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Your Last Played Game


As we convened at my neighbor’s house for our rescheduled game night, I unloaded what seemed to be an unending stream of games from my trusty, reusable grocery sack that is nearing the end of its usefulness due to a number of rips and tears. I had taken a number of games with me, including Wingspan, Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Ethnos, Blue Lagoon (tropical Camel-Go (Through the Desert) without Camels or Go), HMS Dolores (Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Set Collection Game), Animals On Board (I-split-you-choose, or you-split-I-choose, or we all just take food while trying to not draw attention to the group we actually want), Broom Service: The Card Game.

My fellow gamenight-goers also brought games of various sizes, shapes, densities and viscosities; I believe within the mix was Multiuniversum, Smiths of Winterforge, Planetarium, Founders of Gloomhaven, and Yokohama.

Our host for the night had been eagerly anticipating Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, despite the fact that the name is so short; I suppose some amount of compromises were made to ensure that the entire title would fit on the front cover. So, though we all hoped for a game whose title would stand out a bit more, the three of us opened it up and started playing. None of us had played Castles of Mad King Ludwig, though two of us have a copy of it on our Shelves of Shame, and only one of the three of us had played Between Two Cities. I went through the rules explanation as quickly as I could and, once everybody learned the basic gameplay, the rest of the rules seemed unnecessary. I certainly enjoyed it but I knew early on that the castle on my left was doing very poorly, meaning the player on my right would likely win the game… and that is exactly what did happen. Regardless, I really enjoyed the game and now I have yet another reason to ditch 7 Wonders from my collection; i.e. a combination of Sushi Go and Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig completely account for any scenario that would otherwise be satisfied by 7 Wonders.

Following the tied-61-point castle win of he-who-sits-on-my-right, we’ll call him D, we discussed our next endeavor, landing squarely on the much-hyped but largely-unknown quantity Wingspan. Both of my co-WingSpanners greatly enjoy Terraforming Mars more than I do; it’s a game that I will play but I probably cannot be accused of smiling at any time during the game (unless I’m discussing my PowerPoint presentation theory). Though, somewhat of a running joke at this point, D never seems to get the right cards when playing card-based, tableau-enging-building games (except in Terraforming Mars, for some reason), he was still game to give it a try.

Wait, pause there and rewind a couple of days… <insert sound of tape playing in reverse>… I was stunned by the production quality of Wingspan when I unboxed it shortly after it landed on my doorstep this past Tuesday. There are so many things that could have been skipped or just never considered during the component design process. There’s no reason for eggs to be different colors, but they are and, additionally, they are wonderfully delightful pastel colors that, ultimately, make me want to eat Easter candy. The included component dishes/trays are absolutely amazing (recently, we played Alchemists which includes extremely similar dishes). The bird house is exceptional if not extremely gimmicky; still an engaging piece of presentation and certainly an attention-getter. The one nit I would pick in the entire production is the goal sheet; why… why is this flimsy cardstock? It would have been so satisfying for it to be chitboard with pleasant recesses for the scoring markers and the goal chits to sit in. I may pursue a 3D-printed replacement if I can get around to relearning OpenSCAD.

Okay, fast-forward again to last night: Wingspan is such a simple, pleasing, elegant game with a very clever mechanism for keeping the playtime short as you progress through the game. The engine-building is extremely rewarding without ever seeming like you’re just waiting around for the right cards to finally show up. At each turn, I was torn by which of the many interesting things I could do.

I think, after one play, my one criticism of the gameplay is that my last two turns were spent calculating how many bird-points I could earn with each of my bird-actions. Despite the wonderful art and graphic design and the lovely tactile wooden eggs adorning my personal player-board, I stared through all of that, down into the underlying cogs and numbers to find every last feathery point I could.

All-in-all, a great game night where Stonemaier Games took center stage and did not disappoint.


I have seen that Wingspan game in the Table top gaming magazine, it looked like it had some really nice art and the theme seemed very unique. I definitely want to give a go, maybe I’ll try and play it at a convention, especially after what you have just said about it.


In other news, I just played Kodama a game where you have to build a tree out of different cards in the aim of collecting the most points. It looks amazing and the challenge of trying to figure out how you should build your tree is pretty interesting. However, the production quality on it is pretty lacking which is a shame seeing how good the art is.


Since Christmas I have played a ton of new games and have loved them all.
Twilight Struggle
Castles of Burgundy
This weekend I am playing Great Western Trail and War of the Ring 2ed


We’ve been playing Root a lot in anticipation of an upcoming con where we’re teaching and will be integrating the new rules in. Of those changes coming, the one for the Lizard Cult being able to assign an Acolyte from supply is huge. In our games, the Cult has had a slower buildup than even WA and this change should help. We’ve also had Marquise or Eyrie win all of the games so far… Closest any other faction got was one game where the Riverfolk were 2-3 points behind the Marquise.

There’s also some WIP of the new expansion factions in the Google Drive link. Looking foward to those.


Played Colonial Twilight.

This is the kind if heavy game I can get into. Grounded in reality, high tension to the end and actually picking up some history on the way


Played Isle of Skye with the 2 expansions Journeyman and Druids.

The Journeyman is a strong expansion, however, I feel that its kick is too strong that it empowers the base game. We were mostly looking at our Journeyman player board since they score you money and points reliably every round, with base game scoring as our 2nd priority.

Druids is a bit weaker and feels like a bolt-on. But it’s still good since it helps combat the money inflation on late game.

I like our game, but I think this is enough for me on Isle of Skye. My friend agreed to buy my game.


I bought the Journeyman expansion but have never used it and I haven’t bothered to buy Druids yet. I feel like the Isle of Skye base game is solid by itself and any of the expansion content just threatens to dilute the tidy gameplay with distractions.


I feel that Journeyman integrates itself into the game excellently. It doesnt serve as a distraction to the main game, unlike the druids. However, it does make the game so different that it feels like Im playing a Journeyman game with the base game feel like an expansion


Gloomhaven, a fairly uneventful scenario, where we never really felt like we were going to lose. I triumphantly finished my achievement card, and was ready to reveal a new class, when we realised that the new class had already been unlocked, and was in use. I was shattered! So we made up some rules and I picked another random class.

Ganz Schon Clever - this is fast becoming our favourite roll and write. Even on someone elses turn you still invested in the game, waiting to see what dice you’ll be able to use. It’s pleasantly thinky without becoming too much like a math problem. Although in the second to last round we realised that one player had put all of his purple values down, without any regard to the > symbol between the values. It was too hard to backtrack. The player lost, but was still quite competitive. The only other fly in the ointment was one player who couldnt use 2 of of 3 of her dice. We checked bgg, and found that you just lose those dice. Seemed a bit unlucky for her, although she won overall, so that probably made up for it.

Seal Team Flix - finally tackled this monster of a game. Its a good sized box, not quite as big as Gloomhaven. I didnt have every rule down, but we wanted to give it a try and were happy to just figure it out on the fly. The first turn took a little while as we went thru the phases. Still a bit confused about cover and how it works, but I’m hoping the SUSD video will be up soon and may answer some questions. We didnt finish the game, but we had achieved one of the objectives (go us!). We got a bit pinned down in a corridor, with patrols moving up, and we couldnt make it into the next room without exposing ourselves to enemy reaction fire. And the enemies were in cover, so couldnt really get into a position to kill them. Maybe we just played badly. At the end we had a bit of a play with the other boards, like the hostage one. This went fairly badly. “yup, thats got the hostage right in the head, try again”. “Yup, right in the head again”.

Railroad Ink (Blue), another roll and write, but a bit different to a game like Ganz Schon Clever. You roll dice, and then have to draw on your sheet, according to the die face shown. Basically, you have railroads and highways, and can only connect one to the other thru the of stations. You are trying to connect as many exits as possible, and this will be your main source of victory points. You also get points for your longest railroad and highway, and lose points for paths that go nowhere. It requires a bit of spatial thinking to get right. Still - good fun.

Deus, an old favourite. You build your continent up from different regions, and then build by using a card from your hand. Every time you build a card, you put down a structure, and then you execute each building in that stack. So, the first time you play a card you might get a VP. Then, when you play another card of that colour, you get the VP from the existing card, and then whatever the new card does. Never really got an engine going, but it was still fun.


Got a fair amount of gaming in this weekend.

My Little Scythe Our second game, and it went well. My son won again, and I had no chance on my last turn. I think I missed a trophy for winning a fight, but I only noticed during cleanup. Thats what I get for not paying attention.

Saturday; my son turns 10 on Monday so we had some family over for his bday. We had a busy day, so not as much gaming as I wanted, but still a couple of good ones.
Just One Introduced this to my family for the first time, and we had a good time as always. Still not playing it as a ‘game’ though (no points or anything, just playing until we want to stop).

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong First time this hit the table (5 player). I was the Forensic Scientist for all 3 games, and the murderer won every time. Still meed more experience in regards to giving amd guessing clues, but it was a good time.

Rum & Bones 2nd Tide Got this for my sons bday, and got it to the table in the same weekend! First game, so it went a little long, and we skipped using the Tide Cards for our first game (for simplicity sake). Overall it was a good time. It’s a pretty straightforward dice chucker, but a fun one and the theme is great. Its a table hog though!

That was all that hit the table. I was hoping for a bit more, but we went and had a visit with my dad since he wasnt able to make it for dinner yesterday.


For those of you who missed it, the stars were in perfect alignment earlier today. I was not aware of this at the time, seeing as it was daytime and my ability to see stars with my normal human eyes is severely deminished under those circumstances.

The only way I was alerted to this celestial-alignment was when I watched, almost without belief, as my 14 month-old daughter fell asleep for her nap immediately upon mattress-to-baby contact this afternoon.

As such, my wife and I were able to play a game together longer and more involved than Fluxx or Skip-Bo. Almost as if by fate, I had stashed some games on the dining room table to peruse some rules later in the evening. There were some titles that I suspect I will have to wait until my wife is done with her recent hobby: growing a tiny human inside her abdomen; so Railways of Nippon, Nippon Rails, and Iron Dragon were there but immediately dismissed. Family Fluxx, Hanabi, Skip-Bo, Railroad Ink Deep Blue Edition, and Dragonwood were also there from the last few days of trying to sneak in games over weekend lunches or after dinner while our little girl continued to eat (she’s insatiable at meal times).

And while we managed to get a game of Skip-Bo in just an hour or so prior, it was the other stack of games I had my eyes on. Within this stack are the games waiting for the chance to prove their value; these are the games I had hand-selected to show my wife because I think she will love them. Ethnos, because she loves the Ticket to Ride series and I think this is something that we may be able to throw into the mix along the same lines. Also in that pile, Flamme Rouge, not because of anything in particular other than, perhaps, how elegant and simple the gameplay is, despite the surprisingly tricky deck management that requires a couple of plays to really get an appreciation for. But the game that I wanted to show her, in this scarcest-of-scarce opportunities when she had both the energy and the free time to learn a new game… The game that recently surprised me, exceeding my considerable expectations (and dispelling the suspicion that I had perhaps made a foolish purchase) is Wingspan.

I had only played it once at 3-player and another time last night solo against the Automa, yet I was able to do all of the game setup without referring to the instructions. Additionally, I was able to explain the entire game without once having to glance at the rules; I think the last light/mid-weight strategy game that was so simple to setup and explain, even after just a couple of plays, that I can recall is Isle of Skye.

I took care to explain the game carefully, learning from the mistakes I had made when teaching my game group last Thursday. She was quick to follow and off we went! The game seemed to fly by and, despite a waking baby beginning to stir, we finished after about 40 minutes, basically exactly what the box said despite the time spent explaining the rules. It was a tough game for me, I wasn’t able to key into any of the strategies that I had used in my first two plays and I missed a few key opportunities to pickup a second Bonus card. In the end, my wife beat me 74-70 and we both agreed that it was a really good game.

I can’t wait for a rematch (next weekend, probably)



Currently we’re just barely coping with a 4-year old who won’t sleep alone, or before 23:00, and two 2-month babies who won’t sleep for more than about an hour at a time. Still waiting for that celestial alignment!

That said, we have had a few games of Incan Gold, which seems to be my daughter’s new favourite. “Continue or leave” is the perfect decision space for her, and grabbing treasure and running away from snakes and mummies is right up her alley.


I’ve played Dice Hospital and Blue Lagoon, and these games I’m appreciating way more than before.
I’m still pleased with Dice Hospital since everybody does the administration of the hospital at the same time. What the hell is downtime?? I might be getting DH soon.
I’m very pleased at the depth of Blue Lagoon that I used cordoning tactics in Go and it works so well that it’s funny. It’s deceptively simple, but it was tense and clever. I don’t know if I wanted to bother getting Through the Desert - which is larger and more expensive.

Also played Dice Heist, which has a very funny theme of art stealing. Between Two Cities was interesting with its unique mechanic, but I’d rather play 7 Wonders. Cacao with two expansions was alright. I enjoyed playing it, but it didn’t won my heart.


For those of you who missed it, the stars were in perfect alignment earlier today. I was not aware of this at the time, seeing as it was daytime and my ability to see stars with my normal human eyes is severely deminished under those circumstances. The only way I was alerted to this celestial-alignment was when I watched, almost without belief, as my 14 month-old daughter fell asleep for her nap immediately upon mattress-to-baby contact this afternoon.

LOL - we have a 14 month old daughter as well, so this rings so true. She moved up to the next room at daycare, so of course: “new room, new germs.” The fact that she has gone back to sleeping through the night while congested is amazing.

Due to this, my wife, for the first time, actually suggested that we maybe look at playing some of the games I have accumulated for us. She’s never played anything more than Werewolf or Ticket to Ride (or Risk on the Sega Genesis, which is by far the best way to play it!) So I hope that we are able to accomplish some game time in the future, as y’all were able to. I will just wait my spot in the celestial alignment line!


I played Great Western Trail for the first time 2- player.

It took us quite a long time to figure out all of the rules and we weren’t sure we had them down and just decided to start playing. That is when we realized we had the rules down and the game works incredibly well. We both loved it and plan on playing it again.

The second game I played was The Fox in the Forest My partner has never played any trick playing game before so she hated it, while still admitting if she played it another dozen times she would be able to understand the nuances of when to play each card. I loved the mechanic of being “Greedy” if you take 10-13 tricks out of 13 you are “Greedy” and are awarded zero points. So when I got to 7 tricks I had to figure out how to make my opponent take more tricks so I wasn’t greedy. Constantly trying to figure out which cards will take tricks and then all of a sudden trump is changed. I loved it, and hope I can play with my partner enough that she likes it as well.


My wife and I played out first game of Wingspan over the weekend. Apart from a couple small hiccups at the beginning we found our flow pretty quickly and enjoyed ourselves.
I think major complaint with the game is that for the amount of time I spent setting and packing up, the play time feels a little too short. I suppose if I get the S&P times down to < 10 minutes total it’ll feel more worth it.


Saturday night 4 of us played my first ever game of Champions of Midgard, which I have owned for a few months now. We got a LOT of stuff wrong, like forgetting the “special powers” each leader gets, which are right on your player board in front of you. But we all had a great time. Everyone is looking forward to playing it again with the Valhalla expansion… “What? You trade your DEAD GUYS in for COOL STUFF? Can we play with it RIGHT NOW?” Followed by my frst 4-player game of Azul. Almost everyone I’ve introduced it to likes this game. I lost both games pretty handily.

Sunday night my wife and I had our roughly-monthly 3-couple game night. These are a lot of fun but I am running out of 6-player games that aren’t “Hilarious” Party Games, which I can’t stand. Anyway, we played Seven Wonders or 7 Wonders if you prefer, or even “7 1ders” if you must. We managed to muddle through it and everyone had a great time. After we played 7 ONEDERS we played Skull, which everyone also enjoyed. We came to the conclusion that it was time to do some revisiting of some of the games we’ve already played as a group, rather than stampeding off to the New (to us) Thing every time. I have been the “Game sommelier” for this group for about a year, and I look forward to not being the only person who sort of knows how to play a game for once. However, today is my birthday and I just got Unspeakable Words, which plays up to 6, and Get Bit!, which likewise, so I might have to introduce those to the group before we go back… We’ll see.

A couple of things I have learned as a game night MC: 1) Contrary to my original procedure, I have come to the conclusion that you START with the brain-taxing BIG game, and then wrap up the evening with something easy, silly, fun, whatever. I used to think you had to get folks “warmed up” but it turns out the opposite is true.

  1. I am not good at playing games or explaining them. I usually lose because I have no strategy and I just like to see what happens when I press buttons and turn knobs, so to speak. As far as “The Teach,” hoo boy. For example, last night: I’ve only played Skull a few times and I had to refresh my memry about the rules. It turns out I’ve never actually understood the rules because somehow in 3-5 games I missed the part where if you lose a Challenge you also lose a disk, which of course completely chnages the pace and feel of the game. Jeez.

Nope, I think I’m pretty good at telling people about games to get them interested, but as a teacher or player, I’m crap. However, as long as I am able to successfully pitch them to my friends, I’ll never lack for players. Just wins.


I’ve had a good week so far.

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition: I was able to bust this out last sunday and show it off to my friends with a six player game. Everyone was a new player except for me, but I had only played it once before. I described each race in detail and what specific fantasies they fulfill and let the players pick. I ended up sitting right next to my girlfriend who chose the Hacan right into my Mentak. I choose to take a single trade good from her and it set off a cascading political disaster whereby most of the entire galaxy united against me to fend off my piratical cruisers over a (minor!) amount of booty. But with my brother the Arborec deciding to ally with me and paying his tribute, he began to put out bounties (over text of course) and rewards for each player I hit, so I began to lean into my heel role a little exuberantly. We ended up losing to the Saar player just barely, but it was an incredibly enjoyable game for everyone involved. I’ve always loved how the game just inspires players to fall into roles more than actually playing the game to win, and while I can see how that frustrates some players it really endears me to play it again.

Sidereal Confluence: I actually tried playing this game nearly three times this week, but due to happenstance my groups would barely finish a game. The farthest we got in was until the start of round 5, and its really paining me :\ Fortunately, the groups I’ve played it with really love it, and I can’t recommend it enough especially for group’s that value interactivity and creativity. I love explaining the aliens to my players and what makes them fun, especially when some absolutely newer ones want take on the more challenging aliens with gusto.

El Grande: I got to play El Grande again for the second time and it’s really becoming one of my favorite area control game. I just really love the tension between all of the game’s systems. Balancing control of the king, area scoring, supply usage, and card abilities is proving to be a fantastic puzzle, and I’m seeing why this title has become such a mainstay. I feel especially happy I was able to find the Decennial edition for a reasonable price as I’m much more enamored by the cubes than the little meeples of the Big Box Edition

Arboretum: Meets the hype, especially if you enjoyed Lost Cities. My mother enjoyed the simplicity of the game when I showed it to her and was surprised with its cutthroat nature.

Hands in the Sea: I remember watching SUSD’s A Few Acres of Snow review and thinking to myself how unlikely I’d ever get the chance to play a wargame. Fortunately times have changed, and my brother and I get to recreate the First Punic Wars every couple of weeks. For people interested, its especially fun to continually play it with the same player and match-up to learn its intricacies. The sides aren’t too asymmetric, but just enough that you have to radically alter plans on the fly to counter your opponent’s. Its definitely the first game that’s really inspired me to master it.

The Mind: The looks on player’s faces when I ask them to hold hands and sync up is almost better than the looks on their faces when we have beaten Level 6 together.


I think you would get the same reaction from me

My group has never held hands for The Mind