunday!
The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton Rising

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Welcome To...: Halloween Thematic Neighborhood




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Ever since it arrived, I knew I wanted to play the first game of Aeon's End: Outcasts on the Twitch channel!! Michael and I had to get it played ASAP!!! New to me!

This game is particularly cool since Michael and I got to get a glimpse of it when it was in progress since they were looking for some fans to pre-read the backstory and give some input. So that was super cool and our names appear in the back of the rules!

But, As many of you know, we are pretty much super fans of Aeon's End and all the content for this game. It is always a fun new adventure when we get to try a new expansion or a new big-box standalone game appears!

Here we have the Outcasts! It is a 4-game campaign game much like New Age from 2019. There is a new Curse mechanic that is introduced, but otherwise, it plays out very much like any Aeon's End game except we have all new characters and a bunch of new content!

So, Michael and I have only played the first game, which is what we will feature on the channel tonight starting at 5 pm.

In our first play, it was a nail biter since we felt pretty doomed. So very many bad things were happening to us. The FIRST FOUR ALMOST FIVE rounds we had back to back nemesis cards. The 5th rounds had the first card being a nemesis, but thankfully it switched up after. It was absolute chaos.

At one point during the game, Michael was down to 1 life, but he had a powerful ability that gained him 3 life back, so he was using that as much as possible. By the end, I was at 3 health. Fortunately, we were able to keep Gravehold alive and well. We would have been toast if the cards revealed in a different way than the final round. We got seriously lucky and had enough attack power to kill off the remainder of the nemesis before a bunch of unleashes were about to happen. It could have easily been doom and gloom, but we pulled it out the last second.

We rocked it!

This game is just so awesome! I love every second of playing it! On the stream tonight we will try some different characters and see how well we do! Come join us!

More of Aeon's End is BETTER! If you like Aeon's End then you should definitely check out this new release. So great!


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Shrey had requested a playthrough of Furnace on the Livestream so Michael and I wanted to play that next! New to me!

Furnace is a light economic game. In the game, you are looking to gain factories for your production line. You will get to run this line each turn and will want to gain as many victory points by the end of the game as possible.

Over four rounds, players will be using four differently sized discs to essentially bid on different factory buildings in a lineup of cards. Each card can hold only one disc of each size and color. The biggest disc on each factory card will claim the card, but the other disc will get a small compensation for their participation. There are resources printed at the top and depending on the size of your disc you will get a multiplier 1/2/3 times the resources printed on the card. You can never get a multiplier of 4 since that disc would have automatically won the factory as the reward.

With careful planning, you might get the resources you need to run the factories you have and gain a bunch of points that way. Having more factories is not necessarily the way go to. You really have to be clever.

Each player also has a special ability they can use once per round so they will help guild you in a particular direction as well.

In our game, I was focused on getting coal since my cool ability was to spend extra coal to re-activate a factory card. I tried to pick up all the cards that gave extra coal when I run teh factory card, and it was working okay.

The catch with the 2 player game is that we have to use an AI to help block locations. I actually found this mechanic to be very well implemented and it did an incredible job blocking me from what I wanted to accomplish. One of the best AI's I have seen for a 2 player game.

As a result of always being blocked from acquiring the factory cards I wanted, I ended up with tons of extra resources. I was able to use those resources in the factories I had and I totally kept up with Michael's score and sometimes I even had MORE points than he did.

In the end, Michael just had a KILLER line of factory cards and had a fantastic final round. I got shut out of some cards I wanted. Curse you AI! Michael won with 87 to my 76!

Really enjoyed this game! I think it will be a lot of fun to demonstrate on the Livestream tonight and I hope you all can join us as we play! This is a very clever game and one that will remain in the collection. I definitely recommend checking it out!



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Roll n write games have been a constant hit for me. I always enjoy learning new and playing a roll n write game! This time I had the pleasure of checking out Divvy Dice. New to me!

I am still not sure I know what the word divvy means, but I thought it meant like divide it up. Not sure I am accurate, nor do I understand how it relates. Ah well, it is still a fun word, nonetheless.

Divvy Dice is a game where you really have to be clever and timing is everything. The game-end will trigger when one player takes their 9th card. You can take a card each turn if you wanted, but you will only score points on the cards you completely fill up with numbers and X's.

There are 2 types of cards. Cards that will score you points and cards that will give you some special abilities you can use. You will want to collect sets of colors to help score points for the cards that need a specific pattern or variety of colors. But you will want to gain some extra abilities too that will help fill in the cards and mitigate the dice rolling you will be doing.

Each turn you will roll the dice and then choose to re-roll as many of them as you choose up to twice more. Each roll after the first one will let other players gain a bonus from the results so maybe you just suffer from your first roll, thus punishing the other players so they get NOTHING. devil

Ofter you will need to reroll to get that perfect number for a space on your card. It is hard to get lucky on the first roll anyway, though possible.

Michael and I had a fun time with this one. We both agree that we think playing with more players would be better though. I was getting a lot of lucky rolls and not needing to re-roll a 2nd or 3rd time and Michael was missing out on extra dice he really needed. He was rolling a bunch so it was very helpful for my cards!

I think he ended up triggering the ending and getting his 9th card. I was just one card away and going second so I had essentially 2 more turns. I could claim a card and if I was lucky, I would be able to complete it in the final turn. Turns out luck was on my side and I ended up doing just that. It gave me the win! 93 to 74. I had some killer points on my scoring cards. It worked out this time.

As far as roll n write games go, I do like this one. I don't think I would ever choose to play this over Ganz Schon Clever, but I think this was pretty interesting. I do think it would be better with more players and more interaction with the dice. I would definitely play again.


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There is a new Disney game out called Disney Shadowed Kingdom and it is for only 2 players! I had to try it. New to me!

The theme in this game is very dark, it is such a cool twist on the normal Disney image you might have in your mind. I think the setting is super cool and the artwork is dark and mysterious which is very nice.

In Shadowed Kingdom, players are working together to find the Wish cards and boost the Wish track up. They have to avoid Shadow cards. If the Shadow cards are revealed then the Shadow track is pushed up and if that goes too high then the players will lose.

In front of the players are 4 facedown cards 2x2 formation. The active player will choose to push a card off to one side left or right and that card will be eliminated and discarded. If the active player pushed the card straight across that revealed card will be activated by the opposite player. That card is them put into the other player's hand and then they will take their turn.

The catch is when you play a card, you will have to play the oldest card in your hand, so you don't have a choice of cards when you go to play. There is definitely a few parts of this game where you need to remember a bunch of cards and information you know or think you know, since you don't want to misplay.

Michael and I learned I had two of the Wish card in my deck so we had to be careful with my cards. We had a some good luck wish discarding Shadow cards and finding those Wishes!

While we did end up winning this game, it all felt very luck driven. There aren't many choices to be made since you are forced to play the oldest card in your hand. It doesn't really give you many options, but I understand the rule since you wouldn't play a Shadow card otherwise.

This whole game felt underdeveloped. Maybe my hopes for it were too high, but I did want to love it. I just don't see playing this game again. Not enough interesting choices. Felt like just a memory game with limited options.



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Well, I love chocolate, and if there is a game about Truffles I am all in... Michael and I played a game of Truffle Shuffle! New to me!

Truffle Shuffle is a light card game with some set collection to gain the most points. Over three rounds, players will collect cards and use cards to form sets. The better the set the more points it will be worth. You want to have sets all in the same color for even more points. There is a handy player aid to help direct you in the different sets and what everything is worth.

Each round the tableau of cards is laid out with alternating rows of face-up and face-down cards. you will always know the color of the card by the backside if it is face-down.

You will simply take one available card in the tableau and you have the choice to form a set and collect points afterward. You just keep doing this until there are no more cards in the tableau.

Some cards have abilities you can use like Take 2 where you gt to take 2 cards on your turn or there is an ability to change the color of a card. Cool little twists to keep you on your toes.

Each round I found I was looking for the most common color in the tableau and tried to collect those colors whenever possible. You do have a hand limit when you go into the next round and you have to be cautious of that, meaning you don't want to have too many leftover so use them in sets when you can!

I think because of my overall strategy, it allowed for me to get lucky at times but ultimately have the cards I needed for bigger and better sets. It was a close one though since Michael seemed to be right there with me in points. It was down to the wire and my few extra points from creating bigger sets edged me out in the end for 84 points to Michael's 81!

Super close game. I think it works great with 2 players. I played it again with friends on TTS and had a great time with 4 players as well. Fun little game to close the night with.

We played this game easily and quickly! I immediately knew this was a perfect game I could play with my family during the holidays. Easy to understand and simple strategy with some luck. I would definitely recommend checking out Truffle Shuffle!


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My recent play of A Feast for Odin

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New to the Collection:
The Shining
Scribbletown
macaron
suburbia collectors
Lost Ruins of Arnak (prototype)
tawantinsuyu
Beez





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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The Northern City was so Hot and Buzzing that Sherlock needed to head to the Mines.

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

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

Join me Wednesday at 5 pm CDT while Michael and I play through three hot games! Be sure to follow & subscribe for notifications! We hope to play Furnace and Aeon's End: Outcasts!


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Remember that time Days of Wonder made a micro Ticket to Ride game an called it Ticket to Ride: New York? Well, Z-Man liked that concept and thus created Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America. New to me!

I have actually played more Pandemic games this year than any other year, or even, all years combined. Why stop with the Legacy games? Let's try out all the different variations of Pandemic and see what works best.

In Pandemic Hot Zone, players are doing everything like in normal Pandemic but on a much smaller scale. There are only 3 cures needed to succeed and the hand limit has decreased because you only need 4 cards to cure. Everyone still gets a cool ability and you will still be moving around trying to maintain the board state while trying to locate cards for the cures.

It is pandemic in a small package that plays out very quickly.

Michael and I could easily jump right into the gameplay. On the back page of the rules, it says if you know pandemic here are the differences with a bunch of bullet points. Easy peasy.

We seemed to have some luck with the cards coming at the right time, but then all of a sudden it was like a now or never moment since we were running out of cubes fairly quickly. There is no "sunset" when you find cures, so you just have to wing it each turn.

We did manage to win so that was cool! It was certainly a close call near the end.

I like that the game comes in a compact box and plays out super quickly. I think I would just rather play Pandemic Iberia or a bigger game of Pandemic than this one. On the contrary, I think I would rather play T2R NY over T2R, so there is definitely a place for the smaller shorter versions of games we love. In the end, I would be happy to play it again.


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My excitement was over the moon when Honey Buzz arrived! I first learned this game last Gen Con: Gen Con Edition Part 2!! Check out that post for my initial review.

The final production of Honey Buzz is easily one of the most beautiful games I own. The artwork is outstanding and all of the components are amazing. I am just in shock at how fantastic the final production is.

If you aren't familiar with the game, it is a medium weight game with some abstract planning for resources. The resources are later sold at the market value or used to fulfill contracts for points.

Honey Buzz is a worker (bee) placement game where you will collect honeycombs and add them to your personal area to create patterns. Whenever you align the honeycomb to create a nectar region you will execute any actions that are depicted around that space. There are a bunch of different actions you will take. The goal is to have the most points and there are many ways to acquire points!

Michael hadn't had the chance to play it when I did, and I only played in prototype form so I wanted to make sure we played correctly, as things might have changed. We set the game up for the intro game, I remember when I played the proto, I was playing on the advanced game where the nectar tokens were not revealed and you had to remember where they were located in order to claim them. So with this intro game, all of the nectar tokens are face-up so there is no memory game.

Since you are placing tiles, it is fairly abstract, you don't want to miss out on actions, but you also want to set yourself up for the best nectar possible. There are common goal cards to keep in mind as well as you take different actions they will help guide you during the game.

During our play, I was working on collecting the 4 types of nectar so I could claim that bonus 20 points. I knew in a 2 player game that only one of us could claim it, and I worked hard to make it happen! It is also better to have more bees to help with actions. Michael wasn't focused on getting more bees, and he was having to pass a lot and get back his worker bees. I was able to take more actions between taking my workers back, and it seemed to work out well.

We only played one thing wrong, so we will have that corrected when we play on the Livestream (hopefully within the week, maybe next Sunday!). Even with the asterisk, I think I would have won. I was highly focused on getting a couple of objectives and worked on getting a bunch of contracts fulfilled.

We were both working heavily on filling those contracts and we triggered the end of the game by emptying a few of those piles. We were definitely selling fewer goods to the market, though I did a couple of times.

The final score was still pretty close: Steph 109 and Michael 101. Not bad!

I have to say I really love this game. Not only is it beautiful, but then I also highly enjoy the gameplay. So much to like! You have to be clever with your tile-placement and make sure they are actions you want to take when you need to take them. But also have to plan for the nectar you need as well. It is a very clever and fun puzzle to sort out. This is one to keep your eye on and check it out if it seems interesting to you! Keeper for sure!


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If you have followed the blog for a while, you know I love to check out lesser-known titles. This time Michael and I played Scrolls of a Northern City. New to me!

I honestly didn't know much about the game other than the cool guilded lining on the cover. I am always attracted to anime artwork, it is a subject that has always interested me, and I think could easily get caught up with Anime, if I let it. I get easily obsessive about things. Before the obsession with Boardgames, I was ALL ABOUT TV and Movies. I literally spent all my time watching movies and tv. If I let it, I would get sucked into Anime as well, but I never went down that path but always enjoy what I have watched.

Anyway, I digress, I am here to talk about the Scrolls of a Northern City. This is a deduction game where you are trying to figure out the missing cards. You will be activating your cart and moving around the city to find information. Sometimes you will run into a character in the board who will off you special abilities and information, but most of the time you will be revealing cards from stacks for all players to see and note.

If you are unlucky, you will be like me and try to gain information secretly using a character's ability but find out the information you already have and be forced to share that information with everyone else. Michael never seemed to have that issue during our play.

Ultimately, you need to figure out the 3 missing cards and then you will take an action to solve the case at which point you will either win or be out.

A fairly simple game to learn and play and likely better to play with more than 2 players.

Michael and I just played a 2 player game and I knew he had a lot more information than I did. I had some bad luck with the characters, but I figured I had to try. Once the cards were getting low, I knew I would have to just try and guess the results. I had a bunch of information, but if I didn't guess then Michael would have easily gotten it in the next turn, so I had to try!

Yeah, I guessed and failed. He was able to guess and succeed immediately after me, so he won that game!

Beautiful game, but I am not sure it is a game I will play very frequently. I would definitely want to try it again with more players. Easy to learn and play so could work well for gamers who like lighter games with a deduction element!


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Another new game I just got looked to be super cute and it is a 2 player only game so I knew I wanted to play it right away! Michael and I checked out Mine Deeper. New to me!

Out of the box, you are instructed to put this wall together with little pieces so we can manipulate the wall by pushing it and forcing a gem to fall off on the other side. Learning you have to locate specific gems in this grid immediately reminded me of Battleship.

Each player will draw a card and set up their side of the board with a specific pattern of gems. Once you know the game and the placement rules for gems you can set up your own board how you see fit. You only goal is to acquire the 5 red gems from the other side of the wall. If you do that first you will win.

Some gems have other colors like Purple and Yellow. If you find the purple one you know that 2 adjacent spaces will have red gems and yellows will have 1 red gem adjacent.

That is essentially the game.

Michael had incredible luck with finding the red gems when we were playing. I was trying to use the process of elimination to help me and also got lucky a few times. It was pretty even until the end, but Michael found that last gem before I could. I was 1 or 2 away from finding it, but it would have been soon!

I think this game is super cute!! I love the little D20 gems that are different and awesome!! The wall is definitely a gimmick but I enjoy it. Simple and light and cute kids/family game. I would be happy to play again!


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I have been trying to separate all my plays of the Sherlock games, but I can't help myself, and this time we played Sherlock: Don's Legacy. New to me!

Don's Legacy is actually a standalone game from GDM Games, but it is also featured in The Sherlock Files: Curious Capers. They are essentially the same game, but the cards are a bit bigger in the Sherlock Files. I happen to have both editions so I did a side by side comparison.

This is no different than other Sherlock games. You are still shuffling all the cards and trying to solve the case by playing cards. If you are very good at remembering all the information on all the cards, you can simply discard any and all the cards as you solve the case in your mind. Generally, you will want to play some faceup to try and get a timeline going.

Sadly I played a few misleading cards and that didn't help our score in the end. We got a middle of the road score like always, though we really thought we had a solid case figured out. I thought we would have done better! I think we got 14/22 or something around that score. It is always such a challenge!! I love checking it out though!

Definitely look into playing Sherlock Files if you get the chance. I have one left to play and I have to decide if I want to play it on the Livestream or not. It would be spoilers, but I do want to show everyone how much fun it is!


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I played a couple games of Calico on the Livestream!





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



[COLOR=#CC0066][center][b]A new 10v10 is up!







New to the Collection:
fado
douro 1872
Silver bullet
Kodama forest
Tiny towns
Mariposas
Calico
Cat lady expansion
Truffle shuffle
Point salad
Gray Eminence
Feierabend





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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The Tales of Evil Dinosaurs who killed for Crystallo Horrified Marco Polo's Alma Mater

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

My Kickstarter is still going on for another week! Let all your friends know! Thanks so much for the support
Steph's Awesome Gaming Calendar 2021

It's Friday!! Every Friday you can join me on my Twitch Channel for Steph's Hodgepodge of Gaming @ 2pm CDT. I will rundown the cool games I have been playing and what I am excited to play coming up, and who knows what else?!


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

Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

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Cartographers Heroes

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Horrified



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kicked some major butt! It was awesome.

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


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

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

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

We muddled through and made it work.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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18 Comments
Fri Oct 9, 2020 12:00 pm
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It is Unfair but true, we are playing the prologue game of PANDEMIC LEGACY SEASON 0 TONIGHT. Even Spongebob will be there so come to the Kingswood and JOIN US Tonight!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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New to the Collection:
aeons end outcast (!!!!!!)
aeons end return to gravehold
aeons end southern village
magic money
scape goat
sherlock files vol 2
mega mouth





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Oct 7, 2020 12:00 pm
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The Princess told the Story about the Firefly who Dropped into the Gauntlet!

Steph Hodge
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Tennessee
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Hia Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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






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





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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Steph's New to Me List September 2020!

Steph Hodge
United States
Tennessee
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From gallery of punkin312


Welcome to Steph's "New to Me" List 2020!


This year I have made the goal of learning 300 400 games!






Steph's Awesome Spectrum Rating System!

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Steph's Sad Cloud Rating 1-2.5/10
Steph's Bland Rainbow Rating 3-4.5/10
Steph's Primary Rainbow Rating 5-7/10 (Solid Play)
Steph's Super Rainbow Rating 7.5-8.5 (Keepers)
Steph's Double Rainbow Rating 9-10/10 (Top Favorites)



September List
from Worst to Best





From gallery of punkin312
Sun, Moon, & Stars:

Pretty game, but just a lot of back and forth and then finally someone gets luck of the draw. I was happy when this ended.


3/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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The Shared Dream:

So, the gameplay is solid and the rules were fine. Just all around boring and long. Just not my type of game. Alter personality was kinda neat, but not enough to keep me interested.


4/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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Hi Lo Flip:

Colorful and fine card game. Some hand management, but it wasn't too deep, or very memorable. I think I would compare it most to Uno, but this is better than Uno.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
9 Figure:

Some issues on the cards, but otehrwise it was a cute speed game to recognize the patterns and select a shape first. I don't mind these kinds of games, but they are better for families/children.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Gizeh!:

A cooperative memory type game to get into the temples grab some loot and make it back out. I thought it was fairly easy with 2 players, I am sure it is harder with more, but it is not too memorable in the long run. I would try again though.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Cleocatra:

Super light tile-placement game with adorable kittens. playes out very quickly. This is definitely better suited for families and casual gamers. It is harmless.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Wizard Kittens:

Definitely a family game with allthose cute kittens. Very light set collection game. A game I enjoyed learning, but won't play too much. I would have loved it as a kid though.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Bites:

A re-them of the game Big Points. Definitely better with a theme, but overall will it be hitting the table in 5 years, no, probably not. There are other games I would probably rather be playing, but this was fine and it works.


5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Haiclue:

Decent word game. I like the rules about making a haiku more than just creating a thought/concept. Honestly this game was more interesting than I first expected it would be, so hey, that's cool!


5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Lucky Numbers:

Tile placement with a bit of luck involved with the tiles you are given. It was interesting and I like that it is available on BGA. I would play it again for sure. In the end, I won't remember it several years from now.


5/10 After 3 plays (Not Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Starship Samurai:

This will be a super awesome hit with the right group. People who love area control and cool mechs and amazing art will totally dig this game. Very cool production. The gameplay isn't really my style, but I am glad I played and know it is a solid game.


5.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Café:

Fairly dry cube pusher. I like the challenge of trying to place a card in your tableau for its most optimal use. As far as pushing the cubes around, it was less interesting. I would play again.


6/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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Hedgehog Haberdash:

So stinkin cute! I would recommend this for any gaming family with small kids. All day and every day!


6/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Dali The Fox:

Another really cute kids game! Very cool operational disc dispenser that is shaped like a barn! So cute! Roll some dice push your luck and collect eggs. What's not to like. Would recommend to any family, or if you are looking for a super-light push your luck game.


6/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Marshmallow Test:

A game I need to play again. 2 player is definitely not the best count and I anticipate my rating going higher when I get the chance to play with more players. This is a game where timing is literally everything. I thought it was nice and I like the marshmallow bits.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

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From gallery of punkin312
Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse:

Big Huge Box Escape Game! Very much like all escape the room type games, and has a lot of challenging puzzles. I liked it, and I know people who love Escape games will love it. Felt a bit long, so if you feel that way when you play, I suggest breaking the game up into sections and play some rooms at a time so you don't get worn out.


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Dwarf:

Pretty cool game for 1-3 players. I am wondering if I might like it even more as a solo game. Ultimately collecting resources for the majority isn't a favorite mechanic of mine, but I really enjoyed the worker-placement mechanic and that every round 2 cards pop out and the action spaces are changing. I think that is pretty interesting!


6.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Deadly Doodles:

Super cute flip and write game. You are dungeon crawling! I like that the new expansion adds in so many new maps to try out, but I can see the base game map getting a bit dull over time. I would compare it to games like Railroad Ink or Avenue, but I don't think it holds up in comparison. Easily a game I would play again, and I am hopeful the expansion will make it a keeper for me. Right now I like it.


6.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
My Funny Dinos:

Always up for some dexterity games! This is a set collection to make dino structures, dex game! Super cute and fun family game!


7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Abandon All Artichokes:

oh man, I never thought I would see amazingly cute veggies. I am not really a fan of veggies... but this game is so stinkin cute! Light card game fun for everyone.


7/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Funkoverse Strategy Game: Game of Thrones 100:

If you love the Funkoverse games this will be perfect for the collection. I love it because Game of Thrones!!!!!!!!! So perhaps the theme will get you too.


7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Aqualin:

Very cool 2 player abstract game. Beautiful tiles heart nice addition to the 2 player line of games from Kosmos. Easy to play anytime.


7/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Trekking the World:

Colorful game, which I love! Interesting mix of light games like T2R and Century Spice. I enjoyed playing it a few times online and I definitely want to play it more. Probably best with 3 players.


7/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Viscounts of the West Kingdom:

Another big Garphill Game! The final in the West Kingdom Trilogy and it is epic. Juicy decisions to make each turn and like the other games, you just can't do it all! Interesting mechanics and this is a game I definitely want to play again!


7/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Bonfire:

Feld! Always interested in learning the new Feld games! This is on Tabletopia to try. The game isn't challenging there is just so much iconography and it is hard to follow everything online. It is a game I would want to play again, but in person to get the full scope of what is happening.


7/10 After 1 play (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


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From gallery of punkin312
Robots:

Wonderful kids game that simulates The Mind! Would always choose to play The Mind over this, but Robots actually works very well on a Livestream and we have had a lot of fun with this. I wouldn't pass up the chance to play!


7.5/10 After 3 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
The Game: Quick & Easy:

More like Quick and Dead! Love this game!! Super light and easy to learn and play! I have a 25 percent win rate, so I have a lot to laern. Definitely a keeper!


7.5/10 After 8 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
MonsDRAWsity:

Simple and hilarious party drawing game. I love the challenge of trying to describe a picture you have seen and seeing how people translate that into an image. I have had fun with this!


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Vidrado:

Very interestng card game with some cever timing options. The mechanics are different and there are a several strategies to try out. More depth than meets the eye. Nice one.


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
The Princess Bride Adventure Book Game:

Highly thematic! A million quotes throughout the game. We watched the movie as we played through the whole adventure. It was a very enjoyable time! Fairly light, but not a guaranteed win, which is nice.


7.5/10 After 7 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Tiny Epic Dinosaurs:

Very cool Dino game! Anything involving building a park around dinos I want to try. This might just be my favorite Tiny Epic game to date! Colorful and cute!


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Why You Lying!:

A new take on Liar's Dice! Great artwork and clever car play. I quite enjoyed it and it was a blast to play on the Livestream! I will gladly play this anytime.


7.5/10 After 3 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Rossio:

Really enjoyed this one. Clever use of hand-management and patternbuilding with tile-placement. Timing on when to play cards totally matters as that is how you will be scoring during the game. I really liked this one.


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Garum:

As you play through the first time, you learn new tricks and what to look for. The 2nd game it really shines and suddenly turns into a cut-throat battle and it is fantasic. Definitely recommend.


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Guild Master:

Oh man, did we have a good time on the Livestream. Tons of cards and strategies to try. Love the smultaneous action selection. Solid game and one I look forward to playing more of!


7.5/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Zen Garden:

Fast tile-drafting game to make a zen garden. So many ways to score and keep it interesting. This is a game I would suggest playing. I really enjoyed it.


7.5/10 After 2 plays (Not Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Sherlock: 13 Hostages:

I love the Sherlock games! Always so interesting to see where the story leads. Easily one of the best crime solving series of games out there! 13 Hostages is one to check out!!


8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
My City:

Oh man I can't wait to play this more! I am already loving what I am seeing and I am excited to see where it ends up. I really enjoy the added rules in each game!


8/10 After 3 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312



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From gallery of punkin312
Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game – Season One:

Detective, but bite-sized! You can play a case in a sitting without it overstaying its welcome. I really enjoyed the crime-solving even though we did seriously terrible! watching crime shows is not the same as solving cases, it seems. If you enjoy detective this is a game you should not miss!


8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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From gallery of punkin312
Cartographers Heroes:

Easy. If you like Cartographers, than backing this is a no-brainer! heading to KS on Oct 6. Great addition of the Hero cards and monster abilities. Great game and one I would play anytime.


8/10 After 1 play (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312


(Play Along on Twitch Oct 7 with me!!)

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From gallery of punkin312
Cascadia:

Still time left to back Cascadia on Kickstarter! Great tile-placement game! Easy to learn and play but will always change each game depending on the goal cards and how you build the land. It is a great puzzle. Look forward to the final production!


8/10 After 1 play (Owned/Prototype)

From gallery of punkin312




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Game of the Month!



From gallery of punkin312
Sorcerer City:

Real-time tile-placement is awesome. I love how you build up your stack of tiles each round and that monsters will come ruin your city. Lots of cool mechanics in the game and it is a fantastic production. Best metal coins I have ever seen! Such a cool game.


8.5/10 After 2 plays (Owned)

From gallery of punkin312




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New to me Expansions!



From gallery of punkin312
Obsession: Upstairs, Downstairs:

Excellent expansion!! If you have 1st Edition of Obsession I think you will defienitely want to get this expansion! A lot of new content to add for an even deeper game. Love the theme and the game!


8/10 After 1 plays (Owned)



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The Tally


January: 41
February: 39
March: 42
April: 46
May: 32
June: 37
July: 45
August: 40
September: 42





Total new-to-me games for the year: 364!



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Follow along this geeklist to see what tv shows and moves I have been watching:



Here is a Geeklist I made to track the playthroughs I have done:





Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I often review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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The Dinosaur Guild and the Hedgehog Guild danced around the Bonfire

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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Cool 10v10 was posted last Friday!




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





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
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Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:00 pm
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If you aren't Obsessed with Funkoverse, then Why You Lying?! I think you should steal some Marshmallows from the Monsters...

Steph Hodge
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Hia Everyone!

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


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



You can play along with us as we play Cartographers




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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







New to the Collection:
Vidrado
Escape from the Asylum
Storytailors





Thanks for following along!

Happy Gaming!!!



-Steph


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All images in this post are copyrighted, owned, and controlled by Steph Hodge Photography, unless otherwise noted.
Please contact me if you would like to purchase or use my images in any way.
Disclaimer: I am a contract Employee of BGG. I review games that are provided by the publisher. I am not compensated for my blog content.
Thank you.
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