End of 2013 Challenge: 100 Different Games in 100 Days--Sucessfully Completed
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Introduction:
My wife and I both enjoyed our previous challenges: New State New Challenge: 50 Different Games in 50 Days--Successfully Completed! and End of 2012 Challenge: 100 Different Games in 100 Days

These challenges were inspired by the following geeklist: 50 - Nay, 100 - Different Games in 50 Days

The 2013 Challenge
Play 100 different games in 100 days by counting down the rest of 2013. We have until December 31, 2013 to complete our challenge. September 23, 2013 is the first day of our challenge. We do not need to play one gay every day, but instead play 100 games in total. Some days we won't play any games and some days we'll play two, three or more.

What this list will include
Many of the games listed here will be for 2 players. While we may occasionally have relatives or friends pop in to add a third or fourth player, expect nearly all games to accommodate 2 players well. My 4 year old daughter and 2 year old soon will play some with us, adding a handful of children's and family games to the mix. Overall, there will be a nice selection of everything, Euros, Ameritrash, Top 100, Children's Games, Card Games, and so on.

Updates?
The list should be updated every 1-2 days as computer and internet access allow!

I hope you all will wish us great success in our counting down 2013 by playing 100 different games in 100 days.
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1. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
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Date Played: 9/23/13

The Game:
Power Grid is one of the highest ranked games on BGG. Players must build into cities on a geographic board, connect cities, and then provide power to them using power plants and the necessary resources. You receive money for every "powered up" city. Whomever can reach the city goal (depending on the number of players) first and power up the most cities at the end of the round wins.

Opinion:
This is one of my favorite games, well deserving of its BGG rank, and my wife really enjoys it too. We received it for 2011 Secret Santa. Thanks Santa! The auction mechanism of power plants puts players' bidding skills to the test. The Resource Market is an ingenious mechanism simulating demand. I love the theme and the boards. Some might say this is too math-dependent--there's lots of calculating money sums as you attempt to create strategies, but that's just part of the game. While better with more players (and takes longer), this game still works well enough with 2. Highly recommended for serious gamers.

Play:
Our friends, Tim and Heather, came over to kick off our first game for this 2013 challenge. We all agreed on Power Grid. It's one of my favorites, and Erin enjoys it too, though not quite as much. We played the Eastern side of the USA map. Tim started in the northeast, I started below him, and Heather and Erin in the South. The game was very close through step 1, but then Tim got caught in the northeast and had to spend a lot of money to get out. I, Erin, and Heather, battled it out, switching top spots over several turns. As the game headed into the end of Step 2 and neared Step 3, I took a small lead. When I ended the game with 17 cities, Erin, Heather, and I all had 16 cities to power up, but some careful resource planning on my part cleared the victory. Erin had $4 left, Heather had $36 and I had $44. Great first game of the challenge! Thanks Tim and Heather!

Days Left in Challenge: 99
Games Needed to Play: 99

Tally:
Erin:
Chris: 1
Tess:
Nigel:
Ties:

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2. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:728] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
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Date Played: 9/24/13

The Game:
Animal Upon Animal is a family dexterity game where different animals (monkeys, sheep, penguins, snakes, etc) are stacked atop an alligator. Everyone begins with the same number and types of animals and stacking proceeds based on a specialized die. The components are top-notch wooden pieces.

Opinion:
This game is not only great for dexterity stacking, but the pieces are just fun for the kids to pull out and play with. My 2 year old is excellent at stacking the animals. Not a very strategic game, but a good quality, family, dexterity game that I highly recommend.

Play:
This is the beginning of a long week of work, with several 12+ hour days, so it's nice to have come together for a family game. We'll see what happens as the week continues. Nigel had a hard time staying focused, but he's a great dexterity stacker. I was doing quite well, but instead of just going for the win, I enjoy trying to stack in interesting ways. Erin was holding the littlest, Gwen, which gave her an added handicap, though did not complain--we did trade off several times. Tess played well, but knocked the animal tower down several times early. Nigel capitalized on several of my mistakes to win! He's 2!

Days Left in Challenge: 98
Games Needed to Play: 98

Tally:
Erin:
Chris: 1
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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3. Board Game: Martian Fluxx [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:3281]
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No Game: 9/25/13
No Game: 9/26/13
Date Played: 9/27/13

The Game:
Fluxx and all its version is a simple game of Draw 1 Card and Play 1 Card. The rules change depending on the cards played. The goal of the game is to collect the Keeper Cards that match the current Goal card in play.

Opinion:
Fluxx receives a lot of hate on BGG for its chaotic randomness and lack of strategy. Frankly, there are times I enjoy playing cards and not thinking to deeply in a game. When combined with a funny theme, the game is amusing at times. Martian Fluxx is one of my favorite versions as I think the theme and humor fit perfectly with the ever changing cards. It's the level of silliness I like (whereas some versions are too annoying with silly card mechanics). This game can go on too long, which is my chief concern, and I would not play this with more than 3 or 4, but it works well for 2. No, this is not for everyone, but Erin and I enjoy it from time to time when we need a good, quick, non-thinker of a game.

Play:
Oh dear. A week of long hours of course is preceded by the family coming down with a head cold. Very little sleep, but lots of sniffing, sneezing, and wheezing. Tough. So several days slipped by without a game. Our tracking chart showed two consecutive unhappy faces. At 10pm, after I got home around 9:30pm, the kids were finally asleep, I was feeling somewhat improved, and ventured to pull out Martian Fluxx.

The game was pretty standard for a while. I played the Ray Gun early, which allowed me to keep my Humans Creepers in check. Then I acquired Germs, but then quickly acquired the Space Suit to give them to Erin. She promptly stole the Space Suit from me, but a lucky draw allowed me to steal it back. That's what sealed my victory. I acquired around 10 keepers, killed off my Human Creepers, couldn't be infected with Germs, and sealed the victory through The Tentacle and the Pyramid.

Days Left in Challenge: 95
Games Needed to Play: 97

Tally:
Erin:
Chris: 2
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
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4. Board Game: Trias [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1678]
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No Game: 9/28/13
Date Played: 9/29/13

The Game:
A modular board creates a Pangaea-like continent. Players move the tiles to create smaller continents away from the central tile (the south pole--why is it a volcano?). Players have 4 actions (3 in a 2-player game) to move another continent tile, move dinosaurs, rescue swimming dinosaurs, or procreate new dinosaurs. When the meteor card is drawn, the game ends with a final actions and final scoring round.

Opinion:
I'm a park ranger by profession, geologist by training. Therefore, a game with dinosaur meeples (dinoeeples?) was a must have. The dino-meeples are awesome! I picked this up in a trade and will keep it, but as expected, the gameplay and theme are lacking. When you move continent tiles, the dinosaurs fall into the water and then can swim to a new tile or drown? It makes no sense! I do enjoy this, and want to explore it further especially with more players.

Play:
Oh the cold is lingering for me and the kids, but no longer so fierce. 2 13 hour days of work finished, and now 1 precious day off before back to work. I took a nap (which I never do!). However Erin and I snuck in a game this morning, and hope to add another one this evening.

The central Pangaea continent is smaller in a two-player game, and it quickly devolved into several smaller 2-4 tile continents. In the end, I was able to claim more continents than Erin. Chris = 12 victory points, Erin = 8. That's 3 of 4 games to me. Erin's off to a slow start, but there are a lot of games left.

Days Left in Challenge: 93
Games Needed to Play: 96

Tally:
Erin:
Chris: 3
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
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5. Board Game: Labyrinth [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1428]
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Date Played: 9/30/13

The Game:
A classic old game, usually associated with kids. The maze of a board is ever changing as you push in one row every turn Create a viable path to all of your items in your deck, one by one, and then return home.

Opinion:
I recall playing this once when I was a kid at a friend's house, and clearly I remembered the game well enough to pick it up in a math trade one day. There's surprising amount of strategy to this game, one my wife excels at. I love the ever-changing board. Look forward to teaching this to my kids in a few years.

Play:
I started of strong as the Bat was right next to my home. However, Erin caught up eventually for a neck and neck race. She got the upper hand on me over the last few items and successfully staved of my attempts to block her from going home. Well played. One of our longer play times of this.

Days Left in Challenge: 92
Games Needed to Play: 95

Tally:
Erin: 1
Chris: 3
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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6. Board Game: Australian Rails [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2485]
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Date Played: 10/1/13

The Game:
Australian Rails is yet another title in the Mayfair crayon railway games. Get destination cards, pickup resources, build railways, and deliver to the desination city. First player to collect $250,000 and connect into the necessary cities wins. Pretty straight forward.

Opinion:
My wife and I really love these crayon rail games (we own 3 others). This is my favorite board that I've played in the series. This is mostly a solitary game experience, and I don't enjoy playing with more than 2-3 players very often--the time factor exponentially increases (my sister-in-law is a wonderful exception). We often do chores and other odds and ends when the other player is figuring out routes and destination cards. I like to play solo from time to time too.

Play:
Well the ridiculous US government did it. They shutdown the the government, which means I'm furloughed. I can't work, and I don't get paid. Well, the time at home is nice with the family--until the money runs out. So we'll try to get ahead with the games.

I connected Melbourne and Brisbane very early, and then headed out to Perth. Erin drew a long straight rail up to Alice Springs and eventually over to the diamond mines on the west coast. It was pretty close. We would each get some huge pay-offs and leapfrog the other. In the end, we both had all our connections, and I was just a few turns ahead of Erin. Chris: 255,000, Erin: 230,000.

Days Left in Challenge: 91
Games Needed to Play: 94

Tally:
Erin: 1
Chris: 4
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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7. Board Game: Palace [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:7449]
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Date Played: 10/2/13

The Game:
Still at home, on furlough. shake
Palace (or as we call it, "Idiot") is a quick card game. The version we play involves 3 cards face down, 3 cards face up, and 3 cards in your hand while there is a draw pile. First person to discard all their cards (from their hand, face-up, and face-down) wins.

Opinion:
This is a 10 minute card game I really enjoy. While there's significant luck and randomness, there's just enough strategy to enjoy. My wife and I have had some really tense finishes. We played this a lot when we first learned it back in 2003, and now we go through phases of plays.

Play:
I was in control for most of the game. Erin had a huge pile of cards, but as the draw pile disappeared, she was able to catch back up, and I got a pile of cards. After some back-and-forth play, luck won out for me as 2 of 3 of my face-down cards were all high cards.

Days Left in Challenge: 90
Games Needed to Play: 93

Tally:
Erin: 1
Chris: 5
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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8. Board Game: SET [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1219]
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Date Played: 10/2/13

The Game:
Second quick game of the day.
Set is a pattern recognition game. Players race to find "sets" in the 12 face-up cards (same shapes, colors, patterns, etc). Whomever has the most sets when no more can be found wins.

Opinion:
This is a game from my youth, and I enjoy it every so often. My wife enjoys it more frequently. This is another quick card game perfect for a 15 minute game slot. I've always classified Set as a preschool activity on steroids, yet I do get some satisfaction out of the pattern recognition. My wife and I play fairly balanced, so no one usually runs away. I tend to win more in the evening when my brain function is better; she tends to win in the morning when her brain function is better.

Play:
Erin wanted another game after losing Palace (Idiot), so Set it was: Back and forth this went. This is a game of pattern runs where players easily get 2, 3, 4 in a row. In the end: Erin: 13 sets, Chris: 11 sets.

Days Left in Challenge: 90
Games Needed to Play: 92

Tally:
Erin: 2
Chris: 5
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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9. Board Game: Star Trek: Catan [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:813]
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Date Played: 10/2/13

The Game:
Ah, a tastier game than filler card games. Star Trek Catan is the first new game in our collection acquired this year played for this challenge. Roll Dice. Collect Resources. Trade Resources. Build Starships? Outposts? Starbases? It's Settlers of Catan in space. It's just a retheme right?

Opinion:
Well yes it is a retheme, but the components are awesome, and they've added a roll card mechanism. If you like Star Trek or Catan, this is a must have. It's certainly revitalized my interested in Catan (though Seafarers expansion is still greatly enjoyed). I love that the outposts become starbases and rise above everything else. Really well thought out.

Play:
Our friend Miranda joined us this evening. I went for the "8s and 6s" strategy. Erin went for the "2 for 1" on Oxygen strategy. Miranda went for a general resource and probability strategy. Whose played out? Both Miranda and Erin chugged right along, but those 8s and 6s did quite poorly for me. In the end, Erin snuck out the victory over Miranda. Erin: 10, Miranda: 9, Chris: 6.

Days Left in Challenge: 90
Games Needed to Play: 91

Tally:
Erin: 3
Chris: 5
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:

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10. Board Game: 10 Days in Africa [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1613]
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No Game Played 10/3/13
Date Played: 10/4/13

The Game:
Travel around Africa of the course of 10 Days. Connect different countries by walking, flying, or taking a jeep. Through a combination of transportation and countries, the first player to have a continuous route through Africa wins.

Opinion:
We discovered the 10 Days series this past January with 10 Days in Asia. We've played over 100 games of that. I gave Erin 10 Days in Africa for Fall Equinox. It's also a winner, but no quite as good as Asia. It's a good quick game for 2-players that easily expands for more. We'll be playing this for a while.

Play:
Erin's sister, Sonia, has come to visit, and she enjoys games very much. We introduced her to this title, which she liked. I had a good set-up and won very quickly. When I leave in a few days for a trip, I expect Erin and Sonia will explore this further.

Days Left in Challenge: 88
Games Needed to Play: 90

Tally:
Erin: 3
Chris: 6
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
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11. Board Game: Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1778]
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Date Played: 10/5/13

The Game:
This Latin palidrome translates: "The seal that keeps the souls of the damned from floating away..." Collect your 4 books. The footbridges across the pit move, so watch out. Other players move bridges away from you while you try to reach your book. Special prayers allow you special abilities and movement. Careful planning is needed to reach the books and thwart the other players.

Opinion:
I love the theme. I love the moving footbridges. I love that this game is in latin. I had to own a board game that's title is a palidrome, especially one that translates as it does. Not for everyone, but definitely for me.

Play:
Our friend Miranda and Erin's sister, Sonia, joined us for this game. This is such a clever game. Erin started off strong by quickly getting her first book and setting herself up very well for the next few. I was not far behind. However, quickly, the players ganged up on me and Erin and delayed us significantly. Soon Sonia and Miranda were doing well, moving tiles and books, and nearing winning. I snuck back into contention while Sonia and Erin faltered. Miranda neared victory, but I kept plugging away. Enough misdirection allowed me to steal a victory.
Chris: 4 books, Miranda: 3 books, Sonia: 3 books, Erin: 2 books.

Days Left in Challenge: 87
Games Needed to Play: 89

Tally:
Erin: 3
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
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12. Board Game: Make 'n' Break CHALLENGE [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:9880]
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Date Played: 10/5/13

The Game:
2 players square off to build constructions using 10 different block shapes. A card worth a certain number of points is put between the players, and then building begins. First to finish correctly wins the card. After 6 construction cards are completed, each player tallies the card points to determine the victor.

Opinion:
This was surprisingly enjoyable. Nothing particularly new or exciting in this game, but it just works well and is fun. There's tension to finish first and that often causes mistakes. This game needs more shapes and construction cards, but otherwise its simplicity is great fun.

Play:
We went to the library for a gane-day, The kids played around with a bunch of different pieces, and Erin had much fun with this game. It was definitely Erin's game. She defeated me 3 times and defeated several other players. The gameplay is short, but for this victory Erin trounced me. It can be very hard to manipulate those tongues. Pieces so easily slip out. Silly fun.

Days Left in Challenge: 87
Games Needed to Play: 88

Tally:
Erin: 4
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
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13. Board Game: Chicken Cha Cha Cha [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1385]
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Date Played: 10/6/13

The Game:
When the reprint of this came out, I had to pick it up. I gave it to my kids as a Solstice Eve gift and we tore it out immediately. A memory game where you chase your opponents. When you pass one with an intact tail feather, you get to pluck it. The first person to have all 4 feather (in a four player game) wins.

Opinion:
Awesome kids game. Great components. The chickens are absolutely fantastic. They're huge! The pieces that form the circle and memory guessing cards are thick cardboard. Great components. The gameplay is quite clever for a memory game. Highly recommended for a kids game.

Play:
Sonia, Erin and Tess and I (on the same team) played a game of this. Tess was doing quite well. As usual, the person to memorize the 12 tiles wins. It was quite close between everyone. Tess had a chance to pluck 3 feathers at once and just missed it. Sonia nearly got everything to. Erin, however, went nearly the length of the board to capture all the feathers. Nice win, Erin!

Days Left in Challenge: 86
Games Needed to Play: 87

Tally:
Erin: 5
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
 
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14. Board Game: Eurorails [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1040]
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Date Played: 10/6/13

The Game:
This is the second crayon-rail games in the challenge. Take a map of Europe. Add resources scattered strategically throughout. Add demand cards and event cards. You get this game! Draw your rails! First player to connect six of seven major cities and have $250,000 wins.

Opinion:
We really enjoy these crayon rail games. We play with quite a few house rules. It's really enjoyable to watch the rail lines grow. There's quite a bit of solitaire action, but when someone does take that final resource, it bites you hard. Highly recommended.

Play:
Erin and Sonia convinced their father to play this one. Remarkably, he managed to sit through 2/3 of the game before resigning. Not the game I would have picked to play with him, but a valiant effort. Four players was pretty interesting--definite competition for small and medium cities, and there was significant demand for cattle that interfered with several players' plans. The game was pretty close. Erin wound up winning by one turn. Next payoff on my next turn would have put me over the top too. Sonia was a few turns behind. All of us were connected into 6 of 7 major cities.
Erin: 261,000
Sonia: 209,000
Chris: 208,000

Days Left in Challenge: 86
Games Needed to Play: 86

Tally:
Erin: 6
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
 
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15. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:232]
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Date Played: 10/6/13

The Game:
The island is sinking. Sharks, whales, and sea serpents swim the seas looking for prey. Take boats or try to swim your little island meeples to safety. Each meeple has a value of 1-6 on its hidden side. One by one, the island disappears. When the Volcano island token is flipped, the game instantly ends. Count the total values coded on the bottom of each surviving meeple to determine the winner!

Opinion:
Love this game. I rank it a 10. I'd play it all day with anyone. It's quick, straight forward gameplay. Components are very nice. Rules are written well. Sound effects make it better too! There's nothing like feasting on meeple flesh.

Play:
Wow. This was as vicious a game of Survive as I've experienced. Some times the water gods are against you and sometimes they come to your aid. Erin, Sonia, and I sat down to play this lighter, sillier, yet intense game in the afternoon. Very quickly, Erin and Sonia got boats with their meeples to safety. What about me? Chris' Boat 1: Sonia moves sea serpent. Erin move sea serpent and devours the boat and meeples. Chris' Boat 2: Sonia moves Sea Serpent. Erin move sea serpent and devours the boat and meeples. The game was only a few turns old and I had lost 5 meeples! Later in the game: Chris' Boat 3: Whirpool Tile--there go 2 more meeples. Ouch! 2 of me meeples eventually swam to safety aided by dolphins, and a last minute boat saved another, but by then, Erin and Sonia had the game well in hand. Erin has tied the challenge at 7 games apiece; nicely done!

Erin: 21 (6 meeples saved)
Sonia: 14 (6 meeples saved)
Chris: 5 (3 meeples saved)

Days Left in Challenge: 86
Games Needed to Play: 85

Tally:
Erin: 7
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
 
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16. Board Game: Oz Fluxx [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:3359]
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Date Played: 10/7/13

The Game:
Yet another Fluxx variant. Draw one, Play one, different theme. Nothing new here. This is one of Erin's favorite themes, so move along down the yellow brick road.

Opinion:
Erin got this for us because she is a huge Oz fan. I do enjoy Fluxx, but all these editions are starting to wear on my nerves. This one ranks in the middle of the pack for me (behind Cthulhu and Zombie Fluxx but definitely ahead of Stoner and Monty Python.)

Play:
Erin seemed to be doing a little better than me with keepers and cards, but in this game that rarely equates to victory. I kept creepers from me with from some cardplay, but then Erin drew a goal that let her win with those creepers. So it goes. Erin is now in the lead!

Days Left in Challenge: 85
Games Needed to Play: 84

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Ties:
 
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17. Board Game: Poo: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:7021]
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Date Played: 10/8/13

The Game:
Poo: The Card Game was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. When she lived with us for about a year, my wife and I indoctrinated her into the wonders of board games. She found a nice game shop in Idaho and picked this out for us. Our friend Miranda joined Erin and I for this early morning Poo Fest

Opinion:
Still, good, silly fun. Still not a deep game. Erin and I enjoy it. Definitely better with a few more players, but there's enough mindless fun for 2. You might think with 3 small kids and lots of poo to deal with this might not be any fun for us, but yet again it hit the spot.

Play:
Erin and Miranda ganged up on me, and even with an entire hand of "Block" cards I couldn't keep the poo off of me. That's okay, after I was "pooed out" I played a Blaze of Glory Card to play all my poo cards and took out Erin at the same time. Miranda wins due to the family destruction.

Days Left in Challenge: 84
Games Needed to Play: 83

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
 
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18. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
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No Game: 10/9/13
No Game: 10/10/13
No Game: 10/11/13
Date Played: 10/12/13
Was out of town for a few days hauling furniture from Michigan to Minnesota. Missed a few days, but got to see family, and my brother will be joining us for a game or too.

The Game:
Pandemic is a cooperative game where players race around the globe trying to cure 4 deadly diseases before they overwhelm the planet. Either everyone wins, or everyone loses.

Opinion:
My wife and I win about 30% of the mid-level difficulty games.I've only recently added the Sixth Epidemic Card for a few solo games. Sometimes the game destroys us. Sometimes we destory the game. More often, the game is a tense thrill. I'm constantly amazed how much tension this game can create at the flip of a card. Yes, there's chance and randomness, but that's a good mirror of the real world. I find this game easier with 2 players than with more--easier to plan and trade cards. I enjoy playing this game solo too.

Play:
Erin, my brother Eric, and I set up a late night romp of Pandemic. It was Eric's first time playing, but he picks up games very quickly (though he's not as obsessed with games as I am, he enjoy tapletop and video games very much. Eric played the Containment Specialist, Erin played the Ops Expert, and I played the Medic. With a matter of a few turns, we lost! We decided to cure New York, which would have caused an outbreak if it had been drawn, but instead, a quick Epidemic card hit, which reshuffled all the infected black cities to the top of the Infection Deck. One city had an outbreak, which caused another city to outbreak, which caused a third to outbreak, and then a fourth! The black contagion destroyed the planet. Epic (and quick) Fail!

Days Left in Challenge: 81
Games Needed to Play: 82

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 7
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 1
 
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19. Board Game: Pandemic: On the Brink [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
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No Game: 10/9/13
No Game: 10/10/13
No Game: 10/11/13
Date Played: 10/12/13
Eric joined Erin and myself for a follow up game!

The Game:
On the Brink adds several new variants to the original game, adding a whole new level of interest. We decided to consider the Pandemic: On the Brink a separate game, as the game is different (though not significantly admittedly). Some of this had to do with our quick destruction in Pandemic, and Erin, Eric, and myself rallied for another attempt to save the world. We chose the Virulent Strain Variant.

Opinion:
My wife and I already enjoy Pandemic (see the post above). This expansion adds so much to the game, I definitely think it is well worth acquiring. This is my all time favorite expansion for any game of all time. I wish they hadn't drastically changed the design of the new edition (sigh).

Play:
Eric played as the researcher, Erin as the Troubleshooter, and I played as the Scientist. Eric and Erin were randomly dealt characters that were played in the previous game, so we dealt each a new character for them to decide which one to play. Any experienced Pandemic player knows the Scientist and the Researcher is an awesome combination, and more often results in victory than any other combination.

This game was the complete reverse of the previous game. Luck was on our side. Very early on, the Scientist cured yellow, and with a Remote Treatment card, eradicated yellow. Then Erin was able to acquire 5 blue cards (which we also slightly later eradicated), and the Researcher traded me 2 more Black cards to cure those diseases. It was early in the game, we had very few cubes on the board, and 3 diseases were cured and 2 sunsetted. Go figure. Then the card luck dried up and it took most of the rest of the draw deck to acquire enough red cards to cure that disease (even with the scientist). The virulent Strain, which of course was Red, was annoying, but never a problem in this game. Other games, it would have destroyed us. So we calmly cured red, and the world was saved.

As I, as the scientist, cured 3 diseases, I was determined to be "First Player" so the victory falls into my column. Score! Erin and I are all tied up at 8 apiece.

Days Left in Challenge: 81
Games Needed to Play: 81

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 8
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 1
 
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20. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:811]
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Date Played: 10/13/13
Eric left today and I'm still on unpaid government furlough. Stupid US Congress. shake

The Game:
Monsters are attacking your castle! They creep from the forest with plagues, boulders, and vengeance. Work cooperatively to defend your walls and towers. If all six of your towers are destroyed, the monsters win! If you defeat every monster in the forest, you win!

Opinion:
While not a great game, Castle Panic is a good game. Especially for younger kids. In a few years, I would bet my kids will easily be able to play this. I will definitely keep it until the kids are done with it, and then we'll see. Easy game to play solo. Good game to play when you need an hour long game that doesn't burn too many brain cells.

Play:
Tess requested "the castle game," and we think this is what she meant. She joined us for this game, and stayed actively engaged for about half of the game. It was a brutal game. In the beginning, everything came from red, and we had no red cards. There go some towers! Then the boulders happened to come when there were few monsters and fewer walls. Bye, bye towers. The monsters move in certain colors almost always happened at an inopportune time. Then we got a hoard of green monsters with few green cards. The monsters razed the castle. Run for your life!

Days Left in Challenge: 80
Games Needed to Play: 80

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 8
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 2
 
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21. Board Game: Escape from the Hidden Castle [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2030]
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Date Played: 10/13/13

The Game:
Midnight Party is an older kids game. Your people are having a party in a mansion, and the ghost is loose. Once the ghost enters the main player track, you must safely move your pawns into the rooms before the ghost catches you. If caught, you are sent to low scoring spaces and that pawn is out of this round. Once all the pawns are off the main track (either safely in rooms, or caught by the ghost, the round ends. Add up your round score (usually negative) After three rounds, whomever has the negative score closest to zero, wins.

Opinion:
This is a quality older Ravensburger title. I picked this one up for free on a Thrift List, and love the game because of that! The ghost is very neat (my kids love it), as it swallows pawns in its embrace and moves them to the wine cellar and stairs. Well designed. The board is very interesting with all the different room artwork. Also a good game to teach subtraction and negative integers.

Play:
We played over dinner. Nothing all that exciting. Erin: -25, Chris: -14. I win and retake the lead.

Days Left in Challenge: 80
Games Needed to Play: 79

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 9
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 2
 
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22. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:213]
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Date Played: 10/14/13
Still on government shutdown furlough. Good for Game Time. Bad for wallet.

The Game:
Borrowed this from a friend to try. At the end of the round, be the last remaining player standing, or have the highest card in your hand. If you win the round, you earn a "token of affection". Depending on the number of players, a different numbers of "tokens of affection" are needed to win.

Opinion:
A nice quick, light game with some strategy. Don't feel the need to purchase the game (at this time), but I would not turn down a game of this.

Play:
I jumped out to an early lead with 3 tokens of affection. Earned a few and it was 5 to 3. In the end Chris: 7, Erin: 3

Days Left in Challenge: 79
Games Needed to Play: 78

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 10
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 2
 
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23. Board Game: Cathedral [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1481]
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Date Played: 10/14/13

The Game:
Quick area control game. Place your city-building shaped pieces on the board, trying to block off areas for yourself while trying to not let your opponent block you. Whomever can play more of his or her pieces wins.

Opinion:
Though abstracts have really waned for me over the last few years, I still really love most wooden games. This abstract fills my need, and I just like playing with the components. I highly recommend this game.

Play:
In the first few turns, Erin cornered off 5 squares for herself. However, this allowed me to corner off 8 squares. I controlled the rest of the game, making sure to place my large pieces carefully. When I played my long 3 square piece, I blocked Erin from any chance of victory. Just like that, I'm back up by a few games. Oh those swings in momentum.

Days Left in Challenge: 79
Games Needed to Play: 77

Tally:
Erin: 8
Chris: 11
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 2
 
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24. Board Game: 10 Days in Asia [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1796]
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No Game 10/15/13
Date Played: 10/16/13

The Game:
Travel around Asia of the course of 10 Days. Connect different countries by walking, flying, railroads, or boats. Through a combination of transportation and countries, the first player to have a continuous route through Asia wins.

Opinion:
We got this in a trade (new), and haven't looked back. We played about 50 games in the first few months of the year. It fits a perfect niche for Erin and I: not to long, some strategy, some luck, and we do love geography. We love this game.

Play:
The game was pretty typical. I had a bad beginning and couldn't connect my two halves of my travel itinerary. Erin had a nice victory.

Days Left in Challenge: 77
Games Needed to Play: 76

Tally:
Erin: 9
Chris: 11
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties:
Epic Fail: 2
 
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25. Board Game: PDQ: The Pretty Darn Quick Word Game [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:8714]
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Date Played: 10/17/13
Back to work! The US Government shutdown in all its stupidity is over! Yay to paychecks.

The Game:
A word game. We take our Quiddler deck and use it to play this game. Place 3 letter cards in a row. Create a word that includes those 3 letters in the order they appear. Several variants exist including starting the word with the first letter and/or finishing the word with the last letter. Whomever has the most sets of three (like the game of Set) wins.

Opinion:
I enjoy this game for its quick gameplay. I also enjoy constructing words with the limited letters. A good quick filler if you like word games. Otherwise, not much to recommend it. The name of the game leaves much to be desired.

Play:
A quick card game before bed. We've all been battling colds and just plain exhausted. Erin started off very strong running the table for a while, but I warmed up slowly. In the end, we tied!

Days Left in Challenge: 76
Games Needed to Play: 75

Tally:
Erin: 9
Chris: 11
Tess:
Nigel: 1
Miranda: 1
Ties: 1
Epic Fail: 2

Edit 10/21: Corrected Date
 
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