Sarah's 10x10 Challenge & General Game Tracking for 2014
Sarah Reed
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This GeekList is to track my plays for the 2014 Challenge: Play 10 Games 10 Times Each. I wanted to do this separate GeekList so I could also record my comments after each play and see how the game play develops for me.

I am also going to record my plays and comments for all the other games I play in 2014.

So the first 11 in the list are for the 10x10 Challenge (10 games plus 1 alternate). All games after that are just for fun.

I am also hoping to wrap up the uplayed games left over from 2013. I will cross them off this list as that happens:
Agents
Canalis
Castaways
Cthulhu Gloom
Euphoria
Five Fingered Severance
Goa
Ground Floor
Hoity Toity (German version, printed out English rules) on consignment
Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
Leonardo da Vinci
Lords of Waterdeep
Merchants & Marauders
Notre Dame
Ogres & Elves sold
Storm the Castle
Terra Mystica
Yedo

Code for entries:
Play #X: Month Day:
Played with:
Scores: Sarah:X Will:X
Comments:
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1. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:111]
Sarah Reed
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10x10 Challenge

Play #1: February 8:
Scores: Sarah:47 Old Friend:48 New Friend:49
Comments: We went to a very long game day, and of course, it turned out that we played Village last. We had a big group of people together, but several split off to help do an After Play video of Tower to help our friend Ben who is Kickstarting the game Feb 17th. So the leftover people and I decided to play Village. It was a bit tough to teach as they'd never played it before and it's been a while since I played, but it turned out to be a good teaching game. Both liked it and wanted to play again sometime, now that they got a better handle on what to do. But the scores were the closest I've ever seen. I got 47, my friend got 48 and our new friend got 49. I am really glad I put this on my 10x10 list because I really want to learn how to play this game better. I already enjoy it, but I always feel like I'm fumbling around in it.

Play #2: April 26:
Scores: Sarah:64 Will:60 Gary:51 Jameson:46
Comments: This was our second game for the game day at Gary's house. Our host had played once before, but his friend had never played. This is my favorite game so me and my husband have played it a bit. So this took most of the afternoon to play, but was a lot of fun. I took my normal route with traveling and church, with some market focus at the end. My husband tried the council and church. Our host focused mostly on market and his friend tried an interesting strategy of using the council's last window to turn money into points. I'm happy to say that my strategy just won me the game, 4 points over my husband. We almost forgot to include my traveling points so we almost ended the game with my husband winning, but that's when I remembered the big part of my strategy was traveling, which no one else did. I think it was appropriate for me to win since I wore my Village People shirt, the one board game shirt I own. It has the Village logo with meeples below it and each meeple has a letter that spells out people.

Play #3: July 16:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:48 Will:56
Comments: It took some convincing to get this to the table because he wanted to wait and play it a whole bunch of times in a row, but I was feeling rusty about the game and beginning to wonder whether I can call it my favorite game anymore since I hardly play it. And I was very rusty, but also he was more aggressive than usual. I usually win with a travel/church combo, but he was very aggressive on the Market and killing off his guys. He also used the Inn better than I did, though we both got cards that helped us a lot. But his accelerated pace didn't give me enough time to set up properly in the church and in the end, had to kill my guy off in the church when I had thought I'd be able to keep him. But I still finished all the traveling, so that always is an achievement. However, I still lost with 48 to his 56. I'm not a huge fan of the Inn as it's hard to make the time to get beer, but it is interesting.

Play #4: July 30:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:38-winner by tie breaker Will:38
Comments: This was a fast game because Will was very aggressive in progressing time and killing off his family. And to further change things up, he tried my normal strategy of travel and church so I went for his normal strategy of market and council. I was not expecting to tie as I thought for sure he was doing better than me, but we did tie with 38 points and then it was a surprise to both of us that the tie breaker is based on who served the most customers, which was me. I still am a bit frustrated by the tavern and cards. Will always gets to them before me and gets rid of the ones I want. This game was no different. By the time I got to the cards, I got an okay one, but what irked me was I revealed the one I wanted, and I never had time to go back and get it. I'm just not sure I like the Village Inn expansion as I feel like there's not enough time to utilize it effectively, though I do have to remind myself that Will has gotten a lot more aggressive with this game, purposefully taking black cubes to move time faster. I am glad this is on our 10x10 list, but I'm beginning to wonder whether this is really my number one favorite game anymore.

Play #5: August 10:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:59 Will:57
Comments: This was a very close game the whole way through. Will aggressively went after travel and church while I focused on beer and the inn. I've been struggling to figure out how to use the cards more so I decided to make my strategy around the cards. I did some market, church and council, but it was the cards that won it for me as I managed to get the scribe, miller, bard, herb woman, artist and cutpurse. It definitely was the cards that won it for me. I'm glad I managed to use the cards more, but I still can't say that I'm that thrilled by the expansion. Also, I still do like this game, but I'm not sure it's my favorite anymore. I like to play it when I want a mental challenge, but lately I've had more fun playing other games. So I'll be happy when we get 5 more plays in for this challenge so that Village can go back to being the game I play occasionally when I really feel like it.

Play #6: September 28:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:59 Will:58
Comments: I stressed myself out this whole game. I kept thinking how good of moves Will was making and how poorly I was doing. I kept doing things in the wrong order so that Will would take what I wanted. I was so focused that I certainly did not have fun. This is a very thinky game and I have a hard time keeping my to-do list straight in my head. It's not one that I can relax and just play, though I really would like to get there. I have 4 more plays for this challenge so maybe I can find a happy medium between being challenged and having fun. The end was quite a twist. If I hadn't gotten the Priest card from the Inn, Will would have gotten it and won. On top of that, I had just been blankly getting grain, which was good for getting the Priest. The Priest card let me pick which 4 came out of the bag for the church so I picked my 2 guys and 2 black meeples, leaving Will's in the bag. Then I spent all my grain to go up in the windows. It was those actions that gave me 1 more point than Will. Sadly, it wasn't very rewarding and even Will felt like he needed to de-stress from my stressing. Like I said, hopefully I can find a way to still be competitive in the game without making us both crazy.

Play #7: October 18:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:44 Will:48
Comments: I tried some new tactics of going for the Council chamber and getting my family into the book of record as fast as I could. I did pretty well, but not as good as Will as he got 5 of his guys in the church at the end. The game ended in 4 rounds, which is typical for us now. Still, the game doesn't engage me as it used to. Maybe the port expansion will help, but I don't know.

Play #8: October 26:
Scores: Sarah:53 Will:48
Comments:So happy that we got home early enough to get a play of Village in before Will's wrestling show. And I was able to convince him to play without Village Inn. I enjoyed the game so much better! This is one of those few games where I think the base game is perfect the way it is. Sadly, Will likes it better with the expansion, gives him more options. For me, it adds one too many options and makes the game a little stressful for me. Tonight's play is what I remember falling in love with, a relaxing game where I could pursue a few strategies and see if I did better than Will's strategies. For whatever reason, adding in the beer & cards is just too much for what I want out of the game. So maybe we can flip flop for the next couple of plays, with and then without. And as it was, for this game, my strategy of travel and church won out by 5 points over Will's strategy of market, church and council.

Play #9: October 28:
Played With: Village Inn
Scores: Sarah:55 Will:44
Comments: I had a rocky start, but once my brain cleared up, I did surprisingly well. I focused on the beer/inn and church and some travel. I managed to get some really good cards including one that boosted my score for people in the chronicle. But what really tipped the game in my favor was pushing so hard to get all my people into the church. I also managed to have enough grain to move them up a window. So at the end of the game, I had 5 people in the church and 5 in the chronicle and 1 in the Inn (I think that adds up). So I got 55 points while Will got 44. This was my highest score for Village so far and finally showed me how well the expansion can work.

Play #10: October 28:
Scores: Sarah:38 Will:42
Comments: I did not do as well in this one because Will and I ended up going for some of the same strategies and he just did it better. But I still enjoyed it. Had another church-going family, but our prayers weren't answered as Will scored 42 points, mostly due to the council member in his family who worked really hard. I managed 38 points, which was not bad, and made me feel overall better about Village still being one of my favorite games.
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2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:16]
Sarah Reed
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10x10 Challenge

Play #1: January 1:
Played with: Agricola: Gamers' Deck, Agricola X-Deck and Agricola: The Legen*dairy Forest-Deck
Scores: Sarah:47 Will:41
Comments: This was an amazingly fun game! Agricola has always been a challenge for me, one that I've enjoyed, but one that has frustrated me because once you fall behind, there doesn't seem to be a way to catch up. But the randomness of the X-Deck and Forest Deck shook things up, in a very good way. In the beginning, my husband got quickly ahead, especially with some good cards from the Forest Deck. But one of the Forest cards stole all 9 wood he had just got, though it did give him more grain & veggies on his fields. But it slowed him down. Then I got the Transmogrifier card from the X-Deck and used it very well because I had managed to get a third family member, while my husband had not. So several times I changed resources on the board into other resources and took them since I had 2 actions in a row. But the best move was when I changed the 12 wood I had in my own supply to 12 cows! Best Agricola moment ever! Oh, and we greatly enjoyed the humor of the Gamer's Deck. I definitely look forward to trying all these decks again. While I'm not sure we'll always use the X-Deck and Forest Deck, it was a great way to ease the tension and frustration I usually feel when playing the game.

Play #2: April 18:
Played with: Agricola: Belgium Deck
Scores: Sarah:46 Will:44
Comments: So we chose to play with the Belgium deck. However, we didn't realize it contained 2 sets before shuffling and randomly passing them out. The two different types did not mesh well together and both my husband and I felt like we were playing despite these cards. They didn't combo well and had very odd effects. However, I will say that this was the first time I managed to upgrade my home to stone AND got all 5 of my people. I have never done either of those before so it was really cool to do those both in one game. However, my husband did not make it easy for me as he completely filled out his board and didn't get any negative points. But I managed a few cards that gave me bonus points at the end, one for not having 2 different types of animals. And that made the difference. I won with 46 points versus his 44. 2 point margin isn't much, but it was enough! I'm not sure we'll play with these decks again, but if we do, they are not separated. Also, my husband missed having the fairy deck as it added a lot of fun to the game so we'll be playing with it again and then choosing a new deck of cards for occupations and minor improvements.

Play #3: May 28:
Played with: Agricola: World Championship Deck – 2011
Scores: Sarah:51 Will:48
Comments: I used the delta deck and my husband used the alpha deck. Definitely see why everyone likes this set. Very interesting choices. And this is one of the few times I've managed to fill in my whole board. And I was saved on the animals due to having the Animal Nursery minor improvement. It allowed me to put any newborn animals on it so I only needed small pastures to hold 2 of each animal. It was a close game. Looking forward to trying the other 3 decks.

Play #4: July 4:
Played with: Agricola: NL-Deck, Agricola: The Legen*dairy Forest-Deck and Agricola X-Deck
Scores: Sarah:16 Will:66
Comments: Weirdest game ever. While we've played with both the fairy and alien decks before and it was fine, quite fun, this time the cards that came up were quite punishing - for me! I think we're gonna not play with both ever again, and/or we'll thin the decks out of the cards we think are too punishing. We like a little wacky, but not mean. Anyway, my husband made the "right" choices, but it totally screwed me over and he said he felt dirty doing it. It started with the Warrior Princess from the fairy deck. That replaced the first family growth action with an action that removes a family member and gives you 5 points. Then there was an alien card that gave us each a family member of the other person that we could place & the action would be for them. My husband gave my person to the Warrior Princess. So most of the game, I only had 1 person. Then he because king of the clearing, which made him first player until someone else was crowned king (which never happened). And he got "Earth Girls are Easy," which forced him to have another family member. Lastly, he became a Werewolf, which forced him to eat an animal at the end of his turn and take another action. So most rounds, I had 1 action and he had 4+. I was just so hobbled by the cards that came out. Though I did get Crop Circles which took up space so my score wasn't 2 points lower. He won with 66 points and I had 16. The only reason my husband even wanted to finish the game (because he saw I was no longer really in it, even though I was doing my best not to get upset) was because he wanted to see how high his score could be with such great action economy. And it worked. Lowest and highest scores ever. But neither of us much enjoyed that game. Oh, we thought the NL deck was solid. Looking forward to trying it again. I would have had a great combo if... shake

Play #5: July 6:
Played with: Agricola: Farmers of the Moor
Scores: Sarah:52 Will:49
Comments: We decided we were finally ready to try Farmers of the Moor. We used the advanced minor improvements from Farmers and the Interactive deck from the base game. Unfortunately, we didn't draw any really interactive cards, but I did get a few that combo'd around clay. However, overall, I am not impressed with the added need to heat. Horses were cool, but we both only ever got 1 horse. Otherwise, we struggled with getting enough fuel and food. This was a low-food producing game, plus many actions cost food. But at least this game was more stable than the previous one with the Legendairy and X deck. But I think I'd rather go back to those for a bit more fun rather than a bit more work that is presented in Farmers. Agricola runs that fine line between fun and work, and Farmers pushes it over that edge for me. So I don't think I'd ever ask to play Farmers again, but I don't hate it so if someone else wanted to, I'd play it. My husband said he'd play it again, but was not also thrilled by it.

Play #6: July 9:
Played with: Agricola: NL-Deck
Scores: Sarah:38 Will:41
Comments: We started with Agricola and used the Agricola: NL-Deck as our previous play with the deck was hampered by the fairy and alien decks. I do have to agree with those that say the deck is powerful, but it also felt balanced. My husband won by 3 points, 41 to my 38. And after the game, we realized that if I had planned my farm better, I could have utilized the General occupation, which gives 9 points for a 2x3 or 3x2 empty area. And I could have done it easily, especially since there was nothing useful to do with my last action. I finally feel like I am getting better at Agricola, able to adapt better to what my husband does. The downside is that the increased number of plays has also lessened my enthusiasm for the game. I still like it, but no longer have as much of a drive to want to play it. I'm not worried about finishing out of 10 plays of it for the challenge, we'll get that done. But it's not longer in my top favorite games. I will still play, especially when I want an intellectual challenge (and we have plenty of decks to change things up with). But on the other hand, we have dozens of other intellectually stimulating games that are, well, more fun.

Play #7: August 14:
Played with: Agricola: Bielefeld Deck, Agricola Z-Deck, Agricola: World Championship Deck – 2011
Scores: Sarah:38 Will:55
Comments: Still trying out some of the smaller decks we have and made a silly choice. We decided that he'd play Agricola: Bielefeld Deck and I'd play Agricola Z-Deck with each of us getting the 7th occupation from the alpha deck of Agricola: World Championship Deck – 2011. Those two decks are not made equally. Will's cards actually work together and he got a lot of bonus points. I barely played any of mine as most required food to activate and I could not get a food engine going till late in the game. So he easily won with 55 points while I had 38. I am so done trying out the piddly decks we've bought. Going back to the Agricola: Gamers' Deck next time as we both liked it.

Play #8: September 17:
Played with: Agricola: Gamers' Deck
Scores: Sarah:49 Will:30
Comments: Oddly, we both got a lot of cards focused on harvesting grain. While Will excelled at it, he focused a bit too much on grain production. Also, I managed to expand early on and get a third worker pretty early. Oddly, he never got any more workers and that really hurt him. I won 49 to his 30. I am liking the game a bit better, due to the deck we used. But I am still overall frustrated that this game completely depends on getting workers as early and as many as possible. I am really looking forward to getting Caverna: The Cave Farmers at some point because I imagine it will replace Agricola for us. Which will be kind of sad since we've invested so much into the game, but oh well.

Play #9: October 22:
Played with: Agricola: World Championship Deck – 2011
Scores: Sarah:39 Will:37
Comments: There were three decks we still hadn't tried so I randomly chose Epsilon and he chose Gamma. Sadly, these decks are not balanced for 2 players. While he had enough 1 player Occupations, I didn't so I chose to add in Interactive Occupations. I didn't think it was gonna work out as I was struggling to get things for the whole game, especially food. But Will was in the same boat. The one thing that I did well and I think won it for me was an Interactive Occupation that gave me 2 extra goods whenever I sowed one field at a time. Since I was struggling, that's how it always happened. So I won with 39 points to his 37, even though he upgraded his house to stone and got 4 of his people while I had a wood house and only 3. Neither of us got much in the way of animals because we had to constantly eat them. I have to admit that I'm glad we only need one more play for our 10x10 list. And that Caverna: The Cave Farmers is on order.

Play #10: October 25:
Played with: Interactive deck
Scores: Will39 Sarah:30 Jareth:23
Comments: This was the first time my nephew played. While I've seen him more excited about other games, he said he liked it for the most part, but he really didn't get what he needed to do until the end. It really is a hard game to learn. Also, I really think I like the game better with more people. Most of our plays have just been me and Will. We've only played it once before with 4. I really liked having the additional action spaces. Though in this game, none of us got a 3rd family very early, we all struggled with food. In fact, I'm the only one who got a 3rd person 4 rounds before the end while they waited until the last 2 turns. Sadly, the additional actions didn't help me as I was too far behind at that point. Will managed to get at least 1 of everything and had a huge flock of sheep at the end, even after slaughtering most of it for food. So he won with 39 points while I had 30 and my nephew had 23.

And here's a funny moment from the play:

So Will and I can't help be corny sometimes, especially when playing a dry game like Agricola. So the first time the cow card showed up, I said "Who let the cows out?" and Will sang, "Moo, Moo, Moo, Moo." There was a pause and my nephew said, "I don't know you guys. Did aliens replace my aunt and uncle?" I was sorry to disappoint him, but this is all us! Plus, he's related so he's infected too.
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3. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:204] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
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10x10 Challenge

Play #1: January 4:
Played: Chapter 2, campaign, Maginos, Nez and Collin, and Lilly
Scores: Co-op lost
Comments: First off, we now know that we played Chapter 2 wrong. We didn't have Lily and the roaches on her tile fighting from the beginning. We did add roaches as we progressed through the tiles, but didn't activate them until we got to that tile. On top of that, we moved the roaches to make room for the centipede and rats. This all pretty much spelled our doom as we couldn't get to Lily in time since all the minions were at the top of the initiative track. So we're going to try this one again and play it correctly (hopefully). I wish things were clearer in the books, but now I know that whenever we have questions, we'll stop the game and check BGG for the answers. That way we won't waste our time playing it wrong.

Play #2: January 11:
Played: Chapter 2, campaign, Maginos, Nez and Collin, and Lilly
Scores: Co-op lost
Comments: We did a whole lot better this time, playing with the correct rules. Even remembering to add the mousetraps in didn't slow us down. We got through the first areas just as easily and Lily was holding her own, fighting off the roaches. When we got to the crystal tile, we sent Collin to hold off the centipede while Nez moved forward to free Lily. While he did this, the centipede took out Collin. Nez went back, finished of the centipede while Maginos moved forward to help Lily with the rats. But one of the rats managed to "kill" off Lily. We were rolling horrible the whole game. Sadly, we thought it was over so we packed it up. Only afterwards did I pause and check the rulebook and saw that we had messed up again. We only lose if Lily is taken out before we release her. So we should have continued to fight and probably would have won with Maginos and Nez versus one rat. Arg! Can we ever get this right?! At any rate, I wanted to play again, but it had frustrated my husband too much that he couldn't roll bows for Maginos. So we'll have to play it again soon. It's bugging me that we keep messing up and I so want to get farther into the story!

Play #3: March 7:
Played: Chapter 2, campaign, Filch, Nez and Collin, and Lilly
Scores: Co-op lost
Comments: Arg! We just can't seem to get past chapter 2!! angry We keep rolling well for the bad guys and terribly for us. And we keep forgetting rules. Since we hadn't played since January, we'd forgotten the roaches steal cheese first and only do damage if there is no cheese. And there were a couple of missteps, where we could have made better choices. Overall, though, our downfall seems to all the rules that are hard to remember and the dice rolling against us. We got to Lilly just fine, but weren't able to save her. I'm going to make sure this gets to the table again soon so we don't forget the rules. If it were up to me, we'd play again, but my husband gets too frustrated by the losses that he doesn't want to look at it for a while.

Play #4: March 9:
Played: Chapter 2, campaign, Filch, Nez and Collin, and Lilly
Scores: Co-op won!!!
Comments: It was really tough, but we spent some time searching and it resulted in some good items including a new sword for Collins where a burst/sword counts as 2 hits. So Collins was able to one-shot the centipede in the final tile. Also, earlier, we had a surge for a spider and Nez used his ability to roll one more die so with 5 dice, he was able to one shot the spider! Still had some bad rolls, Lily could not roll bows! But we made it through and can finally move on to chapter 3!!

Play #5: April 30:
Played: Chapter 3, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez and Collin
Scores: Co-op won!!!
Comments: It was a harrowing adventure for Maginos, Nez, Filch and Collin, but they succeeded! We got pretty high up on the chapter track due to Brodie coming out in the Kitchen, but we defeated him and managed to do the right things at the right time to move the chapter end token up. And I forgot what room it was, but we found the special rest point so we healed up completely which made the difference. We got beat up pretty bad in the last fight, but we persevered and won! We were so happy we only had to play it once, compared to the 3 times it took us to get through chapter 2.

Play #6: July 25:
Played: Chapter 4, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez, Tilda, Lily, and Collin
Scores: Co-op won!!!
Comments:I was in charge of Collin's group which consisted of him, Lily and Filch. Will was in charge of Nez's group which was him, Tilda and Maginos. Collin did fantastic against the first spider, killing it in one hit, but then I rolled terrible and Collin was captured. But Lily and Filch managed to kill it. On the next tile, Collin was also captured almost immediately by the Elite Rats that came out. Though this gave him the Scaper achievement so that when we got to the forge and he was captured, he was able to shake it off. But it was a close call as my group was almost dead in the forge when Will's team finally showed up and we were 5 out 7 on the page track. They had a tough time in the pipes area, but when they finally killed the rats, Maginos used the one-time teleport spell to move them across the tile. Oddly, their arrival somehow boosted my characters morale because then I started rolling well and only left them on regular rat to kill. And we won! Glad we got this back to the table. It's been a while and I was starting to forget how to play. I really enjoyed having all the characters out, though I doubt this will happen to often considering how prescribed the chapters are.

Play #7: September 20:
Played: Chapter 5, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez and Collin
Scores: Co-op lost.
Comments: First off, this was so confusing to set up, but thankfully I checked the forums and got clarity on how poorly the chapter was laid out. Hope this isn't too much of a problem in future chapters. As for play, we really did badly in the first few tiles, moving the chapter marker up with a lot of bursts. We just couldn't seem to kill anything. We did make it to the Kitchen, but made the mistake of calling for the cat before taking care of the rats. So very quickly our characters were captured, first Collin, then Nez, then Maginos... which made the chapter marker hit the end. Not that Filch could have done it on his own anyway. So now we know to take care of the rats first before calling for the cat. The sad part is, though, that we were both left with a bad taste in our mouths to how poorly the dice rolled and how much that affects things. It's just not as satisfying as other coop games where you can get some advantages, but the only thing you can get here is equipment to get you more dice. So Will said he's not a fan of the game. The good news is he'll still play it with me, but now I feel weird because he pre-ordered Mice and Mystics: Downwood Tales for a birthday gift for me. And I just wonder whether it'll hit the table. We have only 3 more plays that we have to do for the 10x10 challenge, but considering how slow we're going, I doubt we'll even finish the main campaign... But then maybe a break from the game will be good so we can get back to it later.

Play #8: October 10:
Played: Chapter 5, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez and Collin
Scores: Co-op win!!
Comments: Having lost chapter 5 last time, we fully expected a hard road ahead of us. So we were completely in shock when we beat this chapter in about 5 minutes. The first room was the forge. We quickly dispatched the minions and decided to search. We found the scroll that summoned Brodie. surprise We used it immediately and defeated him really quickly too. It was almost a let-down that we didn't get any new items, but on the other hand, we didn't have to slog through the whole thing again. So we moved on and played again since it had taken us longer to set up than win the chapter.

Play #9: October 10:
Played: Chapter 6, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez and Collin
Scores: Co-op win!!
Comments: We had an easy sailing through this chapter until the end. Even achieved some things that pushed the chapter end back, like making the claw horn. We also randomly found the catnip, which we later realized was a very good thing. But the last area nearly defeated us. We used the horn on the first turn and that killed a lot of minions, but it also caused a surge, which called Brodie. Sadly, no one rolled a 1 to draw the crow down until right before Brodie's turn. So the good news was, the crow died, but then Brodie decimated us, taking out Colin and Nez. Filch and Maginos were able to use the catnip to defeat Brodie and kill off the remaining minions, but it was a close thing. And we managed to find armor for Nez, a nice sword for Filch and got some new abilities that should help us. We only have 1 more play for the 10x10 challenge, but I am a bit more hopeful that the game will be more enjoyable in future plays. It's just a bit more weighted toward the game winning than I prefer. I also don't like how little we can affect the dice, which decide our outcome. It sucks when you roll all 5 dice and don't get a single outcome you like. I just think there are other systems that have done this better, but I still really like the theme of the game, which is why we keep it.

Play #10: October 28:
Played: Chapter 7, campaign, Maginos, Filch, Nez and Collin
Scores: Co-op win!!
Comments: We played chapter 7, which was quite intersting in how you set up 2 boards, but then the rest are randomly shuffled to be drawn as you explore. Also there's a quest deck with 2 search cards of your choice, the magic tome and 1 random search card. This was great as we were really missing out on equipment for Maginos and Filch. As usual, we took Filch, Maginos, Nez and Collins. Nez and Collins have really become our super star, finally being able to take out a lot. Still frustrated that whenever Maginos tries to do a spell, he never rolls bows so it's a waste, but Meeps comes in very handy. And Filch was able to kill quite a bit this time. The first couple of tiles were tense, but as we found the items in the quest deck and achieved the Roachmaster, the chapter end marker moved up, which was good since we surged a lot. But we were victorious in getting all the quest cards as the tome was the last one. The last fight was tough since we were on page 4, which gave us a centipede and spider, but we rallied against it and didn't lose anyone. While I am glad this is the end of the 10 plays we have to do, I am looking forward to playing it at our leisure as I think we're finally set up pretty well to succeed. And eventually, the expansion will arrive so we have lots of content to play in the future!
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4. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:268] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
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10x10 Challenge

Play #1: April 25:
Played with: Sarah:Legacy & Bunker. Will:Scholar & Absolute Zero. Villain:Ambuscade. Location:Wagner Mars Base.
Scores: Coop win!
Comments: Before dinner, we pulled out Sentinels of the Multiverse as we're planning to take that to our friend's today and we haven't played it since last year. Great news is that it only took a few minutes to refresh ourselves on the rules. I chose to play Legacy & Bunker while my husband chose the Scholar & Absolute Zero. We picked Ambuscade since he was a level 2 and we had played the level 1 villains last year and wanted to see if we could win against a higher difficulty. Then we chose Wagner Mars Base as our location. I'm glad both my characters were easy to play. Legacy is always solid, a great leader that boosts everyone else. Bunker just did damage, which was nice, but I don't care much for his modes that make it so he can't do much except one thing really well. So I doubt I'll play him again. Scholar was very interesting as he focused on getting cards in his hand so he can keep some very strong ongoing cards in play. Plus he heals himself so we did what we could to direct damage his way. Absolute Zero is a tough one to play, but my husband figured it out pretty easily. The thing to remember is Absolute Zero is a countdown timer. He deals damage to himself to deal damage to villain targets. So you have to use him as effectively as possible before he dies. He has some healing, but it's not much.

The game itself went very well. Ambuscade wasn't too bad, except when he gets cloaked and then he can't be targeted and starts picking off the weakest link. We actually had more trouble with the Wagnar Mars Base as it liked to destroy equipment, which really slowed down Bunker and Absolute Zero. But we did triumph over evil! And no one died, though Absolute Zero was pretty close to dead. I'm really looking forward to playing again, especially since we have all the expansions and still haven't played all the base game material.

Play #2: June 7:
Played with: Gary:Ra & Hakka. Will:Mr. Fixer. Sarah:Tempest.
Villain:Apostate. Location:Rook City.
Scores: Coop win!
Comments: This was the first time for our friend Gary so we let him pick first, giving him some advice. Since we've found the best luck with playing 4 heroes, he volunteered to play 2 - Ra and Hakka. He ended up liking Ra a lot and so will probably play him again. My husband chose Mr. Fixer and I chose Tempest. We went a little hard and chose Apostate and, for the environment, went with Rook City. This was a tough, tough game! We were being beaten down every single round, with almost everyone taking damage every round. While the game took a couple of hours to play, I don't think we played more than 8 rounds. I would say that sadly my character died, but when we reflected back on it, we don't think we would have won without my dead character's inspiration abilities. On the second to last round, I was able to prevent some of the damage that the villain did so that Ra was able to live. Ra really did the most damage in the game, though Hakka's rampage ability helped quite a lot. And then the last round, I was able to give Ra another use of a power, which finished off the villain. Thankfully, we had been able to destroy all the relic so Apostate wasn't able to revive himself. I'm sure we would have lost otherwise. But it was a very close game. Ra was down to 3 HP, Hakka had 5 HP and Mr. Fixer had 3 HP. Mr. Fixer didn't help too much because he never got a single style card out. We looked them over at the end and any one of them would have made the game a heck of a lot easier. But it doesn't matter since we won! Woot! It was so epic! Can't wait to play again!

Play #3: June 14:
Played with: Chris:Omnitron X and Tachyon. Will:Chrono Ranger. Sarah:Knyfe.
Villain:Grand Warlord Voss. Location:Time Cataclysm.
Scores: Coop win!
Comments: After dinner, we introduced Sentinels of the Multiverse to our friend who had stayed after everyone else left. He loved it! So we'll be playing it a lot more with him. He chose Omnitron X and Tachyon, my husband played Chrono Ranger and I chose Knyfe. Then I picked Grand Warlord Voss 'cause his name sounded cool. Then we all decided on Time Cataclysm for the environment. It was definitely a very time themed game and a lot of our characters abilities synergized. It turned out to be a great team. Omnitron X was a solid supporter, being able to do some damage and healing, but the best was his basic ability to turn over the top card of any deck and play it. Really helped speed up Knyfe and Chrono Ranger. Tachyon also did some good damage, but really shined when she was able to play two burst cards in the same turn where each burst card dealt 11 damage to the villain due to having so many burst cards in the discard pile. Chrono Ranger had a neat mechanic with bounties that boosted what he did and almost every card allowed him to deal a bit of damage. Knyfe was solid, consistent damage that just got better as I got more cards out. I was the heavy hitter for the game. And we won! It was a tough battle as Voss got a lot of minions out. At one point, the whole discard pile of minions was brought into play! And the environment really messed with things, but we did a pretty good job of managing it - we had the right heroes this time. So can't wait to play and try out new characters!

Play #4: June 16:
Played with: Will:Fanatic & Expatriate. Sarah: Parse & Naturalist.
Villain:Akash'Bhuta. Location:Freedom Tower.
Scores: Coop win!
Comments: At first, I was really worried about the villain's 200 HP! But we found out that not only did we pick a good team, but the freedom Tower helped us a lot! So far, all the environments have been bad for us. Not only did all the rooms help us, but since there were no targets (anything with HP), half of the villain's ability never went off! I really believe this one would have been a lot tougher since it activates whenever a environment target comes into play, but that never happened. But don't get me wrong, it was still challenging to deal with and we managed to keep it from flipping over till the last two rounds of the game. But this is the first game where we ended the game with most of our HPs. So note, if you want an easier game, pick the Freedom Tower environment.

Play #5: July 12:
Played with: Will:Nightmist. Sarah:The Argent Adept. Chrisarse. Gilbert:Chrono Ranger
Villain:The Dreamer. Location:Rook City.
Scores: Coop loss.
Comments: In the very first villain turn, we all lost a lot of HP and we knew at that point that it was very unlikely we'd win. As the first round progressed and we realized that The Argent Adept and Nightmist did not do much damage, we knew we were going to lose. We kept playing but by the 4th round Chrono Ranger was dead and the rest of us had less than 5 HP left so we called it quits. We had just gotten the Dreamer to turn over and put 2 projections under her card. There was no way we were going to make it to 8. This was one of the most miserable games we've ever played of SotM, but we still enjoyed it, experiencing new characters and villains.

Play #6: July 12:
Played with: Will:Setback. Sarah:The Sentinels. Chris:Legacy. Gilbert:The Wraith
Villain:Ambuscade. Location:Final Wastelands.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: We all enjoyed our characters more in this one and were much more successful against Ambuscade. Interestingly, he started with his cloak on, which hadn't happened last time we fought against him. But it just let us focus on getting rid of devices. We loved The Wraith's cards that prevented Environment damage and looked at the top 2 cards of any deck, which we used to weed out Ambuscade's deck. Legacy is always solid and even more so this time as his permanent +1 to everyone came out in the first round. Even Setback, as weird as he was, did fantastic damage against the villain (and himself). And I loved how the Sentinels were comprised of 4 heroes working as a team. It was a little confusing as to how to target them, but I think we did it right. This was a big triumph for us and everyone left satisfied. Though if it hadn't bee so late, we would have played again. I really wish the game went to 6 so I could have our whole RPG group play.

Play #7: July 17:
Played with: Will:Tempest & Visionary. Sarah:Omnitron-X & Mister Fixer.
Villain:The Dreamer. Location:Ruins of Atlantis.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: Will wanted to go up against the Dreamer so we picked ones we thought would do well against her. I played Mister Fixer and Omnitron-X while he played Tempest and Visionary. We hadn't played with the location Ruins of Atlantis so we went with that. Dreamer is a tough one because she cuts you down a lot in the very first round with all her projections, and repeats it every turn. And you can't kill her, you have to wake her up. First step is to get rid of all projections in play and her card flips over and she's partially awake. Then you win by putting projections under her card equal to twice the number of heroes. She only has 6 HP and if she dies, the heroes lose. So quickly we saw that Tempest was not the best choice because he has a lot of deal-all damage. But Mr. Fixer got going well with his irreducible damage and was boosted by Visionary and Omnitron-X. Omnitron-X was really cool and helpful, especially in dealing with the Kraken that kept coming out. I thought for sure we were going to lose as the whole game only took 5 rounds and in the last round, Tempest was dead, Visionary had 6 HP, Omintron-X had 8 and Mister Fixer had 1. We had 6 cards under her, with two projections that had really low HP. The environment card flipped and instructed that the top card of every deck had to be played. The Dreamer just added a projection, but the heroes' decks all added up to be enough to put 2 more cards under Dreamer so when she started her turn, we had 8 projections and won the battle! Phew! If I never have to fight her again, I'll be happy.

Play #8: July 21:
Played with: Will:The Argent Adept. Sarah:Unity. Chris: Legacy & Bunker
Villain:Kismet. Location:Silver Gulch 1883.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: What a wild ride! Surprisingly, the environment deck hurt us more than Kismet, though she added to it with her nasty jinx cards. But the stupid explosive wagons really took us down and destroyed all my lovely bots that I had gotten into play. But we did steady damage to Kismet. On the final turn, me and Will were dead and our friend had managed to get Kismet down to 2 life. We drew Tyler Hayes, a gunman, from the environment deck and he promptly killed Kismet for us. This is the second game where the environment deck has won it for us when we would have otherwise lost. If the gunman hadn't come out, Legacy was down to 3 HP and Bunker to 4HP and I wouldn't have been surprised if Kismet had killed them if she had been able to take a turn. As always, we love this game and winning by the skin of our teeth. Very enjoyable!

Play #9: August 2:
Played with: Will&Sarah:Tempest. Gary:Mr. Fixer. Nate: Legacy. Albert:Chrono Ranger. Jacob&Rachel:Ra.
Villain:Akash'Bhuta. Location:The Block.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: After dinner at the game day, we played Sentinels of the Multiverse with 7 people. Everyone there wanted to learn how to play as only our host had played once before. Will suggested going against Akash'Bhuta to give everyone a chance to get to know how their characters played, and that was a good choice. We decided on The Block as we'd never played it before. Turned out to be an interesting choice due to how Akash'Bhuta brings cards into play and discards them. So we had a lot of prison riots with inmates out, but due to the cycle of discarding, we never got very many agents in play, so they never were able to help out. But we did just fine on our own, though Tempest got down to 4 HP before we were able to kill off Akash'Bhuta, and we had a lot of tense turns. We made a great team, and everyone played well, asking questions as they went along. After the game, one of the guys got on his phone and ordered a copy. As for our host, who had asked for us to bring Sentinels, it's just risen on his has-to-have list. I love spreading Sentinels around. It's been a big hit with everyone we've introduced it to.

Play #10: August 8:
Played with: Will&Sarah:Legacy. Gilbert:Chrono Ranger. Alicia:The Wraith. Chris:Omnitron X. Barrett: Knife
Villain:Miss Information. Location:Realm of Discord.
Scores: Coop loss!
Comments: After Numenera and dinner, people wanted to play a game. While we had 6 players, everyone really wanted to play Sentinels. Who was I to say no (especially since it would complete the game for the 10x10 list), so Will and I teamed up to play Legacy while others played Chrono Ranger, The Wraith, Omnitron X and Knife. We went up against Miss Information in the Realm of Discord. This went horribly for us. We didn’t manage to get her card to flip over until we were nearly dead and it was only one more turn and we were toast. Those clue cards didn’t come out fast enough and the ones that did, like the isolation one, really hurt us.

Play #11: August 8:
Played with: Will&Sarah:Legacy. Gilbert:Chrono Ranger. Alicia:The Wraith. Chris:Omnitron X. Barrett: Ra
Villain:Miss Information. Location:Rook City.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: Even though it was getting late, everyone wanted to try again as we felt we had learned some things and could beat Miss Information this time. So Will and I played Legacy again. Chrono Ranger, The Wraith and Omnitron X were still there, but Knife got traded for Ra. Turn out to be a great change. We also exchanged the Realm of Discord for Rook City. We did get the clue cards out a lot faster, though she still beat us up pretty good. But we got her flipped over and taken down in 2 turns, right before Chrono Ranger would have died. It was a lot of fun, even though for both games I was more like the controller for Miss Information and the environments, but I didn’t mind. I like co-ops because everyone is working as a team and if that means I facilitate then I’m good with that.

Play #12: August 15:
Played with: Sarah:The Scholar. Chris:Tachyon. Will:Unity. Marty:Setback. Soltron:Omnitron X.
Villain:Baron Blade. Location:Freedom Tower.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: To introduce this to our friends, we picked an easy villain and location, but this gave them time to learn the game and get to know their characters. Sadly for me, the Scholar didn't get to shine because he does effects based on healing and he really didn't get hurt much. But I sure had a lot of cards. This was a pretty easy win.

Play #13: August 15:
Played with: Sarah:The Naturalist. Chris:Fanatic. Will:Legacy. Marty:Chrono Ranger. Soltron:Tempest.
Villain:La Capitan. Location:Ruins of Atlantis.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: This one was a lot harder, but very thematic as we had help from the Kraken in taking down the villain's ship and cronies. I'd played the Naturalist before, but it's not as easy as I'd like to change forms. However, it worked best for me to stay in the crocodile form for most of the game to deal damage. Though Chrono Ranger and Tempest did the majority of it.

Play #14: August 15:
Played with: Sarah:Nightmist. Chris:Argent Adept. Will: Parse. Marty:Expatriate. Soltron:Mr. Fixer.
Villain:Gloomweaver. Location: Pike Industrial Complex.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: This was the toughest. Gloomweaver didn't give us much room to maneuver and the Pike Industrial Complex beat us down too. We got pretty far and then Expatriate died, but we still managed a win, but just barely. I do not like Nightmist at all. She is very hard to get going and was not satisfying to play. After the game, we analyzed that I did probably 1/3 of the damage in the whole game, but it was all at the beginning and it petered out quickly until I had nothing left to do. She needs a better draw mechanism. I will not choose to play her again.

Play #15: August 23:
Played with: Sarah:Chrono Ranger. Will:Omnitron X. Jareth:Tempest.
Villain:Omnitron. Location:Tomb of Atlantis.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: This was a hard fought victory. Omnitron did his best to defeat us, destroying our equipment. In fact, my character was getting going really well, but then a card came out called equipment malfunction and all my weapons dealt me, Chrono Ranger, so much damage that it killed me. I was in shock for several rounds after, but at least I was still able to help from beyond the grave and the other two made it at 5 health each. This was a tough one.

Play #16: November 1:
Played with: Sarah: Ra. Will: Tachyon. Chris: Omnitron X. Barrett: Visionary. Ben: Legacy. Villain: Citizen Dawn. Location: Insula Primalis.
Scores: Coop Win!
Comments: Our friend Ben was completely new to the game and we needed another strong character so we gave him Legacy. Legacy is always a good starting hero. But we didn't go easy and we chose to go up against Citizen Dawn and Insula Primalis as the environment. I would say it was a tough game except we got probably the one character and card that could effectively incapacitate Citizen Dawn - Visionary has a card that lets her shuffle the Villain trash back into the deck and it deals her damage. Citizen Dawn flips over when she has 5 citizens in her trash and becomes invincible for a while. So once there were 5, Barret played the card, shuffling 8 cards into the deck and taking 8 damage. Sooo worth it! Even though Citizen Dawn wiped out our equipment and ongoing cards the next turn, we rebuilt quickly and killed her with no further problems. Interestingly, Ra was a good character to deal with Insula Primalis. I was able to protect the team from fire and let the environment still deal damage to the villain cards. So while this one turned out to be no real threat, it would have been a completely different game without Visionary.
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5. Board Game: Guildhall [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:694] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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10x10 Challenge

Note: Guildhall is both the original and Job Faire mixed in one box.

Play #1: January 2:
Played with: Assassin, Historian, Dancer, Peddler, Tax Collector, Scholar
Scores: Sarah:25 Will:12
Comments: This was quite an interesting mix of cards. Many turns saw the same progression of cards played - Dancer then Peddler then Assassin. Having two cards that give extra actions sped up the game, but the Assassins countered it by slowing down the game. My husband and I went back and forth frequently stealing the others cards with the Peddler and then killing off whatever was given with the Assassin. Our scores were pretty close for most of the game until I managed to complete 3 stacks in one turn, which I have never done before. I used the Dancer to get more cards then the Peddler to steal cards I needed and gave ones I didn't need. Then I used the Historian to loot the discard and followed it up with an Assassin. This allowed me to complete the Dancer, Historian and Assassin stacks. I already had one stack from the turn before. On my husband's turn, the best he could do was create 2 stacks and earn 2 VPs with the Tax Collector. Then on my turn, I used all my stacks to go from 11 to 25. Over all, a good game and one that taught me how to use the Peddler, whom I had always had trouble with before. But now I wonder how our next game will go as we'll play with the 6 unused cards and none of them give extra actions...

Play #2: January 3:
Played with: Farmer, Weaver, Trader, Bricklayer, Hunter, Robber
Scores: Sarah:18 Will:21
Comments: This was a much closer game, though the previous day's game was not easy either. I started off strong, really utilizing the Bricklayers to never have to waste an action drawing cards. This let me get to 10 points quickly while my husband had only accumulated 2 from Farmers. But then I stalled out for a while. I had a lot of trouble using the Trader effectively, while my husband did not. He did some great combos with Weavers, Traders and Hunters. Over several rounds, he created 4 stacks. I only managed to get one stack, which I traded in for 4 points and got some more points from Farmers. I had one turn to try to win it, but couldn't. So close, but he managed to win. I really need to learn how to use the traders better. I also under-utilized the Weavers. So this combo of cards taught me that I have come to rely on certain cards too much and that I need to be more adaptable. Looking forward to randomizing the cards again!

Play #3: March 23:
Played with: Trader, Historian, Weaver, Tax Collector, Robber, Scholar
Scores: Sarah:11 Will:20
Comments: I feel blah about this game, partially because I wasn't feeling well. While the game ended close - if he hadn't won on his turn, I would have turned in my 2 stacks on my turn to win - I didn't feel very challenged by it. I actually felt bored through most of the game. I'm wondering if I want this game to be a bit more chaotic, which is what happens when you have more players. It also allows for more options because the game can slow down with 2 players. My husband still found it challenging and enjoyable so it's not like I'm giving up on the game. I just hope we can play it with others next time it hits the table.

Play #4: March 26:
Played with: Peddler, Farmer, Dancer, Assassin, Bricklayer and Hunter
Scores: Sarah:25 Will:13
Comments: Then we played Guildhall with Guildhall: Job Faire. I was getting a little loopy by this point, but I pushed on. We played with the random mix of Peddler, Farmer, Dancer, Assassin, Bricklayer and Hunter. It was really cool to have several rounds where I could play 4 cards thanks to the Dancer and Peddler. Also, the Assassin mixed with the Hunter was a great combo - kill off an opponent's card and then put it into your guildhall. And having cards in hand were not a problem due to having both the Dancer and Bricklayer. I think the only thing I'd change is to take out the Farmer and put in the Weaver to have more control over putting cards into your guild. Anyway, my husband dominated the first half of the game, getting a lot of assassins. I started being very careful with playing assassins, keeping them to destroy his assassins so he'd never get a lot in his guildhall. And then midway, the tides turned. My husband drew cards he didn't need (a lot of farmers) whereas I got a lot of dancers and peddlers and just kept going strong. In my last turn, I had 3 stacks to turn in so I got a low pointer and then the 9 points so I could end with 25 points. My husband had 13. Lots of fun!

Play #5: April 1:
Played with: Dancer, Hunter, Historian, Trader, Robber, Bricklayer
Scores: Sarah:22 Will:12
Comments:I did a great! I was really careful on which cards I played and which stacks I turned in to give my husband the least benefit and me the highest benefit. So I often played cards into my guildhall that matched his so he couldn't take them with the trader. Though this also hobbled me, I made it work by turning a stack in for the 3 point card that allows you to put any number of cards from your hand into your guildhall and I was able to complete 2 more stacks this way. Later I got the 2 point card that allowed me to steal a stack from an opponent. I traded in my historian stack, stole my husband's stack of 4 historians and used the hunter to take the historian I needed. At one point, I had 3 stacks ready to turn in. I can thank a lot of my success to the bricklayers that kept my hand full of cards. That was the first stack I completed and really got me ahead. This was another great game, full of challenge and strategy. This game just keeps getting better with each play and I constantly look forward to playing again with a random set.

Play #6: May 15:
Played with: Scholar, Assassin, Peddler, Weaver, Tax Collector, Farmer
Scores: Will:23 Sarah:12
Comments: This was one of the worst sets ever! There was no way to get cards from the discard, which did not combo well with the Assassin. The whole game felt like a slog through mud. Even my husband thought so and though he won, he admits most of it was pure chance. He got very lucky with the Scholar a few times and drew what he needed. I, on the other hand, was stuck have two stacks of 4 for a very long time and just never drew the ones I was missing. I kept drawing duplicates of ones I already had. Half of my points came from Farmers and Tax Collectors. This is definitely a combination to avoid.

Play #7: July 28:
Played with: Bricklayer, Tax Collector, Dancer, Trader, Weaver, Scholar
Scores: Will:10 Sarah:21
Comments: I won surprisingly because Will was playing much better than me. But I always have a hard time figuring out when to turn my stacks in for points so I waited till the end to start turning them in. I was at 6 points and Will at 10 when he ended his turn with 4 stacks to turn in and said that if I didn't win on my turn, he'd win on his. I had 3 stacks and looked at my options. I could turn in 2 stacks for 9 points and 1 stack for 4 points, but that only put me at 19 points. Then I saw that one 4 pointer gave me an action, which allowed me to play my Tax Collector to give me 2 points and the win with 21. If Will had been able to take his turn, he would have been able to get to 27 points. I had to thank him for notifying me that he could win, though it would have been pretty obvious to most anyone upon seeing he had 4 stacks, but I was getting tired so he was being very nice. Sadly, this is one of the games that I've liked less the more we play it. Even with randomizing, it feels a bit samey and doesn't hold my interest fully. But on the other hand, we tend to play it when I'm tired so that could be the real issue. I think we also need to play this with more players to see how it changes the game.

Play #8: September 24:
Played with: Peddler, Farmer, Assassin, Hunter, Robber and Historian.
Scores: Will:20 Sarah:18
Comments: This was quite interesting in it's round-about mechanism to get cards. A lot of cards moving from one player to the other. I probably could have fought harder to win, but I was getting very hungry. I saw that Will could win on his next turn so I just decided to get as many points as I could. I could have taken the VP card that would have won it for him, but there was no guarantee that it wouldn't be replaced with what he needed, and I forgot to check. So he won 20 to my 18. I have to say that I am getting tired of this game, though we still have 2 more plays for the 10x10 challenge. It's just not much fun with 2 players. I think it's much more enjoyable with more players.

Play #9: October 5:
Played with: Assassin, Farmer, Historian, Trader, Dancer, Weaver.
Scores: Will:20 Sarah:16
Comments: Up to this point, we had been doing random combinations with it and Job Faire, but I wanted to go back to the original. I have to say, I like it better the way they designed it. Random can provide some interesting combos, but I'm just not up for adjusting every time we play. Anyway, I had some much better plays this game, but could not beat Will's Farmers. Though after the game, we realized that because I kept stealing his Farmers, it's why he could keep the combo going. Otherwise, he would have completed the set and not had the point making machine any more. He produced 15 points from the Farmers and then when he did complete it, he used the stack to buy a 5 point card. I only managed 16 points even though I completed 3 stacks. While I feel better about the game, I am glad we only have 1 more play for the 10x10 list. I am done with this game as a two-player game. It plays much better with more players, in my opinion, and there are just so many other games I do like to play with 2 players.

Play #10: October 11:
Played with: Bricklayer, Hunter, Peddler, Robber, Scholar, Tax Collector.
Scores: Will:12 Sarah:10 Jareth:22
Comments: Chose to play the original Job Faire set. While the game is definitely better with more players, I still have trouble with the game. I made a bad move which gave my nephew the card he needed to complete a stack, though I didn't realize it at the time I made the choice. Unsurprisngly, he won with 22 points while Will had 12 and I had 10.
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6. Board Game: Seasons [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:160]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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Play #1: April 4:
Played with: Beginner set of cards #1-30
Scores: Sarah:127 Will:139
Comments: It's been quite a while since we played so we stuck with the beginner cards, but we did draft. I think I did a pretty good job of choosing cards and organizing them by the 3 seasons. I took some risks and played very well, but my husband took even riskier moves and manage to win by a slim margin. He won 139 to my 127, but almost all of his points were in his cards while I had more crystals. For example, I played a familiar that made each player put a magic item back in their hand. I bounced the item that gave me 20 crystals, which was nice, but my husband bounced an item that allowed him to draw a card and put it into play for free. He drew the card that is worth 30 points!! It normally costs 20 crystals, but he got it for free! Both of our eyes bugged out at that. And in the last round, he decided to take the die to draw a card and he was able to play it even though he only had 2 tokens. I am definitely glad we put this on our 10x10 list because this game has a lot of depth to it. Also glad we have the 1st expansion and the second one is on its way.

Play #2: April 9:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50 and ability tokens
Scores: Sarah:208 Will:154
Comments: Feeling pretty confident that we had the basic game down, we expanded to the more advanced cards. Sadly, not that many came up, but the ones that did, had an effect on the game. Drafting is always a challenge, trying to figure out what's most important to get before your opponent might take it. I got a good combo going where I got an energy and 3 crystal every time I summoned a power card. I also got an extra crystal whenever I transmuted energy into crystals. And my ability token allowed me to transmute with an extra crystal, without losing any points. I did this at one point to get 5 crystals per token and transmuted 5 tokens. Then the grimoire that expands my energy area was nice to have again and came in handy when I played a card that gave me an energy token for every magic item and I had mostly magic items so it filled out my area to the max. My husband got a good combo of having a card that allowed him to look at the top card and put it into play at the cost of 4 energy tokens. He maxed out his cards this way. He got a lot of familiars that messed with things and a card that gave him a crystal for every familiar he had in play. But he did me a favor when he played a familiar that returned a magic item to each person's hand so I got back the card that gave me crystal for my magic items. Plus, I got out the card that cost 20 crystals but gives you 30 points. Still, I wasn't sure in the last year whether I had won because my husband was doing a lot more than I was. But I focused on transmuting and that turned out to work for me. We've never had scores going to the 200's before and I was surprised it was me! This is definitely a game that keeps you on your toes and I look forward to adding in more of the first expansion and eventually opening the second expansion.

Play #3: May 26:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, ability tokens and Argo's Embrace Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:135 Will:99
Comments: First off, Argo's Embrace makes you lose 5 crystal whenever you put a card in your hand. If you can't pay the 5 crystal, you have to discard a card, either from in play or in your hand. This definitely made strategizing important. I was very lucky to take as my first card the Crystal Orb because I could look at the top card and put it into play for 4 energy token - this way it didn't go into my hand. I also took the ability token to look at the top 3 cards and put them back in any order for 0 points. The first time I used the Crystal Orb, I used the ability token first and was able to pick Heart of Argos, which gave me a earth token every time I activated a card. So it combo'd well with Crystal Orb. I also managed to get a shield type card that whenever I had to discard or sacrifice a card, I could discard it and gain 10 crystal. That definitely came in handy, though it was hard for me to keep crystal since my husband took the card that made me lose 4 crystal when he discarded an energy token. This was a very tricky and challenging game, but I got really lucky being able to put that one card into play with the Crystal Orb that was worth 30 points and normally cost 20 crystal. That solidified my lead. My husband just couldn't quite get his cards to work together, though he did get 18 points from his ability token where he had to discard 4 water tokens for it. Looking forward to trying the other enchantment cards. Definitely liking the variety in the power cards and love the ability tokens - always good to play with.

Play #4: June 17:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, ability tokens and Vision of Destiny Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:135 Will:104
Comments: The enchantment was Vision of Destiny which kept the top 2 cards of the deck revealed, which was pretty cool, but we didn't actually use it too much. My husband chose the ability token #2 which allowed him to discard a power card to gain 6 points. I chose ability token #8 which allowed me to discard 4 water tokens to get 18 points. For most of the game, my husband was beating me. He had some power cards to drain my crystals and I had a lot of abilities that relied on crystals to activate. But apparently, I destroyed his key strategy by not playing the familiar that, unbeknownst to me, he had made sure I had at the end of the draft. I had Vampiric Crown (I think that's what it's called), which allowed me to either discard or draw and card and gain energy tokens equal to its VP. The top card had 0 and the two cards in my hand were either 0 or the familiar with 12 points. I didn't want to get rid of the familiar, but I didn't want to be stuck with cards at the end of the game so I tossed the familiar. This familiar turned my opponents energy into feathers, which he needed to play his last two cards. And then in the last round, the 2 of the three dice were cards and it was my choice so I took the non-card die, which left him with 3 cards in his hand at the end of the game. He lost 15 points! I won with 135 and he had 104, but we looked over what would have happened if I had played the familiar and he would have won. It's amazing how that worked out! But I never expected him to create a strategy around a card I had!

Play #5: June 25:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Entangling Roots Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:139 Will:143
Comments: The Entangling Roots Enchantment reduces summoning power cards from your hand to one per turn. So it made it very important to play a power card every turn if possible. My husband chose ability token #18 where he could take a power card from his second or third year and earn 9 points. I chose the ability token to reduce my summoning gauge by 1 to earn 10 points. I chose mine because I had a card that allowed me to discard two energy tokens of the same kind to increase my summoning gauge by 1 and earn 3 crystals, which really helped. I also had the card that allowed me to put a replicator into play for 1 water token. This worked well under the terms of the enchantment so there were several turns I was able to play a card from my hand and put a replicator in play. I had a very strong set of cards, but my husband just managed to have a high crystal earning combo and a way to drain my crystals. One card made me give him a crystal every time I played a power card. Plus he had 2 copies of the familiar that makes opponents discard a power card. I was able to use the shield for the first one, which earned me 10 crystal, but the second one, I discarded a replicator. At the end of the game, I had 14 of 15 cards out and if I had just had one more water, I could have put another replicator into play and I would have won since we were only 4 points apart in score. But my husband definitely earned his win. And I'm very happy at how well I did. I'm really loving this game and getting to enjoy the playing of the game and less concerned about winning.

Play #6: June 27:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Io's Bounty Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:173 Will:212
Comments: This was a game where my husband really shined and broke his records. We had a high crystal scoring game plus we had quite a few cards that drew more cards for both of us. My husband got over 100 crystal during the course of the game, he broke 200 at the end, which he had never done before, and he set the new highest score. He had a great win with 212 while I came in pretty high at 173. I can't say I played the best, but I blame having gone out to eat and playing the game late at night as the cause of my poor playing. I was very full and tired, which is never a good combination for me. I didn't draft well and only got a few card combos to work. My husband was doing fantastic, though, getting out some really great cards as well as effectively bouncing one card that gave him 20 crystal back to his hand so he could play it again. He had token #14 which allowed him to reduce his bonus track by 1 and gain 3 points at the end of the game. He definitely used it and ended up maxed on that track. I had token #7 which gave me 12 crystal, but I lost 6 points at the end of the game. However, I used that in combo with a familiar that allowed every player who had 10 or more crystals to draw a card and increase their summoning gauge. I did that really early in the game and my husband didn't have enough crystals. That was the best (and only) combo that I got to work. The Enchantment gave us an extra crystal when we transmuted and it did come into play. I had a card that let me sacrifice it to transmute all the energy in my storage for 4 crystals each so I was able to get 5 crystals for each of the 7 energy. That really helped me catch up to my husband, but not enough to win.

Play #7: June 28:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Tailwind Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:200 Will:181
Comments: This is another one where I felt like my husband drafted better, but I was able to draw some power cards during the game that really helped me. First off, my husband chose token #18 where he could take a power card from his second or third year and earn 9 points. I still see this as advantageous and don't understand why it earns points, but anyway, I chose token #3 which gave me 2 energy of my choice, but cost me 5 points at the end of the game. The dice hated us for most of the first year, not giving us much in the way of stars to increase the summoning gauge. I had to use all 3 of my bonus actions and my ability token all in the first few turns. Made me really worried that I'd do well, but one of the cards I put in increased my summoning gauge by 2 so that helped. My husband, though, had a great combo with Beggar's Horn, which allowed him to gain an energy token if he had 1 or less at the end of a round. Well, the Tailspin Enchantment allows each player to turn an air energy into 4 crystals. So most turns he would get an air and then convert it to 4 crystals. So he was quite ahead for most of the game, but I had the power card that let me draw 4 power cards and keep one. I was able to get the Replicator again to put in replica cards for a water and were worth 7 points - I got 3 into play by the end of the game. We each also had a very expensive card that cost 6 energy, 3 of two different types that were worth 24 points. Mine gave me 3 crystal at the end of each round and I got it in early on the second year. My husband had the one that gave him some crystal for each energy he had at the end of the game. Mine definitely helped me as I got over 100 points during the game. And the piece de resistance was at the end when I played the card that gave me crystal for each magic item I had in play. I had 12 at that point, so it really boosted me up. That really helped make up for losing 25 points at the end of the game for using all the bonuses. Another great game that was tense until the very end.

Play #8: July 8:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Elemental Construction Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:192 Will:157
Comments: We got the Enchantment Elemental Construction which eliminates the drafting. Each player draws 18 cards and picks 9. It was certainly different. I liked it, but my husband still prefers the draft. I think it's because he gains knowledge about what cards I have and I'm terrible at noticing which cards he took. Anyway, I had trouble in the early to mid game as I may have put some of my cards in the wrong order. My husband had a very strong start and was getting very far ahead of me in crystals. But then a bad/good thing happened. At the beginning of the third year, I had to draw 2 Power cards, one because of my husband and one because of the die. I thought I was done for until I put my brain into high gear and figured out the right order to play the cards. I managed to play 4 of the 5 cards I had in my hand. I wish I could remember the exact order, but one of the cards costs 2 water and allowed me to gain any 4 energy. I used the bonus on the board to change 2 of my tokens into water so I could play it. Then I was able to play a card that let me exchange a power card and move my token back on the bonus track. Then I played 2 cards, one of which gave me energy for every magic item I had. That gave me enough to play the card that lets me draw 4 and put a power card into play. It was amazing how well all of it fell into place. And I ended up having 15 out of 15 power cards in play! My poor husband very rarely wins at this game. He can get a lot of crystals during the game and mess with me, but I usually end up muscling through it at the end with all my power cards.

Play #9: August 3:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Crossed Paths Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:177 Will:218
Comments: We had the Enchantment card called Cross Paths which only changed that the first card we chose went to our opponent. I felt the cards were pretty bad and tried to give him a negative one, but of course he managed to turn it around during the game. But I also managed to make the one he gave me work for me too. I chose token 17 which let me reroll the season die I chose and earn 9 points at the end. Will chose Token 3 which gave him 2 tokens of his choice and -5 points at the end. He just made so many amazing plays during the game, though I did better than I thought. This game has really become more competitive for us, but in a good way. It's exciting to me to keep trying to do better at the game. And I've definitely learned that the one who can gain extra cards the cheapest is usually the winner. In this case, Will had a card he managed to activate 3 times that let him draw 4 cards and put one into play for free. They were all great! I managed to get a few more cards, though not for free, but he stuck me with a few negative cards that I couldn't get rid of. And he got over 150 crystal during the course of the game, partially by stealing crystal from me. So he ended with 218 points and I had 177. We love, love, love this game! I so can't wait to play again.

Play #10: August 9:
Played with: Advanced set of cards #1-50, Enchanted Kingdom cards #1-30, Path of Destiny cards #1-20, ability tokens and Arus’s Cunning Scheme Enchantment
Scores: Sarah:111 Will:131
Comments: We had the enchantment Arus’s Cunning Scheme which would make us pass a card at the end of each year to the player on our left. This made us nervous and I certainly didn’t play as well. I also forgot to keep a card at the end as I had one I didn’t need as I could have given it to Will. He remembered, of course. But that didn’t make the difference as he was well ahead of me with 131 points to my 111 at the end. The dice hated us this game and we had the lowest summoning gauges we’ve had in a very long time. Will was better able to mitigate his losses with cards that let him move his bonus track marker back. And my token selection sucked compared to his. He got token 4, which allowed him to move his summoning gauge back to gain 10 points. I took token 1o where you can move the season token back or forward 2 and gain 3 points. It helped, but not enough. Still, I made some good plays and got some things to work that I didn’t think would.
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7. Board Game: Dark Horse [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:3592]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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Play #1: May 10:
Scores: Sarah:20 Will:17
Comments: Having not played this since sometime last year, we had to reread the rules, which took a while since they're not the best written. We had to look one thing up on the online FAQ to get clarification. But once we started the first few rounds, it flowed very well. I really do like how quick the turns are. The biggest surprise to me is that this is not a race game. In fact, I was about to put my last town out when I stopped to count points and realized that if I ended the game, my husband would actually have more points than me. While I had all 3 of my cities out, they were not connected to all my towns while my husband's 2 cities were connected to all the towns he had out. Those points plus him being farther on the influence track and being mayor put him a couple points ahead of me. So it took a few turns to get the rails I needed due to that space being tied to a natural 5 die roll. But I was able to get the rails I needed and build my last town on the same turn. And my husband tried to thwart me by drawing cards, but it only hurt him by taking away his mayor token. So I managed to win 20 to his 17, which was the difference of me connecting all my towns to all my cities. Dark Horse is a really enjoyable game once you learn the rules. Reminds me of Kingsburg and adds the tile building from Settlers of Catan. Looking forward to playing again!

Play #2: May 11:
Scores: Will:20 Sarah:19
Comments: The next night, my husband wanted to play Dark Horse again to reinforce the rules. While I really wanted to play Super Fantasy: Ugly Snouts Assault since I had sorted and organized it that morning, I'm glad we played Dark Horse because we found that we had made a few mistakes on the rules. I had a lot of trouble rolling good numbers this game. Plus I was playing the Gambler and had mechanics I didn't care too much for, but there were a few times it came in handy. My husband played the Scoundrel and several abilities really worked for him. I have to admit it can be frustrating when the dice don't roll well, but the good news is there are usually ways to modify things. But I still get frustrated that 3-5 have to be natural numbers. We have only ever used the dealer space once because most times we'd use it, we can't because 3-5 have to be natural. Anyway, my husband's risky strategy of placing his starting town by the rugged spot paid off for him, though I did not make it easy for him. He won 20 to my 19. But he was happy to finally win. This is the third time we played (including the time we played last year) and I won the first two games. He was feeling like he'd never get it, but he did!

Play #3: May 15:
Scores: Will:19 Sarah:14
Comments: I had a lot of bad luck in this game, rolling low a lot. I did make a few mistakes as there were at least 2 points where I had tokens to modify my dice, but didn't think of using them. I have to admit I wasn't feeling completely well when we played. But I did the best I could and still gave my husband a challenge, but was just better able to use the dice rolls he got. I am starting to feel like the game is getting samey, but Kingsburg has the same problems, which is why I always play with the expansion for it. I am really looking forward to the expansion to Dark Horse. Having said that, the game is still a challenge and still feels very tense as we play, but we have both developed patterns of where we like to build our cities and towns, the order in which we lay rails and which spaces we prefer to use a lot. Also, some of the characters are stronger than others. I had the Merchant, which focused on producing more resources, but I needed to get gold, not more resources. In fact, I ended the game with 8 extra resources. Will had the Banker, but he didn't use any of the abilities, other than having the token that can be traded in for 1 gold or 3 resources, which he started the game with. I think the characters that have more general abilities are more useful and powerful. Next time, we'll be picking our characters. But again, I can't wait for the expansion since it will have more characters, plus we pledged to create our own characters which I am looking forward to!

Play #4: May 22:
Scores: Will:22 Sarah:19
Comments: I was completely in the wrong head space for the game, especially when my husband tried a new strategy and aggressively went for both the ore that were face-up. I felt pretty well defeated as I didn't have any ore around me, so I spent several turns not getting much accomplished while my husband was able to get everything done that he wanted. But near the end, I rallied myself as I got lucky in moving my gunslinger on to the build space, which prevented my husband from placing his third city, which would have ended the game. I was able to build my second city. Then next round, I used the Scoundrel's ability to put dice out first using a wild die token and that helped me put my 5th town out. I knew it would win me the game, but I didn't want him to win so easily. Next round, he did build his last city and he only won by 3 points, 22 to my 19. I felt better when we talked after the game, reflecting on how it went. As I'm feeling the game is getting a little stale, we're going to completely randomize the tiles next time. Plus my husband wants to try keeping them face-down so neither of us knows what's where. I think that will help shake things up. I really, really can't wait for the expansion.

Play #5: May 26:
Scores: Sarah:23 Will:22
Comments: To shake things up, we decided to put all the tiles down randomly and kept them face-down. So we both started near rugged terrain so we put our beginning towns down without having to pay the extra cost. I played the Cowboy and started with a town on wood and ore. My husband played the Banker and started with a town on food and wood. It was a struggle the whole game, but it made the game a much more enjoyable challenge than before. I used the Scout action a lot to look at the face-down tiles. Sadly on my side of the board, the only food was the printed one. But I got all the ore so that made it very difficult for my husband. I used cards effectively to get the food I needed so I could keep on building. I really love how the gunslingers work in a 2 player game. We each both very effectively blocked each other at critical points. I was ready to build my last city and that would have won the game for me, but my husband blocked me from building with his gunslinger. So he was able to build his third city, but he still had towns to build. However, I knew at that point my winning was not guaranteed since he had a lot more influence than me. So it was a tight race up till I was able to finally place my city while he still hadn't place his last 2 towns. If I hadn't gone to market at the end to buy another gold or if he had thought to do that too, then he would have won through the tie breaker. But I clearly won 23 to his 22. This was also our highest scoring game so far. We definitely like playing with the tiles face-down and randomly placed. Next time, I suggested we try playing with 2 characters each, like we're playing a partnership. See how that goes. My interest has definitely been renewed.

Play #6: July 14:
Scores: Sarah:25 Will:19
Comments: We again fully randomized the resource hex tiles and kept them all face-down until built to. It really helps keep the game fresh. We also tried playing two characters. I played the Gambler and Preacher, so I was a Preacher with a gambling problem. Will played the Scoundrel and Banker, so he was a corrupt Banker. Yet, we can't say that playing two characters made much difference. It still comes down to the characters having several abilities, but each one is only useful in specific circumstances. Except that the Preacher might have helped me a bit in that I could ignore permanent events and the space for building rails had the train robber event for most of the game, which made rails costs one more ore. So it slowed Will down some, but not me at all. On top of that, I got things going very well from the get-go. I got the hired hand space a few times that really panned out. Rolling more dice is always a good thing in this game. On top of that, I was the Sheriff for most of the game and Will was the Outlaw and I actually caught him at one point so he lost a turn there. So I was able to fully build out my rail line, build most of my towns, then did my cities and my final town to end the game. Will struggled for most of the game, but caught up pretty well towards the end. But he ended without building his last city and two towns. I still enjoy this game, but definitely with time between each game. I also can't wait for the expansion as that should help with the characters and adding more variety to the game.

Play #7: October 20:
Scores: Sarah:11 Will:17
Comments: Will chose the Preacher while I chose the Cowboy. Both were good choices, but Will got his character to work better for him thanks to focusing on using the cards and gaining influence. Since we randomized all the tiles, I was pretty hobbled due to no food tiles near me. I had to make the long haul up to the pre-printed one, but that didn't happen until the end of the game. So even though I got 2 cities out, they were only linked to 4 towns and with 2 influence and 1 gold, I only had 11 points while Will made it to 11 influence to end the game and his one city was connected to 5 towns and he was mayor so he ended with 17 points. His strategy was not only strong, but several events came out that slowed me down while they didn't hinder him at all. This play did feel a little better than before, but it still feels like something is missing. I can't wait for the expansion, which will hopefully revitalize it for me.

Play #8: October 22:
Scores: Sarah:16 Will:14
Comments: I chose to be the Scoundrel while Will chose the Banker. This play was enjoyable, unlike recent ones because the theme came through more. I had an opportunity to take a risk, one that would have landed all my dice in jail, but I tried for the Outlaw role and succeeded! That helped me for quite some time. Then I peeked at the cards with the Salty Troll and saw the perfect combo of cards so I took Scout. An event came out that got rid of all roles so Will lost the Mayor and I lost the Outlaw. The other card I played immediately and let me be the Sheriff. So I went from Outlaw, to ousting the Mayor and becoming the Sheriff all in a few turns. That was fun. But since we completely randomized the tiles, Will only found food tiles around him and didn't get ore till the end. While he ended the game by placing his last city, I had more of my towns connected to my cities.

Play #9: October 27:
Scores: Sarah:14 Will:24
Comments: Will chose the cowboy and I chose gambler. We went back to using the basic setup as the last few games with completely random tiles were a bit too random. Will did really good in this game, getting cards that worked for him and really being able to use his character's abilities. I floundered a lot, the dice really going against me. But it was still enjoyable. Will won with 24 points while I had 14. Our biggest spread in points yet.

Play #10: October 28:
Scores: Sarah:19 Will:20
Comments: We did a mix of the basic and advanced setup. We did random tiles, but turned up the top 4 tiles as the basic instructions outline. It changed things a bit, but not too much since the tiles mirrored each other. Will chose the merchant while I chose the preacher. This was a very tight game the whole way through. There were points where I'd pull ahead, but then Will would catch up. And I made a critical mistake at the end, thinking I had everything to build a town, but forgot about the rocky terrain which costs an ore. Will thought I was going to win that turn so he did a gamble, which paid off for him. He managed to get the mayor role, which I had, so he, in essence, went up 3 points. I lost 1 for losing the mayor token, 1 for the influence point he gained and 1 for the mayor token at the end of the game. While I did end the game by placing my last town, I also forgot to make sure it was connected by rail. So when all points were totaled, we equaled on cities/towns and influence points so what tipped it was Will having the mayor token. He won 20 to my 19. Oh this was such a tense game, but so satisfying!
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8. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:92]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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Play #1: February 6:
Scores: Sarah:111 Will:95
Comments: It's been a while since we played and this was only our second game of it ever, so we had to go over all the rules again. Even then, I made poor decisions one after another. I started off by getting population, but then I had no income. My husband, on the other hand, started off solid by pursuing income. I was trying to focus on my secret goal, which was to have the most residences and I think that's main reason I won, though by a narrow margin. When the end of game token came out, I did a huge push towards getting a big residence to have population. But it dropped my reputation to -5 and my income way down too. But it was enough to succeed at my personal goal and one of the public goals and get just ahead of my husband. Now long-term, my husband would have won. My suburb was unsustainable. But for the point that it matter, during scoring, I sure looked good.

Play #2: February 11:
Scores: Sarah:65 Will:97
Comments: This game was very interesting because the two public goals were fewest residential and most civic. This made it so that neither of us ever added a residential tile. So population was a little hard to come by, though my husband did very well with this by getting a lot of civic buildings which gave reputation. My personal goal was most business, which I succeeded at, but I could not keep up with the rate at which he was acquiring the civic buildings. I also made a few mistakes in that I actually tried to keep up on civic buildings when I should have gone for some industrial buildings that would have helped boost my population. In the long run those might have been enough for me to outpace him even with the bonus points he got. All in all, I still feel good about this game. I just need to find a better balance in my approach. I need to realize that I don't have to compete with my husband on everything and in fact should try different strategies and go for things he's not going for. I tend to get super-focused on one thing and don't see the other opportunities around me. But I do find it funny that we both built pretty solid suburbs except that we had no one living in them! lol!

Play #3: February 12:
Scores: Sarah:106 Will:110
Comments: This was a very very close one that came down to the last round. Decisions were made and the results came in. Any different move on either of our parts would have changed the outcome. But to start at the beginning, the public goals were fewest lakes for 20 points and fewest civic buildings for 15 points. My personal goal was most residential for 15 points. And at the end, I found out my husband had lowest reputation for 20 points. We struggled with money, not building lakes. I was about to break down and get a lake when my husband did it before me. I could have resisted and I'd have those points, but I knew he'd get too far ahead of me since he had cash and I didn't. So I built one lake. Neither of us built another lake after that so no one got those points. I was struggling to keep up with my husband as timing just worked out better for him, so I decided to take a chance and buy civic buildings. That helped immensely and combo'd well with residential. Except I didn't keep tabs on my husband's purchasing of residential and I realized too late that I could not succeed at my goal so I just did what I could to push my pop up, even though it resulted in very low income. Still, I can't see that I made any big mistakes. Everything felt right at the time I did it. My husband was just able to buy more pop at the end than me because I had no cash. I'm very happy in that I made my husband work hard for his win. I think maybe one more game and then we can add in the expansion.

Play #4: February 21:
Scores: Sarah:99 Will:120
Comments: It's been a few days since we played so I'm having trouble remembering all the details, but one of the public goals was the fewest of something, which made it really hard. I broke away from it and tried my best to utilize it, but it gave my husband a lot of points. Conversely, I ended up buying a lot of Civic buildings, which turned out to be his secret goal. He gave up on it and pushed hard with getting his population up, even though it was costly to do so. But it was enough for him to win in the end.

Play #5: February 22:
Played with: Sarah, Will, and 2 friends.
Comments: It was a lot of fun to teach the game to some friends who came over. It was a bit of a struggle for them, but they got it pretty quickly. The hard part for me is that we started the game when I was already getting tired, so I had a lot of trouble thinking. My husband excelled, as always. In the end, I had the power to choose who won, either one of our friends or my husband. I wanted it to be a good experience for our friends (and I was grumpy enough to not want my husband to win again), so I let her get one of the public goals that put her ahead of my husband. I was going to get paper to write the scores down, but one of our friends immediately started grabbing pieces to put away. While I really appreciate the help in bagging up the game, it meant I didn't get the scores. I know one friend won with 115 while my husband had 104. I had something in the 80's and our other friend was in the 90's. Not my worst game, but not a great game for me. Hopefully next time we play, we can incorporate the expansion.

Play #6: March 13:
Played with: Sarah, Will, and 1 friend.
Scores: Sarah: 118 Will: 65 Friend: 75
Comments: This was an awesome game because I was on the ball the whole game! The public goals were fewest lakes, most money and most contiguous civic. My secret goal was fewest residential, which I hardly ever do, but thought I'd give myself a challenge.

The game was slow at the beginning since no one wanted to build lakes, but it just came to the point where everyone needed cash. Plus our friend bought those water front realty that made lakes more profitable. So he built a lake first then my hubby and then me. But each of them ended up buying another lake later, but I didn't need to because I got several airports that boosted my income so I managed without one. So that was a nice 20 points for me at the end. My husband and I compete for most contiguous civic, but we ended up with the same at the end so neither of us got it. Our friend got the most money due to his profitable lakes.

I managed to keep my income high with a lot of industrial and some businesses. Then near the middle and end, I got a lot of civic that helped boost my reputation. So was behind on pop the whole game, but really boosted at the end. This was the first game I ever got to 15 rep on the very last turn. I got my secret goal, thankfully. It's hard to judge fewest since you have to rely on others to buy, but my husband bought one residential and our friend bought several, so there was 20 points for me. And neither of them go their secret goal because our friends was most industrial, but I got the airports so early that he gave up. And sad for my husband, he got fewest industrial, but our friend never bought an industrial.

So the game ended with me at 118, my husband at 65 and our friend at 75. The story of our boroughs was that mine was a government one where people commuted in by air. Our friends was the working class as he had a lot of businesses and residential. Then my husband's was a hippie colony because he had a lot of parks and his income was in the negative at the end of the game. Lot of fun! Really hope we can get the expansion in next time, especially since our friend really liked the game and wants to play again.

Play #7: March 16:
Played with: Sarah, Will, and Will's brother.
Scores: Sarah: 111 Will: 127 Will's Brother: 4
Comments: I was wary going into this game because I was pretty sure it was too heavy for Will's brother, but Will insisted on it. Turns out I was right, though. However, Will's brother made a very thematic borough: Casino, Resort, Fancy Restaurant, highway, lake, which gave him very high income and very low reputation just like Las Vegas or Reno. Fun place to visit, but no one wants to live there. While I was trying to give his brother some advice, Will ran away with the airports, which was also his secret goal. I've come to the conclusion that if any one person gets most of the airports, they will win. It's just too powerful, especially since my husband invested in 3 of his airports. I did pretty well with a high commerce borough and it was well educated and governed with the civic buildings. I managed to get my goal of most civic buildings. Will's brother did get his goal of highest income, but sadly his pop was at 0 for most of the game due to his rep being negative for so long. As for the public goals, no one got the most lakes as we all had 1, I got the fewest residences as I only had 1 and I got the most commercial. It was a long game due to his brother and I have admit several moments of AP. His brother likes games, but the lighter, shorter variety. So far, he really enjoyed King of Tokyo, but the others have fallen flat since my husband keeps insisting on heavier games, but now he has realized his error. I'm just glad his brother is still open to playing and learning new games.

Play #8: March 26:
Played with: Suburbia Inc Expansion
Scores: Sarah: 95 Will: 104
Comments:As usual, my husband wanted to play Suburbia. I wasn't sure I was up to it, but we finally could add in the expansion. The rules for it aren't that hard and overall, I like the additions. And it's pretty easy to take out the borders and corresponding hex tiles & goals and still play with the other new hex tiles & goals. I don't know how I feel about the bonus & challenge tiles as the first was impossible to get (need 3 businesses and not enough came out) and the second (2 borders) was contrary to one of the public goal (fewest borders). But my husband did very well as his private goal was to get the most borders. On top of that, he was able to get the other public goal for lowest rep by 1 point! I had 1 rep and he had 0. But I didn't let him have the win easy because I was able to get my income up and get a lot of good tiles before him. My secret goal was most contiguous civic hexes, which was pretty easy. A lot of the new hex tiles were civic and residential that gave income, which I took advantage of. I kept up pretty close to my husband's score the whole game, but it ended with him at 104 and me at 95. My borough was a rich government neighborhood, lots of residences including a lake house. My husband had a beach-front bay borough thanks to the beach and bay borders.

Play #9: April 26:
Played with: Suburbia Inc Expansion
Scores: Will won. Katherine 2nd. Michael 3rd. Gary 4th.
Comments: Our last game of the night at Gary's game day. Unfortunately, there was five of us, but since 3 people had never played before, I gave up my seat so they could enjoy it. As it is, I helped Katherine with most of her strategy so it feels like I played. Plus I answered a lot of rules questions and gave others advice, so it felt really good to be the game's host, so to speak. Unfortunately for them (Gary, Katherine and Michael), Suburbia is my husband's favorite game so he won. However, Katherine came in second thanks to my help. Michael had a lot of trouble with the game, but enjoyed himself because he ended up making zombieland with his cemeteries, schools, and slaughterhouse. They all really enjoyed the game and each of them gave their suburb a personality, which always helps bring a person more into the game. They all said they were looking forward to playing it again.

Play #10: May 5:
Played with: Suburbia Inc Expansion
Scores: Sarah:170 Will:124
Comments: It was a really competitive game between me and my husband. He shot off right from the start on the population track, getting well ahead of me. Up till now, I've always been afraid of the reputation track due to the negatives of the red lines and have focused on money as my way to win (which obviously does not always work), but the turning point of this game was when I was able to afford the PR Firm. It came out in the $10 spot and that made it $30. I had exactly $30. If I hadn't gotten it, my husband would have taken it by discarding his redevelopment tile. Once I had the PR Firm, I quickly maxed out my reputation (which then stayed maxed out) and did my best to keep my income up as I passed the red lines. I was able to not only catch up to him, but surpass him on the last round. I was not able to keep my income up much, but I did what was needed. And I got both public goals of most contiguous lakes and least residences (I got the tile that allowed me to win ties so my husband didn't hold back on getting residences). Then unknowingly, I cost my husband his goal because he went for least income since, up to that point, I had always focused on income, but we both ended at -5. And then I easily got my goal of fewest civic buildings as he got a lot of those to make his engine work. I set the highest score we've ever seen - 170! My husband got 124, which is still one of our highest scores. It was a great feeling and my husband was very impressed that I finally got over my fear of the reputation track. And on top of it, this was our 10th play so we finished our second game for the 10x10 challenge!

Woot!

Play #11: June 7:
Played with: Suburbia Inc Expansion
Scores: Gary:155 Will:121 Katherine:113 Sarah:83
Comments: Went to Gary's house and started off with Suburbia with Suburbia Inc, which we had played with them last time we had gotten together with them. They had liked it, but wanted another go at it, especially since their 1 year old son had been very distracting. Sadly for them, he was distracting again, but they mustered through it, and me and my husband were very patient. We were in no rush. Anyway, the public goals were a mess of lowest - residences, industrial and civic. And then also the highest civic. I chose poorly in private goals, feeling like I should challenge myself to do lowest rep when I never have luck with it. And I didn't have luck with it again. But Gary had great synergy since his private goal was most continuous civic buildings so he got the most civic building public goal. He also got the fewest industrial as the rest of us had built civic and didn't realize he hadn't. No one got lowest residence as my husband and I each had 1. Interestingly, we all build borders - I think this was the most borders we've ever had out in the game. Glad to see we're warming up to them. But one tile I still don't get and made it very difficult for Will and Katherine was the Water Purification Plant that costs $2 every time a industrial is put out. It does give you +7 reputation, but that cost is really high. We had fun discussing our suburbs after the game. I built something like Oakland, CA because all my tiles were between a military base and the beach. Gary built Sacramento, CA because of the civic buildings and a river running through it. My husband made some kind of small Arizona town because he had a desert and the rest was spread out except he had one skyscraper. We didn't get to go over Katherine's suburb because she had to take care of the baby.
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9. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:620] [Average Rating:6.85 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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10x10 Challenge

Code for entries:
Play #1: March 11:
Played with: Sarah: Dinosaurs+Plants Will: Wizards+Tricksters
Scores: Sarah:17 Will:11
Comments: I was finally feeling better so we played Smash Up. I wanted to see if Dinosaurs worked with anything. My husband had previously played them with Bear Calvary, but it was a slow combo. So I tried Dinos with Plants. My husband went with Wizards and Tricksters, so I knew I was in for a challenge. And it was a slow start for me as I had all actions for a while, but once I started getting minions out, I was pretty unstoppable. Best play of the night was playing Blossom, which allows you to play 3 minions of the same name. I played 3 War Raptors, which get +1 for every War Raptor on the base. So in one action, I play 15 power on an 18 power base as each raptor was worth 5 points. Since I still had a minion I could play, I put down a 3 power dino and scored the base for 4 points and my husband didn't get any since it was a new base. It was pretty amazing how well plants worked with dinos. Not perfect, but it was good. And my husband played very well with the wizards and trickster, so many actions denying me, but I bulldozed through it!

Play #2: March 14:
Played with: Sarah: Wizard+Steampunk Will: Ninja+Innsmouth
Scores: Sarah:12 Will:17
Comments: We tried something different this time where we each picked on faction for the other. So Will picked Steampunk for me and I picked Ninja for him. Steampunk is action heavy so I thought Wizard would help. My husband had never played Innsmouth so he tried that. He was definitely able to get his combo to work better than mine. Steampunk is hard because it's a lot of actions to go on bases, which are not always applicable. Wizards helped a lot, which is why I got the points I did, but could not compete with the Innsmouth minions that find each other. Next time we play, we've decided to fully try out the Cthulhu expansion so we'll play those factions only.

Play #3: April 6:
Played with: Sarah: Cyborg Apes & Time Travelers Will: Shape-shifters & Super Spies
Scores: Sarah:14 Will:16
Comments: Since we just got the Science Fiction Double Feature expansion, we decided to just play with those to see how they worked. I really enjoyed the Cyborg Apes that pumped themselves up a lot and have actions to play on minions & bases. I really like the action that allows a minion to fly, which means they go to another base when it's scored. I had other cards that let me put actions back into my hand instead of being discarded so I kept flying a very strong ape around, one that gets +1 power for each action on it. Sadly, the Time Travelers did not pair well as they needed minions that had coming into play abilities to bounce them back to your hand. So that slowed me down, but I still played very well and gave my husband a challenge. The Spies give you lots of info, which is always good, and shape-shifters obviously mimic other minions so he was able to copy a lot of my strong apes. So while I know it'll be a slow combo, I want to try Cyborg Apes and Dinosaurs. I think Time Travelers would do well with Plants so that'll be something I'd like to try some day. I just love that was have so many possible choices now. Obviously some pairings are better than others, but half the fun is also figuring out what style of play you like and finding the factions that match you.

Play #4: May 27:
Played with: Sarah: Cyborg Apes & Zombies Will: Miskatonic University and Plants
Scores: Sarah:9 Will:14
Comments: My husband got the perfect combination of cards and base and within 3 turns was able to score 7 points. He used the madness mechanic to power up his minions and the base gave him 1 point per 5 power of his minions. He had 25 points, which was enough to score the base all on his own. So he got 5 plus the 2 from the base. I only got 2 there. After that, I just couldn't surpass him as he got on every base I scored as winner and it was enough for him to end the game very quickly.

Play #5: June 3:
Played with: Sarah: Super Spies & Wizards Will: Cyborg Apes & Pirates
Scores: Sarah:13 Will:17
Comments: I played with Super Spies and Wizards - talk about card control! My husband played Cyborg Apes and Pirates. He found the perfect combo - First Mate with Shielding on it. First Mate moves from a base after it scores to another base. Shielding prevents me from playing any actions on it. And since Cyborg Apes has a lot of actions to power up minions, he dumped a lot of actions on the First Mate. In the end, it alone had power of 11. I did the best I could with my card advantage and did manage to steal one base form him due to special actions, but it just wasn't enough in the end. He won with 17 points while I had 13. We're both amazed at the combo he had and wonder if it's broken, but as far as we can tell, it follows the rules. It's just freaking powerful. And this play brought us to 50% complete on our 10x10 challenge! Yay!

Play #6: June 4:
Played with: Sarah: Aliens and Shapeshifters Will: Dinosaurs and Ghosts
Scores: Sarah:15 Will:10
Comments: It was quite nice that we started with a base that allows you to find a copy of the minion played on it in your deck. So I was able to pull a lot of minions out that way and bounce my husband's dinos back to his hand. Sad when that base scored, but I won it. Then the next base, I just barely won from my husband due to playing a Mimic where he had placed his Dino King. Then he blocked me out from playing minions on a base I wanted to be on, but I found ways to bounce an Invader (the one that gives you 1 VP) back to my hand several times and crawled to 15 points from 11, while my husband was still at 10.

Play #7: June 4:
Played with: Sarah: Robots and Cyborg Apes Will: Ghosts and Zombies
Scores: Sarah:14 Will:18
Comments: The second game was tough. My husband chose Ghosts and Zombies, which just naturally works very well together. I tried Robots and Cyborg Apes, but they just had no synergy. I was able to get to 14 points, but at the same time, my husband got to 18 points. I only won first on one base and after that, just trailed. I just really couldn't get the cards to work together.

Afterwards, I felt really blah about the game. On one hand, I've definitely learned how to play the game and have been playing better combos and getting higher scores. But on the other, I don't have fun and I expect it to be more fun because of theme being what it is. But when I play the game, I get so focused on mechanics that the theme falls away, and at the end, I'm left with not much. At least euro games show you what you've done at the end, but with Smash Up, you just have a pile of cards and some VPs. So it's not as satisfying. So next time we play, we're gonna try to incorporate story-telling as we play the cards. Because my husband has a blast playing the game. There's a story going on in his head, but we need to get it out so I can see it and have fun too.

Play #8: June 5:
Played with: Sarah: Pirates and Cyborg Apes Will: Ghosts and Wizards
Scores: Sarah:12 Will:15
Comments: Two things. 1. Adding in story-telling like you do in Gloom really helped make it more fun, especially since my husband is an excellent storyteller. So I definitely want to continue doing that in future games. 2. I really though I'd win, but my husband surprised me by playing so well with his combo and getting in a sneaky victory just when I was about to win. So I guess I inadvertently challenged him because I said that Ghosts and Wizards is impossible to play together. So that's what he did, and he excelled with it. I went with Pirates and Cyborg Apes since that's supposed to be an easy win combo. Problem is I didn't get a First Mate until halfway through the game and you need one early to build up the actions on it. I still did well for the first few bases, but my husband really overtook the Mall base where you get 1 VP for each minion on it. He was getting ghosts and enchantresses out so fast and even took over one of my minions. I think he made 7 points off that base. That took him having 14 and me having 12. I was going to score a base next turn, which would tie our scores at 17-17, which means we would have kept playing until the tie broke, and that was going to be an easy win with my powered-up First Mate, but my husband played like 3 cards on his turn to draw cards and managed to draw the one card that gave him a VP, giving him the win. Arg! Oh, and there was an earlier point where he played a wizard card that let him play an action from on top of my deck and it was the best pirate action - it gave all his minions +1 power. And it was enough for him to score two bases! I just can't believe he got Ghosts and Wizards to work. He said you just have to not be afraid to toss cards to power the ghost abilities since wizards will help you get more next turn.

Play #9: July 5:
Played with: Sarah: Plants and Wizards. Will: Time Travelers and Aliens. Nephew: Bear Calvary and Steampunk
Scores: Sarah:11 Will:10 Nephew:17
Comments: We still all had some energy and time, it was about 7 by this point. My nephew wanted to play Smash Up as he'd played it 2 times before and really liked it. That was fine with us, especially since it's on our 10x10 list. I chose Plants and Wizards, my husband chose Time Travelers and Aliens, and my nephew chose Bear Calvary and Steampunk. Right off the bat, my husband spent the first several turns bouncing everything I put down back to my hand. So super annoying! This allowed my nephew to get quite a few things down, though granted a lot of it was protected from my husband's bouncing effects, so it was the best course of action for him. But that just made me inclined to be kingmaker and help my nephew win, which I did. He was on a base by himself and it was almost to breaking so I put a minion down. So he got 4 points while I got 2. From there it was pretty easy to keep boosting him, even with my husband bouncing most things back to my hand. Now, I didn't do all the work for my nephew. He still had to make good plays, which he did. The Steampunk and Bear Calvary really work well together and he made some excellent plays. After a certain point, he had 11 points while I had 5 and my husband had 3. From there, my nephew just had to be on bases to score, which he did and won with 17 points while I had 11 and my husband had 10. I don't feel bad about helping my nephew considering most times I play this with my husband, he wins. He's just better at this game than I am. I also wanted to see my nephew win at least one game.

Play #10: August 9:
Played with: Sarah: Aliens and Spies. Will: Shapeshifters and Dinosaurs.
Scores: Sarah:15 Will:12
Comments: I chose Alien and Spies wanting to see if deck manipulation of the Spies would work well with the bounciness of Aliens and it did. Will chose Shapeshifters and Dinosaurs, which was formidable, but my deck was just a bit too fast. I also think the alien that gives you a VP is powerful since the deck has bouncing which can target it, which I did as much as I could. I won 15 to Will’s 12. He still needed a turn to score a base to win, but I had, two turns before, bounced all creatures from a base up to their owners’ hands, which hurt him a lot more than me. My last point was from the Invader giving me 1 VP. devil

Play #11: October 11:
Played with: Sarah: Cyborg Apes & Super Spies. Will: Innsmouth & Robots. Jareth: Dinosaurs & Zombies.
Scores: Sarah:14 Will:16 Jareth:14
Comments: My nephew was off to a good start, but there was the zombie base that gives 1 point per minion on it and Will went to town on it. Sadly, my nephew and I didn't realize how many points he was going to get and so didn't stop him. When he scored it, I managed to get rid of 1 minion and take control of another, but he still earned 8 points from it. Then the next base to come out was the homeworld that allowed a player to play an extra minion of power 2 or less for every minion played on it and his robots went to town on it as well as the locals. My nephew's zombie combo was distrupted by Will playing a card that shuffled all minions back into the deck. My combo was lackluster and I had a bad run of several turns with only actions and then many turns with only minions. Needless to say, Will won with 16, with my nephew and I tied at 14. So it was close, but I chose to end the game when I did just to get it over with. It was almost 10 pm and I was beat. My nephew complained that he could have probably won on his turn, so I feel kind of bad about it. But I just told him we'd play Smash Up again next time.
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10. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:285]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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10x10 Challenge

Play #1: January 15:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: We've previously played with Harsk and Amiri through Brigandoom, once by ourselves and once to teach a friend how to play, but now we wanted to play the adventure Perils of the Lost Coast. This, of course, meant one more play through Brigandoom, which we were fine with because we were getting pretty good at winning this scenario and had leveled up a bit. However, we had a surprise advantage when I went first with Harsk. While I failed to defeat the barrier, I previewed the next card which was none other than the bad guy Jubrayl Vhiski. And I was in the woods, the easiest location to defeat him in. So my husband worked on closing up the farmhouse while I tackled the wooden bridge. This thankfully didn't take too long and I moved to the waterfront. Then my husband moved Amiri to the woods and revealed Jubrayl. This gave me the opportunity to close the waterfront, which is very challenging, but I managed it. Then my husband used his greataxe to maximum effect as well as a blessing of the gods to throw 4d12 at Jabrayl. We won handily and got a few new things in the process. I picked up thieves tools while my husband got a guard. I wanted to continue playing, but the next scenario is Poison Pill and my husband was getting a bit tired and was a little nervous about going up against poison traps when both of us are fighter-types. So we'll tackle it another day. All in all, a fun and victorious day!

Play #2: January 17:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: We continued the Perils of the Lost Coast with the Poison Pill. It was not easy for us. I, as Harsk, kept running into the werewolf and not being able to defeat it, so it kept cycling into the deck. Then my husband, as Amiri, kept running into the Poison Pills and not succeeding at the Con checks so took a lot of damage. I was finally able to close a location and then hubby closed another so we each took a place and fought our way to the boss Pillbug Podiker. We weren't able to add too many cards to our deck. Since it was easier to get allies, we did pick up quite a few, but only my husband kept the guard instead of the one he had before. Sadly, when we randomly took a weapon card as our reward, we each got a dagger. Sucky! I kept mine instead of a shortbow because the dagger can be used with other weapons. But neither of us is complaining too much because we got through the scenario and don't have to play it again!

Play #3: January 17:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: I was so excited to have defeated the poison scenario that I wanted to play again and complete the adventure. I was able to convince my husband so we moved on to Black Fang's Dungeon. The hardest part of this scenario were the skill checks to close locations, which we both sucked at, and the Ancient Skeletons that were tougher due to our slashing/piercing weapons. I took the temple and stayed there until I could close it so that neither of us would be damaged by moving there. The good news was this meant I got new blessings and a few other cards in my deck. Though I did miss out on an awesome bow, I was happy to be able to close it. I have to say that my husband did a lot of the legwork in this scenario, closing the two others and defeating the boss. I wish we had been able to get him better cards, but the only good new one was the half-plate armor. I got two blessings that boost dex-based combat and one that boosts dex-based non-combat checks. The best part of finishing this up was gaining a skill feat for completing the adventure. My husband went for training in heavy armor so he could fully utilize the half-plate. I went for being able to have another armor so I could get his old leather armor. Since it was a skill feat we got, my husband added +1 to his strength and I added +1 to my dexterity. All in all, a great, tough battle, but we now feel prepared to start on Adventure Deck 1: Burnt Offerings.

Play #4: January 19:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: I was so happy when my husband suggested playing Pathfinder. He's getting really hooked on it, just like me. So we moved on to the first adventure deck, Burnt Offerings. It looks quite a bit challenging, but we're looking forward to it. (Note: before we started, we realized we chose the wrong feats at the end of the previous adventure so we switch to +1 to my husband's strength and I took +1 to my dexterity. Oops, didn't realize the feats were so specific!) Attack on Sandpoint is the first scenario and it was a tough one for us. I kept running in to a Spectre that I couldn't defeat since we didn't have any magic weapons. So it damaged me quite a bit. So I left that location and we worked on the others that were a bit easier to close. I fell into a pit and found a minor staff of healing, but sadly got damaged in the process. I really love Harsk's preview ability because I again found the villain so we were able to set up for it. Though it was challenging because my husband wanted to defeat the villain, but that put me back on the location with the spectre and wouldn't you know it, but I encountered it again. The worst part of the spectre is that it randomly transports you somewhere else. But my husband waited a turn at a closed location and I moved back and encountered something else. So my husband took on the villain and beat it soundly! We had 5 cards left in the blessing deck and I only had 4 cards left in my deck. We didn't get too many new cards for our decks, but the scenario gave us another skill feat so we both went with upping our main combat skill, my husband to +2 to his strength and I +2 to my dexterity.

Play #5: January 19:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Much to my amazement, my husband wanted to play again! Woot! So we moved on to Local Heroes. At first it seemed it would be easy since there are no villain and henchmen, instead you have to acquire allies to close locations. However, the locations were not easy checks for us as they were skills we were not proficient in. And there were still monsters to defeat, some of them quite tough now that we mixed in the adventure deck 1 cards. The good news is that I was able to acquire some awesome new weapons for my husband since I went to the general store. I was able to close that location, and thankfully didn't miss out on much. The Academy was the toughest to close, but I managed it. At the city gate my husband failed to acquire the ally so we ended up on that location together, running through the cards to get to empty to close. That took a couple of tries to succeed at the skill check. Oh, and my husband did pretty good with the woods, closing it. We ended with 8 cards left in the blessing deck. Sadly, this scenario gave us a random ally, but I can only have 1 and I'm never letting go of my tiger. And my husband has 2 and loves the soldier and crow. So we tossed a bunch of allies back in the box. My husband was ecstatic to get the Icy Longspear +1 from me, which is our first magic weapon. I also gave him a longsword to replace his short sword. A very good run and I so can't wait to play again!

Play #6: January 23:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: The third scenario in the Burnt Offerings adventure is Trouble in Sandpoint. This was a tough scenario for us, hardest so far for sure. I started on the Shrine of Lamashtu with Harsk while my husband started on the Catacombs of Wrath with Amiri. It was pretty easy for him to battle the monsters, though he had to get down to the very last card in the deck to find the Wrathful Skeleton henchmen, which he had to defeat twice due to the closing requirements. Also, he failed the Wisdom checks, which added 1 difficulty for the rest of the turn, but considering he had a great axe, it was no trouble for him. I, on the other hand, got really depleted as I encountered all 3 blessings at the Shrine, which dealt me two unpreventable damage per blessing. Thankfully I was able to acquire them so I had one to banish to close the location, but it took getting down to the last card as well to find the Wrathful Skeleton henchmen. During those two locations, we did move around a bit. I moved to the Village House after getting beat up at the Shrine. I was able to get a couple of allies; though I didn’t keep any at the end of the game (I still love my tiger too much). I also revealed a chest barrier, which my husband moved over to defeat since he’s more successful with his strength/melee check. I’d have to roll perfectly on dex since I don’t have stealth. So my husband was able to add a lot of items to his hand. Thankfully he used up the healing items to put some cards back into my deck as it was getting low. We were also getting very low on the blessing deck. I was at the Glassworks while my husband was at the Village house. We got down to 2 cards left in the blessing deck and I just knew it was over. But then I turned over the villain Erylium! I was so ecstatic! My husband thankfully had a 1 time use item to banish to close the village house. Then I fought a wrathful skeleton as instructed on the villain card, sadly I did not make the check, but I threw everything I could at the villain with my heavy crossbow and a blessing. I beat her soundly! Phew! My deck was down to 5 cards, though that didn’t matter since the blessing deck was at 2. If I hadn’t turned over the villain, we would have lost for sure! So I didn’t get anything new for my deck, but my husband kept the crowbar and glaive he found, tossing weaker stuff away. Oh, and I gave him a blessing that added 2 dice to non-combat strength checks. And for a power feat, my husband chose heavy armor proficiency and I added a +1 to my ability to recharge a card to give a 1d4 to a combat at another location. All in all, an exciting and tense adventure!

Play #7: January 24:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: We continued to the next scenario in the Burnt Offerings adventure called Approach to Thistletop. It was goblins again and was another tough one. The locations were rather punishing in the effects they had, pumping up the difficulty of goblins. Thankfully, we picked up some better weapons, a Bastard Sword +1 for Amiri and the Returning Throwing Axe +1 for Harsk. Since I'm writing this up two days after we played, I can't remember a lot of the specifics, but I do remember getting the blessing deck down to 5 before we were able to beat the villain. It took a long time to close two of the locations and then for us to go to the other two locations and both of us being prepared to fight the villain. In this case, it fell to my husband, but he did fine killing the pesky goblin druid. The scenario gave us a random weapon, which didn't help us unfortunately.

Play #8: January 24:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Knowing we only had one more scenario to complete the Burnt Offerings adventure, we moved on to Thistletop Delve. This was also challenging in the penalties the locations had, plus the closing checks were very difficult for us as they were skills we did not have. Also, the scenario effect made it harder to acquire items or weapons, so needless to say, we didn't get any of those. But what went really wrong was my husband encountering the villain Nualia almost first thing. While he was able to defeat her and close the location, he took a lot of damage from her force damage ability before battle started. So then we worked our way through two other locations, each being able to close it by facing the lieutenants. We both moved to the last location where my husband encountered a goblin raider so he closed the location, which brought up Nualia, whom I took on since I was in much better shape than he. I just barely defeated her, but that's all that counts. So we ended with my husband only have 3 cards left in his deck and only 8 left in the blessings deck. We got the Loot, which my husband kept since he didn't have a lot of healing items. Then from the scenario, we each got a card feat. I went for more allies, though I was also tempted to get another armor, but what won it out is that I have plenty of healing items but want more assistance in searching locations. So I randomly drew the Troubadour, which I'm very happy about. My husband went for more item cards so he could keep his existing items and add the loot card. Considering how tough this one was, I'm kind of worried how the Skinshaw Murders adventure will go, but we'll see.

Play #9: February 1:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Next up was to start the Skinsaw Murders adventure! The first scenario is Undead Uprising. My husband, playing Imiri, started at the Mill and I, playing Harsk, started at the General Store. Neither of us wanted to deal with Habe’s Sanatorium with its very painful beginning of turn effect. My husband went first and turned over the villain Caizarlu Zerren. My husband was easily able to defeat the Zombie Minion henchmen it threw at him and then the villain was also not difficult. So that closed that location, which is the fastest we’ve ever closed any location. He went to the Village House. It took me 2 turns to find Grayst Sevilla henchmen, which was also not too tough for me, but sadly, I had to banish my Blessing of Calistria to do so. However, as I was putting away that stack, I found the villain, which we left there. My husband unfortunately faced a Satyr, which he could not defeat and it did him a lot of damage, making him lose his whole hand. I moved over to the Village House to help. We were able to get my husband a few new allies that helped him a lot. The only one that he kept at the end was Ilsoari Gandethus while I took Father Zantus from him. The named guys are a lot more powerful than the generic ones. Anyway, after a few more turns, I found the henchmen Pidget Tergelson and defeated him. We maneuvered ourselves so that I went to Habe’s Sanatorium and my husband to the General store. I temporarily closed the sanatorium while my husband took on and defeated the villain. It only took 15 turns, which is our fastest play so far. Since I had to banish 2 blessings, I randomly took from the box and got Blessing of Lamashtu, which is nicely generic in how it helps you defeat a monster, and then another Blessing of the Gods. For the power feat reward, I upped the damage I give to a combat at another location and now give 1d4+2. My husband chose to add the ability to move another character at the end of his turn. I’m really looking forward to utilizing that strategy.

Play #10: February 2:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Crow Bait was a walk in the park for Harsk and Amiri. It looked like it would be from the outset and turned out to be true as many of the obstacles were for magic-users, which we are not. Amiri started on the Farmhouse while Harsk started on the Wooden Bridge. Second turn, Harsk finds a Ghoul Scarecrow, defeats it and closes the bridge. A few turns later, Amiri came across another Ghoul Scarecrow, defeated it, and then summoned a random creature, which she also defeated to close the Farmhouse. We both went to the Guard Tower for a few turns, but one of the previews showed a bad barrio that would hurt all characters at the location. So Harsk moved to the Woods, failed to get an item, but then previewed the villain Rogors Craesby. So Amiri set herself up at the Guard Tower, taking down the barrier. Harsk faced the villain, with Amiri temporarily closing the Guard Tower with an easy strength check. Harsk fought valiantly and succeeded at both combat checks! Finished in 10 turns! The reward was a random armor. We got a wooden shield and Elven Breastplate. Amiri dumped her chainmail for it and tossed the dagger she had acquired. Harsk, sadly, did not find anything new. C’est la vie! Time to turn towards the next step in the Skinsaw Murders.

Play #11: February 3:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: For the Foul Misgivings scenario, Amiri won, despite Harsk. I don't know what was going on, but I couldn't roll to save my life, and I did get close to dying. Whenever I needed to roll low, I rolled high, and vice versa. I started on the Warrens while my husband started on the Foxglove Manor. Three turns in for me and I encountered a Haunt, and then failed to close the location. I tried the Academy for a while, but it was kicking my butt so Amiri came to help me for a while. Then I encountered the villain The Skinsaw Man, but sadly Amiri had left the turn before so the villain was harder. I managed the first check, but failed on the last. There was just no way I could beat the 21 check. Thankfully, I had armor that I buried and I was able to close the Academy. My husband got through the Foxglove Manar and was able to close it while I worked through the Warrens to get it down to no cards, but it took me 3 tries to close it. That only left the Farmhouse, but we had very few blessings left in the blessings deck. Thankfully my husband found the villain with 1 blessing left and me with 3 cards in my deck. I volunteered to help, but of course my husband just told me to sit back and relax while he easily took care of the villain. Phew! This was a stressful one and we got really lucky at the end. My husband had acquired quite a few cards so he switched out the Crow for the Sage. All the new weapons were worse than what he had so he tossed those back. And, as expected, we both chose to add +1 to our Wisdom skill as that keeps being a problem. I just hope I do better next time.

Play #12: August 9:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Cult Exposed – We continued tracking the cultists down with Harsk (me) and Amiri (Will). This scenario was easy as it was set up to be magic-based so we just bashed our way through it. We closed the locations really quickly. I was happy Harsk managed to get a treasure chest barrier so I could get some new weapons. When it came to the villain, Harsk sadly failed, but since all other locations were closed, the villain had nowhere to go so Amiri bashed him in good. The reward of spells was, well, lackluster, as neither of us could keep spells.

Play #13: August 9:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Angel in the Tower – this was a really tough one. That stupid Clock Tower made you cycle your deck at the beginning of the turn, but Amiri was able to take care of it since she could move at the beginning and end of her turn. So she’d be there and then move to the City Gates to explore it and then return to the Clock Tower. Harsk quickly closed the Temple then went to the Shrine of Lamastu which beat him up with the damage from encountering blessings. Plus both of us encountered exploding runes barrier which neither of us could defeat. Harsk was really close to death when we finally found the villain. Amiri had closed the City Gates a turn before so Harsk just had to temporarily close the Shrine, which was easy since I just banished one of the many blessings I got. Then Amiri succeeded at the wisdom check and both combat checks! Yay! Will chose another weapon card feat for Amiri and I went for item for Harsk so I could keep one of the loot items. I also took the loot armor as it was better than my current armor. Will took the weapon as it was better than one of his, but the mask we put back in the box. Not good for either of us. It was great to finally finish the Skinsaw Murders! Next up is the Hook Mountain Massacre!

Play #14: August 12:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Moved onto the first scenario of the Hook Mountain Massacre - "Them Ogres Ain't Right." I played Harsk and Will played Amiri. Harsk faced a henchmen on his first time exploring and defeated him! Closed the location no problem. A few turns in, Amiri came across the mamma ogre, but the first time you face her, you can't fully defeat her, she runs away. Still Amiri beat her soundly, sending her off to another location, closing that one. And since Harsk had temporarily closed his location there was only one place for mamma to go. So Harsk stayed where he was to keep going through while Amiri chased mamma. Harsk closed his location and moved over just in time to find mamma and defeat her once and for all! Completed this in 14 turns, but then with two characters, turns are not what runs out first, it's usually the character decks. After this, Amiri upped her strength bonus while Harsk went to increase his wisdom bonus.

Play #14: August 12:
Played with: Harsk & Amiri
Co-op: Win
Comments: Then we pushed on to the second scenario of he Hook Mountain Massacre - "The Fort in Preril." This one sounded cool because you could gain allies easier with a -3 to the checks, but we plowed through it so fast that we didn't get many. Harsk again found a henchmen on his first exploration and closed that location. While Amiri bounced around, Harsk went to another location and encountered another henchmen, but this was a rogue one that needed to be defeated by a charisma check, but Harsk has a d4. So Harsk was dealt damage and the rogue fled. From there, Harsk worked on one location, while Amiri worked on another. Harsk found another henchmen, and defeated him. Then soon after, Amiri found the villain and made quick work of him. We both gained a card feat and chose allies. Amiri kept an ally she had gained while Harsk had to blindly walk into the local tavern and point randomly to find a properly named mayor who could be banished to look through a location deck and then shuffle it... well, at least she'll be useful for a game and then, if no allies are gained during, Harsk can go into another local tavern and randomly find someone. Gotta say, this randomness of gaining cards is a bit on the frustrating side, but don't know how else you'd do it because then everyone would just make the perfect deck. I can only hope I can find one of the new archers that came in the Hook Mountain Massacre deck. They looked cool.
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11. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:68]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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10x10 Challenge (Alternate)
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12. Board Game: Farmageddon [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:3518]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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January 5:
Played with: all cards: base + Frankencrops
Scores: Sarah:77 Will:75
Comments: This continues to be a fun filler game for us. We didn't have much time last night, but wanted to play a game before I went to bed. So it was between this, Villagers & Villains and Paradise Fallen: The Card Game and I felt like this one. My husband pulled ahead quickly in the beginning with the Frankencrop that can be harvested on the turn its planted and he played 2 bumper crops on it. I tried for some big points with the 15 point Squashes, but my husband kept killing them off. A few more turns and he was still harvesting medium-sized crops. But then he got too greedy and planted 3 crops on his turn right after I had draw a Dustbowl so I was able to kill off all his crops on my turn. Still, I didn't think I was ahead as the game progressed as his pile of crops were bigger, but I managed it by a slim margin. The end was a bit anti-climatic though as neither of us were able to add points on the last round, but that's okay. Sometimes games go that way. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I can't wait for more Frankencrops!

July 5:
Played with: all cards: base + Frankencrops
Scores: Sarah:65 Will:40 Nephew:48
Comments: Even though it was getting late, everyone wanted to play one more short game. So after looking through the options, we decided on Farmageddon. It's been a while since we played and I forgot how much I love this game. I don't normally like cut-throat, take-that games, but I have so much fun with this, and I usually win. This game was no exception, but I have to say that I enjoy it a lot more with more players. A whole lot more interaction! My nephew did some fantastic plays. At one point, my husband put manure on my nephew's crop, but he simply responded by playing crop rotation. He did that again when my husband played the communal pumpkin (I think that's what it's called). My nephew put 2 fertilizer on it, swapped it and played the super-growth card so he could harvest it right away. Even with that, no one could beat the master farmer - me. devil I won with a landslide of 65 points while my nephew got 48 and my husband 40. I was just too good at stealing or destroying their crops. Plus I got an unusually high number of the card that lets you draw 2 crop cards. My husband thinks that card is overpowered. It's hard to say because I never got any gophers or rented land, which are also strong. But it does come down to the more crop cards you have, the more choices you have, so yeah, it is powerful. I so can't wait to get the expansions!!
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13. Board Game: Mini-Taurus [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:11798]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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January 16:
Winner: Sarah
Comments: For our LEGO activity, my husband wanted to put together and play one of the LEGO games because he wants to do a couple of articles on the LEGO games line, but to do that, he needs to play them all. We have about 7 to go, er now 6 to go because we put together and played Mini-Taurus. It's a smaller variant of Minotaurus. It's easier, smaller and shorter. It was a fun distraction, but like many of the LEGO games, there's not much to them. This one, you're trying to get your adventurers across the board to the magical sword. The die has 4 movement sides, but two of the sides let you either move a wall or move the minotaur. I have to say, it was usually a better option to move a wall to block an opponent than to move the minotaur. I only moved the minotaur once when I saw I could make it run into one of my husband's adventurers, which knocked him back to the entrance. I won due to some really lucky rolls that allowed me to move several walls in a row that opened up a straight path for me and blocked my husband. But it was really short, took like 15 minutes. Out of all the LEGO games I've played so far, this ranks pretty low, but not at the bottom. The racing one was the biggest dud, for sure.

But now we have the hopefully fun ones ahead of us, including a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman and Heroica Ilrion to play. We have all of the LEGO board games except this really rare holiday one that they only gave to LEGO employees at the corporate headquarters and a very small polybag expansion to Heroica that was only ever released in Canada. I'm not about to pay $100 for a $15 game nor $30 for a $5 polybag.
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14. Board Game: LEGO Batman [Average Rating:6.07 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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January 19:
Winner: Sarah
Comments:And for our LEGO building activity Sunday night, my husband wanted to tackled another board game so we built and played LEGO Batman. The components are quite nice, especially with the various microfigures, but sadly, it wasn't worth what we paid for it. It only came out in Europe and we had a friend get it from a friend of his and with shipping, it cost us $50 for a $35 game. And the game play is so simplistic, good for kids though. But each person chooses a hero (Batman, Robin, Nightwing or Catwoman) and you race across the board to get to the police station to find out which villain you need to capture. Once you get there, you draw a card and it tells you the villain, which you place on any space around the museum. Then you have to go catch him. One side of the die allows people to move villains so others can move your villain away from you. There are also 3 pieces of equipment that can help you navigate the city. The gadgets let you go on top of buildings. The batboat lets you cross water. The batmobile lets you move one more space on your turn. I somehow get very lucky with the LEGO die and quickly got all 3 pieces of equipment. I got to the police station quickly. I got to my villain at the same time my husband made it to the police station. So, cute game, but only for young kids who love Batman.
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15. Family: Dominion
Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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January 26:
Played with: Base & Prosperity: Village, Gardens, Spy, Monument, Mine, Vault, Adventurer, Hoard, King's Court and Expand
Scores: Sarah:87 Will:72 Friend:54
Comments: After roleplaying, one friend stayed and we played Dominion. We did 5 from each set. Village was obviously the first to go, but I didn't focus on it solely, getting a spy and mine while my husband and friend went for more villages. While this slowed me down a bit, it ended up helping me as I upgraded my money earlier than anyone else and was able to get King's Court (which triples an action) before anyone else. So I did several King's Court with Mine and Spy. Our friend's deck was doing fine until the last few rounds where all he drew were a few money cards. My husband was fierce competition was he had several spy and that did mess me up a bit. But in the end, I got more colonies and ended with 87, my husband 72 and our friend at 54. Looking at my money at the end, I had no copper, 3 silver, 2 gold and 4 platinum. The adventurer was never bought and only 1 hoard, 1 gardens and 2 expands. They didn't quite fit in with the other cards.

August 9:
Played with: Cornucopia and Prosperity: Prince Promo, Menagerie, Farming Village, Horse Traders, Royal Seal, Venture, Jester, Fairgrounds, Grand Market and King’s Court
Scores: Sarah:46 Will:53
Comments: This was an awesome combo. I love the new Prince card, though I didn’t use it as well. Will paired it with Farming Village so he had two actions at the beginning of every turn while I used it with Horse Traders, which gave me buy and money, but made me discard 2 cards. I also got a Prince with a Farming Village later, but it was too late. He was able to buy a lot of colonies and I didn’t buy victory cards when I should have to catch up. I was enjoying the combos too much.

August 9:
Played with: Hinterlands: Governor Promo, Oasis, Tunnel, Trader, Noble Brigand, Nomad Camp, Stables, Inn, Cache and Mandarin
Scores: Sarah:39 Will:39 tie win
Comments: We haven’t played Hinterlands much so many of these cards were new, but I really liked what they offered. Governor is cool though we only ever used him for card drawing advantages. Tunnel was quite cool and we both ended up with a lot of gold, though kept stealing it from each other with the Noble Brigands. The Inn and Oasis were tough because they made you discard cards, which was great if you had a Tunnel. I almost won, but on my last turn, I just did not get enough to buy the last Province. Will was able to and we ended up tying with 39 points. And since we both had the same number of turns, we shared the victory.

August 14:
Played with: Base: Cellar, Workshop, Throne Room, Spy, Militia, Feast, Remodel, Library, Mine, Laboratory.
Scores: Sarah:15 Will:25
Comments: This was such a low scoring game and I did terrible. There were no cards that gave extra buys and only a few cards that gave 1 extra action. Neither of us ever purchased Militia, Remodel or Library. And I did soo poorly because I didn't jump on the throne rooms fast enough. Will did great with those and Laboratory and Mine.

August 23:
Played with: Alchemy: Transmute, Vineyard, Herbalist, Apothocary, University, Scrying Pool, Alchemist, Golem, Apprentice, Possession.
Scores: Will:49. Jareth:14. Sarah:58
Comments: I am not a fan of Alchemy, but my nephew is so we chose to play with it alone, which I really don't think is a good idea, not for any small Dominion expansion. Yes, I won, but I did not enjoy the game. I hate Possession. Granted, I never buy one, so maybe I need to next time. But Will and Jareth are very good at using the card and I got hit twice in a row. Jareth played one on Will, took control of Will's hand and played a Possession on me. Then on Will's normal turn, he played another Possession on me. So Will had two of my turns in a row - good turns too because I had a pretty good setup going with the Herbalist and Alchemist. I think I won because Will took pity on me and set up my next hand for me very well when he didn't have to. This enabled me to get just enough more buying power than he had. Poor Jareth focused a little too much on trashing cards for very little benefit. This is one set I definitely prefer diluted with other sets.

October 11:
Played with: Intrigue: Steward, Wishing Well, Shanty Town, Masquerade, Coppersmith, Mining Village, Conspirator, Bridge, Duke and Saboteur.
Scores: Will:9. Jareth:2. Sarah:7. Ben:8
Comments: I learned to hate Saboteur very quickly as Will got one then my nephew and then I just had to get one too, but it resulted in low scores for us all because no one wanted to buy victory cards for fear of losing them. So the game ended by 3 stacks emptying. Without surprise, no one bought any Dukes, and Conspirator was also never bought as it didn't work with anything. Not the best random combination, but now I have 2 cards I hate: Possession and Saboteur.

November 15:
Played with: Dark Ages: Poor House, Beggar, Hermit, Armory, Fortress, Feodum, Junk Dealer, Counterfeit, Catacombs and Pillage.
Scores: Will:25. Chris:25. Sarah:21
Comments: I had a rocky start as I went for the Beggar first, totally expecting Will and Chris to get Pillage, but neither of them did. In fact, I'm the only one that ever bought one. Will focused on buying money in the beginning so he just had the hard cash to buy victory cards. Chris focused on Poor House and Counterfeit, which worked very well. I kind of was all over the place, but still didn't do terribly considering. I ended with 21 points while Will and Chris both got 25. Sadly, the tie breaker in Dominion sucks and has never worked. Whoever has the fewest turns is the winner, but again, they both had the same number of turns so they both won.

November 16:
Played with: Dark Ages: Squire, Vagrant, Urchin, Forager, Ironmonger, Revuild, Wandering Minstrel, Rogue, Count, Cultist.
Scores: Will:36. Sarah:37
Comments: Dark Ages continues to make for a very tight, competitive game. There was no point where either of us felt very confident that we were winning. And we each took a different path. I was able to get more expensive cards pretty early on and so stuck with that. My strategy focused on Ironmonger, Count and Cultist with getting Urchins mid-game, which gave Mercenaries eventually. Will focused on Squire, Urchin, Wandering Minstrel, Rebuild and Rogue. I think he could have easily run away with the game in how well he used Rebuild and Rogue, but I got 3 Cultists and managed to give him all 10 Ruins, which really slowed him down. I got a lot of Duchies from the Count, but he bought Estates and used Rebuild to upgrade and then Rogue to get Duchies back from the trash. And in the end, it came down to me having 1 more estate than him as I had 37 points and he 36. Dark Ages is still not my favorite expansion, but at least now I am more confident that I can do pretty well with the mechanics. I think I'd like to play it once more, try some new cards, before moving on to another expansion.

December 18
Cards: Crossroads, Jack of All Trades, Silk Road, Nomad Camp, Noble Brigand, Spice Merchant, Embassy, Haggler, Farmland, Border Village.
Scores: Will:39 Sarah:25
Comments: Will picked up the strategies very quickly, while I floundered around for the first half of the game, which is how it typically goes. He got Crossroads, Embassy and Haggler first and those worked very well together and got him up to Border Villages quickly. He also used Noble Brigand against me very effectively to clog up my deck with coppers. And since he played his entire deck several turns in a row, he also used the Spice Merchant to get rid of copper to give him either more card cycling or more money. Most turns, he was able to get 2 to 4 cards due to Border Village and Haggler. I...well, er, tried to catch up, but all I could do was try to end the game sooner so the gap between our scores wasn't so humiliating. Don't get me wrong, I'm always impressed by how well Will plays, but there's a reason I decided to pursue the 100 play challenge with Dominion - I love the game, but I suck at it, for the most part, except for big money decks. So I have a lot to learn and 91 more games to do it in.
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16. Board Game: Goa [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:107]
Sarah Reed
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January 29:
Scores: Sarah:47 Will:38
Comments: I unfortunately have been having a bad week with my back, but last night I felt a little better so we tackled one of our unplayed games from last year, Goa. Have to say that the auction rules confused us, but we watched a bit of Rhado's run-through and it made sense. The game was definitely challenging in trying to figure out the best paths. While we're not fans of auctions, this is the first one we've encountered that works decently for 2 players. I won, but I usually win the first play. The true test will be next time. And there will be a next time as we both liked it well enough. It probably won't hit the table frequently, but it's good enough to keep.
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17. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:3348] [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Sarah Reed
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February 15:
Scores: Friend1:10 Friend2:9 Friend3:7 Sarah:7 Will:4
Comments: After roleplaying Numenera, most people stuck around so we got dinner and after that, we played Munchkin. I have all of the expansion for the base Munchkin, even the one they reprinted twice with different cards. So we have 2 tall stacks of treasure cards and 3 tall stacks of door cards. We spread those out across the table so everyone can reach one. I won't go into detail on gameplay, because it's chaotic and long. But everyone had fun and there were many moments of hilarity. Sadly for me, it was getting really late so I made some poor decisions. But one of our friends is a real night owl and he had a good strategy that got him to 10 before anyone else. One friend got to 9 by stealing the credit. Otherwise me and another friend had 7 and my poor husband was at 4. He just never encountered many monsters.
 
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18. Board Game: Deadwood Studios USA [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:4928]
Sarah Reed
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March 2:
Scores: Friend1:80 Will:64 Friend2:60 Sarah:57 Friend3:54 Friend4:52
Comments: After role-playing with the group, I introduced them to Deadwood Studios USA, the new version I got from the Kickstarter. Everyone enjoyed it, especially since we had 2 actors in the group. There was lots of laughter, but it actually turned out to be a tense game. I'd only ever played it with my husband before and with 2 players, it's not as tense. With 6, boy, it's a lot more fun and dynamic!
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19. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:470]
Sarah Reed
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March 14:
Scores: S:163 W:146
Comments: This was our first play of the game and I have to say that I like it pretty well. It is quite challenging to managed it all and realize that you can't do everything so you have to pick carefully and keep a close eye on what your opponent is doing. I very much enjoyed the tiered scoring that builds up over time. I was lucky in choosing the higher valued coal. I hadn't planned it from the beginning, but those were my best options. This gave me the edge over my husband in points. He was ahead for the first round, but I got one point ahead of him in the second round and then surpassed him in the last round. I am really looking forward to playing it again as there is a lot of randomness in how the game is set up.
 
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20. Board Game: Galaxy Defenders [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:867]
Sarah Reed
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March 18:
Played with: Mission One. Sarah:Sniper Will:Hulk
Scores: Co-op partial success
Comments: We finally played our first game of this last night. It was a blast! And hard! We almost died at the end and only had a partial success at the mission. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a session report for it.

March 27:
Played with: Mission One. Sarah:Sniper Will:Hulk Friend: Marine
Scores: Co-op partial success
Comments: A friend came over and he was super excited to play Galaxy Defenders so we played mission one again. I stuck to the base sniper, my husband the base hulk and our friend chose the base marine. It was amazing at how much harder it was when we added one person. We had a pretty easy time of destroying the first teleport point and got to the second one okay, but then the aliens exploded on the scene including the boss. Our friend went for the third teleport point while my husband went up the middle to the weapons cache, but that drew the fire of the aliens. Thankfully the hulk is a tank, but our friend and I had some bad rolls against the side aliens so by the time we cleared the path to the third teleport point, my husband was almost dead and, well, he died the next turn as all three of the big aliens, boss included, opened fire on him. But it allowed our friend to destroy the third teleport point and then we were able to get rid of most of the big aliens including the boss. Most of that success was our friends as I was rolling terribly. Good news/bad news, the game ended before we could destroy the final teleport point, but our friend only had 1 life left so he lived and we earned a partial success. During the game, we had acquired two new weapons and a variety of devices so we'll be in pretty good shape for the next mission. We've decided to play the campaign with our friend since he comes over frequently enough and really loved the game. Looking forward to tackling the next mission. Oh, and for the life of me, I could not level up throughout the mission. I had one final roll right before the game ended and to everyone's surprise, I made it! It was so thrilling!

April 17:
Played with: Mission Two. Sarah:Sniper Will:Biotech Friend: Infiltrator
Scores: Co-op success
Comments: This was a really tough one. We all agreed that the monsters chosen were too tough. There should have been more greens and less blues. We got swarmed very quickly. We also realized too late that it was not a good idea to go inside the building as close quarter combat sucks. Next time, we'll wait for more of them to come out. However, even with all those complaints we were successful, barely. Two scientist died as soon as they were revealed because the aliens attacked them. Later, we managed to save 2 and the third was a gamble as the Biotech went into a room with 3 signals and one of them was a human. The infiltrator died due to the Xeno-Beta pulling her away from everyone else. Having read a lot of the complaints on actions, we are going to look at changing it to the point buy system where each person has 3 points on their turn to choose from the list. Also, we thought that basic tactics should be usable more often so we changed them to once per round. They still didn't get used a lot, but it made it so we did use them when the opportunity came up rather than waiting for the perfect moment to use them. Still, we all really enjoyed the game and are looking forward to playing again.

May 7:
Played with: Mission Three. Sarah:Sniper Will:Hulk Friend: Marine
Scores: Co-op success
Comments: After dinner we played Galaxy Defenders. We played Mission 3. I played the sniper, which I have been developing since the first mission. My husband picked up the Hulk, who died in the first mission. Then our friend chose the Marine, who he had played in the first mission. We also adopting the action point buy system and we loved it! Made the game play so much smoother. Not necessarily easier, but it flowed better. There was thankfully only one point where we were getting overwhelmed, but we managed to run into some rooms and take them on a few at a time. Plus the marine had some grenades, which really slowed the enemies down. Needless to say, we succeeded. Though I do find it annoying that you have to survive to a certain number of rounds even if you've accomplished the goal of the mission, but oh well. Next up is mission 5, which everyone says is tough so we'll see how we do.

June 14:
Played with: Mission One.
Scores: Quit
Comments: We were supposed to learn how to play Fortune and Glory, but there was a mix up and our friend thought we had a copy and didn't bring his since it has all the expansions mixed in. He forgot that we had tried to play it at the game store last summer. But none of us were upset. We just wanted to game and are in no hurry to learn F&G. So since two of our friends was also interested in learning Galaxy Defenders, we pulled it out and played mission one. Have to say that the game is very long with 5 and much, much harder. I think the sweet spot is 3 agents. We got about halfway through the mission in 4 hours when people had to leave. Since things weren't looking good, we decided to quit rather than slog through to see whether we lost or had a partial success, because it was very unlikely we'd get to the final 2 teleport points. We did try a lot of the KS exclusive characters, which were neat. Will really enjoyed playing the robocop look-alike. But otherwise, the characters are just tweaks of the base characters, which can be good sometimes, but sometimes not.
 
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21. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:226]
Sarah Reed
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Rancho Cordova
California
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March 22:
Played with: Base game+Power Up+Halloween
Scores: Sarah:Boogie Woogie Will:Cyber Bunny Friend: Kraken & Won
Comments: We had a friend over and started with King of Tokyo since he hadn't played it, but he and his wife had seen it at the store and it looked interesting. And he definitely liked it. Now, with 3 players, it's not as crazy as with 5-6, but we still enjoy it because it becomes more tactical. And our friend was definitely good at that. Plus, he was playing the Kraken and got some great evolution cards that really tipped the game in his favor. My husband was playing Cyber Bunny and was doing well until he stayed in Tokyo too long and when he exited and our friend went in, our friend played an evolution card that killed off Cyber Bunny and hurt me too. I was playing Oogie Boogie who has some trickster-like evolutions, but I got them too late as I was focusing on points, which sometimes works with fewer players. So interestingly, our friend won with 20 points mostly because he didn't roll the claws he needed to kill me as I only had 2 life. He's definitely going to get it and the expansions.

April 5:
Played with: Base game+Power Up+Halloween, but no evolution cards
Scores: Sarah won with points!
Comments: After dinner at my parent's house, we played King of Tokyo without the evolution cards. Good call because it was a little complicated for my mom. But she did pretty well as she was knocked out second, after my niece. My husband and nephew dominated, unsurprisingly, but what was surprising is that I managed to win with points! My nephew wasn't paying full attention to me as my husband was the much bigger threat. So he didn't kill me when he had the chance so I won the next turn. However, if he had killed me, my husband probably would have won. So I'm quite happy with how it turned out.

April 28:
Played with: Base game
Scores: Gary won!
Comments: At Gary's game day, we started with this while waiting for people to show up. One round in, a few people did show up and since one of them had not played before, I have them my seat. Then I just focused on helping my husband read the dice. Our host Gary won the game. We also learned that we had played one rule wrong. When there are 2 people in Tokyo (city & bay) we had always played it that when damage was dealt, the one in City got to choose to leave first. If they did, the person in the Bay moved to the City and the new person moved into the Bay. But evidently, both people can leave if they're damaged and then the new person moves in to City. Guess we created a hardcore variant because it's much easier to win with points if both people can leave when damaged rather than the priority order we were using.
 
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22. Board Game: Villagers & Villains [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:4132]
Sarah Reed
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March 22:
Scores: Sarah:24 Will:34 Friend:31
Comments: Then our friend was interested in Villagers & Villains, which is our favorite light strategy game. He enjoyed it quite a lot so I told him about the Kickstarter for the expansion that is going on right now where you can get the base game too. It's a little hard to find right now so it's one of the best ways to get it. I'd like to say the scores were close, but only for my husband and friend who ended with 34 and 31 points respectively. I had 24. Basically, I couldn't get the villagers I needed for income until near the end. Though I was doing pretty good with heroes and defeating villains, I wasn't doing well enough. Our friend caught on quickly to the benefit of buying a card through one of the villagers and got a lot of villain cards that way. But in the end, my husband was the one who ended the game with creating a full village and that gave him the extra points he needed to pull ahead. Always a fun game.
 
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23. Board Game: Notre Dame [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:216]
Sarah Reed
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March 28:
Scores: Sarah:39 Will:54
Comments: So the night before my husband's birthday, I was letting him choose what activities we did. He decided he wanted to play a game, rather late which limited our options due to me getting sleepy, but he decided to play Notre Dame, which was the first time we've pulled it out, which is funny since it's the game I bought him for his birthday last year! Anyway, we both really liked it. It took one full round before it all clicked and then the final 2 rounds went very quickly. My husband picked it up much faster than me and shot ahead by effectively using the park, which gave him more prestige when he earned prestige. At the end, he was earning +3 prestige every time he earned prestige so there was no way for me to catch up. He got 54 points to my 39. I have a feeling it will always be a game he excels at, but I don't mind. I still enjoyed it and felt that I did a very good job. And after all, it was his birthday gift so it makes sense that he's the best at it.
 
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24. Board Game: Buccaneer Bones [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:5444]
Sarah Reed
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April 2:
Winner: Sarah:1 Will:2
Comments: We played this three times in a row. It's a very light, fun dice game. The theme really comes across and the components are fantastic! I'm so glad I supported the Kickstarter because we got 4 additional player colors so we can play up to 8. This is definitely going to go to family events as it's a very casual and fun game. The only thing we noticed is that whoever went first was the winner. This may just be for 2 player games, but we'll see. It's not a big deal anyway since it's just something fun to do to pass the time.

April 3:
Winner: Sarah:0 Will:1
Comments: We played this to unwind after playing Alien Frontiers. It definitely helped. My husband won so since I started the game, this broke the streak of the first player always winning.

April 4:
Winner: Sarah:0 Will:1
Comments:We again chose to play this to unwind, this time after playing Seasons. Again my husband won, though it was really close, but the dice just didn't like me so my husband won. This again proved that the first player doesn't always win.

April 5:
Winner: Mom:1
Comments: I introduced this to my family on Saturday and it was okay. It was nice to see my mom play a game with us, and she actually won, even though she didn't fully understand what she was doing. So even though we have the components for 8 people, not sure I'd ever want to play it with that many. Too slow between turns.

April 30:
Winner: Will:1
Comments:Since Mice and Mystics was so tense, we played Buccaneer Bones to unwind. For some reason, my husband has incredible luck with this game. He rolled three 6's on his first turn and that extra die really gave him an advantage while I struggled to roll two of any kind for many turns. Needless to say, he won. But the game did the trick to help us unwind after a tense Mice & Mystics game.

May 6:
Winner: Will:1 Sarah:1
Comments: We ended the night with two rounds of Buccaneer Bones, which continues to delight. It also has choices and my husband made a risky one, which paid off in the first game. Then I won the second having made a similar risky choice.

May 27:
Winner: Will:1 Sarah:1
Comments: Played this 2 times after Smash Up. Continues to be a great game to end the night with.

June 7:
Winner: Will:1
Comments: Played this at Gary's house after Katherine retired to bed after putting their son to bed, so Will, me and Gary played a game of Buccaneer Bones. It was actually quite close. While I got to 2 treasure first, Will was able to get 2 treasure in one turn and started the end of the game, but then Gary and I were able to also get a treasure. So Will won by tie breaker because we all had our ships in the same scoring spots except Will had one in the water where we didn't. Always a fun filler.

November 27:
Winner: Teresa:1
Comments: Introduced this to Will's parents and brother. They liked it pretty well, though his mom had trouble with the concept of +/-. But she won the tie breaker with me and Will.

November 28:
Winner: Christina & Will:1
Comments: This is always fun. I got to 3 treasure first, but they each got to 3 as well. Sad for me, both Will and Christina tied and won together. And I got left in the cold. lol. Just goes to show that getting to the end first does not guarantee winning.
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25. Board Game: Alien Frontiers [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:159]
Sarah Reed
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April 3:
Scores: Sarah:10 Will:14
Comments: Whoo, this game has a lot of strategic options, which can be overwhelming on the first play. I had a pretty good engine, but didn't fully utilize it. I had the relic ship territory which gave me an extra die and if it ever was removed, it'd only cost 1 ore and 1 fuel to get back. But what I was missing was a card that allowed me to adjust the value of dice so I could use the relic die with a value 6 to remove it and immediately put a colony on the planet. Since this is a race to get all your colonies onto the planet, whoever does this the fastest wins. My husband was just so much more efficient with his actions and combining abilities better. This is going to be one of those games that I don't really get until the 3rd or 4th play. Needless to say, my husband caught on really quickly. He won 14 to my 10.
 
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