Not much time for gaming this week with Kerensa out of town for work and me pretending to be half as efficient as Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom, I’m a lot more of a mess than he was. But the girls and I had some good us time and by the end of the week we were moving pretty good. AnnaBeth picked up an award at school as a Super Hero Character Kid and she gets to have her photo on the super hero wall at school for the month of October, she was pretty excited about that. Mid-Terms from Gabby came through and they were straight A’s except for one grade which she’s going to bring up, seems she just missed half of a project somehow. As a punishment I tried to make her play games with me, but she wasn’t having it. Hopefully by the time I am done writing this, the Kansas City Royals will have wrapped up Home Field Advantage heading into the playoffs, but we shall see. But you all came for the games, so the games you’ll get, even though it really was a light week.
Throughout the week, James, Bill and I have been playing another game of Troyes, in which while I feel a little less lost, I still have been having issues. I try to execute the action incorrectly and things like that. It’s no big deal on the table if you are playing, you can stop yourself, but on the Board Game Arena interface there is no way to confirm, once you press the button, the action is done, no rewinds. But oh well, I’ll learn eventually, maybe? Once again this one is going to come down to Bill and James, I think I’m a bit too far behind, with those two moves that I completely messed up and with me getting a bit too enamored with the events being dealt with, I think I’m going to once again come in a distant third, but we’ll see.
Saturday while Kerensa was out getting stuff together for an upcoming convention that she is putting together, AnnaBeth and I sat down for some Haba fun. We started out with a game of DrachenStark, which you all know by now if you’ve listened, is basically just a memory race game with cool little dragons and some fun art and AnnaBeth loves anything to do with dragons, I can’t count how many times we read the book “Dragons Love Tacos” when she was younger, was absolutely one of the most read books that we have checked out from the library and then paid enough in fines to buy the book. But back to the game, AnnaBeth won this one, she was way out ahead of me though and I started a big comeback but through the magic of the tiles mysteriously changing positions she managed to eek out the win. I know I should try to stick to the rules with her, but sometimes it’s more important to have her laughing than playing by the rules. But I will say, she’s getting a lot better at it and she’ll get there.
After packing up DrachenStark, we got out some Animal Upon Animal to get some critter stacking out of our system. I’m sure most listening are aware of what Animal Upon Animal is, it’s a great little game from Haba where each player starts with a menagerie of 7 animals that they ultimately want to get rid of by stacking on top of the Alligator that serves as the starting piece. Each player will roll a die and take the action on the die, either stacking 1 or 2 animals on top of the alligator or on top of other animals already stacked on top of the alligator, or you could roll the hand icon and you then get to give one of your animals to another player and make them stack it and then if anything falls, those animals belong to them, you could roll the question mark which means the other players get to choose which animal you stack or you could roll the alligator which allows you to place an animal at either the nose or tail of the alligator enabling the stacking area to grow. That’s is, you try to be the first to get rid of all of your animals and the first player to do so wins! AnnaBeth and I played a couple rounds of this one on our own and when Kerensa got home she joined us for one. All three of us somehow managed to win a round. In this game we have to work with AnnaBeth on stacking without holding on to the other animals already stacked, that’s her crutch in this one. I’m not sure why she worries so much about it, I can’t stack things very well with these fat fumbly fingers. I’m really happy that Haba is starting to have more and more of a presence here in North America, and I really do look forward to growing our collection of bright yellow boxes, and even some that aren’t with the upcoming family game line.
So later in the evening Kerensa and I sat down to play a game and tried to get Gabby to join us, but alas, she wasn’t “feeling like it”, she probably would have played an older game that she already knows, but I really wanted to break out the newest game in our collection, Isle of Skye. So Kerensa and I let Gabby wander off and we sat down to try it out with two players. Isle of Skye has been getting a lot of love all over the gaming sphere for its “simple and elegant” game play and since it started popping up on my radar I had been wanting to pick it up. So I remedied that this week with a quick Amazon order and it arrived on Saturday morning. I’m not going to do a review of the rules or anything this week as I’m wondering if this is one that Eric, Kerensa and I could review together one episode, so that should kind of tell you what I think of it at the moment. The short elevator sales pitch is that Isle of Skye is a tile laying, auction game. The auction mechanic is really more of a, you price it and your opponent can pay for it if they want to, so it’s really not an auction game in that sense. You are trying to build the most efficient clan area based on the scoring tiles that are randomly chosen at the beginning of the game. There are only four tiles in play to score, but there are more ways to score points based on which tiles are drawn and added on to the island. Kerensa and I played this one twice on Saturday evening with myself winning both games by a combined 5 points so they were closely contested. We then played again on Sunday morning over breakfast and coffee Kerensa kind of running away with this one, I could never get a foothold anywhere and she ran away and won by 12. I dig it, and I’d love to play this with more players than two, but I really think it works wonderfully as a two player game so this one will be sticking around for a while. It’s got tile placement which we love and the pricing reminds me of a newer game that we love as well, Castles of Mad King Ludwig. So look for more about Isle of Skye in the future, it’s a good one.
Star Realms keeps on giving me lemons and I’m trying to make lemonade out of it, but it’s hard when you fall a level after a huge losing streak. I will say that I did manage to win my first league matchup this season today thankfully so the snide is over! So thank you all for the games, I hope your rankings continue to go up, but not at the expense of me anymore. Keep the challenges coming, I’ll keep accepting and playing regardless of how my streak is going.
We’ve got new content contributors on the show!! A couple weeks ago I mentioned a couple new podcasts that had a designer slant to them that I’ve been listening to, well this week Chris Renshall and Joe Brogno from the Cardboard Architects podcast join us to talk a little bit about what they’ve been playing this week but they are going to give it a bit of a designer spin.
You can hear Chris and Joe at the 7:24 mark of the podcast
I will say, if you all have any interest in designing games give them a listen, the podcast is generally pretty short, 15 minutes or so and they stick to one topic about game design and talk about that the entire episode. Great listening for sure and even us non-designers can learn a thing or two! Thank you guys for chipping in this week, it’s good to have you all on board!
We’ll start the Kickstarter talk with a note about Campaign Trail. The short of it is that the fine folks at Cosmic Wombat Games decided to cancel the campaign. It was looking more and more like they weren’t going to fund and instead of letting it fail they pulled the plug on the project and are taking a step back. I won’t say that this isn’t more than a little disappointing, but I completely understand why they are doing it. They must have been getting feedback on the game about some graphic design on the cards, which was a bit of a pain to read at times, but I chalked that up to prototype issues and figured it would look better in final production. Also they have said they’ll be looking at making the game cheaper for backers both in the cost of the game and in shipping. They’ve stated that they’ll be back and are currently planning to relaunch in February of 2016. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes they make both to the game and to the campaign, I think they’ll come back stronger than ever.
But onto more happy Kickstarter news, there were two games launched this week that we immediately backed. You know the first one, World’s Fair 1893. I really don’t know that I can say enough positive things about this game, it really is a wonderful game that can fit in just about everyone’s collection. Fun interactive gameplay, easy to learn rules, but it’s not a mindless repetition game, you have to plan and you have to adapt. If you want to learn more, just check our review on the site and also be sure to listen to our preview on last week’s episode.
The second one was a surprise to me, not that I backed it, just that I wasn’t paying attention enough to know it was launching, but luckily it has a long campaign that will allow me to budget it in comfortably at its $40 backing level. This is the newest game from Ape Games and it’s from designer extraordinaire Scott Almes, The Great Dinosaur Rush. In this one players take the roles of paleontologists in the late 1800’s, competing to find the most lucrative dig sites, find the best bones and build the most unique dinosaurs for the world’s most prestigious museums. In The Great Dinosaur Rush game, some actions will gain players notoriety – secret tokens ranging in value from 1-3. Notoriety is revealed and added to players’ scores at the end of the game. But the player with the most notoriety is called out and their notoriety is subtracted from their score! I will talk more about this one as the campaign moves along, they are running a 51 day campaign for this one to allow folks time to get through Spiel and also give potential backers a chance to play it at BGG.con. So keep an eye on this one, I’m on board.
Also in the good news department, Avalanche at Yeti Mountain from our friend Matt Wolfe and Jason Kotarksi of Green Couch Games, had a fantastic finish and funded at $17,510. That means not only did it fund but we got two of the stretch goals unlocked along the way to make the game even better. Congratulations to them on a fantastic campaign and a fantastic, fun game.
October has a couple other big Kickstarter launches coming that I know of, the biggest of them being Scythe on October 13th. I’m not going to be backing this one, not that I don’t want to play it, I just don’t feel like I am going to need to. I’m sure there will be plenty of people backing it around here so I’ll get to play it I am sure. Plus I’m not really sold on it, although I’m sure I am one of the few that will say that with a straight face. I love Stonemaier Games’ stuff, but even though they play fine and are really beautiful looking games, they just never get reached for honestly and I’ve had my copy of Euphoria on the trade list for a bit now.
I’ve also seen rumors floating around that Mayday Games will be launching a Crokinole Kickstarter in October. I’m anxiously waiting for that to see just what they are going to be doing. It’s gotta go better than their last Crokinole effort.
Also launching on October 5th is the newest offering from Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchbak, Morocco. I have a long history of backing their games and then dropping my pledge for one reason or another, mostly due to fear of whether it will actually get played, the only one I’ve followed through with has been Fleet. But this one shows some promise and I’m definitely going to be looking into it again.
October is going to be busy again with Kickstarter projects launching, but it seems like it’s going to be a bit slower than September was, so I’m thankful for that.
It was a good week for acquisitions with two games arriving on our doorstep. I’ve already mentioned Isle of Skye, but along with that on Saturday we had another package, a package from the Great White North. This one we’ve owned once before, but after a couple plays I realized it wasn’t a game that Kerensa or Gabby were going to want to play at the time, but after a couple years I’m a little more confident that they might be willing to give it a shot and I really regretted trading it when I did. So when listener Todd Kauk asked if I wanted to get another copy of 1960 I was in, it just a bonus that he got it for me at a very, very reasonable price thanks to a member of his game group it seems. So thank you Todd, I know you’ve unplugged a bit from social media, but I hope you are still listening to the podcast my friend.
So, we’ve went through 9 titles so far and I really don’t think I can say that any of these titles are more exciting to me than the next, but there are a couple coming up that I really, really am looking forward to. So let’s wrap up my Spiel babble this week so we can get down to enjoying the pros at Board Game Geek cover it for us on starting on Wednesday with Bezier Games and ending on Sunday with Funforge and who knows how many in between.
The newest game from Spielworxx is this tile placement, worker placement game where the players are trying their best to attract population to their sky city. The world has become overpopulated and thus humanity has to find another way to live. So the players are engineers trying to build “flying cities” and get the most people to live there. It’s got a really interesting “prestige” system where when you hit multiples of 10 you score point based on how many squares you have built on. To be honest, once again it’s a tile laying game that sold me on this one, plus I love the theme. I haven’t read the rules to this one but I do hope that it ties in well with what we are doing in the game, but it looks and sounds like it will.
We’ve enjoyed our plays of Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy and Among Nobles seems to be possibly a bit deeper vision of that family dynasty building game. This one was crowd funded awhile back I believe, I remember seeing it posted and I wanted to back it but at the time I wasn’t really backing anything, or I rather I wasn’t taking chances on games as much as I may be now. This one will be more interactive that Duke de Crecy as if I am understanding correctly you can arrange marriages among the families that the other players are building. The artwork is all beautiful oil paintings and portraits of the real historical figures that you are building your dynasty with. I’ve got the rules ready to be read to see if this one is an immediate buy when it’s available, but everything that I’ve seen so far leads me to think that it should be. Be sure to check out the links that Troels Vastrup, one of the designers of the game, has posted on our geeklist. Looks as though there will be some special Spiel promos available as well at the show.
Alright, so what do you do to follow up the hit of GenCon a couple years ago, Abyss? Well if you are Charles Chevallier, you create an area control game about building research centers on Antarctica. Your objective in Antarctica is to develop research centers in Antarctica and to mine resources – for research purposes only, of course. The sun orbits Antarctica counter-clockwise, and each ship it thaws moves on for scientific progress. At the end of the game, victory points for all kinds of majorities are granted. The game seems to have really cool turn order mechanic which is determined by the sun which moves counter clockwise around the board and whatever it shines on gets to take their actions first. Just really sounds cool. Oh man, a cold pun.
Nippon is the newest game from the duo that brought the world Panamax. This one is set in Japan during the Meiji period and it’s all about the modernization of Japan. In the game players control Zaibatsu, big conglomerates that have great power and control over the Japanese economy. You are trying to develop the Zaibatsu and grow them to be the biggest power and have the most influence. This, along with the next entry, sorry spoiler, are my two games that I am most looking forward to seeing more information about once gameplay reports start popping up. Nippon looks like another great economic game from these two fantastic designers, but I worry a little bit about the weight of this one, which is why I mention it before the next game. I’m not worried in the sense that I won’t understand it, I’m worried in that it falls in the same area that Panamax does for us and ends up not getting the plays that it really deserves to get. But, I’ll happily find out I think.
Simply put, Signorie is the game I am most looking forward to coming out of Spiel this year. The pedigree of What’s Your Game? and the designers, and the use of a cool easy and innovative dice mechanism make it one that I think might be a really good medium weight Euro for my family that’s a bit different than a lot of what we get to the table currently. In Signorie, you will play the role of a Signore, a Lord of one of the most prestigious families of the Renaissance. One at the time, players choose one die from a common pool. (Twenty dice in five colors are rolled at the beginning of each round.) You place it on your player board (your city) and perform one of the possible actions. The color of the chosen die determines the action, and the number on the die is a discount on the cost of the action. During a round, each player can perform up to four actions. At the end of the round, if the sum of a player’s chosen dice is equal or lower than 13, he can obtain a reward. Friend of the podcast Paul Grogan has done some fantastic previews for this one, along with Nippon, be sure to check them out as he does a far better job selling the game than I ever will at the moment as he’s played it, put together the rulebook and is currently working on a video for it as well if I am not mistaken. I’m in for this one, just have to decide how long I am willing to wait. This definitely would have been a game I would have been willing to have someone bring back for me, but I just can’t bring myself to be that guy.
I’ve just mentioned 14 titles that we are interested in over the last three weeks. The Geeklist I have posted has over 50 on there to peruse from if you are interested. Let me know what you think, did I hit on the good ones of the show or did I miss some? I don’t think I even mentions Bretagne, which based on theme alone should be pre-purchased by me, I mean who doesn’t think building lighthouses isn’t a fantastic theme? I’ll post something in the guild over on board game geek and you all can let me know what I missed or why I should back away from some of these that I mentioned!
Alright, so I am going to let Eric close us out this week. This isn’t a game review or a rant, so it’s something we haven’t heard before from him, but I think a lot of folks can relate to what he’s going to talk about. Take it away Eric!
Eric starts his talk at 23:23 on the podcast
Thank you for that Eric, I know it takes a lot to get out and talk about anxiety issues and I appreciate you telling a little about yourself and how you have worked to get a bit of control over the anxiety. I know social anxiety is something that a lot of folks deal with on a daily basis, I do as well to a certain extent. Doing this podcast has been a huge help for me as I make myself get in front of a microphone on a weekly basis and just talk, believe it or not, it’s actually made a lot of things easier for me to deal with. Board gaming has done wonders for me as well, meeting new people, making new friends and just becoming a more social person than I ever was before, but I still find myself “holing up” from time to time. But anyway, thank you again Eric for opening up and telling us a bit about yourself and what board gaming has helped you overcome!
The Codenames contest has officially ended, I thank you all for your participation and for having fun with me on this one. I regret that there is only one copy of the game to give away, but that’s all I have for now. Last week’s clue was Fantasy 2, and I said if you stretched it you might be able to get a third one out of it, well, once again this week only one person got all the answers and ended up with the maximum entries, but it was a different person this week. The answers were Loch Ness and Space, and the third if you really stretched it, was Poison(think poison apple, etc). The only word I couldn’t tie to anything was Chair and believe it or not no one guessed the assassin, so we’re all safe. But enough chatter, let’s see who the winner of a copy of Codenames is. What I did was just plugged everyone’s entries into a spreadsheet, giving everyone an entry for every correct answer and an entry just for emailing me your guesses, that brought us up to 258 total entries combined and the number that random.org picked was number 123 which belongs to Chris Paladino. I’ll shoot you an email this week Chris and we’ll get you a copy of Codenames on the way!
That’s going to wrap it up for Week 45 of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast Thing, I hope everyone has enjoyed it. I’m going to use these closing moments to once again reach out and ask for a little feedback. This week is back to one of the shorter weeks, so we’ve gone from an hour and fifteen minutes one week to about 30 minutes or so this week, is that discrepancy an issue or is it okay if we just randomly have a longer podcast if we have more content that we’d like to provide? Hop into the guild over on Board Game Geek and give us some feedback and just chit chat a little bit if you’ve got the time, we’d love to hear from you. Also, as I keep saying if anyone wants to contribute to the show just get in contact with me and we’ll see if we can make that happen. The more voices we have on the show I think the broader reach we have and the more connections we can make.
Thank you all for listening!