Week 40!!!

Week 40!!!

School is in session, the evenings have been consisting of getting dinner ready, kids situated and ready for bed and then rinse and repeat. We’ll get in a better rhythm as the year progresses but for now, the weekends are the only time we’ve got any gaming in and that’s shown up in August, with this month being the slowest gaming month of the year so far with only 25 plays of 17 different games. Those numbers would have been a bit lesser had it not been for this weekend, more precisely, Saturday.

Saturday started outside, hanging out with the kids, playing wiffle ball and swinging on the playground, but as soon as we went inside we threw GemPacked Cards down on the table for a play.

Preview for GemPacked Cards

After cleaning up GemPacked Cards, I threw another game on the table that’s going to be hitting Kickstarter on September 1st, Avalanche at Yeti Mountain. After wrestling with the rules a little bit and then adjusting the game for three players since Brad decided he’d join us, we were off and racing down the mountain. This one is going to get the full preview treatment this coming week while the Kickstarter is live, but I will say that the first play was pretty fun, but it’s definitely a game where all the participants need to be of the understanding that this is just a quick playing free for all, there is player elimination, but really, who cares in a 15-20 minute game, just set it back up after and race again. Green Couch Games was kind enough to send me this new addition to their stable of growing 20-30 minute filler games, so look for a longer preview next week for this one.

While we were home for a short time before dinner, AnnaBeth decided that we hadn’t played Villa Paletti, in a long time so we should bring it out.  So bring it out we did. Villa Paletti is a fun dexterity game with some really fantastic wooden pieces. In the game you set up all the wooden pieces so they are like columns, then you place a “floor” on top of those pieces, so all the wooden pieces are upright and holding up that floor. On a player’s turn they roll the die which is a 4 sided die that has each of the colors of the columns on it. Whichever color comes up on the die is the color that you remove from the building and then you place it on top of the floor above. The players can keep doing this in player order until they can no longer take a column from the bottom floor, then they place a smaller floor on top of the second one and they continue the game that way. The person who knocks the tower over loses. Everyone over on Board Game Geek has seen a photo of this game, whether they realize it or not, it’s one of the more iconic and comical photos over there. It’s the one where everyone gets the “BaSL” face for their photoshopping fun. And that’s what this one is, fun. AnnaBeth and I don’t necessarily play it to see who will win, we more or less play it to see how tall we can build the tower, and this time around, it didn’t get built very tall as I believe I got a little over confident on the second level and the tower came falling down, way too soon. There are two or three different versions of this one floating around, plus you can also find it under the name Palazzo Paletti as well. We don’t have the original by any means we seem to have the mass produced version from Wiggles 3d, but it still works just perfectly and is readily available over on Amazon. Also, just for some side knowledge, it did win the 2002 Spiel des Jahres. If you enjoy dexterity games where you are stacking and building, this one is a sure fire hit.

With our fallen building cleaned up, AnnaBeth and I were joined by Kerensa for a game of The Magic Labyrinth. This one has a lot of history in our family and was essentially the game that took us to the hobbyist side of board gaming. The Magic Labyrinth is essentially a memory game where you are trying to maneuver through a maze to reach the pre-determined destination. The bottom half of the box itself is part of the game, in it is the maze that can be built using little wooden walls to block off paths. After the maze is built, you cover it with the board so you cannot see what is underneath, spin the board around in circles saying the magic words, you must always say the magic words, “labyrinth, labyrinth, turn around, walls disappear, ways will be found!”. At that point each magician takes his magician pawn and a metallic ball and chooses a corner, with the magician pawn on top of the board and the metal ball underneath, held onto by the magnet in the magician pawns. That’s how you tell if you run into a wall when moving, the ball will become separated from the pawn and roll back to a corner. The first player draws a token from the bag and finds the magic symbol on the board that matches it and places it there, that’s what the magicians are racing to retrieve. On your turn you roll a die, it will tell you whether you get to move 1, 2, 3 or 4 spaces this turn. You then try to make your way to the magic symbol without hitting a wall. When a player retrieves the symbol, that player pulls another one out of the bag, places it on the board and play continues, we usually play till someone has five magic symbols and that person is the winner. This game is so aggravating, in a good way. I rarely remember from one turn to the next where the walls are that I’ve ran into, so the kids always get a kick out of it when I run into the same wall that I’ve ran into a dozen times before in the same game. Thusly, I rarely win the game, and I didn’t this time either, AnnaBeth did, with Kerensa actually managing to do worse than I did for once. But that being said, I love this one and it will always hold a special place in our collection as our gateway into more gaming as a family. Oh, and this one won the 2009 Kinderspiel Award, so that was two Spiel de Jahres winners in one weekend for us without even trying.

After that, we packed up again and headed back over to Brad and Kate’s for some good food and family time, and of course, a couple games. Even Kate got to join us for the first time since Geekway!! First game to the table was Cacao and you would think that with as easy as it is, and how many times I’ve played it so far, I’d have the rules down, but clearly I wasn’t thinking clearly as I forgot that when we are playing four players you take two tiles out of each player’s supply and we realized that rather late in the game when we all should have only had three tiles left. Luckily I don’t think it hindered us too much as all of us had the two tiles that you were supposed to remove in our hands so we just discarded those and finished the game as normal. I went heavy on the water track since it seemed to come up for me in the draw pile twice, I figured it was a sign. Kerensa and Kate were pretty heavily trading Cacao around and Brad was trying his best to secure those temples. Turns out, the ending all came down to Kerensa’s final play, and where she put it ended up adding 6 points to her score and knocking 3 from myself and 3 from Brad, she managed to take control of a Temple where I was leading by 1 and Brad was going to just finish in second around it. After that I couldn’t find a place to get me more than 4 points so I placed and we tallied up the scores. Brad came in last with 39 points, I’m going to say he was the more distracted of us four while playing, otherwise I think he would have done better. I finished in third with 48 points and still stinging a bit from the move Kerensa made. Then with 52 points, Kerensa and Kate tied and both had sold off all of their Cacao since I never think to talk about tie breakers before games, my apologies Kate. Way we figured it, if Kerensa had not placed her last tile where she did, there would have been a three way tie for first and I would have won since I had two leftover Cacao. Noooooooooooooooooo! But I kind of deserve to finish in third since I failed to fully explain the tiebreaker rule. As it was, Kerensa and Kate celebrated their shared victory and Brad set out to find another quick game for us to play before Bennett, their 1 year old son, was ready to go to bed.

That game was Murder of Crows, from Eduardo Baraf and Atlas Games. Seems that Brad and Kate had picked this one up on their last visit to Miniature Market for about 4 bucks and hadn’t gotten a chance to play it yet so we went ahead and dove in.  Murder of Crows is a lightweight story telling card game where the players are trying to spell out murder in front of them to win. On each player’s turn, they are going to draw a card and then either play a card or draw another card and pass the turn on to the next player. That in itself wouldn’t be that great of a game though, so each card has a special power when played. The M lets you take one card from another player’s “murder”. The U makes all the other players reveal their hands and the active player gets to choose one to take from someone. The R allows you to Reap, draw an additional card. The D allows the active player to drain one letter from every other player’s “murder”. Lastly the E makes everyone else discard their hands and draw back up to three cards. Now, all of these actions can be blocked by playing a card from your hand to the discard pile that matches the number of crows on the card played by the active player. The first player to finish the word Murder and read aloud the story that the cards have created, wins the game. Well, Kerensa and Kate once again won this, we played twice with Kerensa winning the first one and Kate winning the second one and Brad and I just sitting there being mean to each other. This one was a fun, light hearted game, sure it’s about a murder, but the stories and the people it happens to make it good fun.

Star Realms continues to be Star Realms. I’m up then I’m down. I split a couple matches with our first “Meet the Gamer” guest Patrick Hillier. I won my only league game this week and I lost a couple others to stick at Level 9 5/10. Just not making any progress it seems. But as always, keep those challenges coming, if I lose I will most definitely be sending a rematch request so I usually leave that up to you to rematch if you would like to as well. Vacabck on Star Realms, feel free to shoot challenges any time.

Acquisitions

This is how Mistfall looked when I opened the Box

Well, there were a couple big arrivals this week on our doorstep, literally big arrivals. Our copy of Mistfall arrived, surprisingly in good shape considering how the shipping company chose to pack the boxes. I’ve punched and sorted all the cardboard but I just can’t bring myself to open up the cards yet until I figure out just what I am going to do with the box to make storage of the cards easy. I’m not going to sleeve all 600 cards, so I need to find a system that allows them to stay sorted in the box fairly easy. I’m think that it’ll be another foam core project for me in the near future. Second item to show up is the one that is kind of a departure from the normal games we pick up, that one is Churchill. I had read enough rave reviews and seen enough positive information about it that I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger and picked it up, making sure to use my knees, as this one is heavy, literally heavy. I’ve got some interest in our game group for this one, plus I may have finally found a theme that may help nudge my brothers, or at least one of them, to the table for something with a lot of meat on its bones. But before I assault them with it, I need to sit down and learn it and play it a couple times, I don’t want to be fumbling my way through teaching it to them, it may be my only shot! Not sure we have anything on the way this week, still waiting on pre-orders of A Game of Thrones LCG 2nd Edition and Codenames from Miniature Market. Looks like FFG finally updated the status of AGoT to on the boat, so I’m guessing end of September to October for that one. And I know that some folks were receiving their shipping notifications for Codenames from CSI last week, so here’s hoping Miniature Market is this week!

Kickstarter

Well, sooner or later someone was going to get me to back something that wasn’t a card game or board game, just didn’t figure that it was going to be a website for playing board games and card games. Tabletopia launched last week. Currently the project sits at $46k with 24 days to go, already doubling the goal of $20k. This one is fascinating for me, on one hand I wanted to pledge on it to play games with folks all over the world, games that aren’t available to play on many gaming websites, but also I want to see what game developers do with this as it’s really a great tool for testing of games. You have a huge pool of gamers to try out your games and it’s all done live online where you can watch and get immediate feedback on, so I really think this one is fairly important. Right now, I am backing at the $25 Game Geek Gamer Tier which gets me 6 months of access to Tabletopia and also access to the catalog during the month long beta. We’ll see how much it gets used during that 6 month time frame and then we’ll see if it is worth paying a monthly subscription fee. Right now if you have backed you have access to a couple games, Keltis and Viceroy. I am hoping to get on and try those out this week, but I have used the website before in playtesting Vital Lacerda’s newest game Lisboa, so I know a bit about how it all works and I did really think once you got used to the interface it would be wonderful to use. The only thing that worries me is that some folks won’t like it as you do still have to track everything yourself through the interface, this isn’t like Board Game Arena or any of those other sites where scoring and everything is updated automatically, this is like playing a board game on your PC.

Dingo’s Dreams campaign ends in 24 hours, or 9 PM Central time on the 31st of August. It’s kind of starting to climb a bit, but still projected short of $60k and the upgraded wooden faction tokens for City of Iron. So time is of the essence, if either of these interest you, be sure to check the Kickstarter page soon!

Over the past week or so over on Twitter and other social media spaces, there has been a lot of talk of inclusion in gaming, mainly about women in gaming in particular. I’ve stayed out of the fracas for the most part, as I don’t really have much to add to the conversation, but I have read along and listened. I have isolated myself gaming wise it seems perfectly, I don’t get to see the unsightly underbelly, which I have no doubt exists, I just don’t get to see it. My main game group is my family, which is comprised of 4 females, my wife, sister in law and my daughters. My outside game group is predominately male, but I don’t believe that is through any nefarious acts of exclusion, the group is wide open for anyone who wants to play games to play, it just so happens that’s mostly men it seems. My favorite convention is Geekway to the West, which I have to believe after being there the last three years is one of the most inclusive conventions in the country, they welcome everyone with open arms and I’ve not heard a negative word about how women or anyone has been treated while attending that convention. Once again, I need to re-iterate, that I don’t doubt that any of this is going on, I just haven’t seen it or been part of it to my knowledge and I would never willfully do that. So, where is this leading? Well, I’m not really sure, I am not going to go on some big tirade, nor am I going to openly scold those who tried to rebuke what others were saying, what I’m going to do is what gamers and geeks do best, I’m going to make a list. A list of things that I will hold you to, if you sit down at a table and game with me. Whether that’s my table, or any other table around. I will stand for these rules and if you don’t follow them, I will call you on them.

  1. Be respectful of everyone around you. This should go without saying honestly, and it really sucks that I feel the need to make this the number one rule, but honestly, if everyone was following this, we wouldn’t have a lot of the troubles that we have in the gaming community, or even the world for that matter. Be respectful of the people that you share the same air with and they’ll be respectful of you.

2. See rule number 1, and don’t be a jerk. Really, we’re all equals here, no one is below you and no one is above you, get over your petty beliefs and just respect everyone and give everyone the opportunities that you would expect for yourself.

3. See rules 1 and 2 and have fun, play hard, work hard and just enjoy our time together as human beings with shared interests. It’s a big world out there, there are a lot of things we can learn from each other if we open our minds and let it all soak in instead of thinking we know everything.

4. Actually stick by these rules and don’t be a Wheaton.

Geeklist and Thread

It really saddens me to say that I wasn’t able to keep up with the Geeklist and Thread as much as I have been, it was a busy week at work with impromptu meetings and being short staffed four out of the five days. I barely had time to think. I will catch up with everything and try to keep up this week.

Alright folks, I think that will wrap it up for Week 40 of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast, I hope you all enjoyed it. I did get a couple responses to my call for contributors to the show and I’m hoping to see a few more. As I said, I really don’t have any idea where I want this to go, I just want to give anyone a voice who wants to have one on the show. I know Eric Booth has jumped in head first and is currently working on another review for everyone, and also he’s working on a little talk about theme in gaming, so I look forward to hearing those when he gets them to me. Which is whenever he has the time, there are no time constraints, no deadlines, just let me know what you want to work on and send it this way whenever you have a chance. If you want me to edit it, I will do my best, if you want to edit it, by all means go for it. I’m easy.

With that, I’m out of here, I will see you all on the Geeklist and Thread Monday morning on Board Game Geek and over on various other social media throughout the week. Have a great one!!

This is AnnaBeth sometimes. 🙂

 

GemPacked Cards Preview

GemPacked Cards Preview!!!
A What Did You Play This Week Kickstarter Preview

GemPacked Cards
Pencil First Games
Designer: Eduardo Baraf
Illustrator: Katherine Waddell

The What Did You Play This Week Podcast was provided a copy of GemPacked Cards from Pencil First Games in order to do this preview. Photos are using prototype pieces and do not represent the finished project.  

The newest offering from Pencil First Games and the follow up Kickstarter to The Siblings Trouble is the completely adorable GemPacked Cards. Eduardo Baraf is back with this gem swapping set collecting game for 2-5 players that plays quickly at all player counts and has some really fun gem swapping to help you get the victory points needed to win the game.

Gemino Pips

Setup
Begin your game of GemPacked Cards by shuffling all the goal cards. Then draw and place one more than you have players on the table. These goal cards give you gem combinations to shoot for during game play in order to gain victory points when you trade in the proper combination out of your hand.

Goal Cards

After that, you’ll set out a number of Sun and Nova cards based once again on how many players are playing. These cards also grant victory points for trading in the proper gems to win the card.

Sun & Nova Cards

Next up, you will set out the right amount of Gemino Pip Tokens, again based on number of players, each player will then draw two of these Pip Tokens for their starting hand. These Pip tokens will represent six of the available colors. Next up you’ll shuffle the GemPacked cards and deal out the number of cards necessary based on player count, for 2-3 players that is nine and for 4-5 players that is twelve. These cards are comprised of the Square and Diamond Geminos that you are going to be trading for with your Pip tokens and other cards. Reshuffle the deck and sit it off to the side as the draw deck and now you are ready to play.

Board set up for 2-3 players

Gameplay
On a player’s turn they will buy Squares, Diamonds or any of the Goal Cards or Sun and Nova cards. When the last Pip token is drawn each player will get one remaining turn before the game ends and players then count up their score. But how do you do all that, you may be asking, well, here we go. At the start of a player’s turn if there 7 or more Diamonds on the board(or 9 in a 4-5 player game) the player MAY refresh the whole grid from the draw deck, ignoring any Action Cards that may be dealt. More about those Action Cards later. After the player assesses the board, they draw two Gemino Pips from the draw pile and add them with their collection of Pips. Then the player may perform any of the following actions, in any order and as often as they choose to do:

1) The player may buy a Square from the card grid for two Pips that could create that Square’s color. You can see the combinations that can be made using the chart shown below.

2) The player may buy a Diamond from the card grid for two Square that would combine to create that Diamond’s color.

3) The player can sell a square for two pips that create that Square’s color. Those Pips are collected from the common pool of Pips that have been used previously.

4) The player may buy a Sun, Dwarf or Nova card using the combination needed to purchase those cards. Three Pips for the Sun Card, Five Pips for the Dwarf Card and 3 Squares of any combination of colors for the Nova Card. Each of these cards, along with the goal cards can only be bought once.

5) If a player does not take an action, they can then draw one extra Pip from the Pip pile, essentially passing their turn.

Mixing and Matching

Remember, these actions can be done in any order the players want and as many times as the players like or can which can make for some really short turns and also for some fun nice comboing turns where you are just mixing and matching a lot to get what you want. It should be noted that the board does not refresh though until your turn is over and play passes to the next player.

Also in the Pip pile and in the card grid are multi colored pips, squares and Diamonds, these are Wilds and can only be acquired by combinations as given below. These Wilds may be used in place of another Pip or Square when buying a normal color.

After the player ends their turn the active player refills any cleared spaces on the board with cards from the draw deck. If any of these cards are action cards, this is when those actions take place as soon as they are drawn, starting with the active player and going clockwise, once the card is resolved it is discarded and a new card is placed in its spot until the board is back to the original number of cards on the board. The action cards do different actions, anything from allowing each player to discard a card from the board that is adjacent to the Action Card(Comet) to allowing players to draw more pips(asteroids) or even allowing one player to buy the Sun Card for 3 Pips and adding it to their hand for the victory points. Depending on when they come out these Action Cards can have a huge impact on the game. The Asteroids in general can speed the game up quite a bit and depending on when it happens, can end the game rather abruptly.

Action Cards

Game End
As previously noted, once the final Pip is drawn the players all get one more turn to do what they can with their remaining Pips, Squares and Diamonds in order to gain more points. Once everyone has had their final turn, the players tally up their victory points from their cards and the highest Victory Point total wins the game.

Thoughts
GemPacked Cards is Eduardo Baraf’s and Pencil First Games’ third game and the first one that I have had the opportunity to play. We’ve backed the previous Pencil First Games title, The Siblings Trouble as it looks like a fantastic entry into Role Playing within a board game, something that I hope works perfectly for my family. All of the previous games from Pencil First Games are family focused games, and GemPacked Cards continues that trend with this lighter weight game. And it is light, it’s a filler type game with cute artwork from Katherine Waddell. It’s a perfect filler game to play when you have 20-30 minutes to spare before bed, which is when it saw the most play time for us and it would also make a fabulous addition to a lunch time game rotation. The mixing of colors has actually been a great thing to teach our 5 year old. Two Primary Pips equal a Square Pip of the same color, but you can also mix and match a little bit to get some secondary colors, Purple, Orange and Green. The younger players may miss a lot of the extra things that you can do to prolong a turn, but they definitely will have fun mixing and matching and making colors. Amongst all that cuteness and light hearted play there is a bit of a thinky element, as long as things stay set up for you, you can set up the turns pretty well and you may have quite a bit to do on your turn with trades to make and goal cards to purchase.

Game in Action

There are a couple of small issues with the game, mainly just dealing with randomness, which is easily forgiven and forgotten in a short lighter weight game like this. A little more annoying, at least in our games, seems to be a first player advantage mainly because the first player is always operating with more Pips than the rest of the players. But once again, that may be our grouping and it’s also easily forgivable in a game like this.

GemPacked Cards feels a lot like you are playing one of those puzzle apps on your phone when you are playing GemPacked Cards, which makes complete sense given that Eduardo has been developing an App for GemPacked Cards right along with the table top game. The app is also super fun so look for that soon, I believe it has been recently accepted on iOS, so it will be available when the Kickstarter campaign launches. The app while fun has no multiplayer and you are strictly trying to solve color and shape mixings as efficiently and quickly as possible, so while it feels similar it’s definitely a separate and fulfilling experience.

We have enjoyed our time with GemPacked Cards and look forward to backing our own copy. Look for GemPacked Cards to land on Kickstarter on September 1st. It will launch with a backing price of $25 plus $5 shipping.

GemPacked Cards Kickstarter Page Link

GemPacked iOS in the App Store!!!

Week 39!!!

Week 39

This Weeks Geeklist

This Week’s Forum Thread

School is back in session, only had two days worth of it this week but we were at open houses two other nights as well. I think the kids are going to really enjoy school this year, AnnaBeth started Kindergarten and ended up getting the teacher we hoped that she would get, who just happens to be a friend and was asking for her in her class, I hope she feels the same after the year is over. Gabby is starting 6th grade and moved to a new school. Should be a great chance for her to make a fresh start and meet some new friends to compliment the old ones. Me, I’m just wrestling with being older. Every year they gain a year in school, I just feel that much older. I’ll be 55 by the time AnnaBeth graduates from high school, excuse me while I go fix a drink.

But enough sentimentality, it’s the games that everyone is here to hear about, so the games are what we are going to talk about.

Monday evening was a meetup night for the game group and six of us showed up again. But instead of playing all games that can hold six players we split up and four played a game of Transylvania: Curses and Traitors and myself and Mike set off to decide who really won the cold war. Yup, I took the plunge and tried out Twilight Struggle again, well, technically the first time. I purchased a 2nd edition copy awhile back and played it single player to learn it and did not really enjoy it or see any need to keep it around, but Mike had been talking it up around me so I finally told him that we were going to sit down and I was going to re-learn it and play it out. I was the Soviet Union side and Mike took the United States side. After some explanation, probably about 30 minutes or so worth, we were off. I jumped out trying to blockade as much of Eastern Europe as I could and since we were playing with the China card in hand, I went ahead and spread some influence in Asia as well. My hand worked well for me that first round, Mike’s did not, he struggled to get a footing anywhere. Second round was kind of the same, but Mike had some better cards and made some moves, but I got a couple score cards out that round that benefited me more than him. Third round ended up with Mike having all three scoring cards if I am not mistaken and while he outscored me by five in Europe, he did not fare that well in the Middle East or Asia and by the time the 4th round started I believe I was sitting at 17 or 18 points. Then through some card play and Mike forgetting about the military force, I managed to limp in with another 3 points to win the game at the end of the 4th round. It was a really entertaining game, mostly because I ran away with it, but still far more fun than I gave it credit for after that first play on my own. I do still have issues with it, it wouldn’t be in my Top 20 of games, nor do I see the merit in calling it the greatest board game around, but I have softened in my stance a bit. The cards, while they serve multiple purposes and can be used for different effects, they can really hinder you if you don’t get the right ones, and I think this play showcased this quite a bit, Mike isn’t a rookie Twilight Struggle player, he’s played many games, but yet, he just could not build momentum because of the draws he ended up with 2 out of the 4 rounds, predominately holding cards that benefitted my side. There are dice involved which doesn’t make sense to me in a game like this. Mike missed a couple Space Race rolls if I am not mistaken and I had him stuck in a Quagmire for 3 of his turns in the 3rd or 4th round, I forget which. Those dice rolls just plain hurt him and rendered him helpless for that portion of the game. Now, I still think that Mike, regardless of what he said, was going a bit “easy” on me, I don’t think he was going for the jugular so to speak, but he swears that he played it straight up, so who knows. I enjoyed the game, it made for a different experience than what I normally have at game night. It was thinky, I had to constantly be thinking about what I was going to use my cards for and where, I like that. I like the history of the game, although The Cold War is not my favorite historical era to study. I’ll play it again, I’ll even pick up the app once it drops on PC, but I don’t feel any compulsive need to own it again, which is weird for me considering some of the games that I feel the need to own.

The struggle is over Comrades

That was it for my game night, the others played a game of Roll for the Galaxy while Mike and I talked to Brad a bit about getting an Imperial Assault game up and running sometime in the future. Would love to get a regular Saturday morning group to run through it, both because I want to play it and also just because I know Brad really wants to play his copy as well. I thought about setting up Firenze to play a bit but I didn’t want to rush a play to get finished before the end of the night so we watched the end of Roll for the Galaxy, packed up and called it an evening. A quite enjoyable one at that.

Nothing else had hit the table this week until Saturday when Kerensa and I got a couple of new two player games in. First to hit the table was Targi. I’ve been looking forward to picking up and trying Targi for a while now, and I finally managed to land a copy via the leftovers math trade over on Board Game Geek. Targi is a two player only worker placement game. The board is modular, well modular except for the border cards. You have 16 cards that you set up in a specific order around the outside edge of the board, creating a frame, then on the inside you have a board of 3×3 of cards that are constantly changing. Each player has 3 Targi to use, in alternating turn order the players take turns placing their Targi. Rules are you can only place the Targi on an outside border card, you cannot place a Targi on a card that is opposite one of your opponent, you cannot place one on the corner “raid” card and you cannot place more than one Targi on a card or on the space where the “robber” sits. After both players have placed their three Targi the players mark the intersecting spot on the inside of the board, most of the time that will be two spots. Players in turn order then play out the actions on the cards that they have placed their Targi and markers on in any order. There are two types of cards in the center, Goods cards or Tribe cards. Goods can give you one of the three good types, Pepper, salt or dates and Tribe cards can be purchased using money and goods and then placed into your 3 by 4 tableau that you build. As cards in the middle are used, they are replaced with an opposite card type, meaning if you use a good card, you immediately replace it with a tribe card. The tribe cards can give permanent bonuses during the game or victory point bonuses at the end of the game. The game ends when a player finishes their 3 by 4 tableau of Tribe cards or when the Robber has moved completely around the board and enacts the final raid action. The player with the most victory points wins.

Targi all set up

I really enjoyed Targi, I love the intersecting points being the actions you take in the middle along with the permanent actions on the border cards. I had some issues keeping enough goods to buy the right kind of Tribe cards, it seemed that there was always something in the same row or column that Kerensa was wanting so she would either get there before me or place something that made sure I couldn’t get the spot I wanted, which in turn made the Fata Morgana card all that more important, it allows you to move one of your middle pieces to another unoccupied card instead of using the action it is sitting on. The bonus points in your tableau for building a row of four of a kind(4 pts) or four different(2 pts) are really important and I think I may have concentrated a bit too hard on getting all the same, I did succeed on one row, but the other two remained incomplete. Kerensa on the other hand had one row of same and one row of four different and thus she had the win, by one point. I look forward to playing this one again soon as I think, just judging from one play mind you, that it could have some legs and be a nice option for Kerensa and I on nights where it’s just us playing.

Targi all finished up, Kerensa won by 1

We followed Targi up with another new to us two player game, Akrotiri. I’m not going to go into too much detail about Akrotiri, as our play was kind of funky. Funky due to interruptions, dinner and other things that ended up making us take approximately 2 ½ hours to finish it. Akrotiri seems like one of those games that could scratch our itches quite well, being that it’s a tile placement/map building game that uses action points that increase as you play the game, you start out with 3 actions per turn and end up with 6 per turn, so the game just keeps building in intensity as it goes. But, that can also lead to some long turns, especially when you are being distracted by outside forces. So I want to give it another chance before I give it a review, as I think it’s a good game and that first play just didn’t click with me due to those circumstances. Oh, and Kerensa won, well she kicked my butt is what she did, 44-27. But I think she kind of agrees that we should play it again before giving too much of our thoughts on it.

Akrotiri all set up, with Stuffed Sweet Peppers and drinks
End of the butt kicking! Kerensa won by 17

So, that’s it other than Star Realms on iOS which has kind of ground to a halt, I lost another league matchup, this one horribly, but I also won a close one. I ended up the week still at Level 9 5/10. I just can’t string together wins to get over that hump and it’s irritating me, but as I’ve said before, a 500 player like me probably is going to hit that wall sooner or later and not be able to get over it, was just hoping it wouldn’t happen yet, was hoping for another level or two. Keep the challenges coming to Vacabck, I’ll keep accepting and playing! Thanks for the matchups to everyone who challenged me this week!!

Before we get to everything else on the podcast we’ve got a special guest reviewing a game this week. The game is Viceroy and the reviewer is Eric Booth. Eric comes to us from the fine state of North Carolina, home of The Gamer’s Armory and more than a couple fine podcasts like The Geek All Stars, The State of Games and Rolling Dice and Taking Names. Eric was an early listener to the show and helped me tremendously with trying to coach me on how to fix the audio on the show, even going so far as to offer to do a little bit of editing on it to show me how it’s done. But asides from that, Eric a pretty big gamer and one whose opinion I always love hearing, although until recently, that’s only been through our twitter interactions. So when he offered to do an audio review of Viceroy for the podcast I was absolutely thrilled. It just took a little prodding from me for it to actually happen and land here tonight. I hope you all enjoy!

Eric’s review can be heard at 11:15 on the podcast. 

Viceroy in action

Find Eric here on Twitter!!

Eric is the second person to join us on the podcast to do a guest review, Ray Shell from Instant Game Reviews joined us a couple weeks back with his review of Eminent Domain Microcosm back in Week 33. I hope everyone enjoys the guest reviews as I’d love to continue to have them on the show. So if you’ve got an idea for a review or even just a little segment talking about a topic you want to talk about, don’t hesitate to email me or shout at me on Twitter, I’d love to add more voices to the podcast to go along with my family’s, and I think that it’d only make the show stronger.

I do also hope that everyone enjoyed the interviews last week. I have a couple folks in mind that I’d still like to interview for “Meet the Gamer” type segments, but I think I may push the creator interviews a little bit as well and see if I can get a couple people to do some different interviews over the next month or so. I don’t want to make that the biggest focus on the podcast because to me that just makes this one just like every other podcast out there and I don’t want that, I still want this one to focus on the games that are hitting the table among my family and friends and yours.

Acquisitions
Well, we already know two of the acquisitions this week because we played them this weekend, Targi and Akrotiri. But there is one more that headed my way in those trades, Tournay and one more via a BGG purchase Artifacts Inc. Tournay I have played one other time, a long time ago, and I enjoyed the game, but I mainly wanted to pick it up just because of my love for games from Xavier Georges and Sebastien DeJardin. Plus it looks perfect on the shelf with Troyes. Artifacts Inc looks and sounds like the game that I wish Machi Koro was plus it’s got that beautiful Ryan Laukat art. I just hope I can get it to the table sooner rather than later. There is at least one more game on the way this week, this one is bigger and meatier than the others but we’ll talk about that one, next week when I hopefully have it in hand.

Kickstarter
Nothing new on Kickstarter this week, still backing Dingo’s Dreams and City of Iron. With seven days left to go on this campaign it is sitting at just shy of $42k which means that we’ve unlocked three of the five listed stretch goals and the next one does not hit until $60k. That stretch is kind of a neat and different reward. If the campaign hits $60k Ryan will do a video series over on Youtube documenting the creation of his next game, somewhere between 8 and 12 videos. Just knowing the artwork for his games, this would probably be something really cool to have available to watch. So check out the campaign and back it if it looks like something you would enjoy playing!

Dingo’s Dreams Kickstarter Page

Also, be sure to check out the Button Shy Wallet Game Series on Kickstarter currently. It’s only got 5 days left on the campaign and has already gone 7 times over their funding goal for this one. This campaign features 3 “wallet sized” games from three different designers. From JR Honeycutt you get North, South, East, Quest, from Kenneth Thompson you get Fever Chill and from Chip Beauvais Smoke and Mirrors. The latter is a really interesting bluffing game where the players are competing magicians trying to outdo the competition. But who’s really doing the bigger trick? Is someone bluffing about what they are planning to do? We’ve enjoyed both Wild Cats and Cunning Folk, two previous games from this collection. They are fun, they are small and easily played just about anywhere and most of all they are fun. Just know, if you are playing Wild Cats with AnnaBeth, she’s always the Wild Cat.

Button Shy Wallet Game Kickstarter Page

September is going to be another hugely busy month for kickstarters so I hope that everyone has their wallet ready. There is some really good stuff coming, including GemPacked Cards, which we will have our preview up for on next week’s podcast right before it goes live on the 1st of September. We also just got our preview copy of Avalanche at Yeti Mountain from our friends at Green Couch Games and the designer whose initial Kickstarter success was the wonderfully themed Wombat Rescue, Matt Wolfe. I believe this one is slated to start September 1st as well, so we better get our butts in previewing gear! I don’t like to rush our previews but I do hope to have this one ready as well next week, fingers crossed for that, but barring that it will be ready the following week, hopefully in time to help them out with the campaign a little bit. After that we have one more on the horizon which I won’t talk about just yet, but I think the plan is for this one to launch towards the end of September and this one is a bit different from other Kickstarter games than we’ve previewed so be sure to stay tuned for that one as well!
Other than what we’ll be previewing we have Gloomhaven on the horizon in early September along with a new expansion for Kings of Air and Steam. Then also towards the end of September you have Spirit Island from Greater than Games. See what I mean, packed to the gills with great looking games!!

Geeklist and Thread
The Geeklist was once again three pages full of fantastic gaming thoughts and session reports and I kept up pretty well with you all this week, I just didn’t get a lot of chances to jump in and chat as I was helping with interviews at work and just being swamped here at home with back to school stuff, but I did manage to read everything everyone posted, one of these weeks I’ll be able to interact the way I used to, but until then just keep in mind that I am reading each entry and I know a lot of others are enjoying them as well. Bill, you inspired me to dig Morels out from under the pile of games that had covered it up, we didn’t get to play it but I’m sure we will again soon, I really have enjoyed that relaxing walk through the woods every time we have played it before and the funny thing is, out of nowhere you weren’t the only one who listed it this week since Evan and his wife got a play in as well. We got a Bloodrage sighting in this week. I expect this one to be a regular on the geeklist and forum thread once everyone gets their Kickstarter copies, it was getting entirely too much love at GenCon to not get a lot of attention. There are too many Codenames mentions in the list and thread, I’m going to have to ask everyone to quit taunting me with them until my pre-order finally shows up. Lots of good gaming and chatting going on in the thread as well, it always makes me happy to have two separate lists going talking about the same thing but with mostly completely different people. I still haven’t figured out why some folks prefer the geeklist and others prefer the thread. Keep it up folks, every week it brings a smile to a lot of folks to see what everyone else is playing and to be able to talk about the games a bit amongst other like minded folks!

Week 38!!!

Week 38

What Did You Play This Week Geeklist 8/10/15 – 8/16/15

What Did You Play This Week Forum Thread

Welcome to Week 38, a short week gaming wise, but a long week due to just being busy every night of the week. This week school starts for the girls on Thursday and we have our Welcome nights for the girls on Tuesday and Wednesday so this week is looking just as busy. We didn’t get to play many games this week due to that schedule, but I did get to talk to a couple fantastic people about their GenCon experiences this year so the podcast while it may be light on actual gaming, it’ll be good and heavy on gaming talk.

DrachenStark

Thanks to a little contest on Youtube held by Rhiannon Ochs over on the Spooning Meeples channel, we got to try out a new to us game from the fine folks over at Haba, DrachenStark. This one was a big hit with AnnaBeth due to the dragons, but also she enjoyed the memory aspect of the game. In DrachenStark everyone is a dragon, who is in a race around the fire spitting volcano. The players race from their home cave, trying to be the first one back to their cave. Their movements are based on finding the dragon token that has the animal that corresponds with the tile on which you stand. So if your dragon is on a tile with a salamander, you have to flip a dragon card that shows a salamander in order to move. If you don’t find one, you turn the dragon token over and the next player starts their turn, but if you do find a salamander, you leave it flipped over and you move the number of spaces that equals the numbers of salamanders on that card. There will either be 1, 2 or 3 animals on the token. You move that number of spaces and then if you choose to, you can go again until you don’t flip a token that corresponds with the animal on the tile where your dragon is standing. Beware though, there are also the mean Dragon Pirates that are on the Dragon Tokens, if you flip a Dragon Pirate, you immediately move your dragon back as many Dragon Pirates are on the token, there are only 1 or 2, and you end your turn. That’s all there is to DrachenStark, it’s really just a cute race game that uses Memory as the mechanic to move the dragons along. AnnaBeth won the very first game we played of this. Now, Kerensa and I may not have been paying as close attention to the Dragon Tiles as we should have been but AnnaBeth still rightfully won it and I think she enjoyed it, just not enough to give us a rematch to try to redeem ourselves. This one will sit nicely right alongside Brandon the Brave, Animal Upon Animal and Rhino Hero for games that should see some play with AnnaBeth. So thank you again Spooning Meeples and Rhiannon. We really enjoyed it and are glad to have it in our collection for our budding young gamer.

Once AnnaBeth decided to not give us a rematch, Kerensa and I decided to give Castles of Mad King Ludwig another go, this time though just as a two player game. Nothing really changes much when playing this one two player, just fewer cards, fewer tiles and no 2k Mark spot on the auction track so the lowest you can bid is 4k marks. The favor tiles we flipped were both for room types, sleeping rooms and dining rooms. Luckily for me, I pulled the sleeping room bonus card as well and kept it. The game moved a bit funky. In the first round neither of us bought a tile, both choosing to take a corridor, I took a stair case and Kerensa went with a hallway. After that things moved a bit better and more normal but there were still a couple rounds where we didn’t take anything including me on the second to last round where I just took 5k instead of buying a tile I didn’t need. Anyway, as the game went on, not one Dining tile came out to purchase, never did. After we finished up the final round, in which I bought a sleeping room to break the tie for that favor, we tallied everything up and after my bonus cards I was about 30 points ahead and feeling comfortable, but Kerensa scored 25 points and had one more card left, only to reveal it as bonus points for dining tiles, which we never saw. I had finally won, on like my 6th or 7th try. As we were putting it away, Kerensa mentioned that it was a game that she could see herself playing once a week if we get the time, so I think we’ve found a staple in our collection. We really owe a review for this one as much as we enjoy it, now, if we could just get Gabby to play it a bit more often.

The winning Castle!!!

Star Realms keeps motoring along, the new season has started and after my first two matches I am 1 and 1. I played a handful of matches this week and didn’t fair all that well ending the week at level 9 5/10. Thank you all again for the matches, hopefully I get to play a few more this week and hopefully, for my sake, the results are a bit better. Keep the challenges coming to VacaBCK, I do have the Gambits expansion now as well so don’t feel the need to only challenge base game.

That’s all for the week, not a lot of gaming, but I did do quite a bit of gaming work, I’ve started the review for GemPacked Cards and I did a couple of interviews over Skype for this week’s podcast.

First person on the show is a gamer who I have come to know through various social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and Board Game Geek. He’s by all accounts one of the nicest folks you ever meet in board gaming circles, so hopefully I can get to a convention where he is at and we can sit down and have a few cookies and play some games. Ken Grazier was kind enough to sit down and talk to me a bit about his experience at GenCon this year and I had a great time talking with him, even while we had to have his wonderful wife Sam help out and get him up and running with both a mic and headphones that worked.

Ken’s Interview starts at 6:18 on the Podcast.

Geek-Craft Website!

Geek-Craft on Facebook!

Geek-Craft on Youtube!

Geek-Craft on Twitter!

Geek-Craft GenCon Post!

Loot bag for Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot!

Kickstarter
Well, New Bedford ended on Friday and holy cow did it exceed every expectation that I had for it. I didn’t see this as a $75k Kickstarter project, sure I knew it would be successful but I didn’t ever imagine that it would end really close to $110k. So hats off to Nat Levan, the Dice Hate Me crew and the folks over at Greater than Games who I assume had a part of this as well. Now, let’s get this game on my table!

A new Kickstarter did launch this week that I was completely unaware of and I ended up backing it. Dingo’s Dreams is the newest game from Red Raven Games. This one has the same fantastic artwork from Ryan Laukat that we expect from them, but this one is a bit of a departure, as it isn’t designed by Ryan, instead this one is a game from Alf Seegert of Fantastiqa fame. This one uses tiles to create a modular board in which you are trying to navigate your animal around to form a specific pattern on the modular tile board. It really looks beautiful and seems like the type of game that my family will really enjoy. But to top it all off, this is the Kickstarter campaign to get the 2nd edition of City of Iron, a game I’ve been watching for at a decent price for quite awhile. $52 plus $10 shipping gets both of these games on your doorstep, hopefully by May of 2016.

Dingo’s Dreams Kickstarter Page

Alright, so for our second interview tonight, I talked to another pillar of the gaming community. He’s set himself apart from a lot of folks by excelling at creating some of the best instructional videos in the business and he also has a great 20-30 podcast that I don’t miss. He’s done so well over the past few years that he’s now taking to doing this full time. He’ll talk a lot about that but he’ll also discuss his recent attendance for the first time at GenCon, both as an attendeed and as an employee of Czech Games Edition. Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Grogan.

Paul’s Interview starts at 23:36 on the Podcast.

Gaming Rules Webpage

Gaming Rules! Facebook Page

Gaming Rules Youtube Page

Gaming Rules on Twitter!

Well, I think that’s it for this week’s episode and blog, no acquisitions, which will change in the next week or two I have a feeling, and while I read through the entire geeklist and each entry in the thread, I didn’t get the chance to dive in and interact with everyone nearly as much as I would have liked to this past week, so hopefully I can make that happen this coming week. Keep up the fantastic reports, it helps me get through the busy weeks when I don’t get to play nearly as much as I would like to.
Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening and reading!!!

The girls finally got to meet their newest cousin, Teddy. He is still early, due date was beginning of September, but he got to come home this week!!

 

Week 37!!!

Week 37

Well, week 37, the week before summer ends for the kiddos, so I have one more week to torture them at home and make them wish they were in school. Was a good week for gaming, hosted a couple guys from the game group on Saturday and we got a few games in.

But first the week started with a three player game of GemPacked Cards with Kerensa and Gabby. We’ve got a review coming hopefully in the next week or so, but we still need to get a few more plays in to give it the full once over. Kerensa was all over us this game, she was using the ability to mix and match squares to get the right colors she needed, especially compared to me. Gabby had a nice last couple turns but just couldn’t get a big enough turn to catch Kerensa. We’re still having fun with this one and last update I received is that it’s set to hit Kickstarter on the 1st of September, so be on the look out for our review and for the Kickstarter campaign.

We didn’t get anything else played during the week, too many things going on but on Friday evening I had a playtest scheduled online. We were going to be playing Vital Lacerda’s newest game, Lisboa. I had read the rules a couple weeks back when I was originally scheduled to test it the first time, but circumstances prevented me from being able to join that evening. The rules are still in that early stage where they can be a bit confusing, but a couple read throughs got me the basics enough that I was comfortable enough to sit down and play with minimal instruction. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need help, because I did. There are a couple small actions that you can use that can be big resource managing moves that I kind of misunderstood from the rules, but once I saw them it was completely understandable. I’m not sure how much I should say, Vital did say that it doesn’t bother him to have information about his prototypes out and about, but I’d still be a bit nervous as this one was good, really good. In Lisboa the players are trying to rebuild the city after the earthquake of 1775, so it’s an Economic, City Building game. On your turn you can do one of three different things, but what you can do within those actions is where the game is and can get your brain hurting. It was tough, and I think I may have made it harder on myself than I should have, resources were tough for me to come by, but the cool thing about the game is that there was usually something I could do to gather or make those resources, it just took me a bit too long to realize that. I’m looking forward to giving this one another go now that I understand those couple things that I missed before. Paulo, one of the other players had a couple of really nice turns where he was comboing moves left and right and his score showed that he had a good game as he ran away from all of us, including Vital himself. If I get to play it some more I will definitely talk about it a bit more, but I think Paulo said that he would probably be posting about it on his blog on Board Game Geek as well, so if you are interested in learning more soon, you might check that out, I’ll post a link to it in the Geeklist when I notice his blog post online. Oh, and if you are interested in volunteering to try to playtest it as well be sure to check out the Board Game Geek thread link that I’ll post on the blog.

Lisboa Playtest thread on Board Game Geek

My “Workstation” for the Playest, I think my bourbon was empty at that point

Saturday saw a couple of our game group friend’s show up to play some games at our house. Bern was the first to show up and he was kind enough to let AnnaBeth teach him some JurassAttack! while we were waiting for Ray to join us. We’ve had a lot of fun with JurassAttack! and the fun keeps on going, AnnaBeth lost a lot of points early on in her game with Bern, but made a little bit of a comeback, but ultimately came up short, so I played it real quick with Bern right after that and came up short as well. JurassAttack! continues to be a fun two player tactical game that we can play with anyone as evidenced by AnnaBeth enjoying playing it so much.

So Ray showed up as I was setting up Five Tribes to play with Bern and possible Gabby, but Gabby didn’t want to leave her bedroom just yet so Ray joined us and we had a three player game of it. For those who don’t know, Five Tribes is a fun 2-4 player game from Days of Wonder, it was one of the big hits of GenCon last year, but it hasn’t been without its detractors either for the seriously tactile nature of the game which can lead to some serious AP problems for some or for the use of Slave cards in the market that can be used as “currency”. I won’t get into that battle too much, just know that my copy has the original cards and I think it’s kind of a ripoff that Days of Wonder have replaced the slave cards with Fakirs, but you still have to purchase those if you want to change the cards, but you can still do that if you wish, they are in the Board Game Geek store for $5 and you’ll get the Dhenim djinn along with them. I wonder if they come in the expansion new expansion, I haven’t checked that yet. Anyway, Five Tribes uses a modular tile board of 30 tiles to create a different game every time you play it. After you set up the board, three meeples are pulled randomly from the bag and placed on each tile. There are five different colors of meeples, creating the five tribes of the game. Reds are the assassins, Whites are the elders, blues are the builders, Yellows are the viziers and Greens are the merchants. Each of the different tribes have different powers that can be activated through game play. Before each round there is an auction to decide turn order, once the order is decided the round can begin. The main mechanic of the game is the moving of the tribes around the board using a mancala like method. On your turn you pick up a pile of meeples from a tile and then you drop one meeple on each tile you pass over that is adjacent as you move to another tile. The last meeple dropped must match another meeple on that final tile. When you stop you pick up all of the meeples of that color from that tile and take them to your area. If, when you removed the like colored meeples from the final tile, you have cleared it of any meeples, you gain control of that tile by placing a camel of your color on it. At the end of the game you will the number victory points notated on tile. Next you take the action associated with the tribe color that you removed from the tile, if it is yellow, those Viziers are place in front of you. At the end of the game they are worth one victory point a piece and 10 points if you have the majority of them. The Elders are placed in front of you and can be used to buy djinns or to score two points a piece at the end of the game. The Merchants allow you to take as many resources as meeples, starting from in front of the resource line of 10 cards. Resources are collected in groups. The more different resources in a grouping, the more points you will score. The Builders allow you to take money, you count the number of blue valued tiles surrounding your final tile(including that tile if blue) and you multiply that by the number of builders plus any slave cards that the player may want to use to increase income. You then take that amount of money. Money at the end of the game is worth one victory point per gold coin you have. Lastly you could use the Assassins, the assassins allow you to kill one meeple as many tiles away as the number of assassins plus any slaves that may be used, or you could kill one Vizier or Elder from one of your opponents. After the Tribes actions have been done, you do the action that is represented on your final tile, that could be placing an oasis or a village on that tile, those are worth more victory points at the end of the game for whomever controls that tile. It could be a market action, either paying three gold to take one of the three resources from the start of the line or the big market which allows you to pay six gold to take two of the six resources from the start of the line. Lastly the tile could be a Sacred Place which allows you to spend two Elders or one Elder and one Slave card to buy one of the djinns. These djinns along with having a point value at the end of the game, allow the owning player special powers throughout the game as soon as they are purchased. Lastly, after all that is done, if the player needs gold, they can sell some of their merchandise for gold and play proceeds to the next player on the turn order track. Once everyone taken their turn, you replenish the resource line and the djinns if some have been purchased and you start the next round by holding another auction to see what the player order of the next round will be. Keep playing until the end of the turn during which a player drops his last Camel on a tile or there are no more legal moves possible on the tiles. Score the game and the highest score wins! I enjoy Five Tribes, I’ve only encountered the horrible analysis paralysis issue once. To remedy that I’ll never break it out in their presence again, easy as that. This game we were all a little money poor, none of the blue tiles worked out in an area with blue meeples, I think I only remember one or two actions taken with the blue meeples to gain some gold. But we were also bidding fairly actively to get the first play of the round, although I stuck to the back end of the turn order and just tried to follow along best I could and make the most out of each turn. The game ended in a tie with Ray and I both scoring 135 points to Bern’s 100. Ray and I just kind of ran away with the tile control, I managed to do so through use of the djinn that allowed you to spend an Elder and a Slave to take control of a tile that only has meeples on it. Make no mistake, Five Tribes is not a heavy strategy game, your best move can change three times before it’s actually your turn just due to people dropping meeples on tiles that you planned to use or even using your same move, but I enjoy that, I enjoy the tactical nature of this one. You just really have to make sure that folks don’t take too long on their turn, as Five Tribes isn’t a game where people should be waiting forever between turns, you have to keep it moving. It’s seen eight plays over the first 10 months in our collection as I believe this was a birthday gift last year. Maybe this birthday we’ll add the expansion to it and then wrongly still call it Five Tribes even though there are now six of them.

Five Tribes in Action

After Five Tribes, Ray brought out a game that I’ve heard tons of great things about but I’d never gotten a chance to play yet, Elysium. Elysium is at its heart, a set collection game, where you are trying to get sets of like numbers or sets of families. It uses a Mythological theme to pull you in and the well known card drafting and set collection to keep you hooked and it worked pretty well for me. You start the game with 5 mythological families, we played with Athena, Hades, Hephaestus, Poseidon and Zeus. That’s the group the manual tells you to start out with. Each player has a totem of each of four colors, this acts as their “currency” of sorts. When you go to buy a card from the offering, each card will have different colors on the top right of the card, you must have that color totem in your possession in order to purchase the card and put it in your domain. You can pay with any color you wish to, but you have to have that color to purchase.

There are also four quests associated with each color totem, and you have to be able to purchase a quest during each round as well, these quests give money, victory points and transfer points that allow you to move your cards from your offering to your Elysium, which is where you are going to be setting up your sets of cards. Either in sets of the same number or in sets of 1,2 and 3 of the same family. Essentially that’s all there is to the game, but there are a lot of actions that the cards can do, both instant and timed where you decide when to take the action or that help you score at the end of the game if they are in a set in your Elysium, which is how I won this game, by having three of those cards to score. I like Elysium, I like the openness of the drafting, where everyone can see what exactly everyone else is doing. I nearly lost this game, as I was dead set on getting another family of cards out but failed to get the quest to allow me to transfer three cards to my Elysium, but that turned out to be a good thing as I forgot that I had a single card in my Elysium that would go away and not score since it was not in a family, so I managed to get a partial family down there, it literally was an 11 point play, which allowed me to win 47-45-36. I liked it, and I’m tempted to add it to our collection based on Space Cowboys production alone as I’m not sure how well it would be received by Gabby or Kerensa. I think once they gave it a chance and saw how it worked, they would like it well enough to play, but not very often, but still, I think that Space Cowboys are a solid three out of three so far, with Black Fleet, Splendor and now Elysium joining the ranks. With all the wonderful things we’ve heard about T.I.M.E Stories there is no reason to believe they won’t be a solid four out of four in the coming months as well.

Ashes hit the table after Elysium but we tried to play a three player game with two of us knowing nothing of what we were doing and Ray ended up having to cut the game short to head to pick up his kiddos so I won’t say too much about it right now. But I will say that it has promise, and judging from my deck that I played, it will definitely reward those players who learn the best synergies of cards. The dice don’t make for too much luck as there are a lot of ways to change the faces to what you need, but still they are dice. The art is phenomenal just as everyone has commented so far. I do hope that I get to play this one again soon and dive in a little bit, but with A Game of Thrones TCG, 2nd edition on the horizon, I can’t really see myself picking it up, but things may change with more plays, we’ll certainly see I hope.

That was it for Game Day Saturday, the girls and Kerensa got home late so we didn’t play anything together Saturday night, although Gabby did ask if I had any games that could be played solo, so I brought out Castles of Mad King Ludwig for her and she tried her hand at her first solo play of a board game. She scored 50 points, which is pretty low according to the score notes in the rule book, but I can really see how some games will be easier than others, just based on the tiles that come out, but man, money is tight in the solo mode so you almost have to take a turn or two to take $5k.

Gabby’s Solo Castle

So on Sunday afternoon I suggested that the three of us sit down and play Castles of Mad King Ludwig since it was fresh in Gabby’s head, I tried to get AnnaBeth to help me with it, but she was too busy watching My Little Pony to come help and I could have probably used her help. If you have listened to the show, you know that we like tile placement games around here, especially tile placement where we are individually building our own building. Suburbia didn’t go over too big for me, mainly due to the scorekeeping/bookkeeping involved with the game. Castles doesn’t have that problem. Kerensa won this one, but it was really close, well close for us, with 10 points separating first and last place. Kerensa ended up with 97 points, scoring huge points based on her bonus card granting her three points for corridor rooms, I tried to catch her by picking up extra bonus cards, but only one of them scored really big and that got me to 92 points in spite of me winning two of the King’s favors, well tying for one and winning the other. Gabby came in third with 82, but her bonus cards worked in her favor and brought her from a good distance back to within 10. I like Castles, and I think that if you listen to the podcast you’ll hear that Kerensa really likes it as well. Maybe castle designing would be her second calling, behind being a shipping magnate (see January episodes about Panamax).
That’s all for the week, I thought I might try to squeeze in a game of Rococo, but the opportunity did not present itself so we’ll have to try to remedy that next week if possible. This is the last full week of summer vacation for the kiddos so we’ll have to make the most of it for them, that may limit our gaming time or it may not, just depends on what they want to do.

My Castle on Sunday

Star Realms really didn’t get many plays this week as I was pretty busy at work and I ended up not sending any rematch challenges when I lost games, but I hope to remedy that this week if things are a bit slower around work and home. As it is, I am still sitting at level 9, but now currently 7/10 so I need my luck to change if I am going to get back to 10 and stay there. Thank you all for the challenges, I hope to get back with you all this week!!

Kickstarter
Nothing new once again on Kickstarter that caught my eye, so we’re still sitting with only one currently funding, and that’s just fine with me. New Bedford is sitting at $73k funding with five days left in the campaign and currently only one more stretch goal to unlock. Since GenCon started we’ve added the 5th player to the game, added solo play which includes all the pieces needed in the game box and the board has been upgraded for 5 players as well. We’re just waiting to hit $80k to get the upgraded first player marker and round counter. Instead of cardboard they will be nice wooden pieces to fit with the game. New Bedford is a great example of what to do with a second chance.

New Bedford Kickstarter Page

We also got our backer survey for Carson City. Quined claims to be still well on schedule with this one so my fingers are crossed that we’ll see it on time or at least within a month of on time, it’d be a nice surprise to have this big box in my hands before Christmas time!

Acquisitions
Nothing new acquired this week, I’m trying to take it easy, but I am part of the current Math Trade over on Board Game Geek that was ran last week, really fast one and I think our wants lists have to be finalized by 9:00 pm Monday night. I’ve got a handful of games in there, but I’m being a bit specific in what I am willing to trade for, so I could make out well or just not trade anything at all, either way I’ll be okay as I think I am going to go ahead and put together some games for an auction soon anyway, so if they don’t trade, they’ll go directly onto that pile. I hope to have that up and running by the first week of September, but we’ll see. Churchill is looking awfully tempting once it hits retail so I am keeping my eyes open for that, and I am of course anxiously awaiting A Game of Thrones Card Game 2nd Edition, which is on pre-order as well. But only one box, I’m not that crazy.

Geeklist and Thread
Great week again in the Geeklist and Thread over on Board Game Geek. Welcome to the thread Toombs, glad to have you posting and listening. I think I kept up with everyone’s posts this week even with being busy all week, was kind of amazed to see that I had thumbed all the entries, which means that I read them. Lots of great games and great gaming sessions and we even had a handful of GenCon wrap ups which was nice to see. Once again, if you are listening or reading this, and not participating on the Geek List or forum thread, that is a huge reason for why this podcast exists, always nice to see gamers on the ‘Geek chatting about their gaming week. Always is something to look forward to reading all week long.

Last Weeks What Did You Play This Week Geeklist

Last Week’s WDYPTW Forum Thread on Board Game Geek

WDYPTW Subscription Thread on Board Game Geek for the Geeklist and the Thread

That’s a wrap on Week 37, some great games with some good friends. I got a couple new games in and we even broke out a couple family favorites that seem to be standing the test of time.

Dash says Hi!
Dottie says Goodnight!

Week 36!!!

Week 36!!!

Ahhh, week 36, the week that almost wasn’t. We had played zero games on the table by Sunday so I was more than a little bit worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, but Sunday was a game day of sorts and we got two games played to talk about a little bit. I also almost missed tonight due to being an idiot and updating the laptop to Windows 10. You’d think I’d know better than updating anything Windows if I plan on using it anytime soon. So approximately 11 hours later, I am finally typing up the show on Word. It took forever to update and then even longer to get wifi connected and have anything useable. I probably should have just passed on Windows 10 for this laptop and just stuck with 8.1, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. Don’t forget to check out the Docking Bay 94 podcast from this past Friday as I was the not so special guest! As I said last week, I really had a great time chatting and recording with them and I hope to put a bit of what I learned from them to use in the future as I have a couple folks I am really wanting to get on the podcast to talk about their GenCon experience this year and there are a few more people on that I’ve wanted to get on the podcast for quite awhile now.

GemPacked Cards

So I’ve had this sitting here waiting for us to have time to try out. I promised Edo a preview for it by the time the game hits Kickstarter, but our week was full and our timing never worked out to get it to the table. But we got it played three times on Sunday morning, twice with two players and once with three players, and there was one running thing through all three plays that held true, I’ve apparently got a lot to learn when it comes to winning this one. I’m not going to go horribly in depth on it this week as I’d like to do a more full review later and I’d hate for everyone to have to hear about it too many times before the Kickstarter even starts. The goal of GemPacked Cards is to have the most victory points at the end of the game, I know, I know, there aren’t a lot of games coming out now where that isn’t the goal, but with this one you accomplish this through mixing and matching Geminos cards to reach and score the highest value Geminos. It works kind of like Splendor, but with cuter graphic design and much less attempt at a theme, this one is built for fun through play, not through story. Needless to say, this one plays quickly and it is pretty light hearted, the cute artwork and neat tokens make sure you don’t really take this one too seriously. My understanding is that at the same time this preview version is floating around there is also an iOS version of the game as well. Everything is positive on this end right now, it fits right in our family’s wheelhouse being a lightweight quick game. I need to get some plays in with 4 and 5 players in the coming days to see how it plays against all player counts, so I’ll probably be pestering Brad and Kate to join us one day. But look for a far more in depth preview in the coming days.

Rokoko

During the 6th Round

So back in February and March, Rokoko fever kind of seemed to sweep over Twitter for some reason. I think partially was because it was hard to come by, but the bigger reason was because most everyone who played it, completely enjoyed it. So even though it was a bit of a departure theme wise from something we’ve played, I started watching for it on BGG auction and finally picked it up towards the end of March. Just too bad that it took almost five months to get it to the table. Well, I finally managed to get it out and set up and I caught Kerensa in a mood where she didn’t feel like saying no to learning something a bit different and we rolled with it.

So, Rokoko is a hand management game with a tinge of deck building and some area control elements where the players are vying for majorities in the different levels of the mansion where the ball of the century is being held. You see, the players are all making dresses and suits for the ball attendees to wear and they are also donating to make the ball the most festive by financing the fireworks and various decorations throughout. The players start with a deck of 5 cards, these cards are your employees. Each employee has a “level”, they are either Master, Journeyman or Apprentices. This level allows some employees, like the Master, access to any action on the board, while the lowly Apprentice has three actions that they cannot participate in. Some of these employees also have bonuses that they can take, such as allowing them to buy cloth even after taking their main action or allowing them to buy thread or lace after taking an action. To start a round, each player chooses three of their employees to play that round, the round is over when no one has any more employees in their hand to play, the remaining cards go faced down to the left of the player board, as they will be used next round. There are six main actions that the players can choose to send their employees to do. They can claim the favor of the queen to gain 5 coins and the first player marker for the next turn. They can send their employees to acquire resources, this is where you get your bales of silk and your yarn and lace. You can make a dress. All those resources that you have gained get spent here to make gowns and suits. After you make your dress or suit, you then choose whether you want to rent the dress out to a party goer or if you would rather just sell it outright for money. When renting the dress wear out, you then take the tile of the dress that you made and you place it on the board in one of the five sections. Some spaces grant bonuses when you fill them, and some spaces require that the dress be made by a master, regardless if the dress requires a master tailor. This is the area majority part of the game, each level has victory points awarded at the end of the game to the player who has the most fine dress wear in that area of the mansion. Your employee may Hire a New Employee. Each round there are four new employees out that can be purchased and added to your hand, when you buy a new employee you put it directly in your hand to use this round, it doesn’t go in the discard pile or on your available pile, it goes directly in your hand. I love what this brings to the table, of course it gives you an extra turn during the round, but you can also time buying of new employees to create some really fun turns. Your employees may also depute one of your employees, this is the way you cull your deck so to speak, you send an employee to work for the King’s Court and game coins, but most importantly, you remove them from your deck, thus thinning your choices. And lastly, your employees can fund a decoration at the party, be it a statue, a musician or even the fireworks. After everyone has played all of their employees from their hand, they then go into the collect income phase and reset the board for the next round, unless of course that was the 7th and final round at which point the scoring commences and the dressmaker with the most victory points wins the game.

Winning Player

That’s a pretty rough and quick overview of the game, there really is quite a bit going on here with it and there seem to me to be several ways to go about gaining your victory points. I won this first play against Kerensa by the score of 66 to 45. I scored fairly big in the final round by picking up an employee who gave me 1 victory point for every 3 coins that I returned to the bank, so I held on to him to play at the very end and ended up turning in 30 coins to score 10 victory points. Those coins by themselves at the end of the game would only score 3 points as you get 1 victory point per 10 coin. Add on to that, I funded a majority of the fireworks and got to move one of my 4 point rentals to the 3 times multiplier spot and the fact that she had let me hold on to the Queen’s favor the entire game. So those three things alone at the end of the game were an 18 point swing. Kerensa just ran out of money that last round, where as I was kind of rolling in it at that point thanks to a couple employees that paid out in coins every time I used them as a bonus. I liked it quite a bit, and I think Kerensa liked it as well but that last round kind of frustrated her when she saw what was happening, there was nothing she could do to slow it down. I’m not sure if I am going to throw this one at Gabby just yet, it’s not that I don’t think she can handle it, I just don’t know that she’d want to. Right now she kind of likes those in your face kind of games and this definitely is not that type of game, although it can be a bit messy when folks take what you need. I’m not really sure what games I have that compare to this one, sure we have games where you are selecting cards to use each round for specific roles, but nothing that combines all the elements into one nice package. I really can’t wait to play this one again and I might just push for another play this week one evening if things are quiet around here.

Star Realms
More plays of Star Realms keep on occupying my time and more and more of them are with the Gambit cards, which I am really, really starting to dislike. It may be just me, but I don’t really see how most of them synergize with anything. I like the bases that give you options or allow you to draw cards when you play another base, but this just kind of encourages a base run sometimes. All in all, I am holding steady at level 9 but I have dropped to 7 out of 10. I had managed to hit level 10 twice this week, but as soon as that happened, I fell right back down again. That’s just how it goes for a 50% player for the most part. So thank you again everyone for the challenges, keep them coming and I’ll keep on sending them back at you if I lose.

Kickstarter
I think most Kickstarter project creators kind of took a break during this past week due to it being GenCon week, so I didn’t even see anything pop up across my radar that tickled my need to back, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t out there, I just didn’t get to see them. New Bedford keeps on moving along, it passed $50k on Friday morning and kept on climbing through GenCon and is currently sitting at $56k with 12 days left on the campaign. I wonder what other stretch goals Dice Hate Me Games have in store for us as it seems that this one is just going to keep going. I thought I had heard that Consequential from Asmadi Games was going to launch during GenCon, but it seems that they backed off that notion. I haven’t heard much from folks about playing it at GenCon either so I am starting to wonder about it again.

New Bedford Kickstarter Page

Acquisitions


Only one game showed up this week and due to the shipper requiring a signature upon delivery, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get it this week or if I would have to wait till next week. But the USPS came through on Friday and managed to track down the package in their warehouse and I signed for it and brought home my brand new to me copy of A Few Acres of Snow. This one has been on my wishlist for quite awhile, but I never pulled the trigger due to thinking that I wouldn’t have anyone to play it with, but I saw the second edition at a price I couldn’t pass up and I pulled the trigger. Friday I went ahead and opened it up and read through the rules and set up the game just to see it out and I think this is one that I should have picked up long ago. I love the deck building aspect of it, and I love how the cards have multiple purposes. I’ll admit to being a bit overwhelmed when reading about the 21 possible actions that a player can take on his turn, but you can kind of see that not all of those actions are necessarily going to be used every game. The game will go differently most times. So here’s hoping that I can get Kerensa to sit down and try this one, I know that it will take a long time to play that first game. With all of those options Kerensa is going to take some seriously long turns at first and I know that I will as well, but I think we can handle it. It just might be a two parter for us. I know I can probably convince a few folks in the game group to give it a try too, and this will be a fantastic warm up for when I end up getting Hands in the Sea delivered.

Almost my opponent, but I wasn’t that tired yet. 🙂

Last week I kind of touched on the origins of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing and where it originated from. But here is how it went from just a geeklist on Board Game Geek, to a podcast and blog.

Some of the folks on the What Did You Play geeklist really like to get in depth about what they’ve been playing, some with reviews or session reports and others with photos, and then you have the ones that do both. Well, I tried to be that person who did both, but ultimately I couldn’t put thoughts together on Monday mornings like the others did and I got this weird idea that it would be easier to do this through voice, by recording a week’s worth of gaming session thoughts and just posting it that way. Well, I didn’t take to it right away, I talked to a couple people about it who were encouraging, but ultimately my lack of knowledge of recording audio and sheer laziness kept me from doing it. I finally pulled the trigger and recorded a session in November of 2014. I used my old “not so trusty anymore” Dell and I found a USB mic that we had from playing Def Jam Superstar on the Xbox 360 and I recorded through Audacity, a free to use audio editing software. I then realized that you have to be able to host that audio somewhere in order for folks to hear it so I posted it over on Soundcloud and linked to it on Monday morning. It was rough, I don’t know how anyone could have listened, but they did, I posted two “podcasts” over there and then decided that if I was going to do this, I may as well do it right and I signed up for an account over at LibSyn. Then a couple weeks after that, I remembered that I had an old blog that I had started that I could use to post along with the audio, so off I went on that endeavor. At first I didn’t script everything out, I would kind of write up points of interest and go from there, but then I realized that I was kind of wasting time, I could just script out the podcast and ad lib as needed and then use the script and pretty it up for the blog with photos and such and that’s where we are now. Not counting gaming I generally put in about 5 to 8 hours of work on the podcast and blog, it just kind of depends on what I want to talk about and if I get the girls or Kerensa to record with me. In total I spend about $20 a month in hosting the podcast on LibSyn and I’ve spent maybe $120 on equipment (mic and pop filter). Only other expense I am mulling over right now is whether or not to personalize the blog and set it up with its own domain, but for right now, I am okay with how it is. I know I see and hear of folks who spend a lot more on their podcasts and maybe their sound quality is better, but oh well, I’m not going to go broke doing this, I’d rather go broke buying and playing games than talking about them.

In essence, I took my simple weekly geeklist posting and I just made it a whole lot more work, but I’m having fun, I enjoy what I am doing with the podcast. It gives me a bit of an outlet to talk about games and how they make me feel and how they affect myself and my family and friends. So that’s why I do it this way. I appreciate all the folks who listen and all the folks who read, it really means the world to me that there are other folks out there who care to hear my ramblings. I hope someday to be able to share a game and a conversation with a most of you.

That’s a wrap on Week 36, a quiet week where I didn’t get to participate in Gen Can’t nearly as much as I would have liked, but I still had a fantastic week of gaming and family. Thanks for listening!!!

Oh, and the geeklist and the thread were full of some fantastic work this week. I did manage to read every last entry and I enjoyed them all!! Keep ‘em coming!

What Did You Play Last Week Geeklist

What Did You Play Last Week Thread