What Couples Have Been Playing — March 2018
Kate U
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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A Couple of Gamers Welcomes You To

What Couples Have Been Playing
March 2018


Happy St. Patrick's Day!





Welcome to the monthly "What Couples Have Been Playing" Geeklist, a geeklist for couples by couples.

Use this list to post games you've played as a couple, comment on other people's items, and don't forget to thumb! Mingle with our community in the comments below.

Here's your step-by-step guide:

1. Play a game as a couple* within the month of March.
2. Post a geeklist entry after playing.
3. Let us know what you liked or didn't like about the game, and tell us how it plays with two (particularly for games that aren't 2p only!). If you've played it with more than two, feel free to make comparisons with the 2p gameplay.
4. Provide feedback for others, chat, ask questions, and give a little thumb here and there!

*For our purposes, "couple" is defined as two people playing a game. Many of us here are playing with partners or spouses, but if you play a game with your sister or your best friend, please DO feel free to post about it here too!



March Thoughts and Challenges


Welcome to all the new users! We're glad you're here. Don't hesitate to jump on in and tell us about your 2p gaming.

Since March is the month of St. Paddy, let's take this month to contemplate luck in our games. How do you feel about luck in gaming? Do dice games make you more or less excited about a game? What games represent your ideal luck–strategy balance?

On my hemisphere, spring is coming... autumn on the other side of the world. Do the seasons affect your gaming choices? Do certain games make it to your table more at one time of year or other? Purim, Easter, Ides of March... whatever you're observing this month, how does gaming fit in for you?

Tell us what you're playing as a couple this month! As always, please be respectful. And above all, enjoy your gaming.


A very special thank you to our list's originator, Ryan Olden.
Ryan Olden
Wales
Cardiff
Cardiff
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And as always, a huge thank you to Kevin L. Kitchens for creating our very own aggregator: http://couples.onesuponagame.com.

Kevin L. Kitchens
United States
Gainesville
Georgia
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Go look at the stats! You'll be amazed at all the info behind this link. Last month (http://couples.onesuponagame.com/Detail/Geeklist/237027/febr...) our most often posted game was Azul and we had 56 active users with 13(!) first-time posters! Welcome, welcome!


Resources for Couples

A Couple of Gamers Guild

Couples of the Geek

Newbie Couples Games

Previous Geeklists
What Couples Have Been Playing – February 2018
What Couples Have Been Playing – January 2018
What Couples Have Been Playing - December 2017
What Couples Have Been Playing - November 2017


Be sure to subscribe to our What Couples Have Been Playing Monthly Geeklist SUBSCRIPTION THREAD so you never miss a list.
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1. Board Game: Zombicide: Green Horde [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:1156] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
We finished up our first game of Zombicide: Green Horde last night a little after midnight.

Even as somewhat experienced Zombicide players, the game was very tough. We ended up losing on the tutorial quest.

The game looks great. It definitely fits the green theme of this month. All of the Miniatures are excellent, and we had a great time playing. Zombicide is pretty light, but I enjoy it for what it is... a beer and pretzels, dice tossing, zombie slaying romp through the green countryside.

It plays best at two to three players. Solo is fine but I'd rather game as a couple. The downtime is too much with any more than three players.

I like the new mechanics, but at its core the game is still very much Zombicide. I honestly wasn't expecting anything to be drastically different. It does feel much more difficult though. We had some poor rolls and bad luck at the beginning. We still had fun but I hope we can beat the next Quest.
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2. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:155] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Amanda W
United States
Georgia
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My husband and I are both avid MtG players, but we don't like just opening boosters for cards. To make it more fun, we play a variant called Mini Master (also known as Pack Wars, among other things) with our boosters instead.

To play, You open a pack without looking at the cards, take out the token or tip card (the one that doesn't have the regular card back), and then shuffle in three of each basic land. Then you play it like a tiny deck. This makes things more fun as you try to adapt to the surprises in your deck, and wait impatiently for your pack's rare to show up so you can see what you got.

We also find this to be frequently more fun than playing our constructed decks against each other, as my husband has an innate knack for building decks that beat out mine (even when my decks are otherwise beastly), and our attempts at 1v1 Commander don't go so well since power level is super swingy in 1v1 compared to multiplayer. Mini Master is a good equalizer because it's not about who built the best deck, it's just about how well you play and a bit of luck in which cards are in your pack.
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3. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:66] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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HC 10x10 Game #2
The Cryptic Corpse.
Ystari 2016-1 edition.

We tackled this case over two nights as is our wont with this game.

I'm afraid the extra time did not help at all. We felt we were getting nowhere. In the end, we pulled the plug and attempted the questions with not much hope. We actually did better than we thought. We had the man's name, the murderer and the reason. Though we were by no means confident of the answers. But we got as far as we did by quite unorthodox means. And we did cheat by coming to BGG over the cipher. We got the obvious one, but used help for the real one and completely missed the third. shake

We had a great if frustrating time and look forward to the (hopefully easier) next case.

Sherlock devil
arrrh kiss soblue
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4. Board Game: Medici vs Strozzi [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1755]
Christina Law
United States
Aliso Viejo
California
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Played this for the first time. It was ok. I'd rather play regular Medici with 4 to 6 players. As a 2-player only game, Medici vs Strozzi just didn't have the same kind of tension and fun.
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5. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:106]
Mariella Barra
United Kingdom
Derby
Derbyshire
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The Beast from the East is battering the UK with snow, and we stayed inside playing games in front of the fireplace.

Jaipur is an old favourite we always get back to. Quick and portable, my only criticism is that it is a bit of a faff to set up. The rules say to play three rounds, but we often make it a quicker game playing just a round. We have played in pubs and on trains - planes are slightly trickier because of the lack of space.

Today we played best of three with the following scores:

Round 1: I lost 70 to 73
Round 2: I won 76 to 71
Round 3: I won 75 to 74.

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6. Board Game: AuZtralia [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:5162]
Peter Dorsett
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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So I've been lucky enough to demo this new game from Martin Wallace. This is a competitive game with some semi co-op elements. The semi co-op seemed stronger in 2p. I did a write up from a 4p game here for more info: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/28415597

In short, you're in a fictional colonial Australia building rail and infrastructure that happens to impede into Cthulhus slumber party of great old ones in the outback. Defend your infrastructure and kill the old ones to score the most points. It's a 1-4p game but scaled well and definitely something different for couple gamers to try on release. I think there's a kickstarter in a few days.
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7. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:7]
Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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NC 10x10
Game 3
We left it too long and spent too much time relearning. That made the game drag out more than it should have

arrrh 123 mb
kiss 64 cry mb

I like it. kiss is not yet convinced. She gets lost in all the choices.
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8. Board Game: Valeria: Card Kingdoms [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:564]
Black Alexidor
Canada
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Wow...how did I not bite on this game earlier? It's quickly becoming one of our favorite games; it's so damn fun.

This is a dice rolling, tableau-builder where you collect resources depending on your dice rolls and also collect resources on other players turns. We have a blast at the 2 player count and don't have the usual resource explosion problem end game. The art and components are great and the dice are big and marbled.

The expansions really add a lot to this game and, despite its lighter complexity and seemingly easy game play, has been hitting the table more than anything lately. She doesn't even want to learn the new games we just got in yet!

Some games just hit the right spot, but you'll never know until you try!
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9. Board Game: Santorini [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:74]
Michael R.
United Kingdom
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Three games of Santorini in the last few days. I won every game, probably because I have experience of playing things like chess. I would recommend limiting each player's turn to a minute or so. Recommended if you like abstract games.

Positives:
+ Quick to play (10-20 minutes)
+ Small footprint
+ Very variable play each time with the god power cards

Negatives (minor):
- Some players could be prone to AP
- Some players could be prone to always playing the same way
- Setup is a little fiddly if you take the buildings out of the bag
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10. Board Game: Port Royal [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:407] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Mariella Barra
United Kingdom
Derby
Derbyshire
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I played this on Wednesday with a friend, and forgot to add it before as it wasn't with my partner - but it's still a couple's game!

This is a very quick card game with a small footprint. There is a deck of card containing ships, crew and missions. On your turn, you are the harbourmaster and draw cards until you decide to stop or you go bust by drawing two same-coloured ships. If you stop you can pick a card - ships give you money, crew has to be paid for but gives you special abilities and points. Your opponent(s) can then also pick a card, but need to pay you a coin to do so. You take turns being then harbourmaster until someone gets to 12 points, then the game ends.

It's a quick not too deep push your luck game - it does not overstay its welcome (we played it in 20 minutes including explanation) and was perfect to whip out in the restaurant while waiting for food. I have played it multiple players before, but only with the expansion that makes it become coop. I don't think it suffered at lower player count, in fact it probably became more strategic.

I lost but not too badly, 11 to 12.
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11. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Michael R.
United Kingdom
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Two games of Pandemic, one with the base game and 6 epidemics and one with the Virulent Strain and Quarantine tokens. We were one turn from victory in both games and lost both times due to too many outbreaks. So frustrating! Still, this is what makes the game a classic. It's generally tense and things can go from looking good to awful in just a couple of turns. Easily one of my most played games.

Positives:

+ Tense and exciting
+ Highly variable
+ 45 minute play time
+ A great introduction to co-op games

Negatives:

- Alpha players may be a problem
- You'll lose quickly once in a long while due to luck of the draw

Mixed

+/- The three expansions add a mixture of essential, good and mediocre new features
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12. Board Game: Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:358]
ParisianDreams
Canada
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A friend came over on Thursday and brought this with him for us to play. I had played it once before but at 3P count. Apparently this plays best at 2P (as you both get 2 actions) or at 4P (as you get 4 actions total/1 action each) but is not great at 3P. I have only played it twice now at 2P and 3p but I will say I enjoyed my 2P experience more. I felt with 2 actions I could get more done/accomplish something each round and that 4 actions total really helped us a lot. Where as 3 total actions was a bit of a struggle.

We played a delve quest which is a bit of a mixed bag as the cards are more random for what comes out for monsters to fight and places to explore. Our game ended with my friend's character died. He played a fighter (his action card for attack was really good at the basic level) and I played a ranged half elf archer. She was a Wayfarer something?

It was a fun game and I'd like to play again.

turns are quick
artwork is nice
game is challenging
interesting decision making
soloable (always a positive for me) but you play 2 characters

it's not a con for me but the game can run 2+ hours. It all depends on how quickly you die. I could have actually kept playing (as you do not lose when one person dies) but I'm not a fan continuing on a game when one person it out, so we ended it when he died.

It's part of the Games Workshop stuff so when they did not renew their contract with FFG, this line was d/c'd. The base still seems somewhat available but the pricing in the secondary market for the 2 expansions that were released are pretty pricey. There is though still lots of game in the base, the 2 expansions add 2 more characters. one of which we played in our game.

edit: typos
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13. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:128]
ParisianDreams
Canada
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My husband and I sat down and played this last night. I had spent some time last week while watching netflix building the decks for all the factions. You are only suppose to use 1 expansion but since we are not playing in a tournament I added in Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends and the cards from Imperial Settlers: Aztecs. A bit disappointing that the Aztecs expansion did not include common cards. You can buy them for $8 on Portal's website though.

I chose the Aztecs and he picked the Japanese. It was his first play with the Japanese (he usually picks Barbarians or Romans) so he did a quick scan of their faction cards before we started play. I have played the Aztecs twice before in my solo games but was still working on playing their faction cards well and at the right time.

In the first or 2nd round of the game he drafted a common card that gave him 1 pt every time he built a red building, a real boon for him as most of the Japanese faction buildings are red. Also lucky for him as he did not know that their cards were mostly red buildings. hah

I started off a bit slow, trying to build up production and get some worker production going as Aztecs faction actions use mostly workers for praying, scoring points etc.

By round 5 we both had our engines zooming along and I had a really good production chain going for workers and blessings. In my previous two rounds I mis-interpreted the use of the blessing tokens, and wow, playing them correctly really makes a difference. hah

Final end game scoring was Japanese - 91pts, Aztecs - 130pts.blush wow That was our highest scores yet in an IS game. I feel my partner could have scored even higher but he was card starved in the last 2 rounds. He did though get out his two faction cards that give 8pts each if you have 5 food on them. I got out my great pyramid which gives you 8pts as well for 8 stone and 1 worker. It's my fave card in the game.

fun card building
quick game, we've played enough now that we can play a game in under an hour
fun engine building

Can be pretty mean with all the razing.

Blessing production for rounds 4 and 5. I had a ton of workers/wood/stone but had spent them by the time I took this pic at nearly the end of the final round.

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14. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:50]
Gina
United States
Maine
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Got two rounds of this in today with my best friend. I tried out a different strategy that revolved around trading blue Novelty goods for tons of cards, but alas it was not fruitful...

(Spoiler: all of my games today resulted in a loss... cry)

All in all though, they were both good rounds. N got a lot of good card pulls which helped him immensely with getting a steam roller of an engine built.

Still really digging this one!!
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15. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:214]
Gina
United States
Maine
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It's been a few months since this one has hit the table. It felt good to get back to the neglected bamboo fields. That being said, my head was 100% in the clouds during this game. I keep the Chibis expansion mixed in, and some of the gardening objective cards can just be brutal. I got a few of those, and proceeded to generally just completely mismanage my time. I think I was focusing entirely too much on trying like hell to build up green bamboo for a particular objective, and not getting any of the smaller objectives completed.

N placed his 9th completed objective (to trigger end game) at which point I only had THREE finished! wow I just started laughing, what else can you do? Let's call that one a practice round...... whistle
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16. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Gina
United States
Maine
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I really thought that I had a shot with this one. I closed a relatively large gap mid game, and we remained neck in neck until the end. My strategy was to place ships like a mad person, while working on some of my larger color groupings. N got some knowledge tiles that would yield him a lot of end game bonus points, and that right there was my downfall.

I've played the dice version so many times recently that during the first round of the game I had to remind myself that once the only mine was taken, I wouldn't be able to just roll the color grey to complete the area. I must admit I stumbled for a couple turns trying to get back into the groove of CoB proper.

This game is always so satisfying to dig into.
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17. Board Game: The Battle for Hill 218 [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1490]
David M
United Kingdom
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Played this at the pub with my friend D. It's really quick so we got 3 plays in.

I like it a lot! We got the draw/discard rules wrong, but it was still a cracking game. It's like a mini version of Hive, that plays a lot faster.

I've played lots of games that fit into a single deck of cards, and (with the exception of Decktet) I've not seen anything as smart as this.

I can see it breaking into my top 25 this year.
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18. Board Game: Final Fantasy Trading Card Game [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:4710]
David M
United Kingdom
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3 games of this with D today. It's getting deeper and more thinky each time we play it. Probably not for me in the long term, as it's a game that could easily take over your life, and I enjoy playing a a variety of games.
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19. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:57]
Kevin Boroduwicz
Scotland
Lytham St Annes
Lancashire
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Our 28th game and I realise now that I have taught my girlfriend too well. After initially beating her in most of the strategic and tactical games we played I began to give playing advice that she for once, to my disappointment and annoyance, heeded. Now our games, instead of becoming quicker are increasingly tense cat and mouse affairs in which I have become the preyed upon. Despite my best efforts the 7x7 bonus consistently ends up in her well manicured hands, and irritatingly bold mid-game moves leave me regretting the hubris that allowed me to move from sorceror to apprentice. Now I know how Frankenstein felt but for me there is no escape. Having a board game playing significant other is truly a double edged sword.

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20. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:320]
Kevin Landdeck
United States
Yonkers
New York
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We had played this only once or twice a decade ago, so obviously it had failed to impress then. It continued that legacy tonight. After pulling out an early advantage (thank you Architect!), I was reined in by a couple of Warlord raids. I eked out the win 26-23 but neither Mrs. P or myself found the play all that engaging. By the fourth round we were just going through the motions to bring it to a conclusion. I'm sure we're missing something essential, but the fact that this felt exactly the same as the last time we played, we suspect this game just isn't for us.
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21. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:22]
Kevin Landdeck
United States
Yonkers
New York
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We're half a decade late to the Concordia love fest. Tonight was our first game -- played on the Italia map. So, on first play, we had no idea how particular gods / personality cards pair with the on-board situation, which meant we were playing basically blind. Still, that didn't pose any obstacle to the fun factor: it's been a long, long time since I saw and heard Mrs. P laugh while gaming the way she did tonight. At one point, she chuckled, "I have no idea if what I'm doing is actually helping me win, but I don't care!" Plans were hatched, most succeeded, some were thwarted or abandoned halfway through ... and we giggled and laughed through almost every turn. There is something satisfying about the ease with which goods and money can be generated, and the lack of any genuine "setbacks". Somehow that "optimistic" game play led to a carefree, joyful play-style for us tonight. I'm sure that strategies and tactics will become more apparent as we internalize which gods (personality cards) work well with specific plays on board. But, to be honest, tonight I was just thrilled to see Mrs. P fully immersed and enjoying herself with such genuine abandon.

The end result was, to be honest, utterly beside the point. And more so given that I borked the VP calculation; I forgot about the money conversion (10:1) to VP -- and then we couldn't recall how many coins Mrs. P had so the VP totals were far from definitive. I'm calling it a win for her, but fact is we'll never know.

We have a rematch scheduled for tomorrow. Looking forward to that!
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22. Board Game: Stew [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Stefan Minor Weaver
Poland
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This quick, cozy, quirky micro game (print-and-play for now but forthcoming from designer Jason Glover and Button Shy), in which you compete to serve up a hearty winter stew before your opponent (and before a menagerie of backwoods varmints hoovers your victuals), is becoming a cult classic in our family in a hurry. Its micro deck thin enough to slip into wallet or blue-jeans pocket or Ziploc within rucksack, Stew is a game to hike with, to hitchhike with, and, for homebodies, to shuffle up a time or three while waiting for stew to cool in Dutch oven on winter evening with Daniel Bachman’s River album bubbling in the background and nocturnal wild boar, with whom we share the forest we live in, noisily snuffling around the back porch.

Stew yields up a rollicking and disproportionately rich (given the thinness of the deck) shared tabletop experience, and, beginning with the very diction of its round-ending holler (“Stew!”), it is further seasoned with an idiosyncratic dollop of Twainish humor as well. The presence of a negative-three-points stone plunked into the ingredient deck makes me chuckle in particular. That the vagabond is a principled vegetarian who, ravenous though he may be, will reject the presence of chicken in your soup is another delightfully eccentric thematic tweak. And I really dig the cover’s channeling of a folksy woodcut.

Stew is a little bit weird in a wonderful way and a lotta bit wonderful in a weird way. It is to be celebrated as an honest-to-goodness heartfelt creation from Glover and Button Shy.

Been playing with a scissored, black-and-white print-and-play copy. Can’t wait to palm the final small but proud, pretty, and printed deck in a couple of months. (Ten-buck deck from a Kickstarter that ends in about ten hours.) It’s going right on the shelf by my rocking chair in front of the wood-burning stove near our game table under the staircase. Every time I see it, I’ll smile & my stomach will growl.
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23. Board Game: Champions of Midgard [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:115]
Austin Slade
United States
Gilbert
Arizona
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Close game. 107-104. Amerikana for the win.



I played as Asmundr, allowing me to gain 2 points for spending favor tokens (which are worth 2 points during end game scoring). One of the market stalls provided trades of food to favor tokens, 1:1 (max 3). I took advantage of this, at least I tried to.

I completed all 3 of my goals and had a RYB set of monsters. But, amerikana killed the last Troll leaving me with 3 Blane tokens which ended up being huge!



We played with the variant where each player starts with a blame token. I think it makes the 1st round much better.

Also, I can’t wait for both expansions and the Kickstarter content that amerikana got me for my birthday!
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24. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:587]
Sara Blackburn
United States
New York
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We lost our power for about 11 hours yesterday due to the Nor'easter, so I broke out Forbidden Island for 3 plays over the course of the day, our first coop game. Loved it! We played on Novice and then Normal settings, so we won pretty handily every time. My impression is the game is probably also easier with only two people, when it's easier to make judgement calls about which player will collect the treasure cards and there's only two players to keep alive.



I really enjoyed myself! Playing cooperatively is something I clearly enjoy, and I love the artwork. Will definitely lay hands on Forbidden Desert, which I take it is a bit more complex, and keep an eye out for Forbidden Sky.
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25. Board Game: The Castles of Burgundy [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Nigel N
Hong Kong
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How come we haven't played The Castles of Burgundy for more than five months? Probably we have just too many games and play them too infrequently (only once per week).

And this particular game reminded me how fun CoB is! I lead in the early game through shipping and completing small areas in my estate, then my girlfriend started to catch up by completing large areas. During the final scoring she got a little over 60 points with all her knowledge tiles and bonus tiles! We both got 192 points in the end and guess what, the tie-breaker is least empty spaces in the estate and the crown was given to my lovely girlfriend, who always manages to build more tiles than I do!

We have played CoB five times. The only time I won is the only time we played online on Yucata, meaning I've never beat her in real life. Seems like she's really good at this game somehow. But that doesn't detract fun from CoB at all!
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