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What Did You Play This Week? March 06-12, 2017
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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With the week behind us it's time to post your week's mini-session reports and stories to answer our favorite question:

mbmbWhat did you play this week? - Edition 411


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1. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:248]
Bill Kunes
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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A little here and there made for a nice week of gaming...

Monday
1x - Innovation

We had to call the game due to limited amount of time to squeeze a game in during lunch break between meetings, but the guys are getting it and enjoying the interplay of the cards.

Tuesday
1x - Guildhall - 125th play!

Wife was positioned to win but I set her back temporarily and got to 20, only to have her set me back--forcing me to take a bit of a gamble and target a couple of her potential scoring guilds with an assassin and pray to get another turn. Unfortunately for me I targeted the wrong 2 of 3 leaving her with the right guild to win on her turn, 21-20. Epic return to this favorite of ours after a long time.

Wednesday
1x - Innovation - 60th play!


We again were crunched for time so implemented our own house ruled setup allowing 3 of 5 dealt cards (1's and a 2) to start with the person getting the 2 going first with one action. It worked great and allowed us to get deeper into the game with interesting action sooner rather than later. However, we had to stop early and settled a tie by score to decide the winner. We plan to use the same setup next time with enough time to finish a game out right.

Thursday
1x - Castles of Burgundy

I managed to complete the monastery paths for the maximum points but my wife had a monster 43 pts move late in the game and just ran away from my pursuit down the stretch for a 205/#13a to 189/#13c victory. Always a joy to play.

Friday
2x - Carcassonne


It has been a long time since we played this classic tile laying game. We had to refresh our memories on a couple of things but over all it was an epic game with the River 1, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders and the Princess and the Dragon expansions mixed in. Had my farm not merged with my wife's or she had completed either of her massive cities it would have been a very different result in her favor. As it was, I won 281-277.

After school and work my oldest and I played a quick father-daughter game with just the River 1 and base tiles. She was building Carcassonnia (our term for mega city) while I was taking a more balanced approach. She almost pulled off the win after closing her city and scoring well with farmers, but I won 126-118.

Saturday - Game Night
1x - The Oracle of Delphi - mb
1x - Deus

This was a learning game of The Oracle of Dephi for the other three players and after the first round or two they started to catch on, and quickly. This was the first play where someone actually lost a turn due to an over run of injury cards and it happened 3-4x during the game which added tension to the race. I triggered the end game and finished with two cards but two others also finished in that last round with three and four cards for a tiebreaker finale.

The second game of the night was my first non-2p game of Deus. Again it took a few rounds for the players to pick up the basic flow of the game and then things started to heat up. I had nearly encircled a barbarian village while blocking in one of the players who went on to siphon the VP before I could get the last building in place. This forced me to march across the board to secure VP elsewhere. Meanwhile the other players continued to deplete my gold and VP supply. I was amassing buildings and cards with three monuments that in the end was good for me but I still came up 1 point short of a victory. 46-45-35-23.


I had a full schedule this week but looking back I was able to get in some quality gaming sessions this week. You can't ask for more than that. Game Night turn out was a bit light, but we were able to have three tables going the whole night. I got to play two games with more players that I've only previously played with two which was a nice treat.

meeple Keep playing...
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List at 43/100
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2. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:85] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Nick Shaw
United Kingdom
Plymouth
Devon
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A pretty low-key gaming week for me. A fair bit of playtesting for unnamed games, but for released games - not so much going on for me.

With the wife:

Ticket to Ride: Europe - a rare occurrence of my wife asking to play a game. We played a slightly shortened version (removed 10 trains each to forcibly reduce game time), which worked perfectly well - in fact, it really honed your strategy to completing only 2 or 3 tickets instead of the usual 5+. I ended up winning by just 2 points, huzzah!


Solo:

OctoDice - a quick roll & write play at lunch on Friday. Scored my highest yet - 40 points. Pleased with that.


Online:

Jäger und Späher - 2 games of this on yucata.de. First game, on Standard, I lost by only 2 points, so wasn't too fussed by losing - it was a very close thing all along. Second game, on Intro, I won by just 2 points. Again, pleased with that as it was nicely competitive all along. The game can feel slightly multiplayer-solitaire at times, but then there are times when you are both waiting on picking up your workers from the same card you're both on, and whoever does it first will get the goods, but if you do it too soon, you aren't playing an optimal move. Great decisions to make here, in such a lovely small package [from what I can see of the cardboard version of course; I've only ever played it online].



Nations: The Dice Game - a leisurely 3-player game of Nations: Dice. Still love this game, even though I came 2nd (and was only 2 points ahead of the 3rd-place player).
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3. Board Game: Lords of Xidit [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:473]
Simona Dostalova
Czech Republic
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Better week than the last one but still not that good - 3 days with any games in - 6 plays of 5 games + 1 PBF game.



Wednesday

The week started with a 5-player game of Lords of Xidit which I haven't played in a while. The scoring tiles were coins, towers and fame. Coins were really close in this game - 26, 24, 24, 24 and 23. I was one of those with 24. It came down to figures - I had 1 measly figure. The other 2 guys had more (one of them had 5 archers so got those 2 coins for them right before scoring). I was out. If that guy had not had so many figures, I would have won since I did very well in the other 2 categories. Oh well. It was won by the guy who had most money (biggest fame as well).

Next up was another game I haven't played in a while - Tiny Epic Galaxies. I ended with 16 points to 18, 19, 22 and 24.


Thursday

Cthulhu Wars I finished another one of my PBF games - PBF 76, 5-player game on Primeval Earth. I had a perfect round 2 as the Opener, when I managed to end with 5 gates, 5 spellbooks, and Dragon Descending After that, naturally, everyone went after me and completely annihilated me from the map (ended with 3 monsters and nothing else, 3 doom from winning - 27), giving the victory to (surprise!) Yellow Sign with 31 doom. Crawling Chaos had a perfect last round, ending with 6 gates and lots of ES from dead or injured GOOs for a total of 25. Next up was WindWalker with 24 and last was Tcho Tcho with 18.


Saturday

On Saturday, SO and I played 2 games of Innovation for my 10x10 hardcore challenge. I won the first one 7 to his 1, he won the other one 7 to my 2.


Sunday

Another game I haven't played in a while hit table with SO and I - Artifacts, Inc.. It was very close but I managed to win 30 to his 29.

And the week was finished with 51st State: Master Set. He played as Merchant's Guild and ended the game with 54 points to my 44 with Appalachian Federation.
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4. Board Game: Potion Explosion [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:464]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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Took full advantage of my one week at home in order to play games before embarking on another 3-week road trip. I also picked up a new game and several expansions some of which I got to try last week.

Wednesday

I could not wait for the regular weekend council so I setup a midweek evening gaming session with Kent.

Potion Explosion = (NEW)

This was my only new game I picked up together with 5 expansions for different games. It was an instabuy after watching several video reviews and tutorials. It’s essentially Candy Crush the boardgame where every turn you pick up 1 marble and every same colored marbles which “click” together after that trigger an “explosion” and you get to pick those up as well. Your regular move can trigger several “explosions” and the bulk of AP comes from analysing which marble to pick up in order to trigger the most explosions. You then use the marbles to fill up specific colored slots in the 2 potions you are currently brewing. Finished potions give you a 1 time use special ability and you can drink these potions before and after your step. You can also ask the professor for help once a turn and that enables you to pick up 1 marble although you get a -2 VP deduction for each help token you possess at the end of the game. Drinking potions and the help token does not trigger explosions though, only your regular move. Points are also scored by forming sets of 3 of the same kind of potion or 5 different potions types as they let you grab a 4-point achievement token. The number of achievement tokens depend on total player count as they act as the timer for the game.

Kent and I had a lot of fun. There is a surprising number of AP moments though as you try to analyse which potions to use and when to use the professor for help in order to trigger the most number of useful explosions for you. Chain explosions are a lot of fun though and bring about a great sense of satisfaction as the marbles clink together the way you want them to. In the end my more expensive brews overcame my greater use of the Professor’s help as I beat Kent by just a point!


Kent and me go “marbles” in our first try of this game! Me 58 (Potions 56 Skill 8 Helper -6) Kent (1st Potions 53 Skill 8 Helper -4)

Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic = 1 Play (NEW)

This was one of the expansions picked up during the week. The expansion is quite simple as it did not add new rules but just a ton of new advancements and vales to the mix thus is very integrate to the base game. It seems to make grabbing vales easier as well as added a lot more helmets to the mix. In any case Kent got an early Vale grabbing engine going and ended up totally crushing me by almost tripling my score!


Kent goes “landkill” to totally crush me! Kent 46 (1st VP 16 Advancements 14 Vales 16) Me 17 (VP 7 Advancements 6 Vales 4)

7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon = 1 Play (NEW)

This was a must buy for me the instant it was announced but it took quite a long time before I could pick up my copy locally. It was worth the wait though as the expansion gives the game an added edge by giving you better conditions in order to achieve the insta-win conditions. This is done with the use of new pantheon cards which are gods which represent the 5 different colors of non-guild cards in the game. The first age has tokens on certain card locations in the pool which enable players who reveal that card to take the token and then choose a god of that color in order to “seed” the pantheon board. Putting this card face down close to your city makes it cheaper to buy for you and more expensive for your opponent, and vice versa. The token icon also is a prerequisite for some of the 3 temples which you add into the 3rd age deck instead of the 3 guilds, and having more of these temples gives me more points. The 2nd age have the pantheon cards turned over and thus available for purchase (without the need to discard a card in the pool) and there are 3 discount tokens seeded in the 2nd age pool which gives makes buying the pantheon cards cheaper. The Pantheon cards themselves are very powerful as they give abilities related to their color and I believe they can help players achieve the insta-win conditions better by enabling players to get another science symbol or to add more military as well as punish the opposing players by letting them lose money for every military advance the opponent makes.

The game between Kent and I was an example of how the Pantheons making the game more tense. The first age was easy enough with Kent grabbing 3 of the tokens, but I managed to grab the 2 science ones. This set me up for a science based strategy but had to be on the defensive militarily as Kent was very aggressive and I was forced to use Minerva’s shield to block Kent’s advance on the military track. It was still very close and in the 3rd age I was quite nervous as I saw a couple of the 3 strong red cards which would finish me off if Kent ever got to build those. I managed to grab the 3 temples and I was lucky enough that Kent managed to reveal the last science symbol I needed for the autowin. All the Pantheon cards were taken as we both tried to play the delaying game in order to prevent certain cards from being revealed. All in all a great addition to a great game.


The gods definitely helped me in achieving a very close Scientific win just as Kent was on the verge of conquering my empire with his army! Me (Science Victory 58 Blue 3 Green 8 Yellow 3 Temples 21 Wonders 15 Progress 7 Gold 1) Kent 57 (1st Blue 17 Green 3 Yellow 6 Wonders 10 Gold 11 Military 10)

Friday

It was time for the regular council and for this meeting we had Kent and his brother Karl join as well as Jim and his now new fiancée Jate too.

Potion Explosion = 1 Play

The 2 brothers and I brought this out first while waiting for Jim and Jate to arrive. It was another fun experience with Karl managing to grab the win via his “big potions” strategy.

I found out today that we were handling the explosions wrong as we were only grabbing the 2 marbles which physically clicked together after you remove a marble instead of the entire line of same colored connected marbles. That makes explosions more spectacular and is something I look forward to play correctly the next time.


Big potions for the win! Karl 67 (Potions 59 Skill 8) Me 58 (1st Potions 50 Skill 12 Helper -4) Kent 55 (Potions 53 Skill 8 Helper -6)

Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary = 1 Play

Jim and Jate finally arrived so I bring out the 10th anniversary edition of this modern gateway title. I use the Big Cities tickets which meant opportunities for a lot of points (and deductions!) were available. The initial action was very heavy on the Eastern side of the map with almost no action on the West Coast. Karl was the first to expand Westwards and it soon began a ticket churning experience as most of the players except Jate and me really dug into the tickets deck. Kent was lucky to complete tickets mostly involving Miami but Karl managed to finish more tickets and he edged out Kent by a notch. Jate never drew more tickets and had here 19 point ticket blocked off and this reduced her score by a lot with Jim also losing 9 points due to a unfinished route.


A very narrow win by Karl as he edges out Kent by a point! Karl 128 Kent 127 Me (1st) 111 Jim 99 (-9 ticket) Jate 80 (-19 ticket +10 longest line)

Click Clack Lumberjack = 1 Play

This dexterity game was up next. Jim benefitted by being to my left as that meant he took his turn after me and since I had many “almost chopped” turns Jim managed to get a lot of easy points and grabbed all 4 Golden bark. We all conceded as it was obvious that we could not catch up as Jim was playing defensive after building up the large lead.


Jim 16 (8 golden bark 8 bark) Me 8 Kent 4 Jate 3 Karl 1

Hanabi = 1 Play

This coop game was up next. The group started to get the groove in the late game but by that time the tile pool ran out and we ended up with 18 points.


The group scores 18 points for an excellent result

Saturday

Dennis suddenly messaged me asking if anyone was available to play. Keith was so and so and later declined so that meant an entire evening of 2P gaming.

Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic = 1 Play

Dennis wanted to try out the expansion so this was played first. I am convinced that the new advancements really help a Vale strategy as this game again had Dennis getting a lot of icons making him claim a lot of vales for the dominating win.


Landkill again determines the winner! Dennis 54 (VP 17 Advancements 14 Vales 23) Me 36 (1st VP 9 Advancements 15 Vales 12)

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small = 2 Plays

Dennis and his wife gets to play Agricola a lot so I wanted him to try out this 2P derivative. I added both expansions in immediately and Dennis liked the game so much that we played 2 games straight.


Game 1: Dennis 50 (wins tiebreak) Me 50 (1st). Dennis managed to have 20 sheep at the end of the game which was enough to tie me as I had a lot of points from the Storage building. However Dennis started as the 2nd player and that is the tiebreak condition for the win.


Game 2: Dennis 46 Me 41. The second game was much tighter as the animal count was lower. However, Dennis this time developed his farm better as he managed to score for 3 extensions and build more valuable buildings for the win. I could have won by constructing a building adjacent to 4 of mine for a huge 8 points, but I overlooked that option since I was focused on getting more animals and that cost me the game.

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire = 1 Play

The final game of the evening was this engine building worker placement hotness. It turned out to be a VERY close game as we both managed to clean out all the pollution in our environment and were practically also tied in dice and in game scoring. Dennis built more buildings though while I was ahead on the UN track and got a perfect score in achievements. We end up tied again and Dennis wins AGAIN with the tiebreak as he had more resources than me!


Another tie, another loss by tiebreak! Dennis 159 (1st Score 38 Building 53 Dice 10 UN 15 Achieve 22 Env 21 wins tiebreak) Me 159 (Score 37 Building 46 Dice 10 UN 20 Achieve 25 Env 21)

A clean sweep by Dennis in games (or expansions) which he tried for the first time!

Sunday

Escape: The Curse of the Temple = 2 Plays

The boys (Sherwin and Shawn) and I tackle this real time dice game again. I split the tiles into 2 groups with each group having 1 quest and 1 type of special room (with 1 group also getting the Pit to make sure the tile count was the same).


Game 1: With Curses, Treasures, Illusions, 1 Special Room, 1 Quest (Tree of Life), Characters. Me (Discoverer), Shawn (Mentalist)and Sherwin (Mechanic) win 4 gems remaining, 2 reserve gems used. We managed to achieve the quest immediately with the Tree of Life right beside the starting chamber and while we were forced to use both reserve gems the ability of the Discoverer to put tiles at the bottom of the pile enabled us to search for the escape room and despite needing to roll 5 keys to escape we all managed to do so with around 1 minute to spare. We finally grabbed a win!


Game 2: With Curses, Treasures, Illusions, 1 Special Room, 1 Pit,1 Quest (Ghost Chamber), Characters, Me (Priest), Shawn (Doc)and Sherwin (Muscleman) loss 3 gems remaining, 12 reserve gems used, All trapped escape room not found. We were REALLY cursed as despite the Doc’s ability to cure black dice we needed to use both reserve gems again as there were times when a player was totally locked out due to black dice. Things turned out to be even worse as the Ghost quest was revealed and I was forced to go back to the start chamber and push the ghost towards his chamber. The last phase was so hectic we forgot to remove the Illusion chambers but that didn’t matter as that was not the path to the exit and we were 1 tile short of revealing the exit chamber and all of us ended up trapped in the dungeon!
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5. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:341]
Daniel Nilsson
Australia
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Bohnanza x 1

Had a couple of friends come over on the weekend with their young son. Once all of the kids were asleep, us adults were pretty exhausted ourselves but managed to get in a few lighter games. Introduced them to Bohnanza and it was a hit, I'd forgotten how much of a blast this game was. My wife monopolised the wax bean trade and I think traded in all 11 on two occasions for big points. I cashed in large on my last turn netting me 8 points, I had started the game strong but waned in the middle. I finished 2nd to my wife, the final scores being 17, 15, 13, 11. A pretty even spread

Sushi Go Party x 1

Got out the larger version of this great game. I've heard some people hating on Sushi Go Party. Maybe it runs into problems at a higher player count? As it was, the 4 player game went fine. We used most of the new cards and got straight into it. My wife and I struggled in this one, it was kind of funny in a way that my wife got lumped with a sole eel at the end of two different rounds: "F---- Eels!" got exclaimed a couple of times. I finished 2nd again. 60, 55, 51, 48

Love Letter x 1

A quick game of this to round out the night. I won 4, 2, 0, 0. I attribute two of my roses to good decisions and two solely to luck. The thing about Love Letter that is nice though is that even though there is player elimination and luck, because the rounds are so quick, no one really seems to care. I have cooled on Love Letter though since our heyday with it last year.
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6. Board Game: World of Yo-Ho [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2874]
Keith Rudolph
Canada
Langdon
Alberta
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Sunday was our only day of gaming since my wife was sick for the entire week and this was the only day she felt well enough to get in a couple of games of something. We played 2 games of World of Yo-Ho which we hadn't played for a while. I managed to win the first game quite soundly as I managed to pick up a bunch of quests that chained together quite nicely. My wife won the second game. I was on target to rescue some stranded sailor in the middle of the ocean when my wife sailed up and assassinated them before I could rescue them; apparently news of my quest reached her ears and she was offered a quest to scuttle my plans.

Our only other game was one play of Glory to Rome. She managed to build several more buildings than I did but I made up for it by shoving a lot of stuff into my vault - the contents of which were a complete mystery to me since I was just grabbing them blindly off the deck thanks to one of the few buildings I had. Apparently I grabbed a lot of good stuff as the vast majority of my points came from the vault and merchant bonuses. I won 38-31.
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7. Board Game: Jump Drive [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1428]
meepleonboard
United Kingdom
Somerset/London
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Wednesday

It was a busy but really fulfilling week of work for me, playing for some really great musicians, so KT and I tucked in a few plays on the only days I was home. I'm enjoying that gaming is our go-to thing at the moment, especially as KT seems to be suggesting it. On Wednesday evening she asked me to set something up on the table, so a shuffle later I was ready to go with Jump Drive which we had played for the first time last week. As I wrote then, Race for the Galaxy accounts for 10% of our logged plays, so we are really keen to see how its smaller sibling plays out. This was our third play of Jump Drive, and I feel that we are just starting to get to grips with what it has to offer. It feels as if the possibilities are bigger than Race, but that the space in which you can do them is much more limited, so it is a real tightrope act as you decide what to do, and every decision is critical. KT is starting to pull off some great combos as well, as the Develop -> Settle sequence begins to show its possibilities. Our first game was an eight-round encounter and I was 30-17 up at the end of round six and expecting to gain another fourteen points next time around, so within sniffing distance of the 50-point victory marker. KT then developed Space Marines to add to her military strength, settled the Uplift Mercenaries with the aid of that new strength, and then used the extra military strength on the Mercenaries with the Military Colony ability to add the Lost Alien Battle Fleet to her tableau. This added yet more Military Strength and enabled her to steal my War Propaganda card, a six point swing. At the end of round seven it was therefore 44-34 to me, nothing to be worried about...except that in round eight she pulled off something similar, comboing her military might into a massive 48 additional points, cruising to a bruising 82-65 victory. Thus far I'd have to say that Jump Drive is a winner, and KT and I both agree that it supplements Race, providing that gritty depth of decision making in a twenty minute span. It's impressive stuff.

Thursday

KT walked into my office (well, games storage room) on Thursday and said "Ooh, The Rivals for Catan, we haven't played that for a while, let's play it tonight", so that's what we did. I had good memories of this, but there's often a reason why something stays away from the table for over a year, so this was a make or break play for it. We started with the basic game which KT won 7-3 and which we both enjoyed, but neither of us was massively enthusiastic about it, so we reset for a second game with The Age Of Gold. This felt much more interesting, but it dragged on and on and eventually I had to go to bed to prepare for the early start for the next day's work. We called it at 7-6 to KT - if we'd had to play to the regulation 12 points we might still be there, who knows? Rivals is a good game, but it's a bit creaky by modern standards and, unusually I know, both KT and I prefer Catan proper, especially as our 2-player variant seems to work nicely and we have umpteen expansion boxes and scenarios to work through. The more we played Rivals the more I thought that something like Imperial Settlers scratches a similar itch but in a more modern and satisfying manner. For us, therefore, Rivals is seen off both by Catan and Imperial Settlers, which we need to play much more, whereas Jump Drive supplements Race in a way that (thus far) has been very impressive.

the rest of the week...

I didn't log any more plays later in the week as I was thrown into the middle of work, but KT managed to play both Qwirkle and Machiavelli with my mother when I was away and they apparently had a great time, to the extent that my mother has asked us to buy a copy of Qwirkle for her as well so that she can have it in the house. I've played this game with many different groups of people and it always goes down well, and it's done a decent job of seeing off various other glitzier games. £2.99 well spent in that charity shop however many years ago!

I took my freshly arrived copy of Leaving Earth to London with me, aiming to get in a play of it on Sunday evening, but it's fair to say that it didn't take me long to realise that I had underestimated the challenge. The rules aren't too bad, but there are many things that need looking up during a first play, and it took me a while to realise that I could test rockets and ensure that they fired successfully without necessarily having a poor astronaut sitting on top of them. Having sent the first human into space (a woman, hooray!) I then started thinking about a survey mission to the Moon, but the sheer enormity of the task made me pack the game down and wait for a better opportunity. I have to say that I have rarely been so excited about a game and the possibilities it offers, and there already seem to be some genuinely exquisite touches in it. I also love the way that the exploration tableau reveals a picture of the nearby solar system. This looks like a game I'll be able to take with me on my travels and leave set up on hotel tables and the like, and I'm looking forward to exploring it and the solar system in more detail very soon indeed. It feels very special and the theme is just perfect for me.

Happy gaming!
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8. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:221]
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Centennial
Colorado
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I had ten plays of Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls last week, including my first tries of the official Mega-Dungeon variant. Those are fun, and I'm now rotating play among Advanced, Undead Hordes, Dragon's Lair, and Mega-Dungeon. There's been plenty of mortality on all fronts, and I haven't yet made it out of Mega-Dungeon alive.

Prp and I played a splendid game of Onward to Venus, where her Frenchmen handed my Americans my butt, even though I was able to catch up a little in the last round due to tension tiles. Here was a little bright spot for me; I had Titan all sewn up:



I had my first play of the Gallia map for Concordia. There were four players, and I totally blew it. I went for cloth early, and pursued Jupiter cards, but managed to build nearly nothing by the time a run on cards--which was my fault more than anyone's--closed out the game. I'm a little surprised that I scored as well as I did, despite coming in last. My 30 points in Mars were nearly half my score.



As a chaser to Concordia, we played a game of Colt Express. I'm pretty terrible at it, like I am at most programming games, but I enjoyed being outraged at the unfairness of my treatment by the other outlaws--perhaps overmuch.

I beat Prp in a rather punishing play of Drakon: I had six tiles to her two for most of the game.

We played BattleLore twice this week, both resulting in Prp's Undead victorious over my Uthuk. In the first game, I put together an army with 3 legendary units (Chaos Lord, Doombringer, and Mountain Giant), one unit of Obscenes, and five Viper Legion units. Prp had her usual Heralds of Dreadfall pre-made affair. Prp came out of the gate super-strong: at one point she had 11 VP to my 1! I was recovering by the end-game, but there just wasn't time for me to catch up. Other notes: The Chaos Lord is basically pre-blighted, since he already has a move of 1 and is never weak. Also, I got to use Summon Swarm to good effect, even if I was in too deep a hole to dig out of.



In our later game, I got to go first, and I maintained a precarious lead for most of the game. At the end, she caught up, and although I scored 16 VP first, her final turn allowed her to get to 18 and the win.



After our first game of BattleLore, Prp indulged me in three plays of Chase. I swept those games, which certainly eased my hurt pride from earlier in the evening.



Despite losing, Prp was really liking combinatorial play, so we switched it up in the later part of the week and played three games of chess. She played white and I spotted her a queen in each of those, and I still won the first two outright. I managed to give her a draw in the third, showing that my endgame certainly needs some work!

In lunchtime play at the office, my usual opponent there beat me soundly at Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, to which I introduced him. He played Sauron first and clobbered me for six points, then he got a narrow 1-point win as the Fellowship when we flipped sides.

We went on to play 7 Wonders Duel, which was our closest play of this one so far. My opponent thought I squandered turns on the blue cards, which did well for me nevertheless. My biggest problem was that my Wonders really didn't deliver on VP: I built all four Wonders, but got fewer points for them than he did for his three.

I very narrowly beat Prp in a game of Petri Dish. I started strong but she caught up and the endgame was super-competitive.

Summoner Wars featured a rematch between my Torgan's Icy Assault and Prp's Melundak Attack Pack. I squeaked out a win for Torgan's vengeance.



We finished the week with an older Looney Pyramids game that was new to us: Amoeba. It's a fine little combinatorial game where you build the board out of poker chips as you play. I've seen some comparisons to Carcassonne, but there's no luck of the tile draw in this one. I'm leaving the two stashes and 33 poker chips in an IceDice bag for repeat play in the near future.


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9. Board Game: City of Iron: Second Edition [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:1367]
Joe H
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[New to Me] Ariel started out by teaching Alain, Wendy and I Quantum, an area control game with a lot of dice chucking (to my dismay), card drafting and some neat special powers based upon die values. Its not an overly complicated game and I'll admit that I didn't quite understand the movement rules early on and this set me back to start. It also coloured my opinion of the game. But, as the game continued and I understood the movement and special power rules my opinion of it greatly improved even though my dice rolls still stunk. Mostly it was a battle between Alain and Ariel with Alain conquering the worlds in the old fashioned way by surrounding them and Ariel attacking anyone who was near him to game control through dominance. In the end, Alain prevailed. I was far, far back.



[New to Me]Next up I taught Ariel and Alain City of Iron: Second Edition, an area control game with deckbuilding, hand managment and city building elements by Ryan Laukat. I'd picked up this game on a super sale months ago while I was travelling in the States. Like most of Laukat's games it is very tight and, although there is some engine building, you are always struggling to accomplish what you'd like to. We had to cut the game short after the 2nd scoring period but a last move attack by Alain on one of the towns I had conquered gave him the end of round 5 lead. While I didn't like getting nipped at the end of our shortened game, I did enjoy the tough decisions in the game and I hope to revisit this one soon.



Gaming with My Wife

On Thursday my wife asked to play Above and Below. While we sat in our very sunny kitchen I decided to spend lots of time exploring the deepest darkest depths in search of untold treasures. Very early on I committed myself to getting lots of workers and doing lots of exploration. Although I was a bit stymied after the first round I was able to get some extra beds beginning in round 2. Thus began the avalanche. With lots of workers and beds I was able to do tons of exploring, garnering lots of treasures and coin while Sharon was toiling harvesting items from her outposts. In the end, I just outpointed her on the Advancement track, was slightly behind on number of buildings, outscored her on reputation and crushed her on building bonuses for a 75-40 win. She took it much better than I would have.



[New to Me] Sharon and I had only played base Dominion even though the Big Box I purchased had both Prosperity and Alchemy in it. We finally broke out Dominion: Prosperity on Saturday and gave it a whirl. We played the beginner setup. Things were rough from the beginning as Watchtower seemed pretty powerful and I found myself well behind. But, once I was able to get a bit of an engine going I was able to crank out some points, winning 99-75. We probably only used 7 of the 10 Kingdom cards that were out there, with a clear prefernce towards Watchtower. Bank and, later, Goons. I like the richness of it all but I'm not sure that I like the "earn a VP chip" mechanism even though I was able to use it to great effect



Next, on Saturday, Sharon and I played Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game - one of her favourite games. The "Assemble" app chose Black Bolt, Steve Rodgers (Director of Shield), Prince Namor, Wolverine and Ironman to face off against the Mastermind Zombie Green Goblin, Villains (Limbo, The Deadlands, and Hydra, and Henchmen (Hand Ninjas) in the "Change the Outcome of WWII" scenario. Boy, it was tough. We got hit with lots of Plot Twist early that put us behind the 8-ball. The Master Strikes were just overwhelming and, finally with only 1 space in the City and the Zombie Green Goblin's HPs up to 13 we couldn't simultaneously defeat both the Mastermind and the Villain in the city. I was finally able to start to thin my deck a bit but a villain came out we couldn't defeat and the third country was overwhelmed. On Sunday Sharon wants to play again. This time it was the "Smash Two Dimensions Together" scheme and Nimrod (who only has 6 HP but also requires a hand with 6 recruit points to defeat). Nimrod led Sentinel Territories, The Deadlands, Masters of Evil and Sentinels. The hero team included Black Panther, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain America (Falcon). It took forever to get in a position to attack Nimrod with heroes that didn't have both attack and recruit. Too often we had a ton of one or both. Fortunately, there were lots of opportunities to thin the decks and eventually we got through to Nimrod and not a moment too soon. We finished with 3 cards left in the Villain Deck - a Master Strike, a Scheme Twist and a Bystander. I take the win 72-55.


Gaming With Kids

On Sunday I had my friend and her two teenagers over for a visit. When they were getting restless I pulled out Santorini and they were completely rapt. I knew the younger one, Alex, would like it but both of them loved it. Calvin was a little too focused on the immediate and imwas forced to put out all the fires and, as a result, Alex took the first three games. Then we introduced some Gods into the mix. I was Atlas, Alex was Minotaur and Calvin was Hermes. Finally, I was able to break through for the win.



Solo Gaming

With my group gaming and gaming with my wife a little curtailed I've decided to look for solo variants of some of bigger games. One of the first that I sought out was for Great Western Trail. I chose the Automa variant developed by wgerken. In this variant you play through a deck of action cards that determine the Automa's (Brisco's) actions. Brisco moves on every turn and often performs a powerful action...build highest value building, take highest value hazard/tepee, take highest (or sometimes lowest) value cow, take highest value objective, etc. This automa plays very steadily, with its actions in the first round as powerful as in the last round. I won fairly handily. I think in part this was due to the limited range of cattle there were to buy and that I forced my train down the line to grab the big station bonuses. I also spent a lot of effort culling my deck. Brisco crushed me on buildings. I held the edge on the value of my finishing herd, station bonuses, deliveries and gold. Very nice solo variant and I'm looking forward to playing it again.



Monday evening I played the Pandemic App. I played two randomly selected characters...the medic and the scientist. It took me a while to get my foothold but cleared the blue disease fairly early then moved on to the black disease. The medic helped eradicate the black disease. Then we moved on to Asia, putting out some fires before finally curing the disease. With the infection rate at 3 and 7 outbreaks we cured the yellow disease for the win.



Last week on the WDYPtW geeklist I saw that njshaw2 had played a solo variant of Orléans and he pointed me in the direction of mihnea_1309. This Automa comes with a deck of 9 cards with 3 actions on it (only 6 of which are played in any game. In each round you play first then the Automa plays a card. The neat thing about this is that the Automa's actions become more powerful. In the first 1/3 of the game the Automa only plays the top action on the Automa card, in the second 1/3 of the game the Automa plays the top 2 actions and in the final 1/3 of the game it plays all three actions. Not only does it get more actions but the later actions on the card are more consistent with endgame actions. Very cool. In the first game I played I won by 20 points. I dominated on the coin front and points from development (with most coming from citizens). The Automa clocked me on goods - though I had managed some brocade production. It didn't get any citizens other than for the most stations as I had poached those on the Beneficial Deeds board using my Gunpowder Tower. In my second game the Automa was much less effective. It found itself stymied from building trading posts and in the last 1/3 of the game it couldn't it wanted to claim certain types of citizens but none were available and was already maxed out on development track so further moves up the track were wasted. I was able to shut it down in citizens by focusing on citizen tracks that offered them, racing up the development track and cherry picking spots on the development board. Still, a ery fun variant and one I will be revisiting.



On Thursday night I played the Sentinels of the Multiverse App. This battle pitted Omnitron against Legacy, Bunker, Wraith and Haka in the Ruins of Atlantis. Things did not go well from the start. The environment wasn't friendly, particularly to the heroes, He got Adaptive Plating Subroutine out in the first turn and I didn't have any remedy for this for most of the game. Sedative Flechettes and Technological Singularity both knocked me back at points too. The team was a bit underpowered. At one point I was desperate to get some damage on Omnitron and I had Haka use Haka of Battle to discard his entire (huge) hand and deal Omnitron 15 points of damage. Fortunately, Toxic Seaweed came up next and the handless Haka was able to discard his entire hand. Things looked really bad. Omnitron was around 60 hit points when Bunker fell. At that point things turned around and I used Bunker's incapacitated ability to help other heroes play cards to great effect. It didn't hurt that I was finally able to destroy Adaptive Plating Subroutine. Then, the heroes just unleashed on Omnitron. It was a nailbiter but the Multiverse was saved from evil once again.



Two games of Hit Z Road, both with less success than I had in the past. In the first game I picked up the map, steering wheel and gunsight but only the map paid off. With three complete sets of resources/survivors my total score was a "good" 14. The second game didn't go as well. I got the scope and biohazard tokens early but got no payback on the scope and had to avoid a visible biohazard penalty. Finding VPs was tough going and with my three complete sets of resources/survivors I only managed a "cool" 9 points.

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10. Board Game: Evolution: Climate [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:331]
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
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NEWISH Evolution: Climate - At our weekly meetup, I played a 4 player game of Evolution: Climate. This was my first time playing this version of the game, but based on this one play, I would not really say it was new to me. I was cursing my luck in the early rounds because I just could not seem to draw any feeding cards. On the flip side, though, I did draw quite a few defensive cards, which ended up being a good thing. I managed to craft a couple of basically uneatable species (it was possible, but it would have been painful, for little payout compared to other opportunities). I was able to get a forager and a scavenger a little later that helped me get my species fed. Intelligence rounded them out, and made a big difference in the end game. Sadly, the Climate portion didn't rally come into play. It cost us some food (and gave us some extra) a few times, but it never got further than 1 space away from Temperate. The guy who owns the game said that's pretty much how it has always played for him. Oh well. Everyone's eager to try my copy of Flight now
Rating: 7.5

AquaSphere - My wife was working on Saturday, so a buddy of mine came over and we had a game day. We kicked things off with Aquasphere, which he had been wanting to learn for a while now. He watched the Watch It Played tutorial before he came over, so we dove right in. This game really plays super fast with 2 people. I think we were done in less than an hour or so. It's been a little while for me, so I was a bit rusty. I did not do a good job of watching the octopods, or of getting my lab extensions. It was a fairly close game, but my opponent did just a little better in the lab extensions and area control aspect, and that made the difference.
Rating: 7.5

Trajan - Trajan is another one that he had wanted to learn for a while, so we broke that out next. It's pretty easy for me to teach now, so we were playing in no time. I was dabbling in everything, like I always do in this game, even though I know better. I scored some good shipping and military points, but neglected the senate entirely too much. It was another close one, but I think my friend pulled out the victory in this one, too.
Rating: 7.5

NEW Madeira - Next up, we played a game of Madeira, which is one I've been wanting to learn for a while. I watched the first 30 or 4o minutes of the Heavy Cardboard live play to learn the game. It's not too complicated, but the guild favors are a bit hard to remember. I seemed to be doing a better job of focusing on the scoring tiles throughout the game than my buddy did. I managed to have some really nice scoring rounds in both the 1st and 3rd rounds. Still, I neglected the castle, giving him 20 points over the course of the game. I also resigned myself early to losing 16 points at the end of the game for having the most pirates. Still, I managed to just squeak out a win, only because he had one pirate left, which meant he lost 8 points, which is maybe a little crazy. I enjoyed the game. There is a whole lot going on, but the strategy is interesting.
Rating: 7.5

NEW Agility - We closed out the day with a quick game of Agility. I really liked the theme, and I generally enjoy rondels. I don't think I did a very good job of coordinating my dogs' actions; I think I only used the rondel to get them through an obstacle one time. I was able to use the Sweep action a lot, though, which got me quite a few resources. I won the game, but only because of the tie breaker token. This is a really cute game, and I think my wife would like it, too.
Rating: 7

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11. Board Game: Mottainai [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:711]
Justin
United States
Kentucky
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Just two 2-player games of Mottainai. I won the first one and it was over pretty quickly I was able to get 4 papers and a metal finished without much difficulty.

The second game was much better. I lost 31 to 28. We almost went through all of the cards which is something we hadn't done before.

It had been too long since we played it. It took a little bit to brush up on the rules again. I feel like i enjoy the game mostly as a two player game but i've only tried it with more than two once so i need more plays to determine that.

Mottainai is a game that i could play several times a week and not get tired of it. I'm going to push for it to get played more when only one other person shows up to game night.
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12. Board Game: Deep Space D-6 [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:1407]
Justin Wawrzonek
United States
Amsterdam
New York
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 8.0   Deep Space D-6 x2 NEW!
This is a fantastic solo game. Its also hard as hell. It feels like FTL the boardgame, and thats pretty great.

 7.0   One Deck Dungeon

This game continues to kick my ass. I can usually get to the boss (The Dragon), but he always kills me. Still loving it though.


 7.0   Wits & Wagers Family x2

I brought a bunch of games to play, but the family decided to play wits and wagers. Still had a fun time though.



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13. Board Game: Can't Stop Express [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
Stéphane Athimon
France
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Hi Everybody,
It seems you have had a nice gaming week :-)

For us not much in terms of different games, but for the third week in a row Can't Stop Express is the most and only game played at home.
We played around 10 games of Can't Stop Express, and during this week we tried different strategies for the 5th die.
It was a surprising week for this game as I got my worst score : -960 and my best one on Saturday : +750.

On last Tuesday, I managed to play some games with the pupils in the High School where I am working :-)

I played three different games with them :

I introduced them to Rattlesnake.

A game they really liked and they were far better than me playing it:-)

Then I was explained Blitz

, a game with cards a giant die and words written on the cards. A kind of mix between Jungle Speed and Cha Dango, where you both have to be the quickest with the right answer (definitely not for me).


Finally I explained Abracada...What to a group of girls, and they really enjoyed it too. I was terribly bad at this game, but I still love it :-)

That's all in terms of gaming :-)
In of translations I completed the translation of 4 different games while working on a 5th one (Vast : The Crystal Caverns). I completed Woo-hoo, Reef Route and King Frog or Brain Games. I completed one of the last Knizia games for Pixie Games : King's Road.

That's all for this week, I hope this one will be better in terms of gaming, but I am not really sure of that :-)
Thanks for reading.
Have a nice gaming week :-)
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14. Board Game: Unfair [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:830]
Evan
United States
Longwood
Florida
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Very light week for me this week. We've had a lot of visitors around the house coming and going, work has been crazy and stressful and we are dealing with a medical issue with our son that is not anything life threatening, but is stressful in its own right. Doesn't leave a lot of time for gaming and I'm not mentally focused enough right now to play a lot of the games that I enjoy playing solo (like Arkham Horror: The Card Game)

 7.3   Unfair x3

I played quite a bit of Unfair this week and have now played the game four times in total. The buzz this game is getting in the forums is really positive, but I cannot say that my experiences match the masses. By and large, I am having fun with the game and I am enjoying my plays of it. But the game offers just a bit too much randomness for my liking. In my four plays (in order), I have scored 108, 148, 125 and 57 points. The 57 point score was on my fourth play. So am I getting worse at the game? Far from it. I'm getting far better. But the score trajectory is evidence of what this game is like. In my final play, I scored so low for two reasons. In the 7th round (of an 8th round game), I managed to fulfill a blueprint requiring a guest services upgrade on all my attractions. However, in the beginning of the eighth round, the "unfair" city card was revealed that demolished ALL guest services upgrades in your park. This turned a +24 point blueprint into a -10. Furthermore, I had the bonus criteria covered as well, so I lost another 18 points there. Finally, the guest services upgrade losses cost me probably another 7-10 final scoring points. I was also going for a blueprint that game that required a restaurant in my park, but for three rounds, no restaurants ever came out. This despite the blueprint being labled "medium" in difficulty. So, instead of +52-70 points in blueprints, I ended up with -20.

Now, this is not a fatal flaw in and of itself. This can be a ton of fun for various types of gamers. I'm just not that type of gamer. I prefer something with a bit more strategy. I don't mind the "take that" element of this game. I like messing with my other players. But most of the "take that" in this game can be mitigated with event cards used for defensive purposes. The city cards that are revealed at the start of each round are much harder to defend, and when they come out, can be quite damaging to your strategy.

I also played my final play with a couple very prone to AP and the ability to use multiple event cards in each round caused a four player game to run 2.5 hours. This one guy kept looking at all his event cards and reading all the small text to the point where I just wanted to kick him under the table. I've never faced a situation where AP made me that angry. That's not a fault of the game, per se, but I have seen people struggle making decisions in this one. Overall, this is a very good game with some problems that break the game for me. I love the theme and the artwork and will keep this in my collection, but it may only come out when I am really in a certain type of mood.

 N/A   Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game NEW!

I only played 30 minutes of this and gave my hand up to another player who had been eliminated so that I could teach Unfair to another group. This one seemed to be more similar than different relative to Marvel:Legendary, so I don't see the need to pick up both games if you own one particular version. Pick the theme that you enjoy the best and go with it.
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15. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:109] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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We tried Marvel Legendary for the first time Saturday. My daughter's boyfriend bought it with some expansions. We had three players which was a fun game. We defeated the villains and I had the most points.
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16. Board Game: Cry Havoc [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:305]
Matt Brown
United States
Okemos
Michigan
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Cry Havok - new

Finally got a play of this in. There's two sides to this. One, since we literally opened the box and started to read the rules, it was way long and rougher than I would have liked, but that's what gaming among friends is like at times. Rules even read over multiple times could have been written better. Rules could have been explained better, or they just didn't click for me on initial pass. Needless to say what I knew of them led me to playing out rounds based on what I thought they were only to find out I was wrong. I got a do over in one instance and not the other. The other ending up being too critical and left me with no units on the board at the start of the fourth out of five rounds and led to me at the same state at the start of the fifth round. Needless to say I was not a happy camper.

The other side is a future play knowing what I know now and being able to put together a far more enjoyable play. I think I can see this being a 7-8, which is rather high praise for me as few games enter the area of an 8 these days. I'm still not sure about faction balance although I did little in proving humans can be a bit strong in a 3-player game. *ahem* I'm not sure if the initial card draw isn't a little too strong for how early things get heated. We had 5 battles in the first round. Turn order can be brutal, and I'm not sure going first is as beneficial as one would think. I honestly expected a lesser play from this, but I do want more plays. It is certainly more interesting than some games ranked above it. I do think the developers spent some time playing StarCraft: The Board Game because its imprint is all over this.
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17. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:238] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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We busted out an oldie but goodie for us. We were at my sister's house and got a four player game in. This is always a good game to get on the table. My daughter was excited for winning the first time she played.
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18. Board Game: Star Wars: Imperial Assault [Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:18]
Kirk Groeneweg
United States
Clear Lake
Iowa
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I was able to cross a couple of games off the old "List of Shame". I'm going to make an effort to get games off that list this year. We'll see.


I picked World's Fair 1893 up from MM's deal of the day a long time ago. I was glad to get it, I was so close to doing the kickstarter. We finally had a group of four at Thursday night game group so I gladly got them to try this out. We actually played it twice. The first game, nobody had any strategy at all. The second game, people were really thinking about what they were doing and how it might benefit them. I tried to figure out what cards I needed to get my set of tokens. Then try to get those cards, while at the same time getting at least second place in that category. I also grabbed influential people when I could to help me move/add people where I wanted them. I really enjoyed this game.


On Saturday night, I had a couple buddies over to play Star Wars: Imperial Assault. We had a couple of growlers of beer and pizza ordered. We were all learning this game, so there was a bit of rules reference and figuring out what we were doing. We played thru the training mission (Rebels won that easily) then the Aftermath mission (again the Rebel's winning) and then the side mission to rescue Luke (Rebel's did not fair so well). We all had a great time and are scheming when we can get together and play again.


With my family out of town for Spring Break I had some quiet time around the house. I decided to get some games done of my Totally Made Up playoffs. I was able to finish up the NL side of things. Now I need to finish up the AL side. The NL went to game 7 between the '91 Mets and the '91 Reds. The Reds could not get any runs while in NY but kept in it until they got home. In the last game, they got a couple players back that were injured and blew out the Mets in game 7 to move on the World Series.

Have a great week everyone!
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19. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:108] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
James Valadez
United States
El Paso
Texas
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We hadn't had this one out on the table for a while. My daughter's boyfriend wanted to try it. My son ended up winning against him and myself.
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20. Board Game: Sushi Go Party! [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:155]
Elliot P
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorkshire
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Quite a busy week this week with getting my dissertation finished and handed in, so have mainly played some smaller titles. Still, I got a fair few games played!

Monday, 6th March - Sushi Go Party! (x2), rating 8; Timeline: British History (x2), rating 6.5

Got a takeout with some friends and played a few games with some accompanying wine afterwards. Really enjoyed both Sushi Go Party, the newest game that I have acquired, and Timeline. There were 7 of us for Sushi Go Party - I had not played with as many players as that before, so was uncertain what it would be like. However, it worked great with that player count. Setting the menu remains a very interesting part of the game after half a dozen plays, and I'm looking forward to keep trying out new combinations of cards. Would highly highly recommend the game - my non-gamer friends have all fallen in love with it.

Tuesday, 7th March - Splendor (x2), rating 8

Played a couple of games of Splendor during a coffee break. Continuing to very much enjoy the game. It's a great little puzzle, which is simple but with a lot of depth, and plays nice and quickly. Works great as a two-player game as well. Would recommend checking it out - don't let the lack of a strong theme put you off!

Wednesday, 8th March - Lost Cities (x4), rating 6.5

Played 4 games of Lost Cities during a couple of breaks from work. It's a nice and fast two-player game. It's not my favourite, I don't think it's got quite enough interesting choices. I do enjoy it though, and was a pleasant quick game to play over a coffee.

Saturday, 11th March - Viticulture Essential Edition, rating 8.5

Finally, with my thesis handed in the day before, I was able to have an evening of relaxation with a longer game. Viticulture is a game I bought last month, and this was the 5th time we've played it already. It's become a firm favourite of ours, with lots of interesting choices. Choosing when to stop placing workers in the summer, in order to keep them for the winter, is always an interesting and often difficult decision. The rating has dropped ever so slightly for me as I feel it might not have the replayability I hoped in the long run. The choices each game are pretty similar, with no real variation in set-up. I think the Tuscany expansion would help with this, so I am going to look into purchasing that.

Sunday, 12th March - Timeline: British History, rating 6.5; Sushi Go Party!, rating 8

Another game of British Timeline and Sushi Go Party with the same group as earlier in the week. Very enjoyable way to spend the afternoon!

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21. Board Game: Fabled Fruit [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:747]
Drew
United States
Dallas
Georgia
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I was only able to play a few games last week due to work, but my parent's and I finally finished up our play through of Fabled Fruit. It took us 36 games to get through all the cards and my Dad ended up winning the over all game by 2 points over my mom and I.
This is a great game and I enjoyed the ever changing card power selection. Fabled Fruit is my favorite game of 2016, but saying that I am not sure I will want to play it again. I have now seen all the cards and played the game over 30 times, so I am afraid that with that experience that I would have a big advantage over someone new to the game. Even if I am done with it I still enjoyed it and will recommend it to everyone.

The only other game I was able to play was Memoir '44. It has been almost 2 years since I played this game. My Dad and I played two games of the first scenario each having the chance to play both armies. My Dad really enjoyed this game. He enjoyed it so much that I started looking at a few of the expansions to pick up for him. We already set an evening to get together this week to play through another scenario or two.

Besides playing those two games I started reading through the rule book for D-Day at Peleliu. D-Day at Tarawa is one of my favorite solo games, but I had not picked up this game because I thought it would be too similar. I ran across a review of the game two weeks ago and I was surprised to see there was a good bit of difference between the two games. Couple that with it being sold out almost every where and knowing Decision Games is not the fastest on reprints I decided to go ahead and pick it up. The core mechanics are the same as Tarawa, but there are some added rules. I am hoping to finish reading the rules today or tomorrow and get this to the table the middle of the week.
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22. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:88]
Andreas Hellwig
Germany
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Sunday:
Kingdomino x2
Karuba x2
Karuba extension: bonus tiles x2

Tuesday:
Justice League: Hero Dice – Superman x2
Justice League: Hero Dice – Batman x2
The Devil's Bedpost x2

Wednesday:
Multiuniversum x2
Dokmus x2

Thursday:
Animal P-P-P-Pickup x2
Justice League: Hero Dice – Superman x2
Justice League: Hero Dice – Batman x2

Friday:
Istanbul x2
Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh x2
Istanbul: Kebab Shop Mini Expansion x2

Saturday:
Small Star Empires x2
Animal P-P-P-Pickup x2
Metro x2

Sunday:
Multiuniversum x2
Istanbul x2
Istanbul: Kebab Shop Mini Expansion x2
Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh x2
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23. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:89]
Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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A good week of gaming!

MONDAY

I finished the last case of Mythos Tales - The Faceless Expedition. This is a good case, but is so damn confusing, and, worst, has two major glitches. Luckly BGG was there for me, and I was able to work around the problems and finish with a good score.


WEDNESDAY

China was the first in the table. It was a very interesting play, since it finished in a rush, with only a single emissary on the board, meaning none of these scored. I lost by two points. Next was Santorini, a new to me game. The owner said that 3p wasn't the best number for it, but it worked fine for me. It is a nice, pretty and well done game. To close the night, a play of San Marco. One person jumped ahead after the first score, and was bashed to pulp in the second phase, and I started leading. I knew I would lose much in term of positions, however luck was on my side, and in the same round, 3 score cards came, and I was still spread on the board, meaning the score of the others gave points to me also. Though I lost three regions during the phase, I was still able to win, with 107 points.


FRIDAY

Three plays of Santorini started the night - and I liked the power of the god Bia. Sail to India was next and my strong sail strategy proved to be good and I won with 22 points. Then came Dead Men Tell No Tales, with was a complete and utter bore of a play - so bad that though it lasted only 90 minutes, it appeared to be twice this. The ending was anticlimatic and not even thematic. Luckly I got to play it now, as it kept going on and off my wishlist, and it won't ever come back. Wiz-War followed and it was good to take out the sour taste, since the play was fun: I didn't grabbed a single treasure, but won by killing two wizards - I was on the hunt! To finish, a play of Cosmic Encounter, to take the dust off my copy, as I didn't play CE in over a year. I played with Spiff and couldn't manage to use its ability a single time - but I didn't do all that bad and finished with 3 colonies. The winner was Pigmey.


SUNDAY

Our bi-monthly gaming day. First was Pit Crew, a brazilian game done by some people I know. The game is simple, using math and taking tiles to give answer, and works pretty well. Next was the surprisingly great W1815, a super easy wargame that can be played in 20 minutes. It works pretty well and has a lot of theme! The battle finished with a draw. We passed to Cosmic Encounter, this time I went with Parasite and was doing better than I did with Spiff. I got the chance to make a deal with the Mind player in his first turn and on his second I allied with him in order for us to win. The day was closed with a Study in Emerald play. I built a fine-tuned deck and, after a slow start, which almost lead me to an early defeat, since my fellow Loyalist nearly killed the last agent of a Restorationist, failing by a single bomb. From this point I took control of some cities and hid two royalty. I thought I had the game in the bag (and truly did) but I fumbled, and in my final turn, I took control of Viena instead of Washington, which I could also. Washington would take 5 points of the Restorationist player, giving the win to me, as my fellow Loyalist and I would both pass the rebel. As I did, my ally stayed behind the Restorationist - 34 points to me, 21 to the Restorationist and 18 for the other Loyalist. Damn! I could have "turned back" and did the proper action, but I prefer to simply accept defeat.

And that was it!

Regards,
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24. Board Game: John Company [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Jim Parkin
United States
Stow
Ohio
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Great times at the table this week. Between playtesting, new expansions, and recent favorites, it was a strong string of days for board games in our house.




 N/A   Glass Road

My Rosenberg fanboyism is not a secret, as you all know. I am unsurprised that I enjoy Glass Road, but I AM surprised by how sharp it is. There are so few actions over the course of the game, but the any-time abilities and chain-reactions help to pad out a successful path to making all of the moving parts work together into something great. Anastasia and I played two-player for the first time and it was even more tense than the three player game from two weeks ago. Overall, I ended up leeching off of Anastasia's specialists more than she did on mine, but that also stripped me of several "I NEED BOTH PARTS OF THIS CARD, THANKS" combos that left me crippled about half-way through. I tried to go in big with pits and adjacency, and scored sixteen points. Anastasia thought she was going to lose (and said as much, repeatedly), but ended up with a score of seventeen following a huge nine-point surge on bricks from the upgraded brick building.

I'm sure it's a surprise to all of you, but she beat me (2017 data is already looking a lot like 2016 data with Jim losing 66%+ of the time in 1v1 games with Anastasia...).




 N/A   John Company x2 NEW!

Oh, oh my. Where to start? First off, I've been following John Company ever since it was announced on BGG, so getting in on Cole's late playtest phase was a boon to my subscription to the game page, as I was the first to respond. Something about the EIC theme captivates me, as I've always found that era of expansion and trade to be deeply fascinating, and I've done some cursory reading in a few of the primary texts which Cole referenced in the rules and background to the game in years past. I also really enjoy economic games, but don't have viable play time for most of the big ones face to face(cough 18xx cough), so when John Company, a very broad economic sandbox game, came along, I was immediately enthused.

The game is mostly polished at this point, but the rule set was tweaked a good deal from its prior iteration so the hope is for everyone to play at least five games across the three distinct modes of play. With the donation of parts from Grand Austria Hotel, printing and putting together the playtest kit was a cinch. The graphic design and art are final at this point, and they are top-notch. Cole manages to cram a ton of information and nuance into very accessibly graphic design, and I know he had some help and pointers from Karim Chakroun in that regard prior to this polished version (and it shows).

In a nutshell, players are the heads of historical business-savvy families in Britain who are working together in the investment and operation of the East India Company (EIC) or "John Company." The company writ large is comprised of a chairman, regional presidents (Bengal, Madras, and Bombay), a director of trade, and three purchasing overseers for ships, goods, and military expenditures. Each of these positions are filled by cubes from families, depicting their direct oversight of said offices. There are also other non-officer positions such as midshipmen, soldiers, writers, shipyards, factories, manor houses, and board members. The game is setup with players taking turns placing their cubes where they would like them, starting with offices and then trickling into the minor positions. This represents small slices of the company over which specific players have control, and have to negotiate with and leverage the interests of other players to progress the company AND THEMSELVES. Scoring takes place in minority by having cubes in company positions and in majority by having cubes on prize cards, which effectively represent the next steps for your family after their leave or retire from the company and shell out a varying amount of family cash (typically a lot!). Thus the tension is to keep the company liquid so it can make lots of revenue, but also funnel that revenue back into your own pockets so you can afford to retire your family members into the House of Lords or a Private Scottish Island or a Royal Wedding or a Private Banking Firm and score mega points, all while wheeling and dealing with other players to make it all happen without failure as a group or individual...

Rules detail for anyone who cares:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
E The family phase then begins, which allows each player to assign a single cube to a new minor position, such as a shipyard, factory, soldier, midshipman etc...

E The company phase (the bulk of each turn) then progresses in this order:

The Ships Purchaser spends as much allocated funding as possible on ships, which are given to the Director of Trade. Players who have cubes on shipyards get a kick back in part of the cash spent, rather than it all going to the bank.

The Goods Purchaser spends as much allocated funding as possible on goods, which are given to the Director of Trade. Players who have cubes on factories get all of the cash spent, rather than it all going to the bank.

The Military Purchaser spends as much allocated funding as possible on goods, which are then turned into "guns" rather than trade goods. He then allocates guns and available officers (promoted soldiers) to any of the three presidential armies (corresponding to Bengal, Madras, or Bombay), and can swap guns and officers from one army to another at any time during this allocation.

The Director of Trade assigns ships and goods to the regional presidencies as she sees fit. She also provides captains (promoted midshipmen) a chance to purchase additional ships from the shipyard using family money, representing direct family interest in trade rather than strictly on behalf of the company.

The Regional Presidents then take actions in order (Bombay --> Madras --> Bengal) which include Open Trade, Campaign, or Sail. These actions require checks, which involve rolling a number of dice, taking the highest result, and landing a five or six result. The number of dice rolled have to do with the strength of the action (typically cubes or money invested) less the penalty (such as target military strength or number of already-integrated regions). Results of three or four are whiffs, but have no penalty. Results of one or two are failures, and result in a black disc slipping under the cube representing the president, which will remove it from office at the end of the turn.

- Open Trade allows a president to extend an open hand to unintegrated minor regions which float outside of the board. If successful, a foreign region, otherwise closed for trade, is integrated with the related presidency and is considered company territory, up for conquest by governorship or trade by sailing. Strength of the action is simply the money invested (one die per coin).

- Campaign allows a president to attempt to subjugate the local population and install a governorship or residency in the region and begin active English settlement, resulting in economic improvement and tax income each turn. Strength is determined by the number of officers and guns less the stated military strength of the target region (whether already in the presidency or not). The presidency then sets up a governorship or residency therein, which can be headed by a family cube as of the following round to collect tax, invest in the region (potentially flipping it from depressed to prosperous) and sometimes conduct its own campaigns. Every officer in the successful campaign action also earns as much plunder value as is stated on the region, and that is funneled directly into the family treasury.

- Sail allows a president to assign allocated ships and goods to trade contracts with integrated regions, generating income for the company if successful. This is the primary means by which cash enters the game, as otherwise players are typically using their family action to assign cubes and send money OUT of the game. Some contracts have only a single spot necessary to fill, others have upwards of five. You can assign ships or goods to these spots, but you can never assign more goods than ships. In a nutshell, ships are more expensive but are (typically) returned to the presidencies each round, whereas goods are often significantly cheaper but are sent out of the game after use. Players with family captains can also assign their ships to trade missions on behalf of presidencies, and also earn kickbacks from the company by doing so.

E The revenue phase begins with any tax earned from conquered regions either going to the related office or directly into family coffers if players have a cube filling said office. Then any revenue made from successful Sail actions are collected by the Chairman. Also, any revenue accrued from prize cards are collected into family treasuries.

E The expense phase has the Chairman first pay any family captains in the employ of the company a coin each. Then upkeep is spent on each gun and officer present in the company. Other expenses can include debt, which the Chairman may elect to accrue in order for short-term liquid assets spent during early allocation. Finally, the Chairman can pay out a dividend, which costs one coin for each cube sitting in the Court of Directors (board members). Each cube gets one coin, so a majority there (as well as holding the Chairman position) can allow for lots of cashflow from the company to any one family. If no dividend is paid, the stock price drops. If multiple dividends are paid, the stock price rises. If the stock price is ever at "3" (the lowest out of "5"), the Chairman MUST pay a dividend. If he cannot, the company has a bailout from player money and points are lost by any board member if the company goes bankrupt due to non-payment. Any money left after expenses is immediately allocated by the Chairman to the different Purchasers or Presidents for use in the next round.

E The Evening Post phase sees the players draw a card from the Evening Post deck, which has several bits of information.

- First, the card shows the price of goods by player factories for the following round.

- Second, there are a set number of events abroad, which are typically horrible horrible things that drive up the fragility of the game state and make for huge gambles in the session (read: they're wonderful). There is an "elephant pawn" which starts in the Punjab region, and effectively represents the volatility of the native population and governments of India. The number assigned to the Evening Post card represents the number of times the elephant moves to a new region (in numerical order stated on the region card). Each time it hits a new region, one or two dice are rolled against tables on the region (one table if it is a sovereign region [not integrated with a presidency or dominated by another region] and one if it is integrated/dominated) and the results can either flip the region (from depressed to prosperous or vice versa), conduct a conquest of another region, collapse (remove it from active play and discard any company or player assets on it), or revolt (similar to collapse, but can be countered by the company as a police action, and if the revolt is successful, the elephant moves to the next most-volatile location). Basically, best-laid plans can be uprooted by events abroad, and it is critical to work to mitigate this possibility, as it can gut the company and individual players.

- Third, a number of attrition rolls are assigned. Attrition represents the passage of time and the player cubes leaving the company for other opportunities. This is the chance for players to score their cubes onto prize cards. Two dice are rolled and the lower number is taken. The player then counts along the progression of offices that many cubes of their family, then removes that one and can immediately pay to score it. The following round will begin with the company filling any officer vacancies with new cubes etc...

- Fourth, a law is included at the bottom of the card which is either a domestic policy (thus it automatically enters play) or a foreign policy (which is then voted on by stated popular support as modified by players in an auction using family money). Laws include (very lucrative) trade with China being established, the requirement that no player can assign more than one cube of their family to new posts, the change of plunder value directed to the company rather than families etc... Basically, these laws break the rules of the game for the rest of the session, and have huge ripple effects.

E The refresh phase is fairly simple. Exhausted goods and officers are available for use again. Midshipment and soldiers are promoted to captains and officers, respectively, shipyards and factories are restocked, and any committed ships on trade missions are sent back to their respective presidencies.

In summary after two plays--this game has captivated me. I've daydreamed about it all week after playing. It is a mesmerizing experience of collaboration and competition, and has so many deep, sandboxy nuances to play that there is a ton to explore and exploit. It's part area control game, part stock game, part war game, part engine-building game, part negotiation game... it's very ambitious, and I love it. I am glad to be part of the process.




 N/A   Pit NEW!

Let's be honest, I have played Pit before, but likely two decades ago. I've never logged it on BGG and frankly I forgot how to play. That said, I was at my friend, Sam's, house before setting up Gloomhaven there and he and his kids were playing. I'll tell you what, playing Pit with four confused and overly-enthusiastic kids under the age of eight is the way to play. It was uproarious and we were all laughing hysterically the whole time. I spent the second full half of the (albeit quick) game trading coffee back and forth to everyone. One? Coffee! Three? Coffee! Two? Coffee!

In the end, five-year-old grim-determined-face Abigail crushed us all with a straight of Wheat.




 10   Ascension: Deckbuilding Game x9

War of Shadows was released on Playdek, so I snatched it up immediately. I am really fascinated by just how different it is from the other Ascension content released to date. Whereas Rise of Vigil and Darkness Unleashed took the worst part of Ascension (IMO) and amplified it by a factor of 10 (super lucky randomness), War of Shadows takes the same element of the game and scales it back in the opposite direction. Dual-cost cards and night/day balance makes for a much more puzzly experience than I expected. I like it a lot. Enlightened cards get a big boost with their typical mechanic of banishing cards from the center row, effectively helping to expedite control over the night/day balance. The dual-cost keeps a player from going all-in for just rune or power. I can see that some of the cards snowball into insane combos, but what would Ascension be without those?

I'm curious to hear what more seasoned and up-to-date Ascension players think, but I see War of Shadows pairing well with Realms Unraveled or Dreamscape, though I can see the night/day thing diluted more than other block-specific mechanics overall.




 10   Gloomhaven x3

No session report from two weeks ago to post here, since I didn't play during that time period. I'll get one up for this week's play and then post it next week after it is approved.

Anastasia officially retired her Spellweaver, marking the first retirement of the game, which is exceedingly sweet. The class she unlocked (sunburst icon) is, well, amazing. I am envious, though my Tinkerer remains a total boss and was voted MVP during all sessions (wha whaaa?!).

Of the three sessions I played this week, we've never laughed as hard as we did, especially concerning the advent (and consequent motivation) of a new character, who more or less wants to die as quickly and often as possible under all circumstances.

TEAMWORK RITUAL SUICIDE MAKES DREAMS WORK
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25. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:60]
Scott Daniel
United States
San Diego
California
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Online plays throughout the week followed up by a gaming session Saturday.

Games with Gamers



Dennis and Steve come over Saturday for a day of boardgames.

Food Chain Magnate

Taught the introductory game. I've played several times and realized I was playing the long game and ended up coming in last with Dennis winning, though all of us pretty evenly split the money. I wanted to introduce it as an opportunity to play it 4p with the three of us and someone else familiar with the game may come up at the end of the month.

Tigris & Euphrates

I also taught this game. It's one of my favorites, but I rarely get it played. First game of this I've played where we built no monuments. Steve ran away with a big win and we played pretty defensively and ended up with a few large kingdoms that picked over the third.

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

We got destroyed by the Legacy Virus scenario with Mephisto as the Villian. I also threw in Enemies of Asgard so there we just too many ways to get wounds, We never got anything going.

Tammany Hall

Taught this as well. Ended up with close scores but Dennis holding back on the favor tokens in the last round gave him the winning edge due to his influence with the immigrant groups. I like this game, but it may get bumped from the rotation due to El Grande which takes a similar time frame, uses similar mechanisms and is the superior game.

Trick of the Rails

Taught Dennis as Steve and I have played this before. Still figuring it out though I actually came up with an approach to focus on this time and ended up winning. I'm not sure I'll ever play it enough to figure out the strategy.


Games on Board Game Arena

Coloretto - Won a narrow 3p victory.
Battle of LITS - Took my first loss.
Quarto - Even going first, I set myself up to lose shortly after the mid-game.
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