Summer of [mostly] solo play continues...
2x - CoB:TCG - solo
In the penultimate round of my first solo play against the AI in CoB:TCG, it put up some serious points surging passed me to a 13 point lead. Somehow I managed to close the gap and keep things tied up after the last round for the win, 33-33. In the second game the AI got its revenge by establishing a 12 point gap in the third round that I could not match for an early defeat, 23-13.
2x - CoB:TCG
My wife got up early and surprised me for a couple of games over coffee so we broke CoB:TCG out. She played me like a fiddle in the first game embarrassing me with a dominating win, 28-20. I bounced back a little in the second game making it a little closer but she still played the noticeably better game for a morning sweep with a 30-27 win.
1x - Viticulture Essential Edition - solo
1x - Istanbul -
I wanted to try a new solo game and broke out Viticulture. Its setup and gameplay was straight forward and not fiddly which is nice for replay ability. But scoring 20+ points in 7 rounds sounds a bit daunting. I filled three wine orders and managed to put up 15 points and played in a reasonable amount of time. I got some cards that went my way and the automa had one turn in particular where it blocked the three actions I really wanted so it might have evened out. I will definitely be back to try this one.
My wife's aptitude in racing games continues. We started the evening off with a 2p game of Istanbul where I mistakenly thought I had one more crystal than I did taking a route I thought would allow me to leverage a 0 move card for a double crystal purchase only to watch my wife beat me to crystal number six for the win to take a 2-1 advantage and complete my 10th play for this year's 10x10 Challenge.
- 18.0 mi - early morning ride
1x - Viticulture Essential Edition - solo
My solo play of Viticulture was a pathetic and epic fail. I could not get anything going and the automa seemed to know my every move and blocked me multiple times (hee... hee...). I just could not get anything (money, wines, orders) to line up for me until the sixth round and I managed to score a 4 and a 5 pts order in each of the last two rounds to cover have the spot. This solo variant has owned me in my first two plays.
I've made the most of my quiet mornings while the family sleeps this summer but welcomed the surprise appearance by my wife this week to join me for a couple of plays and coffee.
I decided this week to break out Viticulture and learn its solo mode to give me some more options over the upcoming weeks. I might need to consider doing a Top X Solo Games blog after the summer is done.
On the training front my calve strain is healing nicely, I think I'm ready to give an easy, flat run a go early next week and see how things feel.
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List at 68/100
SO, last week we played a very customized version of
The Voyages of Marco Polo
We all played with 2 Character Tiles each...
but I won't recommend this variant!!
Oh... Everytime, and I mean
EVERY TIME we take a little break , someone keeps on putting an annoying ' LEGO dog ' on the board.
'That dog made it look like we weren't very welcome!'
At some point, it was a real
I must say:
I will NOT sell my copy of Marco Polo
1 copy is enough, ...no need to buy another one!!
'Why not play some overrated games??'
So we played
Pandemic was a 'long time no see',
luckily we got some
help from Outer Space to
'clean up the mess'
We really like a nice game of Pandemic:Why? the 'shut-up-and-just-do-as-I-say'-mechanism is still great! ,
the gameplay is phenomenal :
1 player does all the work while the others have a drink
... and afterwards, everyone in the room has the feeling
they achieved something together!
Very weird, but very nice!
2 facts you might not know about
Some say it all started with a 'spoiled pizza'...
Those shiny cubes look so funky at 6:00 AM
Let's solve the problem most people have with
Century: Spice Road
This 'Full Basket Promo Card' adds (some)
balance to the game
The 'Raiding Caravans Expansion' will slow down the leading player as well
The next day, after breakfast , we played
'The Market Riot' ..(could be a scene from the upcoming: )
'Hungry Meeples on Strike expansion'
Sometimes, it's hard not to play
'The only drawback
'Way tooo many furnitures!'
Too bad a 'human wall to keep out the Riff-Raff' isn't allowed
One of the most exciting things in Keyflower is getting a nice shipment
Alltho these can be very disapponting
'Thats all you got mate??'
One game we included
Ghostie can be an extremely powerful 'Keyple'..
(but a very ugly one)
I already spoiled this image at the top of this post, but the thing is,
the others tried to mess up my AP ('analysis paralysis') again with this
Splendor guy trying to be funny
It didn't help much
'Did you play with the animals?'
'Huh? What animals??'
These animals! Of coarse we included
The Farmers (The Animals)
(crowd saying 'Ooooh')
(crowd saying 'Aaaah')
Other things you could do with the expansion:
That was a lot of Keyflower still is one of my all time favorites, with or without the expansions But there's always room for some extra tiles & special Keyples
Between 'AP-sessions', the others played
Mr. Jack Pocket
'The Usual Suspects' are getting a bit boring,
time to draw some new ones!
2 days later
Hermagor was on the table
This aged oldie is totally off the radar here,
but we still ADORE it!
My favorite thing about it is...
'The Market System'
it's a game within a game!
Very challenging... but ooooooh so much fun!!
ue to holidays
, empty stomachs
and climate changes
we weren't able to play more
games, so I apologize
I would like to thank you for your time and patience!
The layout may be confusing, but so are you
Board Game: Musée
[Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:3209]
I hope you are all fine and I hope you had a great gaming week.
A lot of games played this week for us, both with the family and with my nephew, niece, Brother-in-law and sister-in-law (at the en of the week).
Qwixx : 2 2-player games
Two games with my older daughter. I won one and lost the other. Still a nice game, especially with the two new scoresheets.
Musée : 2 2-player games
My older daughter's favorite game (maybe). We really enjoy the games we play even if we haven't played it for a long time. :-)
Shiba Inu House : 1 2-player game
Discovery game, of this interesting pattern recognition and reaction game. First game with my older daughter. I won the game 29-28 but it was close :-)
I was quicker than her on the third level :-)
Hatsuden : 1 2-player game
Another discovery game of this Japanese game. INteresting two player game which reminds me of Lost Cities or Schotten Totten.
Dice Stars : 1 2-player game
A little dice game, we like. For the first time I think I mamaged to defeat my older daughter ;-)
Splendor : 1 2-player game
Game with my wife. She won 15 - 5. I don't know why I focused on the 1st level cards. I never led the game. She always took the cards one turn before I could... :-)
Qwixx : 3 2-player games
Defintely not my day !! 1 draw (56-56), and two defeats (quite large). She was quicker than me at closing the rows in both games she won !!!
Love Letter : 1 2-player game
One love letter game with my brother-in-law. He had discovered the game some weeks ago and he asked me if I knew it :-) I answered him that I had 5 different version of Love Letter (one from Taiwan, one From Seiji, one from AEG,one version with Filosofia characters and one last only in Japanese for a reprint done by Seiji, only for Japan).
I terribly lost the game, not able to one more than a round !!! ;-)
Qwixx : 2 2-player games and 1 3-player game
I decided to teach the Qwixx Gemixxt to my brother-in-law. I knew he would like them. We played one game with my older daughter too. I discovered that we didn't have the same way to play. I usually try to play the games fast whereas on the contrary he tried to tick all the squares... :-)
Ice cool[/thing : 1 4-player game
A birthday present for our nephew :-) Then we played together (my son, my niece and my nephew). I wanted to teach him the game before he came back home :-). Nice game, they (my nephew and my niece) realy enjoyed it :-)
[thing=205046]Capital Lux : 2 4-player games
Two games with my wife and my sister- and brother in law !! They really enjoyed the game, but they think it is hard to master :-). We had a nice moment playing this game:-)
Ice cool : 1 2-player game and 1 4-player
Two games. I taught my brother-in-law how to play the game and then we had a game with my nephew and my sister-in law :-) She won :-)
Qwixx : 2 4-player games
Two games with my wife and my sister- and brother in law !! It was time to tach the game to my sister-in-law. It confirmed the way they are playing contrary to us :-)
Qwinto : 1 2-player game and 1 3-player game
Two discovery games for my brother in law :-) He really enjoys dice games and roll-n-write games too :-)
Shiba Inu House : 1 3-player game
I taught this game to my nephew and to the son of my wife's cousin. Well one was 6 the other was 8. My nephew (who is younger) was slower than my wife's cousin's son :-) They enojyed the game, but sometimes it demanded to much concentration from them :-) Not really easy for them to remember that the cards were double sided :-)
Dominion Intrigue : 1 3-player game
We Ended the day by playing a Dominion : Intrigue game. My daughter won the game, as we didn't managed with my brother-in-law to get enough money quickly to get quickly the Provinces as she did. Good Game !!
We also managed to close our fifth game from the 10x10 challenge.
We have played three new games this year : Shiba Inu House, Hatsuden and Musée :-) So we have now plyed 66 different games :-)
In terms of translation : I worked on a lot of games this week Mini Park, Numeracy Legends & the Gluttony Dragon, Bard Saga and Animania.
THat's all for the moment.
Have a nice gaming week :-)
Thanks for reading :-)
Board Game: Ships
[Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1801]
Fernando Robert Yu
Only Kent was available as we visit the nearest boardgame cafe within the subdivision.
Up Front = 1 Play
I teach Kent the next module (City Fight) which introduces more movement rules as well as infiltration, demo charges, and close combat. Kent used the Germans again while I used the British. The game was one of ups and downs as Kent and I aggressively advanced until we were in very close range. The difference was that I managed to secure buildings early while Kent often had to use open ground just to get out of movement. The close range gave the both of us opportunity for infiltration and demo charges on both sides were used. My attempts for close combat had a comedic turn when my morale 4 soldier failed his morale check twice to enter close combat. Kent managed to wipe out by 4 man group B which enabled him to increase his hand size by 1 card but my firebase managed to hammer away until 6 Germans were killed by deck 3, causing his squad to break.
6 killed Germans in a cityfight means a win for my British, who lose 4 men!
Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis and Clark = 1 Play
This very nice dice manipulation game was up next and play was very quick as managed to befriend a few tribes which gave me a real boost in crossing mountains and the river. This enabled me to fulfill more discoveries than Kent and although he had the greater tepee count I still come up on top in the end.
Exploring and documenting new species proves greater than befriending the native tribes as I defeat Kent 53-40
Race for the Galaxy = 1 Play
The last game of the evening had us play this with Kent managing to settle a couple of very high point planets for the runaway win.
Kent manages to settle some humongous planets en route to a 49-34 win!
I call for another game night and both Jim and Kent joined me. I selected games with a Naval theme as the theme of the night.
Ships = 1 Play (NEW)
Martin Wallace's Brass: Lancashire is one of my top 10 games ever and it is because of that I have been gotten some of his other titles of which this is the latest. I selected the naval theme so that I could try this out and essentially it is a civilization game with disc and cube management as the main mechanics. Discs are used to designate ownership of cities and you remove them from 2 tracks which gives you more space to hold goods and money, which is a mechanic similar to Hansa Teutonica although with that game it improves a player's ability. Merchant cubes are used to pick your actions but also as goods on the board and you will need to retrieve them back at some point in order to continue doing things. Scoring is done whenever someone manages to advance to a higher level ship or gets to place his cubes or discs on the next level area on the map. This abstractly simulates the fact that advances in naval technology were key to world exploration and players can actually get penalized in points for having ships 2 and 3 levels behind the leader. The game definitely has the Wallace feel and we all liked it despite the fact it took us almost 3 hours to play!
Kent "gets it" in the 2nd half of the game as he finishes strong in area scoring! Kent 222 Me 191 Jim 187.
The map at game end.
Sail to India = 1 Play
The long play time of Ships meant that only this could be played. The game proceeded very quickly as Kent pushed towards India. However, the game ended when both Kent and Jim's cubes were gone and it ended up a very close game with Kent beating me by a point.
Kent is master of the seas again as he just manages to edge me out! Kent 20 Me 19 Jim 17
Mechs vs. Minions = 2 Plays
My boys Sherwin and Shawn finally agree to start the campaign by trying Mission 1: Mistakes were made with me. The mission involves our mechs having to tow a bomb across the map with minions moving towards the bomb and spawning on empty rune points every turn. The bomb has only 5 hit points and if reaches 0 the bomb explodes and we lose. We took the same Yorgles as in the tutorial (Ziggs, Corki, and Tristana) and despite the presence of unlockable abilities we learn the hard way how difficult it is to move the bomb as we end us losing twice!
Game 1: My Corki (who was the dseignated tower) leaves the others behind which exposes the bomb to attacks and it explodes in just 20 minutes of play!
Game 2: We proceed much more carefully and try to clear the map of minions first. This meant we managed to proceed to level 15 and unlock our overdrive abilities although damage cards kept on interfering with our actions as the minions kept on coming. Our abilities were making us really clear a path for the bomb though and just as we thought we could get away with it and win a minion slides along the oil and explodes the bomb just as everyone gets their order boards free of damage for the final push!
This weekend was pretty good, board/card game wise!
We started Friday with an evening of fillers:
Ubongo Mini x2 *new for me*
Qwixx x6 *new for me*
What's Up x2
Saturday was set out to give This War of Mine: The Board Game a try. We started with the "learn out of the box"-setup and played a whole in-game day. It went okay, we got a lot of loot, but all the time, it didn't feel like we played together.
After we shopped for dinner, we tried a day more, only to see my GF be more and more passive while playing the game. I think the game suffers from alpha-player syndrome (or I do ), even though the "leader" of the round has the possibility of veto if he/she wants to do something completely different than the other player(s).
Since I played the computergame quite a bit, my GF was more like "you probably know what you are talking about", making it a solo game where my GF was just reading the parts in the Book of Scripts. It's a shame, but I think it might also be difficult if a player has trouble being immersed in a board game.
I don't know if it's because we didn't play it 100% correct, or if it's because my GF is just not the type of person for this type (read: multiple-hour-long) of games. I will try with my roll-playing group soon, to see if that changes things.
In the evening, we played a game of Formula D and one more game of Qwixx.
Even though I think it's too bad my GF doesn't like the same kind of games as I do (the heavier ones, we both like a lot of fillers), she is still an awesome person to play games with, just because she gives the heavier games a try anyway
Board Game: Unfair
[Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:684]
Partially because I think I spend too much time just drifting around, and partially because I feel I simply should play more I am going to try to get into the rhythm of a little solo breakfast gaming. I am usually up before KT, so this represents a time of day when I can get those quick one-player games in, or maybe not so quick, depending on how early I rise. Candidate one for the week was The Bogey, one of my current squeezes and a game I am enjoying more and more as I play it. As with most card games it is subject to the whims of fate, but as with the better card games I always feel that I could have done better if I had concentrated harder or played more effectively. I got off to a good start, but came unstuck pretty quickly thereafter, and need to be more aware of the balance between discarding cards in order to get better cards and not finding myself waiting for a reshuffle for something important. I started the gaming week with a loss.
In the afternoon we cracked open our copy of Unfair for the first time, tripping lightly through the rules and setting up for a Pirate/Robot themed experience. Sorting the cards was simple enough, even despite the generous apology from the publishers because not all the packs were pre-sealed in their individual decks. Given that I have had to sort out the cards in Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game the apology seemed superfluous, but it was a nice touch, and indicative of the kind of attention to detail that was obvious elsewhere in the game, from the art to the rollercoaster token that tracks the progress of each round. In the first game KT and I were both feeling our way a little bit, getting used to the different ways of obtaining points, and at the end of it I had 73 points to her 71. We went straight back at it, and KT managed to get a fast food seller to boost her income from a thrill ride, but on the final round I managed to shut it down, and that sealed me the win 66-36. We might play with the World Peace version in the future to safeguard domestic harmony, but for now this is proving to be enjoyable and fun.
We had a guest over for dinner that evening, keen on experiencing some fun gaming after having been thrown in right at the deep end a few weeks before, so I dug out Hanabi for some cooperative firework fun. Our first round was a struggle and we only scored 9 points, but then things clicked with the three of us and we completed three fireworks to score a decent total of 20 in the second game.
Continuing the cooperative theme we set up Pandemic for some slightly more involved gaming, but choosing the Introductory Level just to give ourselves a little bit of wiggle room. We took the training wheels off our guest after a few turns, allowing him to make his own decisions if he wished, but also to seek advice if he wanted. It took a while for us to achieve our first cure, but then the next two diseases were cured in relatively quick fashion, and despite the threat of the far East falling to multiple outbreaks, the cards were with us and we saved the world with a little time to spare.
KT had tried unsuccessfully to interest our guest of the previous night in Race for the Galaxy but had failed, something I think was a narrow escape, for all those icons could easily have killed his gaming career before it had even started. Anyway, it was clear that KT really wanted to play this as it had been away from the table since April. It has over ten plays this year, which is no small number, but Jump Drive has been stealing plays from its bigger brother here and there, so it was about time that this came back to the table. We decided to play a best of three - in the first game I had one of the trickiest sets of cards I can ever remember encountering in this game. Initially I wanted to go for a diversified economy but had to switch to Rare goods mid-game, but too late to garner any effective pointage. 49-25 to KT. In the second game I had my Production Worlds up and running early, and an exquisite final turn in which I correctly predicted what KT would choose and made my own decisions accordingly meant that I sneaked the win 40-39. For the deciding round I set up an engine that allowed me to draw eight cards for trading a single Rare good, but I spent too long building up this combo of cards and KT was already pushing onwards to finishing her tableau and triggering the end of the game. She won the final round 41-23 to win the series 2-1.
With a spare few minutes in the afternoon I set up another game of The Bogey and this time the cards fell more or less in my favour and I was able to win at the Novice level with twelve columns. I am still refining (if that is the right word) my strategy with this game, but enjoying it very much indeed. For something that takes only five minutes it has a decent amount of challenge.
Yet more The Bogey goodness on Friday, a best of three game against my nemesis. I went for a slightly more aggressive approach this time and despite getting off to a good start I lost the first game but came back strongly in the remaining two, scoring Normal victories (eleven columns) in each. Maybe one day I'll get a perfect storm for an Epic victory, but that's some way off and I was pretty happy with this day's play.
By now we had made it on holiday, packing a stash of eighteen games into a single cardboard box, and we took some of them to a local pub with us at lunchtime for a little afternoon gaming. First off was Race for the Galaxy, this time for a best of five series - well, with the afternoon spreading away ahead of us, why not? The first two games fell to KT 41-38 and a more dispiriting 36-20, but then I struck back in a very tight third game to win by a single point 26-25. In the final game my brain gave out on me and I played terribly, but KT would probably have won anyway, which she did 37-26, clinching the series 3-1.
After our Raceathon we remained in space for a couple of rounds of Star Realms, using the Gambit cards for the first time. Like so many of the smaller expansions, I found that these were ok, but not exactly my cup of tea, and I am looking forward to the various commanders much more. As can happen in this game, our first round saw me head into an early lead before KT even had time to get things up and running, so that was an easy victory for me while I still had 42 points on the clock. KT secured her revenge in the second round, though, which was a much closer match, scores remaining very close until the very end of the game when I lost with 11 points still remaining on KT's score board. We play this game less than we used to, partially because KT finds the antagonistic play quite stressful, but there is still space for it in our collection.
I was really keen to get Port Royal: Unterwegs! back to the table because I feel it does a huge amount with minimal components. KT had been less impressed with our earlier plays of this, but we had yet to run through it with all the correct rules in place, another reason to put it on the table once more. Anyway, this time I am more or less convinced that we played it correctly, and the one wrinkle that we had left out (that the non-active player must pay the active player to take a card) made a huge difference as it clicked for both of us fairly quickly that it was not just a case of taking what you wanted, but also about trying to minimise your opponent's possibilities. KT enjoyed this play much more, which was good news for me because I would be happy to keep exploring this over our holiday, and she also went on to win 8-7. I have my suspicions that we might play this much less when we get to Port Royal itself, but for now this will do just fine.
My wife and I's current favorite. We still haven't used the tactic cards yet. I figured i would save those for when we get tired of the regular game.
She won easily this time. I just couldn't seem to draw anything I needed. What is surprising is that we've already played this more than Patchwork.
We set up Tiny Epic Quest but I just didn't have it in me to read and learn the rules that night. So we switched to something simple that we already knew.
I am historically bad a Small World. Usually i finish somewhere around 85 points. I did better this time getting 97. But my opponents for 98 and 101. I always have 1 or 2 turns at the end that ruin my score. On round 9 of 10 i only scored 2 points vs the 12 and 9 points that the others players got.
I was pretty lucky with the reinforcement die this game though.
Game day this weekend allowed me to try out a few new games and some more 7 Wonders Duel.
7 Wonders Duel
My wife won 2 out of our 3 games. The one game I won was by taking all of the wood cards early in the game, which allowed me to keep it super expensive for her the entire game. Knowing wood was expensive for her, I was sure to take every money card after that. She spent a lot of turns discarding.
Godfather Corleone's Empire
My first play of this new CMON game. I thought it was very fun. I think I will be able to visualize what everyone else is doing better after a few more plays. Knowing what job cards might be out there is certainly beneficial. The jobs that allow car bombs and drive by shootings certainly keep you guessing more than most other worker placement games.
A friend of mine brought a prototype he is working on. He's shared a few before, but this was by far the most unique and interesting. I hope he really focuses on this one.
We tied out Dream Home for the first time. I was happy with it as a quick, basic filler game. After one play, our second play with 4 players took just under 30 minutes. I was able to win the second game by completing all of the functionality objectives and having large completed rooms.
Board Game: Lisboa
[Average Rating:8.19 Overall Rank:74]
This was a bit of a weird week for me. I’ve been playing games non-stop since Dice Tower Con at the beginning of July. I’d say I played almost 20 games a week on average since that con. But last week I flew to Chicago for work and when I came back, my leg started to get sore and swell up. Then the pain came, in DROVES. An emergency room visit later, I got treated for what the doctors thought was a blood clot, but either a) was a blood clot that dissolved naturally before I got there or b) was never a blood clot, but whatever it was caused severe vein inflammation. I was having trouble walking there for a while and the drugs they put me on were really mind numbing, so much so that not much gaming occurred this week.
But don’t worry, the drugs worked and finally I am back to normal. All the pain and swelling went away and by Sunday, I feel like I am as good as new. Now to get back in my normal routine, which includes getting on the elliptical 5x per week and getting more gaming in. While this was a light week, it was a high quality week with two great “new to me” games.
9 Lisboa NEW!
I got my kickstarter copy of Lisboa on Wednesday and spent the next three days reading the rules over, and over and over. I didn’t think I was going to play it this week, but given that I was feeling better on Sunday, I took a chance and texted two people from my game group to see if they wanted to play it on Sunday night. They jumped at the chance and my wife finished out the foursome.
Lisboa is a melting pot of mechanisms you know and love from other games. First, it has the card management of ZhanGuo where you can play a card to your tableau to build up your engine, or you can play a card to the “court” to take a more powerful action. Second, when you do certain things in the game, you remove cubes from your player board, giving you the ability to take better and more powerful actions, similar to Great Western Trail. The player boards are recessed and the components are incredibly high quality, a la Scythe. Finally, it has the traditional Vital Lacerda “follow” mechanic (or “Kicked Out” if you know the Gallerist) that allows you to piggyback on other players actions. The “influence” track similar to Gallerist is here as well.
This game is meaty, interesting, and wonderful. It’s so thematic. Where you build your public and private buildings is very important, but you can also win the game almost entirely by shipping goods using your ships, or meeting decree card objectives, or using the church action to move the Cardinal and get victory points. There are so many paths to victory here, more than any game I have in my collection I believe. Every card in your hand offers agonizing choices and in classic euro stylings, you never feel like you can do everything you want on your turn, or over the course of the game.
However, it’s not perfect. The player who won this game won solely because the right color public building came out at just the right time that allowed that player to score 20 victory points (named “wigs” in this game) on his turn. I was waiting for the right color tile to come out for my benefit for at least 2-3 turns, but I never got what I needed. That’s pretty swingy and a bit frustrating. Now, I could have seen that the color in the market aligned perfectly with his needs and played that building myself to block him, but I’m not that nuanced at the game yet to recognize those opportunities. This game needs a few more plays for me to determine if this is a plus or a minus to the game. I think I’m just a bit sore right now that I lost. I still find the Gallerist a tad bit better and I don’t know why. It’s a totally subjective assessment on my part. What I do know is that Lacerda fans like me will love this game and non-Lacerda fans will think this is his best work. As a result, I expect this one to shoot up the BGG rankings. If Lisboa isn’t the highest ranking Lacerda game in 12 months’ time, I’ll be very surprised.
Another thing I will mention is the relatively quick play time. I’ve heard stories of four newcomers playing this game in 4.5 hours with teach. That’s crazy. I started teaching this game at 7:15pm and after “Age 1” we took a 20 minute break to eat. We finished at 10:25. So, this game took 30 minutes to teach and about 2:20 to play for four people who had never played before. For a game of this depth and intricacy with a player aid book that is about 8 pages long, that’s not too bad. I think once we get more experience, we can easily get this down to 1:45 or thereabouts.
8.2 Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar NEW!
I played Tzolk’in on Thursday night at my local meetup. I played it with one person who was new to the game and two players who had each played it one time previous, although it had been a while for both. Furthermore, the pain in my leg was strong this night and the drugs were certainly dulling my senses. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have attended.
However, I’m glad I did. This is a wonderful game, so unique and refreshing. The gears in this game are so cool and the planning aspect where you have to plan moves three turns in advance reminds me of Lignum. Frankly, I didn’t grasp this game at ALL for the first hour or so and by then it’s too late. I was going for skulls and victory points right off the bat when instead, I should have been gathering resources. Once I realized this, I was consistently shut out of the zero spaces on the resource wheel because of where I stood in turn order. The result was a MISERABLE defeat. I finished WELL behind the leaders. But that doesn’t matter. There is so much depth to this game, it’s not funny. The timing on how to place and remove your meeples is a huge brain burner and the various paths to victory are interesting. If I had one critique, the “feed your workers” aspect of this game is pretty punishing, especially for a newcomer who hasn’t figured out how to do everything in the most efficient manner possible. That can leave a poor taste in some people’s mouth and largely accounts for my positive, if subdued, rating upon my first play. I’m a huge fan of Simone Luciani and Grand Austria Hotel is a top 5 game for me. I also really like Lorenzo il Magnifico. However, I think when all is said and done, I will rate Tzolkin higher than those games. I just need to get more plays in. This is easily his most complex and interesting design and the one I am most eager to revisit.
7.1 Best Treehouse Ever
I brought this on a whim to game night and I broke it out with my buddy Tsar when we were waiting for other games to finish up. This is a game I largely play with my wife and kids (ages 7 & 5). As a four player game, this one is very interesting as some of of the tree cards get scored double and some don’t get scored at all. The person in last gets first choice, so it’s hard to break free from the pack, especially if you are concentrating on cards of one color. In that case, those with first choice will choose to not score your primary color. However, in a two player game, this one falls completely flat. The “double score” cards aren’t used and it’s simply a diversification battle. I absolutely recommend this game as it is fun, dynamic, and cute, but I absolutely do NOT recommend it if you are only playing two players. It is totally boring at two.
At my game group this week, I got to try out Great Western Trail. Setup and rules explanation were interminable. I experimented with a strategy no one else was using: buildings and goals. I got only six points in cattle the whole game! (Never delivered to KC, though.) In retrospect, the strategy was in no way viable. I was never going to make up the lost points in cattle and deliveries with what I did. Also: I played the movement like Tokaido, and probably got lapped by every other player. Not a bad game, though. I'd play it again, and very differently.
Prp and I played two sessions of Arkham Horror: The Card Game, throwing our new decks at the opening scenarios of The Dunwich Legacy. We started at the university, with "Extracurricular Activities." My very first encounter draw was a Wizard of Yog-Sothoth, and though I did defeat him, he killed my dog! Ultimately, Pete was defeated by being Pushed Into the Beyond (mental trauma), but he did do a surprising amount of effective investigating. Jenny wrapped things up by rescuing Professor Rice, and we pulled down 3 VP each. But in "The House Always Wins" we were ineffectual, with Jenny resigning shortly after Pete's heroic defeat by all three Hideous Abominations. No VP scored.
We also played a couple of games of Knightmare Chess, still using a common draw deck. I won both. In the first game, I Intoxicated Prp's rook, which was entertaining. And in the second, I used Medusa to petrify her bishop. She tried to Hypnotize my rook with the petrified bishop, but I wouldn't allow that the bishop was "threatening" any piece if it could neither move nor capture.
We played a quick game of Martian Coasters, and I won, but probably just by virtue of going first -- it was very close.
Finally, I had a single play of Onirim. After more than six months, I barely remembered how to play this one. I used Towers, Happy Dreams & Dark Premonitions. The Premonitions were bruising, and I came up one door short.
I am the wurst!
I showed up to game night and Joe had set up Hansa Teutonica. I tried to play it years a go but never finished (long story) but this was a great play of five players. Most were trying to take early scoring spots so I went for more actions and draws that later allowed me to build and extensive route and shoot for bigger points at the end. Not enough for a win but it was close.
We played a quick game of Kingdomino before ending the night.
I played three solo games of Spirit Island. I'm still working on the most basic Spirits and introductory play as I learn the game. There are a lot of options to play and depth to explore with the different spirits and set ups that should keep it interesting. It has quite a bit of stuff in the box and a lot going on.
Online: The Castles of Burgundy, Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization and El Grande
I started out by teaching Bill, Tony and Andrea Kanagawa. It is a lovely game about painting Japanese landscapes. It has some set collection and push your luck card drafting where you draft cards that you can use as panels in your landscape or improve your ability to paint landscapes. Andrea and Bill had the most panels in their landscape. Andrea, Bill and I had the longest "runs" of seasons in our landscapes. Andrea and I had the most points from diplomas. Tony scored for having the "master pawn" at the end. The difference for my narrow proved to be additional harmony points in my tableau. Another fine Cathala game.
[New to Me] Next, Andre introduced Tony, Bill, Andrea, his girlfriend visiting from Brazil and me to Feudality. This game reminded me a bit of Dice City in the sense that tiles in your fiefdom are activated by die rolls. Its got a bit of interactivity that we didn't really take advantage of and an event each round that really pummelled me. The only success I had was mining gold. In the first event drawn I lost an archer that I purchased. Later on events would strip me of my fort and then my tower. Too be fair, I could have invested more in my armaments but, not knowing how punitive events were I decided to forego this. On a happier note I did get a victory point in the last turn of the game and, using my baronial action, tried to double my score with by having a secret liaison with the Queen but was unsuccessful...at least I didn't love my VP. Andre won the game quite handily. I was a little blown away by all the rotten luck I had but I did enjoy it and I'm sure I'll enjoy it more in a second play when I know what I might expect.
Gaming with My Wife
On Friday evening Sharon and I began the Near and Far campaign on Map 2 - The Broken Plains I got off to a very fast start, completing several quests/side quests while Sharon was stuck in neutral. These quests gave me the resources I needed to build my party a little bit and, by the end of the game, 4 faction banners. My artifacts pushed me toward building camps on gem spaces and defeating threats. For the first time I skewed away from skill and spot and towards swords. I didn't place a single mine. Nevertheless, I won handily with 2 experience points gained, which I'll hold off on using until I can get an exceptional talent. On Saturday we played Map 3 - The Crimson Forest. This time Sharon's first move was a risky one, out journeying. She defeated a threat on the way and succeeded at the quest but was unable to place a camp. Meanwhile, after my recruit I stayed in town, preparing to go journeying. Most of my journeying was to defeat threats, get gold and go on quests. Even though my artifacts gave me bonuses for camping on gem spaces I wasn't fully able to take advantage as the opportunities didn't present themselves. Both Sharon and I won a chief and Sharon's 4 paid off big with the artifact she built. I focused on getting tents off my board and putting my lowish value artifacts into play. In contrast to our Friday game, we did fill up half the mine spaces. In the end, it was a bit closer but I win by a wide margin. With 4 VPs after the first two games of the campaign I chose the Piano Player talent which will give me food every time I visit the saloon.
On Sunday, Sharon and I pulled out Lost Cities, the game that probably was the ignition of our board game interest and, sadly, one that we haven't played in a couple of years. As we remembered, this game has lots of excruciating decisions. I thought I got off to a good start in Round 1 but only managed an 8 point lead. But, things went south quickly as I kept drawing investment cards. She outpaced me by 48 points in the Round 2 and 38 points in Round 3 to fuel her 198-120 win.
On Monday I played a game of Elder Sign on my iPad. It was the investigative team of Sister Mary, Gloria Goldberg, Kate Winthrop and Michael McGlen taking on Hastur. Things started off pretty well but I got snagged on Forgotten Knowledge. A late arriving midnight effect also stripped my investigators of a couple of tokens each. Fortunately, Michael McGlen still had enough to purchase the last Elder Sign with still lots of time left.
Before I had a chance to play (and lose badly at) Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure last week it was on my "looks like a game I'd like and like to buy" list. It's a deckbuilder which is what my wife likes and has boardplay, which appeals to me. Despite my loss I liked it enough to add to an order they was awaiting my verdict on the game. On Tuesday I had a chance to give the solo game a whirl. In my first game I got some cash early which helped me get a key and another item from the market. That gave me run of the dungeon and I did quite well. In my second game I had trouble getting gold early which left me fumbling around the dungeon for a while. But, I managed my Clank better and was able to stay down longer. Flush with cash later in the game I was able to come up just shy of my game 1 score. Both games were much, much higher than my first (multiplayer) game last week. The App is quite good (though it could use some instructions) and the challenges (which are sometime out of your control) creates a lot of opportunities. I was surprised by how much Clank it forces and mynfirst game was a real struggle to manage it.
[New to Me]
Having grown up playing D&D, Roll Player has also been on my radar and, with it back in stock, I picked it up. I played my first game as a Human Paladin with an Eccentric alignment and a Devoted backstory. I was very impressed at how I was hitting all the marks on my attributes and then when I added up points I was scored 31 (luminary), not bad but pretty much middling. Lots to shoot for in this compelling dice drafter.
On Wednesday I played another game of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game. This time I played "Side Jobs" instead of a book. Setup for Side Jobs is clever. I had 5 foes, 3 cases, 3 advantages and only one obstacle. My team was Harry Dresden, Susan Rodriguez and Karin Murphy. It took a while to take out a case with problematic fallout before I could most efficiently use the advantages. I kept pushing after that but fell short with 2 cases solved but 2 undefeated foes. This has been a very enjoyable puzzle of a game.
After having played Terraforming Mars once last September I've been waiting for it to get back in stock to get it. It finally arrived and Thursday I gave it a couple of tries, both with the Haliom corporation which starts with 42 M€ and 3 Hear production and can use Heat as cash. In the first game I was unsuccessful with only 9% oxygen, 6 Ocean tiles out and temp at 0 degrees. The second game was much better. I had nominal plant production but had boosted heat production up to 24 which gave me lots of flexibility. I got all three conditions to the goal level in my 14th generation and was able to play a couple of cities in lucrative spots. I was happy with 86 points though I'm sure it's not very good. Playing reminded m why I liked it all those months ago (it's rules and actions are straightforward but it has deep gameplay) and makes me wish I'd sought out other opportunities to play it.
Another couple of games of Pandemic on the App while I'm away from home. On Friday I had the Scientist and Medic. Things started off terribly with the first epidemic on the second card draw and 3 outbreaks on the third card draw. Things were wild and woolly after that. Fortunately I had airlifted my Medic into the worst of it and that gave me a strong position to at least control things. The third epidemic triggered the sixth outbreak but, at this point the Medic had gotten an abundance of yellow cards and the Scientist was in a position to build a station near enough to the Medic that the Medic could (and did) end the game. On Sunday I had the Quarantine Specialist and Scientist. The Quarantine specialist started out strong, preventing an outbreak and some other disease placements and curing the first disease. After that, it was all the Scientist who built a research station and cured the last three diseases, two on consecutive turns. I finished with 5 outbreaks and 11 cards left in the player deck.
A Saturday night game of Sentinels of the Multiverse saw me lead Legacy, Haka, Tempest and Bunker against Omnitron on Wagner Mars Base. After taking a heavy hit during Omnitron's first play I was able to start building up my o going and equipment cards. Wagner Mars base wasn't exactly friendly but fortunately having to knock these environment cards out helped Haka build a large hand of cards. Omnitron's Adaptive Plating Subroutine presented some troubles but, fortunately, my damage was pretty well diversified. In the penultimate turn Haka discarded his large hands to add a damage bonus big enough that Tempest was able to knock the Villain out the next turn. My biggest weakness was Bunker...I just don't understand how the mode cards work.
Two games of Onirim (second edition) on the App. In Game 1 I got hit with nightmares early and often, fending them off with a combination of forfeited doors, keys and hand cards. I ran out of deck with 7 door cards discovered. In Game 2 the nightmares were slower to come and I fended them off mostly with key cards. I discovered the 8th door with 13 cards left, 4 of which were nightmares.
Dice Forge - My wife and I played a quick 2 player game of Dice Forge on Monday evening after dinner. Despite taking 4 turns to roll a non-gold face, I jumped out to a pretty good sized early lead with the help of the Hammer track for gold. I tried to keep up the pace, but petered out in the late game (and lost a lot of resources, because my wife bought both of the board extensions). My wife caught up and passed me pretty easily. We're enjoying this fast playing game. We'll probably start swapping some cards out soon.
Sol: Last Days of a Star - We played another 5 player game of Sol at this week's meetup. This play had a much faster pace than our first play. We only had one new player, so that helped. I felt really good about how I was doing, setting things up for a big endgame points push. I was one turn away from generating 16 points when the last flare card was drawn and ended the game. I had no points, the winner had 10. We're obviously still figuring this one out. I think next time, I'll change things up a bit and go for quick points more often. I really like this game. I'm really tempted to order it from the publisher, but I really don't think I'll get to play it outside of this group anyway, so there's no real reason to.
Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty's Trail - Friday was my sister's birthday, so I headed over with a few games to see her and my family. We started with a couple of 3 player games of Purrrlock Holmes. This one seemed to be a hit, as everyone enjoyed the puzzle of it. My mother won the first game, and we all lost the second.
Colt Express - After Purrrlock, we played a 3 player game of Colt Express. My sister managed to pull out a win, but we were all within a few hundred dollars of one another. I think my mother enjoyed the chaos of this a bit less than my sister and I did. Still, I think we all had some fun with it.
Do you want board games?...because that's how you get board games!
7.0 Tiny Epic Galaxies:Beyond the Black
Wow...this makes the game so much better, albeit with more complexity. I think once people know how all the new mechanics work, it actually makes the game faster. Great time!
N/A Raxxon x2 NEW!
After all the hype I had no idea what to expect. What I got was a pretty good and hard co-op game. I really don't think this game is worth $40, but its definitely a good game. Definitely worth playing.
I introduced this to my Tuesday night group and they were all skeptical. I got many comments that it looked stupid. Imagine my surprise when 25 minutes later everyone is telling me to make sure I bring this every week. Seems like a universal hit at my gaming groups.
8.0 Arkham Horror: The Card Game
The wife and I busted this back out after not playing for a while. I made a new Jim Culver deck, while she made a Zoey Samaras deck. We pretty handily trounced the first scenario. Lets see how things go with the later ones.
A good week of gaming, considering I couldn't make the regular game night!
With a friend
Dragon Canyon - Teaching Chris this game. First time playing just 2 players; interestingly different from 4 players, but I think 3+ is probably the better player count due to the increased interactions on the map.
Century: Spice Road - - I lost, 95 to 65, but boy did I enjoy it. Quick (20 mins), simple, fun puzzle of working out how best to play your cards, or acquire new cards, to convert goods to get those required to complete the 'contract' cards (whatever they call them). Loved it. Wish we'd had a second game, but alas we ran out of time!
Star Realms - Teaching this to Chris, as he's not played it before. Now, I'm not saying I'm that good at this game (on the app I'm still a Level 5 when some people I know are in the 20s, 30s, or even higher), and I *did* try to reign things in a bit, but apparently my near 300 prior plays of this have honed my skills a little too much. I beat Chris 65 to -11. He was focusing on building up big-cost cards to use later in the game, but by the time he'd gotten that far, I'd already honed my deck to sleek and ruthless efficiency, and my final turn hit him for some 35+ hit points. Whoops! Must handicap myself next time I think.
Dice Heist - We finished the night with this quick little dice-roller. A quick bit of simple probability and set collection. I beat Chris by quite a bit thanks to winning the paintings majority (net gain of 12vp) and had a whole heap of gems in each colour, giving me 75 points overall to his 22. And I can't blame experience really; I've played this game maybe 5 times before, and it's a lot to do with how well the dice roll in the moment.
With my wife
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Deck-Building Game - ...which wins the longest-named-game-of-the-week competition. See post in Couple of Gamers Geeklist for more details. In summary though: My wife beat me. By just 5 points!
With the kids
Rocky Road à la Mode - - Well, "NEW" as in this is the published copy that I gave my daughter for her birthday last week! See post on Kids on Boardgames geeklist for more details, but in summary: They all loved it. Quick playing, simple enough rules, but interesting strategies that can come out of it, and I love games with a time track!
Oh My Goods!: Longsdale in Aufruhr - Chapter 2, first attempt. It looked similar enough to chapter 1's difficulty, but the buildings you need to produce goods from appear to be harder to get! I got close, but not close enough. And to save spoilers...
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ended with 22/33VP, 28/30 goods, 4/3 strength. Room for improvement!
More details in my post on SGoyT, if you're interested.
The Builders: Middle Ages - Went a bit overboard on playing this this week. 4 games in total. Only won one of them (at 2 player), the other three were 4-player, and it seems I've not yet entirely worked out when and how to trigger the win at that player count. My scores, in successive games, were 15, 12, and 5, so clearly me trying to strategize it out was making matters worse. Even following the winning player's moves I couldn't work out quite how they'd managed to complete so many buildings in so few turns. I'd completed 2 or 3 buildings, and was on the way to finishing a 3rd/4th, in all the games, where the winning player had finished like 6 buildings in 4 turns. Still baffling how they did it. I think they key is knowing when to buy extra actions, when to just get more workers or building plans instead of putting people to work, etc. Maybe next time... Still, love the game, so simple, and even prompted a whole conversation thread on what the main mechanic is called...
Food Chain Magnate
It was really nice to revisit this great game. A 4-player affair - two new players and 1 that had played once before about 18 months ago. Talk about out of the dust, I hadn't played since May of 2015. We all had a ball. The two new players loved the game and saw its beauty unfold. They are eager to play again! Yay!
What a weird little game, yet oddly cool. We took on a fifth player for this one and felt our way through it. A couple of the players were turned off by the obtuse nature of the game play. One player was fairly neutral and I and one other would like to play again.
Had an impromptu game day on Saturday with Matt, Chris and Dave...
I have been wanting to play Elysium ever since it came out. I thought I saw some interesting things in the game but wasn't quite sure. Even as a game "renter" I just couldn't pull the trigger. Well, my friend Matt has had a copy for like a year and has not yet played it - so when he said, let's play this, I said "hell yes". So, we sat down to a three-player session.
I must say, I really liked the game. It's a tad AP inducing, the three of us remarked that we would not like to play with 4. Banker Dave didn't like the game as much as Matt and I did, due to some downtime. Let me explain what I liked in the game...
When you are deciding about which color pawn to spend when acquiring a card, you need to analyze not only what cards are out there that you may want in the future or that you competitors may want but you need to analyze which quest you will take (which quest you take is often really important as is if the quest is selected with the proper color pawn). So, you make a decision with mainly intiution and deduction, and you go for it and see how the facts fall as the round progresses. At the start of each round, the fact there are 3 cards for each player (+1 more) to analyze the requirement, action, color and number on is where the AP/opacity comes in.
It's pretty cool to decide when to move cards into your Legend area or how long to keep them in the Domain so you can use the actions given by the cards.
If you don't mind a bit of downtime, but downtime that is based on making a solid in-game decision, I'd happily sit down and play this game with you. Thanks, Matt, for bringing it down!
So, I'd happily play with 3 again (maybe not 4) and I think the game would be pretty cool with 2. Who's played this at 2? What are your thoughts on that?
Isle of Skye
What can I say? I've always loved this game. Our 4-player session was fantastic. I love, love, love market games and the market in this little gem is outstanding! Pricing the tiles that you must offer up for sale is really fun: how much is this tile worth to me and the others? Should I over-price it so that I have a good chance of getting it myself? Where am I in the turn order and how much spendable money will I have after pricing these tiles?
Oh, then you get to put the tiles into your little tableau playing a little "Carcassonne" style stuff, but for my tastes better than that great game.
I had not played this in over a year and wow, what a fantastic game this is. The four of us played very well and the scores were close. All of us were commenting on how fun the game was. If you haven't played this, do yourself a favor and right that wrong very soon.
One of my all time favorite games. Our four player session was awesome! Dave pulled it out, he often does. Chris fell on some hard times financially, he had 6 loans at one point. He battled back admirably of course. I've not seen that many loans. I frequently have three, but wow!
I love this OOp gem. Doesn't get to the table and I can't put my finger on why I enjoy it so much, maybe I should ponder that. A four player session (minimum player count really) was had to close a 12.5 hour long game day.
What a fantastic game day it was! At the end, Matt told us it was his birthday and the wife had made him a free man to game all day if he wanted to. We were bummed we didn't know! Happy Birthday, Matt! I know you had fun, and I think hanging with friends and competing in great games is a good gift. I know I'd love that on my birthday. It's October 29th, and I have nothing planned, just saying. *wink*
Played three rounds of Riff Raff on Sunday with a friend and his soon-to-be wife. That was fun. The lady had a steadier hand and won 2 out of the 3 games!
GIR, quickly, ride the pig!
Yaaaaaay! I don't know what you just said!
Dominion was Monday's lunch game where I managed to tie for first place.
We got in a game of Survive: Escape from Atlantis at lunch on Tuesday. This one was incredibly close as I finished with 19 points, second place finished with 18, third place with 17, and fourth with 14. I just barely managed to one last person to safety before the game ended.
My wife asked to play Lorenzo il Magnifico that evening so I wasn't about to turn that down. I got off to a bit of a slow start but blazed ahead of her by turn 3 as my points engine finally ramped up. The dice really ended up screwing me a few times while she was able to ignore them thanks to a personnel card that let her treat every die as a 5; a huge advantage when I kept rolling 1s and 2s. It looked like I might actually win as I was so far ahead on the points track by the end. Unfortunately, she was able to catch back up by scoring her blue and purple cards which were worth quite a bit at the end of the game - more than I had counted on. If I had managed to fire my points engine 1 more time (and if I somehow had the resources for it), I would have been OK. Instead I ended up losing by 8 points.
Wednesday's lunch break started with 3 games of For Sale in which I came last, then last, then second even though I was sure I was going to come in first.
There wasn't a whole lot of time left after those games of For Sale, so we managed to squeeze in a few rounds of Love Letter. I was tied for first place when we had to end the game.
My wife and I brought Barenpark to the table that evening. This is only our second play of it but I'm starting to see the appeal of it now. I managed to win this one 98 - 86.
Last up for Wednesday evening was 2 games of Century: Spice Road, also known as "the game I'll apparently never win". I have no idea what I'm doing so wrong in this one. I lost the first game by 22 points. I thought I might actually take the second one but ended up losing that one by 17. Not only can't I win, but I can't seem to accurately judge how badly I'm losing either. Ever time we play, I'm sure I've started to figure it out only to find that I'm still stinking as bad as I was before.
One of the guys at work brought in his copy of Captain Sonar on Thursday and we were able to wrangle enough people to do an 8-player game at lunch. The rules explanation took longer than I thought it would but everything went relatively smoothly after that with very few questions. I was our team's First Mate. Our Engineer didn't do a good jot at letting anyone know when certain systems were offline or back online, so there was quite a bit of confusion for the first half of the game on our side. When that finally got ironed out, we managed to do fairly well. We managed to take out the enemy submarine with a direct hit from a torpedo.
Once again, my wife suggested Lorenzo il Magnifico. She seems to really be liking this one. I spent too much time focusing on a single personnel card that would give me +2 to all dice values, eating up 3 full turns just chasing that goal. Having all 6 blue cards was nice for the point bump at the end and some of their effects, but I had zero resources for the rest of the game which was a real killer. Before final scoring, my wife was way out in the lead with something like 65 points while I was sitting on 6. The big boost from my faith and blue cards was very helpful, as were the points from my purple cards, though she managed to have 1 point more than me in that area. In the end, it just wasn't enough to catch her and I lost by 6 points. It seems like the personnel cards just aren't worth chasing after; if they happen to line up with what you're doing, great - but spending time going after them just seems to be a lost cause; you spend too much time and resources getting them for a benefit that lasts at best for half of the game when it's too late.
Sagrada is one that I typically win and I felt fairly confident when it came to final scoring that it was my game. She scored 4 points more than me on her personal objective, but I managed to make up those points from one of the public objectives. That left us at a tie. Unfortunately for me, the tie breaker is the person that got the most points from their personal objective card. Damn!
My wife's next suggestion was 7 Wonders Duel. Sure, I usually win this one - let's end the losing streak! I nearly lost to a military victory but was able to push her back slightly and hold her at bay with Minerva's special ability as insurance. She managed to wrack up quite a bit of cash over the game, so she was able to buy her way to a lot of cards that really helped her. Rather than take one of the final red cards, I took a yellow one that affected the point spread more in my favour, knowing that I'd be giving her 5 points by leaving that red card on the table. Moving the war token back on my side wouldn't change the point value for me but gave her 5 points whereas the yellow card gave me something like 8 points. I was fairly certain that this game was going to be mine as I got a good number of points from advancement tokens, wonders, blue cards, yellow cards, and one of my deities - plus I ended the game with more money than her which was worth a couple of extra points. All of that wasn't quite enough though. The game ended 65-69 in her favour. I ended Thursday on an ugly losing streak.
We played 2 more games of 7 Wonders Duel on Friday evening. I won the first game through a military victory and my wife won the second game the same way.
This was followed by 2 more games of Sagrada where we both won 1 game each.
Yamatai was our first game on Saturday. My wife was able to get something like 7 or 8 different people recruited which gave her a few advantages compared to my lowly 2, but I was able to concentrate on my aggressive building. I won this one by a narrow 4 points.
Next up: another round of 7 Wonders Duel. I was able to hold off her aggressive advance and keep her from winning another military victory, and keep her from the one more science card she needed for a science victory. I was able to weather both storms and came out ahead on points.
Lorenzo il Magnifico made another appearance and this time I was finally able to win a game for a chance. A whole 6 points separate us this time.
We took Yokohama off the shelf for a second play and things were extremely close this time. She made a killing off of fulfilling orders while I was able to concentrate on the customs board and technology. A mere 6 points was the gap in our 120-114 game that ended in my favour.
She suggested we bring Bruges back out for another play as we hadn't played it in almost 2 years. It didn't take long to get the hang of things again - or for me to remember that she always ended up getting more people put into play than me and never knowing how she does it. I lost 48-52.
We played 2 more games of Bruges on Sunday. I somehow managed to win the first game by 4 points with one of the last cards I played which gave me 1 point for each of the plentiful hazard tokens in front of me. I lost the second game by a narrow 3 points despite my final push during the last turn.
We brought out Above and Below for the first time in about 1.5 years to give it another go. The one big thing we remembered is that the game was too short, so we always play it at twice the length. I managed to take this one by a fairly narrow 4 points as well (it seems to be a trend lately). Every story using the word cave gets a little tiring after a while. I'm wondering how Near and Far compares to this...
Versaille was on our games to play again list for a while and we finally got around to it on Sunday. We really enjoyed the first half of the game when things were still interesting. By the second half, it just gets exhausting. There's nothing here to keep the game interesting. It either needs to be shortened or there need to be more interesting options to keep this stimulating. We managed to finish the entire palace and a mere 6 points separated us after such a drawn out and underwhelming game. This one now finds itself on the trade pile.
Our final game for Sunday was The Prodigals Club. Thankfully it's a long weekend so we were up for playing something longer on the evening and going through a rules explanation again. She hit the voting track pretty hard which spooked me and got me to try and lower my possession and society values as quickly as I could. Apparently that was all she had going for her as she ran out of steam by the third round and couldn't get much traction on the other areas. I won this one 8-22. Part of the problem I think comes from having not played the game for so long. We've decided that we'll need to play it again in the near future while it's still fresh in our minds so she remembers everything that's going on and that specializing in one thing is not the ideal strategy for this game in particular.
Played several games of Sorry! over the weekend with my wife and the kids.
My niece has been pulling games out of the closet upstairs, so I guess it was this one's turn. For a simple ludo variation, I do like Sorry!, I guess because the use of the cards allows for more decision making than Trouble, while also limiting the outcomes since there is a finite number of cards in the deck.
Color of choice: Green.
Great weekend of gaming with a great variety. Had a friend over Saturday. We had some games he was wanting to try but when he's usually over we play games with more players so tried to get some four players games to the table with him. Started with a three player game of Pandemic. We lost barely when a double outbreak hit.
Got out The Red Dragon Inn next. Four players which I ended up winning by everyone else getting drunk. We think we may get some expansions to this so we can play with more players.
My friend had really been wanting to try Galaxy Trucker. We played with four players. He was having a great time until trip three when he lost over half his ship. Still managed to finish the trip. He did enjoy the game overall.
Got Galaxy Trucker out again on Sunday to play with my daughter who loves this game. We had four players and I ended up winning. Not to much destruction except for trip two. My daughter's fiancé had a rough go but finished the trip.
We really like Betrayal at House on the Hill. We got a five player game in and actually picked characters by the shirts we were wearing. We all had a different color on which matched the characters(all except yellow). It seems every once in a while the haunts are really one sided. We played haunt 32, "Lost". When we first started the heroes thought our goal would be hard. But then when my son cam out as the traitor, we realized it would nearly impossible to defeat him. We never came close and he won pretty easily.
I've been playing a lot more solo games the past 2-3 weeks and it's been pretty awesome as I'm getting more of my games played as opposed to them sitting on my shelves. With no further ado I present my week in gaming.
After spending Sunday and Monday reading the rules and watching tutorials, I decided to finally attempt Agricola solo. I did not do well. I did so poorly, that I didn't even bother to score my farm as I'm fairly certain I went into the negatives. I didn't realize that not obtaining certain resources resulted in a loss of points and so as I realized how many points I had and how many points I was going to lose, I just decided, "better luck next time" and cleared the board for the night.
In my continued effort to learn Agricola well enough to teach my group to play, I opted for another solo attempt. I definitely did better this time than I did my first attempt. I scored 10 points. I've learned this game is completely unforgiving of mistakes and that a simple error in the first round will haunt you the entire game.
I'm going to do it this time. I'm going to score the 30 points the rule book says is the normal score for inexperienced players. I'm going to be average!! But alas, it was not to be. I did manage a 28 though, which I'm quite happy about. I'm not even close to being done with this game. I will score my 30 points (just not this week).
It's finally game night!! I usually have a total of 4 players but ended up with 3 after 2 weren't able to make it. One guy told me the week prior that he'd be working that night and wouldn't make it, so I wasn't expecting him. Then I had another friend who usually doesn't join in, decide to join us, which was great since we were one short of the regular group! Then, on the day of, I had another friend who didn't show up, which isn't a really unusual occurrence. It's a pretty loose event.
In any case, the week prior it was decided that we were going to attempt Time Pirates. It's a simple pick up and deliver game without much meat to it. After 3 rounds, the regular attendee managed to beat me by 2 points.
It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either. It was very "meh". I found it rather boring, but my friends seemed to like it well enough. While I don't think I'll ever recommend it in my regular group, I have a feeling that my 4-year old nephew will enjoy the game once he gets a little bit older, so I'll keep the game around so he can enjoy it.
After Time Pirates, my one friend left - the regular - as he wasn't feeling too great. However, that left one person to game with and I had just the game to play: Le Havre. I bought this at Origins Game Fair this past June, based solely on it's reputation here on BGG, but boy am I glad I made that impulse buy. Le Havre has become one of my favorite games, particularly the solo mode. That said, it's awesome at all levels. But I digress. I taught my friend Le Havre and it took her a bit of time to catch onto the game, by which time I was well ahead of her. I ended up beating my personal best score with a 178, which I was very happy about. My friend on the other hand, didn't actually bother to add up her score as she knew she hadn't done well. That said, she seemed to enjoy the game and is looking forward to a rematch now that she understands it.
All in all a pretty successful week for gaming. Typically I end up just playing my one or two games on game night, but the solo play is allowing me to play a lot more which is awesome! On the schedule for this week are: A solo of Raxxon, another solo of Agricola and Le Havre, and then 3-4 player games of Raxxon and Agricola. If time permits, I'm also going to see if I can coax my group into another game of Pax Porfiriana.
It's a perfect day for some mayhem!
It's a perfect day for some mayhem!
First up was Unicornus Knights. This was the MD version and I'm not sure how it differs from the AEG version being released soon.
The characters were Annelie, Havok, Lyne, and Mirza The princess version we used gave our characters two support cards each. Havok started by moving up and played Mock to force the dark priest into the mountains.
On the other side of the board we seemed to have a little synergy with Annelie providing the princess and Havok with lots of resources and materials. The problem here was the necromancer was blocking the easy path through. The original plan was to plow right through her army, but the regenerating army was going to be too much for Havok to handle alone. Annelie's support bonus wasn't going to be too much help.
On one turn we really mucked things up and forced the princess to move into mountains and beside Annelie, which would have put her stats through the roof if she was a hero. Instead she took a large amount of damage.
We really lucked out here though. The event added enemy units to one of the imperial areas the farthest from the capital. We chose the necromancer's space since the section was full.
On our final turn we had an Event that would have rocketed the princess into dealing with the empire's princess and the berserker. Annelie thought she had solution on her turn by sending more troops. Then we ran into a problem where we played our characters out of order and Havok couldn't get where he needed to be because Lyne hadn't moved yet. When the princess moved we realized we miscounted her supplies thanks to a road and the princess moved one space away from the berserker, which we really wanted to avoid.
Second game was Dale of Merchants. With two players we played with squirrels, macaws, and ocelots. I didn't have anything stellar in terms of strategy. I bought almost all macaws and some squirrels. I was able to put two stalls together using squirrel shenanigans and built my eighth stall very quickly.
Third up was a couple of rounds of Mystic Vale. I don't remember the first game much outside of spoiling a lot.
The second game I was able to amass most of the symbol cards. Once I got started I was able to buy the vale cards that provided more spirit symbols. My opponent meanwhile loaded up on the victory point chips. I thought I was going to have a runaway victory, but my chip pile was almost non-existent. I ended up losing the game by three points.
So we finally got to play Dune. To sum the game up politely it was a learning game. The Harkonnen player started by playing the Lasgun and a shield at the same time, which was an obliterate all combination, which he did where the spice appeared. House Altredes meanwhile sent half of his forces towards where the next spice would have appeared and thanks to misreading the map stopped on the Shield Wall instead of onto where the spice would have appeared. Well, the Bene Gesserit had already made plans to detonate the nuke on the Shield Wall which killed all of his troops.
As the game progressed the Harkonnen and Altredes houses were starved for spice (partly because Altredes spent 8 spice on getting the second Karma card in the auction) and couldn't do much. The two houses fought for control of some spice and Altredes used one of his Karma cards to look at the Harkonnen battle plan. Being true to the novel House Altredes poisoned the Harkonnen leader and won the fight, but committed all his troops by mistake and couldn't claim the spice either.
The Guild meanwhile wasn't doing so well for spice since nobody except the Emperor had any. The emperor was able to drop enough reinforcements in two other stongholds to claim three strongholds and win the game on turn four.
Lessons learned from the game obviously was not to drop all the big guns down in the first turn.
Since Dune played so fast we played Colt Express next. Since this game is so chaotic the highlights were Tuca and Django spending most of the game shooting each other and the sheriff moving out of the head car and going back in a lot. As Doc I mostly looked for easy marks after the first round and went for goods when no one else was around. At game's end I had $1900 in my pocket for the win.
In the evening Unicornus Knights got played again. This time Lyne, The Stronghold King, and the Mountain Cat Robber Band decided to help the Warrior princess to the capitol. What was very different from the first game I played was the absurd number of Imperial generals that wanted to defect. The berserker and the dragon both turned to the princess when she got close to them. The tactician turned out to be an old friend of Lyne's, the ancient weapon joined, and the necromancer fell in love with the stronghold king who also gained the death priest from the discards through a support card. The Robber band mostly preyed on unlead stacks and statistically rolled very poorly, but was able to generate a decent number of supplies. The other two really needed the supplies and the band shipped out resources when possible, but it wasn't easy to keep both afloat. There was a mountain range running all the way down the centre of the kingdom and decent strongholds for collecting resources and soldiers were hard to come by.
Towards the end the vampire started to attack. Lyne meanwhile attempted to kill the Black Knight. He nearly removed all of the Black Knight's troops, but then had to get more soldiers, which was impossible with the vampire now being lead across the country while chasing the Robber band.
In the last turns the princess made it to the capitol and went around in the edge to take out any possible support. Then on the last turn the capitol was reinforced. The Stronghold king attacked the capitol to clear the way and with the ancient weapon's help seriously reduced the emperor's guards in one attack. The princess then made her assault and was reduced to a single life for the victory.
You toast the waffle.
In a syrupy voice, the awful waffle walker tries to butter you up.
This week was...
SeaFall - 3rd play
In this our third play, we were using the pvp rules for the first time after unlocking them through the general process of the Legacy game. This really started to sour one of our players who likes his games more euro-centric. He was positioned to win but I, who came in last launched an attack on him, allowing the player in second to take the victory. It'll be interesting to see how pvp comes into things as the game progresses. For the first scenario it's available
We also ran into disconnect for our euro player as the game opened up the other half of the board which adds
Spoiler (click to reveal)
there's a 4vp reward for doing it, but without that incentive I'm not sure how much players will or won't find it in their interests.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
a story book aspect like in Above and Below or Tales of the Arabian Nights, where if you end in an empty space you have an encounter and make a story choice. This adds some randomness, for example, I encountered one, and got 10 gold. One of my opponents encountered one, and just exploded to a pirate attack.
Well, we haven't quit yet, I think most of us are still enjoying the process of this game. I can see why people have trouble with it now though. The game seems to have identity crises as to what sort of experience it's trying to deliver.
Lorenzo il Magnifico - 3rd and 4th plays
In my third play I went for greens and purples, and lost to a focused yellow/blue strategy by only a few points. Fourth play I went focused yellow/blue strategy and lost hard to a purple/misc strategy. Still having a fantastic time with this game. I love how it managed to offer new and interesting decisions to make, despite seeing the same cards every game, and learning what to expect and prepare for. It's also remarkably easy to explain the rules, which helps me want to play it with new players.
Maharani - 3rd play
This a gorgeous area majorities/tile laying game. On your turn, you take a tile and add it to the board, along with a worker. The tile needs to fit into the spot, which can be tricky thanks to pillars printed on the board. The primary object is to have as many workers as you can in one of the quarters of the map when that quarter is completely full and therefor scores. There are bonus points for adding to contiguous chains of a color, or chains of your own workers. One interesting limitation is in any given quadrant, you only can have one worker per color of tile you've eligibly placed. If you add a second tile of that same color, the worker you had in there already moves to the new position.
The game plays quickly, so it doesn't overstay it's welcome. There's some flip luck mitigation but you'll still end up with some turns when you eat a bad tile, only to flip the perfect tile for your opponent. The game also doesn't feel different from session to session, but I find the core experience enjoyable enough to forgive these things. I also feel that the two "queenie" mini expansions add a lot to the experience of this game.
Yamataï - 1st play
Yamatai could be good with 2 or 3 maybe. With 4 it's just setting up good moves for your opponents as all the recipes get taken by the time your turn comes around again so you just sort of hope that someone sets you up. The compensation for setting people up is getting seal tokens, which get spent to take character tiles. These tiles generally did not seem very useful. In our game many ended up unpurchased.
Also there are some awkward iconography issues. Two different vp icons, two seal tiles that look almost the same but are different, and two types of red communal buildings but they are functionally the same.
The core gameplay is also uncompelling where you get a turn order tile that comes with 1-3 boats. You can't save more than 1 of those boats for a later move. You put the boats down on spots so that the first placement is adjacent to a boat of the same color, then the other boats can be whatever color you want. It's a puzzle of sorts but not really? It boils down to a success restriction you have little control over. Especially since the turn order tiles have abilities that can remove or remove boats so the board state could change a lot between your turns. I don't mind tactical games, but I like to be able to plan at least one turn ahead.
Ulm - 1st play
Ulm felt like it could have been a great game. interesting action selection mechanism, players claiming areas so they get a benefit when someone else resolves an action... Unfortunately it fell flat mostly due to randomness.
Annoyingly, the rulebook is split across two books for no reason. This makes looking things up a challenge. Then, the basic mechanism of the game is, draw a tile, push it into a row, resolve the 3 central actions in any order of your row including the tile you pushed in. You start the game with 1 tile in your "supply"
one might imagine this means you draw a tile, add it to your hand, then choose a tile from your hand and push it in. Unfortunately, the rules state you must push in the tile you drew that turn, so you get to know what 2 of your 3 actions are and the third is totally random. The tiles in your supply are used only for discarding to pay for the effect of, or to acquire cards. The cards when played have a choice of giving you an immediate effect or adding them to end of game scoring sets. Of course, getting and playing these cards requires some luck in terms of what tile effect you are able to activate.
One of the actions is a seal, which lets you place a marker either above or below your boat along the river. This is an interesting limitation on your actions, because you want to move the boat along the river, because that's where points are, but the further you go the more actions are no longer available to you. Here's the problem. The actions above and below the river are what get claimed by players. One of the river abilities is to randomly draw 2 location tiles keep one. About half of them are one and done score points, the other half let you claim locations. So maybe you draw the location that's at the start of the river late in the game when nobody can resolve that action anymore.
The game does have some luck mitigation. Most things are draw 2 keep 1 and there are ability tiles that can mitigate some of the luck. There are also sparrow tokens worth 1vp each if unspent, that can be spent to let you swap your draw with one from a faceup market display. The question is, how many times do you spend 1vp to swap your useless draw for an ok tile before the market is full of garbage and you are out of 1vp tiles?
Crisis - 3rd play
Since this game has intrigued me and it hasn't really caught on with my group, I decided to do something super unusual for me, and try it solo.
The general idea of this game is that the city has a welfare marker, and if the city hits 0 on that track, the game ends early and all players might lose. Meanwhile, players are trying build an engine to accumulate both money and victory points. Money turns into big endgame points if the city welfare doesn't hit 0, but if players don't make a certain point threshold each turn then the city welfare tracker decreases by the difference in points you have against the target.
With only one player, you no longer have to worry about people blocking you to the factory or contract you want, which does remove a lot of the fun tension of the game. Making sure you get close enough to the VP target goal also becomes a math problem, since there's not a ton of variance through random events, and you don't have to worry about one player accidentally tanking the game each turn. The nice thing about single player, is it still lets me play around with the most compelling mechanical aspect of the game, which is building resource conversion chains with the factories, and manning those factories.
I'm still interested in playing more of this game, but I am thinking I haven't seen the sweet spot for the game in player count yet. I think it'll shine at 3 or 4 players. I hope I get to try it at that level soon, so I can know if this game is the gem I want it to be.
I'd be lying to myself if I didn't remember that this was pretty much how Co2 went for me too. Lots of cool things, about that game, but ultimately the semi-cooperative nature of it caused it to fail for us. I wanted Co2 to work so I kept trying it at different player counts, never seeing the magic of the game coalesce into something I could rightly suggest my group play.
Gaming with Gamers
Steve's monthly gaming session.
Haggis - I arrived early and Steve taught me Fresco (which didn't end up getting played) then I taught Kenny and Steve Haggis. I've recently discovered Haggis and am taken with it. Grew up playing card games and this one evokes the feel of something older. We didn't quite finished when the others arrived, but I think they enjoyed it.
Planet Steam - Lyndon and Stephen arrived, so Kenny taught us Planet Steam, one of his favorite games. I enjoy economic games quite a bit. Central to the game is the market mechanism where a commodity can really explode or tank in price. I suspect the swinginess of the prices increases in the 5p game as the market adjusts after each player takes their action so once a commodity is unavailable, it's price skyrockets. Overstayed it's welcome a little for me, but I'd play it again with 3 or 4.
Sol: Last Days of a Star - Steve taught this to the four of us. Really neat mechanisms that meshed well together. We played the fast start game, so were able to plunge right in. The six random cards every game probably have a big effect, but since most of us hadn't played before, we just reacted to what we had. I was the first to get a transmit tower up, but they quickly filled the central regions. I scored a lot of points off of the passage card, but came up just short when I attempted to invoke game end as I surged into the lead. I came in a close second.
Pandemic: Iberia - Evokes Pandemic, but different enough that it has it's own unique challenges. We ended up losing due to two clusters of disease that triggered multiple outbreaks. We had two diseases researched, but one of the changes of Iberia is that you can eradicate diseases so your problem areas continued to plague you.
Haggis - Comeback win versus a strong opponent. Frankly, I had better hands, but am now experienced enough to play them correctly.
Diamant - I won a 3p game to familiarize myself with how the game works. I can see this as a nice ice-breaker or filler.
The Builders: Middle Ages - Tried it again, confirmed my "meh" opinion.
Russian Railroads - Close second place, tried the industry strategy.
A far superior take on a Fortune & Glory style of game and things are less random and more streamlined. While it still swings a bit for my strategic heart, this is rather well done and I would like to see more plays out of it.
Board Game: Mombasa
[Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:65]
Honor the Mule Brigade, Long-eared two hundred!
9.0 Great Western Trail - Finally tried using the builders more than in previous games. Had a lot of fun but it was not a winning stategy.
9.0 Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania- Pennsylvania may be my favorite TTR map these days. The in-laws love it and I am a huge fan of the stocks.
9.0 Dominion (Second Edition)
9.0 First Class x2 - Probably among my wife's top 5 games of all time. We each won a game this weekend.
8.0 Inis- Played 4 players for the first time. Was the first person to grab a pretender token but that meant I was the first target.
8.0 Honshu - Great tile laying filler.
8.0 Arboretum- I am really beginning to think that Arboretum should be at 9 and not 8. Such a great card game. Excruciating decisions to be made.
8.0 7 Wonders - Been on a 7 Wonders kick lately. I've played it a few times this year and I really dig it. Too bad I'm 6 years too late.
8.0 Kingdomino x3 - We love Kingdomino. Introduced it to the in-laws and they really took to it as well.
8.0 The Fox in the Forest - Very well designed 2 player trick taking game.
8.0 7 Wonders Duel
8.0 Tournay - Surprised us last year and surprised us this year. Real gem of a game that gets brushes aside for more exciting games but this one has great mechanics.
8.0 Mombasa - Glad to finally get Mombasa back to the table. I love how many options are available to you. They just tempt you ut you really need to focus and be efficient as possible.
8.0 Caverna: Cave vs Cave - I'm having trouble composing any concrete thoughts on this game. It is very tight and we like it.
8.0 Wizard - Great trick taking game.
8.0 Spades - a weekend wouldn't be complete at the in-laws without playing Spades.
7.0 Deep Sea Adventure NEW! - Silly and stupid press your luck fun. Many divers were lost at the bottom of the ocean.
Had a great time playing games this week. Played a lot with my wife, a good amount at the Wednesday meetup and then some with my in-laws. My wife and I have been setting monthly challenges.
August's challenge is to play 10 games that we played in 2016 but haven't yet in 2017 or games that we own that we haven't played yet. I've been making the games that are for the challenge with . We are 2/10 for August.
Kind of a surprise to me this week that there was only one NEW game. That doesn't happen very often. Not saying I mind though.