New to you July 2017 => Best new boardgame
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: The cake is a lie... But VGG's 5th birthday is not!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 5th birthday party!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 10th birthday party!Microbadge: VGG Community - Why not join today?Microbadge: Video Game Geek of the Week
Recommend
110 
 Thumb up
2.10
 tip
 Hide
What games did you play for the first time in July 2017?

Please share your experiences of the games you played for the first time this month.

In order to assist with collecting Statistics from these lists, please post an entry with your chosen game of the month, and if possible please use the "insert board game" feature to add other games you mention in your entry.

Microbadge - Microbadge: New to You Monthly Geeklist fan
Grimwold's New To You Tool

New To You Metalist 2017
New To You MetaMetalist
New To You Geeklists - Announcement thread

Movies You Watched
Movies You Watched in August 2017
Movies You Watched in July 2017


Other Great Monthly Lists
New to you a year ago Jul 17 => Has it stood the test of time?
Games only YOU have played in July 2017
Out of the Dust July 2017
New to your kids - Gaming with your kids July 2017
Your Most Played Game (and more): July 2017
[geeklist=][/geeklist]
[geeklist=][/geeklist]


Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »    |  
1. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:80] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: The cake is a lie... But VGG's 5th birthday is not!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 5th birthday party!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 10th birthday party!Microbadge: VGG Community - Why not join today?Microbadge: Video Game Geek of the Week
Codenames - 2 plays
First Published 2015
Board Game: Codenames
Board Game: Codenames


Some friends brought this round to an impromptu mid-week gaming session, and we managed to fit in a couple of plays... I was guessing both times, so I don't feel I know the whole game yet.. with the clue giving probably the harder of the roles. It was kinda fun, and my team won both times, so that was nice too!
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Crisis [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:971]
Board Game: Crisis
United States
Davis
California
flag msg tools
badge
Love the world.
Avatar
Microbadge: Game Group OrganizerMicrobadge: Game ExplainerMicrobadge: Dog loverMicrobadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: I ride my bike to work.
I only played one new-to-me game in July: Crisis. That's partly because we're in the post-Essen/pre-Gencon release lull. But it's also because I've been making a conscious effort to play old favorites. This month I blew the dust off Ora et Labora, Agricola, Castles of Burgundy, and Goa (with two plays of each). It's really satisfying to return to such solid and enjoyable games!


Crisis
Board Game: Crisis

(Image credit: Liuhuparta)

Nicely-designed, moderately-heavy, economic snowball game with a dark wash.

The first thing you notice about Crisis is the aesthetic. The box and board depict a dark and grimy sci-fi cityscape. It's plainly a nod to the early scenes from the Fifth Element.

External image


The overall feel of the gameplay mirrors that aesthetic. The players are trying to build an economic engine, while converting enough of their actions into VP to stay ahead of the always pressing threat of social collapse (which ends the game early and changes the victory conditions, adding the possibility that all players will lose).

The game is driven by the kind of worker placement seen in Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery and Dominant Species -- players take turn placing workers (in mostly exclusive action spaces) and then the chosen actions are performed in a fixed order.

The actions provide various resources (loans, employees, materials, businesses) and the opportunity to export materials to foreign markets.

Businesses, which can operate each turn, require employees of specific types, and most also require feedstock materials. Typically, businesses will also provide production bonuses if you add specific types of employees beyond the minimum required for operation.

Everything is very tight, so it is critical that you find ways to reduce the number of actions you need to take each turn. Based only on one play, it seems essential to set up chains of businesses, where the output from one is the required feedstock of the next. This lets you manufacture the high-end finished goods that are needed to produce a lot of money and victory points. The alternative -- buying those goods from the market -- will drain your actions, money, and VP.

I enjoyed my one play (with two players), but I had a couple of concerns.

First, the apparent need to set up linked chains of businesses might create a sameyness, with everyone following the same basic strategy.

Second, the threat of economic collapse (set at medium difficulty, with two players) was too easy to avoid. Next time, I'll try it on the hardest difficulty level.

Overall, the look and feel of the game is excellent. I really like how the theme comes through in the economic structure of the game (e.g., buying goods from foreign markets costs you VP; buying domestic does not). Definitely worth playing. I'm not sure whether I'll be keeping it.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:27]
Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Joe Wyka
United States
Pleasant Hill
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: I love to pimp my own games!Microbadge: The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.Microbadge: I accepted the Net Zero ChallengeMicrobadge: Golden Board Game CollectorMicrobadge: Coffee drinker
No standard game nights this month, but with a gaming weekend and a few after-work nights made up for it with lot of new-to-me and old-to-me games.

In order of preference:



Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers

Caverna: The Cave Farmers - 8
About time I played this, given that I rate Agricola a 10! Caverna is very good and has some cool twists, but I still prefer Agricola for the tighter play and having to adapt a strategy to my hand of cards.

Among my favorite designers, Uwe is the most prolific AND consistent. He's gone through a few distinct phases in his career - and I have found a lot to appreciate and enjoy in each stage. Caverna is Uwe's spiritual and mechanical successor to Agricola. In Caverna, the players' dwarfs not only build pastures, plant crops and build out their homes, they also hollow out their mountains and mine for ore and rubies as well as go on "expeditions" for additional resources and actions. The mechanics are about 80% the same as Agricola, making it feel like a variant game, but in saying that, Caverna very much stands on its own and many prefer it.

The main difference is that Caverna does away with the hand of minor improvements and occupations and instead puts the special abilities and bonuses on a display of tiles that players can build into their caves, first come first served. This removes the potential imbalance that one player's hand of cards has over another, but at the cost of decreasing variability of strategy from one play to the next. There are still certainly plenty of options - so this isn't a problem - it's strictly a matter of preference and is the key reason why some people like one game over the other. Personally, I love getting my hand of cards in Agricola and using them to shape my strategy for the game. The other big difference is the idea of using ore to arm your dwarfs and sending them on expeditions. An armed dwarf has a token on it that can start out at a value as high as 8 and eventually rise to as high as 14. Some actions allow an armed dwarf to get 1-4 items from a list that gets better as a dwarf's level gets higher. Dwarfs level up after every expedition they undertake. It's an interesting way of applying worker strength and gaining benefits by investing in it.

Caverna was published 5 years after Agricola and, while there are a lot of mechanical similarities, this is where Uwe starts to explore moving from tight interactions and lots of bumping elbows to having players make decisions and build efficiencies based on an over-abundance of choices. His later games, Fields of Arle and A Feast for Odin (which I have yet to play), go even further in this direction. While I prefer his tighter games I don't dislike the more open decision space of these later ones. I find it cool that in the history of Uwe's games, there is a clear evolution of core ideas and a sense that Uwe is taking his audience with him on his explorations. He presents clear design choices that players can easily recognize and compare from one game to the next, which in turn enhances all of our understanding of design and contributes to our maturity as a gaming audience. I see his publications as a dialogue that continues to evolve and keeps me interested in how he will next shape the conversation.



Board Game: The Climbers

The Climbers - 8
Wonderful abstract climbing game that is both a treat for the eyes and a legitimate tactical challenge. Only the potential for king-making at the end is what keeps this from a higher rating.

Players throw together a pile of blocks, draw a color and go! On your turn you can move a block, move your climber, and/or place your single-use blocking stone - or do none of it. All moves are optional. Blocks come in three sizes (half, full and double) and each side either has a player color or a neutral grey that any player can use. When moving a block, players can move any free block to any available space and put any color they choose facing up. Climbers can climb half-block levels onto their own color or the neutral platforms and players have two single-use ladders that are a single and double block in length. Blocking stone are single-use and are removed at the beginning of the player's next turn. The object is to be the highest player on the tower after a full round when no player has advanced upward.

This is a satisfying, chunky wooden game with cool tactical options on each turn. The visual appeal is immense. My only issue is that if a player cannot advance themselves late in the game, it is very easy for them to place a block to hinder one player while helping another. This however is a minor quibble, but could irritate really competitive players. Capstone is reprinting this in Q4 for American audiences and it is well worth a look.



Board Game: Zombicide: Black Plague

Zombicide: Black Plague - 8
Black Plague changes some of the ranged combat rules for the better and the Necromancer is a cool addition. This medieval Zombicide is still a great game.

While Zombicide isn't typically my kind of game, for some reason it strikes the right balance of light rules and cooperative tactics that creates lots of great tension and table talk. I've never backed a C'Mon Kickstarter, but I've been able to pick up practically every season and expansion at great after-market prices. I'd play the game even more if zombies didn't give my daughter such nightmares! The reasons I love Zombicide still hold true for Black Plague. It creates a play space for players to evaluate the risks and odds between the different options for meeting an objective and then working together when the plan inevitably goes all to hell.

What changes in Black Plague, besides the obvious period weaponry? The best change is when you are targeting into a tile where characters also are. In regular Zombicide, you hit player characters before you hit any zombies, which makes ranged combat very problematic. In BP, you only hit your characters if you miss the zombies. This is still problematic, but a little more logical. Players move in a set turn order. Line of site is more restrictive indoors (also logical). The only impact change for the zombies is the introduction of the necromancer, who creates a new spawn point wherever he appears. The necromancer, when not engaged, tries to run. If he escapes before you kill him, all of the spawn points stay. If you catch and kill him, then you get to remove ANY spawn point on the board. This is truly and new tactical twist that the original Zombicide did not possess. Good stuff. We had a blast.



Board Game: Evolution

Evolution - 7
Got in multiple plays this month and my appreciation grew a bit more with each play. This is an easy game to teach with an attractive theme and meaningful decisions.

In Evolution, players use a fresh hand of cards each turn to create species, add traits to existing species, and grow their populations and body sizes. The key to the game is creating species that can favorably compete against the other players' species for a limited and unpredictable food supply. Consumed food, population sizes and active traits score at the end of the game.

You can assign up to three traits to any species and they generally fall into three categories - offensive, defensive, and increased consumption. They key is being able to suck down food faster than the other players since the supply is limited and food = points. The carnivore trait allows you to feed on other species rather than the food pool, but only if you have a larger body size. A lot of the negative comments I've read on this game cite the "take that" nature of the carnivores as a major turn off. While I agree that in the first play or two the game can feel that way, that's only because one hasn't yet grasped the symbiotic nature of the entire ecosystem. Sometimes the best response is not to play defensive, but to breed faster than you can be eaten, or create scavengers so that when you are fed upon it advantages your species as well. I don't see this game has having a strong "take that" element at all and those who think so I just don't think have given it a fair shake. You can also feel at a disadvantage in a first game not knowing the cards, but there aren't that many and it takes about half a game to get them down. This game has been a winner with all ages and all experiences this month, making it a good "go to" game to have in the collection!



Board Game: Spires

Spires - 7
The rare blind-bidding card game that works for me. Why? Winner of the bid not only wins the card, but also all of the cards players bid for it. It's a devious way to try feeding unwanted cards to the other players's tableaus, and a risk to consider in what to bid for and what to bid...

Spires is a six-suited deck of cards with some special bonus cards mixed in. You collect cards throughout the game building suited sets in your tableau. At the end of the game, you score 5 points for every card in a suit that you have 3 or less cards in and 1 minus point for every card in a suit that consists of 4 or more cards. So you want to build broadly across suits with shallow card counts. "Scroll" cards can also be won that allow you to remove cards from your tableau or get 5 or 10 bonus points at the end. There are also 3 icons spread across various cards in which you can collect majority bonuses of 20, 15, and 10 points depending on the icon.

Players have a hand of 5 cards and three market bidding cards. At the center of the table are three markets (I, II, and III). Every turn, a card is added to each market (even if there are cards left from the previous round) and then players blind bid their market cards to indicate which card lot they want to shoot for. If only one player bid on a market, that person collects the card(s) and adds them to their tableau. If more than one player bid for a market, all of those players compete for that market by blind-bidding a card from their hand. Cards matching the suit of the market cards are higher than off-suit cards and off-suit cards are at face value. The suits have an order of hierarchy if there's more than one suit in the market. The winner of the bid then adds the market card(s) and all cards bid by all players to their tableau. As you can see, the more players competing at a market, possibly the less you will want to win that bid. Having low cards in hand is very valuable. Every card is uniquely numbered so cards can be valued independently regardless of suit.

I had not played a T.C. Petty game before, but his previous designs interest me (he seems like a designer destined to have a breakout design in the near future) and I went into the Kickstarter for this one because of the calculated risks and devious nature of the bids. I'm not disappointed! Also, the game is beautiful with art that I would describe as simultaneously whimsical and austere. Even if you are not a fan of blind-bidding in general, and I am not, I think there is a Knizia-style cleverness here that is well worth exploring. My rating could rise a point with repeated play...



Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game

Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game - 7
A fairly light, tense, co-op deck building experience. The game is heavy on structure, but light on decisions. Definitely more about the experience than the strategy.

I had never played any of the Legendary game system before this. The box comes with card configurations to support playing versions around each of the first 4 alien films. After that, you can mix and match characters and objectives from the four movies to experience many alternate reality Alien films. Players are working together to defeat the Alien deck, which is comprised of three mini decks stacked on each other for objectives 1-3. The requirements for each objective is contained within its mini deck and may be as simple as turning over a couple of cards to defeating incredibly difficult aliens in very specific circumstances that you usually need a specific combo of cards to achieve. The alien deck is revealed slowly with face-down cards traveling through "The Complex" until reaching a combat zone where aliens can attack the players. As such, players are trying to reveal and take cards out of play while in The Complex before they have the ability to hurt them.

On a player's turn, she can fight any face-up aliens, scan The Complex in order to reveal the cards there or purchase a more powerful crew member to add to their decks. Players begin with very basic fight and purchase cards and need to improve pretty quick. Because many objectives are dependent on drawing certain cards, you have to be prepared to last through a spell of not getting the cards that will help you. A unique aspect to this game (and I assume all Legendary titles) is the "coordinate" ability. Cards with coordinate allow you to give their ability to another player while you draw another card. I have not seen another game with this ability and it really contributes well to the co-op intention of the designers. Because cards are drawn in a certain order, you are certainly at the mercy of the shuffle to a significant extent. If that doesn't bother you, then you'll find a good, tense, thematic game where seriously f'd up crap awaits with every flip of the card...



Board Game: A Fake Artist Goes to New York

A Fake Artist Goes to New York - 7
Best game of its type that I have played. Excellent, quick, party game, but as with most party games, very group dependent.

This falls into the Spyfall school of deduction party games where everybody is in on the joke except one person and they need to make everyone else think they are in on it as well. In Fake Artist, one player picks and topic and put a specific item from that topic on small placards for the other players. On one placard she puts an "X", which indicates the fake artist. The player choosing the topic can also choose who the fake artist is or deal it randomly. Then everyone proceeds to draw one line of a picture depicting the item, with the fake artist trying to figure out what it is and adding their own lines as if they knew. When everyone has added two lines, then everyone simultaneously points to who they think the fake artist is. Points are then awarded in a fairly mysterious manner.

You either have the right group to have fun with this or you don't. An example of having the right group: in one of our rounds the topic-picker chose animals as the topic and I was given the "X". The subject of the drawing? Me.



Board Game: Sagrada

Sagrada - 7
A pretty and abstract dice-placement game, ostensibly about building stain-glassed windows. A simple idea presented well.

Over ten rounds, players draft up to twenty rolled dice (out of 90) of colors chosen randomly from a bag to place on a grid with defined set of requirements and certain restrictive placement rules. The grid sheets are of varying levels of difficulty, requiring colors on some squares and numbers on others. The harder the sheet, the more action tokens a player receives. Action tokens are used to activate three tool cards that allow you to move dice on your grid, sometimes ignoring placement restrictions. After ten rounds, players are scored based on 3 community goal cards and one private goal card.

I enjoy light abstracts on occasion, but because you are drafting rolled dice, the amount of control you have here can feel very limited, even for a light abstract. The biggest constraint is not the requirements sheets, but the fundamental requirement that you cannot place the same number or color orthagonally adjacent. You always need to keep this in mind when placing next to a grid sheet requirement space and in some cases you need to use tool cards to maneuver dice in order to enable a legal placement. In placing the last few dice, it always seems to come down to drawing the right colors and rolling the right numbers. I suspect I'm bumping my score on this a point because of the production. Pure game play would be a point lower.



Board Game: Hit Z Road

Hit Z Road - 6
A twist on the "draw card, roll dice" adventure model with players bidding for the encounters they prefer. I enjoyed this mix of light resource management, auctions and adventure.

It is interesting to see how Martin Wallace has evolved from a leader of heavy euro game design into a pretty decent designer of light games. Hit Z Road is a dice chucking adventure game with players traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles fighting off ever-increasing hordes of zombies. The journey has eight legs and each leg consists of two randomly matched adventure cards. Players bid their precious resources in order to pick the path they want to travel. Players start with 5 survivors and 4 of each of the three resources (bullets, gas and adrenaline). Each resource has its own use, but also are paid interchangeably as players bid for the challenges they wish to face. Each card usually gives resources, has an event, and has zombies to defeat. Some cards, once defeated, give you points at the end of the game. Players who survive facing 16 cards will add up points and determine a winner.

Fighting zombies is accomplished through dice rolls, but this is probably the strangest part of the game. You roll a die for every survivor, regardless of the number of zombies you are facing, so 1 zombie is just as deadly in one round of combat as 8 zombies because every die rolled can potentially kill a survivor. In light of this, your objective is often to minimize extra rounds of combat. Often, it's not worth spending resources to bring the zombie count down if you can't kill them all and you'll need another round of combat anyway. The "rich-get-richer" criticism is legit, but it's such a short, light game it doesn't bother me. Holding on by your fingernails can be more fun that having an easy time of it. The Space Cowboys production is wonderfully thematic and it's easy to get into the mood of this doomed cross-country trek. Replays are probably limited with the fairly small deck of cards.



Board Game: Elfenland

Elfenland - 6
Played the version in the Elfenroads reprint, but since I have not played the other versions in the box, I'm rating this as just Elfenland. It was okay, but I prefer Ticket to Ride for games of this type.

This feels very much in the school of Alan Moon's other connection building games. The board has 20 cities connected by roads through various terrain types. Every player puts a cube on every city. Each turn players draw a hand of 8 cards featuring methods of transportation and also draft 4 tiles featuring those same methods. Players ideally want tiles that match the cards in their hands. Players take turns placing tiles on roads that limit transportation over that road to that transportation method. When all players are done placing tiles, players see how many cities they can hit (and thus cubes they can collect) based on the roads they are able to travel over with their hand of cards. Whomever has collected the most cubes in his or her color by the end of the game wins.

Very simple game. I think the reason I like TtR more is that the tile draft feels a bit limiting here. If none of the tiles you need are available you can draw from the bag, but it's a little too much of a crap shoot and you don't have as much of an opportunity for making alternate plans as you do in TtR. The game pieces and artwork on the new Elfenroads edition is a bit too small and looking all the way across the large board to read these tiny tiles is a bit of a pain.



Board Game: Fabled Fruit

Fabled Fruit - 6
FF is yet again mixing forms in order to create new experiences. This one is creatively executed and works smoothly, but I don't find the trading and set-building at its core compelling enough.

This game consists primarily of two decks of cards - a location deck and a fruit deck. There are 60 locations with four cards for each location. Each location is an action space and the first six are laid out to start your first game. On your turn you place your piece on a location and collect fruit cards, trade with other players, trade with the draw pile, or trade and collect in many other ways as the game evolves. Also when you go to a location, you can turn in a set of fruit and collect the location. When a location is collected, another location card comes into play. If it is the first card of a particular number, it makes another action available to the players. In this way, slowly, the actions available to the players evolves over many plays. You store the current locations, past locations and future locations in separate bags so that you can easily reset the game state from one game to the next. The first player to collect 4 locations wins any particular game.

The evolution of action fields is a compelling device. The main reason I would ever be drawn back to this game is to see what actions come up, but my issue is that I want the game play to draw me back, not just the curiosity of seeing what the next action will be. I've played far enough in that I feel pretty confident that the game won't really become more compelling to me with the right mix of actions, but if you enjoy swapping, stealing, trading and drawing cards in order to build sets, this is a pure expression of those mechanics with a cool evolution of actions that will keep you coming back.



Board Game: Fealty

Fealty - 5
An abstract placement game with some nice qualities - the problem is that the influence tokes (points) are not placed until the end. This makes for a game that plays out and evolves almost entirely in your head.

Fealty is an early Asmadi publication and the production quality is that of an early game, with lots of clip art and hazy, generic board art. Ugliness aside, I do enjoy some aspects of the game play and was hoping to like this more than I do. Players have a personal deck of 9 cards and a hand of 3. Each turn, players play a face-down card from their hand. All cards are flipped and actions are taken in the order of lowest numbered card to the highest. An action involves taking the appropriate game piece and placing it on to the board by a simple (albeit, seemingly arbitrary) set of restrictions. Each piece creates influence for the player in different distances and terrain types on the map - which will be scored at the end of the game. In the meantime, players place pieces with the intent of gaining influence and creating blockers for pieces previously placed by other players. The spaces that you can influence at the point of placement are less likely to be maintained the earlier you place it. This causes you to reassess each piece's situation every turn as the game evolves. If you have players that are AP prone and have difficulty visualizing frequently changing board states, they should stay well away from this title!

When each player has placed eight pieces the game is over, and each piece generates influence going from low cards to high cards and influence tokens are physically placed on the board. The placing of influence is blocked by every piece on the board except your own influence. So even though low numbered pieces have short and specific ranges, they will gobble up spaces the larger more extensive pieces want to score. In the end, the player that was able to place the most influence wins and game can be surprisingly close given the seeming chaos of ever-changing game states. In the end, because there are so many things that block influence, the outcome can feel a little out of your control and this, in an abstract placement game, is tough to swallow. There is an iOS app for this which I think shows the evolving state of influence as things are placed, which would improve the play experience dramatically, I wager. As for the board game, I feel there are games that accomplish similar things in a more satisfying way.
39 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Century: Spice Road [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:235] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Board Game: Century: Spice Road
Jerry Wilkinson
United States
New Castle
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
When asking "What would Jesus do?", remember that flipping over tables and using a whip are within the realm of possibilities.
Avatar
Microbadge: OkieCon attendeeMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Tenth Anniversary!Microbadge: ChristianMicrobadge: IndianaMicrobadge: "Everyone should have a water softener in their microbadge collection"
I played 6 new to me games in July. My choice for the best is Century: Spice Road. The others were Flamme Rouge, Potion Explosion, The Godfather: Corleone's Empire, Caylus, and Catan Dice Game
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:10]
Board Game: Great Western Trail
Jim Jamieson
United States
Purcellville
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: 5 Year Geek VeteranMicrobadge: I was here for BGG's Tenth Anniversary!Microbadge: Parent of Two GirlsMicrobadge: Disney fanMicrobadge: Rahdo Runs Through fan
An uninsirping month of new games. Most exiciting ones were a few ones I played with my kids but I'll still give the game of the month to Great Western Trail eventhough the first play didn't live up to the hype for me.

== NEW GAMES ==

The Lion Guard: Protect the Pride Lands - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2016
Board Game: The Lion Guard: Protect the Pride Lands


Decent tower defense game for kids. Draw a card and do what it says. Sure it's a bit random with the draw but you at least get 2 choices of hero to move. My girls love it and that's all that matters.

Sleeping Queens - 3 plays -  7 
First Published 2005
Board Game: Sleeping Queens


Very simple card game that teaches a little bit of math in adding up cards to total another card to draw at least 3 cards instead of the usual 1 or 2 cards. The game has a number of special ability cards as well that drive you towards the end game. The theme is fun and engaging for my daughter. She got most of it playing open handed a few times so I think we're ready to switch to close hands with maybe a little bit of prompting from me. She enjoyed it so it will stick around.

Great Western Trail - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2016
Board Game: Great Western Trail


A great heavy euro where you have what appear to be very simple choices each turn in terms of how far to move and then simply perform the action of the tile you land on, but there are so many moving parts between the train, cattle in your hand, other building powers, and objective cards that it all adds up into a very meaty affair. Other than the objectives as they cycle through your deck, most everything else is known to you so it's a matter of choosing the best way to increase your cattle score and continually get more points and more abilities off of your player board.

This is a hard one for me to rate because while there are a lot of things to really love about this game especially with how most things ties together but there are two detractors for me that ultimately lead to the game feeling repetitive. First, there seem to be a few too many levers to pull with very little escalation, to make it interesting as you progress later into the game. This causes not only a rules overheard for no good reason which keeps the game at a slow pace but leads to a dull feeling of I was doing the exact same thing 2 hours ago it's just taking me longer to get there. For example, making more stops to cycle through my deck to the few good cards I had. This ties into the second item which is that the game is just a little too long for my taste. 2-2.5 hours for a 2-player game when we both had prepped by reading the rules. If I could shave 30-45 minutes with some sort of rapid start this would be gaming perfection for me.

It's a game I'd like to try again but the length keeps my excitement from being much higher right now. Maybe another play changes my mind, but if that play happens is another story.

Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2012
Board Game: Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game


Decent dice drafting game of trying to race up tracks to get more gold and the most points. Dice are split into sets so you have the choice of making a big jump on one track, smaller jumps on other tracks, or likely taking gold. When the gold die has no gold you then do a simultaneous auction to see who will pay the most for all of the dice. Scoring is fairly similar to Biblios in that each track uses a die that can be altered during game play. Highest up the track gets 3x the points while second gets face value. It's a neat spin on Biblios but I'd still rather just play that instead.

Celestia - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2015
Board Game: Celestia


Played Cloud 9 years ago and this is the successor to that. Beautiful game that draws people in but it feels totally random. You are rolling dice to see if the ship advances to the next level and then when you are not the captain you have the option to get out to score some points based on whether you think the captain has the cards that match the dice or not. You have so little information about what the captain has that it is really just a guess on your part. In some rounds the captain was out on the first or second leg due to a bad roll or we were up near the top with good rolls in a row. Compare this to something like Incan Gold where you know it's 2 traps of the same type from a single deck gives you a bit more information about the likelihood of busting each turn. I'd rather play Incan Gold over this, but I'd still play it if someone brought it to game night.

The Bird Told Me To Do It - 2 plays -  6 
First Published 2016
Board Game: The Bird Told Me To Do It


Another crazy card game from Chudyk. It's very tactical with almost no strategy as you can be assured the game state will change on your next turn. Essentially you are building out a tree branch and taking actions from the trunk out to the card you just played. Once no branches can be extended you score the branch, first to 30 points or twice through the deck ends the game. However, it seems like the game was designed only for 2, and more players were added to increase marketability. Scoring occurs when no one has a legal move or everyone passes in a row, and with more players those 2 scenarios become less and less likely. To me this indicates the balance in the game is off.

Many I am sure don't like the lack of strategy in here, but for me it didn't bother me as much since it does play in 30 minutes. What is worse is the text on the cards don't describe the effect as well as they could requiring constant consultation of the rulebook.
20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:205]
Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin
Brian Wiese
United States
Ventura
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Shut Up & Sit Down fanMicrobadge: Board Game Barrage podcast fanMicrobadge: Ventura County Strategy BoardgamerMicrobadge: University of California - Los AngelesMicrobadge: I rate and comment games
After a relatively slow month in June for new games, July made up for that and then some. This month also spanned the spectrum of really good games to really bad games. Also by coincidence, I happened to play the Kinderspiel, Spiel, and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners all in the same month. Spoiler; they are all worthy winners.

Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin

Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin

This was the first game of the EXIT series I've tried and it was amazing. Everyone I played it with were playing an EXIT game for the first time as well and they all too really enjoyed the game. The puzzle variety is great giving people opportunities to make the breakthroughs needed. There also at least a couple puzzles that really just wowed us. Our 4p group got 6 stars and finished in 85 minutes. I have also played through the four scenarios of Escape Room: The Game and I think I like EXIT a little more because there's more puzzles. Escape Room does have the benefit of being able to use unique components and the timer/decoder is pretty cool too but I was impressed with how much the EXIT series could do with essentially a deck of cards and a flip book.


Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb

Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb

Another winner in the EXIT series. I've already put my preorder in for the next three coming out in the fall. This one I would say is more difficult than Abandoned Cabin mostly because a couple of the puzzles are a bit more abstract/directionless and requires more from the players in order to know how to solve them. I can see an experienced escape room/puzzle group not having as much trouble with this one. We got this one done in just under two hours and needed more hints this time so we scored 3 stars. I also really liked the theme and it had a few really cool puzzles too.


Board Game: ZhanGuo

ZhanGuo

I finally got a play of this in as it's been sitting on my "shelf of shame" for a year. I would keep bringing it to my weekly game group but the bland looking board make it a hard sell. During the past year it kept popping up in podcasts and Geeklists as a great medium/heavy Euro and one of the better What's Your Game games. This is my first time playing a WYG title but I really really liked it. The game revolves around playing cards to either take actions or build up your player board for future bonuses. The game plays over 5 rounds and you only get 6 cards per round but the possibly ways you can play out your hand and build out your strategy...it's a great brain burn. The end-game scoring varies and the most bonuses you hit, the better. I played this at 2p which was a good way to learn the basic mechanics but it also meant there wasn't too much tension with building walls, palaces, and governors. I can see this game would be better at 3 and 4 players but we also got through this game in about 45 minutes. After this first game, I definitely can see the excellence it has and want to get this back to the table soon.


Board Game: Kingdomino

Kingdomino
:costar:
This is a very simple but approachable tile laying game. To steal the term from the BBG Game Night guys, it's a "super filler". It's a game that plays in 10-20 minutes but gives you some decent choices and moments of cleverness that you don't often get in a game that is that quick. I love how the game plays well at all player counts as well as being a game that my 5 year old, my wife, and even other gamers enjoy. I also love the 2p variant where you play with a 7x7 grid rather than 5x5. That really ups the skill level and potential point scoring. There's also a couple other variants about using all the tiles and keeping your castle in the center to score bonus points. All in all, a great little game.


Board Game: ICECOOL

ICECOOL

Dexterity games are still pretty new to me but this one seemed to be liked by everyone and my kids, 3 and 5, would almost definitely enjoy. And enjoy they did. This one has come out multiple times not only with my kids but with other family and friends and so far no one has disliked it. The rules are simple and the table presence is inviting. The penguin weeble-wobbles just make this game. You flick them as best you can but sometimes they do things you don't expect...good and bad. It makes for some memorable moments. I am glad to have this added into my collection and will enjoy bringing this out some more with my kids or even adults when I want something light and fun.


Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

I have only ever played CoB one time but playing this game comes reasonably close to scratching that same itch all through using cards. I have only played this solo which is mostly why I bought it in the first place. If this comes out with my family or game group then even better. The biggest difference between this and it's big brother is there's no player boards which means no adjacency rules or region scoring bonuses. Much of your scoring comes from getting matching sets of 3 of the card types but there's also scoring from animals, shipping, and bonuses. For just a 20 minute card game, this one packs a good punch. It's not as engaging as it's big brother but it's not nearly as dumbed down as you would think either. Also beware that despite coming in a small box and using the mini-cards, this is a table hog.


Board Game: Push a Monster

Push a Monster

This has been the month of dexterity kids games apparently as here's the second-best one I played this month. Yay for cheap Queen games on Amazon! This is a simple game of pushing wooden monsters onto a platform and trying not to push off any other monsters. Any monsters that do fall off, all the other players will get these cardboard pieces that correspond to the kind of monster that fell off and they are sized differently. Some are pretty small while others are big. Whoever has the longest line of monster tokens at the end of the game wins. For all of it's simplicity, this is a pretty good game for both kids and adults. There's some real strategy about which direction you decide to start from so that the monsters you may push off won't benefit your opponents that much. And since the monsters are different shapes and sizes, there's always a certain element of the pieces moving in ways you didn't anticipate. Leaving a monster hanging off the edge for your opponent to deal with is satisfying. It's definitely not as "fun" as Ice Cool but there's also less reliance on skill here too which helps to even the playing field.


Board Game: Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island

I actually picked this up in a thrift store and knew this would be perfect for my 5 year old son and I to play together. This feels a lot like "Pandemic Lite" which isn't surprising since it's also a Matt Leacock coop game that came out a couple years after Pandemic. You're on a sinking island and must find four treasures and get back to your helicopter before the island disappears. The crux of the game is collecting treasure cards and turning sets in for treasure (a la curing in Pandemic). While you're doing this you are trying to prevent the tiles from sinking which feels like treating diseases. These aren't complaints. I enjoyed this and lived up to my hope of being a good game for parents and kids to play together. I already own Forbidden Desert and quite enjoy that but it definitely has extra complexity to consider during your turns. For me personally, FD is the better game but FI is very enjoyable too.


Board Game: Trickster: Champions of Time

Trickster: Champions of Time

Trickster is a trick-taking game where you're trying to take the fewest trick/points possible. The game has a couple twists over your standard trick taker. First, the "trickster" is actually the second person to play a card as he gets to make an interesting decision. After the first person plays a card, the Trickster can decide to either a) follow suit b) follow type or c) not follow either. This then sets the "rule" for that particular trick. At that point the trick will keep going until one player can't follow the rule and that person takes the trick and puts the cards into their face-up tableau. The second twist is every card you play gives you a special action. Pretty much all the actions are variations on moving cards between tableaus, the "trash" which is sort of a common pool, and cards from your hand. This gives you a little control over what cards you end up with. Scoring also has a little twist too. Any cards you have will give you a point unless you have the most of that color, then you don't score them. That means sometimes you actually want cards because having a lot is just as good as having none. In our 4p game we used 7 types of cards but the game comes with quite a few more so each game will play a little differently. Overall, I thought this game was fine but it didn't hook me. The powers give the game some flair but it's also fiddly. Even after we understood the powers, playing a card AND taking an action every single time just slows things down. I like my trick-takers to play smooth and fast. The extra actions make the game very tactical yet it's often difficult to determine what is a good play, especially early in the round. Most of the time you feel like you're taking the action for the action's sake and not because it's benefitting you. Being the Trickster seems like it's important too but we all agreed that the choice of which rule to set was rarely apparent. Ideally you're trying to get people to bust but it's mostly a crapshoot if people will have the right colors/types to keep a trick going. All you often are doing is saying "I have three Magicians so people probably don't have many Magicians" but since there's 7 of every type and 8 suits it's just hard to know anything with any semblance of certainty until at least halfway into the round. I would want to give this game another play just to see if there's more to it but the fiddlyness and opaque gameplay will prevent this game from beating any of my favorite trick-takers.


Board Game: Super-Vampire

Super-Vampire

Super Vampire is yet another dexterity game that I picked up when I got Push-a-Monster. This one has you pushing your vampire token along a maze-like track that is elevated. You're trying to collect cloves of garlic and bringing them back to your tower. While this is happening, someone else is rolling "sun" dice which are D6's with one side that is a sun and the other five sides blank. There are 6 total and they are rolling one at a time trying to get six suns which at that point will immediately end the round. So the vampire is keeping an eye on the progress giving the game a strong push-your-luck element. This one is not good for my 3 year old as there's just a bit too much going on but my 5 year old enjoyed this. For me, out of the three new dexterity games I got this month, this was definitely the one I would choose to play last. The "frantic" element of this game is it's selling point as you watch people trying to carefully push around their token stacked with 3 garlics and not fall off so far that reason I would play again. It's a game that burns hot and bright but also then quickly burns itself out.


Board Game: El Gaucho

El Gaucho

Ugh, I did not care for this game at all. At first glance, it looked like it was going to be at least OK. The artwork is vibrant, the dice corral thing is cool, and the rules are fairly easy to grasp. However, I had two major issues with the game. First, there's basically one winning strategy which is focus on just one or two types of cow (out of the five total) and just focus on getting as many of those as possible making sure to get the #11 or #12 cow in the process. Diversifying in this game is both difficult and makes it easier to get stolen from (since you have more to offer). That leads me to my other big issue: the take-that mechanics. They felt simultaneously necessary to keep the game balanced but also it's easy to get into a situation where the best player to steal from is also the one in last place. Any game that incentivizes me to kick a guy while they are down automatically loses points with me. In addition to the major issues, there's also lesser problems I had like the worker placement spots being not that interesting and how being last in player order led to multiple situations where players couldn't use two dice. I expect, when in last, to get few options but getting zero options is just not fun. That's bad game design. So all these problems I had compared with almost no redeeming positives (um..it was fairly short at around an hour?) means I just don't want to play this again.


Board Game: Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Original Series

Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Original Series

This was a big dud. Deckbuilders are usually not my thing so some of my dislike is the "it's me, not you" variety. I also didn't finish the game I was in but felt I played enough to get a good sense of what it had to offer. With that said, this one just seemed like a typical deck builder with an overly complicated currency system and a "battle" system that does nothing but slow down the game. I'm sure there are fans of this game out there but I know I would never be one of them. I was at least initially intrigued because of the theme (Star Trek!) but I was happy to bow out early. Maybe the TNG version of this is better because it's also the better of the two shows. =)
27 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.18 Overall Rank:22]
Board Game: A Feast for Odin
Nick B
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Halloween fanMicrobadge: David Attenborough fanMicrobadge: Black Lives MatterMicrobadge: Punk fanMicrobadge: The Secret of Monkey Island fan
This July was probably my best month EVER for new games.

A Feast for Odin - 9/10

Board Game: A Feast for Odin

I tend to be a big fan of Uwe Rosenberg games, and A Feast for Odin did not disappoint. The game seems almost comically complicated at first when looking at the components and variety of actions you can take on a turn. The game design actually seems kind of excessive at first, like it has complexity for complexity's sake; it feels like some of the systems such as exploring other islands and the giant board of weirdly-shaped pieces to fit on your home board are just kind of tacked on. The game takes up a massive amount of space on the table, and it's really hard for the players to be able to access (or even see) all of the options available to them.

With that being said, I loved the game and didn't find it hard at all to pick up after my initial intimidation. I feel like I barely scratched the surface of this one, and I'm really looking forward to playing this one more in the future!


Junk Art - 8/10

Board Game: Junk Art

I played a giant version of Junk Art at Gen Con two years ago and was incredibly disappointed. While the large version of Flick Em' Up the previous year had been a ton of fun, Junk Art just felt boring. Imagine my surprise when positive reviews came pouring in. I figured I must have missed something with my first experience, and was really happy to find out I was right! The game is SOOOOO much better with smaller pieces, as they are much harder to stack and balance. I am absolutely terrible at this game, but still had a blast both times I played it.

The "toy factor" is also off the charts with Junk Art; when all those colorful wooden pieces are dumped into the middle of the table it is pretty hard to not get excited about playing with them. The game is fast, fun, and every turn creates the possibility for some really funny moments.


Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star - 8/10

Board Game: Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star

I really like Xia, but my previous plays had been somewhat marred by the fact that there was always a trade route that was super easy to exploit for lots of points, and it felt like we had to ignore those easy points in order to make the game more fun. I know there are a lot of house rules out there to fix trading, but the expansion basically all of the problems I had with the game (other than the fact that player turns are kind of slow).

There are a bunch of new places to explore, missions to complete, and my group really liked the event deck and new ship modifications as well. If I have one complaint it's that all of the new sectors are really busy; we had one game where pretty much everything was full of various hazards and it was super difficult to move around the galaxy. I would HIGHLY recommend this expansion to anyone who likes the base game, however; it takes the game from very good to great for me.


Champions of Midgard: Valhalla - 8/10

Board Game: Champions of Midgard: Valhalla

I like Champions of Midgard just fine, but it's always been a "good not great" game for me. I recently got to play it with both of the new expansions, and wow did they make the game more awesome. They make combat more interesting, since you can get rewards when your warriors die as opposed to just losing the fight. The whole game just felt more EPIC, and really brought out the theme more for me as well. Highly recommended if you like the base game, and if you can only pick one of the expansions, I'd go for the Valhalla one over The Dark Mountains.


Ethnos - 8/10

Board Game: Ethnos

I was kind of avoiding Ethnos due to how ugly the board and player pieces are, and I'm happy I was able to get over my initial feelings. It's gone over super well with two different groups of friends, and I really enjoy the variety each different tribe brings to the game. Ethnos really seems like the type of game I'm pretty much always happy to play, and I'd love to see some expansions come out later with new tribes. Those player pieces sure are ugly, though (the board is pretty covered up by stuff so that's not as big of a deal).


Not Alone - 7/10

Board Game: Not Alone

I had been waiting to get Not Alone for a long time now, so I was pretty pumped to finally get a chance to play it. My initial thoughts are that the game is pretty fun, but my group hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. I've played the alien both times and won both times; the hunted players couldn't really figure out how to effectively communicate and plan out their moves. It strikes me as one of those games that people finish and then immediately think about what they could have done differently. Unfortunately, my wife has pretty much written it off as "not all that much fun." BOO! All the same, I'm looking forward to getting it to the table again now that we've had some experience with the gameplay.



Secret Hitler - 7/10

Board Game: Secret Hitler

I am a little burned out on hidden role games, and our group loves One Night Ultimate Werewolf, so a game in the genre has to be pretty awesome to make an impression. I made a print and play version of Secret Hitler to give it a test run and had a great time with it. I only got to play it once, but just that one play was enough to make me want to get the actual game once it comes back in stock.


Imhotep - 7/10

Board Game: Imhotep

Imhotep has great components, is easy to teach and learn, and plays fast. It's a lot of fun, and I am not surprised it was nominated for the Spiel des Jahres last year. With that being said, I just don't know if this game is going to stick around in my collection. It's pretty satisfying to play, but all three of my plays so far have felt pretty samey. There's just not that much variety in the cards you can get or the actions you can take. I'm looking forward to trying out the reverse sides of some of the location boards to see if that spices things up a bit, but I wouldn't be surprised if I sell this one off sometime next year.


The Chameleon - 7/10

Board Game: The Chameleon

My group loves Spyfall, but I find the game to be pretty stressful and not all that enjoyable. I'm too busy trying to think of good questions to ask or how I would have answered a question that someone else was asked, so I end up fumbling my answers to questions when I'm put on the spot.

The Chemleon is kind of like Codenames mixed with Spyfall, and I found the experience to be a lot lighter than both those games. While I don't like it as much as Codenames, I certainly found it more fun (and funnier) than Spyfall. I don't think this one will make it to the table a ton, but it will always be a good time when it does.


Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb - 5/10

Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Pharaoh's Tomb

I think my experience with Exit was slightly spoiled by not quite understanding what I was getting into. I wasn't expecting something on par with a physical escape room, but I definitely wasn't expecting a really disjointed box of unrelated puzzles with a pasted-on theme either. I was disappointed to find that a few of the puzzles couldn't really be solved without using the clues; attempting to think through them logically would have gotten us nowhere. The components are also really tiny, and it made a few group members grumpy when it felt like materials were being hogged.

Despite a pretty sub-par initial experience, I'm cautiously interested in trying out the other two Exit games now that I know what to expect. I don't plan on playing them with more than two players, though.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:555]
Board Game: Coal Baron
Ronster Zero
United States
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: FIREBALL! MAKE YOUR SAVES!Microbadge: Game ExplainerMicrobadge: Information TechnologistMicrobadge: Level 20 BGG posterMicrobadge: Elder Sign Protected!
Coal Baron Rating 8

Board Game: Coal Baron


In generally on the fence about worker placement games. To me, the theme and game play really need to shine thought.
Good thing for Coal Baron this is exactly what it has. I really do feel like I am mining for coal and working with what i have to bet what I need. I really like that you can outbid a worker spot if you really need that action. The scoring was a little wonky at first and it took the 2nd game before I got the hang of what I needed to do. Looks like this will get more plays as it works well with 2 to 4 players.


Star Wars: Destiny Rating 8

Board Game: Star Wars: Destiny


Ok. Star Wars, dice chucking, plus two player battling, you had me at R2D2. The only down side is that it's collectable. The good thing is that I did get fun play just with the base game. It also helps that my best friend bought into the game with me. We split a booster pack and for $50 we had a good enough set to change up our teams.
19 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Bärenpark [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:285]
Board Game: Bärenpark
Larry Rice
United States
Newton
Kansas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: London fanMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Race for the Galaxy fanMicrobadge: Roll Player fanMicrobadge: Yedo fan
== NEW GAMES ==

Lords of Scotland - 1 play -  N/A 
First Published 2010
[imageID=es/pic2338327 square inline]

Probably not my cup of tea due to the nastiness that can occur. We did fail to play correctly in one aspect which would have made planning more viable, but just the take that nature of this would see this game get very few plays if any moving forward - I do not have a large group of fans who do well with take that, particularly if that person is in last place (and then in the final round with his huge hand of cards wins the game!)

Bärenpark - 5 plays -  8 
First Published 2017
[imageID=es/pic3486218 square inline]

Nickeled this one quickly after acquiring it. I really enjoy this one although the insert was never built - oddest dang insert device I ever did see in a boardgame.

Matryoshka - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2016
[imageID=es/pic2858740 square inline]

This is a neat little card game where you really have pay attention to the doll types as the background colors aren't consistent or they aren't different enough. Once I got over that issue, I really enjoyed sussing out the game play and working through what I want to show my opponents what I have (you want to work trades of a sort but also don't want to give away too much of the collection you are building).

Dice Forge - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2017
[imageID=es/pic3477004 square inline]

Really enjoyed this one although I do think it will need expansions quickly. I do have difficulty with getting the die faces off - I find when I pry them off the die faces have a tendency to fly away. Thankfully, I found all of them. I am going to pick this one up.

Word Domination - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2017
[imageID=es/pic3113311 square inline]

This is an interesting take on a word game where area groupings are valuable for end game points. Only 6 words all game are spelled by each player so make them count!

Pit Crew - 1 play -  6 
First Published 2017
[imageID=es/pic3363575 square inline]

This was a lot of fun although I usually don't go for real time fun with card flips. It works in this case although I would recommend groups of 6 or 9 ideally.

Outlive - 1 play -  5 
First Published 2017
[imageID=es/pic3008967 square inline]

This was a bit of a let down and I sold my copy. I feel like there is only one route to victory and whoever is most efficient in doing that with their sidebar for gaining side points will win. I want to have variety in how I can win!

Fairy Land - 1 play -  5 
First Published 2012
[imageID=es/pic1384617 square inline]

Decent card game. I'd play again. Everyone has the same hand of cards which are used to take actions or acquire additional cards, or participate in an auction. At some point, you can play another card to get your hand back and re-use your cards one more time.

National Economy - 1 play -  5 
First Published 2015
[imageID=es/pic3428709 square inline]

Take 5 steps forward, slide back 4, take 6 forward, slide back 7, take 4 steps forward, slide back 1...nope, not my type of game. Incremental growth mechanics are not my thing.

Sheepland - 1 play -  5 
First Published 2012
[imageID=es/pic1298380 square inline]

Another game hiding a stock market mechanic. Its fine, I would play again but it didn't set the world on fire.

Battle For Souls - 1 play -  4 
First Published 2013
[imageID=es/pic1793962 square inline]

Not a desirable theme for me but the partnership aspect to the game was interesting. Tiny text on the special cards was annoying. Won't likely play again.

DIG - 1 play -  3 
First Published 2016
[imageID=es/pic3214708 square inline]

Those really tiny microscopic card games aren't really my thing. They usually don't feel polished and this one didn't surprise.

22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:143]
Board Game: Captain Sonar
Jason Vicente

Avon
Connecticut
msg tools
badge
If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it!
Avatar
Microbadge: Level 01 BGG posterMicrobadge: Looney Tunes fanMicrobadge: Picasso fanMicrobadge: PianistMicrobadge: Golden Board Game Collector
== BEST GAME OF THE MONTH ==

Board Game: Captain Sonar
Captain Sonar - Played 3 times - 10/10

During one weekend in July I went up to New Hampshire with my son Patrick for a Family Weekend Board Game Marathon in New Hampshire with my three other sons (Matt, Joel and Kieran) and daughter-in-law-in-waiting. We try to get together at least once every other month. I last visited during father's day weekend when we played 9 rounds of Codenames: Pictures, Blood Rage, Arcadia Quest and Shakespeare. This time we were more ambitious slotting twelve games, including five new ones, to play during this visit all playable by 6 players - we got through all of them but one. Captain Sonar proved to be the belle of the ball. By far one of the best gaming experiences ever placing it with T.I.M.E Stories and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. During the explanation of the game, again, some became despondent and felt overwhelmed. Our initial play was done on a turn by turn bases with the easy Alpha Map. Considering the role of the Radio Operator to be the most critical requiring strong deduction skills, I knew that Patrick and Joel would fit the role perfectly. Thus, Joel was on my team and Patrick on Matt's. Matt and I played rival captains and first mates while Kieran worked as the engineer for Matt's team and Hayley the engineer for mine. The initial play through lacked the tension I thought the game would have, but as soon as we turned to the real time game - WOW!!! Full on tension, quick decisions, a simple mistake could cost you the game. At one point I screamed out an expletive realizing when the opponent surfaced we were right next to each other. My assessment of my sons was right on as both performed their roles effectively. In the first game I was able to terminate Matt's submarine with two torpedoes, while in the second a torpedo and a well planted mine ended my crew. This is a fast paced exhausting game requiring a breather afterwards. After three plays my heart could take no more, but it's definitely on the list whenever there are at least 6 (or hopefully 8) players. A 10 out of 10!

= Other New Games for July 2017 =

Board Game: Great Western Trail
Great Western Trail - played 1 time - 9.5/10

Patrick and I learned to play Great Western Trail today to satisfy the "G" of The Alphabet Board Game Challenge - 2017 Edition as well as preparing for our Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament . I must say that this game took a great deal of investment to learn - videos (I strongly recommend https://boardgamegeek.com/video/140531/great-western-trail/g...) and reading and re-reading rules - and we still had to check rules during our initial game play. Yet, the investment was well worth it. The initial problem was the vast number of different iconography to remember, which required nearly constant review of the rules at the beginning of the game. At one point we discovered the need to place an one of your employed characters when upgrading a station - a critical rule to remember because it severely impacts other gameplay. All of the iconography is included on the game board and its associated cardboard chits - an essential element to make the game playable, but which also initially causes players to look at each other and ask "What does that mean?" Once you've learned the system, however, the game flow improves markedly. By the end of the game both Patrick and I felt that this was an extraordinary deep deck building/tile laying game. He won our first play 92 to 66 by upgrading a number of stations beyond San Francisco that award significant VP. I highly recommend this game and give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Board Game: 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon
7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon - played 2 times - 9.0/10
My son Patrick and I first learned to play 7 Wonders Duel for our Father v. Son Two-Player Board Game Tournament . We enjoyed it so much that we decided to play it as part of our The Passionate Knight's 10 X 10 Hardcore Challenge which is one of our contributions to 2017 Challenge: Play 10 Games 10 Times Each. After playing five games of 7 Wonders Duel in our effort to play it ten times, we decided to spice up our game play by adding the 7 Wonders Duel: Pantheon expansion to our remaining plays. It certainly adds some more flavor to the game. The expansion adds divinity cards with various powers and tokens placed on certain cards collected by the player who turns that card over. Patrick took immediately to the new mechanics going so far as using the divinity Ra to steal one of my wonders! I have won 7 Wonders Duel three times - all military victories. Four of Patrick's six victories came by way of science. During this play, I tried to prevent him from gathering the six different science symbols but time and again my attempts failed as he scored the "take another turn immediately" progress token at the completion of any wonder allowing him to draw science cards nearly at will to gain yet another science victory.

Board Game: Last Friday
Last Friday - played 1 time - 8.0/10

There are several games I have patiently waited to play waiting for the right number of players to maximize the game's enjoyment. Last Friday is on the top of the list sitting on the shelf since December 2016. I placed it on the Passionate Knight's 2017 Alphabet Basic Challenge to assure that the year would not end without playing the game. It is a hidden movement game with a few twists. The game goes through four phases or "chapters," each with a different goal. The premise is that 6 campers come to Camp Apache for a free vacation as an award for helping fix up the camp. The camp, however, has an ominous history that includes the drowning of a suspected murderer whose body was never found. In chapter 1, when the campers arrive they participate in a treasure hunt for hidden keys that will allow them to enter into one of six cabins situated around the camp site. During this treasure hunt, they are likely to come across the corpses of the two owners of the camp which serves to emphasize that a murderer is lurking about. The campers need to find a key and enter cabin to survive the chapter, while the maniac weeks to eliminate as many campers as he can before the escape into the safety of their cabins. At the end of 15 rounds, dawn arrives commencing the second chapter. The embolden campers now become the hunters and the Maniac the hunted. The purpose of this chapter is to find out who is the Predestined one - the individual who captures the Maniac. Of course, it possible that no one will capture the Maniac making the camper closest to the Maniac the Predestined. Then in Chapter Three the Maniac hunts the campers again seeking to kill the Predestined to win the game, if the Predestined survives chapter three, then the campers help the predestined find and kill the Maniac in chapter four. The back and forth of the hunter/hunted roles makes for a tense game for everyone. The tension felt as the campers hunted me down was extraordinary and the jubilation they felt when they killed me in the final move of the final round of the final chapter is precisely the exhilarating gaming experience we all wish to enjoy. I know some have expressed problems with this game, and I can see a weak set of campers unable to triangulate the Maniac's position feeling frustrated and disheartened. Indeed, half way through the final chapter the distance between the Predestined and the Maniac appeared insurmountable, but Matt - the Predestined, as it turns out - encouraged the other players to continue on to an almost inconceivable victory. I find this to be a solid hidden movement game worthy of it's place among Specter Ops, Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition), Letters from Whitechapel and the silly, but still fun, Nuns on the Run.


Board Game: Junk Art
Junk Art - played 2 times - 7.5/10
I could tell that some in the group were skeptical when I brought out Junk Art. Some decried the instability of the table as we ventured to build the tallest structures of art during a three city tour through New York, Amsterdam and our home town. Despite the initial criticism and skepticism, I persuaded everyone to try it since I needed the game as my "J" in the Passionate Knight's 2017 Alphabet Basic Challenge. Concerns aside, everyone appeared to thoroughly enjoy the game laughing as they built their rickety art, scolding others that touched the table too harshly threatening the demise of their artistry. The game revolves around obtaining fans in each city of an international tour. Matthew ran away with this one scoring 17 fans. Only Kieran came close with 15, while the rest of us did not obtain more than 8 fans. I had 5. When returning home I hesitantly introduced some of the new games played to my wife. She declared over a year ago that she would no longer learn new games, but she has decided to learn some games after watching my son Patrick and I play them like San Juan (Second Edition) and Splendor. She has recently agreed to learn games I thought she might like as she did with Shakespeare last month. Now she has asked to learn Junk Art, which is among four games she learned this month alone including Patchwork, Avenue and Unlock!: Escape Adventures – Squeek & Sausage. She really liked the game though not one she would play frequently. She believed it would make for a nice change from the usual games we play and thought her nephews would love it and may wish to own it. It was fun to see her get into the game and scream to my daughter returning from work not to slam the door fearing that the reverberations would cause her tall but unstable structure to fall.

Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport
Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport - played 1 time - 7.5/10
We had two games on the agenda today. Our first game was Lords of Waterdeep using the Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport expansion. Although we have played Lords of Waterdeep in the past, it was the first time we incorporated the expansion so we could play with six people. We decided to use both the Undermountain and Skullport modules. While the former module adds more action spaces as well as more valuable quests, The latter module add an interesting mechanic: the corruption track. The corruption track involves nine spaces containing skulls (corruption). You can obtain corruption in a variety of ways including from the action spots on the expansion skullport board. Although you can return corruption received from the track either to the track or to other action spaces, there are also cards that allow you to remove corruption from the game, which is significant because each corruption token you possess reduces your victory point total by the number of empty tracks on the corruption track. Thus, if two spaces are empty, each corruption you possess costs you two victory points, three empty spaces, three points and so on. Of course with this cutthroat crew, the track was completely emptied so anyone with corruption lost nine victory points per token. Hayley lost 54 points. Interestingly, Joel, who dislikes worker placement games and only tolerated this one because it's been pimped out with metal coins and acrylic meeples, won the game as he did the last time we played as well. The game lasted more than four hours, however, making a play of 7 Wonders out of the question. Although this is an enjoyable game, the Skullport module is too mean for my taste and will be left out of future plays.

Board Game: Patchwork
Patchwork - played 3 times - 7.5/10
I specifically purchased this game with my wife in mind figuring it would be a great two player game to add to Lost Cities and Battle Line in our regular play schedule. Gladly, she liked the game enough that we played it several times. The game is fairly simple. There are numerous uniquely shaped pieces that randomly placed around a two-sided board in an oval shape. A neutral token is placed between the smallest piece and the next piece going clockwise. A player may either move a number of spaces and collect the corresponding buttons (the game's currency) or she can choose one of three pieces that lie clockwise from the neutral token, pay its cost in buttons, place the piece on her personal quilt board and move the number of spaces stated on the placed piece. The player that is behind always goes. Thus, a player can move numerous times until his token passes the other player. The central time board contains patches that can cover a single spot and buttons throughout the track that represent paydays. When a payday is activated, the player counts the number of buttons contain on the patches placed on his or her quilt board and collects that number. This continues until both players reach the end of the central time track where they collect their final pay day and then calculate the total buttons collected losing two points for each unfilled space on the quilt board. There is also a bonus tile that awards seven points to the first individual to cover a 7 x 7 area of the quilt board. In our initial play Debbie had difficulties filling her board concentrating on maximizing buttons instead of covering large areas of her board. This resulted in her receiving a negative score (-16) compared to my 15. She did, however, quickly learn the lesson on approaching the game scoring 18 on our next play and then 26, winning both games. This is a solid fun light game that perfectly works for those times you a looking to unwind before going to bed.

Board Game: Avenue
Avenue - played 4 times - 7.0/10
We completed our game play today with a new game: Avenue. It's a fairly simple game where cards are drawn displaying one of six paths that the players have to place somewhere on a grid using the paths to connect grapes to farms and castles. It's a cousin of Karuba but departs that game by the interesting scoring method it uses. Each round you score a different random farm not knowing the future farms you will score unless you forgo a revealed path to peek at the next farm. The trick is that each farm scored must exceed the previously scored farm or you get a zero. At the end of the game, each zero results in a -5 penalty. In addition to scoring the farm in the five rounds you will score the grapes connected to two castles on the grid (a pink one and a green one). A round ends after four yellow backed cards are revealed (the other cards have gray backs). The initial problem we experienced during this game play was the lack of straight road that came up. We had curved road after curved road, especially an inordinate number of 2s. Since the game will end before the deck is exhausted a plethora of curved roads now mean a deck rich in straight road that will inevitably appear in later rounds, which, of course, happened here. Somehow Patrick still managed to do well scoring 72 points followed by Joel with 66. Scores fell precipitously from there with Kieran scoring 41, I had 26 and Matt received an incredibly low 6 points. This is a good quick filler that many players can play concurrently. The box says for 1 to 10 players, but there appears no reason why more could not play. As long as everyone has a pen/pencil/marker and a grid you can play this in a bingo hall announcing numbers over a PA system. The numbers are shown at the bottom of the grid with the road they represent depicted. It's a great way to get a large gaming group involved in the same game. When I came home I introduced my wife and daughter to the game. My wife really took to it asking to play it again a couple of times.

Board Game: Unlock!: Escape Adventures – Squeek & Sausage
Unlock!: Escape Adventures – Squeek & Sausage - played 1 time - 6.0/10
Sadly, this proved to be more of a chore than a fun experience. This revolves around the fact that you need extremely sharp eyes to see some of the hidden numbers on the cards. Because of that issue, we missed some critical information that would have made the game move more smoothly. The App did help uncover some of these oversights on our part, but we felt luke warm toward the game at best, preferring by far the experience with Exit: The Game – The Secret Lab. I believe that future plays of other Unlock!: Escape Adventures games will benefit from this lesson and the fun factor will increase markedly. Both my wife and son expressed frustration with the game but will likely give the series another chance.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Unlock!: Escape Adventures – The Island of Doctor Goorse [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1801]
Board Game: Unlock!: The Island of Doctor Goorse
Juan Carlos Goyes
Colombia
Bogota
Cundinamarca
flag msg tools
badge
It’s true hard work never killed anyone, but I figure, why take the chance? - Ronald Reagan
Avatar
Microbadge: 2-player Games fanMicrobadge: Extended Stats userMicrobadge: CLICK MICROBADGE to see what I have FOR SALEMicrobadge: Dog loverMicrobadge: "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." —Epictetus
Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth

2017-07-09

Current Rating: 4.0 (July 2017)

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth is currently ranked 12864 here on BGG so I was extremely sceptic toward it. My expectation was very low, so perhaps that’s why the game surprised me a bit. Still, it is very basic game and not for me.

The rules of the game are pretty simple, you can explain them under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 25 minutes or less.

The art of the game is ok.

I love the theme, but you don’t feel it through the game, it is pasted on.

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth is a card game in which you try to defeat enemies creating your fellowships with the right combinations. All the gameplay is based around hand management but luck of the draw is pretty high as is the attack by the enemies. The decisions needed to play the game are obvious.

My copy of the game seems to come with a misprint in two cards, they show the wrong backside.

Bottom line, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth is a very basic game, perhaps you can play it with children, still I was expecting something worse thus my high rating. Luck will decide the winner. I already sold it and I expect I won’t play it again.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Guess the Mess!

Guess the Mess!

2017-07-09

Current Rating: 6.0 (July 2017)

Guess the Mess! was an unknown game to me. I only knew it was a party game. After playing it, I can say it surprised me a lot and I will probably keep it for now.

The rules of the game are pretty easy to explain. You can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is way too long for this kind of game. It exceeds 90 minutes with the full complement of players. Due to this I think it is best as a 4 player game and/or you can play only four rounds instead of the six that the rulebook tells you to play.

The game´s components and art are ok, however, it comes with a lot of small square cards and I have been unable to find sleeves for them. This is a big issue for me, if a game isn’t sleeved it doesn’t get played. The art of the cover is kind of fun, but it doesn’t make any sense, there is a robot playing against a cowboy and a pig, I don’t know what it means.

The theme is juvenile, but it matches ( a bit) the game´s mechanism. I don’t mind it either way.

Gameplay is very fun . It is a weird mix of Dixit with Galaxy Trucker. Players have 30 seconds to find the best pictures you can (just like you do in Galaxy Trucker) trying to match them with your location. After the time´s is up players try to guess the location of other players and you get points if you do it correctly. It is very fun and we all liked it. Perhaps the time allowed for this task is too short. You cannot see but a small portion of the cards, but still we had fun.

Luck pays an important role in the game. A players can quickly find a good match for their location while other players can see a lot of cards without finding one that works. Still, I don't mind it much because it is a light party game.

Bottom line, Guess the Mess! is a novel mix of previously tested ideas. It really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but we all had fun playing it. I will keep it among my game collection for now and I need to sleeve the cards somehow. It is perfect to introduce to non-gamers.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Wits & Wagers Family

Wits & Wagers Family

2017-07-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2017)

I kind of like Wits & Wagers. Back in the day (2010 ) I was very excited to play it but I have never enjoyed it very much. Still, I think the premise is great so I still have the game among my collection. I had some curiosity about the differences of the family edition and after playing it, I can say this game is not for me.

The rules are pretty simple. You can explain them under 2 minutes. Playtime is around 30 minutes or less.

The idea of the game is to win points by correctly answering very tough questions or by being the player who was closest to the real answer. The novel idea for the whole series is that if you don’t know the answer (very likely) you can still win by betting on the answer of other players.

As with its big brother, I have fun when I play the game, but my desire to play it again is rather low. The questions remain as hard as ever, at least for me. I would have thought the questions were easier in this edition. Some of the questions are in miles and inches and it is hard for us to think out of the metric system, but it is a minor issue for us.

The scoring system radically change. Before, you had some poker chips to bet on the answers, I really liked this part of the game (my favorite part). In the family edition scoring is simplified. You have two meeples to use on the answer or answers you think are right. The effect of this is that the scores are way too close at the end of the game so you feel the game is decided by blind luck. I get that this system levels the field when you play with kids, so I guess it is perfect for the family edition.

Bottom line, Wits & Wagers Family is an ok party game, but my desire to play it again is low. I prefer the original edition of the game so I will sell this one ASAP. Still, I recognize it is a fun game to introduce to new players and/or families, but the original game was as well. I, somewhat, dislike the new score system.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Attika

Attika

2017-07-31

Initial Rating: 6.0 (June 2017)

Attika has been one of the games I most wanted to play since I began playing boardgames in early 2010, so I was expecting a great game and it wasn’t that great, still I kind of like it.

The rules of the game are very easy to teach, you can do it under 10 minutes.

The theme is ok, but you don’t feel it through the game.

The games components and art is ok.

Best with 2 players or 3 fast players although is seems it can have some king making issues with 3 or 4 players.

The game´s decisions aren’t that complex. You have two main actions .You build a building from your board or you draw more buildings. Instead of doing any of these actions you can get more cards to build later. The goal of the game is to build all your buildings or to connect two sanctuaries together. Sometimes you need to block your opponent, but I don’t feel the game´s decisions are hard to process and that’s a shame, I was expecting a heavier game.

Luck of the draw can be high as you can build for free some building if you build its prerequisite at the same time. There is also luck of the draw with the cards. I’m still unsure how I feel about this. I need more play to verify but my gut feeling says it will be an issue for me.

Bottom line, I somewhat like Attika. I was expecting a heavier game but it´s decisions are rather simple. Luck of the draw (tiles and cards) can be high and I dislike that. It is mostly a tactics game, planning long time can to be hard to do.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Octo

Octo

2017-07-20

Initial Rating: 3.0 (June 2017)

Octo is a kid´s game and a very easy one. You can explain it under 1 minute and playtime is less than 20 minutes.

The art of the cards is ok.

I generally love memory games but it is too easy in this game. In each turn you roll a die and try to get the matches with the color of the die. It is very easy, furthermore if the game shows a green face, you need to search for a plant, but the plants´ location is obvious because they are stacked below other cards and they are the only cards that are stacked :/. The cards are thick.

Bottom line, Octo is a game for children and a very easy one at that. I think it can work with small children but I’m rating it the same I rate any other game, as such I give it a 3.0. For me, Octo is a bad game and I don’t think I will ever play it again. I already sold it.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Guardians of Graxia

Guardians of Graxia

2017-07-20

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2017)

Guardians of Graxia was one of my oldest unplayed games. I bought it on 2013 so it took me 4 years to play it. My desire to do so was very low because I don’t tend to enjoy wargames. Having said that, I was expecting a very bad game due to its rating (9840), but the game surprised me. It isn’t for me, but it is much better than expected.

Guardians of Graxia is a tactical miniatures game without the miniatures (it uses cards like Mage Wars).

The game isn’t very complex but it has many rules. You can explain them under 20 minutes. The rulebook isn’t organized in a logical manner, for example they explain the abilities before explaining how to play the game, in this manner you don’t understand and have to go back and forth a few times. Playtime is variable as Guardians of Graxia is scenario based. At least 60 minutes for the shorter scenarios. Setup time can be high as you have to assemble the terrain and search the cards to assemble the decks.

The theme is generic fantasy. I kind of like it.

The art of the cards is from ok to very good, the game´s components are ok. It only comes with 6 miniatures. The terrain cards have small font on them, so you can easily make a mistake not applying the terrain effect. The game comes with lots of tokens to show status, searching the correct ones is a pain. They have different art but the same size.

The box is way too big for what comes inside it.

The decisions needed to play the game aren’t obvious and you have to consider many things, due to this play can be slow while you analyze all the information of your units/spells and your opponents units. Combat is fun at first, but you have many steps, in fact you have a whole aid for battles, so it becomes repetitive very quickly and, as you have to execute many battles each turn, at the end I was bored by it. Battles are the heart of the game.

Guardians of Graxia can be played solo for players who like that sort of thing (I don´t, ever).

In general, wargames are not my thing, however, I think Guardians of Graxia is not that bad for players who like the genre.

Bottom line, I was expecting very bad thing from Guardians of Graxia, but I don’t think the game is all that bad. As wargames are not for me, I already sold the game. I think the game is underrated. Combat is very repetitive and procedural.

Current Rating: 4.5


Board Game: Dracula

Dracula

2017-07-20

Initial Rating: 6.5 (July 2017)

My desire to play Dracula was low. I played it expecting a bad game, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The rules of the game are pretty easy to teach. You can do it under 5 minutes. The rulebook could be a lot better. In the RioGrande edition of the game there is a big typo in which the rulebook tells you to leave the cards face up when in reality, it meant face down. Big mistake. Playtime is around 20 minutes.

Dracula´s components are ok as is the art.

The theme is pretty cool, but you don’t feel it much when you play the game.

The goal of the game is to find the 5 cards of your opponent. Dracula´s decisions aren’t very complex, but they aren’t that obvious either. Each turn you decide how much are you going to move and if you are going to see the hidden cards. If you do, you can win a card, fight or exchange a card. After that you play a card from your hand and then apply its power and move a barrier (hinders movement). It sounds more complicated that it is, but it is very easy to understand.

Both players play very similarly, but with different cards. I feel both sides are balanced, but I need more plays to verify this point.

The feature I really like about the game is the memory element. I love memory games. To me, memory is just another skill to use when you play and Dracula features memory very prominently. There is a bluff element as you can keep the important cards in your hand, but if you get caught with all of them in hand you will lose. The idea is to strike a balance between the cards you hold and the cards you risk on the board.

Luck plays a significant role. Not only you can get lucky when you explore a location, luck of the draw is present, but as you keep a hand of five cards at the beginning and as you learn the game, this kind of luck will decrease. The game offers pure tactics, not a lot room for strategic planning.

These days I often l play a game and then I sell it. There are a few games I keep among my game collection and I will still probably sell Dracula, but I need it to give it another spin before deciding.

Bottom line, Dracula is an ok memory and bluff game. I will probably get rid of it, but the memory aspect of the game is fascinating to me. I will play it again before deciding if I should sell it. I feel it is underrated here on BGG.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Climb!

Climb!

2017-07-23

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2017)

As is usual from me, I didn’t know anything about the game when I bought it and I have never heard much about it, so I didn’t have any expectation toward the game. As it turned out, it is an unique game, but I don’t think I will keep it among my game collection.

Climb!´s rules are very easy to teach, you can do it under 3 minutes. Playtime is around 18 minutes, it play very fast.

The game´s components are regular, and you can’t sleeve the cards as that would defeat the game´s purpose. That’s a huge deal for me, I never play card games without sleeves. The art of the game is ok.

The theme isn’t exciting to me, but the game´s mechanism do support it very well.

The game is, mostly, a dexterity game, but it is very different from other dexterity games. In Climb! You have to use your hand to simulate you are climbing a mountain. You have to use specific fingers in specific positions and move from card to card in this fashion. The premise is very simple, but doing it correctly, it is a lot harder than you would think. Climb! comes with many cards with different difficulties.

Bottom line, Climb! is an unique dexterity game, but I already sold it. It is a solid game but not my kind of game. I would play again if requested, but my desire to do is rather low.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Edo

Edo

2017-07-23

Initial Rating: 6.0 (July 2017)

I bought Edo by mistake, I meant to buy Yedo, but I only realized my mistake this month. Still Edo is a well-regarded game here on BGG, so I was expecting a good euro game, but I was (somewhat) disappointed by it.

Edo´s rules are easy to teach, you can do it under 15 minutes. Playtime is around 90 minutes.

The theme of the game is cool, but you don’t feel it through the game, it is pasted on.

The components are very good, but the art is regular. The game board is dull looking (like many Queen Games games).

The decisions needed to play the game aren’t obvious, but they aren’t very complex either, it has a light-medium weight. Each player needs to plan his turn playing three different cards. In each action card you have 4 available options and you need to choose one. The available actions are collect wood, rice or stone, gain money, build, get a new card, deploy more meeples, recruit more meeples, buy from a merchant. The action you choose can, generally, be boosted using more meeples. It all sound really exciting, but when you begin playing, the decisions aren’t as interesting as I thought they will be. I was expecting a heavier/meatier game, there is no tension within the game.

In general, Edo has a low luck factor. The luck affects what the merchant is selling and which new cards appear.

I feel it has a low replay value.

The game´s end is triggered when a player pass the 12VP mark. This, practically, guarantees that scores will be very close to each other at the end.

Bottom line, I was expecting a heavier game. Some years ago I would have loved the game, but now I found it to have (mostly) simple decisions and I found it mildly boring. It doesn’t bring anything really exciting or new to the table. I already sold it along with its (unplayed) expansions. Edo is an ok game to introduce to new gamers, but it is not for us. Still, I recognize it is a solid Euro game (thus the high rating) but I crave heavier experiences these days. I don’t think I will ever play it again as there are much better games out there that do a lot better what Edo does.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Dixit: Revelations

Dixit: Revelations

2017-07-23

Initial Rating: 8.5 (July 2017)

I love Dixit, a game currently among my to ten favorites of all time so I naturally love all its expansions as well.

If you play Dixit a lot, patterns begin to emerge so an expansion or two become necessary, however this is like the eighth expansion so it isn’t really necessary, but I need to have them all . For me, the more Dixit the better. The only concern is that I no longer can fit all the cards in the base game box.

Dixit: Revelations, as all previous expansions, adds 84 new cards with gorgeous art. The novel feature is that some of the cards come with a golden finish, they look very pretty.

Bottom line, Dixit: Revelations is a great expansion for the game and a must have for me. I can’t wait to play it again. I´m giving it the same rating I gave to the base game.

Current Rating: 8.5


Board Game: Di Renjie

Di Renjie

2017-07-27

Initial Rating: 4.0 (July 2017)

These days, my favorite game mechanism is deduction. I love it as do my SO, so I was very keen to play Di Renjie, but the game sorely disappointed me.

The rules of the game are easy to teach, but they aren’t as easy to learn from the rulebook, it could be a lot better. You can teach the rules under 7 minutes. Playtime is around 35 minutes.

The art of the cards is ok, nothing fancy though.

The theme was utterly unknown to me, but some players have heard about Di Renjie and were very keen to play the game, they also ended up disappointed.

We played it twice as a 6 player game and the assassin mechanism is very bad. With this configuration, a player is the assassin and other players will try to find out who he is. Some players will successfully find the assassin (mostly by luck), but most players won’t know who he is, so they will have to guess at the end and I heavily dislike a game of deduction in which you can guess at the end and win. If you caught the assassin you will most likely win the game as it gives a lot of points, in fact, it gives the same points as figuring out the right cards at the end (a task almost impossible). I have never seen my SO angry at a game, but she was very angry at Di Renjie saying the assassin mechanism is broken. I don´t know if it is broken, but luck can decide the winner of the game and I can´t enjoy that. This issue only arises in 5-6 player games, so perhaps the game is better with 3-4 players.

The game seems to end too quickly and abruptly, so no player will have the opportunity to correctly deduce the answers. They will have to guess two or one attribute. Again, having to mostly rely on guesses on a deduction game is very bad form. Luck decides the winner :/.

The best characteristic of the game is that it is small and portable.

Bottom line, I was expecting good things from Di Renje and it only delivered disappointments to all players. It has some good ideas in it, but I feel it is underdeveloped. My SO was angry at the game (that’s a first). Having to rely mostly on guesses on a deduction game leaves a bad taste on my mouth, luck decide who wins the game. It can be, that the game is much better at the 3-4 player range, but I already sold the game and I don’t expect to play it again, even in this player configuration I feel luck will decide who wins.

Current Rating: 3.0


Board Game: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends – Everfrost

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends – Everfrost

2017-07-27

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2017)

After a rocky start with Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends (because a friend explained the game very bad and it was a 4 player game) I´m thoroughly enjoying the game, so it is no wonder I want more content for the game. I still need more experience playing with Everfrost, but I really like it.

It is very nice to have a new army for the game, the novelty comes in a new mechanism, the frozen effect. Unlike any other effect in the game you can store it to use when it´s the right time. All other rules remain the same.

The Everfrost faction plays very differently from the other factions.

Bottom line, I really like Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends – Everfrost. It adds a whole new army with very few new rules. This expansion was a must have for me. It adds a very welcome variety to the game. It seems that the Everfrost faction is a bit harder to use than the previous ones.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Unlock!: Escape Adventures – Squeek & Sausage

Unlock!: Escape Adventures – Squeek & Sausage

2017-07-28

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2017)

I really enjoyed Unlock! The Formula, so I was very keen to play Unlock! Squeek & Sausage.

The rules are very easy to teach, you can do in under 1 minute or have players play the tutorial. I´m a bit disappointed this game comes with the same tutorial than The Formula! I was expecting a different tutorial, but this is a minor issue.

Cool theme, better than The Formula.

The art of the cards is cartoony and very good. I feel the difficulty is a bit harder than in The Formula, still it is best played as a 2-3 player game (it isn’t very hard). With more players there are some cards and/or puzzles you won’t see before they are solved and that’s a bummer. We played it with 6 players and I was far away from some of the cards so I didn’t enjoy that part of the game. I will play the rest of the series with my SO as a 2 player game.

I have a bittersweet feeling about the game, like T.I.M.E Stories, once you played through it, you won’t play it again because you already know the answer so it has zero replay value. At least in Space Cowboys´ games you don’t physically destroy the game, thus preserving the resale value. That’s the only reason I bought the whole series of games while I can’t buy The Exit series of games. It isn’t about the money though (the game itself is very cheap), I was raised in a third world country and I was always taught that you do not waste if you can avoid it so I loathe legacy style games that destroy or permanently modify the game. To me, it is immoral and unethical to create games that are disposable (even more when the designer can easily make them resettable), even if they create a great experience. Kudos to Space Cowboys for not doing this.

After playing the game I already sold it as it has zero replayability, however, before I sold it, I showed it to as many people as I could and they all loved it.

I won´t write about the adventure itself due to spoilers, but it was a very interesting experience. It is entirely possible to finish it under 60 minutes as many groups demonstrated.

I loathe to ask for hints when I’m stuck. To me, it is much better to finish the adventure on my own, even if I take more time than the allotted by the app. We managed to finish The Formula without asking for hints, but we did have to ask for a hint in Unlock! Squeek & Sausage .

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I always sleeve my games before playing them but when you sleeve any Unlock game, it no longer fits in the box due to the additional bulk of the sleeves. This is common issue with card games so I use other containers as deck boxes and I never carry the original box. I did so this this time as well so we couldn’t finish the last puzzle that required the original box :/. When we encountered it, right away I saw the code bar, but we didn’t think, literally, that the answer was outside the box. Some friends (and me), liked this development very much, however, other friends felt cheated as the game broke the paradigm that all the answers were within the game and they weren’t amused by it. In all the playthroughs by different players, they all needed to ask for a hint to successfully solve this last puzzle. I love the new level this puzzle adds to the mix. From now on, I will bring the game box as well but I doubt they will use the same trick again.


Bottom line, I really like Unlock! Squeek & Sausage. Its puzzles are not very hard so you can play it well with two players. I already sold my copy of the game due to its zero replayability but I will continue to play all the games in the series. Good Stuff.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Inkognito: The Card Game

Inkognito: The Card Game

2017-07-28

Initial Rating: 5.0 (July 2017)

I was expecting good things from Inkognito: The Card Game. I love the idea behind the game (secret teams, deduction), but it is too simple for us.

The rules of the game are very simple. You can explain the game under 5 minutes and play it under 30 minutes.

The game´s components are ok. The art is regular.

Inkognito: The Card Game retains the core of its big brother game. You need to find your partner and a secret code. Once you know all of these you need to meet with your partner once more to win the game. In theory, the game is great, however, in practice, the game is too simple so it is luck that decides who wins, not skill. Early in each round, there is a chance that you will chose the same location as the ambassador and if you were the only player to go there you can request for a real part of the puzzle, however, it is more likely that you will lose your turn as you tried to meet with another player. Later in the round you can control this a bit better as cards are discarded. Once you meet with a player, you need to exchange two cards, one must be truth and one must be false, due to luck (and due to the fact that there are very few bits of information to find) you could give away a lot of information without getting the same value back. I wouldn’t mind if this was due to skill, but it is pure luck if you get valuable information or not. This issue is more prominent at the beginning of the game. In our game all players knew the correct information, but it was luck that decided the player who could meet first and declare victory. With clever play you can position yourself in a way that, if luck allows it, you can win. To summarize, I feel the game has too much luck. Perhaps, as the game finish so quickly, this high luck factor doesn’t hurt it much.

The decisions needed to play the game are obvious, the deduction too simple. In no time, players know all the correct answers.

Best with 4 players, with 3 or 5 there are some variants that I didn't try.

Bottom line, Inkognito: The Card Game works as advertised as a quick and easy family game with lots of luck. It is way too light for me and the high luck factor bothers me as it will decide the winner most of the time. The boardgame is better (but still not for me). It can be a good game for families, but I already sold it.

Current Rating: 4.0


Board Game: Unlock!: Escape Adventures – The Island of Doctor Goorse

Unlock!: Escape Adventures – The Island of Doctor Goorse

2017-07-28

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2017)

I´m really enjoying the Unlock! Series of games, and I was very keen to play Unlock! The Island of Doctor Goorse which is the hardest of the trilogy. The game really delivers!

The rules are very easy to teach, you can do in under 1 minute or have players play the tutorial. I´m a bit disappointed this game comes with the same tutorial than the other to Unlock! games, but this is a minor issue.

I like the theme. The art of the cards is very good.

Unlike the past two Unlock! Games, this one plays better with 4 players. I made the mistake of playing it alone with my SO and she haven’t played any Unlock! game before so it was a very hard game for us (particularly for her as she didn’t know what to expect). I won´t spoil anything, but this one adds some rules that make the game a lot harder. It took over 4 and a half hours to finish it. The puzzles are much harder than before and I was very frustrated (in a good way). I thought I was a lot better at solving puzzles . I´m afraid I have to confess we cheated a bit on this one (again I won’t say in what way to avoid spoilers) but all of this could have been avoided if we played it as a 4 player game. The high playtime was because we avoided hints as much as possible. Each time we solved a puzzle unaided we felt victory!

I have a bittersweet feeling about the game, like T.I.M.E Stories, once you played through it, you won’t play it again because you already know the answer so it has zero replay value. At least in Space Cowboys´ games you don’t physically destroy the game, thus preserving the resale value. That’s the only reason I bought the whole series of games while I can’t buy The Exit series of games. It isn’t about the money though (the game itself is very cheap), I was raised in a third world country and I was always taught that you do not waste if you can avoid it so I loathe legacy style games that destroy or permanently modify the game. To me, it is immoral and unethical to create games that are disposable (even more when the designer can easily make them resettable), even if they create a great experience. Kudos to Space Cowboys for not doing this.

I really like the new elements they added to this game (I won’t spoil anything ). It’s great to see the variances between games and how flexible the Unlock! System really is. Good Stuff.

Bottom line, I really like Unlock! The Island of Doctor Goorse, perhaps, the best of the series for me. I was frustrated by its difficulty, but I really like hard games. Its puzzles are much harder than before and you need to think in other ways. I don’t recommend it as a two player game. From now on I will play the easy Unlock! games with 2 players and the hard with 4 players. After some friends enjoy it as well, I will sell it (it has zero replayability, so there is no point to keep it among my game collection) , I already have a buyer waiting for it.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Struggle of Empires

Struggle of Empires

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (Jul 2017)

Martin Wallace is one of my favorite game designers. I tend to like his older stuff more so I was very keen to play Struggle of Empires. Before playing the game, I didn’t know (remember) it has any relation to Conquest of the Empire.

The rules seem complex at first but they aren’t hard to teach once you understand them, however, the rulebook doesn’t do a good job at teaching them, so we had many questions during the game. This made the game a lot longer. Playtime could be around 4-5 hours if all players are familiar with the rules. With more than 4 players , it has too much downtime for me, however, the game really shines with 6 or more players :/.

The theme is ok.

The game components are functional, but as is usual from Wallace´s games, they aren’t very pretty. The same applies to the art. The game map isn’t very functional as it appear to have some boundaries that aren’t really boundaries in the rules :/.

Struggle of Empires is a area control game with some neat mechanisms. The alliance system works very well and is the main feature of the game. You can’t directly attack your ally and you can fight together if both players wish to do so. The alliance system also decides turn order. The game´s decisions aren’t simple or trivial. The first part of each turn is to bid for alliances, this decision is very tense and fun as money is tight so choosing the right amount of money and alliance combination isn’t obvious. Each turn you have only two actions (attack, build a unit, move, buy a development, colonize, enslave population, pass) so it isn’t easy to choose the best one, there are many considerations. I really like this part of the game.

There is considerable luck with the battles and the movement to the colonies, but I feel there are ways to mitigate it, so it doesn’t bother me much. However, a bad roll can really hose you at a critical moment. I´m not sure how I feel about the random setup, here, luck decides everything and there is no way to mitigate it.

My big issue with the game is the blatant kingmaking it promotes (one of the worst sins a game can commit). In our game, I decimated a player in the second year, he was out of the game, but in the third year he decided to help another player just to spite me, that’s ok, it’s part of life, but what I really loathe is the way the game allowed him to hinder the rest of us. In the alliance phase he borrowed a lot of money to decide the alliances and he had access to unlimited money. As he couldn’t win, he didn’t care about the penalties so he decided the alliance, even though he had a lot less money than the rest of us. Until this point, I was enjoying the game, after this happened I lost all interest in it and I only finished the game due to courtesy to other players. I didn’t care about the end result. It is hard to understand why Wallace would permit such abuse of the money system, but, reading the rules, it seems we played it correctly (I wasn’t the player who read the rules but I parsed them while we played it, so perhaps I missed something). This is my main issue with the game.

Another consideration, I would have liked the game very much a couple of years ago, but I have changed a lot during this time. I no longer enjoy “dudes on a map” wargame style of games and its derivatives so my desire to play this kind of game was and is very low. I don’t like games in which bash the perceived leader is a constant.

Bottom line, Struggle of Empires can be a good game in its genre, it has hard decisions and lots of tension during its gameplay, but it has a fatal flaw for me, it promotes a blatant kingmaking with its money system and I heavily dislike this feature of the game. It has a high luck factor which I dislike in long games, however there are way to, somewhat, mitigate it. Its best feature is the alliance system which is brilliant. The downtime is too much for me. I will sell the game ASAP. I prefer to play Princes of the Renaissance. I´m disappointed by Struggle of Empires.

Current Rating: 5.0


Board Game: Eminent Domain: Bonus Planets

Eminent Domain: Bonus Planets

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (Jul 2017)

I recently rediscovered Eminent Domain and I’m enjoying it a lot. It is a game I wish to explore further so I, naturally, bought all its expansions.

Eminent Domain: Bonus Planets is a neat expansion to have. It adds some new rules to the planets. Now, there are some high VP planets or some planets that help you more with research.

I like it, but I’m not sure how these new planets affect the game. My gut feeling is that they are a nice addition to the game. I need to play them more. For now, I’m giving it the same rating I gave to its parent game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown

Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 3.0 (Jul 2017)

I wasn’t expecting much from Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown, but still it managed to heavily disappoint me. Dexterity games aren’t my favorite but I tend to enjoy them, still this one is a bad and simple game.

The rules of the game are pretty simple to teach, you can do it under 1 minute. Playtime isn’t 10 minutes, we took over 30 minutes as we were so bad at flicking the die out of the UFO.

There is no theme, but the art is cool.

Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown is a very simple game, you have to flick a die and try to land it an a target. If the face of the die matches the symbol on the target you get a bonus and that´s all there is to it.

Flicking a die isn’t the best option as isn’t designed to do so. Sometimes, it is hard to flick the die out of your UFO as the target is very close. It was fun the first 3 minutes, after that most players were rather bored.

Bottom line, Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown is a very simple flicking game and the worst one I have played. There isn’t any decision to make within the game and luck can decide the winner. It requires some skill to correctly flick the die. I already sold it and I expect to never play it again. It takes way too long for what it offers.

Current Rating: 2.5


Board Game: Twixt

Twixt

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (Jul 2017)

Abstract games aren’t my cup of tea, but I tend to enjoy them from time to time. Twixt is a cool abstract game from designer Alex Randolph. I did like it.

The rules of the game are very easy to teach, you can teach them under 1 minute. Playtime is less than 10 minutes.

I had the 1968 edition of the game and its boards 4 move constantly, you need to find a way to keep the together while you play. When you play it, the board looks gorgeous with the plastic pieces on it.

The game can be played as deep as players want, you can also play it very casually, but there is a lot to consider in the game, its decision aren’t trivial. The goal of the game is to connect both sides of the board. I liked it but I prefer ConHex.

Bottom line, Twixt is a solid abstract game. I already sold it because I’m trying to get my collection under control but I would play again if requested.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Dice Forge

Dice Forge

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 7.0 (Jul 2017)

I really like Seasons a lot and I also enjoy Lords of Xidit so I was very keen to play the next game designed by Régis Bonnessée, after playing it, I can say I was expecting a heavier game, but I still enjoyed it.

The rules of the game are very simple to learn. The rulebook only has two pages. You can explain it under 8 minutes. I have played it under 60 minutes, so it plays very fast.

Dice Forge has a cool theme but you don’t feel it through the game.

Best with 3 fast players. With 4 layers the downtime is way too much for such a simple game, perhaps if all players are familiar with the cards it can flow a lot faster. I really hate high downtimes in games.

The game´s components are amazingly well done, the player´s boards came unpunched already, the dice are big and cool. The art is very good as well. The insert is also very functional and well done. Libellud always pays attention to these things.

The game´s decisions aren’t as complex as I expected, on your turn and on your opponents turn you throw the dice to get resources. The core of the game is to assemble said dice to support your strategy (I hope the dice won´t get damaged easily). You can also accomplish feats (buy cards) to get VPs and other abilities. This part of the game is novel and fun if all players move at a quick pace. I hoped for a harder game, but the decisions are rather simple. I like very much how you assemble the dice and how you improve them to increase the probability to get the resources you want.

Luck plays a role in the game, but in my games the player who played the best strategy has won every time, so, I'm inclined to believe the luck factor is under control most of the time.

Dice Forge comes with more cards than you use in one game, so it seems it has a high replayability factor, still, I expect expansion will come soon as it is easily expandable just with more cards. I´m afraid the game will become too repetitive soon.

After some games, I feel that perhaps the game is unbalanced. I feel it is more important to get sun shard that to get anything else, the reason, they allow you to play two actions instead on one in your turn. I hope this isn’t the case.

Bottom line, I was expecting a heavier game, but it is still fun to play. Dice Forge is a family level game, and as such, I don’t want to play it too often. It is one of the few family games I will be keeping among my game collection for the time being, my SO loved the game as did every friend who has played it. It has great production values. The idea of the game is fascinating to me and I already bought the other game in which you assemble your dice (Rattlebones). For now, Dice Forge is a borderline 7.0 to me, barely a good game.

Current Rating: 7.0


Board Game: Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

2017-07-30

Initial Rating: 6.0 (Jul 2017)

Years ago, I played Crappy Birthday and it wasn’t a fun experience, so I wasn’t expecting anything good from Happy birthday, still, I love GiftTrap so I had some hope for the game. After playing it, the game surprised me as I had lots of fun playing it .

The rules are uber simple, you can explain them under 1 minute. Playtime is less than 15 minutes.

Happy Birthday is a party game in which you get present to a friend and he chooses the best and worst gift to score. When a player has 5 points the game ends. It’s very simple, but with friends it is a blast.

After playing Happy birthday I read the rules of Crappy Birthday and I felt ashamed to find out both games play exactly the same :/, so I wasn’t sure why I disliked Crappy Birthday while I liked Happy Birthday. It could be the player who explained it did so with mistakes (as he is notoriously bad at explaining games), or perhaps the people I played it before wasn’t as fun. Sadly, I already sold my Crappy Birthday game. After further research (while I'm writing this) , I found out the rules of the game Crappy Birthday changed since I last played it and now everything make sense to me. The rules of happy Birthday are MUCH better.

An issue I see with the game is that giving a bad present is rather obvious and it is luck that decides if you have a crappy gift at hand or not. It is much better to give presents people actually likes (and that explains why I didn’t like Crappy Birthday). As it plays very fast, I can ignore this issue for the time being.

I still prefer GiftTrap over this one.

I´m a bit worried about the replayability factor, it seems the game comes with too few cards and some obviously good/bad gifts. Time will tell.

Bottom line, Happy Birthday is an ok party game to play from time to time. I’m not sure it has the legs to stand several plays (low replay value) but for now I’m enjoying it. Perhaps it can be combined with the cards from Crappy Birthday but both cards (weirdly) have different sizes. I will probably sell it, but I will play it again at least once more before I really decide what to do with it.

Current Rating: 6.0


Board Game: Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness

Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness

2017-07-31

Initial Rating: 7.5 (July 2017)

I love Eldritch Horror so it is only natural that I also love its expansions. This is the first big box expansion I have played and I really liked it.

The new rules aren’t very complex, they can be explained under 8 minutes if players are already familiar with the base game´s rules. I also feel playtime remains the same, but I need more plays to verify this point.

Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness adds more investigators, more Ancient Ones, more Mythos, encounter, artifact, asset and spell cards, new monsters. To summarize, it adds more of everything and that’s very welcomed. As Arkham Horror´s big boxes, it also adds a new board to play and the cards to support it. It´s great it adds a new random card (prelude card) to be played on the setup so each game will begin in a different way.

Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness adds a new action to the mix, now your investigator can focus and that helps a lot as it allows you to reroll a die.

I´m ashamed to say we still haven’t won a single game of Eldritch Horror, we were close this time, but we lost. Still we had had lots of fun playing the game.

Bottom line, I really like Eldritch Horror: Mountains of Madness. It adds more of everything for the base game (increasing the replayability) and it adds a new board to play. I can’t wait to play it again! This expansion is a must have for me. A solid expansion for the game.

Current Rating: 7.5


Board Game: Automobiles: Racing Season

Automobiles: Racing Season

2017-07-31

Initial Rating: 7.0 (July 2017)

I absolutely hate racing games, but I love bag building games (like Orleans and Hyperborea) so I finally decided to play Automobiles. At first, I didn’t like game that much, but it has been growing on me recently and now I really want to play it often .

This expansion adds a lot of stuff, some of it badly needed as the base game was beginning to feel a bit samey (mostly due to the small number of tracks, but still a very entertaining game). Automobiles: Racing Season adds new cards of every category (and that’s very welcomed), but it adds new stuff as well. It adds 3 new tracks to play, pilots with special powers, and a season mode to play in different tracks.

I have only played in one new track so far.

I’m still unsure if the pilots are balanced, some of them seem very powerful, however, right now I’m having fun playing with them.

The expansion has convinced me to buy the base game along with all its expansions, present and future. Automobiles is the only racing game I have enjoyed enough to keep it among my game collection.

Bottom line, I like Automobiles: Racing Season, it adds more of everything for the base game and it brings some badly needed replayability to the game. A solid expansion and a must have for fans of the game.

Current Rating: 7.0
26 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Fields of Arle [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:53]
Board Game: Fields of Arle
Tally C
United States
New York City
New York
flag msg tools
badge
"We have to change our way of thinking if we really want to change the future." - Saki Watanabe, "Shin Sekai Yori"
Avatar
Microbadge: I like sharing photos with Instagram.Microbadge:  2019 Women and Gaming Forum Holiday ExchangeMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: I completed the 100 Games x 1 Challenge - 2019Microbadge: 2017 10x10 game challenge hardcore award - I came, I saw, I conquered my original list!
For the month of July 2017, I played 5 new-to-me games and 5 new-to-me expansions. Excepting the three Arkham Horror: the Card Game expansions, it was an exceedingly Euro-focused new-to-me month! I was able to play quite a few games that I’ve wanted to try for years and they happily lived up to expectations. A good month for sure.

== NEW GAMES ==

Fields of Arle - 2 plays -  8.2 
First Published 2014
Board Game: Fields of Arle

My game of the month is Fields of Arle. Several of my favorite bloggers and reviewers have praised Fields of Arle as being one of the most wonderful 2P Eurogames to exist and making it into their Top 10 board games to boot. For a couple of years I was torn on whether to pick it up or not. I’m not the biggest fan of Agricola (it’s a game I think is very well-designed, but not one I feel compelled to play), but I do enjoy some of Rosenberg’s other games (Patchwork, At the Gates of Loyang). Due to how many wooden pieces and boards there are in the box, Fields of Arle is a considerable investment to boot, so I kept deciding against picking it up. A strong sale finally caused me to bite and take a chance, and am I ever glad I did.

Fields of Arle is a solo or 2P game (the upcoming expansion will add a player, though) where players are draining moors, erecting buildings, farming crops, raising livestock, and trading goods for points. All the types of things you’d expect in an Uwe Rosenberg game. There are a couple of ways it substantially differs from Agricola, however. The game’s nine rounds alternate between the Summer and Winter parts of the worker placement board, and (for the most part) players will only be able to place their workers in the current season. While there is some overlap between Summer and Winter actions, most of them are unique, and while only one worker can go to a given spot each round, there’s a designated spot in each season to copy an action for a small price. The resources players need at the end of a round (similar to “Feeding” in Agricola) are also fairly easy to meet, so while you’ll want to keep an eye on them, it feels much less restricting than in Agricola.
External image

Not only is that a good thing due to my own personal preferences, but it’s also great because it allows players to pursue many different paths to gain points. Each player’s board starts with moors that need to be drained or else they are worth negative points at the end of the game, so draining these and purchasing buildings is a solid way to get points. Animals that players acquire during the game will also be worth points, but in classic Rosenberg fashion, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you in regard to storing them and breeding them (or perhaps sometimes eating them or turning them into leather). Pursuing a strong trading network is also a good way to get points, but you’ll need to craft carts and wagons from wood and horses in order to trade goods to towns with specific desires (netting a bunch of food). The main board also has a fascinating Tools system where specific actions get better the more a certain tool is upgraded and certain milestones on each Tool track awards points at the end of the game.

What this all amounts to is that while the requirements at the end of the round aren’t taxing, you’ll still never feel like you had enough actions to finish everything you wanted to do. This leads to a nice amount of tension and meaningful choice without feeling as stressful as Agricola. It also means that you can play each game a little (or a lot) differently if you choose, which I always like to see in Eurogames.

At the Gates of Loyang was my previous favorite Rosenberg, but Fields of Arle has now pushed it to second place. Finishing a game of Fields of Arle makes me feel accomplished (and, admittedly a bit tired) and eager to see how I did compared to my opponent. It’s not highly interactive, but the interaction is definitely there through worker placement and limited supply on structures and vehicles. It’s an extremely elegant, fun, and engaging game that I look forward to playing many more times. While I haven’t made such a list yet, I know it’s certainly now in my Top 10 for Eurogames.

Honshu - 3 plays -  8 
First Published 2016
Board Game: Honshū

I’d heard so many good things about this little trick-taking, city-building game that I had to pick it up. This month, we played several games of the 2P variant, which changes up the trick-taking phase. In Honshu, each player starts with a starting map card and a hand of six map cards. Each map card in the deck is unique and has a number from 1 to 60. For the trick-taking phase in the 2P variant, two cards are flipped up from the map deck to form a pair. The players each select a card from hand, then simultaneously reveal them. These two cards form a second pair and the person who played the higher number gets to select which pair they want; however, before they pick, the losing player can choose to sacrifice two of their resource cubes to pick first instead. Once each player has a pair of cards, they pick one to integrate into their map and one to discard, starting the map-building phase. Map cards have very few restrictions on how they can be placed, except that they must overlap or underlap each other by at least one square (and lakes can never be covered). After three rounds, players switch hands. Once all cards have been played, a second hand of six cards is dealt out. On the 9th round, hands are switched again, and at the end of the 12th round, players score their maps.
External image

Honshu was easy to pick up and quick to play, but despite that simplicity there’s just something so satisfying about it. While I’m looking forward to playing the game with a higher player count (which has a more involved trick-taking phase), the 2P variant works quite well. I really, really like this one and it is currently my filler of choice.


Francis Drake - 2 plays -  7.8 
First Published 2013
Board Game: Francis Drake

Continuing the trend of games we had been eyeing for years, but had been deterred by the price tag (and, in this case, a 3-5 player count), we come to Francis Drake. A summer sale made us bite, and when I posted about our new acquisitions on Instagram, someone mentioned that she and her partner really enjoyed the 2P variant. I’m so glad she mentioned it, because it encouraged us to try it out instead of waiting for a game night.

In Francis Drake, players are privateers sailing the seas, attacking towns, forts, and galleons, and trading wares. The game takes place over three “voyages” (rounds). Each round starts with players gearing up for their voyage where players select actions along a boardwalk. They can go as far as they want on the boardwalk to select their action, but can never go back to an action tile they’ve passed. In the 2P variant, a die is rolled for a dummy player in order to see what action spaces it’ll block off. Once the supplying phase is done, it’s time to set sail! In the 2P variant, a random trade location, a random galleon, and two random forts and their two opposing towns are blocked off in order to tighten up the board. Players take turns placing their discs face-down at the various locations. Once all discs are placed, they’re all revealed and will resolve in ascending order. Each location can only take two successful attacks, with the first successful attack receiving a bonus gem (these gems are kept secret in little treasure chests), so it’s all about guessing what your opponent will do and trying to get the upper hand.
External image

Francis Drake was a lot of fun, and we were both shocked at how quickly a 2P game went (only an hour for our second play). While I’m eager to try it with more players, the 2P variant definitely works (though I imagine there’s more tension in the sailing phase with more players). A really clever game that incorporates some of my favorite aspects of board games.

Pandemic Iberia - 2 plays -  7.8 
First Published 2016
Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia

Pandemic was a game we picked up several years back and was one of several games that began our immersion into this wonderful hobby. We never picked up any of the expansions to the game (we had the older version which was incompatible with the new expansions without an upgrade pack), though we greatly enjoyed the recent Pandemic Legacy. We ended up giving our old copy of Pandemic away to some friends about a year back since Pandemic was only seeing play when we were using it to introduce games to new players.

While I was fairly skeptical when Pandemic Iberia was originally announced, I’d heard positive things about the gameplay in the months following its release. When we had the chance to grab it for $17, I figured it was a good time to give it a try, and I’m very glad we did. Though the core game is much the same, many of the details are different and there are some added mechanics. The most obvious change is the map, but the character abilities and events are also different than the original Pandemic. Since the game takes place in an earlier era, plane travel is gone and is instead replaced with boat travel (being able to travel from port to port) and train travel (but train tracks must be built first with actions). Instead of finding cures for diseases, players “research” them, which is much the same except treating researched diseases no longer removes extra cubes and there is no chance to eradicate them. Instead, players must rely on purified water, which is somewhat similar to the quarantine ability found in other versions. Purified water is placed in regions (the large areas enclosed by city lines), with each token preventing one disease cube from being placed.
External image

We played Pandemic Iberia two times this month. The first time we played on Standard difficulty with no challenges. We very, very narrowly lost (we were literally one action away from winning when an outbreak did us in). THe second time we played on Standard difficulty with the Influx of Patients Challenge. This variant ties up many of the purified water tokens until hospitals are built. There are four hospitals, one of each different disease color. Once each hospital is built, two purified water tokens are available for use, but on each turn the closest disease cube of the corresponding color moves towards the hospital. This might not sound very different, but dealing with moving disease cubes was super intense. This ended up in the worst loss of Pandemic that we’d had in a very long time. I loved it!

Pandemic Iberia is a slightly more “gamery” version of Pandemic, and it really breathes a new life into the game for me. The Influx of Patients Challenge feels fresh and we still have the unique disease variants to try out (each disease color has a special way it works). This should certainly tide us over until Pandemic Legacy Season 2, and I must say I don’t have any desire to go back to vanilla Pandemic after the more variable and more beautiful Iberia version.

Shogun - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2006
Board Game: Shogun

Tyler had been interested in picking up either Shogun or Wallenstein for years, but since the game requires at least three players, we hadn’t bit on it due to the price. When we saw the base game of Shogun on a summer clearance sale, we knew the time had come to try out this classic area control game with a unique combat resolution mechanic.

We played a 5P game for a game night at our place, with all players being brand new to the game. There’s a lot of neat parts of the game, including the randomized action resolution order and the hidden province player actions; however, the cube tower really takes the cake here. There’s just something so suspenseful about putting a handful of cubes into that tower to see who managed to emerge victorious.
External image

Unfortunately, due to time constraints of one of our players, we were only able to play half a game (one “year”). Despite not being able to finish the game, everyone had positive feelings about the game. One player even bought it immediately after our game. I found it to be a really solid area control game that I’m glad we finally got to play, and one I look forward to playing again in the future. It FEELS like a classic, between its easy-to-remember mechanics (once you’ve learned the rules) and the sense that it shows its age a little. There are definitely area control games that I enjoy more (Chaos in the Old World, Cyclades, El Grande), but this one is still definitely worth playing.



== NEW EXPANSIONS ==

Champions of Midgard: Valhalla - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017
Board Game: Champions of Midgard: Valhalla

We picked up Champions of Midgard at the end of 2015 and we got several plays in after acquiring it. While it’s certainly a different game from Lords of Waterdeep, it had enough similarities that we ended up giving away LoW to a friend and keeping CoM; however, though we found CoM to be quite enjoyable, it didn’t feel like there was quite enough variety in the base game to get it to the table more than once every couple of months. When I heard that two expansions were coming to Kickstarter, I jumped on it. This was the kind of variability we wanted to see (and adorable little custom meeples to boot)!

The Valhalla and Dark Mountains expansion arrived this month, and a couple of days after their arrival we got Valhalla to the table. While both expansions can be played together, I wanted to try them both separately first to really get a sense of what each one added (though we did throw all the non-expansion-specific cards and tiles together from the start). Valhalla adds two new leaders, a couple new destiny cards, a new market stall, and two new types of warrior dice (Berserkers and Shieldwarriors). It also adds in Leader Abilities (specific to each Leader) and corresponding Leader dice. Probably the biggest addition in this expansion, though, is the Valhalla board and Sacrifice Tokens. Whenever any of your Warrior dice die, you get sacrifice tokens of the same type. After any type of combat, you can spend these tokens at the Valhalla board. Each card on the Valhalla board (whether Epic Monster or Valkyrie Blessing) has a printed token cost. Buying these cards grants you different types of effects, such as retrieving a Leader die, gaining Glory, or a passive end-game bonus. You can also trade in two tokens for 1 Glory or three tokens for a Warrior die of your choice (any die except Leader dice). In the game we played, this was the only way to get the damaged-focused Berserkers or mixed defense and offense Shieldwarriors.
External image

Though the expansion was extremely easy to grasp (and integrated into the base game seamlessly), we felt like it added a whole lot to the game. Now deciding which Warriors die is a strategic decision, and deciding which Valhalla cards or effects to use (and when) adds yet another layer of strategy as well. The Leader Abilities and dice were also a nice addition, as were the new types of Warriors. I’m definitely sold on this expansion and it’s my favorite of the two new CoM expansions (impressions of the Dark Mountains expansion is two below).

Arkham Horror: the Card Game: the Essex County Express - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2017
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – The Essex County Express: Mythos Pack

We dove back into Arkham Horror: the Card Game (AHTCG) in July, bringing a few new Mythos Packs to the table for their first plays. For all of these plays we were continuing our campaign with Jenny Barnes and Ashcan Pete.

Before playing the Essex County Express, we weren’t entirely sure if we were going to continue buying Mythos Packs beyond it (I picked up Miskatonic Museum and Essex Count Express together to help us figure it out). For me the scenarios had been mostly alternating between “okay” and “good.” Since I felt that Miskatonic Museum was one of the weakest scenarios we had played, I figured that if Essex County Express was also weak, we’d discontinue our campaign for the time being.
External image

Well, bad news for my wallet: Essex County Express was probably my favorite scenario that we’ve played thus far. I won’t go into details, but I the theme of the scenario was very well integrated in this one. We also managed to do rather well in this scenario, something of a rarity for us (I generally have horrible luck). We decided to pick up the next two Mythos Packs based on the strength of this scenario.

Champions of Midgard: the Dark Mountains - 1 play -  7.9 
First Published 2017
Board Game: Champions of Midgard: The Dark Mountains

This month, we also had the opportunity to get Champions of Midgard with just the Dark Mountains expansion to the table. Dark Mountains adds components for a fifth player (with black meeples), two new leaders, and some new rune//destiny/enemy cards and market stalls. The new game element it adds is Land Journeys, where players can send their Warriors off to fight the Bergrisar in the Dark Mountains. Land Journeys function very similarly to Sea Journeys (both have a hidden Journey card, but they’re two separate decks), except players don’t need ships. Defeating the Bergrisar gives points as well as one of the new Archer Warriors dice. Archers have hits on 5 of 6 sides, with a few of the sides also featuring a deer head. When a deer head is rolled during a Hunting roll, the die nets two food tokens instead of one. Archers are instantly killed (perhaps thematically captured?) when brought to fight the Bergrisar .

Dark Mountains is a very straight-forward expansion that requires minimal explanation. Despite that simplicity, I really liked what it added to the game. Having another spot to go to fight enemies is extremely welcome and I really liked the new Archer Warriors. They’re extremely reliable in fights, and they make the hunting action much more enticing. Of all the new Warrior dice (Shieldwarriors, Berserkers, and Archers), the Archers are probably my favorite.

While Dark Mountains doesn’t add the same amount of strategic depth as Valhalla, I still think it’s a very good and worthwhile expansion. I’m really looking forward to our next play of Champions of Midgard where we plan to play with both expansions. I’m anticipating that this will be our preferred way to play from now on.

Arkham Horror: the Card Game: Undimensioned and Unseen - 1 play -  7.8 
First Published 2017
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Undimensioned and Unseen: Mythos Pack

This was the third Mythos Pack we played this month, and while it wasn’t quite as good as my favorite Mythos Pack for the month (Essex County Express), it was still an enjoyable scenario. Ashcan Pete and Jenny Barnes started this scenario rather strong, but at the end things had completely come apart. Despite both of them suffering a trauma apiece, I felt like we were able to accomplish something (though not everything we had set out to do). I’m rather curious about how our particular resolution will affect the last two scenarios in this Mythos cycle.




Arkham Horror: the Card Game: Blood on the Altar - 1 play -  7.5 
First Published 2017
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game – Blood on the Altar: Mythos Pack

Blood on the Altar was not as strong as the previous Mythos pack (the Essex County Express), nor as strong as the one that followed it (Undimensioned and Unseen) but it was a very solid scenario placing it squarely in the middle of the scenarios for me. We could definitely see several of our previous decisions changing how the scenario was composed and how it played out, which was very neat. Unlike our play of the Essex County Express, our luck was absolutely abysmal here and we did not get a very favorable resolution. It will be interesting to see how the consequences of this play will be implemented throughout the rest of our campaign. As an added bonus there were several cards in this Mythos pack that worked well with our two characters.




Note: Thanks to Grimwold for his New to You Tool which helped me generate my list.
27 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Glenn Drover's Empires: Galactic Rebellion [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:8320]
Board Game: Glenn Drover's Empires: Galactic Rebellion
Dustin Crenshaw
United States
KY
flag msg tools
Thematic Colors of Gaming Blog
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Monster Lands fanMicrobadge: StarCraft: Brood War fanMicrobadge: Warhammer 40,000: Conquest fanMicrobadge: Galaxy Trucker fanMicrobadge: Star Wars: Rebellion fan
Mix of bad and good. I did find a couple to really love. Rebellion gets the edge over this war of mine. It's more replayable, easier to get to the table. Both are keepers though.

For more detailed thoughts on these, check out my blog.
Thematic Colors of Gaming

Glenn Drover's Empires: Galactic Rebellion
This War of Mine: The Board Game
RUMBLESLAM
The Godfather: Corleone's Empire
The Castles of Burgundy
Dream Home
Codenames: Pictures
Covert
UFO Hunter
Hospital Rush
Race to the North Pole
Outlive
The Lord of the Ice Garden
Pyramid Poker
Hansa Teutonica
Pillars of Eternity: Lords of the Eastern Reach
Trickster: Champions of Time
Innovation
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:636]
Board Game: Friedrich
Frederic Heath-Renn
United Kingdom
Islington
London
flag msg tools
235689KA
badge
Content Generation For A New Generation
Avatar
Microbadge: I go to London on BoardMicrobadge: I play on Boardgamecore.net!Microbadge: Modern abstract games fanMicrobadge: Splotter fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fan
A relatively quiet month, but a good one, I think.

Wizard Hex (5 plays) - less than 100% inspired iOS board game which we played with a real board. It's okay but a bit overlong and subordinate to many similar games.

Margo (2 plays) - a sort of 3D pyramidal version of Go, but if I wanted to play Go I imagine I would probably be best served by playing Go.

Spline+ (2 plays) - Nicely functional little n-in-a-row game which doesn't let its gimmicks get in the way too much but is still a neatish workout.

Nippon (1 play) - Build your engine so your engine engines the most built. Yes it's incredibly bland and with this sort of thing the first game, where you're more trying to figure out how to fit all the various rules together in a way that might not necessarily flow but at least might cohere and get you some points, is never going to show it at its best, but it seems to work pretty well; I think I preferred it to, for instance, Great Western Trail, even if I probably won't push to play either again.

Flink (4 plays) - I usually dislike connection games but the way the 3Dness works with this one seems to disrupt most of the usual samey ladders-and-such strategising as to render it interesting to me. It's certainly very satisfying to achieve anything in it, and there's a sort of delicious aspect to the twisty convolutions that your paths across the board (or, more usually in my case, not quite all the way across the board) end up taking.

Brass (1 play) - As you might be able to tell from above, I like abstracts, and it was a pleasant surprise how much Brass feels pretty much like a route-building abstract rather than a complicated economic Euro - at heart you are building a network and laying types of tile with slightly different behaviour down across that network to try and score points in vaguely topological fashion, and while I imagine at higher-level (which I'm using here to mean, at all competent) play it feels more economic and arithmetical because your focus is on making sure you have enough income to execute your strategy at the right pace, I reckon there's probably enough of the shifting goods and points between nodes to give it the sort of simple childish attraction necessary to attract a simple child such as myself. One to watch.

But since I liked Maria a lot I guess it should be no surprise to anyone that Friedrich (1 play) is my new-to-me game of the month - while it definitely feels like a less streamlined version of its successor, it is different enough in so many respects as to make it feel like another game that deserves to exist while keeping the neat and stylish point-to-point movement and card-based combat. We were mostly pretty inexperienced and it feels like Friedrich probably needs experienced players to really shine - especially since my namesake has such a tough balancing act to pull off - but it still made me think a long while after it was over.
24 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:55]
Board Game: Dominant Species
Will Plante
United States
Greenville
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Race for the Galaxy fanMicrobadge: Summoner Wars fanMicrobadge: I rate and comment gamesMicrobadge: Bob Ross fanMicrobadge: Plays Games with Spouse
Wow I played a lot of new games in July. Some were games I bought and a bunch were games I played at various meet ups. I'm getting to the point where I want to be a bit more selective about the new games I play, that includes me buying games. I ended up selling some games I had bought at cons that I know I'll never play and got a lot of games in my back log played. I now only have 5 games I own and haven't played and I bought three of them this month. On to the games...



My favorite game of the month

Board Game: Dominant Species
Dominant Species -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (8/10):

I really didn't know much about Dominant Species other than it was known for being notoriously long and nasty. I played a 3p game and there was plenty of conflict, but it made sense in the context of the theme. And while the game was long, it took 3 hours including teaching, time flew by as turns moved quickly. I could see the game grinding to halt if you had AP players; there are some folks I probably wouldn't play this with. I would definitely recommend learning this from someone who already knows the game, it would be a beast to learn from the rule book.

As far as game play goes there are so many moving parts in Dominant Species that I'd recommend watching some videos if you're interested in learning the specifics of game play. What makes Dominant Species stand out is how all of the interconnected actions make sense both in terms of game play and thematically. The rise and fall of a species is definitely a turbulent event and Dominant Species does an amazing job capturing that theme.

While the presentation may not be the best (it looks like an abstract game, minus the terrain tiles) the graphic design and layout is excellent and definitely aids game play. The action spaces on the board are placed in sequence making it easy to see how each action you take will effect later actions. The combination of building the terrain in conjunction with area control is difficult to balance, making for some really nasty surprises if you don't plan well or if potentially catastrophic events take place.

Dominant Species is by far the deepest area control game I've played and has a steep learning curve, but still provided an enjoyable first play experience. The game is not overly complex, it just takes time to understand all the nuances between the different actions and plan accordingly. I really appreciate that this game rewards repeated play and strategies and synergies between actions will continue to unfold as you gain more experience. Dominant Species is one of those games I would recommend to anyone, at least for one play, and hopefully a game I get to play more.



Board Game: Batavia
Batavia -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (4):

I had never heard of Batavia when I sat down to play, but I'm willing to try anything once (something I may want to rethink). In Batavia you are collecting sets of goods to trade in for points and also competing over spaces on the board for area majority points. There is a bit more to it, but the rules are so convoluted that it'd take paragraphs to explain. And herein lies the biggest problem with the game; Batavia is a light, family weight Euro that is bogged down by an extremely obtuse rule set. Going into the game none of us could make heads or tails of what we should be doing. However; after one play I'd have a much better idea of what to do, but the game was so forgettable that I don't have any desire to play again.



Board Game: Castles of Caladale
Castles of Caladale -> 3 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

I hadn't heard of Castles of Caladale when it came out, but once I did I thought it'd be a great game for my youngest daughter (she's 7) due to the simple rules and cute theme/artwork (faires, gnomes and wizards + castle building).

Castles of Caladale is a straight forward tile laying game with one significant difference. During the game you are taking turns selecting tiles from a common display and adding them to your castle. There are three types of structures, wood (inhabited by fairies), stone (inhabited by wizards and dragons)and Tudor (inhabited by gnomes). Some of the tiles have a combination of two castle types. There are a few rules pertaining to how you build, but what sets it apart from other tile layers is that at any point you can rebuild your entire castle. This really opens up the game and makes it very family friendly. There is an included timer you can use at the end of the game if someone is taking too long finishing their castle, this hasn't been an issue in any of our games so far.

My only concern has been how tight scores have been and whether or not the game would end in an inordinate amount of ties. So far this hasn't been the case, while scores are close there seems to be just enough room in the game, especially tower bonus points, to make it harder than you think to achieve a "perfect" score. There is also a speed variant which we haven't tried yet, I have a feeling it will change the scoring dramatically since you'll have the added challenge of trying to complete your castle under a time crunch.

Overall I am very happy with Castles of Caladale, it is definitely a game I would recommend for families with younger children. My 7yo picked it up quickly and while she hasn't won yet she is having fun playing and really enjoys the building a castle versus some of the other tile laying games we've played. Castles of Caladale has replaced Lanterns in our collection; the combination of theme and mechanics, specifically being able to rebuild, has been a hit with all three of our kids.



Board Game: Caverna: Cave vs Cave
Caverna: Cave vs Cave -> 4 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (6/8):

Uwe Rosenberg is by far my favorite board game designer and based on how much I enjoyed what he pulled off with Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small I was excited to play the new 2p version of Caverna.

Cave vs. Cave distills Caverna down to the excavating and room building of your cave. It makes sense that all of the animal husbandry/farming is removed since Agricola: All Creatures already handles that. On the plus side there is built in variability that wasn't* there in All Creaures (*without expansions) or Le Havre: Inland Port because the tiles you excavate from your board have the rooms you can build on the other side. Therefore, each game most* of the rooms will come out in a random order (*there are six starting rooms that are available each game). Unfortunately Cave vs. Cave still suffers the same fate as All Creatures and Inland Port; due to the scaled down nature of these 2p only games there are limited strategies to explore with the base game of Cave vs. Cave and as such Caverna: Cave vs. Cave is a straight forward resource conversion game. However; based on the IP, I'd be shocked if expansions aren't already in the works. I'm interested to see how the game may change if expansion(s) are released, especially since the Agricola : All Creatures expansions added so much to the base game.

For now Caverna: Cave vs. Cave still has some plays left, but I could see it fizzling out after a dozen or so plays unless new content is released. As of now I would recommend the game for hardcore Uwe fans, but I think an expansion is necessary for the game to really shine. As of now I'd rate the 2p versions of Uwe's heavy games in the following order: Agricola: All Creatures + expansions -> Cavrena: Cave vs. Cave -> Le Havre: Inland Port (which while fun for a few plays has never gotten a much needed expansion)



Board Game: Cobras
Cobras -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (8):


I'm always posting about new card games I'm playing and I'm especially fond of trick takers. Another BGG'r (Martin G) recommended Cobras, which was a game I hadn't even heard of. Once I checked out some reviews of the game I ordered a copy thinking it'd be perfect to play with my dad and son.

After only one play, I just got it at the end of the month, Cobras was meet with mixed reviews. My son and I really enjoyed it and as of now my dad wasn't a fan. To be fair, it usually takes my dad a couple of plays before he really picks up on the rules and nuances of a game. And since my son and I enjoyed it I know he'll play again.

As far as the game play goes, Cobras is a relatively straight forward trick taking game with an added set collection mechanic. The scoring in Cobras is what really drives game play. The best you can do is score 21 points for selling 7 snakes; however if you sell 10+ you only get 3 points. The only way to sell snakes is to win a trick, if not you are collecting more snakes from the pool along with the other losers of the trick. Therefore Cobras is just as much a game of managing your own snakes as it is paying attention to what your opponents are doing and trying to screw them over. This introduces a push you r luck mechanic because the closer you get to 7 snakes the more of a target you will become. This is mitigated somewhat by the king cobra card which when played allows you to choose between sharing the victory (selling) or sharing the defeat (collecting snakes). You only have one king cobra, so once you play it you won't see it until the next round.

I found Cobras to be a very accessible trick taking game that would be easily taught to folks familiar with traditional card games. I also think Cobras will appeal to gamers, especially if you enjoy card games with some take that built in. I'm looking forward to some more plays with my dad since I think he'll warm up to Cobras after a few more games. It took him a few plays to figure out Bargain Hunter, which he now enjoys, and Cobras is much more straight forward than that. I'll probably end up introducing Cobras to the rest of my family, I think my wife and older daughter may also enjoy it. Needless to say I am extremely happy with my purchase, thanks Martin!



Board Game: Crazy Race
Crazy Race -> 3 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8/10):


Crazy Race is an excellent, family friendly racing game that is easily accessible to younger children (my youngest is 7). Like all the best children's games Crazy Race is also fun for older kids and adults, I'll definitely be bringing this to my game group when we are looking for a quick filler game.

Ravensburger can be hit or miss with their production quality, but Crazy Race is top notch. There are great wooden components, the board is modular and all the tiles are thick cardboard. The art is cartoony and fits perfectly with the theme.

At it's heart Crazy Race is a push your luck game that uses dice probability. Each player has a lion in a cart being pulled by a donkey; as the game progresses your lion will "recruit" the help of another animal and you'll replace the donkey tile (the animal tiles snap together with the lion cart tile). Each animal, including the donkeys, have a limit value which is the number you need to roll equal to or less than in order to move forward. As you select new animals they may have a lower or higher limit value, a special power and/or an end game bonus value.

The board is made up of spaces that are one of five colors and each color has a die of the same color associated with it. The dice with the best odds of rolling low numbers are also physically the smallest dice, the larger the die the worse the probability of rolling low numbers. The following is the order of the colored spaces/dice with the best odds of rolling low on the left and steadily getting worse as you move to the right:

BEIGE -> GREEN -> TURQUOISE -> GRAY -> BROWN

On your turn you take one die matching each space you want to move through/to. You roll the dice and check to see if it is less than or equal to your limit number, if it is you move forward through each colored space matching a die and stop on the last space you rolled a die for. If you bust you move forward one consolation space. You continue to take turns moving and at certain spaces on the board, denoted by palm trees, you will draft a new animal (last place chooses first and so on). Once someone crosses the finish line the round is finished and everyone moves forward the sum of the bonus values on all their animals to determine the winner.

The variety of different animals are what makes this game shine, there are a lot of fun powers or you'll get an animal with a really high limit value and be able to push your luck even more with the dice. Each time you play your strategy will change depending on what animals you are able to draft. Crazy Race plays fast, the push your luck element is perfectly executed and to is a breeze to teach.

I'm hopeful Crazy Race will be published in English, this is exactly the kind of game I'm looking for as my youngest daughter transitions from lighter children's games to more complex family games. I would highly recommend seeking out a copy if you have a young family and for that matter even if you don't. I'll definitely be keeping Crazy Race in our collection even as my youngest gets older because I could see playing this with our family and friends.


Special thanks to BGG'r nyfilmfest for his English rules translation. I also created a complete list of all the animal tiles with their limit value, bonus value and special powers when applicable.



Board Game: DREIst!
DREIst! -> 3 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (6):

I'm a huge fan of card games so I tend to go out of my way to track down new ones to try. My older daughter is usually game to try out these games with me, so we sat down and played a few games of DREIst to see what we thought.

Unfortunately we found DREIst to be an extremely light card game with very little strategy. Each turn you look at your hand of cards and see how many you can place which may trigger getting an extra card, but that doesn't change the fact that either you can play a card or you can't. The order you play cards in will sometimes matter, but that is the extent of the choices you will make. In fact the random nature of the card draw dictates what you can accomplish on a given turn much more than your decisions will.

Coloretto and Game of Trains are games we own that play in a similar time frame and are much more engaging which means DREist isn't going to get played, so at this point it's going into the trade/auction pile.



Board Game: Ethnos
Ethnos -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (2):


I'll just cut to the chase, I haven't disliked a game this much in a long time. I was really looking forward to playing Ethnos; I love area control and the idea of combining it with a set collection mechanic sounded fun. It wasn't... at all. The game is almost completely driven by luck. Each age, of which there are 3, "x" number of cards laid out depending on player count. That row never refills until a player plays a set and then has to discard their remaining cards to the display, this leads to countless turns of drawing blindly from the top of the deck. Because of this, it becomes difficult trying to plan at all; as the game goes on you can't count on getting a card you can use.

For me Ethnos fails as an area control game; the best part of an area control game is the constant jockeying for position with other players by moving your pieces around. Not only can't you do that in Ethnos, due to the random card draw it was almost impossible to plan when you'd be able to add another token to a specific region.

Ethnos is a frustrating game to play and wastes unbelievable potential. The different race abilities are interesting, although some are clearly better than others; the lack of control takes away from your ability to execute any king of strategy. I will not be playing Ethnos again and I'd caution anyone who gets caught up in the hype of certain reviewers. Marco Arnaudo summarizes the problems with this game in his review. If you are looking for a family weight, area control game that also uses set collection I would highly recommend Royals.



Board Game: Glüx
Glüx -> 4 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

While I usually don't go out of my way to play/buy abstract games, Glux drew me in because of the area control element. The unique aspect of Glüx are the double sided tokens you draw, each side having the pip values from opposite sides of a die (1/6, 2/5 and 3/4). You place a token by counting the value of a token already on the board and placing the new token that number spaces away. There areas of the board (which is a giant grid) which are light; those are the areas you will score based on majority. Majorities are determined by adding the pip values of all the tokens in each lit area. The game revolves around messing with your opponents plans by covering up your opponent's disc(s) with your own, careful planning is a must.

Typical of Queen Games, Glüx is another well produced (albeit simple components) family game. Games are quick making it easy to play a few games in quick succession. While the rules are simple, there is a lot to think about, especially as the board begins to fill up with tokens. I'm glad I ended up taking a flier on Glüx, it offers a quick, family weight area control game that plays well with two.



Board Game: LYNGK
LYNGK -> 2 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8/10):

I'm going to have to stop saying I don't like abstracts, I've really enjoyed the recent abstracts I've been playing and LYNGK may end up becoming my favorite. I'm not going to explain the rules except to say they are the perfect combination of being easy to learn and packed with deep, strategic decision making. You need to think and plan ahead, but I still missed moves my opponent could make due to the linking rule (which allows you to potentially move pieces all over the board) LYNGK is a design that could be prone to severe AP if you analyze each possible move; personally I'd rather play a bit looser and enjoy the game without over analyzing the board state. That, of course, is personal preference.

I've now also played YINSH and it seems to be regarded as the best in the series I enjoyed the puzzle presented in LYNGK much more. What put it over the edge for me is that you don't start the game with certain colors and one of the decisions you need to make in the game is when to claim a color (each player will choose two of the five). That decision adds another layer of depth to the game.

Needless to say LYNGK has been the surprise of the month for me; in fact I ended up ordering a copy right after I played. I really enjoy how LYNGK stretches my brain while trying to solve a complex spacial puzzle and my kids enjoy checkers, so I think this will be a fun alternative.



Board Game: Nemo's War (Second Edition)
Nemo's War (second edition) -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

I was able to play through a solo game of Nemo's War at my buddy Mat's house (he taught me the game as I played which was nice). I was playing the game on the normal difficulty and chose the explorer scenario. There is so much going on in the game that I am just going to focus on some highlights from my game play.

+ Story: I read every bit of flavor text and really enjoyed how my game unfolded.
+ Relatively intuitive rules: there is a lot going on in the game, but between the rule book and board it was easy to play and find any rules that needed clarification.
+ The board is well laid out and contains a lot of the info you will need to play the game once you are familiar with the rules. It is a large board, but there isn't any wasted real estate.
+ Dice are used for everything, from placing ships, combat, resolving challenges and most importantly determining how many action points you have to spend. The random nature of dice make sense thematically and add to the tension in the game. You may have wild swings of fortune, but it makes sense based on the source material.
+ Action points and dice: I found this system to be well balanced. I had an inordinate amount of turns with only one action point to spend and yet somehow I managed to score 252 points (thank you steam torpedoes). I really enjoy games that are punishing and force you to plan out your strategy and use your actions wisely.
- Play time vs. investment: This is my one negative because I'm not sure how many times I'd play a 2 - 3 hour solo game, no matter how engaging it is. It is a huge time commitment, but this really boils down to personal preference.
? Replay: I'm really not sure at this point, it really depends how you look at the game. There are a lot of card which all have different flavor text and missions to undertake, but on the other hand the game mechanics aren't that varied or deep and may begin to lose some luster after multiple plays. I think the replay value found in Nemo's War is heavily dependent on your continued enjoyment of connection between story and mechanics, I don't think the mechanics of game play alone are enough to drive continued play.

These are my initial thoughts after one play and could change quite a bit with further plays. For now I'm content that I got to play a game of Nemo's War and time will tell if I get that opportunity again. Right now I don't think I could justify adding it to our collection because the opportunities I have to play a solo game of this length are so few and far between.



Board Game: Pinball Showdown
Pinball Showdown -> 2 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (6):

I had never heard of Pinball Showdown until a fellow BGG'r discussed it after Origins. I bought a copy because of the theme, I love pinball. Pinball Showdown is a straightforward set collection game that takes advantage of the pinball theme. The most clever mechanic is the use of tokens that represent control or speed. Different cards will have speed requirements and/or effect your speed/control when played.

Unfortunately that mechanic wasn't enough to carry the game for us. This is one of those instances where timing may play an important role in your enjoyment of Pinball Showdown. At this point I've played so many set collection games that a new one needs to grab me in a new way. My wife and I already have our favorites (Morels and Jaipur) so Pinball Wizard won't come off the shelf. That said I think folks new to the hobby or don't already own a couple of straight forward set collection games may really enjoy Pinball Wizard.

I just wanted to give a shout out to the designer, Diane Sauer, for sending a geekmail that made me aware of a rule I missed making the game much better. Also this was her response to how the different cards were balanced and is a cool insight into the design process...

"P.S. (Only if you are interested in how we balanced the card scores) - The reason some cards are lower value than others (besides reflecting real pinball machine scoring) is that all of the green cards that increase your speed from a slow speed are low value on purpose as they are required to get your speed up to complete the higher point cards. Conversely, those that need higher speeds generally slow you down quite a bit making it hard to get other high scoring ones quickly. Additionally, all of the low value cards appear more often on combo cards and those combos are more valuable (there is a formula). Some of those high scoring cards like Mini-playfield do not even appear on combo cards."




Board Game: Rise!
Rise! -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (4):

My buddy Mat brought this out, it's a game he got when he was first in the hobby and hadn't played in years. Honestly I don't have much to say about it. There wasn't anything memorable about the game, it's basically a game of checkers where you are also building the board. You are also building towers once you surround an empty space, but that happens independent of you taking any actions. Rise felt more like a prototype than a published game and isn't something I'd want to play again especially considering that I was also introduced to a couple of games from the GIPF project this month.



Board Game: Senji
Senji -> 1 play

Initial thoughts and rating (4):


I've only played one 4p game of Senji and we were all new to the game, so bear that in mind when you read my impressions of Senji. Senji is Diplomacy with a timer for negotiations with some added set collection thrown into an area control/dudes on the map game. Senji is nasty, be forewarned this game isn't for the feint of heart.

There are a few things that stand out after my play. First of all the set collection mechanism is just plain weird. I thought it detracted from the gamand made no thematic sense [i](this coming from the person that one because of it)
. Collecting sets of cards was much more of a sure bet as opposed to taking part in a bunch of combat scenarios because of the amount of luck involved in combat. I won a battle that I had no business winning because of the fate dice were with me and not my opponent, who also happened to have a bunch of units he was attacking with too. I completely destroyed his forces and that jump started my game and I cruised to victory.

I definitely think repeated play would uncover a decent game*, but I really don't understand why the set collection element is in the game. It'd be more satisfying to me if the game rewarded a more combat focused strategy, but the randomness of combat makes that a very risky proposition. Also; while reading about Senji after my play the consensus seems to be that 6p is best and 5p is the only other recommended number to play with. I'd tend to agree with this, there weren't enough people to negotiate with and the game suffered because of that.

*There was one moment when I saw the spark of greatness in this game. While negotiating you can trade one of your nobles with someone. This is a sort of insurance against attack because if you later attack that person they can assassinate your noble and you lose double the point value of the card and they gain the point value of the card. However; once you trade a card you don't know where it will end up. My son got another player's noble and then later traded it to me. On the next turn that person attacked me and their face dropped when I then I assassinated their noble. It was absolutely priceless!



Board Game: Spires
Spires -> 2 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (6):

I Kickstarted Spires because it was billed as a trick taker and I thought I'd play with my dad and son (we play a lot of card games together). After a couple of plays I realized my dad wouldn't like the game at all, mostly because in Spires trick taking isn't the main element. Instead it's more of a drafting game with the potential for some trick taking.

In short three cards are laid out in a market numbered 1 - 3, next everyone secretly selects a market card which has the number of the market assigned to the card they want, if players select the same market then they each play a card from their hand to try and win the trick (i.e. card). There are some rules that govern which cards will win a trick and it is very straightforward. The game is all about collecting sets of each of the six colors, but no more than three of a color. Collect anymore than that and you lose points. On some cards of each suit there may be one of three symbols, the person with the most symbols also scores some extra points. This really didn't add much to the game because of the random nature of how many of those cards show up and ended up feeling tacked on.

I 'll admit I got sucked in by the beautiful art and didn't research the actual game play enough. I'm guessing that a lot of folks will enjoy what the game has to offer, personally I was expecting a much different game. Spores reminded me of a more convoluted version of Coloretto and for what I want out of this kind of game (something quick and simple to teach) I'd much rather play Coloretto, which is a much more streamlined game.



Board Game: Träxx
Träxx -> 6 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8):

Träxx is another game in the same vein as Karuba and Avenue because you are building a route to move around a map and score points. While Karuba has the best theme integration it is also the most fiddly to set up and has been a major detractor from getting it to the table. Träxx removes all pretense of theme and is a map made up of colored hexes with numbers 2 - 10 scattered about.

If you're old enough to have played Snake on the Atari you'll feel right at home playing Träxx. Each round a card is flipped showing the colors you can move through that round. The only rule is you must start at one end of your line and lines can never intersect. You're trying to get lines through the numbers to score points while also going through as many spaces as you can (empty spaces are each -1 at the end of the game).

That's the game, if you're a fan of spacial puzzles you'll probably love Träxx. Games are brisk, you can get a couple of games in about 20 minutes or so. The boards are dry erase so you don't have to worry about running out of sheets (although Avenue gives you a huge pad).



Board Game: YINSH
YINSH -> 2 plays

Initial thoughts and rating (8):


YINSH is the second GIPF game I've played; I learned LYNGK earlier this month. Similar to LYNGK, Kris Burm has managed to create a deep, strategic game play experience based on a very simple and intuitive set of rules. I found YINSH to be slightly more straight forward than LYNGK (which is my favorite of the two because the game opens without you being a specific set of colors). I would recommend either game to folks, who like me, have written off abstracts. This series of games has made me rethink my thoughts on abstracts and I really think the kind of thinking you engage in while playing these games is great for kids.

I've found that trying to write about an abstract is tough unless you want to give a rules breakdown (which I'm not interested in doing), the best thing I can say is that so far the GIPF games have managed to create a really compelling decision space to explore; add to that the excellent components and the GIPF games rise above the other abstracts I've played. I'm excited to check out the other games in the GIPF series since I have a new found respect for abstract games. I've already bought LYNGK and depending on how much my family enjoys playing that, I may end up getting a copy of YINSH too.



As always thanks for reading and please feel free to ask any questions.

Cheers,
Will


I use a 5 point scale to rate games on BGG to simplify things for me. I really don't want to spend time deciding whether a game is a 6 or a 7, so I nixed the odd numbers. I may give a game I'm on the fence about a split rating (6/8), then change the rating when I update my thoughts a year later. When use a split rating, I use the lower number in the BGG database.

10 -> A classic that defines a genre.
8 -> The evergreens, games I always enjoy playing.
6 -> Not a poor rating, just an average one.
4 -> A game I don't enjoy playing and/or has a theme I really don't like.
2 -> A game I really dislike and will not play again.
29 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Century: Spice Road [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:235] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Board Game: Century: Spice Road
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Splendor fanMicrobadge: 7 Wonders fanMicrobadge: King of Tokyo fanMicrobadge: GCL Beehive--BuzzworthyMicrobadge: 5 Year Geek Veteran
A LOT of great games tried out this month!

Board Game: Century: Spice Road
Century: Spice Road = 9 Plays

External image


This was a surprise since my impression after the first play was that there was nothing unique or spectacular with this game. However, I enjoyed each succeeding play more and more and now this has become one of my choices for best gateway games. The gameplay is a mix of Small World in the way you acquire action cards as you need to place cubes on cards you skip over during selection, and Splendor since you are trying to collect and upgrade your cubes to get the proper color combination so as to claim VP cards. This difference is that here you need to use the action cards you start with and acquire in order to generate your actions and these remain on the table until you spend an action to retrieve all of them, which is similar to Concordia. This has been compared to Splendor and I must agree since you are building your engine in order to get the correct colors to buy VP cards. This is a slight step up though since you have to craft how your engine works unlike the previous game where your actions are fixed. This has been well received by all my gaming groups so it's a keeper.



From gallery of Photodump
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure +
Board Game: Clank!: Sunken Treasures
Clank!: Sunken Treasures = 8 Plays

External image


I like deckbuilding as a mechanic and also like those titles which combine deckbuilding with a board like Trains and those titles with the A Few Acres of Snow mechanic. I confess to be not as up to date with newer titles but I knew I had to get this once I really paid attention to it. Basic gameplay is like any deckbuilder with this game generating movement (to move between locations on the map), skill (to buy new cards), attack (to defeat or avoid damage), and gold (for VP and to buy items from the market). The new thing with this game is that some cards generate "clank" which are damage cubes of your color and when a new card is revealed on the tableau of cards you can buy then all these cubes are put in a pouch with black dragon cubes and certain number of cubes are pulled. Each cube of your color gets put on a damage track and if this track is full your are either killed or KO'd depending where you are on the map. The end game is triggered when a player with an artifact either escapes the dungeon or a player is KO'd and that means the rest have basically 4 rounds to try to escape the dungeon.

I really like this game as it is quite thematic and the tension it induces once you see someone make a mad dash back to the surface. The clank and dragon attack mechanics is also exciting and while being able to escape back to the surface gives you 20 points doing so is NOT the only way to gain points and win. Buying VP cards and collecting multiple artifacts (with the help of the backpack) is also a viable strategy and as long as you end up out of the depths you may have collected enough loot in order to offset the fact that you got knocked out. A game that can also be expanded with new cards and new maps which hopefully increases the fun level makes this a keeper for me.



Board Game: Mechs vs. Minions
Mechs vs. Minions = 2 Plays

External image


I finally had the chance to try out this gorgeously produced game with my sons Sherwin and Shawn, who were the reasons why I splurged on this title (which is ridiculously cheap for waht you get btw) as the boys enjoyed Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and while this is really not a true legacy game it was intended to be played as a campaign and you only reveal additional components when you finish missions. It is a cooperative programmed action game where each player handles a mech and each turn drafts 1 or 2 cards (under time pressure in later missions) and then use these cards to slot into their command board (or scrap for a beneficial effect). Cards either move, turn, and/or attack and by stacking cards of the same color on top of the other you can actually level up an action (up to level 3). The main opposition in the game comes in the forms of over a hundred minion minis and while they only take a point of damage to kill each one adjacent to your mech each round deals your mech 1 point of damage in the form of cards. These cards either have a funky effect or are slotted on top of your command cards forcing your mech to do an action you may not want. Damage can be repaired by scrapping certain action cards or by repair points on the map. There is also a gigantic boss model which I assume to be fantastic (I have not opened it yet) and other hidden stuff which I look forward to revealing.



Board Game: Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (Second Edition)
Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (Second Edition) = 1 Play

External image


This WW2 tactical combat system has always fascinated me and I ultimately bit the bullet and ordered several boxes of the system. I got to try the intro scenario with my regular wargame opponent Bob and we both liked the "you act I act" system that made us watch each other's moves closely. The game differs from other tactical games since each player's units have action points but only get to spend these points one action at a time and players alternate actions until that unit is spent and another has to be activated. There are rules variants which adds a fog of war element to this in order to keep your opponent guessing but we did not manage to try that. The system is quite simple since most info is printed on the gorgeous large counters and the production quality is really top notch. Looking forward to more games as well as being able to generate our own scenarios as well as playing solo versus the AI from the Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion.



Board Game: La Granja
La Granja = 2 Plays

External image


I liked the dice game version of this so much so that I traded my copy of Imperial Settlers for this. I have been a fan of games which use cards in different ways and this was no different as each card could be used in 4 ways (as a field, as a wheelbarrow for delivery, as a farm extension, or as a farm helper) but with mechanics involving dice drafting as well as area control this game is definitely one for a fan for eurogame mechanics. This can definitely be a candidate for slowdown if you have AP prone players, but the game does restrict some of the choices you have to make (through a restricted hand size initially and limited slots for some of the card uses). A game which gives you the same feeling from Stefan Feld titles with some slight "take that" area control mechanics since you can display opponent counters from the market board. A good catch for me!



Board Game: Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition
Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition = 1 Play

External image


My group is a great fan of Guildhall so i managed to convince Kent to buy all 3 boxes from this rethemed family. The gameplay is almost the same but I think the gorgeous art turned out to be the most distracting part of the retheme. It was difficult to read the icons as the art was a bit too busy and we had to constantly read the character cards for guidance. I would like to try this out again with the recommended 6 roles in each class which I think would give better balance.

36 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.62 Overall Rank:2]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
cliff hutton
United States
Plymouth
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction fanMicrobadge: Ice hockey playerMicrobadge: Sci Fi Games fanMicrobadge: I Play All GamesMicrobadge: Miniature Painter
Played 2 new game this month, both where good games but it wasn't even close.

Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1


If you like / love pandemic like myself (and almost every who likes co-op or communist games as my one gaming buddy calls them), you will like pandemic legacy. Thought it was interesting watching my oldest niece who has a little bit of OCD permanently put stickers on her game. Ok so maybe if you have an issue permanently marking up your game you may have some issue. But other than than it is a very good game. we play it twice (we fall the first game, won the second one).



Board Game: Champions of Midgard
Board Game: Champions of Midgard

Champions of Midgard

My BIL got a pimp out version of the game via KS and we played one game of it (got my a$$ kicked). Was fun, a little bit of like Lords of Waterdeep meets Stone Age but with more theme and push your luck. would like to see it with more players.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:60]
From gallery of Photodump
Jeff Wolfe
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
Zendo fan, Columbus Blue Jackets fan, Dominion Fan.
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Jeopardy! fanMicrobadge: 2.718 281 828 459 045 235 360 287 471 352 662 497 757 247 093 699 959 574 966 967 627 724 076 630 353 547 594 571 382 178 525 166 427 427 466 391 932 003 059 921 817 413 596 629 043 572 900 334 295 260 595 630 738 132 328 627 943 490 763 233 829 ...Microbadge: Firefly fanMicrobadge: Fluxx fanMicrobadge: Wolf lover
I only played 11 different games all month, but 7 of them were new. Weird.

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure - 1 play
First Published 2016
Everybody's going gaga over Clank. I enjoyed it and it's new game of the month but don't read too much into that. Not my favorite deck builder. Or my second.

Word Slam - 1 play
First Published 2016
I prefer Word Blur, although there is one or two things Word Slam does better. Word selection of the clue words isn't one of those things.

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends - 1 play
First Published 2013
I had fun with the variant we played but it's not really my type of game and I don't expect it to go anywhere on my personal playlist.

Sandships - 1 play
First Published 2016
New game for Pyramid Arcade. Looney Labs sent it to fans as a Christmas gift and I'm just now playing it. It was okay. There are certainly other pyramid games I'd rather play.

The Godfather: Corleone's Empire - 1 play
First Published 2017
Another game that was fun but not really my type of game. I should have just referred you to my comments above about Tash-Kalar.

Ice Cool - 1 play
First Published 2016
Fun. I don't tend to like dexterity games, but somehow games that involve flicking pieces around are the exception. After I played it, I learned that it had won Kinderspiel des Jahres.

The Lost Expedition - 1 play
First Published 2017
Nice little co-op filler. Probably would've been game of the month if I hadn't selected Clank.
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:172]
Board Game: Cyclades
James Moline
United States
Tampa
FL
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 fanMicrobadge: Yedo fanMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level I - One small step for geek... One giant leap for geek-kind!Microbadge: Gears of War fanMicrobadge: 2019 Silver Supporter
Board Game: Cyclades
Cyclades - Cyclades has been on my list of games to try for a couple of years now. I love the theme, and I've been coming around more and more on area control games (even though I'm still bad at them). The auction for the favor of the gods is a really interesting and interactive action selection mechanism. The area control on the board and the ways you make metropolises for the victory conditions are all good. The game takes a little while to ramp up, but it's interesting even when it's slower at the beginning. I'd definitely like to play this again, but I doubt I'll pick it up, just because it will end up fighting for table time with Kemet, Blood Rage, and (eventually) Rising Sun.
Rating: 8

Board Game: Dice Forge
Dice Forge - I bought Dice Forge on a whim because I like the art and I love Seasons (by the same designer). I had heard that the game is a good bit lighter than Seasons, and I know that disappointed some people. It's true that it's lighter, but I don't think that has to be a disappointment. I put this on a level with Splendor and Century: Spice Road. Light engine building, but interesting and fast playing. There's some variety in the box with the different cards you can swap out, but the game is really begging for expansions. Even with what's there, though, I think we'll get quite a few plays out of this one.
Rating: 7.5

Board Game: Mastermind
Mastermind - I really like deduction games, so my wife suggested we try this game she used to play as a kid, Mastermind. This is a fun, thinky exercise in deduction. There's a way to keep score and have a winner, but I don't actually think we'll play that way very often. We bought two copies of the game (it's only $10), so that we could each be both code-maker and breaker at the same time to cut down on the downtime. This is a great puzzle game, and it really makes me wish I had backed Rising 5: Runes of Asteros on kickstarter.
Rating: 7.5

Board Game: Sol: Last Days of a Star
Sol: Last Days of a Star - I wasn't expecting very much from Sol: Last Days of a Star when my friend brought his kickstarter copy to a game night. As he set the game up, and I saw the bland art, my expectations did not improve. Once we started playing, though, I found the mechanics of the game to be really interesting and puzzley. The game is interactive, mostly in a positive way (other players can use your stuff on the board, but you potentially get a bonus if they do). There's sort of some blocking, too, but you'll see it coming a mile away if you're competing with someone else for the same spot on the board, and it's easy to adjust. The art is pretty bland and kind of abstract looking, but the gameplay didn't feel abstract to me. The game is deterministic enough to me that I wonder if dominant strategies will emerge over time. I don't really want to know, though, because, even if that happens, I'll enjoy my plays of it until then. I liked this game, and look forward to playing it again.
Rating: 7.5

Board Game: Panamax
Panamax - I still haven't decided if I'm going to pick up a copy of Panamax. I enjoyed the gameplay quite a bit. I think the logistics of moving goods through the canals and deciding how to both help and hurt your opponents through that mechanism is both interesting and interactive. The action point allowance for loading goods and moving them is fun and really challenging to be efficient. I'm a little less crazy about how the only thing that really matters at the end is your own personal money, and how difficult it is to get that going. Unless we played something wrong, the only way to get personal money is through stock dividends, which you then need to use to buy more stocks. That part could become more interesting as you get better at the game, though, as you're essentially betting on another player and then you have incentive to help that player's company push their goods through. I'm willing to reserve judgement on that. The real killer for me right now, though, is that the game was okay at 3, but it was easy to see it would much better at 4, and much worse at 2. I just don't know if I'd be able to get it to the table enough to be worth it. Still, I really enjoyed the game. I'll have to try and play it again at some point to help me make a decision.
Rating: 7.5

Board Game: Werewords
Werewords - 20 questions is much more difficult than I expected. It's not a game I've ever played very much, so I'm sure there's a skill there that I need to hone, but I have no idea how we were supposed to get to Yoga Mat in 4 minutes of questions. I guess that's where the Seer comes in, though. I wouldn't say I was surprised by this game, because I fully expected to like it, and I do. I was a little surprised by how good it was with 4 players, especially given that in many 4 player games, there's only one player who doesn't actually know the word! On the other hand, I'm now wondering how well it will play with more players, just because with 4 players it was still really easy for one person to dominate the questions. A couple of the people I played with felt like the game was skewed in the wolves' favor, but I think this is one of those games that feels that way early, but swings the other way as you get better at it. We were all a little surprised by how many chits are in the box. We found that you only need one or two of any given type. I'm really looking forward to exploring this one more.
Rating: 7.5

Board Game: Cottage Garden
Cottage Garden - There's not a lot to say about Cottage Garden. It's basically Patchwork with a slightly less interesting tile selection mechanism, and one wrinkle from A Feast for Odin thrown in (spaces on the grid you don't want to cover). It's fun, fast, plays more then 2, and has cats. Winner.
Rating: Demo Only

From gallery of Photodump
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure - Clank! has been on my radar for a while, but I've beed hesitant to just buy it, because I wasn't sure it was one that would hold my interest. I was happy to get a chance to play it, and I think I was probably right. It was a fun game, a bit like DungeonQuest with deckbuilding instead of tile laying. The push your luck didn't feel super risky, but I guess we were playing the easy side of the board. Like many deckbuilders, I think this one will need expansions (both maps and cards) to really give it legs. It uses an Ascension style card market, which is not my favorite, but there is a decent amount of variety in the deck. I did have a good time with it, but I don't think I'll be in any kind of hurry to pick it up for myself.
Rating: 7

Board Game: Skull
Skull - Skull has been on my radar for a while now, and I finally bit the bullet when I saw it on the shelf of a local store. I enjoy bluffing games with simple rulesets, and this seems to fit that bill. Like many of the bluffing games I've played, though, this one seems like it will take several plays for the players to really get into, just because if you just play the mechanisms as written, the game feels like random guesswork. I believe that the real game will emerge once we start getting into bidding strategies a bit more. For that, though, we need to play it enough to build up a meta. I'm hoping it gets that far.
Rating: 7

Board Game: Ponzi Scheme
Ponzi Scheme - If nothing else, Ponzi Scheme is definitely a mechanically thematic game. You're drafting investment cards that give you money upfront, but then you'll have to take further investment down the line to pay the interest. I had a lot of fun playing this game, and I look forward to playing it more. I'm not sure at this point what the luck/skill ratio is in this game. I won my only play of it, but I'm fairly certain that it's because I managed to draft investments that had much better interest rates, and that felt like luck to me. The trading and set collection aspect of the game is probably where the skill really comes in, but it will take more plays to really see what kind of depth is there. Regardless, the game is laugh out loud fun, so I'm happy to give it more plays.
Rating: 7

Board Game: Ancestree
Ancestree - Ancestree was a fun drafting and tile laying game. Think 7 Wonders with only military scoring and set collection, but with an added puzzle aspect to fitting the tiles together in the best way (for the aforementioned set collection). The theme is whatever, and the art was kind of bland (and I was told that the art was final on the version I played). I think it would be a good fit as a casual filler. I'm not sure if I'll pick it up, but I can definitely think of some people I know that will enjoy it.
Rating: 7

Board Game: Guilds of London
Guilds of London - I love London, and I'm pretty much willing/eager to try any game with a London theme, so Guilds of London has been on my list to try for a while. Ultimately, I think it's a fine game, but not really that noteworthy. The theme felt really pasted on, and there was a ton of iconography that was a bit weird/unintuitive. The mechanics were interesting, and there was a lot of player interaction, but the game just kind of felt flat to me. I would be willing to play it again, if asked, but it's not one that I'm going to seek out very often.
Rating: 6.5

Board Game: Yamataï
Yamataï - This is very sad for me. I love Five Tribes, and I can see the fingerprints of the same designer in this game. There are a lot of interesting decisions, and clever ways to make a plan work. The problem is that AP and downtime is really baked into the design, especially at 4 players (the only player count I have tried). On every turn you take, the board state will be drastically different from the last, so you'll have to take a decent amount of time checking the board to see what you can do. On top of that, there are multiple different possible actions to take, so you have to consider all of them to see how you can make each one work. There's nothing for the other players to do while you're considering all of this, though, except to fiddle with their phone or otherwise check out. Even worse, though, the longer you have to wait in the round for your turn, the less options you will have when it finally does get to you, so your turn will actually be reasonably quick. And if the other players chose the actions that allow them to go earlier in the next round, tough luck, you're going to be waiting around for not many choices again. I would play this one again at a lower player count, and I hope it would be better that way, but I don't know when or if that opportunity will ever come up. I'm certainly not going to be picking this up.
Rating: 6

Board Game: Inis
Inis - I only played this one time, and we didn't even finish, so take this with a healthy serving of salt, but this was most definitely not a game for me. The mechanics are interesting, don't get me wrong. I like the card drafting and the way battles work. The king of the hill aspect for winning/ending the game isn't my favorite, but I can imagine it would improve with experience. I can't forgive the low effort take-that, though. I could maybe forgive it if it was just the one cancel an action card (that effectively costs you a turn and a card), but there are also a couple of cards that allow you to just randomly take a card from another player. It's one thing to have to adjust your strategy because another player made a shrewd decision on the board. It's entirely different to have to adjust because your carefully drafted hand just got thrown into upheaval for no good reason. I love the other games in this line (Cyclades and Kemet), but I would not play this again.
Rating: 4

20 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:323]
Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue
The Witcherlorian
Australia
KILLARA
VIC
flag msg tools
badge
Want something fun to read - Check out My Top 100 the 2019 Edition!
Avatar
Microbadge: "Target acquired. Citizenship Star has been launched!"Microbadge: I give out citizenship starsMicrobadge: The Geek Citizenship Recognition Program Rolls On!Microbadge: One does not simply recognize great geeks. Not with 10,000 stars could you do this...Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level VI -  Is six any more shiny? ... Well, it's one shinier isn't it? ... Okay, why don't you just make five a bit more shiny and then that would be the most shiny? ... Because these go to six.
In a month that saw 6 games come out of the dust (one that sat languishing for more than a decade) it may be no surprise that only 1 new game featured. But there are a few expansions I now have enough experience with to comment on as well.

New to Me

d10-1 Flash Point: Fire Rescue

This one had been a long term 'shrink wrap' baby on my shelves. Finally I got to taking a look at it and I was fairly happy with what I found.

Most will already know that this is a co-op, much in the same mold as Pandemic, wrapped in a firefighting theme. The key difference here is that there is a little less control on where fires may break out compared to the semi-known nature of Pandemic, but I really dug that aspect of the design. Smoke and fire behaviour is very cleverly handled and I thoroughly enjoyed my plays of this in July.

It is however the ugly step-sister of Pandemic as the two games are worlds apart from a visual standpoint.

I am more likely to play this one more solo than I am with others and keep Pandemic and its iterations for playing with my Annie.

How good it actually is long term is yet to be seen but there is enough here to warrant further exploration over the remainder of 2017.



New to Me - Expansions

d10-2 Tokaido: Crossroads
Board Game: Tokaido: Crossroads


This is a 'must have' expansion for Takaido as it offers a slew of new characters to play and also adds an additional option to most if not all of the locations that can be visited.

Fans of Tokaido will even admit that the base game is fairly simple, so Crossroads is really required to breath new life into the game and give the players a little more decision making as they play.



d10-3 Tokaido: Matsuri
Board Game: Tokaido: Matsuri


This is a less of a 'must have' but is still fun all the same. This expansion offers a few more characters but the main addition are a deck of cards that act as global events for all players.

The catch here is that the first player to reach each of the intermediate Inns is the player to draw 2 of them and select the one they wish to take effect. This adds just a little more incentive to reach the Inn first and I like that addition as well as the semi-chaotic nature of the cards.

Whilst this expansion is not essential I would prefer to play with it rather than leave it out.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.16 Overall Rank:15]
Board Game: Terra Mystica
Carthoris Pyramidos
United States
Littleton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: I found Lita Chantler!Microbadge: Hassan-i Sabbah, The Old Man of the MountainMicrobadge: Fin de siècle - DecadenceMicrobadge: Cyclades fanMicrobadge: Aleister Crowley, "the wickedest man in the world"
Knightmare Chess (third edition) - 3 plays -  8 
First Published 2014
Board Game: Knightmare Chess (Third Edition)


This game got onto my wishlist after being strongly endorsed by a co-worker many years ago. I finally picked up my copy a few months ago, and it idled until early this month. I've been playing with my daughter and having a fine time with it. It's basically fairy chess on steroids: You draft a deck of cards from a larger pool, and then you have a five-card hand throughout the game that allows you to alter the rules modern chess as you play. Even in the primitive form where both players share a draw deck, it's far less random than you might think. In this pic, you can see a Seat of Power (red chip, allows any piece on that space to move as a queen) and the Heir (white cat, serves as a "spare" king):

Board Game: Knightmare Chess (Third Edition)


Terra Mystica - 1 play -  8 
First Published 2012
Board Game: Terra Mystica


I noticed this game with interest when it first came out in 2012, but somehow persuaded myself that I wouldn't really enjoy it. Well, I played in a five-player session where all of us were veteran gamers new to the game, and we all liked it quite a bit. I was Nomads on my first outing, and I was second to last in final scoring. I imagine I'll play it again soon. In retrospect, I should have expected to dig this, since I am already a big fan of medium-to-heavy euros with low randomness such as Luna and Antike Duellum.


Saint Petersburg (second edition) - 1 play -  7 
First Published 2014
Board Game: Saint Petersburg (Second Edition)


We played a two-player session, with none of the modular add-ons. It's a fun game, if showing its age just a little. I can see where more recent games lifted ideas from this one.


Monochrome Chess - 5 plays -  7 
First Published 1996
Board Game: Monochrome  Chess


As a two-player game, I prefer Monochrome Chess to its progeny Martian Chess, although the latter is fun at higher player counts (with chess wedges to make suitable boards). Monochrome Chess only "needs" two matching chess sets if you want to do the visual stunt of playing with all the pieces the same color. It's sufficient to scramble the pieces between the players in the board setup, in order to break the ownership-by-color of conventional chess. So our setup looks like this:

Board Game: Monochrome  Chess
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:2101]
Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set
David Fox
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Proud to run STAG - the Sevenoaks & Tonbridge Association of Gamers
Avatar
Microbadge: Scrabble fanMicrobadge: Typography EnthusiastMicrobadge: Azul fanMicrobadge: Gloomhaven fanMicrobadge: The Doors fan
LOVED...

​​​
Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Mummy's Mask – Base Set

Pathfinder ACG Mummy's Mask​ - 6 plays - Initial Rating 8.5

OK, so accuse me of double standards, I don't mind. I bumped Wrath of the Righteous from top slot two months ago as I'd played the Pathfinder ACG before. But... even with that caveat PACG: Mummy's Mask stands out from the crowd for me this month.

As usual, there are a few tweaks to the basic rules established in previous incarnations, but it feels like there's a greater emphasis on all characters partaking in all aspects of the game, rather than being out and out specialists. My only downside is what I call "variance creep" whereby, with expansions, even the basic cards add extra itty bitty rules to make them unique and 'worth' being in an expansion. That said, even the three hour initial set up time was fun. It's probably in-between RotR and S&S for difficulty so far (only done six scenarios, though). Not masking my enjoyment of this one.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank
Neil Edmonds
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Do you need more card ideas for the D&D Adventure System games?
Avatar
Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: Defenders of the Realm fanMicrobadge: Shadows of Brimstone fanMicrobadge: One does not simply recognize great geeks. Not with 10,000 stars could you do this...Microbadge: The Geek Citizenship Recognition Program Rolls On!
for his Adventure Guide: this is the first time I've played a campaign with the extra story flavour and it's amazing how much of a difference it makes.

LIKED A LOT​

​​​
Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin

EXIT​ (Abandoned Cabin) - 1 play, obviously - Initial Rating 8

Having really enjoyed the Pharaoh's Tomb, the Abandoned Cabin was up next and, while we did enjoy it, the puzzles didn't feel quite so much in our groove as the previous game. That said, I suppose the "A-ha!" moments were made more satisfying because of it, but whatever terms I use, it wasn't quite as good an experience. Scored 9 stars, though, and still didn't have to destroy anything, so completely reusable.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
We overthought the niGHTmare puzzle as it looped around an errant H, so we were looking for other Gs and Ts, rather than the obvious ones; and had a mechanical decoder error with the wilting flowers puzzle (my fault!) which caused us to waste time looking for another answer. Some of the puzzles flew by in seconds, though, but perhaps that was experience. The J-O-U-R-N-A-L stumped us for a while until I had a flash of inspiration; and, after Pharaoh, the 'secret' under the insert was no great surprise. Good, but not as good as Pharaoh.


​​​
Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia

Pandemic Iberia​ - 2 plays - Initial Rating 7.5

An enjoyable variation on the theme of Pandemic, with a refreshed aesthetic and a different enough vibe from the original to warrant a (half-price, admittedly) purchase. The new roles fit nicely with the different mechanics and there is good potential adjustment to the difficulty with the disease characteristics. So far, it has been relatively comfortable: the Event cards seem to be a lot more powerful than in previous versions. The cubes are a bit measly for a 'collector's' edition, and I was missing one of the pawns from my copy, but nothing too worrisome. Muy bien.

LIKED

Board Game: Oh My Goods!


Oh My Goods - 4 plays - Initial Rating 7

Despite not liking his idiosyncratic video review style, I enjoyed Rahdo’s guest appearance on the Dice Tower podcast and it was his rhapsodic review of the Longsdale in Aufruhr expansion which persuaded me - for the princely sum of eight English pounds - to buy Oh My Goods! Helps that I like Alexander Pfister as a designer, too, though I had initially been put off by the early reports of it being ‘broken’: something fixed by an updated ruleset, I understand.

OMG! is a multi-use card game of converting resources and chaining them to produce more valuable resources: highest VP wins when any player has built an eighth building. There are strong hints of San Juan (albeit no action selection) but with added push your luck. It is a clever design and one that takes time to ‘grok’, especially when not all the production chains are created equal (though presumably balanced enough). It’s not easy to get into, though, and it isn't going to wow anyone visually, but it is solid and I can see how a (solo) campaign could really kick the game into gear. Good game, bad name.


​​​
Board Game: Extra!
Board Game: Can't Stop Express


Extra! (aka Dice Solitaire) (aka Can't Stop Express)​ - 9 plays - Initial Rating 6.5

Well, this was a pleasant surprise: following on (although preceding in this list) from Qwinto, I've enjoyed Sid Sackson's Dice Solitaire very much, both playing on my own to beat my high score (currently 65) and with my son (to sneakily improve his maths). For such an old game, it's a great 'patience' type solo filler, which gives me a huge Lost Cities vibe (penalty for started-but-unsuccessful line is -20 points!). Yes, the dice can hose you, but there's also a 3% chance of a 'free go' once you've picked your three Fifth Dice. Expressing my respect for Mr Sackson: way ahead of his time.

​​​
Board Game: Qwinto


Qwinto​ - 7 plays - Initial Rating 6.5

I used to have an irrational prejudice against roll and write as a genre (no reason, just did): no more! I have owned VivaJava TDG for a long time, but never really thought of it as such; however, Qwixx (played last month) and Qwinto definitely belong in this bucket. Qwixx went a little long for the depth but was otherwise OK. Qwinto is quicker, a little more evil, and with more agency and interaction. It is a bit of a ‘one trick pony’ but still fires Qwixx for me (although neither take up much space and use similar dice, so keeping both is easy).

Qwinto’s schtick is to fill in three rows in ascending order, using 1-3 dice, but the kicker is that no number can appear in the same row or column, which is where the evil appears: both in how you can choose to roll dice no-one else can use, but also in the game spanking you for decisions made earlier. Replayability is fairly low, so spread it out.


​LIKED A BIT​

Board Game: Tramways

Tramways - 1 play - Initial Rating 6

On a phlegmatic night, I was happy to play Tramways, despite the accompanying ‘heavy game’ caveat: but, like many weighty games, it’s actually not too complex once you get going, although it did take time to arrive at that destination and we only started playing proper about 45 minutes after deciding on the game.

This is an Age Of Steam-esque (so I'm told) route-builder and passenger-delivery game, which uses a smidgeon of deck-building alongside a fairly brutal auction. I’ve never been a fan of auctions in games, but despite its counter-intuitive nature, this auction makes sense in the context of the game. Its importance was a bit of a mixed bag: the regular winner got the best cards, but a lot of stress (negative points); the regular loser got some truly dreadful cards, but kept his money. There is no catch-up mechanism, just a slap in the face for being first in turn order.

After that, there are two phases of building, which grant great flexibility in card use and, although the ugly board looks like it’ll clog up quickly, there was a fair amount of space for all concerned to build their routes. Not that doing so was made easy for those with poor cards (or a bad shuffle), which was a little disappointing for a game about route-building and moving passengers. Rinse repeat another five times and there’s the game done.

As an open design, Tramways could potentially be very fragile: I can how see players who are out of the running might turn to other in-game diversions and the fact that you can run a passenger through other players' stations, granting them points, would allow for a large degree of king-making.

​​​
Board Game: Kingdomino

Kingdomino​ - 9 plays - Initial Rating 6

I think this is one of those games that, like King of Tokyo is going to be successful because of non-gamers. I don't really feel like the target audience, but I can see me putting it in the bag going to 'introductory' games nights and so on, because it is so darn easy to teach and play. Simply put, there's a mini-auction for tiles, where you pay turn order, you then place acquired tiles into your kingdom, matching a land type; score is squares of contiguous land type multiplied by crowns (buildings) in that area. It's fine. It did/didn't deserve to win/lose the SdJ. (Delete as you feel appropriate.)

Board Game: Ivor the Engine


Ivor the Engine​ - 2 plays - Initial Rating 5.5

As an IP that I have loved for over 40 years, I was happy to pick up Ivor the Engine and hold onto it until my son grew old enough to play rather than toy with it. That time has just about come… at six, he easily grasped the rules but not yet the strategy or tactics, both of which exist but are quirky. There are almost two distinct stages to the game, enforced by the rule which says that a location must be cleared of wandering sheep before jobs can be completed there. This leads to some unnatural shuffling back and forth between locations to clear them out, especially if you hold one or two job cards for adjacent locations. Played with just three, this has meant very little interaction and I can see why two players was not put on the box. The game allows players to be quite mean: having your route blocked causes a slow, lengthy detour.

Overall, I enjoyed playing ItE, but it feels more gamer-y than family-y than I expected (to be fair, because I liked the IP, this was picked up without reading reviews). There’s definitely a game here, but I can understand families tweaking it to suit their own style.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
23. Board Game: Strozzi [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2158]
Board Game: Strozzi
David B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
Microbadge: Ra fanMicrobadge: Race for the Galaxy fanMicrobadge: Tides of Madness fanMicrobadge: Amun-Re fanMicrobadge: Ticket to Ride fan
Board Game: Strozzi

Strozzi

This is basically a Medici variant that is more accessible, not that Medici is inaccessible. Strozzi basically simplifies the auction to an almost trick taking mechanism as every player has 1 "trump" token they can use per round. Players bid on ships that already have the goods on them. There is also a set collection mechanism for end game scoring similar to the monuments in Ra. At max player count, some players can get hosed by turn order, but at 3 and 4 players, and perhaps also at 5, this is an
outstanding and underapprecited game.

Board Game: Medici vs Strozzi

[u]Medici vs Strozzi[

It's better than its ranking indicates, but I can see why some may not like it. Though the math involved is simply addition and subtraction, there is a lot of it. And it can be really odd to end up with MUCH less money than you started with and still play well. Still a good battle of wits.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
24. Board Game: Orléans [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:25]
Board Game: Orléans
Evan Scussel
United States
Longwood
FL
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Cardboard Klatch MemberMicrobadge: Chicago Blackhawks fanMicrobadge: Parent of big brother and little sisterMicrobadge: University of ConnecticutMicrobadge: University of Rhode Island
In the spirit of this geek list, I'm not going to list EVERY new game that I played in July (I did go to Dice Tower Con after all), but I will list every game I rated at a 7 or higher, which represents a "good" game in my mind and something most people would probably consider owning. My threshold is typically 8 or higher before I buy a game, unless it's a lighter family title that my kids would also enjoy.

Board Game: Champions of Midgard: Valhalla
Board Game: Fury of Dracula (Third/Fourth Edition)
Board Game: Orléans
Board Game: Kemet
Board Game: Lignum (Second Edition)
Board Game: Puerto Rico
Board Game: Signorie
Board Game: Cry Havoc
Board Game: Lords of Vegas
Board Game: Biblios
Board Game: Roll Player
Board Game: El Grande
Board Game: Trickerion: Legends of Illusion
Board Game: Dice Forge
Board Game: Champions of Midgard: The Dark Mountains
Board Game: Flip Ships
Board Game: ICECOOL
Board Game: Port Royal


 9   Champions of Midgard: Valhalla NEW!
 7.5   Champions of Midgard: The Dark Mountains NEW!

I'm gonna lump these two together because, why not? The base game of CoM is a 7.7 for me. Dark Mountains feels like more of the same formula. It's good, not great. The new Bergrisar monsters are cool, as are the Archer dice, but the Archers are mainly good for hunting, which I rarely do in the base game. So, it adds a bit, but it feels unnecessary. However, Valhalla changes the game significantly and for the better. In my previous plays of the base game, someone always lost when they went to fight a monster at the bottom of the board and failed, either because of the journey card or because they simply rolled poorly. That was something you could never overcome. Now, with the Valhalla chits you can spend when your warriors die, it really adds a bit of strategy and greatly removes the luck aspect of the game. I'll never play without Valhalla. It's great. My only complaint is that with all three expansions, the game is a huge table hog. But that's a nitpicky complaint.

 8.6   Fury of Dracula (third edition) NEW!

I loved my play of this and was so glad I got it off my shelf of shame. I played with four experienced players and they made the game such a joy for me. The hunters were calculating throughout and the element of planning together to get Dracula is borderline thrilling. Twice Dracula almost escaped our clutches, so there is definitely high tension in the game. The game's length is the only impediment to it hitting the table regularly. I now realize this game will come out at least twice per year, once when I attend Dice Tower Con each year and once again around Halloween. I will force this to the table if I have to.

 8.6   Orléans NEW!

I loved everything about Orleans. I don't own it, but I certainly will at some point. The game is easy to teach, easy to learn, plays fast, has ample strategy, and is really, really fun. I can see Orleans rising to a top 10 game of all time for me, I liked my first play that much. I can't wait to play more of the base game, but the expansions seem very interesting to me as well, especially the Trade expansion coming out this fall.

 8.3   Kemet NEW!

Kemet is the first of two "dudes on a map" games this month that I really enjoyed. Due to time issues, we only played the game to 8. I wish we played this to the full count of 10. I love that this game encourages you to attack throughout and I also love that every spot on the board is equidistant to all the other players. Finally, the game is really calculating because if you have just one guy in an area, he becomes a target for the other players to get a quick and easy victory point. Therefore, respawning back at your home base is usually the best call. There is so much here that is counterintuitive to other DOAM games that I find it wonderfully refreshing.

 8.3   Lignum (second edition) x4 NEW!

I played Lignum four times at Dice Tower Con and my rating is purely for the design excellence found in this game. That said, the game is VERY heavy and a constant brain burn for the full two hours. So much so that I'm not sure I can classify the game as "fun", unless you are into that sort of punishing, uncompromising gameplay. I really have to be in the mood for such an experience. It's staying in the collection due to the unique theme and the really cool mechanics that are unique to my collection, but I bet this game has a hard time hitting the table repeatedly in the future.

 8.3   Puerto Rico NEW!

I have the same problem with Puerto Rico that I have with Orleans. I loved it on first play, but knowing there is an "Anniversary" edition (or "Deluxe" edition in Orleans' case) may prevent me from buying it. I don't know what it is, but knowing a really nice version is out there somewhere makes it hard for me to buy the "plain vanilla" version. In Orleans' case, I can pimp out the meeples by buying the extra package on Meeple Source, but what do I do in the case of Puerto Rico? The game is wonderful, but the board and graphic design are dry and boring in a very The Castles of Burgundy way. I don't know why this bugs me so much, but it does.

 8.2   Signorie NEW!

I really like What's Your Game titles, but they all have an element in common that isn't positive. They don't excite people to play them. It doesn't matter if it is Railroad Revolution, ZhanGuo or Asgard, nobody seems to want to play them all that much, despite very favorable reviews and word of mouth. I think the thing that I have found in common with this publisher is that the games are EXCELLENT, but none of them seem to have high replay ability. ZhanGuo might be the exception of the titles I have referenced, but in Signorie's case, each player board is largely the same except for the family tiles that differ on each board. That makes the game basically a puzzle that never changes from play to play. Railroad Revolution has a bit more variability and ZhanGuo probably has the most of the titles I have played, but regardless, there is just something about WYG titles that leaves me uninspired to get them back to the table with regularity.

 8.1   Cry Havoc NEW!

Cry Havoc is beautiful to look at and the four asymmetric factions are unique and interesting. This could also apply to Scythe. So why did I really take to Cry Havoc whereas Scythe fell flat for me? First of all, the Cry Havoc board feels smaller to me, which encourages player interaction and combat, something Scythe discourages. Second, the combat system here is more interesting to me than the one in Scythe. Finally, there is way MORE combat here than there is in Scythe. So add all that together and you have one game I rate as "very good" and another that I only rate as "OK". I obviously am in the minority with this one as Cry Havoc languishes in the 300's on BGG while Scythe is a top-10 favorite, but no matter. I'm happy with this in my collection and am very much looking forward to it hitting the table again soon.

 8.1   Lords of Vegas x3 NEW!

Everyone I have introduced LoV to loved it. The game is colorful and fun. It doesn't overstay its welcome and is perfect for both established hobby gamers and non-gamers alike. I just wish I could get my hands on the expansion. Another thing I love about this game is how at one moment it appears as if someone has a commanding position and will dominate the game and the next moment they are scrambling to recover, all because of what the other players do and how the chips (or dice in this case) fall. Wonderfully thematic!

 8   Biblios x3 NEW!

A great filler that I picked up in trade at Dice Tower Con and has hit the table three times this month and keeps getting requested. This is the only auction game in my collection and has caused me to start to seek out other games that incorporate this mechanic well because I quite enjoy it here.

 7.9   Roll Player NEW!

I really enjoyed my play of Roll Player and I'm excited to get my copy (and the expansion) when the Kickstarter delivers in February. I like the challenging decisions you have to make here and there is just enough dice mitigation to help you achieve your objectives, but not so much that that game feels easy. In fact, I liked the restriction here quite a bit and found that element of the game lacking in Sagrada by comparison. The theme may not be for everyone, but you can't argue that it's not perfectly implemented here. I think Roll Player: Monsters & Minions will do for this game what CoM: Valhalla did for that one.

 7.7   El Grande NEW!

Can you appreciate a design, recognize a classic game when you see one and yet still not want to buy it? That would be El Grande for me. I just don't really care for area control games unless they feature combat. So despite the wonderful mechanisms in this game, this remains something I will gladly play when asked, but have no desire to buy.

 7.7   Trickerion: Legends of Illusion x2 NEW!

I feel very similarly about Trickerion as I feel about El Grande. However, I love worker placement and thematic euros, so I'm surprised that this one didn't grab me more. I found the base game too short, the advanced game too fiddly with all the special power cards and the game is a bear to teach to newcomers. I think if you played this more and more, it would improve upon each play. I just don't think I want to invest the time to find out.

 7.6   Dice Forge NEW!

I enjoyed this, then my wife played it after me and really liked it, then my seven-year old son Hunter played it and really liked it too. This may be one of the few instances where a game rated below 8 finds its way into my collection. However, I'll wait to see if I can find it on sale before taking the plunge. I have to commend the game on its great production values. The dice here are wonderful and I love the art in the game. It's a very sharp looking game on the table.

 7.2   Flip Ships NEW!
 7.1   Ice Cool x3 NEW!

I'm not a dexterity game guy, but these two games are excellent. A 7 for a dexterity game on my rating scale is like a euro getting an 8.5. I bought Ice Cool for my kids and we have played it now three times and I can see it hitting the table 2x per week until we get burned out on it. It's that fun. Flip Ships is similar and the theme takes me back to my Space Invaders/Galaga youth when I rolled into the local arcade with $10 worth of quarters in my pocket. Two very different dexterity experiences, but both equally satisfying.

 7   Port Royal x3 NEW!

A very mixed bag for me when playing Port Royal this month. Twice I played with high degrees of frustration where I thought the randomness of the card draws were too luck-driven to make this a game I would want to play over say, Oh My Goods!. However, my last play of the month was with a full complement of five players and the cards didn't really dictate the outcome as much as my first two plays. The final play was won by the player who played the best, and the player who kept pushing his luck came in last, as you would expect. Therefore, the game rose in my mind after that play to barely rank in the "good" category. However, that rank is very tentative until I get more plays under my belt.

All in all, an excellent month and one in which I added eight of these games into my collection with another 2-3 that I will add later on via Kickstarter or through opportunistic sales or trades.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls