Ouch. GT isnt exactly a light game. We even ditch the “alien life-support needs to be next to the rooms”. We played it where you can house an alien in those life-suport parts.
Gloomhaven, as usual
Drop It X 2, nice quick filler – sometimes the pieces seem to defy the laws of gravity and physics, which can be hilarious
Crown of Emara, things got very tense in the last turn or two, as people try and maximise their points. And its not just about scoring the most – you have to juggle 2 score tracks, because your final score is the lower of the two. Only a few points separated us.
Arraial – got smashed here, didnt get enough complete lines (which give you bonus points, as well as moving the level bar up (it gets harder as it moves down, just like in Tetris).
Welcome To…, another hard fought game, not much in it.
My daughter is working on her basic math skills and her teacher recommended that we start playing board games with her that involve dice. We ended ordering Sum Swamp which is cute and involves plus / minus operators. I see myself playing a lot o this over the holiday beak.
I like to put losing to children or people new to a game, down to a games quality. For example: “Cat lady really is super well balanced. I could be a 6 year and still score very similarly to a fully grown adult. It’s just the quality of design leads to really tight games.”
I have mixed feelings.
On one hand I agree but on another I’d expect the better player to win 75% of the time. Still in something like Cat Lady I’m not too bothered as it’s the ‘playing a game’ usually that wins
We had our usual gaming couple over on Sunday to celebrate his birthday in the form of lunch and games. We finally got around to playing their copy of Spoils of War, a take on Liar’s Dice. Each round a number of cards (spoils) are laid out, showing weapons, armor, treasures, artifacts, or dragon eggs. Everyone rolls seven dice and hides them from the other players. Then the start player has to start things off by saying there are at least four of any given number. The next player can either increase the quantity (variant rule which we started to use limits the increase to just one) or can increase the die value (4’s instead of 3’s, for instance), or can challenge the previous player’s claim.
So play continues around the table with people making bigger and bigger claims until a challenge is issued. At this point, players secretly bet which side they think it correct and everyone reveals at the same time. If the claim was accurate, those who bet that way keep the gold they had wagered and those who bet on the challenger lose theirs. If challenge was accurate, same idea, just flip the results. Those who were correct then get to divide the spoils cards. The person who made the claim/challenge gets to pick three items, then in clockwise order, the others who were correct pick two. The remaining items get put into a discard pile.
After the last round, you add up your score. Remaining gold plus the gold values on all your cards, plus some bonuses for having complete or partial sets in categories, or having one of each type of spoil. I managed to win this first game with 170 points to the birthday boy’s 164. Our wives finished with 101 and 96.
Afterwards, we continued our 12 Games of Christmas by drawing another game from the sock. Shogun! Not necessarily the best game to try out with three kids running around, but we gave it a whirl. In the interest of time, we decided to play just one year instead of two. It took a round for everyone to fully grasp the planning process on how the game works, but after that everyone seemed to know what they were doing. We had a few combats, mostly against neutral provinces, but occasionally a bigger force would pick off a small two cube force that had started nearby. By the end of the first year, I was the only person short on rice for the winter, but was easily able to quell the two revolts that occurred.
I tied with our friend, but because he had more chests in his treasury (just 1 more!), the tie was broken in his favor. I really enjoy this game, it’s a shame it rarely hits the table. In all honesty, this is the first time it has been out on the table. Hopefully can get a full game in sometime this coming year.
Sadly things were a bit hectic for the Christmas holiday, so no other gaming occurred.
Here’s my holiday gaming rundown – with some notes after:
One Night Ultimate Werewolf x5
The Castles of Mad King Ludwig x1
Secret Hitler x1 (Secret Voldemort version)
Codenames: Harry Potter x5
Beyond Baker Street x2
Welcome To… x2
A Touch of Evil x1 (vs. Krampus!)
Sagrada x1 (to be fair, we have played this a lot, but now we have a copy)
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle x2 (starting on the Big Book of Monsters expansion)
Space Base x1
MacGyver: The Escape Room Game x1
The Lost Expedition x1
Pocket Imperium x1
The Boldface games are holiday gifts, so it was fun to get those to the table. We had a great time with the dicey goof-fest A TOUCH OF EVIL, taking out Krampus in a last ditch attempt to vacate the dining room table in time for dinner. Worked. The MacGyver game is fine, if not ideal for 4 people. I like the games that offer more than one puzzle at a time. Really enjoyed POCKET IMPERIUM. I had forgotten how good that was for a light little 4x in a tiny box.
Oh, yes. Definitely. I played the game with actual people over the Christmas break, and did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did my solo plays (but, you should also remember that’s true of almost every game I play…especially Pandemic). Regardless of my admitted biases, as a solitaire game, I give P:FoR high marks for playability, and ease of set-up.
I did stare at it in Chaos Cards today. Damn FLGS!
I’ve also had a couple of solo plays. Pandemic FoR solitaire version definitely works, it is not just a watered down version of the multi-player game. If the theme appeals, I really recommend grabbing it.
Last night my wife and I played a quick game of 7 Wonders Duel. We thought about trying out our new Pantheon expansion, but ended up playing vanilla. I say “quick” game, because it was probably one of our quickest games of it ever. I won through a military victory a little over halfway into the second age. The card layout just really favored military for me and I was able to get the science token that gives you a bonus shield whenever you get a red card. It was rather brutal.
How do you find the replayability? The game has been on my radar for awhile sinxe so much of my gaming is at 2p, but I’ve heard mixed opinions on that aspect.
We enjoy it quite a bit. I am pretty sure we only got it this year and we’ve played it 12 times so far. It’s one of our “go-to” games when we want something quick to play, along with Patchwork and Jaipur. Since you remove three cards from each age deck before dealing, you can never be 100% certain of what will be available to you, and the random layout means there’s no way to really “solve” the game. You have to pay attention to science and military, at least a little bit, to avoid having your opponent get an instant win from them. Having wonders that give you another turn after you construct them can help avoid feeling locked into what cards you are going to get. I think Pantheon will also help avoid situations like my wife experienced last night, as it gives you an option other than taking a card from the tableau, but won’t know that for certain until we play with it.
Thanks for the detailed feedback. I’ll look into it a bit more, as it definitely sounds interesting and I’m always on the lookout for quick 2 player games to hit the table during the week.
Wait till you see Pantheon. It’s possible to really up the brutality if you play it right. Last time I played I stole my opponent’s wonder then forced a science victory. It’s a lot easier to get science and military victories with the expansion. Makes it much more tactical
@Derelicte definitely get on board. It’s a great game. Doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and has plenty of replayability.
As part of my 10x10, I played two solo games of Space Hulk: Death Angel. And as is typical for the game, I had horrendous luck. Lost both games, though I at least made it to the final chamber both times. Genestealers got me in the end though.
For Christmas my daughter (4 years old) bought me a surprise. But did tell me that after opening the surprise, we’d be able to play snakes and ladders…
Lo and behold, when we opened it, it was… (Snakes and Ladders! Bet that surprised you!
So yes I’ve played at least 10 games of that. And I’m not wanting to kill myself at all, trying to play with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Honest.
CHOO CHOO! ITS THE PIEPMATZ HYPE TRAIN!!!
It really surprised me! I thought the game would be reductive and mathy, but there was a fair amount of strategy and thinking. A much larger “interesting decision space” (shoot me now) than I expected.
Only downside is about half the game I kept getting stuck with low point cards that couldn’t beat the perch birds, and then the other players would reap the benefits of the bird queue, leaving me with 6 point birds on the perch by the time it came round to me again! Felt a bit unfair
I would like a bit more opportunity to get birds back - any bird I played out on the ground was almost certainly gone by the time it was my turn again. Played 3 player but would definitely be interested in 4 player. 3 perches between 4 sounds like more varied gameplay.
Biblios was fun. I think I prefer the more auction focussed games like Knizia’s, but the two phase system was a twist that shook things up a bit. Needs to be played quickly to stop it dragging.
Also taught Champions of Midgard with expansions. For a relatively simple game there is a lot to explain!!! We didn’t get to finish, but everyone wants to dive into it next time so should be a lot fast second time round.
The last game I played? Well, yesterday afternoon I played Railroad Ink (Red) with my 9 year-old son. He grokked it right away…and we finished our 7th round and were about to begin the scoring when my wife came home so we could all go ice skating (indoors–this is Seattle, after all.)
(OK, full disclosure–THEY went ice skating. I paid $8 to put rental skates on, realize that my ankles were not going to survive even taking the few steps it would take to get to the rink, much less actually try to skate. A fair price to pay for personal sadness. But THEY had fun, so it was a good day.)
My son later told me that he wasn’t a big fan of Railroad Ink. So, I guess Ganz Schön Clever is out for him, eh?
The Sunday previous, we had a nice big game day with my neighbors and some friends…here’s the reviews from that day.
Our attempt to play 5 Minute Chase before our neighbors arrived turned into a complete cluster.
Here’s how it went:
“5 Minute Chase? Must have really easily understood rules we can quickly get in a game before everyone else shows up–ooops, they’re here! Well, let’s at least least get one…wait, what are we supposed to do? How does that…is it the number of witnesses in an area or is it what direction they’re looking…which of these tokens are we supposed to use–oh, forget it, let’s play Tokyo Highway.”
Tokyo Highway Everybody liked it–though, it ended far more quickly than we’d guessed. I wonder if we would have liked “Men At Work” even better. Definitely keeping it–but I probably don’t need the second copy that I hope is eventually coming from Miniature Market (got caught up in the “pre-order” trap…two pre-orders on one order and they’re both stuck until the last one is available–I have the same problem with an order from CoolStuffInc. I eventually found a copy of Tokyo Highway cheaper and quicker and couldn’t help myself…and got it before Christmas.)
We stopped playing Tokyo Highway to play Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra. This made the third straight game that we took the shrinkwrap off to play it. I thought “I’ve played regular Azul before–I should have no problem teaching the sequel, sight unseen, to a bunch of party-game-only players.” I thought wrong. Should have played regular “Azul” but I wanted to show off another brand-new-to-me game. We didn’t make it through the first round before I could tell everyone was confused and not having a good time.
So, we punted! And we dumped that game an instead played Kung Fu Zoo. It was quick, easy (no prep!) and got everyone back in the gaming mood!
Then, we jumped into The Champion of the Wild (which I’d Kickstartered but hadn’t taken seriously until SU&SD’s love. It was a fruit bat, an albatross, an eagle and a march hare…in a ski jump, the London Marathon and golden ticket dome. The Albatross won two golds but the Eagle won on points. (The albatross, strangely, argued in the ski jump that it would be good at diving…and took 4th place.)
Then, we tore the shrink wrap off of Just One and had a great time. (Well, the teenaged neighbor daughter got a bit stressed out when she couldn’t come up with a word in one round…we had to assure her that she shouldn’t feel this much pressure for a party game. She rallied.) My nine year-old son guessed both of his words and if it wasn’t for an unfortunate losing streak right at the end, we’d have gotten a good score–it turned out we ended up just average. (The neighbor dad got the clues: Mafia, Brando, Pizza, Colman (the last name of his own godfather), and couldn’t guess “Godfather”…woof.) Regardless of our results, we all had a great time playing “Just One”–so much so that we didn’t get to “Shifty Eyed Spies” or “Decrypto”.
Our neighbors then had to leave–making me feel all the worse about the failed Azul: Stained Glass attempt.
Our friend stayed and we played the new version of Camel Up and then Magic Maze (base game, we didn’t break out the expansion) and had a great time playing 'em both.
As always, we didn’t get to nearly enough of the games I’d hoped to get to… No Shifty Eyed Spies, no Decrypto, no Fireball Island, no Witness, no Captain Sonar, no Resistance: Avalon, no Chronicles of Crime, no Cockroach Poker, no Christmas Lights, no Barenpark, no Cryptid, no Pictomania, no Trapwords, no Gizmos, no Impact: Battle of the Elements, no PitchStorm, no Dungeon Derby, and no Takenoko.
Hopefully, the failure of Azul: Stained Glass won’t dampen our neighbors enthusiasm for playing games with us.
AND FINALLY, let’s talk about Christmas. My job put me in place to be generous this year…so I got our game players some games just for playing games with us.
I gave my neighbors Meeple Circus and Ticket to Ride: New York–both gifts, they seemed thrilled to get and it was clear that they’d get played.
Then, I gave our neighbor’s college aged son The Mind–I think that’ll get played.
And our neighbor’s high school aged daughter got Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza (a hilarious slapping card game that proved a huge hit on a previous game night).
My friend Matthew got a copy of A Fake Artist Goes To New York, his OWN copy of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza (you have to love a fun $10 game!)…and then a copy of both Fog of Love and the Paranormal Romance expansion–because he’s got roommates and plays games with them, too…
Meanwhile, my son got Codenames: Harry Potter, Forbidden Sky (bought before the bad reviews came in…but my son seems excited by it regardless, Ice Cool 2 (which will be put together with my original for mega-penguin flicking action) and, by his own request, War of the Ring–which we may never get to the table…but he digs what it looks like.
And I finally got a copy of Pandemic Legacy Season One and Space Alert and Deluxe 221B Baker Street (it is nice to have wives and relatives who look at my wishlist!)
So, a lot of games played…not played…given…received…
…but the most recent? Railroad Ink
Could have just stopped there, eh?