Surviving the Purge
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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List of games that survived the Great Purge of 2019.

What started as an exercise in reducing a collection to the Great titles -> https://opinionatedgamers.com/2019/07/04/brandon-kempf-sturg...

Turned into an actual massive culling of games.

I documented my Culling -> https://opinionatedgamers.com/2019/12/14/41680/

Since that time I have been doing posts that highlight games that stayed in the collection and giving a bit of the reasoning as to why.

This geeklist is incomplete and will be continually updated as I post a new Surviving the Purge article over on the Opinionated Gamers website, usually on Saturdays or Sundays.
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26. Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:39]
Board Game: The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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The newest game to the collection and remarkably quickly, the newest game to gain permanent residency. Die Crew is just an absolutely wonderful take on trick taking AND cooperative games. The premise is simple, each hand is a Mission that you and your crewmates have to complete in order to advance to the next Mission. Some are simple, one person has to take a trick with a specific card in it. Some Missions are more difficult, having to complete goals in specific order, and maybe even having to do one last, or even having even less communication allowed than normal. Communication is the twist here, because if you all could talk it out, of course the game is going to be a breeze, but no no no, that’s not the case here, you have very limited communication. Everyone has a token and once per Mission, each crew member may place a card face up in front of them, and use the token to note whether this card is the highest, lowest or only card in that suit that the crew member has. That’s it, that’s all that you can communicate. Great thing about it, if you fail, it’s just one hand, shuffle the cards back up and re-try. Supper quick, really tense at times and full of game play that helps the players feel both really stupid at times, but also really clever at others. This will be my introduction to people who want to learn what trick taking is. 23 plays since December 2019.
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27. Board Game: Crown of Emara [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:749]
Board Game: Crown of Emara
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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One play since we picked this up, and in that one play, I knew that it should stick around and get played more often, but sadly, it got buried underneath the weight of a lot of other games that came around the same time. So once again, we have a game surviving based on one play and some hope. Designed by Bejamin Schwer, the designer who gave us the favorite, Hadara last year, Crown of Emara is a wonderfully designed mid-weigh modern Euro. Made specifically for those who love rondels and some fun card play. Dale has you covered for the full review on the OG. 1 play since March 2019.
 
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28. Board Game: Dominion Big Box (English) [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Board Game: Dominion Big Box (English)
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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I don’t know what came first for me, the Androminion app that I played hundreds of games on, or the Big Box. One thing I do know is that hands down, Dominion is THE deck builder to define deck building. Both then, and now. It’s the game you still hear people talking about excitedly while sitting in lines waiting to get into Gen Con. Dead simple in premise, clever in execution, Dominion is one of those few games that ultimately defines everything that comes after. It also changed the path of an award as well. I’m not going to bore everyone with a description of how Dominion plays and the history of the game, Chris Wray did a fantastic job four years ago when he revisited all of the SdJ winning games. We all know how powerful Big Money is in the game, but where’s the fun in playing that way each and every time. The fun is seeing my daughter laughing as she plays 6 Markets back to back because she finds it hilarious. Not really effective, but fun, and that’s what games are supposed to be. Dominion takes that gamer drive to create unique decks of cards to do what you want them to do in the game, faster than your opponent’s deck, and squashes that all down into a thirty minute time frame. It’s almost like the players are creating a new game each and every play. In the photo above, the yellow box was the upgraded looking money cards and such, but now that box holds our randomizer deck. That randomizer deck is seldomly used, everyone likes to hand pick the cards we play with. But that randomizer kind of encapsulates everything that I love about Dominion, it’s always expanding with new and unique cards. As you can tell though, I haven’t bought all of them, heck we haven’t picked up anything past Hinterlands, I can’t even imagine what our randomizer deck would look like if we had. I think we’d need a bigger box. Now, if only I didn’t think that Donald X. Vacarino doesn’t really exist.
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29. Board Game: Downforce [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:362]
Board Game: Downforce
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I went ahead and posted a review of Downforce, if you want to know my thoughts on it, head over there and check it out. I do want to say one more thing about it though. A year or so ago, Restoration Games released a track pack expansion for the game, called Danger Circuit. The expansion gave us a handful of new Power Cards that add some more advantages for the drivers, giving you more choices as to which power cards to use. The two tracks, Crosstown Speedway and Switchback Pass offer different feeling races, both different from each other and from the base race tracks. Crosstown Speedway has loops that have to be navigated by the racers creating some interesting lane swapping choices and more blocking opportunities. Switchback Pass adds dangerous spaces to the tracks that may only be used to pass other cars and you cannot end your movement on the dangerous spots, you have to be able to pass and maneuver off of the dangerous spot in order to use the spots. They both make for some interesting racing. I really hope that Restoration keeps bringing out new race track packs for Downforce, especially if they keep coming up with clever ideas that change up the way you play the game. Downforce and Downforce Danger Circuit have been played 12 times since August 2017.
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30. Board Game: Dream Factory [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:772]
Board Game: Dream Factory
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Aka Dream Factory, aka Traumfabrik, aka Silver Screen, aka Hollywood Blockbuster. Who would have had any idea, another auction game from the good Doctor Knizia that managed to survive. As you could guess by the title, this one is based around the movie industry, or rather, you are running a film company and you are trying to create movies that will score you the most points by buying directors, writers, actors, special effects etc. It uses a closed economy, as in all the money that is ever going to be in the game is there from the start. When you buy something, the money goes to the other players, not the bank. It’s an intriguing theme with an intriguing auction mechanism and it strikes a chord with those of us here at the OG as it ended up at number three on the OG’s recent 10 Great Games of Dr. Knizia article. After playing a copy of Traumfabrik a couple of times I realized how much I liked it, and surprisingly this beautiful version from Spain so I had to have it, as it uses actual Hollywood Golden Age stars instead of caricatures in the other versions. Sadly though, this version hasn’t been played since I imported it. 2 plays since May 2018.
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31. Board Game: Echidna Shuffle [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4249]
Board Game: Echidna Shuffle
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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This is a big, overproduced children’s pick up and deliver game using adorable Echidnas around the board picking up bugs of the player’s chosen color. My youngest daughter picked this up last Geekway to the West and it was one of her choices that stuck around. As she gets older, I’m sure she’ll pass this one on to her cousins who enjoy playing games, as it is an absolutely adorable game, with some fun moments. 1 play since 2019.
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32. Board Game: Entdecker [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2831]
Board Game: Entdecker
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Alright, so this probably should not have survived the purge. It was a knee jerk acquisition based on some well known reviewers who love it and a friend telling me that it would be the portion of the original Catan trilogy that I would like. After picking it up though, it just never has hit the table. Hopefully soon though. 0 plays since 2018.
 
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33. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:664]
Board Game: Finca
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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So, I talked quite a bit about Finca yesterday in my full review. There are a couple things that seem to have changed over the years for the ruleset for Finca. Namely, the number of fruit that are in the game at the start is determined by the number of players, so this will increase the odds of someone picking a fruit up and having not enough being in the supply so others have to discard. We don’t play it that way, but it is how the designer originally intended according to a couple threads on BGG. Also, there is one small expansion that came in a Spielbox Magazine originally I believe, El Razul. This small expansion was also included in the 2019 reprint. I still have not picked up a copy of the expansion, I should probably do that before it disappears into the void. There is a new action tile for the players, Marionetta, which when used allows a player to use another player's farmer on the windmill and gain the benefits. Also two new windmill tiles, two new Drought Tiles and the El Razul. Certainly sounds like it changes things up quite a bit, not sure that even if I had picked it up I would play it much with that anyway, but being the insane completionist that I am, I’ll probably go ahead and pick it up. 13 plays since 2013.
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34. Board Game: Firenze [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:860]
Board Game: Firenze
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I reviewed Firenze in greater detail back in March of last year when the reprint finally hit our shores. There is just something about this very old school feeling Euro that I absolutely love. It’s in part that you are actively building something in front of you each and every turn that you can physically see. There is also the careful planning that goes into each and ever play. You have to keep building on those towers each turn or they get demolished, there is no urban decay going on here. Build it or someone else will. Firenze has its moments of interactivity, yes they are mostly negative interactions with your fellow players, but remember, they want their towers to outshine yours and we just can’t let them get away with that. Needs to be played far more often than it does. 8 plays since 2013.
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35. Board Game: Flatline [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:1634]
Board Game: Flatline
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I am going to do a full review of this one soon, I promise, I just need to get some more plays of it to see it again and refresh everything in my head. Flatline is another cooperative game, this one with real time game play. Normally I absolutely abhor anything that involves speed or a timer, but Flatline works and it works wonderfully. You see, while there is a real time element to the game, and it is the main portion of the game, there are times where things slow down, and you can plan and you have to resolve things that have happened. Also, the game can essentially be ran by an application that walks you through the steps of a round and acts as a time during the timed portion of a round. A newer twist on the system was recently released, Pandemic Rapid Response, and it sits on my shelf of games that are on the cusp, so maybe that aforementioned review will be a combination of both games. 5 plays since 2017.
 
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36. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:413]
Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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Do you have one of those games in your collection that you really feel guilty about not playing? And when you go to sell it, you get those guilty feelings two fold and you just end up keeping it and telling yourself you’ll play it again and then it never happens? Freedom The Underground Railroad is that game for me. We’ve played this a couple times, although I only have one logged play I know we’ve played it more than that. Freedom manages to create a cooperative game that has a historical lesson involved, along with that, you have to do things in the game that ultimately will make you feel uncomfortable -- at least it did us. Freedom is one of those games that probably should have a place in Junior High and High School History curriculum. It manages to create that tough cooperative experience, all the while teaching you a bit along the way. Once again I’ll say it, we should play this again, soon. 1 logged play since 2014.
 
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37. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:141]
Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Right off the bat, we get to a game that is probably here for mostly sentimental reasons. It just never gets played, in fact, since I purchased it in 2012, it has only been played twice. And that battered and bruised copy on my shelf? That one has only been played one time. I enjoy the game, but it should not have survived the culling. Our first time playing it though, tells the entire reason why. A Game of Thrones the Board Game is a fantastic game, and a wonderful implementation of theme in a board game. In my two plays, I have seen folks who are really shrewd players, and you know that you need to keep knocking them down if you want to stand a chance, but you can’t do that alone. Alliances are made, and at the perfect time, alliances are broken in spectacular ways. Not many games can give you the natural highs and lows like A Game of Thrones can. 3 plays since 2012.
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38. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:371]
Board Game: Ginkgopolis
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
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Plus The Experts

You may have noticed in my review yesterday of Ginkgopolis I didn’t mention the expansion, The Experts. That’s because in those 49 plays I still haven’t used the expansion. It’s in the box, just not used yet. The Experts adds six different modules that can be used in the game individually or all together. There are nine new buildings in the expansion that can be added to the game. The cards for these buildings have new end game bonuses for players if they are in their tableau at the end of the game. There are six new “Prestige” buildings that have no cards associated with them and thus cannot be built on later in the game. There are Green Spaces that can be added using the Urbanization action, which at the end of the game will count towards the surrounding districts and will also score you points when Urbanized around during the game. There are some Event cards that can be played on your turn to gain tiles, resources, success points or cause everyone else to lose those things. The Experts are new starting cards, and are drafted like the other starting cards so you start with three starting character cards and an Expert. The Expert also controls your Event cards if you are playing with the Events. Honestly, now I know more about The Experts than I did when I bought it. I’m a sucker for expansions, I’m just not a sucker for playing them. It’s a weird thing for me, I love having more options in games, but I rarely use them. After doing this though, I think I will next time we play Ginkgopolis. 0 plays of expansion in 49 plays of the base game since 2013.
 
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39. Board Game: Gizmos [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:316]
Board Game: Gizmos
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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MARBLES again! I have been super happy to see Jelle’s Marble Runs being posted about on twitter since I mentioned them when talking about Potion Explosion. Gizmos also uses marbles, in a bit of a different way. Dale hit Gizmos right before Gen Con in 2018. In Gizmos the marbles represent energy that you will be using to power your gizmos. Once powered, these gizmos will go into your tableau and give you more and more benefits on your turn when you do different actions. It’s a brilliant little tableau builder with some charming table presence. And honestly, another game that kind of suffered from the lack of support from the publisher, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise as CMON doesn’t seem to support much of anything for very long unless it has a bunch of minis and makes a million on Kickstarter, which kind of sucks as they seem to have a pretty good eye when it comes to finding decent games outside of that comfort zone. 6 plays since 2018.
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40. Board Game: Gloomy Graves [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:8428]
Board Game: Gloomy Graves
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I reviewed this one on the OG when it was called Rolnicy, and Dale reviewed it recently as Gloomy Graves. If we want to get technical, I would have Rolnicy on this shelf instead of Gloomy Graves if I could. But alas, that copy of Rolnicy that I played was not mine and it has since become impossible to play. So I picked up Gloomy Graves. The game is ultimately an offspring of Heartland and you could kind of tell it when playing Rolnicy as the farming theme came through nicely. This version, while I still absolutely adore the game play, is kind of unsettling to play. Instead of farming we are digging graves and burying various fantasy things like Unicorns or fairies and the art definitely shows this, and it’s kind of disturbing and more than a bit disappointing. But once again, this is a game that can overcome an awful theme and i can enjoy it. I just wonder how much I will reach for it, versus how much I would reach for it if I had Rolnicy. 5 plays since December 2018 of Rolnicy & 2 plays of Gloomy Graves since February 2020.
 
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41. Board Game: Gold West [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:810]
Board Game: Gold West
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Gold West is one of those games that I originally bought, reviewed and then gave away to others to do the same. There were many times after that fact that I wanted that copy back in my collection and with TMG re-releasing it and needing reviews again, that was the opportunity I needed. Gold West is a wonderful set collection, area majority game, but the coolest and most unique thing about Gold West is the mancala styled track for the resources that you collect. They have to move through this mancala to be available to use. It’s a wonderfully strategic timing mechanism that works seamlessly here. You gain more points by placing them further down the track, but closer on the track means they are going to be available for use quicker. Plus, it’s a wonderfully underutilized theme in board gaming, the gold rush. This one ranks right up with Sentient as far as favorite Kevern games go, I’d hate to have to choose between the two.Full review here on Opinionated Gamers. 4 plays since 2016.
 
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42. Board Game: Gunkimono [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:2204]
Board Game: Gunkimono
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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It’s honestly really tough being the resident Jeff Allers’ fanboy on this site (thanks for that moniker, Dale). But in the past couple years, I don’t think that there is a game that’s been as overlooked as this one. Take Heartland, which is also on my shelves now, and give it a new theme and some small rules changes and you have a wonderfully tactical tile laying game. I know that the theme was a bit of a turnoff for some folks, but this game is good. Another turnoff for folks is the necessity to reign in the leader, you just can’t ignore them, you have to definitely try to cut their feet out from under them so to speak. It’s aggressive, unapologetically so, at any player count. But far more than that, I kind of blame the publisher for basically forgetting that it existed as soon as the game was released, and seemingly even before given the lack of reviews out there in the wild. Luckily Chris has us covered here on the Opinionated Gamers site. Added bit of useless knowlege. Of all the Allers’ titles I owned at the time of the purge, the only one that didn’t survive is Order of the Gilded Compass. 11 plays since 2018.
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43. Board Game: Hadara [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:488]
Board Game: Hadara
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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A game that I wanted so badly, that I imported the German version from HiG and then started translating the German rules myself using Google Translate. Thankfully, the English rules appeared before I actually ended up getting the game thus saving me a lot of guesswork due to weird translations. My review is on the Opinionated Gamers, as is a follow up review from Dale where we discussed the mini expansions that were added at Essen time. Since that review though, it hasn’t made it to the table, not for lack of wanting, but just because of lack of time. It got to me before Essen and Gen Con so it got played, reviewed and then pushed to the back of the line due to other reviews and new games sadly. It really is a delightful drafting game, with a unique way to assure folks that no one can just simply collect all the strongest cards and win. Plus it’s a beautifully illustrated game and is bright and colorful on the table. It makes for a pleasing sight to behold as you play. 4 plays since May 2019.
 
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44. Board Game: Hats [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:3219]
Board Game: Hats
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I reviewed Hats back in August. It still stands as one of my favorites from the 2019 field of games that came through our doors. I think my conclusion of that review still stands up, “Hats is simple to teach, quick to play and allows you to feel like you are playing a game that requires your utmost attention for each and every action you take. I wish that more games made you feel that way.” 9 plays since August 2019.
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45. Board Game: Heaven & Ale [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:274]
Board Game: Heaven & Ale
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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You ever have one of those games that just lights the table on fire as soon as you get it and it gains a half dozen plays in the first couple weeks and then you never get to play it again? That’s what has happened with Heaven & Ale around here. This time on the OG, Tery has the floor with the review. I love craft beer, and my favorite style are Belgian Quadrapels which were mastered by the monks. Part tile laying, part rondel play, Heaven & Ale boasts that always challenging scoring mechanism where the lowest score of multiple possible scoring tracks is your score at the end of the game. It requires planning and the ability to balance everything going on in order to be successful. From legendary designer Michael Kiesling and relative newcomer Andreas Schmidt, Heaven & Ale is a bit heavier than my normal fare, but it never really felt that way to me. This needs more game time at the table. 6 plays since 2018.
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46. Board Game: High Society [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:564]
Board Game: High Society
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Another shelf, another Knizia auction classic. Yup, I even kept the old ugly copy while others were picking up that new, overly pretty Osprey Games version. High Society just missed out being one of the Top 10 Knizia Games on our list last year. That list is a tough nut to crack, and being an honorable mention says an awful lot about how highly we think of High Society. It has that wonderful Knizia twist, while yes, you want to acquire the most glorious items to showcase your wealth, you have to also have more money that others at the end or all of that consumption is for naught and you lose the game. Is the game making a giant societal statement? Maybe, but it’s also a good, strategic time while making the statement. It loses some play time around here thanks to our love of Modern Art, but it really is a fantastic use of 20 minutes. 5 plays since 2013.
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47. Board Game: ICECOOL [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:888] [Average Rating:6.82 Unranked]
Board Game: ICECOOL
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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and Ice Cool 2

My two daughters absolutely love flicking games. I think that’s a natural thing, right? Flicking games are almost toy like, that actually kind of explains why I enjoy them as well. Ice Cool takes the flicking genre of games and makes it light-hearted & cute as it’s all about penguins in a high school trying to avoid being caught in the halls. Dale has everyone covered with a review of the original. The way that the nesting box also becomes the playing surface is utterly unique and in my opinion, really innovative. I mean look at what space it takes up for two copies of Ice Cool versus how much space my PitchCar collection requires. It’s not just the production and innovative storage solutions that have Ice Cool surviving the purge, it’s actually a fun flicking game that can really reward folks who practice and actually hone the flicking of the penguins. Complete with leaps over walls, curves around corners through the doorways, Ice Cool takes some skill to play well. This is one of those games where we rarely log a play because we rarely ever are really playing it as a competition, we are normally just flicking around. I’m not really sure what Ice Cool 2 adds or changes, as you can see from the photo, it hasn’t been taken out of shrink yet, but chances are it will be soon, and it will be just as much penguin flicking fun. Countless unlogged plays where we just mess around flicking, but 2 official logged plays since 2016.
 
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48. Board Game: Indigo [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1322]
Board Game: Indigo
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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I did a review for Indigo since it never got one on the OG.

https://opinionatedgamers.com/2020/03/07/surviving-the-purge...
 
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49. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:441]
Board Game: Ingenious
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Waaaaaaay back in Surviving the Purge 1 I talked about Axio. Ingenious is where Axio started. Using the same scoring system, where you score points based on what shapes you placed and whether that shape is present adjacent to them, and the same end game scoring where your lowest color point total is your score, Ingenious really is quite ingenious. Differences here are that Ingenious uses double hexes, whereas Axio is played with domino style tiles. Also if you create a dead space in Ingenious, nothing happens, you’ve just created a dead space. In Axio Dr. Knizia made the dead space a scoring mechanism with the pyramids. I picked up an older used copy of Ingenious, so I have the nice plastic tiles instead of the cardboard that the newer ones are using. 9 plays since 2019.
 
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50. Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:202]
Board Game: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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You know, I thought I had reviewed Isle of Skye ages ago, but looking through things that I have written I have found out that sadly, I did not and I don’t know why. Another weird thing is that when I opened the box, I realized that I had bought none of the expansions for it and I swear I thought that I had. At one time, Isle of Skye was a Top 10 game for me. Probably no longer as I haven’t played it in ages, and while the app is a well put together version of the game, I don’t particularly enjoy playing it digitally. Still, this is the best Pfister game out there, in my opinion anyway. I absolutely love the drafting mechanism for tiles, where you secretly price them behind a screen, two get to stay, one gets the axe. You constantly have to be evaluating what is going on around you and what tiles have more value than others given the variable scoring each round and what others are working towards. Which also explains why I dislike the app so much as I don’t have everything out in front of me, easy to process and see, unlike on the table. Once again, a game that I should play again soon, and far more often than I have in the past. 9 plays since 2015.
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