Playing games took some work this week...
1x - Welcome to DinoWorld
Taught the guys over lunch and both enjoyed it after looking a bit skeptical when I put the very minimalistic player boards and three dice on the table. But all agreed there is a nice game packed in there. Pathways again proved to be the key a-ha, especially for the lowest scoring player. I obviously and expectedly won 57-42-11.
3x - Century: Spice Road
I got out to an early lead of our morning coffee game of Spice Road, and then took some time working on a combo to get some higher value cubes to finish strong for a rare win, 96-72. To add to my rare win was a second one, 86-57, mainly due to sticking with one combo and making the most of it for the duration of the game mixed with a little luck. But my wife had enough and declared from the start of our third play that she was going to crush it... and she did leaving me in the dust scrambling for something to call my own in the points department, 81-54.
1x - Welcome to DinoWorld
My coworker did better with his construction this time but still struggled with how best to build pathways that connect his attractions. Experience carried the day with a 41-26 win.
1x - Uchronia - New!
I played a two-handed, solo, learning game of Uchronia. After multiple attempts to read the rules, watch the videos and try to get this to the table I decided to just jump in an play against myself to get a firsthand understanding of how it plays. It was a bit slow going at first, then it seemed a little slow and uninteresting, but then things started to snowball and I was seeing some different choices that produce some point swings and the race was on to see which hand would win. My initial play felt like a blend between Innovation and Guildhall.
There were a lot of distractions this week so my wife was not really in the mind set of playing games which left me for the most part to play solo or with the guys at work during a short lunch break. I did pick up a few games this past week including Terraforming Mars, Codenames Duet and Karuba.
BK's Hardcore 10x10 in 2017 List at 72/100
BK's Top 75 Games - 2017 Edition
Board Game: Cuckooo!
[Average Rating:6.68 Unranked]
I hope you are all fine,
Here is what we have played this week :
As we are almost back to school or work, we didn't play everyday :-)
13 different games played, with 1 new one :-)
We played 3 2-player games of Avé.
Nice but not my game as I only won one and my older daughter won the others.
Then we had two 2-player games of New York 1901
Really interesting game, must try it with more players. I won both games against my older daughter :-)
In the evening, we taught the game to my wife, so this time we could play with the pink districts. I won again, but we all enjoyed the game. I think it becomes more and more interesting once you have mastered the basic rules.
We tried a 2 Primo games, 3-player games, my wife was discovering the game. Nice game, I won both games but still not the kind of games I like, too much like Skip Bo or Phase 10.
A totally different day for me !! As I won a lot of games the day before, here we had three 2-player games with my wife, and I lost the three!
We had 2 2-player games of Qwixx Gemixxt. I never managed to score enough points to defeat her :-)
Then we had a 2-player games of Einfach Genial the Dice Game. I lost again even if I was the first player !!!
1 2-player game of Game of Trains against my older daughter. I won the game. This is a nice and quick filler :-)
Then we had 1 2-player games of Qwixx Gemixxt. Not much for this day for me, but then she decided to play with her boyfriend.
They played New York 1901 (1 2-player game) and she won it.
And she also had a 2 player game of Einfach Genial the Dice Game.
My younger daughter played 3 different games with her cousins.
She played Suspend (she won the game)
then they continued playing by 2 games of
Aramini Circus and finally they had 3 2-player games of
Nada. (Her cousin defeated her)
I played with my wife, two different games
One Splendor game. I won !! The last time we played I badly lost not even reaching 5, but this time I had my revenge
Then we continue by a Ticket to Ride : Europe game. This time she won ! She ended 13 points ahead of me. Once again not much challenge here as everybody was on a part of the map not annying the other.
Do you know of a 2-player more challenging map?
Finally we should have gone to bed, but our younger daughter (she is 15) was too excited to go to bed because today is her first day at college :-).
I decided to teach them a game that will be present at the Essen Spiel : Cuckooo !.
Jozsef is really good at designing games (Hack Trick, Six Making,...) and this time he decided to adapt Black Jack into a game with Cuckooes, Magpies, Owls and Sparrows.
This is a great card game. All the members of the family enjoyed it !!
A nice discovery and I think it will be a game we will play often :-)
Nothing in terms of translation excepted some game rules which arrived to be translated into French (Samhain, Altiplano, Off the Rails, Calimala and the Queen's Army).
That's all for us :-)
Have a nice gaming week.
thanks for reading
It was inevitable after our holiday and the many happy hours of gaming opportunities that it offered us that we would find fewer chances to get games to the table this week. Couple that with what is effectively the start of my working year, allied to a couple of new projects and a family wedding, and we had to take our gaming where we could find it. At least KT and I are agreed that we should try to play as often as possible, so that is something to cling to after a great month of gaming in August.
Early in the week, after much muttering to myself about whether I am a player or collector, and whether therefore I should be buying expansions or games, I decided to combine the two fields and finally bite the bullet to buy our second copy of Race for the Galaxy. This has been our most played game for some time now, well past 200 encounters, but we have only explored the second expansion arc. With the other expansion boxes on my shelf but our original game cards suitably "pre-loved", I took the plunge and we opened Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm alongside the new base box on Wednesday night. The expansion itself was a little underwhelming - a few new cards - and we both found that the game remained substantially unaltered, even with the goal tiles. After three plays we decided to throw in the cards and goals from Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium and - boom! - now we were really motoring. This was a lovely evening of face to face bluff and counterbluff in the two player advanced variant, learning how the new cards act, react and interweave with the others, sometimes to devastating effect. As happens so often, I won the first game and then KT got going - out of the eight games we played she trounced me 7-1.
That was it for our face to face gaming for the week, more's the pity, but I played a couple of solo games of my review copy of Caverna: Cave vs Cave later on in the week. Our sole two-player game of this thus far was very thinky and intense, but my solo plays have been quite relaxed and, possibly because of this, much more enjoyable. It is also pretty quick to play if you are on your own. I made better use of the blue tiles than in my previous solo game, although I think that I am still a couple of plays away from knowing which directions to take during the game. Anyhow, I enjoyed this and ended up beating my previous score of 41 on my first play, although only by a single point, totting up 42. My second play was more impressive, though, and I scored 49. Hopefully I'll be able to crack the 50 point target this week.
Lorenzo il Magnifico - On Monday evening, I went to a friend's house to play a 3 player game of Lorenzo il Magnifico. I picked out Leader cards that I thought would work well together (not the benefits so much as the costs). One required 5 of one card type, one needed 2 blue cards and 4 yellows, one wanted 5 yellow cards, and the last one needed 10 wood. I focused on the wood first, and quickly realized that doing what I needed to get that much wood was not really helping me when it came to my other Leader cards. Still, I stuck with it, and got that one out and then finished the 2 blue and 4 yellow card Leader. I discarded my other two for favors (mostly to move up the faith track). Knowing what I know now, I would probably focus on the card cost Leaders and discard the wood guy, or possible even draft a different leader. By the time I noticed that my opponents were racking up end game points, it was too late for me to compete there. I had a nice lead on in-game points, though, so I continued to focus on that. Before final scoring I had a healthy lead of ~30 points or so, and I did score another 20 or so in end game bonuses. It wasn't enough, though, and both of my opponents caught up and passed me. One by about 10, and the other by close to 20. It was a fun game, though, and I definitely want to play it again.
Sagrada - After Lorenzo, we didn't have a lot of time for another game, so we played a quick game of Sagrada. It's been a little while since I first played it, and I have been patiently waiting for it to come back in stock. Such a beautiful game with a very interesting and fun dice placement puzzle. I can't wait to pick up a copy and introduce my wife to this game.
Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition) - At this week's meetup, we played a 6 player game of Mission: Red Planet. I had a mission goal of completing sets of point tokens (ones, twos, and threes). As a result, I ended up mostly focusing on just 3 areas, one of each of the areas that produced the 3 tokens I needed. I butted heads with a single other player in those spots for most of the game, with the balance of power shifting back and forth. In the last round, someone turned my 3 point location into a 1 point location, which essentially limited me to 2 complete sets. There was a silver lining, though, as it suddenly put me in contention for the most 1 point tokens (which I won), giving me an extra 9 points. I managed to pull off a win. I enjoyed this game and would play it again.
Stockpile - After Mission: Red Planet, we played a 5 player game of Stockpile. We played on the advanced side of the board, and I'm actually not sure how I feel about it. It's so volatile that, in some cases, the difference between splitting and trashing can occur in a single round. In most cases, a company can go from doing very well to bottoming out in as few as 2 rounds. I did really poorly in this game, coming in 4th place with just over $70k. I made a couple of bad decisions and sold stocks too early, though. The games is, of course, still fun, but the chaos of the market will definitely take some getting used to.
Mysterium - Labor Day weekend is when my wife and I celebrate our Anniversary (7 years married, 10 together), and we kicked it off on Friday night by going to my parents house and playing a couple of games with them. We started with Mysterium, which they had never played before. I thought they would enjoy the collaborative nature and the deductive element. I don't think they disliked the game, but I also don't think they liked it very much. They had some difficulty accepting the tenuous connections that some of the clues had to their targets. When I pointed out that a tiny shape in the image might relate to a tiny shape on the character card, they were a bit incredulous. I tried to explain that the ghost has limited options, and I think they understood (and I can't imagine how else they think it could have worked), but I think it hurt the game a little in their eyes. When I picked the game, it did occur to me that Deception: Murder in Hong Kong might be more their speed, but I didn't think they'd like the traitor element.
Black Spy - After Mysterium, we played a game of an old favorite, Black Spy. Most of my plays of this game are with my family, and we always enjoy it. I had forgotten how good my father is at it. The game is basically Hearts, but with a few wrinkles thrown in, and it's not very well rated here on BGG. I really like it, though. To this point, it's my favorite trick taking game. My wife, father, and I were all in contention until the end (my sister and mother got a lot of points early on while they we remembering how to play). My dad pulled out the win, with my coming in second, and my wife right behind us. I'm glad that this game has made it to the table again recently, because I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.
Unlock! The Elite - On Saturday, my wife and I got together with some friends we have not seen in a while. We had grand plans to play a bunch of games, but ended up getting sucked into a couple of Unlock! adventures. The BGG Store has The Elite for $5, so I picked up a copy to help us learn the system so we wouldn't potentially stumble through and ruin one of the main scenarios. The Elite was relatively short, but it gave a really great intro to the system and how it works. It's definitely worth the $5 (or just print it at home, I think the files are available for free). A lot of it was actually very intuitive. The puzzles were difficult and so satisfying when you figured them out. I think we are definitely hooked. I hope we like the Exit series just as much.
Unlock! The Formula - We dove right into The Formula next. This one was a bit more involved, but still very familiar after playing the Elite. The puzzles are so clever, and you feel clever when you solve them (even if they are simple). We did get stuck at one point on this one, only to find a hidden number that we had missed on one of the cards. I'm not as crazy about that piece of it, but it didn't even come close to ruining the fun. We all really loved this, and are very much looking forward to playing the other installments.
Kemet - On Sunday, we hosted a big game day of about 16 people. I kicked things off with a 4 player game of Kemet with some of the early arrivals. It had been a while since I played, but it came back to me pretty quickly. I opted to start with my white pyramid at 2 and my blue pyramid off the board. I took one of the lower value temples early on and held it for most of the game. I didn't do a lot of attacking, which I know was a mistake, but I was doing alright in spite of that. I did attack and take over the 5 power point temple that requires a nightly sacrifice. In the last round I had 6 power points, and I knew I was easily going to be able to attack and win a temple which would take me to 8... But two other players made it to 9 in the same round. I was left in a position where if I attacked anyone, it would decide the game, so I opted not to attack (which also kind of decided the winner). It was an unfortunate ending, but still a great game.
Captain Sonar - After Kemet, we played a 7 player game of Captain Sonar. I was the captain of the 4 player team, and I think I did a little too good a job of keeping our engineer happy, because we didn't end up ever doing a lot of damage to our opponents. They took one damage due to an engineering failure, and one damage due to a near miss with a torpedo. They managed to sink us with a couple of torpedo near misses, and one direct hit. Everyone enjoyed this I think, but found the game a bit stressful and opted not to play again.
Mysterium - Next up, we played a couple of 7 player games of Mysterium. We had a couple of new players, and this was a big hit with them. Everyone really enjoyed it, enough that 4 of the players chose to be late to another engagement so they could play a second game. We lost the first game because the ghost and I just couldn't get on the same page, and I failed to even find my weapon card before the game ended. One of our new players wanted to play ghost for the second game, and I did a little better job of interpreting their visions. We made it to the final round and managed to eke out a victory with the tiniest of majorities. I'm pretty much always happy to play this game.
Spyfall - We closed out the night with a couple of games of Spyfall. This is a good game and it took a few questions to get everyone into it, but everyone really liked it. I was the Spy in the first game, and I got picked out, but I was able to successfully guess the location. In the second game, the Spy was able to guess the location before we could suss her out.
Board Game: Orléans
[Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:24]
On Wednesday, Andre, Frank, Tony and I started out with Orléans. Tony did a lot of travelling about and collecting goods and placing guild halls. Frank roared up the knight and boatmen tracks, taking both citizens (pipping me on the knight's citizen) and travelled around a lot hauling in lots of goods. Andre got off to a slow start, losing two monks in the first two plagues, but then got a nice little textile engine going. More importantly, he beat me to the punch on the beneficial deeds board, snagging two citizens just before I did. I placed a good number of stations, lagged a bit on collecting goods but had a nice money engine going and got two citizens off the development track. Tony's lead in guild halls proved decisive as it got him another citizen and gave him a narrow 108-105 win with the other two a bit further back.
[New to Me] Next, Andre taught us his new acquisition, Milestones. This is a fairly abstract game with a rondel type mechanism where you can add tiles to your rondel to improve its action choices/effectiveness but also lose one spot every time you reach the end of the wheel. At its heart, you are collecting goods and coins on the top part of the rondel and then, on the bottom part, converting those goods into roads, stations, houses and grain which are placed on the board for points. The network/road building aspect was quite interesting. Tony roared out to a big win in this one.
With swimming between sessions I was able to get back to gaming with the Kanata group.
I started out the night playing Alhambra with Ryan, Stephane, Tracy and Curtis. Stephane took an early lead with good purple scoring while Tracy was in second with varied scoring and a nice little wall. Throughout most of the game Stephane and Tracy jockeyed for the lead. Ryan got his points from a very uncontested red and Curtis did well adding blue buildings to his alhambra. Going into the final third of the game I was struggling with a short wall and leading only green. I triggered the game end by taking two tiles...one which put me into the scoring mix for purple and the other put me in second for brown. After the final scoring of buildings Stephane still had a good lead but Tracy's 19 points for her wall gave her the victory with Stephane in second and me jumping into third.
[New to Me] Next, Stephane taught us NMBR 9. This is a light, visually interesting puzzle game where we are each building "piles" of number tiles using common numbers and following several tile placement rules. Scoring is based upon the level the number is placed on. So, for example, a "4" placed on the third highest level (the bottom level is the "zeroth" level" making the third highest level the 2nd level) scores 4x2=8 points. As with other games where identical tiles are placed by all players (Limes, Karuba) its interesting to see how different each player's tower ends up being. In the end, Ryan was the victor...outpacing my second place by a 2 points. This is a pleasant light filler with a graphical look that pops. I'd happily play it again but I'm not sure I'd seek it out.
Finally, we played Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition), a fun simultaneous action selection, area control game with lots of back-stabbing and board manipulation. Interesting in this game is that only 2 rockets made it to Phobos. Things were relatively quiet until the first scoring round but then things heated up. Stephane was making a strong play for ice and (hindsight is 20/20 here) took the travel agent action several times to get lots of astronauts on the board. Ryan looked good for getting a completely uncontested interior area which he was able to hold throughout the rest of the game and also positioned himself for more of the pink resource in the westernmost region. I had a tough time getting a foothold anywhere but was slowly moving toward satisfying my initial and drawn objectives. Curtis was heavily contesting Ausonia and making a subtle move into the southernmost region where he had placed a discovery card. After the final round, I used my Space Zombies to drop the three astronauts I had in the Lost in Space Memorial into that zone and took the lead...good thing because it provided 2 extra orange tokens. Stephane finished as the Ice King and satisfied his objective as having the most astronauts on the Red Planet. Curtis just missed his objective but both Tracy and Ryan satisfied theirs. I satisfied both of mine and the 15 points of orange I gained from my last move really boosted my score but it wasn't enough as I finished second, falling short of Ryan's winning score of 50 by 10 points.
Gaming with My Wife
On Monday evening Sharon and I played Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game. We had a team of Black Bolt, Captain America (1941), Lady Thor, Rogue and Steve Rodgers (Director of SHIELD) facing off against Carnage, his villains (Maximum Carnage and Domain of Apocalypse), and henchman villains (Hand Ninjas) in The Clone Saga Scenario. With Carnage Feasting on our heroes it made the test in the scheme twist (reveal two identical non-basic hero cards or discard down to 3 cards) very hard. Several times the scheme twist thwarted us from having strong turns. Feasting was a mixed blessing. We were able to cull basic cards from our deck but also lost some bigger heroes and took wounds. But, it was a relatively easy (and low scoring) win with Sharon leading out 30-24.
Gaming with Friends
I don't want to be a gaming snob...I really don't. I cringed a bit when my friends and her kids wanted to play this new game (Shit Happens) they'd gotten. I put on a smile and played it. You know what? I had fun. It was good for a bunch of laughs and the kids had fun. And, it was certainly better than the alternative of Cards Against Humanity. I'd play it again for a lark.
Two early morning games of Dice Stars. In the first I squeaked out a 118-115 win. In the second, a promising start was squandered and, as I got a bit locked in, things snowballed out of control with the bot running the table on me.
I continue to enjoy the puzzle of [/thing. This time I tried to avenge a loss in Grave Peril with a team of Harry, Karrin Murphy (replacing Michael Carpenter) and Thomas Raith. I got the advantages and obstacles out of the way early and then worked on the villains. Going into the final showdown I had defeated all the villains but hadn't solved any cases. I was able to solve the second case I tried in the final showdown to take a narrow victory.
I find [thing=43570] terribly frustrating. I made good progress through the green phase but went far too deep to win a card later on and, now that I think of it, forgot the ability to cull out cards on a loss...both of which left me with a really weak, diluted deck. So, I should say I find myself terribly frustrating and should play this clever deckbuilder more so I don't forget key rules and suffer horrible losses.
On Tuesday I played two games of Terraforming Mars, both of which used the Ecoline corporation. Ecoline gives 36 starting megacredits, 2 starting plant production and 3 starting plants. The first game went really well as I got a bit of an energy/heat engine up in the first round. The heat wasn't enough to run up the temperature fully but dropping two asteroids as my last plays of the game left Mars completely terraformed and me with 85 points (58TR+14 greenery+13 city+2 cards). In the second game it took longer to get an engine going. I had a couple of cards that gave me bonuses from events but I didn't get as many as I would have hoped. I finished generation 14 with 10% oxygen, 6 degrees and 7 ocean tiles down. At that point I would have had 68 points. One more generation and I found myself 3 plants from finishing out the terraform and, at that point had 76 points).
A game of Pandemic in standard mode pitting the Medic and Scientist against the four diseases. I had a hard time getting my first disease cured and then the second followed quickly but I'd already depleted a lot of cards. I cured the third and was sitting on a station with the cards I needed in hand when the player deck ran out. At least I didn't lose on outbreaks.
One solo play of Great Western Trail using Wil Gerken's solo Automa variant. The bot, Briscoe, wielded a sledgehammer from the beginning of the game, outscoring me in every category except stations, station bonuses and worker bonuses. In my 2 or three games against Briscoe, this was the worst drubbing (116-87) I've ever gotten.
On Thursday I gave the Legendary: Villains – Fear Itself expansion to Legendary: Villains – A Marvel Deck Building Game another shot. After a crushing loss last week I wanted to retry the setup. The scheme was Fear Itself, the Commander was Uru Enchanted Ironman who led The Mighty, Uncanny Avengers and Asgardian Warriors. My team of meanies consisted of Greithoth (Breaker of Wills), Skirn (Breaker of Men), Nul (Breaker of Worlds), Nekkod (Breaker of Oceans) and Ruurth (Breaker of Stone). This was another lopsided loss but at least this time I got one successful attack on Uru Enchanted Ironman in. But, I found myself clearing all of the adversaries out of the city and drawing with no chance of defeating the Commander.
After playing Star Trek: Frontiers a couple of times in July I hadn't had a chance to return to it until Thursday. That was a false start as I wasn't familiar with the rules enough to give it a go. But, after reading through the basic rules again I reset on Friday and played through the First Reconnaissance scenario with the additional goal in mind of trying an away mission. In the last round with a couple of turns left I was able to accomplish both. The game is rewarding but the rule-set is huge and it will take me some more plays to even come close to being able to play without referencing the rules every turn.
On Friday I played Castellion. The first challenge went well enough. I struggled a bit to get through the second challenge (2 bastions and 2 lines of defence) but the transition to the third challenge (6 towers) proved to be too much and I lost with 5 of the 6 towers complete.
I got second and was closer than expected since I didn't get all of my buildings built. The guy who won got his Quarry built first and mine was at the end. I was mostly banking on card draw. At one point this was close to being trade fodder and yet it continues to be one of my more played games.
Me being terrible at this isn't news, but the two newbies got 1st and 2nd. Will say in my defense there was two moments were people intentionally went after me even though I was in last. Getting either one to not happen would have put in in the running for 3rd.
Hadn't played in a while since my initial burst of plays, but I still enjoy this one. I started out strong and then stalled. I blame the lateness of the play.
Board Game: Deus: Egypt
[Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
[Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Fernando Robert Yu
Monday was a holiday so Kent, Keith and I visit Paulo's house for some afternoon gaming.
Ships = 1 Play
Pau had heard how much Jim, Kent, and I enjoyed our first play of this and with him being a great fan of Brass: Lancashire he requested that this be brought. I was a bit worried about Keith since he hated that game but he didn’t mind London so I hoped he would like this. My fear was unfounded as both enjoyed their first play of this. It turned out to be another 150 minute session but was a close one as we all pushed forward in our exploration of the world and advancement of our fleets. Pau did make an error when he triggered the area scoring without having much discs and cubes in that area which caused him to lag behind, but for the rest of us it was very tight and Keith the proceeded to end the game by building ships in the last era even though I told him 1 more round would have beneficial for the both of us since we could capitalize more by placing cubes and discs in era 7 as Kent had only a couple left, but Keith didn’t listen and it turned out I was right as Kent just managed to edge us out.
Pau and Keith enjoyed their first play! Kent 191 Me 188 Keith 187 Pau 157
A very busy map!
Century: Spice Road = 1 Play
We didn’t have much time left in the afternoon so we taught Pau how to play this. It turned out he “got it” very well as he selected action cards which chained off each other as he managed to scoot forward for the win.
Pau’s chaining of action cards leads him to the win! Pau 68 Me 60 Keith 60 Kent 36
Robert called for another wargame session at the FLGS and I obliged.
Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition) = 1 Play
We played Firefight 3: The Gap with me being the Soviets and him the Germans. The Germans had 4 pairs of Riflemen + LMG units in order to take over the stone building which my 5 Russian rifles and 1 MMG were defending, although I would be reinforced by 2 more Rifle and 1 MMG by Round 3. All I needed to do was hold out as by Round 3 onwards control of the objective would be granting me a lot of VP till the end of the game at Round 5. It was another bloody game with my Russians paying the price for an aggressive defense as Robert’s LMGs were mercilessly laying withering fire on my units. My MMG was the first to go although I managed to ambush his line with a hidden unit. That sacrifice delayed the Germans for a Round and that proved to be costly for them as Bob failed to dislodge my Riflemen on the building in Round 5 but could have done so given 1 more round. My rolls were atrocious but this balanced out in the end with Robert’s poor combat rolls during his attempt to get rid of my defending Riflemen. It did get damaged but luckily I pulled a Berserk chit and this made them tougher versus the succeeding fire. A very thematic way to end the game!
The Soviets paid in blood with their defense but manage to hold off till the very end in order to win 14-9!
Century: Spice Road = 2 Plays
It took Robert and me 2.5 hours to finish the game so we spent the rest of the afternoon playing this with Vhange and Lyng.
Game 1 Robert’s first try at the game grants him Beginner’s luck for the win! Robert 55 Me 51 Vhange 44 Lyng 44
Game 2 Me 68 Robert 56 Vhange 52 Lyng 49
Friday was declared a holiday due to the Eid festival so I get an afternoon of gaming in with the Celino brothers.
Deus: Egypt = 1 Play (NEW)
I wanted to try out the entire new deck this expansion offers and I must say the new cards and rules made playing the game totally different. Now you could only store resources on limited spaces and you could only gain more spaces by playing the new production cards. This totally screwed Kent’s old strategy of discarding cards to hoard resources and with me playing the cards which granted me the 3 space chits that meant I could be the one to store more resources. I didn’t hoard though as I used most of them to colonize the map and with the purple cards now granting you in game powers instead of end game scoring there were no huge end game points boosts which Kent usually also excelled and this meant I scored enough for the easy win.
I adapt best to the new deck and grab the victory! Me 45 Keith 26 Kent 19
Paperback = 1 Play (Out of the Dust!)
I pulled this out of the dust and my strategy of buying the 5 cost VP cards early denied the others easy VPs as I end up in front in a rather short game.
Me 46 Keith 30 Kent 25
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure = 2 Plays
Karl had joined us and he was very intrigued with this deckbuilding dungeon crawling race game. We randomized side A of the base game map and Karl had beginner’s luck as he managed to end up the winner with me having to be rescued by the villagers as usual!
Game 1 Karl 98 Me 87 Kent 80 Keith 79
Game 2 had Kent take a break while the rest of us used side A of the Clank!: Sunken Treasures board. Kent and Karl managed to buy both backpacks which enabled them to grab 2 artifacts each and Keith then got out first to trigger the final countdown. I got KO’d again but Karl managed to make it but the additional 4 rounds was not enough for Karl to accumulate enough points to overtake Keith in a high scoring game. Game 2 Keith 145 Karl 122 Me 76.
Prp and I played some Summoner Wars, with the same matchup we'd played most recently. My Mad Sirian summoned all three Champions; she had none. She got in only one hit on Sirian all game. She decked, and I still had two living Champions and five or six cards in my draw pile when I murdered Moyra with a Vampire and a late-summoned Warlock. Prp is thinking about retiring the Moyra Moves Out deck.
We played Arkham Horror: The Card Game, the crazy train scenario. It was a bad ride for us this time; both investigators were defeated before reaching the engine.
Some Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards mixed the cards from both sets. I narrowly lost the first bout, and Prp went on to win the second too, making for a short game. The spirits were strong with her!
We also played a very speedy game of Snit's Revenge. This time I was the winner, as my fast snit Sundance made it into the Forebosinator and kicked the Spark out of its Snorg. (A hapless Runningitum looks on.)
In Knightmare Chess we had a draw game, when my naked king couldn't make a legal move. I had gone into the endgame with a serious material advantage, but Prp's king had been a warlord (moves twice, in any combination of directions) since the third turn of the game, and she utterly ruined me by repeatedly checking my king with her warlord, eventually managing to capture my knight, queen and bishop with her combination of warlord and bishop.
The big game of the holiday weekend was a two-player session of Forbidden Stars. Prp's Eldar were the first to secure an objective, in round 3. I had heavily fortified the world with their second objective on it, though, so it took them until round 7 to achieve it. In the meanwhile, I did manage to get one of my objectives and salvage some honor. In the late rounds, I was reduced to upgrading my combat cards like crazy, since I didn't have a factory anymore, and couldn't build one where I could defend it. The final victory for the Eldar on Scynthia included full elimination of the Ultramarines as well as recovery of the Wraith-Wrought Artifact.
As a little chaser, we played a hand of Tides of Madness. I won, although Prp had me edged out by ten points, because she broke the madness bank.
GIR, quickly, ride the pig!
Yaaaaaay! I don't know what you just said!
While I was out for most of the lunch break on Monday, I did make it back in time to catch a quick game of Love Letter. I only managed to win 1 round.
My wife and I managed to get in 2 games of Gloomhaven that evening and did fairly well in both of the scenarios. The first scenario was basically a smash and grab type of scenario that we raced through. The second was a stand-up hack-and-slash one with my Brute holding back the monsters and her Spellweaver blowing up everything she could. It came down to the wire for me as I was nearly out of cards.
The first game at lunch on Tuesday was San Juan. I was finally able to win my first game of this, thanks largely in part to my number of valuable production buildings and having them each be worth an extra 2 points.
With only about 15 minutes left, we played another quick game of Love Letter. This time I managed to out-do myself, winning precisely 0 rounds while the winner walked away with 5.
Wednesday's first game at lunch was Ascension: Year Two Collector's Edition. I can't wait for the owner of this one to sell it in the FallCon auction so we can get this stinker out of the rotation. I came in last but didn't care.
And then another game of Love Letter since there's only 3 of us this week and there wasn't much time for anything else. Getting a little tire of this one but it's more entertaining than some of the other options that are available. I started off on a winning streak, winning 2 rounds in a row, and then hit a skid for the rest of the game.
We finally played something with a little more substance on Thursday: Ticket to Ride: Europe. I was doing fairly well for most of the game and thought I was in the running for first place. I managed to complete a bunch of routes, though they were a little light on points. I was sure I had enough time to finish off 2 tickets that I just grabbed and then someone decided to build an 8-train route to trigger the end of the game 1 round before I was ready. That ended up burning me. Had I not taken those 2 tickets, I would have at least come in second but instead fell into last place.
We were all getting a little tired of Love Letter so we pulled out Animal Upon Animal: Crest Climbers as our quick filler game for the last 15 minutes or so. We managed to get in 2 games where I came in last both times.
Finally something with substance again! My wife and I brought Terraforming Mars to the table and gave the Hellas map a try this time around. I bought the Excentric award, thinking that it was easily mine, but she ended up bringing a bunch of microbe and animal cards into play that managed to steal it away from me. I played a few events that caused her plant supply to drop to 0 a few times which was able to stall her getting a few precious greenery tiles onto the board for their TR points. We were both convinced that the other person was going to win. I was scared because she was going to score most of the awards, stole 2 of the milestones, and had a ton of green cards in play. She thought I was going to take it as I had 15 points more than her for most of the game and had the money to play pretty much anything I wanted - too bad all of my expensive cards weren't worth any points. Counting up the points for this one was a real nail-biter but I just barely managed to claw my way to victory, winning the game by a very narrow 4 points.
Friday's lunch game was Survive: Escape from Atlantis!. The winner had the most points I've seen in a game with something like 22 or 23. I came in second with a lowly 9; it was a pretty violent game for the rest of us.
Apparently 1 day is enough for the others to recover from Love Letter burnout, so we ended up playing 2 games of this. I finally managed to win more than 2 rounds for a change before the winner took 5 rounds straight. The second game was a little more back-and-forth for everyone but we had to cut it a little short because of time.
Forge War found its way back to the table on Friday evening as we had plenty of time and a desire to play something pretty meaty. It had been a little while since we had last played this one but it came back to us really quickly. We were pretty even for most of the game but she ended up pulling ahead later on thanks to the mountain of mithril that she was somehow sitting on. That allowed her to work in one last quest that was worth a large number of points while I was still trying to finish off the ones I had from previous rounds. She ended up winning this one 251-291.
We got The Manhattan Project in what was essentially a math trade with one of the guys I work with and one of his friends in exchange for Near and Far and some cash. This one seemed to be a little more up our alley and we gave it a try on Sunday. Explaining the actions took a little more time than I thought but the game itself plays fairly quickly once you get going. There was a bit of a power struggle between us as she started bombing my plutonium-producing buildings until I could build up enough fighters to outnumber her and bomb her uranium-producing buildings in a display of strength. It was a bit of a chore to keep one step ahead of her on the fighter track and occasionally cull her numbers so that my facilities could keep operating. She led for most of the game with her uranium bombs until I could get enough plutonium going to ramp up my production and get a low-value bomb onto the board for testing. I was eventually able to drag myself over the finish line by scraping together enough cash to load my bombs onto planes for their extra points and get me to 70 points. We're not usually fans of games that are a race to a point value but we both seemed to like this one enough to keep it around and consider looking at the expansions to see what they have to add to the mix.
In other news, we've managed to (easily) convince my dad to build a gaming table for us since I certainly don't have the skills to do so but he does. It'll be a bit of a lengthy project, especially since he won't be able to start until about 7 weeks from now as they're leaving for an extremely long vacation tomorrow. That gives us plenty of time to make decisions about final sizes of things and what exactly we want. We just gave him a bunch of ideas and showed pictures when we first suggested it to see if was something he'd be willing to do. Time to start planning!
Hard to decide which game to put as the linked geeklist item this week...
Takenoko - Started the game night with a 4 player game of this. I've not played the physical copy before, but it played pretty much as smoothly as the online version on boardgamearena. Lovely production, simple and elegant mechanics, cute theme - what's not to love? Oh, not winning. That's what. I spent too long trying to complete an objective card that was clearly going to be impossible (one of the tile-colour-arrangements) when I should have just ignored it and gotten more objectives instead.
Small World - 4 players, 2 were new to the game. With a lot of expansions added in. The mix of races & powers this game was a little odd; it all worked fine, and I managed to utilise the Leprechauns' pots of gold pretty well, but overall the game felt a little 'off', by which I mean the constant rule-checking of the races/powers and the interactions. Never felt like that playing this game before. It wasn't a crowded board, and people weren't conquering others' areas a huge amount, but something didn't quite click during play. Could have just been the powers that came up, or could just be the odd mix of players. Anyway, I came a respectably close 3rd. The winning player, one of the two who hadn't played before, managed to break 100 points, and she didn't really know how she'd done it - a lucky choice of races & powers I think!
Pocket Mars - Received this as a contest prize win from the Devon Dice podcast, so gave it a couple of plays solo to try it out (ignoring the "we recommend you play a few multiplayer games before trying the solo game" warning on the solo rules). It plays very nicely, and the solo variant is pretty simple to run (you just have to keep note of what colours the AI has in its prep module, as that defines what action it'll take on its turn). And it didn't feel in any way complicated. But I was clearly missing something as I lost both games, the second of which I thought I'd played much more intelligently and ended up with LESS points than my first game! Really fun little game though.
With the Kids
Ghostel - A friend lent me their copy of this game so I could try it with my kids. The box says 14+ (though the rulebook, amusingly, says 13+), but it's really an 8+ game for complexity. Simple mechanics, yet they work very nicely, and my kids took to it immediately. I think the age range is likely only for the imagery and wording of some cards (e.g. pentagrams on some cards and tokens, which don't even make thematic sense - you play as the ghosts, not as humans trying to summon/contact ghosts!), which is a shame as this works great as a family game and/or game to play with kids. My 9-year-old beat us all with her cunningly played power cards. Really fun game.
Pocket Mars - I really wanted to try the multiplayer game to see if it felt much different to the solo game, so I taught this to my 9-year-old. We had fun playing, and she did very well considering there's quite a lot of actions' possibilities to take in from those multi-use cards. I managed to beat her in the end by pushing the end-game, but she had a very respectable score (higher than my solo plays!). I now think the solo rules are very good at simulating a 2-player game, so now I just need to try this at higher player counts to see how THAT goes...
Dragon Punch - We went to an open-air theatrical production on Saturday afternoon, and knowing we'd have to wait a little while for it to start, I'd brought along this little in-the-hand card game. It's not the deepest game in the world, but for a game of just 14 cards, it packs a certain Punch (pun definitely intended!). Always fun for a quick 5 minute round, or perhaps a best-of-3. A couple of fiddly rules I have to remind myself of every time I play (e.g. "what does Initiative do", and "what is a Projectile attack?") but all-in-all, good, quick, silly fun.
Völuspá - Came 3rd out of 4 players. I think this is the most players I've played Voluspa with ever. It was fun, seeing the grid of tiles grow so quickly, and it didn't feel as chaotic as some tile-laying games can with higher player counts. Good fun.
Castles of Burgundy - 2nd out of 3 players, and just a little shy of breaking 200 points. Always a fun game.
Thinking about my next move.
So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
Two days with some games, including a busy friday.
Descent: The Road to Legend x3
Legendary Encounters: A Firefly Deck Building Game x3 -- new to me
In Road to Legend we continued our campaign. We got some upgrades for the heroes, heard a few rumors and went on to fight. The Overlord had a better day, gaining more XPs, as he upgraded some monsters to the silver level, which hit pretty hard. Still, we passed by the level of the dungeon of the rumor.
Legendary: Firefly was next, and it continued being a very good game, in the same vein of Alien. It manages to be even more thematic and gives more choices (though, not by much). Highly enjoyable for me, as I'm a big fan of the series - so this is clearly the best one in the family.
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne x1 -- new to me
Timeline: Inventions x1
Leaping Lemmings x1
Village had over a year of dust on it. I don't own a copy, but manage to explain the game by memory. Though I warned that the travel path is hard, and the market would yeld more points, one player wanted to travel, since that was what I was going to do, I abandoned my plan early, and went on a killing spree and council route, with a tad of sells to the market. This worked well and I won by a small margin over the person that went heavily on market and the church.
Games of Thrones: Iron Throne, was a disappointment. Though I thought the game would give players more control, it truly didn't. And it even enhance some of the bad parts in Cosmic Encounter.
In Quartz I only had one turn minning well, but manage to keep cards in hand, which was enough for second place.
Timeline: Inventions took us some time - we kept missing by a few decades (or centuries; or, in one caso, almost two thousand years). I had one card for two rounds, when, in the third, I got "firt man on space" and that ended the game, since no one else was able to be without cards.
Leaping Lemmings was also taken out of the dust. The play wasn't as brutal as my other one, with the players being more careful and the eagles less hungry. Thus the scores were higher. It was still a mean game, and quite fun.
Automobile closed the night. I was doing well until the third round. I wanted to take Durant, to build a factory immediately, but thought that Ford was to one that did this. My mistake was severe, as the player that took Durant built were I wanted. Thus I remained with one factory (the type of cars above didn't interested me) and, in the fourth round, needed to build too many cars in order to try to gain some money - and several of them didn't sold - I lost around $900 in this round. Damn! I was doing quite well up to that point, but two big mistakes lead me to third place (of 5).
And that was it!
Salt Lake City
Best game of the week
Sunday, September 3, 2017
9.5 World's Fair 1893
Due to a crazy work week, I was forced to miss 2 game nights.
Only played two different games this week but enjoyed them both.
I've had New Bedford sitting on my shelf for way too long. I decided this week get it off the shelf and finally get it played.
I sat down on Wednesday night and broke it out, read the rules, set it up and played a two player game "Rahdo" style to learn how it flows. Once you get the turns down, the game plays really quick. The game was nice and tight with a score of 21-20.
On Thursday night, nobody showed up from the game group so I taught my wife the game. It's pretty simple mechanics in the game, so she picked up what was going on right away and we were off and playing. Just stopping to talk about the building powers from time to time. Again, the game went quickly, we were done in an hour (including the ruled explanation). We both found out that points are close in this game and each one counts. She built the Seamen's Bethel and that got her the victory.
Yesterday, we played again, but this time including buildings from the expansion. It took us a while to go thru the new buildings and understand what they could do for us. They really add some interesting dynamics to the game and had us thinking how to best use them. Well, she obviously grasped it quicker than me! She blew me away in this game. Not even going to say the score!
Once of the Boy Scouts in my sons grade has been talking to me about playing 1st & Goal for well over a year now. He got it as a gift from his parents, but nobody will sit down and play it with him. He came over yesterday for a couple of games. I refreshed myself on the rules before he got there and gave him a quick refresher when he got there. I brought out all the expansions for him to pick through and find a team to his liking.
The first game he picked the Paladins, wanting a team with a strong defense. I picked the Black Widows... for no apparent reason. Just wanted a fun name to say during the game. It was a tough battle with only one score in the first half. The second half opened up a little bit with me pulling out the victory 24-14.
He wanted to play again and this time he looked for a high powered offense. He took the Ogres. I pulled out the dice to randomly pick a team for myself. I ended up with the Marauders, who have a pretty good offense. I thought we might be in for a high scoring game. Well, it ended up being a high scoring game for him! I had a turn over and he always seemed to pick the right defense to stop me when he needed to.
We had a great time.
Have a great week everyone! For the in the States, Happy Labor Day.
I only played one game this past week, once as a 4P and once as a 2P. For those who don't know, Stars is the final game from Treefrog, Martin Wallace's publishing company, and his final attempt to perfect the gaming system he developed in A Few Acres of Snow. His first attempt, Mythotopia, was largely a failure due in significant part to the very clunky end-game.
People generally seem to have two problems with aFAoS. One, is the combat system, which can drag a single battle out over many game rounds. The other, a seemingly dominant strategy for the British.
It's unclear if the second will be an issue, but given the random setup of the map, this seems unlikely. As to the first, combat is now resolved in one go.
As to the problem of end game stagnation in Mythotopia, Stars employs a shuffle track. Every time any player shuffles their discard pile into their deck, the game is one step closer to finishing.
Overall, I enjoyed my first two plays, but am unsure how I feel about the game overall. Mupliplayer conflict games have inherent issues with wars that may sap the strength of some players while leaving others intact, and so the game may just play best with two.
I'd like to play more in the coming weeks.
This week was pretty standard for me. I played at my regular Thursday meetup and again on Saturday, but with the U.S. holiday weekend and some time off work, I was hoping to get a few more plays in. Oh well…
We played Lisboa for the first time in about 3-4 weeks and I bumped my rating even higher after this play. It’s now my second favorite game of all-time behind only Great Western Trail. Now that we have the icons down and have to check the player aid less frequently, the game plays out so smoothly and this can easily be played in two hours with four experienced players. This game we had one newcomer to the table and even with the standard teach and that player asking a lot of questions, the time we spent playing the game was about 3 hours (including teach). We used the Kickstarter randomizer tokens to change the bonuses of the store and public building locations and that worked well. Typically, I don’t like games where you have to be aware of and collect end game scoring cards, but this game does it well and once you realize how important decrees are, you adjust your strategy accordingly. This game is full of depth, wonderful choices, beautiful art, great component quality, etc. Basically everything a heavy euro player would want is in this box.
8.2 Coal Baron: The Great Card Game NEW!
Has a very familiar feeling to it, similar to First Class, but I think this game might have more interesting things going on than FC. I really enjoy the worker placement mechanic here and the variability in how you can use your cards. At its heart, this is a pickup and deliver game with a unique twist. I need to play it more to see if this solidifies as a top 25 game for me or if the luck factor will keep this from being a special game in my mind. This game is very similar to Lisboa in that you need to acquire end game scoring cards otherwise you will lose. I played very well, but ignored the end game cards altogether and lost the game by 13 (finishing last) as a result. Next time I will play it differently, but there will certainly be a next time as I want to get this one back to the table soon.
7.6 Cry Havoc
I played Cry Havoc as a three-player game at Dice Tower Con and really enjoyed my experience. This time we played it as a four player game and I have to drop my rating slightly. The four player game drags a bit and there are long stretches where two of the four players might be checking their phones and waiting for things to happen. This is because in a four player game, there are going to be quite a few battles every round and there could be a situation where 3-4 battles may play out consecutively that don’t involve one-to-two of the players. This causes those players to zone out slightly. Plus, in this game someone got enough points from enabling scoring to push the event token to the next round, shortening the game by one round. This made it hard to execute a long-term plan, which is especially important if you are playing the Pilgrims. All in all, I still dig the game, but it’s no longer in the same class as Blood Rage for me when it comes to Dudes-on-a-Map type games.
7.5 Anachrony NEW!
Reading through the rules, I was certain that Anachrony was going to be a big hit for me. I loved the theme, the minis, the mechanics, the interesting twists, everything. But when we played the game, the shortcomings became apparent and this falls in the same category as every other Mindclash game I have played, which is “good, not great, slightly misses the mark”. I don’t know what it is about Mindclash games that don’t do it for me. In this one, the issue I had (which was reaffirmed by other members of our group) was that the game overstays its welcome. Because you can recruit new workers on every turn and because you can build buildings that use those workers on subsequent turns, in the first round you may have 4-5 actions to take. But by round 5, you could have up to 10 actions to take. This means the game takes a LONG time to play as everyone is going around the table doing stuff constantly. Plus, as you build more and more buildings to your private player board, the feeling of worker placement restriction becomes less and less. There are Superprojects that let you copy other players actions or take additional recruit/build/research actions where you don’t even have to bring a mech out to the Council board to activate. As a result, this didn’t have the great tension I have come to expect in a worker placement game. I also didn’t like some of the arbitrary rules which didn’t feel strategic or thematic, one of which cost me the victory. Despite these critiques, there is a lot of good here. The production quality is awesome, the theme is awesome and the game is fun, which is the best compliment I can give a game. I want to play it again, but like Trickerion: Legends of Illusion, Anachrony is not a game I feel the need to own.
7.4 Stop Thief!
I introduced Stop Thief to my gaming group this week. They enjoyed it as a lighthearted diversion to the regular heavy euro games we play each week. We played on intermediate difficulty, but in hindsight we should have played on advanced for more challenge. The fact that the app gives you that option is a great reason why this game can work as a nice filler or change of pace option for game groups that focus on lighter games or heavier games.
Received our copy of Massive Darkness Friday and have been playing it like crazy. My wife says It's like when the kids get a new video game. We all love the game. The figures are fantastic. It runs a little long but hopefully shortens when we get more used to the rules and gameplay.
This weekend was game night they were doing a Star Trek themed night and we had five players. The three games played were new to me. First Up was Star Trek Panic. This was very similar to the old Castle Panic with some more choices and that thrown in. By far Star Trek panic is the best of the series. We played on normal had a good star but it crumbled and we just barley survived to the end, see the image below.
This one I think was good enough that we might see it on my Top 100.
Next up was Five Year Mission, we won the first game and lost the second. While fun it was really luck driven. This will likely not make it onto my top 100. However it is good enough that I will not turn down a game.
We ended game night with a game of Tiny Epic Galaxies. This one I liked even though I did poorly I wasn't paying attention to other players cultures and they kept following and stealing planets from me the guy who did win was also doing poorly but managed to steal the win in the very last round and get 15 points in a single turn coming from behind. I still like Tiny Epic Kingdoms better as it is not as prone to luck and analysis paralysis. In this game on one turn I managed to get all my dice as diplomacy, which was totally useless to me without a rocket ship.
With my wife and daugter this week i played: Imhotep, Get Bit, Dino Hunt Dice, Hanabi and Shave a Sheep
Other Games played this week: Coloretto, Incan Gold, Race for the Galaxy, and Tokaido
My solo play for this week was Elder Sign, and tried out the Unseen Forces expansion. I think this is a good expansion to add to Elder Sign as it makes it slightly more difficult.
Played a four player game. I wish this game had a little faster start, for example, letting the players start with more cards.
Board Game: Goa
[Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:93]
The gaming group had a full foursome of Suburbia, but I had been wanting to play Goa again, so David Dailey, Willy Hughes and I set up Jim Story's First Edition. This is one of the few auction games I play, but as a result, I'm not very good at it. I was second most of the evening to David Dailey but got edged out by Willy Hughes on the final round. David won 37 to Willy's 32 and my 29.
Goa from a prior play.
Rating: out of 10.
After recovering on Saturday, I managed to set up Terra Mystica for a long-delayed solo learning game. I'm sure I messed it up repeatedly, but you have to start somewhere. In any event, I'm hooked enough to want to try it again and will probably see if I can get the group interested at the next meeting.
Terra Myastica learning game.
Rating: Too soon to say.
Another quiet week by our standards...
Monday and Tuesday (with Clare)
Letters from Whitechapel x2 - I was determined to try and beat Clare while being Jack, but yet again my turns both ended on night three! However many times we play this, it never feels stale or old, it really is that good!
Friday (with Clare)
Ticket to Ride - Just the one game as I've been feeling under the weather again. I blew Clare away with ease, much to her dissatisfaction!
Saturday (with Clare)
Patchwork - Just the one, but this another game that never feels stale. I lost by an absolute country mile!!
Sunday (with Clare and the kids)
Cottage Garden - We decided to try this with the kids and I have to say, I actually enjoyed it more than with just two players and the kids picked it up really quickly, which made me like it more!! Just to top it all off, Sam (our 8 year old) won the first game and Stephanie (our 10 year old) won the second... and all with no tears or tantrums!!!
So another week begins, with Clare and the kids off to school. After my first book hardly set my bank account on fire, I've started my second. If YOU bought it, then a million thank yous. Keep it safe as the first run was riddled with printing and spelling errors, so who knows, maybe, when I'm a famous author it might be worth 40 pence more!!!!!
(If you haven't bought it, shame on you... Get on amazon now, search James Perrett and there it is!!!)
Darryl with one "R"
My mom was visiting for the long weekend, which was nice! We played a number of games. In terms of game outcomes... well, it just wasn't my weekend. But that's ok -- mom was here.
On Friday, my mom & I went to Mox Boarding House and spent several hours there, playing games & eating.
First up was Splendor. It was her first time playing, while I'd played a couple of times before.
We played twice and she won both times. The second time we both ended with 15 points, but she won the tiebreaker.
Next up was Lotus. It's not my favorite game, but my mom enjoys it.
We only got half a game in before my wife arrived at Mox. At that point my mom had a pretty decisive advantage.
The three of us moved on to Bärenpark. It was the first time any of us had played. My wife finished 2 points ahead of my mom, who finished 5 points ahead of me.
We then stopped to eat dinner...
... and then played Codenames Duet. We played 2 games with 2 players on one side, 1 on the other. We lost both games -- in the first game, we were 2 words away from winning, while in the second, we hit the assassin late in the game.
On each of Saturday & Sunday, the three of us played 1 game of Paperback, which I recently acquired in a math trade.
In Saturday's game, my wife won, I finished in 2nd, and my mom 3rd. In Sunday's game, my wife won again, my mom finished 2nd, and I was 3rd.
While we had a great time gaming with my mom this weekend, starting next weekend I look forward to playing the heavier fare we usually prefer. And hopefully I won't go 0-for-8 on wins.
"Conclave of Gamers 2017" was this past weekend. So I got caught up on some gaming. Not as much 18XX as I had hoped, but hey, plenty of varied stuff...
Played another round of 1860, my 6th play of this title. This was with 4 players and is fairly different than with 3 players. I think everyone preferred the game with 3 players. Honestly, I was pretty shocked by this one thing: while we were setting up the game, I was told by 3 18XX players with years (decades even) of experience that they owned the game but had never played it. We'll have to fix that (and we did fix that for 1 player) as this is an odd but cool game.
I finally got to play this railroad game. It was OK, had some neat mechanics. I don't need to own it, but I would play it with you if you desired to do so. I had fun playing this game.
Of Uwe's three "tetris games", this is his best game. The button economy always makes the game for me with its coupling with the time mechanic. Taught it to two folks that had never played it and they dug it.
A classic and one of my all time favorites! It's always a joy to play this game and I love it with the market from the second edition. One of the 5 players had never tried the market. He's not as sold on it as I am.
The new CMON edition is absolutely fabulous! I'm so glad to FINALLY own a copy of this title, it is one of my favorite games of all time. Auctions all the time!
Mini Rails X2
This is an exceedingly clever little filler. Certainly one I will get a copy of. Fast and interesting, really good stuff.
Continues to get played, continues to be enjoyed, continues to be liked by people I introduce to it. Only do it as a 5-player game if possible, 4-players is acceptable. Play something else with only 3-players. Fantastic game for my tastes. The three noobs to the game had fun - one of them is in my group and said that we must play this more often.
Played this one and it was...not good for my tastes. Die rolling and card drawing randomness. Too long even for a filler given its randomness. The cool mechanic is that a low roll gets you a resource and a high roll contributes towards you earning the card...so, at least both high and low rolls are useful. But it is undone because players are randomly dealt a secret card and it is quite possible that more than one player will be seeking the same color cards, making it too easy for another player to get the cards he/she needs - plus 5 cards are removed from the deck at random (so the desired cards could be even less available). If we play again, and it will come up as a friend owns the game, we'll make sure each player has a different color card. So yeah, not for me. I was most excited when the game ended.
Ah, yes. The grand-daddy of area control. I dislike area control but I love this game. The card play, the choice of the action cards, the castille - just an amazing design. Why don't I own a copy? I need to address that - pronto!
A simple city-building game with fun spatial puzzling. Nothing to excitedly write home about, but pleasant enough filler - expert game goes a rounds too long for me though. It will soon be on the auction shelf after a couple more plays.
Time of Crisis
Interesting game, I had a lot of fun - but I need to play one or two more times to get a good feeling for what exactly my feelings really are regarding the game. We played with 4 - which is the player count that I would only want to play with - and things were a little chaotic and fiddly - and the teacher of the game got a few rules wrong. But, there are some very cool things going on in the game. The deck building aspect is good, as is the simple combat system. I was the first emperor and was that for 6 turns (additionally, I was briefly emperor again late in the game), the longest of the three player emperors in the game and my legions never surrendered Rome. I finished third and, as I said, had a lot of fun. Looking forward to playing again.
I’m going to go more into detail on this entry and, this is not going to be a positive review of the game No Caboose. I was asked to try the game by some friends, and I gladly did – you should play the games your friends want to play!
The game bills itself as "a serious game" that is "cutthroat railway building and stock manipulation" that takes "about 2-3 hours to play". Those are all direct quotes from game materials and the BGG profile for the game. For where my game tastes are located, these statements don’t pan out.
So, I write this to share my experience with other lovers of serious games about cutthroat railway building and stock manipulation.
This is not meant to be disrespectful to the authors of the game. I have no doubt they are wonderful people - that had the bravery, love and motivation to provide fun for people they have never met - which is itself to be lauded! The game they created just goes against my grain in almost every imaginable way (except for the railroad part of course). My opinion on the art is not about the artist(s).
In the game, players are not truly directing one or more railroads – there is no notion of a “president” or anything like that. Railroads are just tracks and shares any player can lay track for any railroad and own any amount of shares of any company.
When laying railroads, you draft cards from decks that relate to the different regions of the eastern half of the United States. Since roads have to be extended and not just plopped in the middle of nowhere, this models a westward expansion of the rail network by the games 6 railroad companies.
To do this, you draw 6 cards using any mixture of regions you wish, draft one and pass them. When you get the next hand you place the drafted card back in your hand and draft one and pass them – so, you see a lot of cards and end up with 1 card to play during the round.
Playing the card allows you to place a railroad stick, collect some cash and collect 1 share of the company whose stick you just laid. Sometimes you will get an extra share or some extra cash if you met the card’s special conditions (not all of the cards have special conditions). The card is then discarded.
There is zero tension in the card draft. Players are not really building an “engine” of any sort, so there’s no juicy finds, no hate-draft and no dares or risks. It was pretty much a meaningless activity that accounted for maybe 50% of our playtime. In the last round of play, we decided that each of us would just draw 6 cards, kept one and moved on without a draft. There was zero appreciable difference in the play and decision making ("decision" may be too strong a word in this case). The only difference I detected was that the last round we played went very swiftly.
There was certainly nothing “cutthroat” in the railway building.
During the stock market phase each player can buy and sell shares. There is no real manipulation of the stock market however. At times, depending on the purchase or sale of a player, the price will rise or fall by $1 or $2 per share (higher on the value track has larger changes, up to $5) but outside of the first couple of turns, the value changes caused by player activity was not impactful or even interesting.
You see, a share of one company is no better or worse than any other share in the game. The railroads are not managed by any one player on whose intentions and skill you can gauge. There is no prospectus to read. No history of earnings. Nothing to judge the future prospects of the company on. People are tactically laying track for any railroad they please, haphazardly even, bouncing from turn to turn from railroad to railroad, looking for a couple extra bucks from the card, or a share they want for some reason within their own minds. And, the amount of track laid has no bearing on anything at all in the game. A tiny railroad is just the same as a large railroad.
So far, this was simply a family game…could have been a Parker Brothers game if the decades were to be rolled back a bit. In my mind’s eye, I could see my younger self playing this with my Grandmother.
Now, onto the part of the game that was really over the line for me. The main driver in stock value changes and dividend payments is completely random.
There is an “Economic Climate” card face up that presents the possible market dynamics based on a 6-sided die roll. The economic climate can be anything from "panic" to "boom" with "poor", "normal" and "good" in between. At least the cards are weighted, so that you can see the odds of how the market will change. Then, once the market dynamics have been determined by the die roll, you flip over a market card for each of the 6 railroad companies. They'll either stay the same or go up or down in value and will (or will not) pay a small dividend. Yes, things can go down in a "good" and up in a "bad" economy. The swings in stock value can be three or four spaces on the market value track – pretty swingy one way or the other. Again, owning shares of one company is just as good as owning shares in any other.
As you can see, the things that meaningfully changing the value of the stocks and determine any dividend payouts are a die roll and the flip of some cards. Ugh. This means that, the health of your investment portfolio is left to random chance.
It is, I imagine, like being a foot soldier in an artillery barrage. One place to hunker down is just as good as another, you just don't know where the shells will land. So, diversification could be wise to balance wins and losses...but the blind luck of a heavily siloed investor will crush you.
A "strategy" could be to play the odds of the how the market may shift. Oh, I see that there is a 50% chance of a “panic” this turn. I’ll sell a prudent portion of my portfolio to insulate myself from that possibility and then buy back up when things look like they’ll get better. Oh, I see you rolled a “6” and the economy is in “boom” not a “panic”. Good thing you didn’t sell a lot stock like I did – you sure outplayed me by rolling that "6", well done. Instead of "roll-and-move", this was "invest-and-roll".
I completely understand what the authors are shooting for: uncertainly in the market and the simulation of external forces...but, for a game of this length and wishing to be considered as a "serious game" this implementation does not accomplish the goal in a manner that supports the things the game states that it desires to be.
There was certainly nothing “cutthroat” in the stock manipulation – there was no manipulation either.
For logistical reasons, we ended up quitting the game about 3/4 done.
I see that the title is available for $67.99 (on 9/3/2017). For that amount of money, I expect to be provided with solid decisions and interesting game play, regardless of the weight of the game. With regards to graphical design, I'd place the game sort of on the Winsome-level (some things are better and some are not), but Winsome typically delivers "between the ears".
I really did not like this title at all. No truly meaningful decisions to me made, winner determined by randomness and at least 2 hours longer than it should be.
Big game day Saturday...
Opened with a tight 3P win and a big 4P win in Thurn and Taxis.
Finally mastered Power Grid: China, getting a big advantage with the #21 and #25 (got them for about 36 elektro each and they were worth every penny!!) in the mid-game; only needed 14 to win as nobody else could both get 14+ capacity and build to 14.
Won an amazingly tight nail-biter in Railways of the World on the Western US map. Four of five players finished within a band of about 6 VP, with Blue lagging due to a disastrous opening (Green basically ate his lunch) - he paid a huge amount to go first, and then the player on his immediate right fought him hard in San Francisco. I opened with a northwestern bounty and picked up two of the four starting bonuses: 3 cube colors and getting a 4 train.
It was all downhill from there, as I struggled to second place in Saint Petersburg, where my blue buildings were buried by an army of nobles. I should probably practice the old one more for tournaments, but I think the new one is more challenging, even without the yellow phase.
Played King of Tokyo for the first time in a while. A lot of us were playing the KO game, but the first player found a way to get to 20 VP despite me pummeling him several times.
Played my best game of Concordia yet... but still lost by a dozen or more VP. I think I finally played well, but one guy paid a king's ransom for a Consul, and proceeded to Consul several Consul cards. He won, I was second.
Started out on fire, but then ended up at 4-3 for the day. Still, two things I won were large player count dogfight games, and other than King of Tokyo, where I was playing indifferently, I was never worse than second place.
The whole last two weeks...
Was tired, injured, paranoid, bloody, nauseated and whatnot, all at the same time...
around 50 hours of playtime for the first curse...
But it was so worth it...!!! F*** you Voracious Goddess !!!!
Now on to the next curse.