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 We Camp in the Villages of Valeria * New Review for VILLAGES OF VALERIA & My Board Game Base Camp Experience! * Lots of First Impressions and More!

Milena Guberinic
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Hi Friends!


The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity that ended up in my getting sick YET AGAIN! Only this time, I ended up with no fewer than two infections AND I managed to fall on my face and dislocate my front tooth! I am clearly a disaster magnet, so if you ever do see me, you may be wise to stay far, far away!

As for the whirlwind of activity, part of that had to do with my attending Board Game Base Camp in New Hampton, Ontario. More about that below!

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***


Reviews




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The Overview


I have a confession to make. I had very little hope for this game. After playing Quests for Valeria, I just assumed that the Valeria games would all be too light, too simple, and too long for me. But assumptions lead to assuming, so I decided to keep an open mind. I backed the Kickstarter project for Villages for the artwork and decided to give it a try. I mean, it is a completely different game.

In Villages of Valeria, you and your friends take on the roles of intrepid Dukes, building villages around your castles by playing cards into your tableau in an effort to build the biggest and best village, one worthy of the title of CAPITAL!

To set up the game, you lay out two rows of cards - a 5-card row of adventurers and a 5-card row of buildings and create a bank of 12 coins for a 2-player game. You give each player a starting castle and a hand of 6 building cards and 3 coins. Each player then selects a building card to play upside-down as a resource underneath their castle. And the game beings!

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Each turn, you reset your tableau, moving any coins on your resources to your supply and then select one of 5 actions. Each of your opponents may then follow your action by taking a weaker version of it. The actions are:
1) Harvest - draw 3 building cards (followers draw 1)
2) Develop - discard 1 card from hand to add one other card underneath your castle as a resource (followers must discard 2)
3) Build - pay the cost of 1 building card from your hand to add it to your village as a building and take any immediate bonuses or effects to which you are entitled AND draw a card. You pay costs by putting your coins on resources above your castle OR any opponent's castle, but ones you put on your opponents' castles will stay with them (followers don't get to draw a card)
4) Recruit - pay 1 gold coin to the bank to add an adventurer to your village. You must fulfill the adventurer's requirements, which always means having a certain number of a certain type of building in your display (followers must discard 2 gold)
5) Tax - take 1 gold coin from the bank and draw 1 card (followers draw 1 card)

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Buildings

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Adventurers


The game ends when one player has a total of 12 buildings and/or adventurers in their tableau. You get points for buildings and adventurers in your village, points granted by special powers, and 1 point per gold coin in your reserve. The winner is proclaimed the LORD (or LADY...mostly LADY ) OF VALERIA! At least that's the case when Peter and I play!

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The Review


Played prior to review: 7x






1. Super pretty
Wow! The artwork in Villages of Valeria is sublime! I love the fact that even the individual player starting cards have unique castle illustrations!

2. Quick
Villages of Valeria takes about 20 minutes to play with two players and this time window is perfectly proportional to what you get out of the game. You get a tense and compelling engine-building experience that won't blow your brains but will challenge your tactical decision-making skills in a short amount of time. What's more, the game is easy to set up and tear down. When setting up, all you have to do is lay out 5 cards of each type and when tearing down the game, all you have to do is put cards of each type together.

3. Plenty of strategic and tactical considerations to generate interest
There are many different types of building and adventurer cards that can help you accomplish many different things and reward you for doing many different things in Villages of Valeria. The key to playing well is recognizing the most synergistic combinations of these based on the contents of your opening hand and the starting display of adventurers. There are cards that reward you for collecting coins, cards that reward you for building certain types of buildings, cards that reward you for collecting adventurers, cards that reward you for collecting resources, etc. You can create a long-term strategy in this game by focusing on fulfilling the requirements of a certain set of scoring cards, gaining buildings that enhance your ability to do that or simply building the things for which you will reap extra rewards.

Despite the fact that you can create and try to follow an overarching VP-generating strategy, you will have to make many tactical tradeoffs throughout the game based on the ever-changing building card display, which means you will have to make some detours and tradeoffs when it comes to fulfilling your strategy. Because the game ends when one player has added their 12th building/adventurer to their tableau, you can't be too picky about the things you add, which means tactical considerations can take precedence over strategic ones. Any VP is a good VP!

4. Limitations create much tension
I love the number of limitations in this game and how much tension they add to each decision. Your hand is limited to 8 cards. While this may seem like many cards, it actually feels like too few when playing because a) you will undoubtedly encounter discarded cards in the building display you will want to draw and won't want to part with any hand cards to draw them, b) you have to use some of your buildings as resources and c) you have to discard one or two cards every time you want to add a card to your tableau as a resource. So you need cards you don't want or want only for their resources, but you are generally accumulating cards you DO want and CAN see as being useful played as BUILDINGS in your tableau. And this creates a huge conundrum when trying to decide which cards you're ok to let go. It's a lovely tension!

Another source of tension in the game is the limited coin pool. You get one point at the end of the game for each coin you own, there are a number of buildings that give you coins when you take certain actions or do so immediately, and you need coins in order to recruit adventurers and generate resources to build buildings. There is even an adventurer who gives you bonus points for hoarding coins! So, you want coins. But coins are limited. There are 12 in a 2-player game, which seems like plenty, but it's really not. Given the fact that these coins are so valuable, it can be quite tempting to hoard them. BUT, because this is a game of efficiency, you also have to evaluate whether it may be worth shedding a coin or two for more points elsewhere.

Everything is in a very fine balance in this game. I didn't appreciate this in my first session, but each one after has led to a greater appreciation of the subtle tradeoffs and tensions the limitations in the game create.

5. Cool interaction
Villages of Valeria features a very interesting form of player interaction in its resource-generation system. The fact that you can build buildings without having the requisite resources by essentially giving your opponent coins means that you have a sort of interdependent relationship with your opponents. However, it also means that the resource has to be worth at least a point to you! This tends to happen more early in the game than it does later in the game, but the fact that you are racing to get the most points in as little time as possible means that you are inherently encouraged to constantly consider this tradeoff. I love games with this type of player interdependence. They really mess with your mind!

Another interesting form of interaction in this game are the discard piles. Each of the building card piles is a discard pile. You CHOOSE the pile to which you discard cards when you do so and this can allow you to bury cards that you see as advantageous to your opponent(s).

6. A great sense of progress
Villages of Valeria is one of those engine-building games that starts out REALLY slowly and then ramps up REALLY quickly! You start out unable to build anything at all or the simplest buildings at best, but as you add resources to your kingdom and build buildings that give you bonuses for performing certain actions and give you free resources for building certain types of cards, you become better and better able to build more buildings and better and better rewarded for taking particular actions. This makes you feel really powerful and accomplished and that's a great feeling to experience in a game! No matter how shitty your day, no matter how little you feel you've done, you can feel like you accomplished SOMETHING of value, like you've created SOMETHING that functions in a quick 20-minute time period. Thumbs up for that! And for engine builders in general!

7. Lots of variability for high replay value
Villages of Valeria isn't an incredibly deep game, but it does feature a number of different cards and strategies to discover and explore and these give it enough depth to encourage you to play it numerous times. The card variety in the game also gives rise to a different game each time you play, challenging you to create the best synergies with the unique combination of adventurers and buildings on display. And this is great because it means you will have many different puzzles to solve in every game!

8. You can appreciate the beautiful kingdom you've created at the end of the game
You know I love a game that makes me feel like I've accomplished something!? Well, this one really makes me proud of my pretty kingdom! It's a great, synergistic machine AND it's GORGEOUS!

From gallery of milenaguberinic

Events are an optional addition to the game


soblue


soblue 1. Events are unnecessary
Villages of Valeria has all the randomness inherent to a card-based game. Luck of the draw is always there, but when you add the events, which randomly arise and randomly reward or punish players, the level of randomness is too much for me. I'm sure some people will appreciate having an extra layer of unpredictability and the extra bit of game-to-game variety the event cards add, but I'm not one of them.

soblue 2. Adventurer non cycling in 2-player game
The fact that adventurers only cycle when they are taken means that the adventurer row does not change much when playing with only 2 players. Of course, this also depends on the extent to which players focus on recruiting adventurers when playing with more than two, but in a two-player game, the lack of adventurer cycling is quite pronounced and can create some stalemates. For example, if the adventurer selection doesn't happen to generate bonuses that fit in either player's strategy or if there are no VP-generating adventurers, the adventurer display tends to rot. Because you have to basically give up a VP/resource-generating coin in order to gain an adventurer, I tend to be choosy about them. And Peter does too. So perhaps this is as much a reflection of the players as it is of the game, but I still feel like the adventurer display should be expanded or somehow modified when playing with two...

soblue 3. Derivative
There isn't much of anything in Villages of Valeria that hasn't been done before. That does not make it a bad game! No, in fact, it's what contributes to making it a great game. It has elements of San Juan/Race for the Galaxy in the role selection element, combined with some simple engine building. However, if you are a stickler for "uniqueness" in your collection, this one might disappoint.

Final Word


Villages of Valeria is one of those too-pretty-to-be-good games. You know the ones? They look so so so so pretty and you have to try them because they look so pretty and you so desperately want them to be good but they are likely to disappoint you with their shallowness and randomness and boringness (ok, I invented the last word, but go with it ). Fortunately, Villages of Valeria is that rare too-pretty-to-be-good game that is ACTUALLY good! It's full of engine-building fun, tension, and pretty buildings and peoples! I would happily play this any time of day or night!

MINA'S LOVE METER heart heart heart SOME LOVE


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First Impressions


More first impressions will come after this section because, although I did spend some time playing games at home, I experienced more new-to-me games at Board Game Base Camp.



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Las Vegas was my first game of 2017! It's a game that had been sitting on my shelf for ages but was never played because frankly, it looked about as dull as one of those round doorknobs. And reading the rules didn't help improve that impression at all. In fact, after I read over the few sentences of rules, I was ready to give up on it. How could something as simple as rolling a few dice and putting them on numbered locations to gain majority be fun? Well, it was actually quite fun. Even with two players.

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The two-player variant for Las Vegas involves neutral dice. Each player gets a set number of player dice and neutral dice. Each turn, you roll ALL your dice and then must place all dice showing any single value in their associated location. Each location has a pile of cash and the player with the most dice in each location gets the highest-valued bank note, the player with the second-most, the second-most valued bank note, etc. The trick is that if there is a tie, all tied dice are removed from the location before money is allocated! This creates a neat tension between the three "players." Because you have to place ALL dice showing the same value, you could end up having to place neutral dice along with your own, taking the chance that your opponent won't roll the same value in neutral dice and either take the majority away from you or create a tie.

Personally, I found myself living in constant fear of the neutral dice, which was a cool aspect of the game. I would try to see what they did and get rid of them as soon as I could and then deal with my own dice. But that would give Peter information as well.

Overall, I found plenty more to enjoy in Las Vegas than I thought I would. It's a relatively random, Yahtzee-like dice-chucking game, but the luck-pushing and area-majority tradeoffs create a lot of tension. And it's over so quickly that you can just refresh the cash and start rolling again! It definitely has an addictive quality...like Las Vegas, I imagine...

***




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Manhattan Project: Energy Empire was a game I had been excitedly awaiting since the Kickstarter was launched! Tableau/engine-building games are among my favorites and this one came with adorable pieces and illustration, so I had every hope it would be a hit.

In Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, you and your friends compete to build the best nation by adding government, industry, and commerce buildings into your tableau and then running them with workers.

Each turn, you place members of your work force, along with units of energy, on one of 3 sections of the board - government, industry, and commerce - to obtain resources, obtain cards, convert resources, obtain money, or obtain energy dice. Every time you activate a certain section of the game board, you may use additional workers (and energy) to activate any and all buildings of that type in your tableau. If you want to place a worker on a board space that is already occupied, you simply have to create a stack of workers/energy one higher than the highest stack already in the space! This means that no space is ever fully blocked.

The timer in the game comes in the form of pollution tokens, which are removed from the game or added to a player's tableau every time a player runs out of workers and has to "reset" their board. When you run out of workers, you must perform a reset action, recovering all your workers from the board and your cards, gaining an objective tile if you have two or more unused workers/energy remaining in your possession when you reset, discarding all remaining energy, and rolling your energy dice to determine how much energy you will have in the following round and whether you will have to add a pollution token to your board or remove it from the game.

Once a single stack of pollution tokens runs out, an event occurs, affecting everyone by generating pollution, blocking off areas of the board, or otherwise altering the rules of the game.

When the game ends, you score points for buildings, energy dice, unpolluted areas of your board, and objective tiles.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


I LOOOOOOOOOVED Manhattan Project: Energy Empire. Had I played more games of it earlier, it would have likely made my honorable mentions for the top 10 of 2016. What do I love about this game?
1) Many ways to score points
2) Huge sense of escalation, as you build synergistic combinations of buildings
3) Too much to do with too few actions! You want to do everything! You want to see what the events are, you want to collect as many energy dice as possible, you want to build ALL the buildings! But you can't!
4) Super pretty! I love the art and graphic design! It makes the game easy to learn and pleasant to play! And I love the fact that you get two starting nations from which to choose and simply use the back of the one you don't choose as a player aid! No waste!
5) Player-controlled game progress - I loved it when players are in charge of their own destiny, particularly when it comes to game duration. You can try to push the game forward or slow it down by how often you reset
6) Tricky tradeoffs - Selecting which energy dice to add to your life can be tricky! The green and blue dice ensure that you can consistently generate energy without pollution, but you can only have so many of these, they are expensive, AND they generate less energy than the ever-so-dangerous nuclear dice! Energy helps you get more done in the game, so the point-to-action tradeoff can be a difficult one to assess.
7) Theme - I had zero interest in the original game due to its theme! However, this theme of nation building and micro managing quite appeals to me!
8) Lots of variety - You have a huge number of starting nations, building cards, and event cards to create a different puzzle every time!

Overall, love! I can't wait to play this a few more times and write a full and proper review! If you love engine-building and worker placement, pick this one up!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


***




From gallery of milenaguberinic


Royals is a multi-layered area-majority game. It isn't a game that was high on my wish list, but when the opportunity to try it arose, I decided to take it!

In this game, you obtain country cards from either a face-up selection or a face-down deck, play those cards to place your influence cubes on members of each country's royalty and also on the corresponding type of royal off the side of the game board. If you are the first to get to a royal, you get a point chip. If you are the first to have influence cubes in all areas of a country, you get a country point chit. If you have a majority of influence in each country when the country deck is depleted, you get an end-of-round point chit. Lots of points chits go around in this game. The game ends after 3 rounds, at which point points are awarded for most influence on each TYPE of royal.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


Royals could be referred to as the ULTIMATE area-majority game because you are vying for SO MANY intertwined majorities. The game changes somewhat from the mad dash to be the first at each location to a slower, more contemplative tug of war over particular areas and royals in the later stages of the game. I found much more to think about here than I expected to, but I don't think the game works particularly well with only two players. Despite the fact that different regions, countries, and royals are associated with different VP values, players can easily part ways and simply stick to certain regions with nobody to bother them. I really feel like a third is needed to mix things up a bit here and provide an additional majority challenge.

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***


Board Game Base Camp


I spent Wednesday playing some new games with friends and Saturday and Sunday at Board Game Base Camp in New Hampton, Ontario! Board Game Base Camp is the brain child of Daryl Andrews, who envisioned a Gathering of Friends-style retreat in the Ontario outback for his friends. A small gathering of about 80 people, this was probably the most intimate "con" I have ever attended. It was an honor to be included in this event and to be able to spend some time with so many lovely designers, reviewers, and representatives of so many renowned publishing companies.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic




Before the great outback adventure, a small group of us gathered for an evening of games at Snakes and Lattes! I'm sure most of you have heard of it because it was one of the first board game cafes ever and is still one of the most famous! The first game played was Sushi Go Party!

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From gallery of milenaguberinic


I had played Sushi Go before, but not Sushi Go party. They are essentially the same game with some rules changes, so if you like one you'll likely enjoy the other. What I did not enjoy about the party version was the fact that there are SOOOOOOOO MANY cards! You have to sort and unsort everything every time you play and that's just too much work for me for what this game offers...which is a great introduction to drafting.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic




Dead Last is a player-elimination-based party game in which you try to be the last man standing round after round in order to gain gold bars.

On each turn, players decide who to eliminate for that turn by playing a single colored card face down to the center of the table, with the color of the card corresponding to the identity of one player. Players can talk to each other and even reveal which player they are selecting for elimination. Anybody who selects the player in the majority is safe, but the player who has been selected for elimination and any player who selected a non-majority color gets eliminated for the round. The last man standing each round receives gold bars and once a player has 20 points worth of gold bars, the game is over and that player wins!

I did not like this game. It was not a game; it was an awful activity that I care not to ever repeat again. I know those sentences made it seem like playing this game was torture - it was not. There were fun people around the table and we could talk when we had been eliminated, but the activity we were engaged in was boring and felt utterly pointless. I actually looked forward to being eliminated each round!

That said, these types of games are typically not my jam, so take what I'm saying with a grain of whatever condiment you prefer.

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After Snakes and Lattes, we ended up getting dinner at The Captain's Boil, which is a super fun place that serves you boiled fish stuff in a bag! You get a bib and gloves and have to eat your foods out of the bag!! It's hilarious! I got my favorite picture of Travis Chance ever at that restaurant! He's an ephemeral being.

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From gallery of milenaguberinic

I got bibbed too!

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Eric Lang shows us his universal sign for crab


After that, we ended up playing some games in a condo lobby because that's what people do. Dig Mars is a strange, strange game. You start the game with a basic ability to move, dig, and carry out tiles and can upgrade these abilities over the course of the game. Your goal is to dig out tiles in a face-down display by placing and moving your tokens, revealing the top tile of a stack with one of your tokens, and collecting one face-up tile with at least one of your tokens on it. At the start of the game, you can only dig and collect basic tiles, but as the game goes on, you will need to improve your ability to dig and collect in order to acquire the advanced tiles. And you actually have to pay POINTS in order to upgrade abilities! Because this is a race game and the first player to a certain number of points wins, this upgrading business creates a lot of tension.

First of all, I'm not sure that we played this game entirely correctly. Second of all, I didn't enjoy it at all. Some of the upgrades seemed completely unnecessary and the key point of tension in the game (i.e. trading points for upgrades) seemed to be eliminated by many of the tile-acquisition bonuses. Oh well.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




We found ourselves at 401 Games at one point and Eric Lang was gushing about this game, so several people ended up getting it. It's a simple push-your-luck game in which you try to collect a group of cards that add up to a value closest to 8 or 28 without going over either value. I played a 3-player game with Amber and Brandan and we both found the game to be overly long, but fun enough. It's quite light and random, so it would be great if it could be played in 10 minutes, but it went on quite a bit longer than that for us.

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Arboretum is one of my favorite light games, but I don't play it nearly enough! I was very happy to have the opportunity to try it with 4 players, but I don't think I care to repeat the experience! I think this game shines with two because a) you have a lot more control and information about the contents of the deck and your opponent's hand and b) the game plays MUCH more quickly. We all had fun, but it went on a bit too long for everyone involved.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




On the first night of Board Game Base Camp, I taught my friends, Jayme and Amber, Honshu. I decided not to throw in the extra rules even though I think they can easily be added even on a first play.

I decided to build lakes because both Amber and Jayme were ignoring them and lakes can be a great source of points if everyone but you is ignoring them. I have played this game so many times with new players now that I see that the city strategy (i.e. building one giant landmass) tends to be the most seductive early on. It was, indeed, one that I was initially drawn to. It's always fun to play this with new people! And old people! Love it!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




After Honshu, we went for Junk Art! This is a dexterity game in which you play numbered, illustrated cards and the player who played the highest number gets to decide which junk piece everybody has to add to their piece of "art." Each round features a different objective and different scoring criteria, so the art you are creating changes accordingly. In one round, you may be trying to build the highest structure, in another a structure with the most pieces. In one round, toppling your artwork may mean nothing, in another it may mean you are eliminated from the round.

I think we all enjoyed Junk Art equally. It's a fun, silly game to play when you want to have a few laughs with friends and family. The colors of the wooden pieces are vibrant and unique and the structures you create elicit interest from passers by.

The only thing I didn't care for about the game is the rulebook and the fact that there is no way you can keep in mind the rules for ALL the different scenarios through which you have to play. You are pretty much learning a new game each round, and as simple as that game may be, it slows down the experience. Still fun!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




The Game of Trains is one of the games I least enjoyed playing at the camp. You start with a train of cards of descending values and have to reverse that to cards of ascending values by drawing cards and using them to replace existing cards in your train or playing face-up cards from the display for their special powers. The game is incredibly random and overly long and I care not to repeat the experience. The end.

From gallery of milenaguberinic




A simple, micro set-collection game in which you build an alpaca!? Such a thing could only come out of Japan! Of course!

Each turn in this game presents you with 3 options
1) draw two cards from a face-down deck and select one to add to your alpaca and discard the other
2) add all cards from the discard pile to your alpaca
3) trade with an opponent.

You are trying to a) build an alpaca with the longest neck, b) collect sets of accessories, and c) avoid poop neck!

This is a simple game, but the trading aspect and the push-your-luck aspect of drawing the discard pile give it a bit of zing! I know, I'm really struggling for words here because it's such a silly game and yet I love it so much! Building alpaca necks is hilarious and trying to setup trades with opponents can lead to some equally hilarious situations!

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Flamme Rouge! I was super stoked to try this game even though I quite dislike both pure cycling and simple race games. In retrospect, I'm glad I put trust in my instincts and avoided picking this up at Spiel because I found little to enjoy.

Flamme Rouge is a race game in which you pilot two racers - a sprinteur and a roleur. Each turn, you draw 3 cards bearing number values from each racer's deck and select one face down to indicate how many spaces each racer will move. Your opponents do this at the same time and you reveal everybody's selection at the same time. Then, you move the racers along the track that many spaces. Yay!

Nay. This would have been fun had it lasted 5 minutes. Otherwise, it's too simple, too repetitive, too repetitive, too repetitive, too repetitive, and too repetitive to be fun or interesting. I would try it again BUT ONLY if I was trying the "advanced" version. I would leave the basic version for young kids.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




A fake artist goes to New York and meets a bunch of goofballs with colored markers who like to make random sexual scribbles!

I LOVED this game! One player is a clue giver. That player gives every other player a card with a word. Everybody sees the same word. One player gets a card with an X. Then, each player adds a single line to draw the word on the clue giver's card. Once everybody has drawn two lines, everybody gets to accuse someone of being Mr. or Ms. X (i.e. fake artist). If the fake artist is found out, they get one chance to save themselves. They don't lose if they can guess what the drawing was!

This game is such a hoot because all the drawings inevitably end up looking like genitalia! Can you guess what this was!?

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Time's Up! Awesome fun! Unfortunately, we played with a bunch of names and they were all the same and nobody knew whose names they were and we were all sad! Great game! Names suck. That is all.



Oh this game is such a delight! In Team Play, you draw cards from a face-up display or a face-down deck and pass cards to your partner to try to help them accomplish goal cards. Goals demand that you collect certain values and/or colors of cards. The game ends when one set of partners has completed 6 goals!

Perhaps it helped the situation that Jayme and I won this game, but I loved it! I loved the fact that you have to keep a close eye on what your partner is drawing in order to ensure you can give them the right cards. And because this is a race game, you are also making tradeoffs about whether you are closer to completing your goals or whether your partner is closer if you both need similar cards! Very cool game!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


***




Prototypes are always on the menu at cons for me! I love playing with pieces that aren't quite yet games! I played a few at Board Game Base Camp!



Rising Sun is Eric Lang's upcoming area-control game and it is BIG! Set in ancient Japan, the game challenges you to gain control over the biggest chunk of Japan by building strongholds, beating up on opponents, and developing your affiliations with various gods and demons. I didn't ask how much I can reveal about the game, so I won't go into any more specifics, but I will say that it is both simple and complex and will appeal to players who are fans of war games. For me, the focus on battles and area majority was too strong, but I'm clearly not the target audience for the game.

I will try to expand my thoughts on this game a bit later on, but this is all I can muster for now. It is 2 am and I am super tired and quite sick.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic

This is one of the many reasons I love prototypes

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




Delve is an upcoming tile-laying/dice-rolling game in which you and your friends compete to collect the most loot from the dungeon of Skull Cavern. Each turn, you place a dungeon tile and may place an adventurer on one of the rooms. What happens when a room or corridor has been completed depends on which adventurers are there. If yours are the only adventurers in a completed area, you experience an encounter with a strange beast! The adventurers you have deployed to that area determine the types of dice and powers you have at your disposal when dealing with the encounter. if, on the other hand, other players' adventures are present in a completed area, all adventurers in that room or corridor have to roll dice based on the adventurers they have deployed to compete for their share of the loot. Some adventurers are better at fighting and others are better at collecting treasure, so what you get depends on which adventurers you deploy.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


Delve is an interesting game. I typically enjoy tile-laying games and I even enjoy the odd game of Carcassonne with my family. I love seeing things grow and develop and I did love the puzzle of creating the dungeon and trying to determine which adventurers to place where, but the dice rolling and encounters were incredibly random. I would like to try this with fewer than 4 players just to see whether some of the randomness is at least somewhat ameliorated, but I doubt it. Between the tile draw, dice-rolling, and encounter card draws, the game is a bit too light for me. However, I am not the target audience for this game and I know that people who are into these types of light, dice-rolling, trash-talking, story-telling games will find much to enjoy. It is definitely pretty and there are some interesting choices to be made! You have to decide a) which of your 3 tiles to place, b) how to best position that tile in the dungeon to ensure you are most benefiting yourself and least benefiting your opponents, c) which of your adventurers to place and in which room to place them. Unfortunately, the randomness detracts from those for me.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic




Witching Hour! This is a quick, take-that card game that I actually enjoyed for some strange reason. It's quick and simple and there is an interesting tension between dumping all your cards as quickly as possible and saving certain cards to protect yourself from attacks.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


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Session Reports


A Feast for Odin

When I was putting together last week's list of top 10 games of 2016, I had to make sure I was including the right games and not missing any important ones, so I had to play Odin to confirm that I hadn't spontaneously developed some sort of crazy love affair with it while I wasn't paying attention. And sadly, I hadn't. I still think it's a good game, but definitely not worthy of being on my list of favorites of 2016.

In this particular session, both Peter and I focused on nothing in particular. I abandoned the animal strategy I had been developing over our past several sessions and just went for randomness. I DID send out 3 21-point ships, which seemed like some sort of strategy, but I also DID take an exploration tile WAY too early in the game when it was worth very few points. In the end, both Peter and I ended up with some of our lowest scores ever!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


Mechs vs. Minionsx3

Mechs vs. Minions! We played it 3 times in a row!!! The first time, we won the first scenario, so we had to go to the second. And then we lost the second twice in a row! We were completely overwhelmed with minions! I honestly don't know how we are going to take these suckers down!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Encore!
Noch Mal! True to its title, I just want to play this game over and over again! This time, I SUPER LOST! I accomplished NOTHING!!! That happens when you aren't paying attention to what your opponent is doing!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!

First Class was another one of the games I had to play in preparation for my top 10 of 2016 because it is a game I absolutely adore. There is an endless amount of variety with the myriad of modules and combinations thereof and there are a number of different strategies to pursue. This game ALMOST made it on my honorable mentions because I do love it very much!

In this session, I decided to pursue the Paris connection, which is a side of the board I typically ignore. I tend to focus on extending my train (and populating it with baggage and passengers when playing Module D) and Peter tends to focus on the Paris connection. In this game, we reversed roles. And Peter STILL won! He always wins this game! And by ONE point!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Arkham Horror: The Card Game

The Arkham Horror LCG initially disappointed me due to the amount of time it took to set up and sort. I was worried it would take just as long to get through that process every time. And that wasn't too far from the truth, as it took a good 15-20 minutes to set up again. However, the fact that I didn't have to learn the game again definitely helped increase the enjoyment factor. Also, knowing what to expect from the monsters and knowing how to pace ourselves certainly helped. I doubt I'll opt into any expansions, but I'm now looking forward to exploring the rest of the story in the base game! I love the legacy-style upgrade system.

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game


Avenue

This was an interesting point difference! 69 to 10???? Peter was clearly asleep. There is a funny thing about planning in this game; it's hard to do, especially if you don't take every opportunity to check the next home that will score! I did get a little lucky with my crazy long-term plan and Peter did get a little unlucky, but that point difference! Makes me laugh .

From gallery of milenaguberinic


Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Clank! Yet another game that was on my potential top 10 of 2016! In this game, Peter ended up stuck just above the dungeon when he got knocked out by the dragon!

I'm so excited for the recently-announced underwater Clank!

From gallery of milenaguberinic


From gallery of milenaguberinic


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Fresh Cardboard


1. Barnyard Roundup - Sometimes, I fall for these cute, childish games. This one has a farm animal theme I just adore, so I'm hoping it will satisfy.
2. Dokmus - FINALLY! I missed picking this up at Essen Spiel and now, Board Game Bliss finally has it in stock! This game has some similarities to Kingdom Builder, which is one of my favorite games of all time, so I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDS IT! Can't wait to play!
3. Dairyman - A game about cows and milk (and cheese???)!? YES YES YES YES YES!

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Next Week...


Look forward to some first impressions for Santorini, which has finally arrived from Kickstarter! I will also be playing with my shiny new copy of The Great Zimbabwe, which has finally arrived at Board Game Bliss!!! YAY!. And, of course, I will have some surprise reviews because I simply cannot commit to anything at the moment!

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heart THANK YOU FOR READING! heart


From gallery of milenaguberinic

The face of confusion! If you know me, you know my favorite thing ever is coffee! This is adulterated coffee! Adulterated with MUSHROOMS!!!! WHY!? WHY!? Can anyone explain!?
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