Matt's Board Game Back Room

Join me in my cozy little back room filled with games! Ooh and ah at some new releases. Learn about some more recent games. Or, look back at some older and classic games. From Euros to Ameritrash, kids games to grown-up games, easy to intense - nothing much is ignored in Matt's Board Game Back Room! (Updates will be cross-posted from my blogspot blog - click my Blogger microbadge to go there now)
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JUST GAMING AROUND - Christmas gaming

-matt s.
United States
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Microbadge: EurogamerMicrobadge: The Quest for El Dorado fanMicrobadge: 2020 Copper SupporterMicrobadge: I survived 2020!Microbadge: I play with red!
Over the holidays (primarily starting Dec 16th with an all day game day, then some Christmas holiday family gaming) I got in a good number of games.

Board Game: NMBR 9
Board Game: 12 Days
Board Game: Carcassonne: Winter Edition
Board Game: Villages of Valeria
Board Game: Medici: The Card Game
Board Game: The Fox in the Forest
Board Game: Abyss
Board Game: Azul
Board Game: Clank! In! Space!: A Deck-Building Adventure
Board Game: Cubist
Board Game: Fabled Fruit
Board Game: Flip Ships
Board Game: Shakespeare
Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
Board Game: Sushi Go!
Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy
Board Game: The Cat Game
Board Game: The Quest for El Dorado
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

 9.0   NMBR 9 x5
 7.0   12 Days x3 NEW!
 6.0   Carcassonne: Winter Edition x3
 7.75   Villages of Valeria x3
 9.0   Medici: The Card Game x2
 7.0   The Fox in the Forest x2
 7.0   Abyss
 9.0   Azul
 9.0   Clank! In! Space! NEW!
 7.75   Cubist
 7.0   Fabled Fruit
 7.0   Flip Ships NEW!
 6.75   Shakespeare
 7.0   Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
 10.   Sushi Go!
 10.   The Castles of Burgundy
 5.0   The Cat Game NEW!
 10.   The Quest for El Dorado
 8.0   Ticket to Ride
 9.0   Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

Some HIGHLIGHTS for me:

NMBR 9 - This was my most played over the holidays. It is a fun little puzzle game where you have tetris-y shaped number pieces that you are trying to place in such a way to layer them higher for better multipliers where: level X number = points. There are numbers 0 thru 9 and you will get each number twice, but in a random order.

So everyone is trying to outplay each other. Yes, this is one of those simultaneous multi-player solitaire games. I LOVE this type of game. And this one makes you think a bit, but plays very quickly. Usually you end up playing twice in a row because you just want to try to do better!

12 Days - This is a trick taking/set collection/majority game played over 12 rounds. It is lightly themed around the 12 days of Christmas so it makes a great holiday game. The deck is comprised of one 1 card, two 2 cards, etc - just like the song! Oh, and there is Santa and Mrs. Claus; They are both 0 but they always win! Except you have to gift the card you won to someone else.

I sucked the first 2 times I played, then switched strategies and was finally able to crush everyone else on my third game. Looking forward to this coming out every Christmas!

Clank! In! Space! - We LOOVE the original Clank! I really wanted to own this version too and got it for Christmas. Just like in the original you are trying to get in and steal an artifact, then get out before getting killed due to drawing too much attention to Lord Eradikus (the Dragon in the original).

Only in this version the board is configurable which lends itself to a bit more variety. Also, you must hack into the computer system before you can get into the storage vault section where the artifacts are stored. The ending is a bit different as well where you don't draw so many cubes for damage on your turn, and it can keep going for more than 4 rounds. There are a number of other differences, but overall, I loved this version as much as the original Clank, and loved the Sci-Fi jokes (or at least recognized them more than the Fantasy ones).

There are definitely differences like the need of being forced to explore more to do the hacking, along with having 'factions' on the companions required to activate some abilities, blue data crystals to activate some abilities, and a couple other variations, so it feels 'similar' but 'different' enough to warrant having both and playing one or the other depending on my mood.

Azul - This was one I was excited to own and happy to have it now. I played it recently and loved the drafting of tiles element, with some puzzli-ness but also some nasty, nasti-ness happening where you can really screw someone over if you plan it correctly (queue evil chuckling) - or you yourself can really get screwed over (sad whimpering). Who knew tiling a wall could be so EVIL!?!? Played this only once 2p with my dad - it was still really good with 2 players. And he CRUSHED me!!!! (whimper)


Flip Ships - LOVE the art! HATE the color choices (my dad who is color blind couldn't tell the difference between the player ship colors)! LOVE that the color choices don't matter much (phew)! HATE that the rules are a little ambiguous how you use the launchpad! LOVE that it plays like some cross between old-school Space Invaders, Galaga, and --various games with large boss at the end--! HATE that multiple plays seem like it might get a little same-y/lackluster! LOVE that each player has different ship abilities!

Overall LOVE it! But hesitant I might only LIKE it! Needs a bit more plays and maybe some rules tweaks/clarifications. I think maybe my expectations were a bit too high going into it. Still...we'll see how it goes over my birthday weekend gaming....


The Cat Game - this game is a take on Telestrations/Eat Poop You Cat and Pictionary mashed together. You get a card with different CAT-egories related to 'people', 'movies' and 'something else I can't remember at the moment'. You select one item (or others tell you which type to use) then you grab a couple of cat figures and place them under a plastic sheet on a drawing board, then you must use the cats in your picture.

This could/should have been a winner, but it wasn't, at least for my family. It took WAY too long to go through the picture drawing process (everyone sitting waiting and waiting) then the picture was revealed and you quickly guess the movie/person, etc, over and over and over again. Couldn't wait for it to be done! However, it COULD be funny (and was a little) but too much downtime for too little fun.

We are going to try the team version next time where you have to quickly grab cats, draw and immediately start guessing (more like Win Lose or Draw maybe) to minimize downtime and increase funtime. Hopefully.

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