Fall has fallen, so yardwork and hiking are on the agenda for us as long as the weather stays like this. I just need to find someplace that’s permanently 75 degrees and little to no humidity, it’d be perfect and we’d get so much more accomplished and feel so much better, well, except for the allergies. But hey, you can’t have it all, right? Anyway decent week of gaming going on this week. Got to play some two player games on Tuesday evening with Mike, Friday evening saw an online play with a couple friends and Saturday saw a couple games with AnnaBeth and then a three player game with Gabby and Kerensa, let’s get to it! Oh, and don’t forget, the Codenames contest starts this week, be sure to listen for the rules and the first clue!!
As I said, on Tuesday evening I took a couple games down the road a bit to Mike’s with the intention of just getting some two player games on the table. Well, we only got one game that is truly two player, the other two just play better with two. We started off with a two player matchup of Baseball Highlights 2045. This is one that I really enjoy playing but it doesn’t get brought out very often, but Mike had been reading up on it and was trying to decide whether or not it would be a good one for him and his son to play so we broke it out and gave it a go. I taught it pretty quickly as I think this one really teaches easier as you play it, so I always just play a single matchup to teach everything and then do a buy round after it before starting the three game series. Baseball Highlights 2045 is a deck building game about baseball, but just not modern day baseball, this is the future of baseball, with robots and cyborgs and a few naturals. The game is a pretty abstracted look at a baseball game and it plays quick, with each game being just six or possibly seven cards each player. Five to ten minutes tops from the first play through the buy round that happens after each game. One of the things I really like about this deck builder is that even though you are building your deck and adding new cards, you don’t ever get your deck over fifteen cards. When you add a new card, another card is sent to the “Minors” and out of your hand. Really makes everything streamlined and love not having to worry about culling on the run. Anyway, I won the first game 2-0 and we bought our Free Agents and moved onto the three game series which I won 2-1. After you play the three game series, the players then go against each other in a 7 game World Series, for the World Series I brought out the Managers Expansion for the first time. Each player is going to draft four managers, the managers will give you a “power” so to speak that can be used in one game and then discarded. I took the first two game at home and then once we went on the road the wheels fell off and Mike rallied to win the next four games taking the series 4 games to 2. Hopefully when the next edition comes out more gamers will pick this one up as it really is a fantastic game. I need to open up the other expansion packs and add them in next time we play. All they seem to do is give you more keywords and just change up the game a little bit, nothing major.
We followed Baseball Highlights 2045 up with a game that Mike really enjoys and doesn’t get to play nearly enough, Neuroshima Hex. I’ve only played this one other time and that was against Gabby, I haven’t had the heart to open the box back up after the water spilling accident that took out one army. Well, this was Mike’s copy and it was stocked full of just about every army available but I stuck with the basics and I believe I played the Hegemony, I can’t recall off the top of my head what Mike picked, but whatever it was, he walked all over me. Well not at first, we stayed pretty even through the first battle or two I believe, but after that, I drew twice and drew no troops, only action tiles and man that just basically ended the game right there as Mike just mopped the floor with me after that, beating me by 14 or 15 points. I like Neuroshima Hex, just not a fan of my drawing abilities. As much as I get confused about initiative and such on the board it really didn’t get too bad this time around, so maybe I’m finally coming to grips with it. But it’s for that reason alone that the app will probably always get more plays from me than the actual cardboard will. I’m lazy when it comes to tracking this stuff, so if something else is available to make my life easier with a game, I’ll play it. Doesn’t mean I’m any good at it, I don’t think I’ve won a matchup of this yet, even against the AI. This one will get more plays in the future I have a feeling.
We ended the evening with me teaching Mike the only true two player only game that we played, Akrotiri. Kerensa and I played this one a couple weeks ago and our play took a bit longer than the box advertised, so I kind of warned Mike of this and started teaching, knowing that the end of the night may happen before the end of the game, but that was cool as I just wanted to refresh it all in my head and give him a taste of it. Akrotiri is a tile laying game where you are creating a map filled with islands that have the goods that you need to deliver in order to make money in order to excavate and find temples. This one played a lot quicker than Kerensa and I did and we ended up actually finishing this one with me winning by one point. I’m not sure what Mike thought of it, as we really kind of rushed through the game in order to get it finished, but I enjoyed it and I’m confident the next time Kerensa and I play it’ll go a lot closer to the advertised play time, just hoping I can get her to play it instead of Targi the next time we sit down for a two player only game.
No other gaming throughout the week although I did fall down the GMT Games Rabbit hole and ended up P500ing a couple titles they have coming down the line, 1846 and Mr. President. I even printed off the old 2005 rules for 1846 and started reading thorough them in anticipation of ending up with my first 18xx game on our shelves and hopefully on our table. Mr. President is a solo only game about managing the job as President of the United States. Really sounds like an interesting title and I’m looking forward to learning more as we get closer to this one being produced.
Friday I got an invite to play some Seasons on Board Game Arena with Bill and James. It’s been awhile since I had played Seasons over on BGA, but it’s one of our favorite games around here, at least for Gabby and I, we’ll talk more about that though in a little bit. This one I drafted originally to go heavy Crystal, light power cards, I just wanted to get out on the board what I had and churn through and convert as much energy as I could as quickly as I could. It didn’t work out that way as I ended up being last in turn order and on the first turn I had to draw another card, in fact, the first three times I was last in turn order that’s what I ended up with. I got lucky on those draws as they weren’t really expensive to get out and they ended up helping the Crystal conversion as they eventually came out. Bill ended up having a pretty off game, I think once the bad die luck left me he ended up with it. James made a huge push at the end of the game and ended up getting a little closer than I thought he was going to get. Final scores ended up being 243-198-149 with me hitting a high score for myself by a huge margin. Towards the end of the game I think I pulled out close to a 50 point transmute and that was the difference. Great game guys, I’m looking forward to future challenges. I’ve got the rule book for Troyes sitting on the nightstand, going to start reading it tonight!
Saturday saw nice weather and I decided that I should head outside and do some yard work that I put off doing because it had been too hot and miserable. While doing that, I was mowing over some of the tall weeds I found a spray paint bottle, that’s always fun, having it explode and shoot paint out. Luckily it all shot forward instead of back at me, but it got my heart racing a little bit nonetheless. Then after a bit more mowing after slowing the heart rate down I went to the truck to get my gloves so I could do a bit weed pulling. As I was standing there digging the truck, I heard a loud crash and about 25 feet or so in front of me a lady had veered to the right and plowed into the back quarter panel of the car parked there. Smacked the Hyundai hard enough to hop the curb and push it another 20 or so feet downhill. Luckily everyone involved was okay, the lady was coming back from breakfast with her three young children. The kids were a bit shaken up and had some seatbelt bruises, but all in all pretty lucky and hopefully recovering well. With that, I decided it was time for me to just stay inside the rest of the day. Didn’t need my heart racing any more. So Kerensa, AnnaBeth and I sat down to some DrachenStark.
DrachenStark is just a race game that uses a memory mechanic to race your dragons around the volcano and it’s become one of AnnaBeth’s favorite games. She loves finding the right tile to flip, but we’re still working on helping her become okay with finding the wrong thing. She still has a tendency to flip the wrong tile and then quickly flip it back over pretending that she didn’t really pick it. At five we’re struggling with what to let her get away with and what to call her on and make her stick with and I think this one has been a pretty good game to work on that with her. Gabby has kind of gotten to the point where she doesn’t want to play with AnnaBeth because she doesn’t want to follow the rules and Gabby is on a big rules kick. Thing is, without cheating AnnaBeth won one of these matchups, she “won” the second one but we kind of went a bit lenient with her on a couple things. This is another fun little game from Haba, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel or anything but it’s fun with the little ones.
We wrapped up the gaming week with a three player game of Seasons with Gabby, Kerensa and I. After Friday evening’s online play I figured Gabby would want to play this one again as we really do like it here. We invited Kerensa to join us and we were off, well, we were off after a brief rules recap for Kerensa. We did the draft for this game and maybe we shouldn’t have as Kerensa had a bit of trouble remembering what the cards would do and how they should be played out and when, but after about 20 minutes or so we were ready to roll some chunky dice and play some cards. I love the combos that can be chained together and it makes for some really fun turns and this one had a few of those. I really worried about Gabby as she just kept adding card after card to her hand and I knew I hadn’t seen any of the cards that allow free summons or even any that helped bump up your summoning gauge so I kind of worried she had bitten off more than she could chew. Even after the first year she only had 1 card summoned and I think 5 in hand before taking her second year cards. Kerensa on the other hand was methodically working her hand and putting cards out. I went the same route as my game on Friday night, getting cards out that helped give crystal bonuses when summoning power cards and extra energy. Beginning of the third year it was pretty close and Gabby had gotten more cards out but still had a lot in her hand and wasn’t scoring any crystals in the process. In the meantime I had reached 100 points on them and had cheap to summon cards left. Kerensa was getting a bit frustrated with some of my turns as it always seemed I was doing three or four things to her one, but I think in the third year she started to see how things work together. Gabby was a summoning fiend in the third year and slowed the game down quite a bit by using the Temporal boots and then making sure the season marker only moved 1 or 2 spots at the end of rounds. This one ended with me breaking 200 again, I hit 217, Kerensa came in a hard fought second with 157 and Gabby, in spite of having 13 power cards summoned, only managed to get 153 points, she just didn’t have any crystal production going through the game. Even though Kerensa came in second, she was pretty frustrated with the game. Not knowing the cards is huge in this game and the fact that all the expansions were in there further pushed that frustration. Seasons almost feels like one of those lifestyle games where it’s what you play all the time so you can actually know what will work with what and when you should play it, should a card be in your starting hand or save it for the later years. I tried to help out as much as I could at the beginning, but it’s kind of hard to do when you know there are certain cards that you want and also just hard because Kerensa doesn’t want someone to tell her what to do game wise. After the game we talked a bit and kind of talked about it. I get the feeling that Kerensa likes what the game can do and she enjoyed it but if we are going to play it, we both agreed that we need to play it more often, which was A-OK with Gabby and I. So look for more Seasons plays in the future I have a feeling.
Star Realms plays happened again this week, nothing too bad, nothing too good. If memory serves correctly I am right where I left off last week at lvl 9 7 out of 10 but I did have some fun games with Adiliberto and I also finished up our season in Awberman’s BGG league finishing up at 5 and 6 after winning my final round matchup using a really fast, smaller hitting deck and got lucky that our buy row was just outrageously overpriced from the beginning for the most part. I’ll be back next season, hoping to finish over .500 and keep on keeping on in the same division that I’ve been in the entire time I’ve been playing. I’ve only sniffed a promotion once and lost on the play in to get moved up.
No acquisitions this week, so instead of talking about that, we’ve got a review for you. This one comes from Patrick Hillier. You might remember Patrick as our first guest on the Meet the Gamer segment that I need to re-start, or you might know Patrick from the What Did You Play This Week Geeklist over on Board Game Geek, but either way, we’ve got him here and he’s going to tell us a little bit about the new Pandemic app and he’s promised to do this all while not wearing the vest that that other App reviewer made famous.
Patrick’s Review can be heard at the 15:49 spot on the Week 42 Podcast.
Once again, nothing new for me popping up on Kickstarter this week so I’ll just kind of remind everyone about Avalanche at Yeti Mountain, GemPacked Cards and Tabletopia over there. If you are a Kickstarter frequent backer make sure to give these a look. We previewed Avalanche at Yeti Mountain last week, it’s fun, light, quick race game that offers some exciting play. GemPacked Cards we previewed a couple weeks back, it’s a fun little gem swapping, gem trading game with some absolutely adorable artwork. Tabletopia possibly has the ability to change board gaming forever for the better with its digital implications.
This coming week look for Campaign Trail from Cosmic Wombat. We’re supposed to get a preview copy soon so hopefully I can tell you all more eventually, but for right now just know that I’ve read the rule book and it looks like it’s a really fun, easy to learn card driven election game.
Also, watch for our World’s Fair 1893 preview coming up in the next week or so. It’s set to launch on Kickstarter on September 29th.
Just a note about a couple new podcasts that are up and on iTunes as of this week. The first is the Game Designers of North Carolina podcast, this one is hosted by designer Matt Wolfe and the first episode has guests Burke Drew and Mark Mcgee. This week they discuss how to get started in designing board games. Really a great first episode. Also launching this week is the Cardboard Architects. This is actually their second episode this week but it is the first week they’ve been available over on iTunes. This one is hosted by friend Chris Renshall and it’s all about board game design as well. Give both of these podcasts a listen, they both really deserve some ears.
Alright to finish off the podcast Eric Booth joins us to talk a bit about theme in gaming, well, sort of. We’ll just let Eric take over now.
You can hear Eric at the 21:59 spot on the Week 42 Podcast.
Well that’ll wrap up week 42 of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing. Be sure to let me know if you want to be on the podcast. If you have a review you’d like to do, or something you want to talk about gaming wise. We’d love to have you contribute. Reach out to me via email or find me over on Twitter or Board Game Geek and just let me know what you’ve got in mind and we’ll see if we can get you involved. The more voices the better in my mind.
Thank you all for listening, have a great week!
Wait, I hope you haven’t left yet, I almost forgot about the contest!!
Okay, so, since I was antsy, I ended up getting an extra copy of Codenames and what better way to celebrate my disorders than by giving away the unopened, brand spanking new hotness from Czech Games Editions. So what I’ve done is this, I’ve taken a photo of a game board which I will post on the blog and I am going to give clues this week and the next two weeks. What I want you all to do is email me the words that you believe will match up with the clue to email@example.com. Each correct guess will get you an entry into the contest. After three weeks, I’ll put all the entries into a bowl, or a random number generator, whichever works easier, and we’ll get a winner and they’ll get a brand new copy of Codenames. This contest will be open to everyone who wants to enter and I will cover shipping here in the United States, outside the United States I will cover the first $10 in shipping and if you want the game, you cover the rest and we’ll send it your way. I know, that sucks, but unless I figure out that shipping for it won’t be too bad I’m going to have to ask for a bit of help. This one is going to sell out, and sell out fast, I know that Cool Stuff Inc and Miniature Market both are out of copies so hopefully we can make some listener pretty happy and get them this wonderful game.
The clue is: Bob Marley-2
Now, have a great week everyone! Thanks for listening!!