Week 31!!!

Week 31

Welcome to week 31, a week that turned out to be a pretty active gaming week surprisingly, I kind of figured there would be a bit of a fall off after last week but there wasn’t.

Week started out with a Board Game Arena session on Monday night with the Bullock’s, Bill Corey and Scott Wholley. I was introduced to the wonderful set collection game Coloretto which we flew through a couple times with Bill winning one and Jordan winning the other. Kind of an interesting little game, something that would probably get a bit of love around here if we had a copy, wonder who I should talk to in order to solve that dilemma. After that we played a four player game of Takenoko, I absolutely love Takenoko but it’s been about a year since it hit the table so I had to remember a couple small things that I had forgotten, but all was good and fun with Kimberly winning this one on the tiebreaker over Bill with 32 points, kind of low scoring if memory serves me correctly but it certainly was fun. Then Thursday night we had another short impromptu session with Jared and Todd joining Kimberly and myself for a rousing game of Stone Age. I still haven’t played Stone Age face to face, I’ve only tackled it a couple times on Board Game Arena, and it’s a fun little game, but I need to remember that if I am not going to rush through a stack of buildings before the others can stock up on some nice cards, I should probably hop into the card bonus game as well. I triggered the end game and Todd and Jaren blew past me with their bonuses, with Jared pulling out the win with 126 points, 30 ahead of me. After that Scott joined us for a 3 player game of Can’t Stop in which my superior strategic mind became one with the dice and we won. I love this game, it’s so random and goofy and can lead to some really fun moments. That’s about as active as I have been on Board Game Arena in a long time, 5 games in a week brought me up to 23 total plays on the site in spite of me being a member over there for three years. Hoping I can continue to play more games on there, and I really hope to pick up Polis and get a game of it played online in a learning game, but really with 75 games to play, both in real time and in turn based, there are a ton of games over there to learn without taking the plunge into buying before trying.

End of Last Will on our table

So, last week on the podcast I mentioned trying to get Gabby to play “heavier” games, and in doing so I mentioned Last Will. It was rightfully pointed out to me that Last Will really isn’t a heavy game, but what I kind of meant by that is that I want to get Gabby playing games that she hasn’t played before and maybe have different mechanisms or different ways of playing than she is used to, she’s kind of become the old gamer of our family group, she doesn’t want to learn new games as much as she used to, she just wants to play what she knows and likes. But anyway, on Friday morning I saw a tweet from Paul Grogan, asking if anyone wanted to take a look at his new Last Will rules overview video and check it for audio and graphical issues, so of course I offered to check it out and in the meantime I got to refresh my brain on it in hopes of getting it to the table. Well it turns out that Gabby and her cousin had plotted out a sleepover so no Gabby at the house, so I corralled Kerensa into playing it with me as a learning game. Last Will is at its heart an economic game where the object is to lose all of your money instead of gaining as much as possible. This is done through some Action Point Allowance, Worker Placement and tableau building mechanics. At the start of the round, the players choose their plan, this plan sets how many cards the players will draw, how many helpers the players will get to use and how many actions they get on top of any actions granted by cards in their tableau. Players can use their helpers to gain new cards, they can adjust the real estate prices, they can go to the opera for a couple bucks or they can add a new space to their tableau. After the helpers are done, players then use their allotted actions to place cards into their tableau or activate cards already in their tableau in order to spend money. You play six rounds to the game, and if no one declares bankruptcy by the end of the 6th round, you play one more round and whomever has the least amount of cash is the winner. I left a lot out of the description there, like the card types and such, but I think that covers the basics of how the game is played. I quite enjoyed this one and in our game I only had one property and let it depreciate as far down as I could before I just started spending money for upkeep. Kerensa on the other hand had three total properties at one time or another during the game, including two farms, so she was doing more of a real estate juggle than I was, but in the long run, both of us ended up declaring bankruptcy in the 6th round, with Kerensa winning by being in the hole one more dollar than I was. I really enjoyed playing this one, but just like any other game that Kerensa and I tackle for the first time, the game time on the box is just mocking us, I’d say it took us a good 2 1/2 hours or so to play it, sure there were rules and iconography to look up and even a couple AnnaBeth or dog interruptions, but we took a long time. So I am really looking forward to playing this one now that we know the rules and how it plays a bit more, and I’m hoping that Gabby is willing to join in with us as I think she’ll have fun with it too, especially if we get into the theme of it a bit more as the rules and mechanics move to the background in our heads. So thank you Paul, for helping me get Last Will off of the shelf and onto the table.

(As soon as the video is out and available, I will post it here for all to see as Paul does fantastic work)

Saturday was filled with Farmer’s Market fun and culling out old clothes for the donation bins. But on Saturday evening we went over to Brad and Kate’s house for some grilling and a game. We were all set for a 5 player game of Transylvania: Curses and Traitors but Kate and Brad’s little one was a bit fussy so Kate stepped out and it became a 4 player game. Transylvania: Curses and Traitors is a Thematic, exploration and adventure game where the group of explorers are trying to collect the right combinations of knowledge cards and get back to the Church, or kill a monster to win the game. What are these monsters? Well during the game, there is always a chance that the players could turn into one of three monsters, either a vampire, a werewolf or a zombie, if that happens, the monsters need to kill half of the players in order to win. Throughout the game players are exploring to new areas and expanding the map, when a new tile is put down, tokens are placed in specified spots that the explorers can make checks against in order to draw discover cards which is one way to find the knowledge cards that you need to collect. There are also events that can happen and you’ll have to roll checks against to overcome the effects that could happen due to the event. In our game I was the Hero, Kerensa was the Inventor, Gabby was the Big Game Hunter and Brad was the Witch Hunter, well, at least that’s what everyone started out as.

Gabby was the first to turn and she became the zombie. Her first move was to teleport to me due to a horrible item that I had to equip, some stinking necklace that allowed me extra health, but also allowed the monsters to teleport to me once per game. So she came at me and hit me pretty good, but never could follow that up with another attack as I could out run her, next to go was Brad and he changed into the vampire and next to go was Kerensa who turned into a werewolf, so there was the hero, all alone and on the run. I had some space, but the bad thing was, I couldn’t draw the right combination of knowledge cards to get back to the church to win and I was hurt from encountering Gabby’s zombie so I didn’t think my best course of action was to take it to one of the monsters, so I ran, but eventually Brad killed me. I thought the game was over, but Brad informed me that for the monster to win, they have to kill half the players, so he needed to kill me another time. So I respawned as another hero on the church tile and I tried to run in circles for a bit to discover knowledge cards, but the dice failed me and Kerensa got me this time rather quickly. Okay so now the game is over, right? Nope, now Kerensa and Brad both needed to kill me another time, because this isn’t a co-op, so I respawn and this time I respawned as the Templar, pretty good attack but low movement, so I figure I am completely out of it now, with the werewolf and the vampire both breathing down my neck. So on my turn I do a bit of exploring around the Church tile and I find the Bible! Perfect card as it gives me +6 to attack since there are three monsters out on the board, the tide shifted to me. Brad was already hurt and didn’t want to come into the church to get me, as after taking his 2 damage for entering the church tile he’d be down to 2 health points, so he opted to let the Werewolf come at me. She rolled her 10 dice and got 12 pts damage, I rolled my 11 dice and got 19, enough to kill the werewolf and win the game as the lone hero. For those of you who listen to the podcast or know a bit about what we normally play as a family, you know that this isn’t our normal fare. Brad and Kate backed this one on Kickstarter after playing it at Geekway last year and finally had it show up after a bit of a shipping debacle a couple weeks ago. Brad and Kate were wanting to play it so we agreed to give it a run, and we enjoyed it quite a bit. Well, technically Kerensa and I did, Gabby fell asleep a bit after turning into a zombie so we just kind of played her character for her the rest of the game. I was into it, even enough that I think I was kind of annoying everyone else. But hey, that just meant I was having fun. Now, while I enjoyed it, I know a big part of that is the way the game ended and how the dice were in my favor, if that had flipped I would have still enjoyed the game for the most part, but I may not have been as happy with it. It’s thematic, it’s fun but like anything with dice, they can turn on you at a moment’s notice and ultimately I don’t like being out of control like that too often, although maybe I should as I seem to lose quite a few games where there is little to no luck involved. Glad this one is around and I look forward to playing it again, and this time I hope that Kate gets to sit down with us and play.

Final map right after I flipped the last tile

The winning hero and her Bible

After that it was midnight and everyone was ready for some sleep, even those who were already asleep, so we packed up and headed home to rest up.

Sunday so far has only consisted of some goofing off with AnnaBeth and Gabby with One Night Ultimate Werewolf and a two player game of Arboretum. The One Night Ultimate Werewolf doesn’t necessarily really get played, even though AnnaBeth understands the rules, she has issues with being the Werewolf to the point where if she gets the werewolf to start, we have to re-deal out cards, but hey, she’s just 5 years old so I go with it. Sooner or later she’ll understand that the werewolf is actually the most fun to play in this game. As for the game of Arboretum, I think it is one that Gabby would rather forget as I beat her 31-0. I thought I may have had a chance to break her high score, which is 31, but she managed to knock me out of scoring one small path so I was stuck with only tying the high score. I think she was a bit aggravated that she got shut out, but I reminded her that I’ve scored 2 points before, which is basically like being skunked as well.

Arboretum Review!!!

Acquisitions

The acquisition section is blank this week, I’m trying to watch what I spend on gaming over the next couple months as I know these Kickstarters are going to fund pretty soon and I can’t really afford to be adding other games as well. But, once the last Kickstarter currently on my list funds, there are a couple that I am really looking forward to picking up and trying out. Currently I’m eyeing Historia and I would love to pick up a copy of Glen More if I can find an affordable copy.

Kickstarter

So the first news here is that I did indeed drop our backing of Epic. The more updates we received of it, the more I could see it never getting played. It’s not a game that Kerensa would take to, at least it doesn’t look like one and I don’t know how much Gabby would want to play it either. I think Brad and Kate would enjoy it so I am hoping they at least pick up a box as I’d love to try it, just don’t think that we need to have our own physical copy of it. With 52 hours left as of time of writing out the podcast, the project was closing in on $410k, so obviously they don’t need my help and I may not know what I am going to be missing. I am holding steady on The Gallerist and on Carson City, they don’t really need my help either, but there is no way that I am missing these two games this time around. The Gallerist is still going strong in spite of the kerfuffle that popped up between Martin Wallace and Eagle Gryphon Games over the rights to produce Brass. Thankfully the funding for The Gallerist keeps going up and they’ve even added a couple new art stretch goals, one with a fantastic story behind it, be sure to check the forums on Board Game Geek for that one if you are interested. It’s hard to tell just how well the campaign is going as Eagle Gryphon is running multiple campaigns for it around the world, but the Kickstarter campaign is at almost $56k at the moment and reported on the 26th to be over $75k for the campaign in total. Carson City keeps on chugging along with 16 days left in the campaign and currently sitting right at $138k, not much to add about the campaign, currently just working on the final listed stretch goal and on the 26th they announced a contest for backers to get a face on one of the personalities in the game, but Kickstarter doesn’t allow contests so everything about this is up in limbo at the moment, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The new Kickstarter of the week for me is the initial game from Hyperbole Games, Hocus. Hocus is a card game for 2-5 players that plays in 30 minutes. The origin of the idea was: “what would poker be like with spells?” Hocus is about using your unique spells, carefully managing the cards in your hands, and scoring big when your opponents aren’t watching. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page on this one, it’s affordable at $15 with free shipping in the continental United States and it looks like it’s a lot of fun. It’s got a bit of a wait to get delivered, but all backers over $5 do get the high resolution print n play files so you can play it a bit while you wait. Oh, and it is already funded and sitting a little over $8k, but with this one you there are no stretch goals as they basically put all of their stretch goals already in the game for the price you pay, there may be some extra goodies down the road, but right now, Hocus is what you see.

Hocus Kickstarter Page

Hocus

The Gallerist Kickststarter Page

The Gallerist

Carson City Kickstarter Page

Carson City, oh my, that box

Geeklist and Forum Thread

A little slower week in the Geeklist and thread, I am going to assume that’s because everyone was getting ready for a big week this week. I do expect to see at least a couple good Dice Tower Convention write-ups, I believe that Steph was down there, and probably more that will pop up. Lots of great games talked about in the geeklist, saw a play of Carson City from Jon, who also posted a really nice photo of some bunk beds he’s made, awesome work! Lots of hexes on that front page from Battlelore and Clash of Cultures and then some circles with some bright Aquasphere. Still have not seen a copy of it in the wild to get a play. Scott got a play of Polis in, looks like it was on Board Game Arena, so maybe I’ll have to poke around for some tips from him just in case I ever get a play in! Sarah had a ton of plays in, and kicked my rear end more than a couple times in Star Realms, so just know, a couple of those wins she listed are against me. Spyfall is starting to get some geeklist and thread love, if I had a big enough group to regularly play this it’d be in the collection already, but as it is, I have too many big group games that don’t get played enough, but it looks like a ton of fun. Even Scattergories is getting some love! I went and tried to get a copy of Spinderella thanks to Scott, but by the time I got over to Amazon.de it wasn’t going to be in stock again until September, even had a copy of The Game in the shopping cart until I noticed that date!! Lots of great games this week folks, I have no doubt that this week will be just as good!

Arboretum Review

How to Build an Arboretum
6/23/15

Arboretum from Z-Man Games and Dan Cassar

In a broad term, an Abroretum is a collection of trees, modern times it has become a term to describe a botanical garden dedicated to trees and woody plants. Even more modern is the 2-4 player hand management, set collection, card placing game from Dan Cassar and Z-Man Games. In Arboretum players compete against each other building the Arboretum that will score them the most points. Sporting a small box that contains 80 cards, 10 different tree varieties (or suits) with 8 cards in each and a 30ish minute play time, Arboretum packs a lot of punch.

Arboretum’s gameplay is deceptively simple. Each player starts with a hand of 7 cards and a discard pile. On each player’s turn they do three things. They draw two cards, they can draw from the draw pile or they can draw from the top of one of the discard piles on the table, including their own. You can mix and match these draws, one from a discard pile and the next from a different discard pile or the draw pile or some variation of that, as long as you draw two cards. Next you play one of your cards in front of you to create your Arboretum. In subsequent turns when you place a card in your Arboretum you have to place it adjacent to one of the previous cards that have been played. Next you discard a card from your hand face up onto your discard pile. The game continues this way until the draw pile is out of cards and the player who exhausted the draw deck finishes their turn. That’s it, that’s how you play the game, the real trick in Arboretum comes in how you score your points.
The tricky part, the true gameplay of Arboretum is how it’s scored and what the players can do to influence who scores points and who doesn’t. First off, players have to gain the right to score a path that they have built. To do this, the players go down the list of tree types/suits and everyone compares who has the highest sum of those cards in their hand, the highest sum gets to score that suit if they have a path of at least two in their Arboretum. There is one exception to this rule, if a player has the eight of a tree type in their hand and another player has the 1 of the same tree type in their hand, the value eight is reduced to a zero and the person with the one card wins the right to score. If no player has a card of a particular suit in their hands then everyone who has a path of that suit gains the right to score as well.

Now, you may be asking yourself, well, I know how to gain the right to score paths, but how do I really score them. In order for a path to be scored each card in that path must be greater in value than the one preceding it. So because of this, the smallest path that can be scored is a two card path of the same color and the longest would be an eight card path that must start with a one and end with an eight. In order to create a path though, the only cards that have to match are the first and the last card of the path, the color of the cards in between only matter in determining the value of the path, but they do still have to be in ascending order. Now that we’ve established what a path has to consist of, you score a path by giving one point for each card in a path, you gain an additional point for each card in the path if it is a path that is at least four cards in length and they are all of the same tree type/suit. Additionally you score 1 point if the path begins with a one card and you score two additional points if the path ends with an eight. In the event of a tie the player with the most different tree types/suits in their Arboretum wins, if at that point it’s still a tie both players will plant a tree and wait five years, the player’s tree that is the tallest at that point is declared the winner(I love that tiebreaker).

So, I really dig Arboretum. I don’t know that there are many games that can give this kind of feel with this small of a footprint, sure the footprint while playing can be a bit overwhelming, but the footprint in the box is super small. It’s really a constant tug of war, if I pick this up and play this, then I am left with this to discard, but I don’t want to discard that because someone else is looking for that card and they can still use it. Thirty minutes of this kind of thinking can probably wear on some players though, the constant decisions could cause folks who tend to overthink everything to bog down quite a bit. Having played it at all player counts, I have to say that I prefer the three and four player games, although I will always play two player as well, but that’s mainly because Gabby really likes playing it this way. With two players the luck of the draw seems a bit more prevalent and it becomes more of a solitairish kind of game to me. You know every discard is potentially wanted by your opponent across from you because you aren’t building anything of that suit, so it ends up being more of a card counting situation and discard the one that hurts the least. Also in two player I’ve seen you just get every card out there in a suit, discard the wrong card early in the turn and your opponent scoops it up and gets every good draw thereafter setting up a huge score on one path which is awfully hard to overcome. That’s about all that I can come up with negative about the game and a lot of people won’t even see those as negatives. As far as the components go, the card stock is pretty nice and the rulebook is well put together and on a nice looking, thick stock. The insert works perfectly and holds the game nicely, even horizontally as long as you have the score pad in with it to hold everything in place. This game is just calling for a nice digital scoring app, so someone with more skills than I should get on that with Z-Man.

Be sure to check out the Week 31 Podcast with my thoughts and also Kerensa’s thoughts on Arboretum.

Week 30!!!

The crowded Pepper Farm in Scoville

Week 30

I’m back and a bit more rested. I need to give a huge thank you again to my wife for stepping in for me and giving you the rundown of what we played last week. I appreciate it and I do hope that we can time the recordings to get her and my daughters on the podcast a little more often..

I do also want to take a second to say Happy Father’s Day out there to all the Fathers and people who take on the role of Father to our children all over. I’d say we probably have the second hardest job in parenting, haha, okay, sometimes the hardest, but I won’t say that too often.

I will say that tonight I am enjoying a delicious 2015 Boulevard Saison Brett, I was lucky enough to find a store here locally that had a few more in stock and I went ahead and bought a handful to tide me over for the summer. It really is a fantastic beer and I am really thankful to have Boulevard as a local-ish brewery, I mean I can make it there in 2 hours, that’s local, right? In the spring we get the Saison Brett and in the Winter we get the Bourbon Barrel Quad, and if I could have enough of those to last all year, I’d never buy another beer again. Excuse me while I have another drink and get ready to tell you all about our week in gaming.

Tasty Boulevard Saison Brett

This week started with a swimming get together for my oldest on Monday and while she and her cousin were swimming, I took the time to teach Kerensa Cacao. Once again, I may have taught her a bit too well as she ended up winning this one 65-62. As you will see as the week progresses, Cacao continues to get played quite a bit.
I was all ready to teach Kerensa Fields of Arle as well, but we just ran out of time doing stuff on Monday, but that evening we had a game night at Grace. We had a good turnout, a new family joined us and many games were played. Gabby and I arrived a bit late due to needing to get something to eat so we sat out the first round of games while everyone got settled in. There was a 4 player game of Caverna, a 4 player game of Roll for the Galaxy and a 2 player game of The Amazing Labyrinth. So after Gabby and I finished our dinner we broke out, you guessed it, Cacao, and played another round. Every two player game of Cacao that we have played has been close, usually 2 or 3 points difference and this one was no different, but this one was lower scoring than we normally are with me winning 55-53. The cacao buying and selling just didn’t seem to take off this game like it has others, and to top it all off our lake tiles didn’t come out until late in the game, luckily for me I had a sun token available that allowed me to build over one of my tiles and sell off 3 cacao for 3 gold a piece to give me the extra points I needed. While we were playing that, Carol and Laura finished up their game of Amazing Labyrinth and came over and checked out Cacao and we gave them the basic run down of how to play, but they went and played a 2 player game of Forbidden Desert while we finished up our game and then dealt out cards for a 2 player game of Arboretum.

This was Gabby’s first time learning Arboretum and the scores kind of reflected that with me winning the initial game 27-9. After we finished up, Carol and Laura joined us for a 4 player game of Arboretum and once again, I taught it apparently too well, or we just got smoked. Carol and Laura both picked up the play pretty quickly and the scoring showed it with Carol winning with 22, Laura coming in second with 20 and myself coming in third with 13, and Gabby would rather her score not be public knowledge at this point, but I will say that it was 2 points better than my lowest score.

We wrapped up Arboretum and I went and sat down with a group that was midway through a game of Dark Moon, which I had brought. They seemed to think that the game was way too easy for the uninfected, but soon the tides turned and the Infected revealed himself and wreaked havoc all over the ship and caused our uninfected to suffer a huge defeat. I can’t wait to sit down and try this one myself and I’m glad that they played it so that I could see it in action a bit. Caverna wrapped up right about this time and that left us with a half hour or so left, but no one felt like hopping into a quick game so the night was over. As always, I didn’t play nearly enough games, but I do always have a great time when we get together. I don’t know that Gabby would have been good for another game, as she was pretty worn out from a day of swimming and gaming by that point.

Throughout the week the time never presented itself to get any games played, but Saturday evening I did push it and we sat down to our first 3 player game of Scoville. It’s been awhile since we had played this one, Gabby played it back in January when Ray brought a copy to a game day and I had played it not too much after that with Kerensa after I bought it thinking that everyone in the family would love to play it, but it didn’t grab Gabby like I thought it did and any time that I had suggested it since then it has been denied. But, I played the Father’s Day card and finally got it played again. Scoville is a really neat game where you are basically mixing colors, or rather pepper types, to harvest new peppers. In a round there are basically 5 things that happen. First step is that there is an auction for turn order, pretty important, but in our plays I’ve never seen people get overly competitive for the first player. Second action, in turn order every player plants a new pepper in the field adjacent to an existing pepper. After everyone has planted a pepper, then in REVERSE turn order you harvest peppers. You harvest by moving your farmer between the rows of peppers at least 1 space, but no more than 3 spaces, each spot along the way that you go between two peppers, you create a new pepper. So if you go in between a red and a yellow pepper you get an orange pepper, just like the mixing of colors in Pastiche. After everyone has harvested their peppers you have a chance to fulfill pepper orders in the Farmer’s Market or complete a Chili Recipe. The recipes give you victory points, the Farmer’s Market cards reward you with money and possibly victory points and other peppers. You can also sell peppers at this time for a price based on how many peppers of that color are on the board, every two of a color equals a dollar. After the harvest phase you check for conditions to change the Farmer’s Market and Auction cards to the afternoon or check for end game conditions. If the game is not over, you go back to the beginning and do another auction for turn order and keep on picking peppers. If the game ends, you add up your victory points from Farmer’s Market cards, recipe cards and any awards you have received for being the first to plant a specific color of pepper, plus 1 victory point for every $3 in your possession, highest point total wins. I really like this game and with three it seems to have sped things up a bit. With two players, Kerensa and I seemed to need to work to place the perfect pepper every time, with three there are more options out there so while there are more choices to be made, it seems to speed up just because you have more peppers on the board, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Kerensa won this one with 81 points, to my 70 with Gabby having some issues with staying with us back in last place. Despite having to dust off six months worth of dust off of it I am really glad to have this in the collection and I think that we’ll get it played a bit more often now that we’ve ran through it again, at least I know that I’ll be asking for it more often. So after Scoville, Gabby and I persuaded Kerensa to join us for a three player game of Arboretum. Seems over the last few weeks we are getting more repeated plays of games than we used to, but then again, the repeated plays are coming from the shorter games like Arboretum and Cacao. This would be the first time that we’ve had a three player game of Arboretum, so I was kind of curious if it changed much from the two or four player games, and it doesn’t, although I do think that with lower player counts the luck of the draw is more prevalent. I won this one 23-21-13. There really wasn’t much blocking of scoring in this one and as with most of our other games there really wasn’t any competition for certain tree types, everyone seems to try to specialize with their own types and just try to block with a card or two. Kerensa packed up after this one and Gabby and I played a two player game with me winning 23-13. Everything played out much the same way, not a lot of fighting over suits, etc. Gabby was frustrated with having finished with 13 points in both games so we threw it out again for a third game. This one played out a bit different. I started with a Maple out, then Gabby threw out a Maple as well, so I thought maybe we might actually compete for the same suits, but as the game went on, I could see that there was no competition, she picked up every Maple it seemed, I never drew another one. Gabby ended up winning 31-27, if she hadn’t held onto a couple Willows we would have ended up tied at 31, but she pulled off the win in spite of only scoring two different suits. I like Arboretum, but I think it has some small issues, but despite those, I’m willing to keep playing this one as it is unique and a lot of fun. Just hope that everyone else still feels the same after about 9 plays in 3 weeks or so.

Arboretum

That’s it, that’s all she wrote this week. Nine plays of three distinct games. Cacao and Arboretum seem to have legs, but we’ll see over the summer how they hold up. I do have hopes of getting something to the table that’s a little bit meatier than what we’ve been playing, but we’ll see. Gabby has been hesitant when I bring up games with longer rule sets and more strategy, but I’m hopeful that she lets me try to get one to the table soon. Really been wondering how she’d do at something like Terra Mystica or even Last Will, but I’m not going to force it, I don’t want to ruin her on gaming with me by making her do something that she doesn’t want to do, although it does confuse me a bit as she willingly sat down and played Nations when we first got it and enjoyed it, but that was the last real “heavy” game that I’ve gotten her to play.

Acquisitions

Well, not a lot came in this week as I’ve been taking it easy on picking up new games, even going so far as to ignore most of the auctions that pop up daily on Board Game Geek, but I did acquire an expansion to a game that I absolutely love, Ginkgopolis. The expansion, The Experts, is getting harder and harder to find unless you find it in an auction with the base game, but I lucked out and a fellow geek was willing to break apart the base and expansion to sell since someone else only wanted the base game. So $20 later I have The Experts to add to the game. I’m not even really sure when we’ll play and which modules of the expansion will get used, but I wanted to add it to complete it. So thank you Donnie, I appreciate your willingness to sell them separately.

Kickstarter

Carson City

Oh Kickstarter, why do you have months like this, it’s really annoying that I don’t have all of the disposable income in the world to back each and every game that I want to back. As it is, I had to skip over Mare Nostrum and a couple others due to the cost of some of the new ones I am backing. First up, we are still backing Epic, and with Brad and Kate we are backing for 2 boxes. I am really tempted to back out of this one and just wait for retail as I don’t really think I need any of the promo cards to play and it really doesn’t need my help, it’s over $335k at the time of writing this and really I haven’t played my physical copy of Star Realms all that much and I know I like that game. But as it is, I’m in, we’ll see if I stay in over the next 6 days. So new this week is Carson City and The Gallerist. Carson City I touched on briefly last week. It’s a long sought after title for me, and I just never felt like paying what folks were asking for it on the secondary market since it was out of print. With this new Kickstarter campaign I am getting the base game and two expansions, plus nice wooden bits for the same price as what folks were charging auctions, and oh man, look at that box.

The Gallerist

Then came The Gallerist from Eagle Gryphon games and designer Vital Lacerda. I was backer number 6 on this one when it hit and I can’t wait to have this one on the table. Vital has given us Kanban, CO2 and Vinhos, all heavy, meaty Euros. The Gallerist looks to continue that tradition, but after a rules read it seems to be a bit lighter than those three, now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be light at all, but I think with the theme and rules weight it may be a good game to introduce to folks who want to take that step into heavier strategy games. Here’s hoping. I’ve seen all the complaints about the cost of this one, and I’ve seen all the Kickstarter moralists and their argument that Eagle Gryphon has no business using Kickstarter as they have enough capital to get games out to consumers on their own, and I used to be one of those who thought that way as well, but I’ve reconsidered my stance on it long ago. The costs on this one seem pretty steep. $59 plus $8 shipping, and you could get free shipping if you put enough add-ons on there that you get to $100. I’m not a huge fan of how Eagle Gryphon uses Kickstarter to get rid of surplus games, but I guess if it helps push the campaign, why worry about it. Also, if you search The Gallerist forums over on Board Game Geek, Rick from Eagle Gryphon offers up his explanation as to why the game costs what it does, plus Vital has chimed in as well to offer his thoughts on the matter and why the Stretch goals for this one are purely cosmetic, here’s a hint, they are cosmetic because the game is exactly how Vital wants it, there is nothing to add to it. Eagle Gryphon has a good reputation for game production, heavy boxes, heavy cardboard, fantastic bits, so when they tell you that no expense has been spared on this one, I tend to believe it, oh, and the box weighs 8 pounds. That’s 8 pounds of Pure Euro Goodness. With Wombat Rescue funding last week, this is two in a row from Eagle Gryphon that I have backed and I’ll be watching their Kickstarters pretty closely from here on out.

Monster Truck Mayhem

Only thing I am back and forth on backing is Monster Truck Mayhem from Dice Hate Me Games and Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback. On one hand it looks like a really cool real time dice rolling game, but on the other hand, I have Escape that hasn’t been played in forever even though we really enjoy it when we do get to play it. This one has monster trucks and that’s even more fun than trying to escape a temple that you are ransacking. I’ve seen the gameplay videos and it looks like fun, I love the addition of the Sunday Sunday Sunday cards to slow down the leader a little bit, plus it just adds a bit of fun randomness to the mix if your group gets into it. But with Carson City and The Gallerist already eating up quite a bit of our Kickstarter game budget, I just don’t know if I am going to be able to spend the extra money on this even though I know that Dice Hate Me Games stuff can be hard to find after delivery. We’ll have to see when it comes closer to the end time of the campaign whether or not we have the money to put towards it. As it is, I really hope it succeeds as it really does look like a lot of fun and I think Matt and Ben really make quality stuff although I’ve only picked up Fleet so far.

Monster Truck Mayhem Kickstarter Page

The Gallerist Kickstarter Page

Carson City Big Box Kickstarter Page

Geeklist & Thread

Lots of great games played and write ups written over on the Geeklist and on the forum thread. Freddie got in a play of Xia which really gets my jealousy moving as that is one of the games that I regret not backing over on Kickstarter, but I do hear that a second printing is on the way so maybe we won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to pick it up? Seems Adam got bitten by the Tabletop bug and played some Kingdom Builder last week, that game really doesn’t get enough love, for a game with that many choices and to still have a brilliantly easy rules set, it should get more. Also seems that Wil Wheaton took a bit of offense to some of the rules lawyers this week and threw his producer under the bus in a blog post over it, kinda glad I quit watching Tabletop with the exception of the rare RPG session. From Eric Kouris, Styren on BGG, we got our first glimpse of 7 Wonders Duel, at least I think it’s a first for us, and he did nothing to quell my acquisition disorder for it. I’m definitely also going to have to check into Town Center after seeing it mentioned several times this week. Thomas Leitner once again ran down 7 games that I would love to play at some point, even Nations The Dice Game which he isn’t too fond of. Amazing to me to see Seasons keep on appearing on folks lists as well almost every week. Scott once again probably had the entry of the week just due to all the Cult of the New goodness that was involved. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Flick ‘em Up and Codenames apparently is entirely too good for what it is, can’t wait to try it either. Jonathan got Super Dungeon Explore Forgotten King to the table, I honestly had forgotten that they were still expanding this game. It was one of my earliest leaps of faith of buying without trying and it kind of backfired as we only ever got a couple plays of it in, but maybe I’ll get inspired and get it to the table soon as it’s destined to stay in my collection anyway due to my horrible attempts at painting a couple of the figures, these eyes were not made for miniature painting. Asgard got a glowing review from Phil Triest, which is cool as it sits on my shelf waiting to be played soon! Keep up the great entries folks, I enjoy reading them and seeing what I am missing in games that I don’t get to see on our table.

 

Week 28!!!

Week 28

This ice cream cone is almost as big as Peyton Manning’s six-head

Good week of gaming in celebration of #NOrigins, the celebration for all of us who could not make it to Columbus Ohio for the annual Origins Game Fair. Lots of interesting coverage of Origins all over the place, from the fine folks at Meeple Syrup giving us live updates, interviews and game demos using the Periscope app to the nightly updates from Marty at Rolling Dice and Taking names and many others, but most of my coverage was from folks live tweeting their findings from the fair on Twitter. Thanks to all of you all for keeping us who couldn’t be there informed. I’m really going to push to make Origins a destination for my family next year, looks and sounds like a lot more fun to me than GenCon at this point due to the more relaxed atmosphere. Looking forward to Spyfall from Cryptozoic and interested now in a game called Why First? coming from AEG after being published by Pegasus Spiel over in Europe. Seems a fun lighter racing game where the object is to finish in second place rather than 1st. Looks like an interesting idea for a fun light game.

But, this podcast is about games we’ve played, not games that we want to play. So, nothing got played at the house on the table, although I did get on Board Game Arena and played a game of Spyrium with Bill Corey and the Bullocks. Was a great time and glad I got on and joined in, even though we got smoked by Bill. Looking forward to playing some more.

Other than that, there was nothing played during the week other than lots of Star Realms. Lots of games but no progression towards level 10, as a matter of fact I think I am one win lower than I was last week at Level 9 4/10. Lost my one league match up this week leaving me at 5-5 with one match up left. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a season over .500 so we’ll see what happens in the final match up. My brother in law has had my number this week winning every matchup I think. So thank you all for the challenges and the games, if I lose to you all I’ll usually send a rematch request, if I win I usually wait for you all to send a rematch request to me. So keep ‘em coming!

Saturday we hosted another game day at our local library, Missouri River Regional Library. We host a quarterly meetup there and we’ve had attendance anywhere from 5 people to about 20 on our busiest weekend, this weekend we were right in the middle at 11 people at our highest player count so we usually had two different games going.

Cacao!

We started out the day with a three player game of Cacao, while we waited for others to show up. I taught it to Steven and Bern and we were off. As is the usual with games like this that I teach, I ended up losing, even managed to come in dead last. I kind of went over Cacao a bit last week, but we’ll give the basics again. Cacao is a light weight tile laying game where each player has their own stack of “worker tiles” and a common group of “jungle tiles” that are used by the group. On your turn there are three actions you take, you place a worker tile, you then place jungle tiles if necessary and then you take your worker actions. Rules for tile placement are simple, never can a jungle tile share an edge with another jungle tile and never can a worker tile share an edge with another worker tile. Doing this creates a “checker board” look to the game area. After you place a worker tile if this creates a space where two worker tiles are adjacent to an unoccupied jungle space, you then place one of the two flipped over jungle tiles in that space and any other spaces that were created by placing your tiles. After you have filled any spaces that need to be filled, you take the actions of your workers. The workers are on the edges of your worker tiles, all the tiles have 4 total workers, they just differ in what edges they are place on. Some have 2 on one edge and 1 on two edges, and so on. Whichever workers are touching the edge of a jungle tile now take their actions. The actions vary from collecting cacoa, to selling cacao. You can collect Sun Tiles which allow you to build over previously placed worker tiles after all the jungle tiles have been placed, you can find gold mines and collect money, there are water tiles that move your worker up the water track, which is just a way to score more points or if you ignore it take a significant hit in points at the end of the game, or there are temple tiles which the players fight over control over to score points at the end of the game. You play the game through till everyone has placed all of their worker tiles and then add up victory points and the winner is the person who has the most points. I’ve played this with two and three player and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference play wise. All you do with 2 players is take a dozen jungle tiles out that you leave in for 3 or 4 players. Cacao really is a fun lightweight tile laying game that doesn’t really seem like it’ll go over 45 minutes or so even with the max player count. It plays fast and it’s easy to teach, but it does have some strategic thought that goes into it. You want to maximize your actions every turn, sometimes all you’ll be able to do is get a couple actions, but if you can plan it correctly and get three actions from your workers you are getting a good hang of things, but usually when you get that many actions you are also going to be giving someone else an action. After a couple plays I really wonder what the Spiel des Jahres committee saw in their three nominations that made them choose them over Cacao.

After Cacao, Andy joined us and taught Downfall of Pompeii. I’ve played it a couple times before and I’ve enjoyed it each and every time. In Downfall of Pompeii you race to put your family and friends out on the board through cardplay and then about halfway through the game, it switches gears and the volcano starts to erupt and the race becomes a frantic race to get out of Pompeii. Your movements are based on how many people are in the district that you start in and you are allowed two movements per turn, but before that you have to draw a volcano tile from the bag and place it out based on the symbols on the tile, you are essentially creating the lava flow. How you place it can cut off exits or even kill off opponents people that are trying to escape. Really a fun game that you can’t help but be a bit sadistic, what with throwing your opponents into the volcano and all. Andy won this one with me a distant second. I didn’t get enough people out in that first part of the game, I never had the right cards to get more than an extra 1 person on the board, plus my placements were just, well we’ll just call it like it is, bad. I didn’t take enough consideration into where to place my relatives, but that’s okay, even in losing it’s a fantastic game that I’d probably play just about any time it gets brought out. Only negative that I can think of is that set up with the cards is a bit of a pain in the rear.

Pompeii before the eruption
The humanity!!!!!!!!

After that, it was time for a five player game of Dead of Winter. We recruited Sarah to join us and we went about trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. It was the first time playing for 3 of our 5 so I tried to teach it the best I could on the fly, and as I was a bit rusty I had to take my time to set up the game and then try to explain, usually I try to consolidate setup with explanation, but that wasn’t going to work this time. After my quick rules run through we picked up the Scenario and it was “Too many Mouths”, man that’s a rough one for the survivors, usually bad for us since all the crisis cards usually require us to stockpile food along with feeding the colony. But all that didn’t matter to me since, well since I was a betrayer. I’ve never gotten to play as the betrayer in Dead of Winter, so now was my chance. The first crisis card requires putting tools in for the crisis, that kind of bothered me as I wanted food as I thought that would make it especially hard on folks, but we had one player lose both of his survivors on his first round, thus losing all his starting cards and we ended up with only 3 players contributing to the crisis including me, boy was I glad that I gave a tool to it to try to convince them that there wasn’t a traitor. So the first round we lost 3 morale. Second round required more tools in the crisis and we had zombies everywhere, bad thing about this crisis was that it brought out a lot more zombies if we failed, and boy did we ever fail, we failed so much that morale ended up at zero while we were adding zombies after finishing the second round, well I shouldn’t say that we failed, they failed, I won as the betrayer without ever having to do anything really betrayer like. We just had way too many helpless survivors in the colony due to Events from searching and a couple Crossroad cards. I really wish I would have thrown this on the table later in the gathering when it was requested, but I just wasn’t sure we’d finish it in the hour and a half we had left, I didn’t think the second game would go as badly as that first one for the survivors.

Just chillin’ watching them fall apart

After Dead of Winter we got three games of One Night Ultimate Werewolf in, this time with 10 players. I don’t think we’ve ever played with 10. Only a couple folks had never played before so off we were, but in our rush we forgot to explain exactly what the minion is supposed to do and the minion outed the Werewolf as soon as we started discussing who we thought was who, whoops. So we reset and the second game went much better, but the villagers still got the werewolf. Third game was a bit more fun, I was the minion and Sarah was the only Werewolf at the start. After everyone woke up a couple people were figured out, the Troublemaker and a couple villagers all verified by the “Seer”. I gave them a few seconds to discuss everything and then claimed that indeed the Seer was not who he claimed, as I was the seer and I had looked at one of the Villager cards. So that cast suspicion over at myself and the other Seer, then someone else made a reveal but they got caught looking at all the available roles before they claimed, so that brought more suspicion on him, but ultimately I took the fire and our Werewolf was safe and she never said a word. I really do enjoy ONUW, a fun compact game that once you play once, everyone usually wants to play it again and again.

So after that, Andy and Sarah took off and Steve went to go eat lunch so the kids played some Sheriff of Nottingham and some PitchCar while four of us tackled Cyclades for the first time. No expansions, just the base game. Cyclades has been on my shelf unplayed for a long time, very first meetup I went to here in Jefferson City, Adam was giving away games and I walked out with that, hasn’t been played and I kept swearing that it would be, even put it on my 15×1 list this year. So, of course I was game to try this one, and to be honest, I was a little let down, but I don’t think that’s the game’s fault, I think that Cyclades just turned out to be a different game than I expected. I expected it to be a bit more confrontational, like its cousin Kemet. But it wasn’t, and I think there were only two or three conflicts that required rolling the dice, and one of those I just did because I wanted to use ships. Adam won this one, rather handily as well, with Bern and Mark finishing with 1 Metropolis a piece, meanwhile war mongering me didn’t have one built, I never got a good footing on what I should have been doing other than building up my navy and army. But I do want to give it another shot as I think if I went in knowing what I was supposed to be doing instead of assuming that I knew what I was supposed to be doing, it’d be a bit of a different story.

Yellow didn’t rule

It was getting towards closing time for the library so instead of breaking out another big game, a couple folks broke off and played some Race for the Galaxy and I taught and played a couple 4 player games of Arboretum. After explaining how really simple play is, I then went and tried to explain scoring to the best of my ability and I guess I either glossed over or folks didn’t catch a couple things I said, so our final scores were wonky as a couple people didn’t keep cards in their hand of suits they wanted to score and a mention of things being in ascending or descending order were met with an odd look. So, we reshuffled after walking through the rest of the scoring anyway, as it’s kind of easier once you see it and shuffled ‘em up again. This one was mean, with three of us blocking scoring and a fourth who seemed to have everything click and ended up walking away with it. I really like Arboretum, and I look forward to more plays, going to try to get Gabby and Kerensa to sit down and play it this week so I can see it at all 3 player counts, at that point I may write up a brief review and how to play on it, just because I think it deserves it, it’s a fantastic little card laying game.

Arboretum hand

So as the other group finished up their last game of Race for the Galaxy, we packed everything up and closed the doors on another successful quarterly meetup. I’m already chompin’ at the bit for September to get here. So thank you to Mark and his kids, Gabe, Gideon and Alesandra, Steven(who is the newest member in the group), funny thing, I asked Steven if he had played anything since our last meetup at the church a month ago and he said, nope, this is his only gaming. I don’t think I could survive at this point like that. Bern, Adam, Gabby, Andy and Sarah, thank you all for coming out and ignoring weekend chores for another Saturday, we’ll do it again in September!

What I took to game day

After coming home after 8 hours of gaming, you would think that I had all the gaming out of my system, well nope, that’s not me. After having the H-index discussion last week it weighed on my head all week that we needed to bump it to 15 since it was right there, so I talked Gabby and Kerensa into sitting down and playing a game of Carcassonne to officially give me 15 plays and thus bump our H-Index up another notch. Gabby managed to score a HUGE 40 point city early in the game, seemingly getting everything that she needed to draw to complete it, but her luck left her after that and I pulled out a win with only 95 points due to some lazy farmers laying around in the right spots. I like Carcassonne, I always have and according to records I’ve actually won more games of it than anyone else has in our playing group, which doesn’t happen very often, but man, those tile draws can be so finicky and you have to know when to quit building that huge town and close it off or keep pushing, that’s what hurt Kerensa as she didn’t get to score her partial city due to having the Cathedral in it. Carcassonne will always have a place in our collection as it’s one of those games that rarely is turned down by any of us.

Yellow rules!!!

We finished up the evening with a game of Richard Ritterschlag aka Brandon the Brave with AnnaBeth. She sat patiently while we played Carcassonne, holding her bright yellow Haba box wanting to play as soon as we were done. Richard Ritterschlag is a pretty simple tile laying game, where you draw a tile and try to match up spots on the tiles in order to complete your set number of tasks that you have in your possession and thus win the game. Every once in a while you’ll place a tile down that has a horse on it, that’s your clue to move Brandon the Brave Knight. From then on out whenever you place a tile next to a tile that holds Brandon, you get an extra turn. Really is a fun little game for AnnaBeth and I really don’t mind playing it as I can still have some fun with her while she’s having fun. She managed to win this one, much like Carcassonne, the tile draws can make or break you. Now, I’m not saying that Kerensa and I were trying horribly hard to win, but it’s always fun to see her win and then thank everyone for playing and say good game.
That’s it, eleven quality games on the table this week, really not a bad week that was definitely saved by our quarterly game meetup.

Acquisitions

Ahhh, I love weeks like this for acquisitions, even though I am sure that the Postal worker or UPS driver or FedEx delivery person cusses our steps each time they walk up them. So coming in this week was a copy of the long sought after, at least here, Madeira. I had been wanting to pick this up for awhile now, but just never pulled the trigger due to cost. Even though I know that it’ll be a fantastic game, I just never thought that I should spend that much on a game that would get played maybe once or twice a year. So over Memorial Day weekend, Cardhaus had a sale and they had it for $12.99 and I missed it, I was so irritated. But soon after that Amazon dropped the price to $29.99 and I pulled the trigger and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve watched the Connect More 2 hour video explaining the game, I’ve watched Rahdo run through it, now I just need to read the rules and get someone to sit down and play with me. I’m hoping I can sell Kerensa on it as I know that she enjoyed Panamax which was from the same design team. Then came the Friday delivery of Dark Moon from the contest that I won on Twitter. I sat down and punched it, although it came with those patented Stronghold games self-punching sheets of cardboard where they are halfway punched as soon as you open the box. I sleeved up the cards in the sleeves provided to me from Mayday Games and read the rules while watching Joel Eddy’s Drive Thru Review. But alas, it didn’t get played this weekend. I went the easier route and taught Dead of Winter instead since I had taught it before a few times even though it had been awhile, but soon it will get to the table, I promise! Then Gabby got to open her first Board Game Geek auction win. Two expansions for PitchCar. Needless to say she’s ready to build and race all the time now, although we realized that we had somehow lost one of the cars at some point so now we can only race 7 players until I figure out how to get some more. We still want to pick up the stunt extension, the long straights and the cross then I think we’ll be completely satisfied, at least until Geekway next year and she sees some of the tracks they put together.

Portugal on my mind

Kickstarter

Only one new game backed on Kickstarter this week and that one is the follow up to Star Realms from White Wizard called Epic. Now, it could have been anything and I’d probably have backed it as I absolutely love playing Star Realms, but this one seems to try to take a trading card game and make it not a money chase as there are no rares, there are no boosters, everyone gets the same cards regardless, well except the Kickstarter rewards which will eventually be given out at tournaments and such. There’s not a lot out there on the Kickstarter page about how it works yet, but they promise that is coming, and everything I’ve heard from Origins where it was being demoed has been pretty positive as well. Currently Epic sits at $207k out of their original $50k goal, so yeah, it’s been quite a positive experience for White Wizard. With 22 days left to go, we’ve blown through the first 6 stretch goals and there are currently 4 on the horizon, with two to be revealed as more unlock. We’re in for a box and Brad and Kate are in for a box as well so we can do 8 player sealed deck and draft, along with Emperor and team draft, because, well, we always have 8 players ready to play, right?
I’m still on the Wombat Rescue bandwagon and it looks like Matt and Eagle games had a good Origins game fair as the funding jumped up over the last 3 days or so and now sits at $21k. Coming up on the next stretch goal at $23k to add some boulders that act as barriers for everyone to have to maneuver around. If you haven’t checked this one out yet we’ve got a week to go and I’ll only be able to remind you one more time as it funds on Monday June 15th at 1:13 pm central. Be sure to check out Rahdo’s run through and I’m sure we’ll hear some more good things from Origins attendees as the week moves on.

Game Release News

Coming up is going to be a rough stretch of Kickstarter games, I’m looking at no fewer than 4 that I really want to back in the coming month, The Gallerist which launches on June 18th from Eagle Gryphon and Vital Lacerda, Monster Truck Mayhem from Dice Hate Me Games and Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback on June 16th, it’s real time dice rolling, modular boarding, car smashing monster truck racing on your table top. Then we have Hocus, from Hyperbole Games and Joshua Buergel and Grant Rodiek. I’ve been following the development of this one and have finally went and downloaded the Print and Play files to give it a whirl, but from reading about it, it’s definitely my type of card game. That one should be hitting on June 25th if memory serves correctly. Then, to top it all off comes the Carson City Big Box from Quined Games and easily one of my top 3 or 4 designers, Xavier Georges. A long sought after title for our collection but until now the price has been quite outrageous due to being out of print and quite a good game. But we’ll be able to remedy that come Mid-June sometime with the Kickstarter.

Other than Kickstarter we had a couple pretty big announcements from Stronghold Games this week, one they are going to be the ones to bring us The Golden Ages to the North American market. The Golden Ages was a Euro style civ game that got a lot of really good press after Essen this past year and had been quite sought after here, even though we could import it. But Stronghold steps up and we no longer have to do that, so look for that one on the Stronghold website soon. Then Stronghold felt like following that up with the announcement that their first game in their Great Designer Series was going to be from the duo of Kramer and Kiesling and it would be none other than Porta Nigra which I am horribly excited about. So keep an eye out for those and maybe more!!

Porta Nigra Pegussus Spiele box
Porta Nigra

Geeklist and Forums

Quite a great week on the geeklist and in the forum entry, although it seems we saw fewer entries on the Geeklist even though we had more thumbs, odd, I don’t know what to think. But there were lots of great games played, lots of smiling faces in photos and that’s what gaming is all about, it’s about the smiles that it can bring to the faces of those who play them!

WDYPTW Geeklist

WDYPTW Forum Thread

WDYPTW Podcast Thing Facebook Page

Stronghold Games

Epic Kickstarter Page

Wombat Rescue Kickstarter Page

Week 27!!!

Week 27
Back to Normal

After a week of no gaming with the exception of online plays of Star Realms I was quite happy to get off the snide early in the week.

Machi Koro-On Memorial Day, Gabby and I decided that we were going to at least complete one of the 3×3 Before Memorial Day challenges that we set forward and that one turned out to be Machi Koro. We’ve talked about Machi Koro before a couple times on the podcast so you know what kind of game it is and how it plays. This play on Monday kind of solidified why I don’t really like the game all that much. When we laid out the 10 cards available for purchasing, all but 1 of them was a 6 or higher, this gave the person who went first, me this time, a distinct advantage over the second person since I picked that card up and when I revealed the next card it was an over 6 card as well, meaning that Gabby was at a disadvantage the whole game and basically a card or two behind. I built up my City fairly quickly, getting to two dice and just kept adding to, meanwhile Gabby struggled to get moving. I ended up winning this one fairly quickly and had 3 more landmarks built at the end of the game than Gabby at the end. You already have luck of the dice in this game, if your averages just don’t work out, you won’t win, but you add on top of it lucky card draws in the available pool and it becomes even more of a mess. I’ll keep this one around, just because Gabby still enjoys playing it and it can play quickly if everyone pays attention, but its novelty has worn out on me I believe.

Cardline-Globetrotter-After Machi Koro, Gabby asked if we could play one of the Timeline/Cardline games and I agreed, so she broke out her newest addition to the collection, Globetrotter, and we played it a couple times before it was time for bed. If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline/Cardline series of games here is a brief overview, just know that Carline/Timeline are pretty much interchangeable, both game lines do the same thing, just with different themes and the Cardline cards are larger, which my eyes and hands greatly appreciate. In each game the player is trying to get rid of all of the cards in their hand, the first with an empty hand wins the game. Players do that by placing their cards into a center cardline or timeline. In Globetrotter, the cards all depict countries throughout the world, on one side is the country’s name and some artwork depicting that country, on the other side are four statistics about that country, be it the country’s size, population, Gross Domestic Product and CO2 emissions. Before the game starts players decide which statistic they want to use. To start you draw a card from the deck of cards and place it in the center of the table, now the instructions say to place it face up so you can see the statistics, but we play it face down and the starting player plays their starting card either to the left or the right of the card, depending on whether they think that their cards statistic is smaller or larger than the one out there already on the table. If after flipping the cards they are correct, play moves to the next player, otherwise the starting player discards the card they played and draws another card from the deck. Play continues this way, with players filling in the card line in order, first player out of cards wins. These Globetrotter cards seemed to be a bit much for Gabby, although she did do pretty well when we did the size of the countries, but even then I managed to win fairly quickly. I like the cards better in the Cardline series, but I like the idea of building a timeline more than putting things in order by numbers. But it’s still a fun activity game that we have plenty of options for, now we need to find the Dinosaur version of Cardline.

Arboretum-So a new game that showed up this week, actually gets thrown on the table the same day it’s received?!? I need to get a few more plays of this in before I can really give my thoughts on it, but right now I really think it’s a neat card laying game. We like tile laying games in our house, and this plays a bit like one with each player trying to build their best Arboretum in front of them. Play is super easy, each player starts with 7 cards and on their turn they draw two, either from the draw deck or other player’s discard piles, then they play a card to their Arboretum and then discard a card so that they never have more or less than 7 cards in their hand. Really super easy to play, the tricky part comes with the scoring. After the final card is pulled from the draw pile and the player plays out their turn, each individual tree type(or suit) is called out and whomever has the highest SUM of cards in that tree suit in their hand can score for a path of those trees in their Arboretum. In this part of the game, 8s act as 0s, so there for 1s are higher. Sometimes it may happen that a person may have the higher sum of cards in a suit but no path, well, then those trees wouldn’t be scored at all. Arboretum can bring out quite a few decision points in a small box with a short playing time. Kerensa and I played 2 games back to back on Friday night with me winning the first one 29-27. It was pretty straight forward, not a lot of variations in our Arboretums and not a lot of blocking. But that second game, Kerensa got me good and took away my highest scoring path, PLUS another smaller path and beat me 14-2. Really enjoy this with two players, but I want to see how it plays with 3-4 before we give it a real review.

Arboretum and the famous 2 point game

Tajemnicze Domostwo-Been awhile since we had played this one, but Gabby had her cousin over on Saturday night and they requested it, and even though it was 11:30 pm we obliged. It was late and it had been awhile since we had played so we played it on easy level, with only 6 options available to us for each Person, Place and Weapon. We won, but it was only on the final day. I had some trouble nailing down the location, basically ended up getting rid of every option before I got the correct one, but luckily Gabby and Emma got through ahead of me and helped me along the way. 15 plays into this and I still enjoy it, but I think that we really shouldn’t play on easy any more, especially if Kerensa gets to be the ghost as Gabby and I kind of know which way she is going with certain cards and that is kind of a bummer, but if you add more options, maybe that prevailing group think will be diminished a bit. I’ll be picking up the Libellud version when it becomes available here in North America and we’ll keep our Portal version as well. Really is a well done co-op game that can be taught to anyone and be fun.

These are the clues that were supposed to lead me to this location

Cacao-So this one snuck in under the wire on me. Gabby and I sat down and learned and played our first game of Cacao, a game we acquired along with Arbroretum, so we did pretty well in getting newly added games to the table this weekend. Cacao is a tile placement game, where you have a stack of community jungle tiles and a stack of personal worker tiles. On your turn, you do three things: 1) you place a worker tile, 2) you place a Jungle tile, if necessary, and 3) you act on your worker actions from placing those tiles. That’s it. There are rules to the placement of tiles, no two worker tiles can share an edge and no two jungle tiles may share an edge, creating a sort of checkerboard pattern on the board you building out in front of you. The object of the game is through these worker actions you want to have the most gold at the end of the game. I like this one, and with two it gives off that Five Tribes feel that you have to get the most out of every action that you take, and if you can, you really want to double up on the actions. I hope to get Kerensa to play this one soon as I think she’ll really like it. I won the two player game with Gabby, 60-47 and I even had some left over Cacao on my player board that was completely useless at the end of the game for scoring. Gabby kind of concentrated a lot on controlling temple tiles and maybe she could have spread out her workers a bit better, but it was the first game, and we’re still learning.

Cacao finished game

Star Realms-Just a quick wrap up of my Star Realms progress. In the league ran over on Board Game Geek, I am currently sitting at 4 wins and 4 losses, with three matches left. Looks like another season spent at the Bronze Fighter Division is going to happen, I’m really not sure what I’d do if I ever got out of this division. But along with league matches and challenges from Mastakate, jflartner, thexphiler, adiliberto, SarahR and UKDane, I am sitting currently at Level 9 5 out of 10, those last 5 wins are the hump I can’t get over. Had a good losing streak the last couple days this week and clawed back slowly to where I am currently. So keep sending those challenges to Vacabck and I’ll keep challenging back.

Acquisitions

As I said earlier, on Friday we got a package from Cardhaus.com that contained Arboretum, but also in that box was that other game that I’ve been looking forward to since I reviewed Dungeon Raiders a month or so back, that’s Cacao from Z-Man Games and designer Phil Walker-Harding. I saw this one briefly when I was looking over what all Phil Walker-Harding had designed and I thought it looked like a really cool tile placing game, where how you place your tiles determines what your workers provide, but then I saw it as a recommended game from the Spiel des Jahres jury and I went ahead and pulled the trigger and picked it up. Fingers crossed it gets played soon, I really wanted to play it this weekend, but I couldn’t convince Kerensa to learn a second game this weekend. Also this weekend I was lucky enough to win a contest on Twitter for a game that was on my Top 10 Anticipated Games of 2015, Dark Moon. Maybe I shouldn’t call this an acquisition yet, as it is not here, but I just can’t help myself as I am really excited to get this one to the table. So a huge thank you needs to go to Mayday Games for running the contest and to Stronghold Games for providing the game to them. Along with the game, Mayday is providing enough sleeves to make sure that the cards never get damaged.

Kickstarter

Nothing new on Kickstarter and that’s a good thing as I had to drop our pledge to Mottainai as Gabby is pretty dead set on winning a couple PitchCar Extensions that popped up on a board game geek auction. So in order to divert funds into something that Gabby wants, I cancelled Mottainai. The game looks really cool, but always back in my head I had that feeling that it would turn out just like any other Chudyk game in our collection and never get played by anyone except myself and I’m trying to tailor our collection, even our Kickstarter additions to games that the family will play together. I will probably end up picking it up in retail sooner or later though as I am a sucker for games with cards that have many multiple uses, which explains my love for Chudyk games.

Other than that, I’m sticking with Wombat Rescue from Matt Wolfe and Eagle Gryphon Games. Read through the rules and the theme does hide what can be a fairly deep strategic game at times. Love the idea of creating a scent area in order to better move over the board to reach your baby Wombats. Sounds like a lot of fun to play and I really wish I had enough extra bits laying around that I could do the print and play to try it out while we wait, but as it is, I’ll be waiting till delivery.

May Summary

So, May brought us 38 plays of 25 distinct games, quite a few of them, 13 to be exact, were first time plays for us. May is always good for gaming due to Geekway to the West, we’ll see if our momentum carries over into June this year. Along with those plays we are up to 189 plays for the year, with 80 of them being new to us games, so our 100×1 Challenge is moving right along, although our 15×1 Challenge has been pretty stagnant over the past couple months. Going to have to do something to remedy that fairly quickly if I want to even get close to succeeding in that challenge.

H-Index

So, how many folks know what an H-Index is? I honestly didn’t until I began board gaming a few years back. In it’s traditional definition, an H-Index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. So, how does this relate to gaming? Well, those of us who record most of our plays have a way to easily find our Gaming H-Index. What you do is you can order your games from most played to least, start counting games from the top down and you’ll find your H-Index when the number you count is larger than the number of games played for that time. Right now, my H-Index is at 14, I have played 14 different games at least 14 times. I don’t know why I pay attention to H-Index. If we’re having fun playing games what does it really matter how many times we play each game? No, it doesn’t but the higher my H-Index goes, the more I feel as though I am learning more or even getting more “bang for the buck” as it is. But the main reason I was thinking about it this weekend is that I am sitting on the verge of bumping the H-Index up to 15, all I need to do is play a game of Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Indigo or Myrmes and I’ll move up another rung. So all weekend I sat there thinking, we should play Carcassonne. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just kind of takes away from the organic way I like to play games, I like to play whatever strikes my fancy at the time of playing, I don’t plan out a lot of game plays. It really isn’t a bad thing, nor is it a necessary thing, but I like checking and watching the H-Index, but then again, I imagine that’s all a big part of the gaming dork in me, I mean really, who tracks how many games they play?!? So what’s your H-Index? Let me know, either over on the blog, twitter, geeklist or any way that you want to let me know.

H-Index Illustration, mine is 14

BGTLeague

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated everyone on our Board Game Twitter Fantasy Baseball League, so here’s a short update. Marty over at Rolling Dice and Taking Names is running away with Division 2, at least he was until last week when Anthony’s team took him to the woodshed pulling the rest of Division 2 a bit closer, but still 9 games back. Currently I am leading Division 1 by 4 games, but if things stay the way they are now on Sunday evening, I believe there will be a virtual tie between myself and Linus(Mort Subite /@mygodafreshman over on twitter), the cream has risen to the top, now we just gotta stay here.

Geeklist and Thread

So there will be a change to the geeklist, apparently folks voted that they didn’t like posters reserving their spot and then filling in their WDYPTW session report later. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it, I’m a subscription neat freak so anytime a subscription triggers I go and read what triggered it anyway, but it bugged enough people that we ended up with 123 votes, even though we only really have 50-60 people post in the geeklist weekly. So, this week, I’ll ask to not reserve your space, just post when you have the time or are ready. I realize we’re still going to trigger subscriptions when we edit, but there’s nothing we can do about that.
Lots of great games on the Geeklist and Thread this week, we had our first sighting of The Game, I hope that doesn’t mean that we all just lost it. Freddie got some Ghost Stories in which really makes me want to break it out and play it again. Plenty of Glory to Rome that’s going around which is really cool. Brass got a couple plays, which really made me wish I would have sprung for a copy from Cardhaus over Memorial Day when they were doing their sale. We had a new poster over in the Geeklist from Lithuania, hopefully Dalius sticks around as that was a really nice first entry into the geeklist and judging from his shopping spree there’s more to come! And our vacationing Bill, brought us to the end of the week with is entry, I bet those Guildhall cards don’t look as good as they do in that photo anymore.

Love following along all week everyone, keep the entries coming!

LINKS!!!!

https://maydaygames.com/

https://twitter.com/maydaygames

http://strongholdgames.com/

https://twitter.com/StrongholdGames

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/asmadigames/mottainai?ref=nav_search

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/wombat-rescue-unlike-any-game-seen-played-or-smelt