Mina's Fresh Cardboard

Where I discuss my game buying addiction and love affair with freshly-printed cardboard. I dislike randomness and love high strategy. I play daily with my partner, Peter, who is always ready to win, but mostly ready to lose. Don't worry. He loves it! :)
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In Which Roll Playing Monkeys Seek New Habitats * New Reviews for ROLL PLAYER & HABITATS * First Impressions for RAILROAD REVOLUTION, ARKHAM HORROR CARD GAME, PHALANXX, & SCYTHE: INVADERS * And More Gaming Goodness! :D

Milena Guberinic
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Toronto
Ontario
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Mina's Fresh Cardboard
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Hi Friends!


This was a super busy week for me! SO much work! But games were played and fun was had, so it was a good one! Plus, I got to nominate
Sara Erickson
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Bozeman
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to be this week's Geek of the Week! If you'd like to learn a bit more about Sara, you can check out her thread here. She is a very interesting and amazingly kind person!

Another awesome thing that happened was that I got to chat with the illustrious Richard Ham of Rahdo Runs Through about one of my top 10 games of the year - Terraforming Mars! You can catch the video here:



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What's New?




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The Overview


Unsurprisingly, Roll Player is a clever riff on role playing games. In this game, you build a role playing character by drafting dice and buying skills and traits and weapons and armor.

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You start the game with a race (Elf, Human, Dwarf, etc.), a class, which indicates the values you are striving to reach in each attribute (strength, dexterity, intelligence, etc.), a backstory, which indicates the colors of dice you are trying to position in certain attributes, and an alignment, which indicates your moral perspective that can shift throughout the game as you acquire various skills.

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Sample starting situation for 2-player game

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Alignments

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Back stories

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Attributes

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Weapons - You can only carry two hands' worth of weapons and they give you various benefits

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Armor - Sets of armor score an increasing number of points

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Skills - Shift your alignment and give you in-game benefits


Each turn, you roll a number of dice equal to 1 + the number of players, arrange those dice in ascending value on turn order cards numbered 1 through 3 and then select dice based on the current turn order. You must then place a dice in the leftmost free column of any attribute row of your character sheet. When you place a die, you can use the ability associated with that row, which may be increasing/decreasing the value of a die by 1, swapping two dice, flipping a die, re-rolling a die, etc. Then, you get a chance to buy skill, trait, or armor from the market, which will give you a one-time or ongoing ability throughout the game.

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The game ends when all players have filled all attribute rows with dice. You get points for fulfilling your class goals (i.e. having a sum total of die values in each attribute row that matches the targets on the class card), fulfilling your backstory (i.e. having the right colors of dice in the right row x column), and satisfying your alignment goal. You also gain points for sets of armor cards and gain bonuses from trait cards.

The Review


Played Prior to Review 8x






1. Unique theme
This game is about creating a role playing character! Um...Yeah. I definitely can't think of any other game that comes even close to attempting to accomplish this type of feat.

2. Unique game
Roll Player is unique thematically, but also mechanically. It's quite heavy for a dice game, as you have to keep quite a large number of scoring criteria, effects, and options in mind throughout the game.

It also has an interesting and unusual system of dice activation and allocation. The row in which you place each die determines the dice manipulation ability you activate. And the value of the die you place contributes to the row's attribute score at the end of the game. And the COLOR of each die contributes to your tableau's backstory score at the end of the game. So the dice you select and place interact in many ways...

3. Much to think about for a dice/card game
The thing that surprised me most when playing Roll Player for the first time was the sheer number of ways in which to score points and the number of ways in which those interacted with each other.

When selecting dice, you have to think about a) turn order, with lower valued dice ensuring you get to buy market cards first but also ensuring that you'll likely have difficulty with point b), b) fulfilling your character's class requirements by filling attribute rows with dice that add up to specific values, c) fulfilling your character's backstory requirements by positioning dice of the right colors in the right slots, and d) fulfilling the conditions of various trait cards you acquire over the course of the game, which may demand you have a certain configuration of values or colors of dice in rows and columns on your character sheet.

Coordinating all these goals and getting them to work together makes for a brain bending challenge, particularly when you are first learning to play the game. And even once you've played a couple of times, determining which tradeoffs to make to squeeze out an extra point can provide quite the challenge. Games of Roll Player tend to be close scoring affairs, so finding a way to squeeze out ONE extra point can make the difference between winning and losing.

4. High replay value
Roll Player is compulsively replayable for a number of reasons. First, the game is multi-faceted and challenging, demanding that you play it more than once or twice to become sufficiently able to "play" with it rather than just "explore" it. So, there is some intrinsic replay value to be found here, as you learn to manipulate the game's system and its various scoring challenges.

Second, the game comes with a huge amount of setup and in-game variety. You have 6 different character classes, each of which features a different set of attribute score modifiers, making it easier or harder to achieve certain attribute goals, 6 different class cards, each of which sets a different set of demands for your die totals, 16 backstory cards, each of which sets a different set of demands for your die colors and positions, and 17 alignment cards, each of which sets a different alignment demand.

And you will be faced with a different combination of market cards at different times during the course of the game, which will affect the strategies you choose to pursue.

5. Sense of accomplishment for having created something
I have an issue with how thematic Roll Player feels WHILE playing, which I will discuss in the soblue section below, but I have no issue with how I feel at the end of each and every game! I adore games that make me feel like I have created something unique and this one certainly gives me that feeling. And unlike most "building" games that focus on buildings and parks and cities, this one focuses on "building" an individual being! And beings are the most interesting of things! They have stories and experiences, they are hurt and they are healed, they are loved and they love, and they are hated and they hate! And all these things are related to their traits and skills and things, which are what you get to add to your character during the game. Perhaps it's just me, but I love coming up with a rationale for all the possessions and characteristics my Elf or Orc or Dwarf or Human has at the end of each game.

6. Double-sided boards with male/female versions of each character
The boards are double sided, having a female character on one side and a male one on the other! Score! I can be a female Elf just as well as a female Dwarf! I just wouldn't connect with the game as well if I couldn't play in my preferred gender.

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soblue


soblue 1. Production is somewhat lacking
While the double-sided player boards are nice, they are prone to ripping if you are not exceedingly careful while punching chits. I ended up ripping up a few player boards because the chits that live in the dice holes were super sticky. Consider yourselves warned: take care when punching.

Production is lacking in one more respect; the lack of reminders on player boards. You can obtain money in various ways in the game - by playing a gold die to your tableau, by discarding a market card, by selecting an initiative with gold on it, and by filling an attribute row. While it is relatively easy to keep track of the first 3 means of gaining gold, the final one sometimes gets forgotten. I wish the player boards had included a reminder for this, but perhaps it would have led to too much clutter...I am not a graphic artist, but forgetting to gain gold when filling an attribute row has been an issue in nearly every one of our games.

soblue 2. Rulebook is poorly laid out
The rulebook is not laid out in the way I've come to expect rulebooks to be. It contains giant blocks of text that aren't broken up by enough pictures or examples and make referencing them a bit on the difficult side. Don't take this too seriously. The rulebook does teach you how to play the game well and I like the fact that the back of the book provides a "Quick Reference," but I do wish it was laid out better for easier reference. I also wish it came with player aids...

soblue 3. Much randomness
This is a dice/card game, so if you are a high-strategy, control-obsessed type of gamer, you might find yourself at odds with the basic premise of this game. But then again, if that's your style of play, it's unlikely you'd be looking at this review. Just be aware that the random flip of cards (particularly in a two- or three-player game, where a subset of cards is removed) and dice can, in some cases, make it impossible to perfectly accomplish what you've set out to accomplish. But that's ok with me!

soblue 4. Theme vs. no theme vs....
Despite the promise of theme, while playing I have never once felt like I was developing a character or story. And perhaps that's my fault and lack of experience and imagination in the role playing world, but this has been a slight disappointment. The game feels like another mechanical dice game. And that's fine! It feels like a very good and unique mechanical dice game, but it doesn't feel thematic WHILE PLAYING! HOWEVER, once you've completed the process, you do get a great sense of accomplishment for having created a character and you can tell a neat story about his or her life adventures! Why was your Elf a devoted maniac? Why did he need a full set of chainmail? Why did he fail at loyalty? All these questions need answering!!! I for one can't finish a game of Roll Player WITHOUT coming up with fun answers to all these questions!

soblue 5. Artwork is poopy
Obviously, art appreciation is a very personal thing, but for me, the artwork in Roll Player just doesn't work. It's dark, dingy, and all blends together. But this is my review and my opinion. The artwork doesn't exactly deter from the fun experience of the game, but I think the game would attract more people if it looked a little nicer.

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Final Word


Roll Player is super! I was hooked on its wild dice rolling, extensive scoring options, and fun theme from the start! The artwork may be less than sublime, but I'm happy to look past that to the fun and pleasant game that lies beneath. And the stories I get to tell at the end of each game are just priceless! Roll Player is a sweet treat at any time of day! Deep enough for a main course but procedurally light enough for an end-of-night session, it's dice-rolling perfection!

MINA'S LOVE METER heartheartheartheart LOTS OF LOVE


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The Overview


Both Peter and I are great fans of Factory Fun and Funner and enjoyed Samara when we played it, so I decided to Kickstart Corné van Moorsel's Habitats on that basis. Plus, the game comes with a random assortment of adorable porcelain animals! That totally sold me!

Habitats is a maze/puzzle game in which you first use your animal avatar to navigate a 4x4 grid of landscape/animal tiles in order to claim one tile each turn and then add these to your own wildlife park. Your animal avatar's orientation is important, as it changes orientation to face the tile it has just taken and it can only move diagonally or forward to select habitat tiles from the grid. It can never move backwards.

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Starting tiles

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Each animal tile you add to your park has a habitat requirement and won't score unless it is surrounded by the correct configuration of habitats.

The game is played over the course of 3 rounds, at the end of each of which you will score a goal tile revealed at the start of the game.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic


At the end of the game, you will add the points shown on the animals you have managed to surround with the proper habitats, for flowers, for tourists (which like to see LARGE habitats of specific types or SINGLE habitats of specific types), access roads (which must be surrounded by a specific number of tiles), and outposts (which score for adjacent animals/flowers or animals/flowers in a straight/diagonal line).

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The Review


Played Prior to Review 7x






1. Fun and unique production choice
Aside from being a Corné van Moorsel tile-laying game, the main draw of Habitats for me was the unique production choice made by the designer/publisher to feature a random assortment of ceramic animal characters in each copy of his game. I love surprises, so this was a very exciting feature of the game for me! However, if you are averse to surprises, you may not be similarly enthused.

2. Quick and easy to learn and play
Habitats takes about 20 minutes to play with two players and is very easy to teach. You can explain the game in about 2 minutes and be off and playing without problems.

3. Satisfying
I love building things and Habitats allows me to build one of my favorite things - a wildlife park! The tiles are cute and colorful and make the most fun, animal-filled little tableau you can appreciate at the end of each game.

4. Some planning, some tactical maneuvering
There is a lot to think about in this puzzle! First, you have the tile selection puzzle that forces you to plan your animal's movement to ensure you are able to gain tiles that will work well together and then you have the tile positioning puzzle in which you have to plan an optimal spatial arrangement for your park in order to both satisfy the round objectives and the requirements of each animal.

The tile selection puzzle is made interesting by the fact that your animal figure's orientation determines the tiles from which you are able to select. You can only select tiles in front or to either side of your figure, so if you move into a corner, you end up restricting your options, but it can be necessary to do this at times because a particularly attractive animal or rare habitat is waiting in the corner.

And the tile laying puzzle is made interesting by the dual nature of planning your park in a way that creates synergies between animals with similar habitat requirements and the end-of-round objectives.

5. Great scaling
I have played Habitats a number of times with two players and once with 5 players and the game didn't change very much between 2 and 5 players. Other than duration and the fact that you have to keep track of more than a single other player's tableau when considering objective scoring, the game plays out surprisingly similarly.

Prior to playing with 5 players, I assumed that having so many animals on board would result in much randomness in tile selection, but the fact that the board increases in size with player count and the fact that objectives scale as well helped to ensure that the game actually felt pretty much the same. I will say that I preferred playing with two because the game was a bit too long for me with 5, but it was generally equally challenging and enjoyable at both player counts.

6. High replay value
Habitats may not be a super deep game, so intrinsic replay value may not be the highest; you can pretty much discover most of what the game has to offer in a single play. HOWEVER, that isn't to say that the game isn't open to repeat plays. There are plenty of variable factors in setup and gameplay to ensure that each game presents you with a unique puzzle.

First, there are 9 end-of-round scoring goals and you will only use 3 in any given game. Plus, those goals can be arranged in many different ways because they are not round specific!

Second, you have a box CHOCK FULL of habitat/animal tiles! Particularly if you are playing with two players, you will not come even close to using HALF, let alone, all of them! The unique layout and development of the 4x4 grid of tiles will also ensure that you have to solve a different movement puzzle each time in order to select tiles with the most synergies!

7. Learning
If you have kids and you want to teach them about animals, Habitats would be a great way to introduce them to some of the lesser known species! I had never heard of a number of animals in the game before playing myself!

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soblue


soblue 1. Rulebook makes me sad
The rulebook is not very clear when it comes to explaining key aspects of the game. There are a few items that should have been spelt out explicitly rather than implicitly assumed to enhance ease of initial learning. Specifically, the thing that bothers me most about the rulebook is the fact that it does not spell out the fact that animals DO NOT block each other! They can skip over each other to move to the next available tile if needed. The only movement they cannot make is a backwards movement.

This rule was something that we played incorrectly a number of times. In fact, we played it incorrectly until one of us got blocked in a corner and became unable to take a single tile from the grid. At that point, we scoured the book and had to assume from the wording that animals do not in fact block each other.

soblue 2. Keeping track of animals can be fiddly
The rulebook suggests that you place animal tiles whose habitat requirements have yet to be fulfilled sideways and ones whose habitat requirements have been fulfilled right side up in your park in order to keep track of what you need to work on and what you've achieved. While it is certainly desirable to track your progress and keep ALL the various objectives you've taken on in clear view at all times, the tile rotating suggestion isn't a very good one. I have thin fingers and I'm quite careful when manipulating tiles and I still find myself tearing my entire park apart when trying to rotate the tiles. I think tokens or some other tracking device should have been included in the game to make this process a bit more elegant.

soblue 3. The ceramic animals are a bit scratchy on the bottom
I had to cover the bottoms of the animals with nail polish because they kept scratching my table. Beware, they may scratch yours if it's delicate.

Final Word


If you love a good puzzle, Habitats is sure to please. This dual-phase, multi-layered puzzle will challenge the most capable puzzlers and the unique pieces used in the game will delight younger and older players alike. It might be silly, but I love the process of selecting my animal avatar at the start of each game. It makes each game a little special. And the puzzles make each game highly compelling!

MINA'S LOVE METER heartheartheart SOME LOVE


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First Impressions




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I always look forward to What's Your Game? games and Railroad Revolution was their big release of 2016! The designers' (Marco Canetta and Stefania Niccolini) previous collaboration, ZhanGuo, is my favorite WYG title to date, so I was EXTRA eager to try Railroad Revolution! And it couldn't come soon enough!!!!

In Railroad Revolution, you are developing the American railway system and, of course, competing to do the best job! You start the game with a small set of workers. Each turn, you place a worker to perform a main action and then may perform an auxiliary action that depends on the color of worker you placed. Actions include things like building stations in cities to which you are connected, extending your rail network, building telegraph offices, and selling off a rail or building to raise money.

The game ends when one player has built all of their buildings, at which point you gain points for completed goals, having built connected buildings in telegraph spots, your performance on performance tracks for your buildings and rail network (because no WYG game is complete without TRACKS! ), and face-up trains.

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Railroad Revolution turned out to be everything I was hoping it would be AND MORE! At first blush, it seems like a simple worker placement game, but the interaction between the main actions, which are unaffected by the type of worker you place, and the bonus actions, which are affected by the type of worker you place, can create quite a planning conundrum, primarily because you don't get your workers back until you've used them all! So, you have to carefully plan the type and sequence of actions to which you commit your various workers. Fortunately, the game's system isn't quite as simple as all this (though even what I've described thus far is far from "simple" in objective game terms). You do have ways of manipulating the types of workers you have and ways of acquiring additional workers through the actions you take, which further complicates your sequencing operations!

One thing I will say that I dislike about this and most WYG games is the artwork. This game looks like every other WYG title and every other WYG title looks as boring as any single fleck of sand in the desert. I do wish heavy games could look as fun and exciting as...say, IELLO games like Sea of Clouds. More pretty, please! Gamers who prefer heavier games aren't immune to aesthetic considerations and prettier artwork would only draw more people to these types of games! Oh well. I'm not a publisher, so what do I know?

Ultimately, Railroad Revolution offers an intensely satisfying combination of worker placement and route building that I can't wait to further explore!

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Phalanxx is a game I purchased at Spiel, but lost track of due to a) its small size and b) the hotness of the others. However, it is a game that deserves to get attention. A unique mix of area control, dice-based action selection, and card drafting with a civ theme, Phalanxx is surprisingly satisfying.

In Phalanxx, you lead one of up to four competing factions, vying to rule the now waning empire of Alexander the Great. Each turn, you may first buy an Era card to add to your hand. Era cards give you strength, scoring options, or allow you to bend the rules of the game in various ways, but they have conditions that must be met before they can be played and the conditions typically require either that you have a certain amount of cash or that you have a certain configuration of dice on your board.

You start the game with 3 "home" dice and pair them with "traveling" dice you roll each turn. The pairs of dice determine which actions are available to you. You may
1) Play an era card to your tableau
2) Conquer a region
3) Push the "traveling" die into the position of one of your home dice to replace it
4) Take income and exchange one of your home dice with a home die of another player with the same value.

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To do most actions, the traveling die you use has to be the same or higher value of a corresponding home die in your display, so you are able to take UP TO 3 actions, but that number is not guaranteed. The only exceptions are the "push" and "exchange" actions.

The game ends when the stack of Era cards has been depleted, at which point you get points for strength, scoring cards, territory control, having sets of unit types if you've fulfilled certain conditions, and having engaged in warfare during the game.

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Phalanxx is a unique game. It combines a very clever and unique dice-based action selection system with combat, area control, and card drafting and thus occupies a unique niche. It is also cleverly scaled (only half the map and a subset of cards are used when playing with two players) and built to encourage player interaction by creating point-based incentives for fighting. I certainly look forward to trying this out again!

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SCYTHE IS BACK!!! WOHOO!!!

This week, Peter picked up my Scythe expansion from Board Game Bliss and I had to take it out for a spin ASAP! Of course! Scythe is only one of my top 5 games of the year and one of my top 10 games of all time!

The Invaders from Afar expansion simply adds two new factions to the game - purple monkey girl and green boar guy! They do have names. They are the Albion and Togawa "factions." Albion has flags they can drop on territories as they move around the board, thus increasing the number of territories they control at the end of the game and Togawa has traps they can drop on territories as their leader moves around the board, thus laying fierce traps for their opponents and potentially adding to the number of territories they control at the end of the game if said traps don't trigger.

In addition to their new ways of gaining control over territories, the Togawa and Albion factions have another interesting feature - they don't have a mech ability that grants them an extra movement point. HOWEVER, they both have mech abilities that modify their movement in other ways, allowing them to move onto and off lakes and across rivers.

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Overall, I was quite pleased with the new factions. For one thing, they add my favorite two colors to the game - GREEN AND PURPLE! But aside from that silliness, they legitimately change the way you play the game, forcing you to consider the best places to drop your traps, approach movement from different perspectives, and generally play the game a bit differently. Of course, if you won't be playing the game with 6 or 7 players, it isn't a NECESSARY expansion per se, but it definitely adds a nice bit of variety to the game.

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Apparently, Arkham Horror Card Game is the most unlikely game for me to obtain. But I did!

Arkham Horror Card Game is an LCG in which you build a deck of cards to represent your character's abilities and actions before diving into the campaign.

You and your friends take on the roles of investigators who are trying to "solve" mysteries in a series of connected scenarios by exploring various locations, fighting and evading monsters, and fulfilling a variety of objectives.

The game revolves around two decks - an agenda deck, representing the enemies' progress towards their goal and an objective deck, representing the players' progress towards their goal.

Each round, you perform the following phases:
1. Mythos phase - Place a doom token on the current agenda and advance the agenda deck if the doom requirement of the current agenda has been fulfilled
2. Investigation phase - Each player performs 3 actions, choosing from among the following: draw a card, gain a resource, activate a card ability, engage an enemy, investigate a location, move to a new connected location, play a card from hand by paying required resources, evade an enemy, or fight an enemy
3. Enemy phase - Enemies move and attack
4. Upkeep phase - Ready exhausted cards, each player draws 1 card and gains 1 resource, discard down to 8 hand cards

The game ends if all players are killed, players fulfill their objective, or the monster agenda deck runs out. Whether you win or lose, you will read a scenario outcome from the campaign guide and may gain experience based on your progress.

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This game. Ugh. This game. First, it took FOREVER to set up. We played the introductory scenario and by the time we found all the cards we needed to build our two decks and all the cards we needed to build the monster deck and the locations, we were already done. It seriously took that long (90 min to get through the rulebook and setup process) soblue. By the time we were finished setting up, I was ready to be done with the game.

Next, it is soooo random. You have a HUGE deck of cards that you will never get through and whether you succeed or fail at fights, investigations, or any other tests is very much determined by having the right cards with the right symbols and drawing the right nasty random chits of randomness that modify the character stats being tested.

That said, I got an odd sense of enjoyment from the game. I was both frustrated with the randomness and intrigued by the prospect of going through a campaign. The game felt like a combination of Elder Sign without dice and Mansions of Madness without all the awesomeness STUFF and story of that game ( ).

I also enjoyed the fact that you DON'T have to build a deck for your character if you want to. I am pretty much done with pre-game deck building (Magic burned me out on that stuff), so it was a pleasant surprise to find suggested decks for each character. Of course, it's probably preferable that you modify these decks to suit your preferences and the goals of each scenario, but the fact that I don't necessarily HAVE to do that and the fact that I don't have to start from scratch if I do decide to do that are encouraging.

Having only played the introductory scenario, which is not part of the proper campaign, there isn't much more that I can add, but I will continue to play on!

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What's Not So New But Still Exciting?


Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars was the first game we played this week because I was to join Rahdo on his Final Thoughts video for it! I needed a refresher because I hadn't played it since BEFORE ESSEN SPIEL!!!

In this game, I got a crazy starting hand/corporation combo! I was Phobo and had a card that further increased the value of my titanum and a card that allowed me to use titanium and money to build lakes! That set me on a course of titanium domination. I focused on keeping only cards that increased my titanium production or allowed me to make use of my titanium early in the game. And the fact that I was able to create lakes out of money and titanium meant that I was also able to get my TR rating and round-by-round income up relatively quickly as well. Peter wasn't too far behind. He had a crazy heat thing going, but he failed to focus on actually doing things on Mars enough, as usual, and ended up losing.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic


Aeon's Endx3
We have now played Aeon's End nearly 10 times and each game has played out very differently! I adore how entirely differently each nemesis makes each game. The Glutton has been my favorite because he changes the end game condition and makes a bunch of market cards effectively useless. His attacks eat market cards and the game ends when the market runs out of cards. He basically ignores players and Gravehold, so market cards that give you life become much less sexy than they would be otherwise. You just have to collect as many aggressive spells as you can as quickly as possible and kick his ass to the ground!

Love this game! In fact, I love it so much that I decided to do a Mina's Game Face series (like I did for 4 Gods ). You can see my progress up to now at the end of this post.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!
First Class eluded me the first two times we played it, but I think I finally got it!

We played with Modules A and D. D introduces the concept of passengers and baggage. These cards have cabin requirements (i.e. they can only be placed in cabins that have been upgraded to a certain level) and they either provide money (passengers) or action bonuses and points (baggage).

I LOVED the passenger/baggage module. I love upgrading and expanding my trains rather than focusing on the Paris connection, so I was delighted to find a new way to squeeze even more points out of my train! In this game, Peter focused on building his Paris connection. As usual. He kept making many points and scoring many bonuses each round. His bonuses SEEMED much more effective than my train points, but in the end, we ended up tied! TIED! I was happy to find that my lack of Paris connecting didn't result in an epic fail! It does appear that you can focus on either aspect of the game when playing with this combination of modules! And that makes me happy!

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From gallery of milenaguberinic


Encore!
Noch Mal! Always a delight! Fast, fun, and filled with dice and colors! In this game, I was focused on filling up the colors as soon as possible, while Peter was focused on filling up the columns. What I learned from this game was that the color completion bonuses can be quite effective!

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Round House
We played with the promo "expert" cards for the first time this week! I didn't even know I had them!!! I threw them in with a bunch of other promos I received during the Spiel fair and simply forgot about them. Well, I righted that wrong this week!

I typically focus on hiring helpers who can add to my jewelry collection, but they didn't become available in this game, so I decided to focus on fulfilling goals instead. I had the Wealthy Man, who helped me gain points whenever I got gold resources. I eventually managed to collect a crazy set of goal cards that gave me bonuses every turn I acquired any resource, which created a kind of crazy loop of point and goal card acquisition. Needless to say, I won by a loooooooooooooooooooooong shot.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


51st State: Master Set
We hadn't played 51st State Master Set in FOREVER (all the Essen releases pushed my earlier favorites of the year out of mind) and I am a bit dependent on it, so I HAD to get a game of it in this week!

For some reason, I KNEW I was going to draw the Hegemony. I JUST KNEW IT! I saw the pink-haired punk girl and immediately thought, "YEP. That's gonna be me." And sure enough, it was. Peter drew the Appalachians.

I started the game with a great combination of cards that allowed me to gain guns and then use those to gain points and various benefits whenever I razed. So, I spent the rest of the game razing heck and it was over in no time!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Pandemic: Iberia
After last week's miserable defeat, this week, we were determined to save the world from Typhus! The various disease characteristics in Iberia dramatically change the way you have to approach the game. Typhus makes the red disease more difficult to treat, demanding that you spend two actions instead of one to treat the red disease in any city containing 2 or more red disease cubes. This means you either ignore the red disease and let it run rampant or try to take care of it before it gets out of hand by purifying water in the red regions and/or treating single cubes. We decided to go the ignore/purify water strategy because I had the Agrarian role, which allowed me to purify water as an action without discarding any cards. That was nice. And Peter was the railway man, so he just kept building our rail network in the red region so we could zip over there whenever the need arose. We ended up taking care of Typhus quite easily! But we did play on easy mode this time . Regular was way too hard! Excited to play this some more! The new hospital functions, railways, and disease attributes change the game for the better for sure!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Colony
We hadn't played Colony in a while and I was feeling something quick and dicey one night and Peter saw it on the shelf, so out it came!

Peter was going for a hoarding strategy because he didn't want to repeat his typical Fallout Shelter wins. He got two Stockpiles and expanded his storage, but that was useless against my two-pronged approach of Fallout Shelter and Fort Antonia. Of course, it was only ineffective because he failed to expand his dice pool as quickly as he normally does, which is something he said at the end of the game. Sometimes switching your strategy can leave you fumbling for no good reason!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Honshū
I love the alternate scoring cards in Honshu and while we had played through most of them already, we had never actually tried scoring card #1! This one allows you to deliver 2 resources to each factory at the end of the game, which makes hoarding resources very attractive!

In addition to hoarding resources, Peter decided to focus on lakes, while I went for city scoring. And Peter ended up winning by 1 point!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
This was the FASTEST game of Clank! EVER!!! FASTEST! It lasted about 20 minutes and I only managed to get a handful of cards into my deck before it was over.

Early in the game, I picked up a couple of chalices from the ? tiles and quickly decided to race to a reasonably located artifact and get the heck out of the dungeon. I could see that Peter was trying to get to the 25-point artifact and I wanted to ensure he was dead before he could get to it! Because I'm evil like that.

My progress through the dungeon was sped by the fact that the starting market display was filled with movement cards. I was able to stuff my deck with those and run, run, run! Of course, I made it out of the dungeon in record time and just had to wait for Peter to get out. He did manage to get an artifact, but had to give up the 25-point one when he realized what I was up to.

I just love how different this game feels depending on the market cards and the side of the board you're playing! FUN!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Inis
This was the FASTEST game of Inis EVER!!!! It really was! When I got Exploration AND the Druid AND the Geis counterspell thing in my starting hand, I knew what I had to do. I decided to do my darnest to gain control over 6 territories. It's my favorite way to win the game, so that worked out nicely . I could see that Peter was going for the sanctuary control victory condition and he quickly caught onto the fact that I was trying to rule the world. Of course, because I had all the cards I did, he had all the cards that allowed him to place dudes on the map, which left me at a bit of a disadvantage when it came to unit count, but I kept getting some combination of the Expansion, Geis, and Druid in my hand in each subsequent round and very quickly managed to overrun the map. I feel like Peter COULD have done something about that had he started to fight me early. He did take out a bunch of my units, but he didn't move into as many territories early in the game to pick fights as I would have had I been him. Oh well.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic

I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS ARTWORK! LOOK!!!!!


Rolling America
This was yet another game of Rolling America that ended in a tie. Of course, this game tends to be close, but Peter and I just can't seem to stop ending things in ties! Peter was spending FOREVER on trying to perfectly plan his little American paradise with each die roll and I was just intuitively plopping numbers down wherever they seemed like they wouldn't cause too much trouble later on. And we ended in a tie. I think. We often make mistakes in this game...

From gallery of milenaguberinic


Dream Home
This was yet another game of Dream Home that ended in a tie. For the past THREE GAMES of Dream Home, Peter and I have ended in a tie! I was focused on decorating the heck out of my home, hoping to get the Interior Decorator at some point, while Peter was focused on screwing the heck out of me every turn! He managed to stay first player throughout a majority of the game's duration because every time I took the first player marker from him, he would just yank it right back the next turn. I stopped trying at some point. It worked out...I guess. I was quite sad that he managed to get the pickup truck...I feel like a failure if I fail to get the pickup truck.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


***


Fresh Cardboard


1. Ulm - Ulm! I've heard great things about this game from friends and I can't wait to finally try it myself!
2. Touria - I'm a big fan of Inka and Markus Brand, so this game was an inevitability. The theme and the two-phase race system are an interesting combination (and by interesting I mean odd), but the way the actions are executed (i.e. with rotating castle thingies!) sealed the deal!
3. Rome: City of Marble - I REALLY wanted to try this game while I was Dice Tower Con. It looks so super cool! I do love puzzly, tile-laying games, so I was quite confident I'd enjoy it. However, I never got the chance! When I was free, somebody was playing it and when I was playing something else, it was available. Well, I will finally try it! Excited!

***


Next Week...


Look forward to a full review for Aeon's End and, of course, something else!

***


MINA'S LOVE METER

angry Burn it! - I dislike this game so much that it makes me angry. (I rate these 4 or less on the BGG scale)
Dislike - I don't like this game, but I can see why others like it.
(5 on BGG scale)
heart Some like - I find this game somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really grab me. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this game, but it is unlikely to stay in my collection for very long.
(5.5 to 6.5) on BGG scale)
heart heart Like - I like this game and appreciate the design. I am happy to play this game occasionally when the mood strikes and enjoy doing so.
(7 to 7.5 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart Some love - I love this game. It's not perfect, but it really appeals to me and I will play it frequently.
(7.5 to 8 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart Lots of love - I really love this game. The design really speaks to me. I want to play it most of the time.
(8 to 9 on BGG scale)
heart heart heart heart heart All love all the time - I ADORE this game and can see myself playing it many times and for many years. I would go to sleep clutching it in my arms and want to play it all day every day...only not literally because that would be insane.
(9 to 10 on BGG scale)


***


heart THANK YOU FOR READING heart


From gallery of milenaguberinic

Incomplete Aeon's End love!
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