Well, we’ve started a new sport, Volleyball and that’s taken up two nights a week so far, so what suffers? Our game playing, it was so bad this week that I had to get out of town for a night in order to get some gaming in. Well, in actuality I had to work out of town on Thursday morning and since setup was so early I had to do an overnight to do the outreach and that meant I got to go to a game night. I’d been to this game meetup once about a year ago and they meet weekly on Wednesday nights so I got to go again this time.
Last year when I went to the game night at The Game Café in Independence Missouri, I also made a point of finding a dining establishment close by, and it just so happens a couple doors down is a fantastic little place called The Court House Exchange. So I stopped there again this time and enjoyed a quiet dinner with some baseball on the TV and some Tank 7 in a glass before gaming. If you are ever near there, give it a try. This time I had the Chicken Fried Steak and man was it good, almost too good, like, felt like I needed a nap after good. But, I persevered and made it a couple doors down and met up with some fun gamers and played some games.
First thing to the table was a six player game of Libertalia. I’ve played this one a couple times before but it had been quite a while between plays so I needed a bit of a refresher and my first round scoring kind of reflected that, I think I may have broken 15, but I’m not completely sure, but after seeing that first round play out and seeing what the others at the table were going to do, I got the feel for it and had a pretty big round. For those not familiar, Libertalia is a card game themed around pirates where you use simultaneous action selection to collect sets and such to score doubloons. In the game everyone starts with the same hand of nine randomly determined cards. Each of these cards will have a number that represents their rank, they have a name, a special power that can trigger at different times during the round and then you have a final rank that is used in case of ties. Everyone plays simultaneously their card to the center and when all cards are there, they are revealed and then put in order from lowest rank to highest rank on the board. Then from lowest to high if the cards have daytime special actions they are resolved. Once those are resolved, in reverse order, the players get to grab loot from the loot piles. Now at the end of the round some of these loot tokens can be work anywhere from 1-5 doubloons, but they can also have special powers, the saber allows you to kill, or rather discard, a card from the den of the player to your left or right, if you pick up the Spanish Officer, you discard your character immediately instead of putting him in your den, this can be a good thing for some cards that have a negative effect in one of the other phases. Map tokens by themselves are worth nothing, unless you have a character card that makes them worth something, but in a group of three they are worth 12 doubloons. And then there are the cursed relics which are worth a -3 doubloons. After the loot is divvied up, the players put their characters that survived into their dens and resolve the night actions, which can bring about more bonuses based on different abilities. You do this a total of 6 times to complete a round, meaning that each player is going to have 3 cards left in their hand. After the sixth round you score all the rest of the day actions and count up doubloons and score that many on the score track, discard any characters left in your den and return all your loot tokens to the bag to be drawn again. Then someone picks 6 more random cards and the rest of the players add those cards to their deck and you play another round. You play a total of 3 rounds and the player with the most doubloons on the score track at the end of the game, is the winner. The neat thing about this game is that even though every player is adding the same cards to their hand at the end of a round, they’ll still have three cards from the previous round that may be different from everyone else, the other players may have used those cards. But anyway, after scoring fairly big after the second round my third round didn’t live up to the pressure and I finished scoring 74 points which was good for second place, just 2 points behind Mike, who I believe is one of the organizers of the weekly Wednesday night meetup.
While we were playing Libertalia on one table, on another was some Cacao, and they finished before we did and headed back for a big game of Cosmic Encounter. So while the other folks played Cosmic, I taught Codenames to about 8. It was a pretty tight game, with my team finding that final agent just in the nick of time thanks to them remembering a couple clues earlier. We had two left on the table so I just did a clue to lead them to one word, hoping that they would remember the extra one and pick it and they did, if they hadn’t the other team would have pulled out the victory I’m pretty sure as they only had one left on the table to find as well. That one once again went over really well and I think we even helped sell a copy that they had on the shelf.
The Game Café is in Independence Missouri in the historical town square on Lexington Boulevard, right across the street from the Jackson County Assessment Department which is easy to see as it takes up an entire block and is a really beautiful building. The area is filled with shopping and dining and is really in a nice quaint area, at least it’s been that way each time I’ve went by there. The store itself is a nice little store, with an area downstairs for Magic players, an area off to one side for miniature gamers and a few tables in the main area for board gaming. They have a nice large selection of games, that maybe could use a little bit of culling. There are some old games in there that really shouldn’t be out and displayed with all the other regular price materials. They might do well to think about a clearance rack to get rid of some of the excess stuff that will just gather dust on the shelves and take up space. The staff, well, the one person I could tell was staff seemed to be knowledgeable about Magic, as that was I mostly heard him talking about, but he did help anyone who needed help and during slow time was chit chatting with the folks playing. If you ever find yourself in Independence Missouri on a Wednesday evening, you could do a lot worse than hanging out in this establishment and playing games, so, be sure to stop by!
After Codenames we grouped up with 4 of us and we sat down to a game of Five Tribes. I thought I was going to actually get to play the expansion, but it seems that some of the tiles were not put back into the main box so we just played with the base set and had a grand time. I got smoked, I didn’t even break 100 points, but I still enjoyed our play. It does still suffer when people get hit with the Analysis Paralysis bug, and we honestly thought about using a timer to speed up things a bit and making players give up a coin in they exceeded 2 minutes, but we didn’t and the game ended up playing a bit long. I’m going to use that as my excuse for my poor showing, I was trying to speed the game along so I didn’t parse out every option that I had on my turn, instead I typically went pretty quickly. Dee ended up winning this one with 143 points, mostly in tile control and money, I don’t think he spent over 1 coin on turn order until the last round when he spent 18 and it was probably worth it for him.
It was pretty late by the time Five Tribes ended and we decided on playing a round of Fairy Tale instead of Pit. I think three of us were a bit worried about the loudness of the bell in Pit and just kind of wanted to wind down with something a bit quieter. So three of us played Fairy Tale. I ended up winning this one, I got lucky late in the game and got a couple cards flipped and picked up one more on my tableau that worked together with the dragons, I forget the card names, my apologies so I racked up 38 points in my first ever face to face game of Fairy Tale and managed to win by 4 points. I still need to get Gabby and Kerensa to try this one out as I really think they’d enjoy it as a faster option for a drafting game instead of 7 Wonders. It’s just turned down every time I break it out and offer to teach.
That ended the gaming for the evening. I took one more stroll through the store in hopes that I missed some hidden gem on the shelves, but alas, I did not. I said goodbye and packed myself into the car and drove back to the hotel to get some sleep before work in the morning.
We didn’t get anything else played this week until Sunday morning when AnnaBeth agreed to play some Jurassattack! against me. Yup, we’re still playing this one and still enjoying the heck out of it. I was up pretty early on this one but AnnaBeth managed to steal my T-Rex and a couple eggs with her Apex and it was all downhill from there, she actually ended up winning this one 28-16. There was no rematch though as our breakfast donuts had arrived and chocolate sprinkles had soon replaced gaming. We are still really looking forward to our copy of this one arriving, but I think we’re getting closer and closer to Best Treehouse Ever first which I think according to the last update are currently on a boat and should be in our Treehouse building hands sometime in October!
After some breakfast and coffee, the girls and I went out and kicked the soccer ball around the soccer park for a couple hours. After that we came back with clear heads and tired bodies so Gabby and I set up a two player game of Blood Bowl Team Manager. Gabby and I hadn’t put this on the table to play since July of last year, so she blew the dust off and I separated out the expansion stuff and we got back to basics and relearned us some BBTM. Good thing we did too, as we found out that we’d always played it incorrectly and had too many highlight reels on the table, which kind of made our games a bit less combative. Even though we played it incorrectly before, we’ve always enjoyed our plays of this head to head deck builder set in the Blood Bowl universe. For this match up I took the Grudgebearers and Gabby took the Chaos All Stars and we bashed it out on the field. It was a see saw matchup the entire time, with Gabby going ahead on fans and then I would hop back in the lead. The second to last week saw me jump out to a pretty big lead only to see Gabby make a valiant comeback in the Blood Bowl round, but she came up just short, with my Grudgebearers winning by a score of 37-33. I really enjoy this game and I know that Gabby does too. Kerensa sat and watched some of our matchup so maybe some three player games are in our future, as it is, I think Gabby and I are the only two to play this one. I think maybe in a month or so, after the Kickstarter reviews are done, I’m going to see if I can get Gabby to sit down and review this one with me, yeah I know, it’s an older game and has several reviews already, but who cares, it kinda deserves a bit more love even if it is currently number 169 on Board Game Geek.
That’s all she wrote this week other than a couple rounds of Star Realms with Adiliberto and even a game with Punkin. League is getting set to start back up this week, so hopefully I can string some wins together, but judging from the last week, I’m destined to stay right around 500 again.
I managed to not back anything again this week and I’m beginning to question my reasoning for having this little section in every podcast. But hey, what else am I going to talk about right?
Tabletopia continues to fund and open up new titles to check out, this week opening Transylvania Curses & Traitors which I’ve played and really enjoy, should be a fun one to play on the Tabletopia platform. Currently sitting at 85.5k with 3 days left to go in the campaign, I’m still in at the Game Geek tier for a silver subscription for 6 months. Looking forward to trying it out and seeing if it makes me want to pay the subscription fee once that’s up.
Avalanche at Yeti Mountain from Green Couch Games keeps inching upwards. This week Jason announced some add on items to help boost funding and it seemed to have worked a little as the campaign is sitting currently at nearly 12k in funding out of 15k asking with right at 10 days left to go in the campaign. You can now add on a nice looking play mat and a couple other games from Green Couch Games, Fidelitas and Best Treehouse Ever. We’ve played this one several times and enjoyed our plays, looking forward to this one funding and landing on our doorstep, hopefully without a Yeti chasing it.
GemPacked Cards has about 50 hours left as of the time of writing and is sitting just shy of 10k in funding out of the 12k needed, so this one is going to be a bit close. Eduardo added some options to get GemPacked and his other titles as well, The Siblings Trouble and Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet and it worked as well as they have seen a nice boom in funding this past week or so, but it still needs some help. So if you are looking for a whimsical fun game for the whole family that plays quick but offers some good substance, give this one a look. GemPacked Cards is another title that we’ve enjoyed the heck out of here in our house, even so much that our youngest was horribly disappointed that we didn’t get to keep our review copy.
Other than those, I’m keeping my eye on Campaign Trail. Only reason I haven’t backed this one yet is that the cost is over my threshold of rush backing. I need to learn a little more about it before I press that back button, but I think I will end up doing so. Lance, Undead Viking, put together his preview for this one and gave it a pretty glowing review so I don’t imagine that my resolve will be strong for very much longer. Just really hoping that we can get our review copy here to give a try and help you all decide as well. With 16 days left to go in this campaign, Campaign Trail is just short of $12.5k out of the $35k needed to fund. This one is a steady climber with Kicktraq projecting over funding by just about $21k, so we should see a couple stretch goals opened up as well I hope.
Once again, I was good, and we didn’t have any games show up on our doorstep. Seems we have finally hit that lull, maybe it’s because of the games or maybe it’s because we’ve slowed down on gaming this year with school and such and I’m finally getting a bit smarter about my gaming budget. Nah, that can’t be it, it’s gotta be something else.
Essen Spiel Preview
This should help I think, I’m going to use the next couple weeks and we’ll just highlight a couple or three games from W. Eric Martin’s fantastic Essen Spiel Preview that we are horribly looking forward to, or at least I am. After I give about 10-12 of them we might put them together in a Top 10 list or so, but for now, these are in no order, I’m just looking forward to picking them up as soon as we have the chance.
This one should be obvious, that’s why it’s going to get mentioned first. It’s got the fantastic pedigree with Friedemann Friese behind the wheel and it has, what could possibly be the biggest innovation in gaming in the last, well forever. 504 is a game that creates 504 different games out of one box by using 9 different modules: Pick up and Deliver, Race, Privileges, Military, Exploration, Roads, Majorities, Production and Shares. In a single game you choose 3 of those different modules and put them together in any order you like to create the game. Want to play a Racing, Exploration, Military game? Go for it, you can do that here. The theme here is kind of silly, but who cares if it works. The high price is the only thing keeping me from pre-ordering this one from Stronghold Games. We all know that some of these combinations are not going to work, and some will work okay and a few will stand out and be excellent and I think I am waiting to see what that excellent stuff is. Should I spend $100 on a game to enjoy 2 or 3 tries out of 10? I’m not so sure yet, but it’s a definite possibility.
Porta Nigra is the newest offering from the design duo Kramer & Kiesling. In Porta Nigra each player commands a master builder, who moves around a circular track on the game board, enabling you to buy or build only where this master builder is located. Moving the master builder to farther locations along the track is expensive, so players must plan their movements and builds carefully. The number and type of actions that may be performed on your turn comes from cards in your personal draw deck. The buildings that you are building, you are building physically on the board using 3d building pieces. I love city building games and this one looks fantastic, I can’t wait to see this one in the United States, and wouldn’t you know it, the same fine folks that are bringing us 504 are bringing us Porta Nigra. Really, I should just have a direct withdrawal made from my paycheck to Stronghold Games, Stephen and his crew really don’t miss on much when it comes to the gaming world.
7 Wonders Duel
I love 7 Wonders but a lot of our plays here lately have been strictly 2 player games so 7 Wonders just doesn’t get played even though there are a couple variants that make it 2 player compatible. But now, why would we do that when we’ve got a two player version of 7 Wonders on the way in 7 Wonders Duel. What’s different about 7 Wonders: Duel is that, as the title suggests, the game is solely for two players, with the players not drafting card simultaneously from hands of cards, but from a display of face-down and face-up cards arranged at the start of a round. A player can take a card only if it’s not covered by any others, so timing comes into play as well as bonus moves that allow you to take a second card immediately. As in the original game, each card that you acquire can be built, discarded for three coins, or used to construct a wonder. Each player starts with four wonder cards, and the construction of a wonder provides its owner with a special ability. Only seven wonders can be built, though, so one player will end up short. Players can purchase resources at any time from the bank, or they can gain cards during the game that provide them with resources for future building; as you acquire resources, the cost for those particular resources increases for your opponent, representing your dominance in this area. A player can win 7 Wonders: Duel in one of three ways. Each time that you acquire a military card, you advance the military marker toward your opponent’s capital, giving you a bonus at certain positions. If you reach the opponent’s capital, you win the game immediately. Similarly, if you acquire all six different scientific symbols, you achieve scientific dominance and win immediately. If neither of these situations occurs, then the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. If that doesn’t sell most two player groups on this one, I don’t know what will.
The Bloody Inn
France 1831: In a remote corner of Ardèche, the little village of Peyrebeille sees numerous travelers pass through. A family of greedy rural farmers is determined to make its fortune and has devised a diabolical stratagem to achieve this goal: Invest in an inn so they can rob traveling guests, allowing them to get rich without arousing the suspicions of the police! Whether or not their plan will work out, one thing is certain: Not every guest will leave this inn alive….
In The Bloody Inn, you are one of the competitive innkeepers, bent on amassing the most wealth. Unfortunately, your morals hinder you from robbing your guests… at least while they’re alive. Fortunately, your scruples have no qualms with murder. Of course, you can’t just have dead bodies piled everywhere: It’s bad for business, and besides, what if the police drop by for a visit? It’s all so much work! Perhaps you could employ some of the guests as accomplices? Everyone has a price, after all!
This is my iffy one for this week, on one hand, we’ve got Pearl Games who just don’t seem to release games that I dislike, they’ve been a hit with everything. You’ve got the theme though which is pretty dark and might not go over all that well in my family, but I think it’s one that I am willing to take a chance on. Plus, this one is listed as 1-4 players, so there is some kind of solo play in the box that may be worth trying out, although everything points to this one being best with 4.
Spiel runs from October 8-11 in the city of Essen in Germany and is probably the biggest gamer destination around, but this is probably as close as I’ll ever get to it. Which is probably a-ok. Since it runs October 8-11 that gives me another 2 weeks to give games that I’m looking forward to, this week I’m stopping with these four, 504, Porta Nigra, 7 Wonders Duel and The Bloody Inn. Give ‘em a look and tell me what you think, yeah or nay? I’ll also put together a Geeklist over on Board Game Geek that I’ll add titles that interest me, be sure to check it out and let me know. I may go ahead and put games on there that I’ll talk about in upcoming weeks, but don’t worry, I’ll keep my thoughts a secret until I post the podcast.
Geeklist and Podcast
We saw a bit of a resurgence this week in the geeklist and thread, more people hopped back in and shared their thoughts, including a sight for sore eyes, Dan Edelen. I’ve always liked reading Dan’s thoughts on games and I’m happy to see him posting back in the Geeklist, even if it won’t be a regular thing, but here’s hoping. Lot’s of Seasons posting it seems, but that may be partially because three of us were playing in the same game. Which leads me to this, if you want to play an online game with me, feel free to shoot me a message or just shoot me an invite, I’m Vacabck across all the online gaming sites that I have found and signed up for and I’m up for just about anything. Mine, James’ and Bill’s game of Troyes has gotten off to a slow start since I was away from a PC for most of the weekend, but I think we’ll pick it up as the week progresses, but I’m down for just about anything turn based and even possibly some live plays on some evenings if things work out. JBMoby and Patrick Hillier gave us some Buckeye Game Fest updates as they were at a convention playing some fine games. Really just lots of fine games all around and some fantastic session reports as well, was happy that I was able to keep up for the most part this week and I look forward to seeing what everyone played this week.
Well, let’s wrap this up this week with the clue for our Codenames contest. Last week we had quite a few entries and a bit over half of you got both words correct, the other half did not. Funny thing is, the folks that got the answers incorrect all basically guessed the same thing and did not get either word correct. Just shows you how tricky giving clues in this game is. The correct answers for week 1 were, Buffalo and Soldier. Don’t worry, you’ve all got a chance to redeem yourself this week as I am going to give a clue that hopefully points you towards three words on the board. Two of the three I hope are easy, the third one may be a bit harder. I’ve covered the correct answers from last week so there are fewer choices to make. Once again, just sending an email gets you entered into the contest and each correct answer is going to get you a bonus entry, so here goes. This week’s clue is Outfit:3 The updated player board will be uploaded into the blog entry for this week. I will also tweet it out about midweek for folks and it will be posted over on the Facebook page as well.
Shoot me your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s a wrap for Week 43. Have a great week everyone!!