What Couples Have Been Playing July 2017
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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A Couple of Gamers Welcomes You To

What Couples Have Been Playing
July 2017

It's Travel Season!!!




Hello everyone and welcome to the monthly "What Couples Have Been Playing" Geeklist. This is very much a geeklist for couples by couples, We can't wait to see what you have been playing. Feel free to post geeklist items, comments on other peoples items and mingle with the community in the comments below.

What you need to do

1/ Play a game as a couple within the month of July.
2/ Post a geeklist entry after you've played.
3/ Let us know how it played.
4/ Provide feedback for others (and give them a thumb).

Previous Geeklists
What Couples Have Been Playing - June 2017
What Couples Have Been Playing - May 2017
What Couples have been Playing - April 2017
What Couples Have Been Playing - February 2017 -


Resources for Couples

A Couple of Gamers Guild

Couples of the Geek

Newbie Couples Games

[geeklist=170487]Cooperative Games For Couples[/geeklist]

What Couples Have Been Playing Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD

A massive thank you to
Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
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for creating our very own aggregator, please check it out here

And of course to
Ryan Olden
Wales
Cardiff
Cardiff
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who will hopefully resume normal service in a month or two.


Tasks and Challenges


Because I am currently on a journey traveling the byways and highways of Ticket to Ride in my Hardcore 10x10, I thought I would shamelessly make travel the theme for this month's list. So whether you have been traveling from Athina to Edinburgh with me, Terraforming Mars, Racing through the Galaxy, or just kicking back your heels in a Castle of Burgundy. Or perhaps you have taken Hive on a real journey.

Whatever your journey, share your travel tales - tall or true - here.
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:130] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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HC 10x10 d10-5

1st of July and a return to Scandinavia

kiss 127
arrrh 107 cry

Many years ago, we travelled through these countries by train (and boat and bus). We came in to Helsinki from St Petersburg (or was it Leningrad then?) Journeyed north through Rovaniemi to Kirkenes where we boarded the Hurtigruten ferry and sailed down the coast of Norway to Bergen, stopping at many of the places on this map along the way. Then back on the train across to Oslo then on to Stockholm before moving on to Denmark and the Low Countries. We had only been together a short while, and in fact planning this journey was what drew us together, so in a way it was our Honeymoon.

So we are always more than happy when our gaming takes us back this way. It is just a shame that neither Flamm nor Voss, both of which we remember fondly, are on the TtR map.

Edit:Had scores backwards
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2. Board Game: Tokaido Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Kynan Stuttard
Australia
Narre Warren South
Victoria
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Happy to Say that we received one of my Grail games, and enjoyed every minute of the play of ... Tokaido Deluxe. So Expensive here in AUS and was able to combine some shipping with some friends on an Amazon order.

Now to practise my mini painting.
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Switzerland [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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HC 10x10 d10-5

arrrh 217
kiss 129 cry

Once again I was lucky enough to draw a couple of Country<>Country tickets early on. She wasn't. She was struggling to complete largely unrelated city journeys.
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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HC 10x10 d10-5 d10-6
EDIT: India Map
Two games back to back on the second.

First game:
arrrh 150
kiss 119 cry

So she demanded a rematch. She was certain she could take me.

arrrh 157
kiss 154 cry

Actually she has been struggling making the Madanlas which is the end game bonus scoring for this map. So we played it open, and discussed optimal routes for making the loops as we went along. She said it was a great help. And she managed to get 5 (maximum) together. But so did I. devil
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5. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:18]
Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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First time we played Concordia. I bought it after thorough research and it was recommended for two, especially some expansion maps. We don't have them yet so it was Italy. As in every first game of some complexity you just start doing stuff and see where it leads to. After the first scoring round it clicked for me. Points, multipliers, gods, cards. So I started buying cards like crazy and won 120-100.

We liked but not loved it. Of course we will play again and we will become better at it. My main criticism so far is, that it seems to be a bone dry calculation exercise.
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6. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:64]
Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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New to us last month. We already have Cottage Garden and thought we didn't need another Uwe puzzle game. We were wrong. Patchwork is so different with its two currencies buttons and time. Of course we played mean, always looking at the other side. She won once and will win again.
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7. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:213]
Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Her favorite game. Admittedly the cows and pigs and horses and sheep are cute. But it's an economic game. We have both expansions and still adding 4 new tiles of the second expansion on each play. It's amazing to see how much they influence the flow of the game.
Since it's been quite a while we played it, I was not on top of it. Still managed to win with a meager 55-53. That was a surprise because she was doing much better than I did, we both thought. The vast amount of sheep I gathered brought me the win.
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8. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:97]
Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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The one game where she beats me more often than not. She has an eye for running around the market, drinking coffee here and there, and most important, for the rubies. She won, again. 6-3 this time, ouch.
With only the first expansion the board isn't too big and we're not sure if the second expansion will enhance the experience.
Lovely game, and to be honest I'm glad there's a game she rules supreme.
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9. Board Game: Istanbul [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:97]
They call me Mister...
Ireland
Donegal
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More Istanbul as she is determined to beat me.

This time we played the final untried set up - totally random. I actually used the very handy online Istanbul tile randomsier which works a treat for me as I individually bag the tiles that have things on them with their parts (i.e. Post Office bag has its' four cubes with it, mosque bags have their additional tiles bagged with them, etc.).

I liked the totally random set up, really changes things up.

Anyway, she was obviously listening to my tips as it was a close run thing. This time I raced for the 5th assistant while she nabbed both the tiles from the other mosque. Despite being one assistant down the whole game she caught up nicely with a 2 x Gemstone Dealer action. In the end I just managed to edge her out grabbing my sixth gem just before she grabbed hers and as she was first player she didn't get the chance to draw the game.

A few more games like this and then it'll be time to add in the coffee and cash expansion.

Lots of fun.

EDIT: I meant to mention, we didn't play with the neutral assistants this time. I'm not sure about those. It feels like it makes things a bit easier but maybe I've got it the wrong way around and it makes things more tricky? What are other peoples thoughts on them?
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10. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:215]
They call me Mister...
Ireland
Donegal
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Played three games of this at the beach (*travel theme) which ended up being a draw. The first game was struck out as we forgot one important rule - you can't move any pieces until the Queen is placed (see pic above, tut!).

Good game, can be played anywhere (I love the feel of these bakelite(?) pieces) and has some decent strategy to it.

The base game is a great way to get into the game but I am now hankering after the Mosquito, Woodlouse and Ladybird (my names!) and I'm pleased to see the reviews of those pieces are pretty good.
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11. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:310]
Marty "on a short summer break" Malone
United States
Mansfield
Texas
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On holiday. Cindy and I got a couple plays of this in so far. Patchwork on several occasions and Can't Stop.
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12. Board Game: Henchmania [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3274]
Cookie Monster
Belgium
De Pinte
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We played this last Saturday, so unaware of the geeklist's challenge for this month. But with a little imagination, you could say that we travelled to a French town in the dark middle ages
This is a game I backed on Kickstarter, it arrived Friday and we gave it a test run Saturday.

What's it about?
In it, players are medieval lords who try to impress the king in order to become the new bailif of the town. The board of the game represents the town with 5 "districts": the church, the main square, the tavern, the armory and the castle. Each district comes with a deck of cards. Each player gets 8 henchmen.


The setup

How to play?
Players take turns placing their henchmen (one by one) in the districts of their choice. With every placement, you take a card from the corresponding deck. When all henchmen are placed, the player with majority in each district gets an extra card from that district. And then you play cards in turn order, one card at a time. Cards can have an immediate, single time, effect, and other cards have a permanent effect or need activation (by tapping them) to have an effect once per turn. Those are laid out into your playing area.
Cards from each district have their own flavor: the tavern is where your henchmen get drunk and do stupid things, so that will be cards that annoy your opponents (by stealing cards or points), the main square is where you can challenge another player to a duel, the armory is where you pick up items to fight or protect yourself in a duel, the castle is where you can find cards that give you points, the church offers protection etc. Duels are also an important way to get points: winner gets points, loser loses points.
The game ends after 4 rounds or as soon as a player reaches 30 points.



Our thoughts
We have the deluxe version of the game, and the components are top notch. It really looks cool on the table, with the banner, the henchmen meeples, etc.
The rulebook could be better, some things weren't very clear or left a bit of wiggle room for interpretation. And the Kickstarter version comes with an expansion, but it is not mentioned in the rulebook, so I had to go back to the Kickstarter page to find out what I should do with it.
Gameplay is simple and straightforward. It is however a game that favors interaction: the tavern cards can really mess up an opponents plans, and you have to engage in duels. The game played better than I had expected with just the two of us, but I can see this will be a better game with more players, so you don't always have to target the same opponent, and creating more chaos (in a good way).

Did it make a lasting impression? Hard to say after just a test drive... We will certainly be playing this again, because we have only scratched the surface of all the cards. And we did enjoy our one play. However, this game is on the lighter side of the spectrum, and there are better light games for 2 players out there, but I can definitely imagine us having fun with this, with 2 and with more, when we want to play a light yet interactive game with good friends and share some laughs (the art is very typical and quite funny). I think it does what it set out to do very well.
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13. Board Game: Helionox: The Last Sunset [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:4217] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Ryan Johnson
United States
Mechanicsville
Virginia
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Because it scales oh so well!
I bought this almost exclusively for solo play but just out of curiosity asked my wife to give it a whirl. Oh, what a pleasant surprise. To cooperate or not cooperate, because that would mean that you share the VP, a finite amount of turns...makes me wish that I had found out about the KS sooner.
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14. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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HC 10x10 d10-5
United Kingdom Map

I won all but one of the games we had played since we got this map. Until today. She thinks she was just lucky with her ticket pick up. But I saw her make more strategic choices with her technologies early in the game. However, I must admit her completion of 15 tickets to my 5 had something to do with it. Whatever the reason I was TROUNCED!!!!

kiss 165
arrrh 131 cry

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15. Board Game: One Deck Dungeon [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:536] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Kate U
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I'm focused on working through my Shelf of Shame (SoS) this summer — which is to say, all the games I've purchased but that we haven't actually gotten to the table yet. The list is longer than I'd care to admit...

One Deck Dungeon is a little box I picked up a while ago and hid away in a drawer. And it's right on theme for this month because the tiny box is perfect for travel!

I originally picked it up thinking it'd be great for solo play while the BF is away, but I tried it in both solo mode and as a couple this weekend, and I liked it way better playing as a team. As a single player, I felt it took too long to get enough firepower (dice) to have a chance. I also wanted someone to high five when I rolled well! Note: For characters and levels, there are 1p and 2p sides of the cards that affect how many skills and dice you have/can have... be sure you're on the correct side for the game you're playing!

Essentially, it's a dice chucker. It reminds me a little of Elder Sign, but with way less fuss. The footprint is smaller and there are fewer bits and bobs to keep track of. Using standard dice, make your target numbers in your target colours, use the skills you pick up along the way, and use your best light-math brain to puzzle out the strongest solutions. You win loot for every encounter on which you don't die, meaning you can take damage and still earn skills/items/points on each turn.


thumbsup: I love the way the multipurpose Dungeon Deck cards are used. They keep your time, they provide your combat, and when you win them, they become your skills, your special items, your potions, and your points, depending on how you choose to tuck them under your character and campaign cards. It's clever, clever design. The website includes free downloadable content, so if you tire of the Dungeon Bosses and character cards, you can go print a few extra new ones. The footprint is relatively small, and you get the fun of chucking dice and puzzling out victory without a lot of set up and sorting.

thumbsdown: I'm afraid the rulebook is not very well-written. There are a number of things that aren't totally clear, and in most cases we just made a call about interpretation so we could keep playing. There are also a number of fiddly little errors in the copy that perhaps only a game editor (like me!) would pick up on. I'm going to hunt around on the forums for a bit more info.

Overall: If you like chucking dice or the feeling of a light RPG dungeon crawler, you'll really like One Deck Dungeon. Pack it for your next vacation!
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16. Board Game: Yokohama [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:88]
Eric & Abby Wetzler Revis
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My fiancee and I recently purchased this and we have really enjoyed how it scales to 2.

So far we have not tired of the recommended tiles for a 2-player game, but I have a feeling we will randomize it at some point just for kicks.

It's also been fun because each of us has won about 50% of the time which is a nice change from some of our other games.
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17. Board Game: Kingdomino [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:201] [Average Rating:7.38 Unranked]
Jeff M.
United States
Jacksonville
Florida
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I played this with my wife. It was our eighth play, and we've really enjoyed all of our plays. We played the 7x7 variant, but no variant scoring. I still got my castle in the middle and used all my tiles, just for the added challenge. I've won 7 of our 8 games, though I suspect this will change. We really like the minimal set up time and the lack of direct conflict; we don't hate-draft tiles (yet...). I highly recommend this game, especially for the price. This is my favorite lightweight game, and I suspect it will remain one of my favorites.
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18. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:304]
Michael Janssen-Gibson
Australia
Canberra
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On a work trip in Sydney, my wife decided to tag along and enjoy the sights. This has been our game in the evenings. I find Innovation to be a great game of 'take that' and crazy card powers that generally results in a tense-yet-fun time.
I still have Echoes of the Past at home in shrink, haven't felt the need to add to the base game as yet.
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19. Board Game: Federation & Empire [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:4835]
Ryan Witmer
United States
Burien
Washington
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The final month of our grand campaign has arrived.

We just finished turn 30, which is the last turn of PF deployment. No significant events remain, just 4 more turns of slugging it out for final position.

The Hydran front has become a total loss for me. I have no real hope of destroying, or even damaging, the Lyran starbases in the area, so the best I can do is to continue to harass the Lyran ships and kill what I can.

The Kzinti front is a little more hopeful. With Federation aid, the Kzintis have emerged from their off-map box and have reclaimed a couple of their provinces. The capital is still in Coalition hands, and I'm fairly certain that I cannot win without it. I'll need to take a shot at it before the end of the game, but timing is critical.

The Romulans have been forced back to within their own borders, but the defense is tough to crack. Gorn supply lines are difficult to maintain right now, and I've been having trouble making effective attacks on the border battle stations. I just crippled one this turn, so hopefully I can come back to finish the job.

The Klingons own the last remaining Coalition base in Federation territory, a starbase that's serving as my wife's main repair facility. I attacked it this turn and managed to destroy a fleet repair dock, but took terrible losses in the process. That base has to go, but I'm not sure I'm ready to pay the price required.

I also attacked a second Klingon starbase on the "corner" that joins Klingon, Federation, and Kzinti space. I was able to drop another fleet repair dock, but again took heavy losses from that darn PF-equipped starbase.

Time is quickly running out. My wife's economic situation is becoming more and more fragile, but I'm not sure I can muster enough force to break the Coalition line. The Federation space-control ships are nice, but I keep running out of escorts (thank you, dear) and my carriers in general are becoming less effective for lack of escorts.

Still, this has been a super-fun game, it's easily my new favorite game, and regardless of how this one turns out my wife is already threatening a rematch. Of course, we still have ISC War to explore, so there's plenty more F&E gaming in my future.
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20. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:127]
Michael Mendenhall
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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We have had this game a month, and play it almost exclusively co-operatively, using the single-player rules. We have only won using 4 tools once.

The dice are oh-so-pretty with the sun shining through, so this is our favorite game to take to the park with a blanket.
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21. Board Game: Mystic Vale [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:372]
Cookie Monster
Belgium
De Pinte
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Our second play of this since we discovered the game at a local con last month, where we played a demo and we immediately bought the game (with its first expansion Mystic Vale: Vale of Magic) because my SO, Yves, had so much fun with it (and I have to treasure the games he likes, because he's not the gamer in our house).

Mystic Vale is a card crafting game set in a fantasy world (with beautiful art, go check it our if you haven't already). Basically, it is deckbuilding (where you use cards to generate currency (mana) to buy other cards to add to your deck) but instead of simply adding new cards to your deck, you add card parts to your card. Each card has 3 zones (top, middle and bottom). You start the game with a starting deck of 20 cards. Some of them are completely blank, others have 1 zone printed with a fertile soil (that gives you mana) or a cursed land (that gives you a decay symbol). The cards you can add to your deck are printed on transparent plastic, so you can add them to the cards of your starting deck (using sleeves of course, they come with the game). As you play the game, you build your deck, discover comboes and try to craft the most powerful cards.

Yves has asked (!! he rarely asks to play a game!!) to play this ever since we bought it, so last Monday we finally broke out our copy and started playing. Rules are fairly simple, and we remembered them well from our demo game, so we could start playing right away.
I won (by a lot), and we both enjoyed our play so this will hit the table a lot.
Only caveat: I think the game might become repetetive after a few plays, because you have figured out the best way to craft your cards, which cards work well together, etc. This would be a bummer, but luckily AEG is bringing out expansion after expansion for this to keep things interesting. Well, luckily might not be the best word, because my wallet isn't feeling so lucky

Other than that, I think this game is best with 2.

I can't wait to add Edge of Darkness to my collection, because that is a game by the same designer, in which the card crafting mechanic is just a small part of the game that uses other euro mechanics like worker placement. I think that game will have more meat to its bones and will replace Mystic Vale (and all its expansions) for us in the (near) future.
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22. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:28]
Dosky A
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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So far this month A Feast for Odin is dominating our table! I am quite partial to Uwe Rosenbergs games and we currently own Caverna, Ora et Labora, Agricola, Patchwork and Cottage Garden so I was very excited to hear that people considered Odin to be Uwe's finest design yet. But what did we think?

Short Variant (1 play)
I wouldn't recommend the short variant for your first play. It's more challenging than the longer variant and missing out on the 7th round may not seem like it would make the game much shorter but an extra round with your full viking cohort can earn you some serious points. We didn't acquire sheds or explore any islands because we were worried about running out of food and learning the mechanics of the main game board. We were also conscious of the short duration and didn't want to over capitalise by committing to an island that we may not be able to fill up. We barely played any occupation cards, had a swag of unused weapons and failed to explore islands or construct buildings.
Consequently we ended the game feeling as though we had only played half of the content.

Longer Variant (2 plays)
We really enjoyed the long variant. There is less pressure to provide food for the harvest phase and extra turns to indulge in the many actions that the game has to offer. In our first game we both came a draw with respective scores of 91. My husbands strategy revolved around whaling and building sheds. I spent my time collecting resources from the forest, building ships, crafting chests, pillaging and raising livestock. Once again we failed to explore any islands but I vowed to right this wrong in our next game.
On our second attempt I finally explored an island but ultimately my score was only 9 points better than the previous game. Nevertheless we had a great time. The occupations and weapon cards can be a bit random but we haven't made up any house rules to remedy this (I really don't feel qualified to after only three plays). I like the splash of luck with the pillaging and hunting options. You get a reward if you fail and you can also mitigate your chances of losing by loading up boats with ore or using weapons.

Is it good for couples?
If you are a fan of Euro games and don't mind a 2 hour game then Odin might be your jam. Fans of Patchwork and Cottage Garden will enjoy the puzzle as you attempt to balance surrounding bonus spaces and filling up your home board. However it would be a mistake to think Odin is a simple game because it's not a matter of just choosing the tile you want and placing it. There is often a series of upgrades that need to take place before you are able to place a piece on your board. My husband doesn't love euros because he prefers more interaction but even he was surprised by how much he enjoyed it. Despite the wide range of options to choose from you will inevitably step on each others toes. Fortunately deprivation won't necessarily cripple you but you may need to adapt your strategy.

Play time: 2 hours (long variant)
Set up: 11 minutes (assuming you have already popped everything out and sorted it into the goods trays)

We love it
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23. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:18]
Matt P
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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For the month of July my wife and I decided to do another challenge. This month we each chose 2 games to play at least 3 times each before the end of the month. My wife's pick were Concordia and First Class: All Aboard the Orient Express!. I picked The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire and Le Havre.

Our dogs are pretty big freaks around the 4th of July so we typically stay in for the 4th. Planned on doing some work on our house outside but it rained most of the morning which turned into us binge watching Broadchurch and playing tons of games.

We played Concordia with the Salsa expansion on the Corsica map. It was a really tight game and I felt like I had a big lead early on. Wife made a lot of progress later on in the game and when it came to be my final turn I had two options to end the game. I could either place my last two houses or buy the last two cards. If I had quickly done the math I could have realized that the two cards left on the board would have given me more points then 2 more cities.

My wife one by 7 points and I had ended the games with purchasing the cards I likely would have won! Very close game, especially so because of the Corsica map. It was our first time with the new map but we enjoyed it quite a bit. Looking forward to a few more plays of this in the upcoming month.
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24. Board Game: Bärenpark [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:303]
Matt P
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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We're still playing Barenpark quite a bit, my wife is just obsessed with the game. We both played very sloppily in our play on the 4th. I tried to get creative with some river tiles and ended up letter her complete 3 of the 4 first boards before I could. Close score but not our best performance.
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25. Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:16]
Matt P
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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We decided to add 7 Wonders: Duel to the collection. We had played other copies together but didn't own it ourselves. We played 5 games back to back to back. Started out where I won the first four games and she said we couldn't move on to a new game until she won. She absolutely crushed me in the 5th game.

Such a fun and quickly playing 2 player game. Glad its finally in the collection.
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