What We're Playing - September 2017!
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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The idea behind these lists is to post what you're currently playing, or just played. It's interesting to see who's playing what, to see if people are playing the same things, and to ask questions that might otherwise be relegated to a forum about a game with the benefit of the responses coming from someone who has it fresh on their mind.

While there are several regular posters to this geeklist series, anyone is welcome to join in and post and discuss your games!

Here's last month's list: What We're Playing: August 2017!

This Geeklist idea was created by:

jes m
United States
tulsa
Oklahoma
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The list was taken over for a long time by:

Sarah Reed
United States
Rancho Cordova
California
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But she's busy with her podcast, so I'm taking over the time being.

A subscription Geeklist has been created for those who want to be notified of when a new list is posted: The What We're Playing Subscription List
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1. Board Game: Spirit Island [Average Rating:8.60 Overall Rank:623]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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As usual, we're playing a lot of Spirit Island! We just played a three game set using the "Second Wave" (and then Third Wave) scenario, where you leave the island mostly set up and add a new wave of attackers at a higher difficulty level.

This time we played against Sweden, who annoying converts your Dahan into towns. We won three games, though the island had a lot of blight at the end.

We never actually made it far enough through the invader deck to use the powers that the previous spirits leave behind.

Wave 1 1: Sharp Fangs Glisten Behind the Leaves and Thunderspeaker - 34 pts
Wave 2: River Surges in Sunlight and A Spread of Rampant Green - 46 pts
Wave 3: Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds and Lightning's Swift Strike - 56 pts

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2. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.99 Overall Rank:93]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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This just arrived from KS. We've played twice (still the same game; scenarios seem quite long and the game is designed that you can sort of "save" your progress and resume). My first impression was pretty bad; I was almost ready to quit after just a little bit of playing. Decided to play on just a bit longer over lunch and I started to warm up to, trying to appreciate that it wasn't really much of a "game".

The game part is essentially a time management game; you want to take actions that are either:
A) essential to completing your goal (whatever that is...like, we've been playing for about 5 hours and I haven't the FOGGIEST idea what we are trying to do!).

or

B) Going to net you more time in the long run than they will cost.

The thing is, its totally opaque. You have absolutely no idea what will happen with any particular action. It MIGHT have a key thing you need. It might save you time, but short of trying there's just no way to know. So on first play, the game is completely random. Once you learn what different areas do, that will no longer be the case - I assume.

Really no idea what to think. I hope we'll manage to play through this first scenario. I'm liking painting the little mini-minis if nothing else.

Kind of like Time Stories, I feel like they did some clever things to make a computer text adventure game in board game format, but I'm not sure that was really anything the world needed.
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3. Board Game: Sagrada [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:447]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played another game of this. Very light; you take turns picking dice to fill in a pattern. But you can't put dice of the same number or color next to each other, need to match patterns on your board, and are trying to get various scoring combos. Kinda a brain burner trying to figure it all out!

Enjoying this. Glad I traded for it.
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4. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.10 Overall Rank:364] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played an absolutely brutal game of this against the Crooked Mask, who messes up your decks with corruption cards, which both hurt you and give you a good effect (though usually a net bad!). I think we didn't get enough attack spells going early; we only started with maybe 3 basic attacks between all four mages.

We eventually won, but three mages were at 1 health and one was exhausted! Gravehold still had a fair bit of health left though.
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5. Board Game: Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.36 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played the Elysium board. Unfortunately, we're playing our 2 player co-op variant, which is great fun but doesn't let us get the proper full experience of the new boards. Looking forward to getting to play a normal game with a bigger group!
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6. Board Game: Antarctica [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:3089]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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In addition to the usual mix of Terraforming Mars, Spirit Island and Legendary, played a game of Antarctica, which I just got in a trade. Its a strange game, where turn order is determined by the 'sun' that moves around the board; when the sun moves to a space, the lead ship in that area is allowed to move and carry out an action. Amusing and clever, though it will take many more plays to get the hang of it!
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7. Board Game: Star Trek Panic [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:1221]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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My first and so far only game played in September (not counting online play). Was planning to wait with posting until I've played this a second or third time, but since Brian is getting nervous about nobody but him playing anything, I'll throw out some first impressions right away.

I played a training game with the two missions suggested in the manual. Solo, using two characters. Scotty and Sulu had no problem with the Distress Signal mission, but didn't manage to take out the Orion Raider from the second mission in time. I probably need to learn to manage my hands better, or maybe I got especially unlucky with very few hit cards and even fewer matching hit cards (long distance when I needed something closer). A mission timer of 3 means you really need to hurry!

It's a bit fiddly with taking shields in and out and sticking cardboard bits onto shields and Enterprise sections, and making sure you do movement and cloaking/decloaking right, but I enjoyed my first game anyway. Despite the fiddliness, I can't but smile when I look at the cardboard Enterprise.
Cloaking is a neat, thematic mechanic. I wish there was a way to move backwards, though, when all I have is long range phasers and no targets at long range!
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8. Board Game: Hold the Line: The American Revolution [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:5953]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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I got to play my Hold the Line game yesterday, when playing with Jens at one of our occasional war game days. We started with the first scenario in the book Lexinton & Condord (as shown on the picture).

I played as the Red Coats and Jens was the rebels. We had a quite good game, but a bit of a stalemate at the second half of the game where both Jens and I were good protected; I held Lexington and the hills to north of it, as well as the forest to the south, after driving rebel forces from the town and forest. But on the next forest (where you see the Rebel Lt. infantry, green flag) Jens had withdrew to to give cover to himself, as well as holding the fence directly north if it. The only way to shoot and hit him with my infantry was to move into the adjacent hex - well knowing he could shoot me before I had a chance of killing him - with a little bit of luck he might even kill my entire unit (and claim the VP - he needed 6 and I needed 10).

But luck - and firepower - favours the British, as I had more troops, so had a good chance of killing his units (groups) - each unit and each leader (we supposed) give 1 victory point. The last soldier in an infantry group is the flagcarrier (except for Militia), so you can kind of say that if you capture the flag you capture a point. On round 16-17ish I shot out the last infantry group I needed to trigger immediate victory of 10 VP for the British Army.
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9. Board Game: Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:873]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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The whole war started with a giant cup of tea... we actually also had a cup of tea before fighting.

Jens and I continued from our initial battle at Lexington (towards Concord) on a greater scale from the COIN game Liberty or Death. Again I played as British, and Jens as Rebel. We played a two year game, with AI secondary nations (Native Americans for me and French for Jens).

None of us reached or main goal, but I managed both secondary goals - so none of us actually can say we won, but at least I was closest.

Of these two games, I prefer Hold the Line.
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10. Board Game: Patience [Average Rating:4.70 Overall Rank:14081]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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When I came home I ended up with a few nice, relaxing rounds of Patience. I played five rounds - and lost the first... four.
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11. Board Game: Project Dreamscape [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:4066]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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When I came home from work, I laid down for a while - just resting my head. Then I unwapped the cards of Sarah and Will's game, and watched Rhondo run through the rules - while I was reading up on the solitaire rules as well...

This is a pretty nice game, and works well with the solitaire rules. And it seems that it is really good with more players too.

I did not manage so well... I got 24 points which is within the second lowest category... not so good (the colour was still red!)
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12. Board Game: Hold the Line: The French & Indian War [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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After dinner and watching an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the real, good one from the 80s!) I gave the expansion of Hold the Line: The American Revolution a go... Well, it does expand Hold the Line as at least one of the scenarios of the base game require the expansion - but it does happen before the base game. You will need the base game to play the expansion as well, since you need the board, standard tiles (this only include some extra forest - and some unique tiles not found in the base game, and some British and American units and perhaps the rulebook and player aid - but else is sell playable in a way.

With all my Hold the Line stuff I would love to have a big box like the Warfighter Expansion #9: The Footlocker, as it would be nice to have the base game and expansion together - but it would also be nice being able to separate units and have them in some protective boxes to avoid damage (some of my canons have lost their wheels even before I got them) - this would make setup easier and perhaps keep the game looking nicer.
(I have removed the inserts of base game, and the top insert of the expansion to almost being able to close the box - and I still have a box of extra units!)
But I do not know how to create a box that actually look nice - and with some cover that fit the content (my print-and-play prototype of RUS: Age of the Vikings is in an old shipping box, and that is okay for a prototype, but a fully published game kinda deserves a nice box, even when custom). And the unit's storage boxes should look kinda nice too - and being easily found. I may get an idea at some point...


I played the first French-Indian War scenario found in the book - and I was hoping for a British victory... however it did not go that way: The British was close to six VP (I am not sure if they get victory points for eliminating units in this scenario or only by breaking through the French lines and exit in the red hexes) - but the French army got their 6VP (one for the British Victory Marker - and five eliminated units) before even round 10 (they had to get 6 VPs before round 25. Those Indian units are really effective! It was also one of them who captured first Victory Point marker...
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13. Board Game: Codenames Duet [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:946] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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In between heavier games we've been playing the 'campaign' of Codenames: Duet. Duet is definitely a touch up for the two player game. A nice quick co-op that is easy to play over a meal. Enjoying this a lot.
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14. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:211]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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A while ago Lisa and I each wrote down a set of games (without telling each other which games we were writing down) so we could draw random games when we didn't know what to play. We've finished up all the 'normal' games but we'd also each written down some 'longer' games which we still had a few left of. This was one of Lisa's picks.

Meaty Feld that constantly thwarts what you want to do with tricky dice! Lots of special abilities to get. I had a pretty cool combo that was giving me 2 VPs and 2 money each turn for a lot of the game, but it felt like Lisa was always ahead on everything.
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15. Board Game: Habitats [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:2135]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Saw a friend posting about Habitats on Facebook, and discovered we've been playing a rule wrong (and so had almost everyone else commenting on it).

In Habitats, you place tiles and need to put animals next to certain terrains to score them. We had been playing that only the terrains immediately orthogonally adjacent to the animal count for it; turns out that you can count all of the common tiles in a chain next to the animal. So, for example, if an animal needs 3 water tiles, being next to just ONE water tile is fine if that water tile is adjacent to two other water tiles.

Aside from making it a lot easier to score animals, this made the point values make more sense. Already liked the game - this really improves it!
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16. Board Game: Warhammer Epic 40,000 [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2622]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Lisa's other "long game" pick was Epic 40K (homebrew version). We'd been playing a campaign of this back when we wrote the slips. Since that was done, we just played a one-off game. Nids vs. Eldar. Got more use out of flyers than we had in the past; the Eldar had a detachment of Striking Scorpions being ferried around by a Vampire transport ship that was being very good at hitting 'nid weak points.

I got a group of genestealers killed by rushing them too far forward; Lisa, who was used to playing the nids, warned me not to do it, but I was sure that in cover they wouldn't take too much damage. I was wrong! (Though, in fairness to me, one volley of 3 shots needing 5+ to hit got 3 hits, which didn't help!)
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17. Board Game: Dark Tales [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2500]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Just got this in a trade. Light card game. Its not a LOT more in-depth than Fluxx, but enough to make it a lot more fun (in my opinion). I spent too much time drawing cards and never had a chance to play them all.
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18. Board Game: Fate of the Elder Gods [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:3302]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Sep 3, Sep 4

Not a lot of board games played yet this month, but I have got a couple more plays of Fate of the Elder Gods in.

One was a 3 player game with Gerrett. We used the Beasts from Beyond expansion for the first time. One of the options I had for my Elder God was an expansion God who got to summon monsters for his Dark Gift. That's the one I took - might as well go all-in on the new stuff! The monsters were pretty neat, and added some interesting abilities. Too bad you normally have to take a curse to summon a monster.

The second play was a 4 player game with Darin, Randy, and Shevaun. There was a lot of back and forth in this game, and it was pretty close. Darin actually hit the end of his summon track, but I was holding a curse for him that caused him to move back one space when he got to the end. Randy was close to sealed up on Elder Signs, and then made it his goal to not be the player who lost on Elder Signs.

I'm still really enjoying this. Darin is more indifferent on it, but he doesn't mind playing it.
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19. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.84 Overall Rank:156]
Adria D
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Sep 7, Sep 11

More KDM, and we finished a campaign! As in we made it to the end, not we lost too much population to continue.

We've decided that Hero mode (easy mode, with a small bonus added after each failed campaign attempt) combined with the People of the Bloom campaign was way too easy. The final nemesis showdown was severely lacking. We actually didn't play to lantern year 25 (normal end point), opting to take on the Watcher the second year we were able to challenge it. It was the only fight I had with my full dragon armor set. It took us a number of fights to finally get the one dragon resource we need, and I earned it - I soloed half that fight after everyone else (3 other survivors) got knocked out. Turns out my Replica Flower Sword is kind of broken - every wound does two wounds, +1d10 to determine if I wound (so roll 2d10 instead of the normal 1d10).

Now I think we're going to pause and wait for the first round of shipping of expansion material and the updated rules. Or just the next update that says shipping has been delayed. Once either of those happens, we're going to try a People of the Sun campaign (the brutally hard campaign we tried right at the start) on Hero mode.
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20. Board Game: Hot Tin Roof [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:5729]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Been playing this - twice - Tuesday: First game was a four player game (full game) with three other guys, and the second game was a three player game against two girls. In both games I played as gray (because my Thomas is gray).

One thing I noticed is that unless you do not have the attention span of a cat you can't always remember which card belong to which cat couple, so I might make some kind of token for each player to be able to see which card belongs which cat couple. The problem is of cause only when you have both cat couples out.

It's a nice strategy game - unfortunately in the "require at least three players" group that I don't get to play too much.
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21. Board Game: Durak [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:6165]
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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After the second game of Hot Tin Roof against two Russian girls, we continued with a classic card game, very popular in countries of the former Soviet Union - Durak or fool.

In this game the rank was reversed completely: In Hot Tin Roof, Darya (LV) won, I (DK) was second and Julia (RU) was third - in Durak Julia won, and Darya lost.
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22. Board Game: Codenames Duet [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:946] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Mostly mentioning this play for an amusing clue; we got two tiles from a 'zero' clue. Lisa gave the clue 'Holiday 0', which I decided meant that 'Christmas' was an assassin; but I also figured (correctly) that she must have wanted to give clues that would lead me to Christmas, so I guessed 'Wonderland' and 'Frozen', which were correct!
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23. Board Game: Yggdrasil [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:602]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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Played two games of Yggdrasil, mostly because I wanted to play a 'Y' game for my alphabet playthrough, but also because its fun and we haven't played it in a while.

First play we had Njord, Freya, Heimdall and Odin, with a slight house-rule bump for Heimdall as he has a weak ability. (Actually, so does Odin) Things looked good early, but completely fell apart, and we wound up losing in the last few cards.

We then went for a rematch with the same set of cards, but with new gods; Thor, Frey, Vidar and Tyr. Vidar also got a small bump. However, Frey is really, really powerful, and we made really good use of a combo of trance powers to defeat a lot of frost giants early, while repeatedly running the sacred lands track. Victory!

Nice game. Wish the gods were better balanced.
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24. Board Game: Massive Darkness [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:1008] [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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New arrival from KS! Yes, for a while I backed just about every dungeon crawl game. Still waiting for one that I actually like! First impressions on this, despite some trouble with rules and the balance feeling a bit screwy (seems like we're getting XP way too fast), are that it is pretty fun; much faster moving and more exciting that the other dungeon crawl games. We played the first two scenarios; hopefully it stays good!
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