Ladder 29 Ben Pinchback & Matt Riddle-Designers Andy Jewett-Artist Green Couch Games-Publisher
Disclosure–We were provided a preview copy for Ladder 29 from Green Couch Games prior to the Kickstarter which launches on 3/15/2017.
Climbing games, the bane of my existence, in that, I never get to play them and I quite enjoy climbing games, and trick taking games which have some similarities. But the climbing games that I have in our collection all have been fairly difficult to get to the table, Tichu because it is a 3-10 player game and while three players is pretty regular, our third player is fairly irregular, I’m looking at you Gabby, in her picks of what she’ll play. Haggis and Clubs have suffered similar fates. So when Jason Kotarski over at Green Couch Games asked if I wanted to preview Ladder 29I anxiously jumped in, but was a bit worried about what my family would think about it and if my family would give it a try. My worries turned out to be unfounded, and here is why.
Ladder 29 is a card climbing game for 2-5 players, and like most climbing games or card games like this, the theme here is merely used as a way to teach the game, to make sense of the mechanics, and it works beautifully in that sense. But, I am getting ahead of myself, what exactly do you do in a game of Ladder 29?
Ladder 29 consists of a deck of 60 cards of four different suits(Red, Yellow, Green & Blue), with each suit numbering from 1-15. There is a hierarchy for the the suits as well, Blue being the highest, followed by Green, then Red and then Yellow. Also in the game will be 19 “Hot Spot” cards as well, these cards are where you are going to get your scoring from, but also these cards are the Cog in the Wheel so to speak, they give you direction in that they limit you in what you can play, but once again, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Also in the game will be a score track much the same as has been used in previous Green Couch Games titles and some score markers and player reference cards for up to 5 players. So I think it’s safe to say, this will be another lovely little small box game from Green Couch Games to match all the others in their line. Seriously, I’m going to build a small shelf for these, I swear I am.
So, the deck of 60 cards is shuffled and everyone is dealt 13 cards, regardless of player numbers. You are then going to pass 3 of those cards to the player to your left. After everyone has passed cards and you have your starting hand, you are going to draft those “Hot Spot” cards now. In the game there will be one more Hot Spot card out than there are players and there will always be a Start Player Hot Spot Card in the offering.
The Hot Spot Cards are where you will get your scoring for a round. Each player will pick one card, that card will contain a rule for the player to follow for that round and their scoring. In the example above, if the player is the first to go out, they get 8 points and so on down the line with last place always getting zero.
After everyone has drafted their Hot Spot Card a round of play begins. Starting with the current start player, the player will lead either a single card, a pair of cards a triple, a run of three or more or a four of a kind. Everyone thereafter has to follow the pattern, meaning that you cannot play triples on pairs, or runs on singles, etc. Play continues in clockwise order until everyone has to pass, the last player who played then leads another legal play to start another round. All in an effort to be the first person to shed all of their cards from their hands.
There are also some special cards that help you along the way that go along with the 60 other cards in 4 different suits. These cards help you bend the rules so to speak. You have the Chief and the Lieutenant who can only ever be played as singles but they are the highest rank singles, with the Chief being the highest and Lieutenant being second highest. You also have the Dalmatian that can be played as a single or in runs with a value of zero, OR more importantly the Dalmation can be played as the second card in a pair. Lastly you have the Rookies, apart they can be played as singles or in runs as a value zero as well or paired together, The Rookies become the most powerful Pair that you can play.
Oh, and what would a good Climbing game be without one way to break the following rule? In Ladder 29 a Four of Kind may be played at any time, regardless of what has been led and is called a Flashover, Flashovers are the highest valued plays in the game and can only be beaten of course, by Flashovers of higher value.
After everyone but one has shed all of their cards from their hand, the round is over and you calculate your scores based on the Hot Spot Cards in front of the players. The game is a race to 29 points, once 29 points is hit the game is over and whomever ends up with the most points, wins the game.
I wish I had more experience with climbing games so I could make all the comparisons to Tichu, Haggis, Clubs and so many others, but I don’t, but I will say if you are looking for that, be sure to check out Ryan Sanders’ write up over on The Indie Game Report.
For me, what I’m going to say is this, Ladder 29, is a fantastic addition to the Green Couch Games line of games. The artwork by Andy Jewett is beautiful, inclusive and I know that they are taking steps to help with some of the color blind issues that were been pointed out once folks started playing the game more out in the open.
Much like any climbing game or trick taking games the strategy of play comes down to learning your opponents idiosyncrasies I think, but also, you have to know your own as well. The Hot Spot Cards add a huge new twist to your strategies, because not only do they limit what you can or cannot do, but they also are your score each round, so sometimes you have to take that Start Player Hot Spot Card even though it is only 6 points for first, just because you want the lead at the beginning, as you may never be able to get it otherwise. Sometimes you have to take the big points on the nearly impossible cards, just in hopes of making up some lost points even with going out maybe third. They make for interesting decisions to make each and every round and really push the game.
Seven plays so far under my belt, from 2 player to 4 player, I just have not been able to get that fifth person to the table, but we’ve enjoyed it at all player counts, although I will say, Kerensa and I both agree it is probably more fun for us at 3 or 4 than at 2 player. 2 player is once again a lot of back and forth and whomever figures out or at least thinks they’ve figured out, what the other player has is usually the winner.
Ladder 29 is just another fun, well designed, beautifully illustrated game from Green Couch Games. We really can’t say much more than that. If you really like “Great little games, that make great big connections”, don’t let this one pass you up. This one got me Hook and Ladder, I am most definitely a backer.
And I haven’t even mentioned how I am like Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback’s 12th biggest fan!
ICE CREAM MAN!!! Every kid has yelled that at one time in their life, when they’ve heard the ice cream truck music coming down the road. Well now you can relive that excitement from the other side. Now you get to be the Ice Cream Truck Driver and you are driving around town, trying to attract customers in order to sell your fantastical frozen treats in the newest game from the team of Joshua J Mills and Green Couch Games, Rocky Road a la Mode.
Please note that this is the Preview version from Green Couch Games and the game art and components have not been finalized.
Set up is super easy, here we go, first, set up the roads that your Ice Cream Trucks will travel.
Next, line up your Ice Cream Trucks in a random order, the truck on top always goes first.
Then, let’s put some Rocket Pop tokens out on the board on the three pothole spots.
Everyone gets an Ice Cream Truck Card to place in front of them
and three treat cards randomly dealt to them
Stack the rest of the treat cards near the road and lay out three face up next to the draw pile. Also, near the road place out the eight location bonus cards in four coordinating piles with the highest value bonus on top.
Now you are ready to play Rocky Road a la Mode.
In the game you are Ice Cream Truck operators, trying to gain the most loyalty points by selling your ice cream all over town, ultimately the game is a race, sort of, to 9 loyalty points, I’ll explain later how that may not always be the case.
In the game, the players are not going to have a set order, the truck that is furthest back on the road is always going to be the player on turn, like in the game Tokaido or in Patchwork.
So, on your turn you are going to take one of the three possible actions.
You can Restock, which is drawing or taking 1-5 cards from the draw deck or face up row of treat cards. The player must announce prior to drawing how many they are going to take and then must move their ice cream truck that many spaces on the road track.
You can attract customers. To do this, take a look at the treat cards above again, you see that number that is on the top right where the speaker is, you know, that speaker that’s playing that music that makes kids go wild, when you choose a card with the customers you want to attract, you move your truck forward the number of spaces dictated on the card in that spot. Then you take that card and you tuck it under your truck card with only the customers and their wants showing.
The last action you could take on your turn is to Serve your customers that you have attracted, to do so, you start with the topmost customer and you discard treat cards from your hand that match the large treat symbol on the top left of each card with what the customers want. When you serve that customer you slide the card up to cover it up and move your truck one spot along the road track. When you have served the second customer on the card, you take the card and you spin it so that only the icons on the bottom of the card are seen coming from the back of your ice cream truck card.These icons are now permanent bonuses. So the next time you fill a customer order, you don’t have use quite as many cards from your hand. These cards also can have loyalty points on them, these count towards your goal of 9 loyalty points to trigger the end of the game.
Along with getting permanent bonuses from the cards, if you collect the correct number of bonuses you gain location cards that grant loyalty points. Players can only collect one location card of each type.
Along the road, when you land your truck on the Rocket Pop Token, you get to take that into your collection and it can be used as a wild to fill customer orders. When spent, the Rocket Pop Token goes back on to the road in the Pothole space that is in front of the truck token that is furthest ahead on the track.
The game ends when one player has nine or more Loyalty Points. Play will continue however until the player who triggered the end of the game’s Truck Token is furthest back on the road. This player does not take another turn. Be careful, in our games the player who triggered the game end has been the furthest back on the Road Track several times, meaning no one else gets a turn, gotta get those points when you can, and do it quickly. Everyone adds up their Loyalty Points and the Ice Cream Truck driver with the most Loyalty Points wins the game!
Great little games that make great big connections. Every time I preview one of these titles from Green Couch Games, I think that Jason could not have come up with a better tag line for the company. These little small box filler games are quickly becoming the jewels of our collection, from Fidelitas to Avalanche at Yeti Mountain we’ve enjoyed each and every title in our family. Rocky Road a la Mode continues that tradition.
This is a fun set collection game that gives off a bit of a Splendor feel, the collecting of cards and using those cards to fill orders to gain permanent bonuses that allow for easier filling of future orders. But it plays quicker and let’s face it, the theme is a ton more fun, I know I’d take selling ice cream over jewels, and that kind of shows if you get to meet me ever in person.
It’s fun trying to build your engine in Rocky Road a la Mode but you better be well aware of what the rest of the players are doing, focus too hard on getting yourself rolling and forget to deliver the goods that can gain you Loyalty Points, and you’ll find yourself scrambling to catch up as this one plays quick, 20-30 minutes tops but there is a lot of fun and decisions to be made in those 20-30 minutes.
I can’t wait to see the finished product, and I should have asked Jason some of the plans for the Kickstarter before writing this, but he’s been a busy man at Origins this week. I can envision some cool Truck tokens and the Rocket Pop Tokens will surely be a lot of fun as well, and probably another play mat for the road!! Oh man, now I’m really wondering what they’ve got in store. One thing I don’t have to wonder about is gameplay though as Rocky Road a la Mode is fun, a lot of fun.
Watch for Rocky Road a la Mode on Kickstarter, 6/20/2016!
It is 1492, and the pope is dead. As a cardinal who served under the late Pope Innocent the VIII you have always vied for the position, but you could never win the election yourself. The Conclave already knows of your “gray” methods of getting things done. However, some of the other Cardinals are less hardened than yourself. More malleable. If you could position yourself as their advisor and get them elected then it would be you pulling the strings.
Let’s go ahead and admit it, you’ve always wanted to pull the strings, you’ve always wanted to be the one who made sure that the right people, your right people are in charge, but you’ve never had that opportunity before. Well puppet master, now you do in the newest game from Scott Almes and Talon Strikes Games, House of Borgia.
If you’ve ever played Liar’s Dice or one of the other myriad of games using that same type of mechanic, you’ll take to House of Borgia really quickly, but even if you haven’t, like me, you’ll take to it with minimal effort. House of Borgia is quick to teach and learn, but hard to master as I’ll be the first to tell you. You gotta know when to make your move and you can’t be too obvious or you’ll be found out and never have the chance to exert your power.
A game of House of Borgia plays out like this. Shuffle up the Puppet cards and deal out one to each player, put the unused cards in the box, unseen by the players. Keep your card secret, this is the Cardinal that you are wanting to influence and manipulate to the top. Then you are going to shuffle up the Cardinal Cards and place them in a row in the middle of the table. Put your influence cubes nearby as you’ll be using them quite often during the game. Each Cardinal will start the game with 2 influence on them so go ahead and do that now. Each player is now going to receive a set number of dice based on the player count. Now put the rumor cards out on the table as well next to the Cardinals for use as the game progresses. Also, don’t forget the Anti-Pope marker, place it out there as well. Now, you’re ready to exert your influence.
The game is played in a series of rounds and ends when one player has no more dice remaining in their pool.
The round is played out as follows:
Bidding and Action-At the beginning of a round the players will roll their dice and keep them behind their player screen, making sure no one can see them. All the dice have 5 symbols on them and one “Fate” symbol, which is a wild card, it counts as any other symbol as needed. To make a bid you choose one of the actions and bid on how many of those symbols you think are on the table behind all the player screens, so you could say “Three Judgment” if you think there are three total out there. The next person clockwise may then either call the bluff or they can let the active bidder perform the action that they bid on. After that action is taken, the next player in clockwise order gets to bid but they must increase the bid by at least one, so they could say “Four Bribe” and then it’s up to the next person to call or let it go. Now, what are those 5 actions?
Bribe– the player moves one of the Cardinal Mats to the very top or to the very bottom of the ladder of Cardinals. One has to be moved
Poison– the player removes two Influence Tokens from one of the Cardinal Mats, it can be two tokens from one or 1 token from two different Cardinals
Judgement– the player moves two Influence Tokens between Cardinal Mats, once again it can be two from one Cardinal or 1 from two Cardinals, but you can’t just move influence back and forth amongst the same two Cardinals
Accusation– This action allows the player to place the Antipope marker on one of the Cardinal Mats therefor this Cardinal cannot gain or lose Influence, but it can still be influenced by Bribe
Rumor– the player throws a rumor card at another player, accusing them of being in control of that Cardinal. Rumors can only be removed if someone else starts a rumor about you. Then the rumor card in front of you is replaced by the new rumor.
Calling a Bluff– If the next player in turn order calls the bluff of the current bidder, play is stopped to determine whether or not they have the proper amount of symbols to complete the action. All players reveal all their dice behind their screens and if the bid is the truth then the active player gets to take the action and the caller loses one of their die. If the active player was bluffing, then the active player loses a die and takes no action.
Rallying Influence– In this phase the Cardinal Mats will game Influence Points based on their position in the Influence Ladder, with the top Cardinal gaining three, second Cardinal gaining two and the third Cardinal in line gaining one. If one of the Cardinal Mats has the Antipope Marker they do not gain any influence and the influence does not trickle down.
After that if all the players have at least one die left in their possession you set it up to play another round with the player who just lost their die starting everything out. If one player is without dice, the game ends and the Conclave is now ready to vote.
All players reveal their secret card and the Cardinal with the most influence, after everyone adds two Influence Points per die they have left in their possession to their Cardinal, is elected the next pope and the player that controls that pope wins the game. If there is a rumor card in front of you and that rumor is true, you cannot win no matter how much Influence you have.
So, do you think you have what it takes? I hope so, because I surely don’t. I love a good deduction/bluffing game and especially one that throws a unique theme and some fun mechanisms. I’m just not good at them. My wife, my daughter, my game group, heck my Mom will probably tell you the exact same thing. I don’t remember the last time I even won as a villager in One Night Ultimate Werewolf. But in spite of that track record with these kinds of games, I keep coming back and trying, and this one, will probably be a fixture for me in our collection.
The art, even in prototype form is absolutely spot on and amazing, Jason and Scott did a fantastic job in finding the right artist for this one. Rules wise this was a breeze to teach and it was a breeze to play and I am pretty sure the only thing that anyone disliked about playing it, was that they were playing it with me, the worst deduction/bluffing game player in existence.
I really like the dice rolling nature to this and the risk management that always gets a bit more tense as a round progresses. Someone is going to lose a die, it happens every round, but when it happens is the fun part. Knowing when to call and when to just let the action go through is really crucial, along with knowing when and how to manipulate your Cardinal so that others don’t catch on. Don’t do like I did one game and immediately move my Cardinal to the top via the Bribe Action in the first round, I thought for sure folks would think I was bluffing, but it didn’t work and almost immediately I had a rumor card on me and my Cardinal was dead in the water.
I have not gotten to play it at all player counts, only at 4, 5 and 6 players, but I think like most games of this nature, the more the merrier, although if I do get to play it at lower counts I will ammend the preview and let you all know what I think.
Be sure to check this one out on Kickstarter, it’s scheduled to launch on the 15th of February 2016.
Fog of Love is a 2 player card game where the players are using card play to tell the story of their love affair, from the first sparks of attraction to the hopefully happy ending. All the things that can happen in between may or may not happen, fights, reconciliation, meeting the in laws, children, you just never know.
First things first just to get this out of the way as I know this will be the first thought among some people. Fog of Love is much more than just a game that tells a story, there are choices to be made in this that ultimately lead to one of the three possible endings. Both players can win, one player can win, or neither can win, it just all depends on how they play their cards and where they take their relationship.
I’m not going to go to in depth with the setup here, I think I’ll add a video of that to show the setup, just know that the setup is ultimately where you start the game. You do have choices to make here that will ultimately help determine what direction you take the relationship. So in essence, the game starts as soon as you start setting up. The first choice you get to make is the scenario, now, we only had 2 scenarios in the preview copy but there will be more. The scenario sets the four chapters of the game, we’ll talk about that more in a minute.
After you decide on the scenario everyone goes ahead and chooses color and decides on the sex of their character they are playing. Based on that choice some story cards may or may not need to be removed from the game.
Then, we get down to the choices that need to be made, think of this as “rolling” your character if you were playing an RPG. You get to decide on some traits that may, or may not, carry with you for the rest of the game. Your traits are yours and yours alone, you do not share this information with your partner. The traits will give you some direction in where you want your choice points to go on the game board, which we’ll discuss later. Each player gets 5 random traits from the trait deck and gets to keep 3, the rest go in a face down pile on the board.
Next, your character has to have a job right? So you both get to choose an occupation. Deal out 3 of the occupation cards to each player and then each player selects one and places it face up on their player board, the rest are discarded and put away back in the box. After occupations, deal out each player 5 Feature cards. Each player will then take a turn choosing 1 of the 5 Features and assigning them to their partner until you have given your partner 3 Features, discard the rest and put them back in the box.
Now that you have your Occupations and your Features you’ll notice that there are symbols on the bottom of these cards, these symbols will tell you where to place your beginning choice points on the Personality Factors. There is a symbol to tell you which Personality Factor is affected, and an arrow to tell you which side of the track to place the token on. The Trait cards tell you where you want your choice points to be at the end, if at the end of the game you meet your Trait requirements, you will gain Heart, or Love points. The Occupation and Feature cards in theory should get you started on that road, but sometimes they can conflict and make things a bit difficult. Luckily, throughout Fog of Love, there are cards that do help invoke personal change, allowing you to change the way you are.
Now we deal out 5 of the Story Cards to each player. On the board there are three different sets of story cards, Sweet cards which are the more romantic experiences, they are the building blocks but they also do not have much larger consequences. There are Serious cards, these are the more important and serious things that happen during a relationship, these help evolve the relationship. Lastly are the Drama cards, these have bigger effects and lots of risk, these are the cards that evoke change in the relationships, secrets, conflicts, surprises. Each player starts the game with 3 Sweet Cards, 1 Serious Card and 1 Drama Card.
You are now set to begin your relationship.
Part of the attraction to Fog of Love for me was the ability to sort of “role play” if you want to. While this is not necessary for the game to be fun or to even be played, it can add a little bit of excitement and a bit of flavor to the game. We do the whole introduction of our characters to each other, we give them names and we try to tie in our features and occupations to that description as best we can. It always helps to know that Stasia is sitting across from you, as it may help distance yourself from personal feelings during the game. While I may not want to make a choice in real life, Rico may have no problem with it regardless of the effect of that decision.
While playing the game there are a few things to remember. Do not reveal your Story Cards on hand, do not reveal your Story Ending Cards(which we’ll discuss in a bit), Do not reveal your traits and your goals and do not openly discuss decisions to be made on individual and simultaneous choices. Follow those rules about open information unless directed differently by a story card.
The first played card of any chapter is the Chapter Card that starts the corresponding chapter. The chapter card is going to tell a bit of your story, the first chapter card will be how you met, what do you remember. There is a choice on the Chapter Cards and these will ultimately help you or harm your choices. The first Chapter Card in the scenario we’ve played awards Heart/Love points if you and your partner pick the correct corresponding answers. The Chapter Card also will list how many cards are going to be played during this chapter and will tell you what Story Card pile or piles you can draw from to replenish your hand to five after playing a card.
Let’s get into actual card and game play and how a chapter is played out, it’s really pretty simple, but don’t let the simple game play mechanics belie that there choices to be made here. A wrong play of a card and suddenly your choice points balance has fallen all out of favor and you have to struggle to make things work in your favor later. Anyway, what a player does on their turn is they play a Story Card and then you resolve the choice on the card. Most cards will have either a choice for the other player or a simultaneous choice for both. Based on these choices the players will get choice points on the Personality Factors and sometimes even Heart/Love points. The active player places their played card in the discard pile and refills their hand to 5 cards from the appropriate stack or stacks. There are other types of cards that can be played, Location cards impact the next card played, Reaction Cards can be played as a reaction to a response, sometimes a response of your partner’s or your own and then there are Secret Cards that are played and played face down and not flipped unless a story card instructs otherwise. If they are not flipped during the game they will be flipped at the end and will have choice points or Heart/Love points for you to score.
Now may be a good time to tell you a bit about those Story Ending Cards that are in front of you, because as you progress through the game, some of the Story Cards or the Chapter Cards are going to tell you to discard Story Ending Cards or retrieve them from your discard pile. The story ending cards are basically your end conditions that you need to have met in order to win the game and as you discard and retrieve, you have to pay close attention to what you are discarding and how you are doing on the choice points during the game as ultimately if you chose the wrong ending to shoot for, you lose. Some will simply require you to have choice points in a certain row, along with Heart/Love points and your partner to not break up. Others will require more of a concentrated team effort of choice points and Heart/Love points.
After the final Chapter Card is revealed, the players will begin scoring and seeing ultimately where their relationship will end. First reveal your Story Ending Cards, as I said, these ultimately give win conditions for the players. Secondly, resolve any Secret Cards that may have not been revealed. Thirdly, we are going to score trait goals. each trait goal achieved is worth 5 Heart/Love points, each trait goal not achieved costs the player 3 Heart/Love points. If for some reason you have 2 Trait Goals that are similar, same personality factor in the same direction, the balance requirements for the second trait goal are doubled and tripled if there is a third. Now, consult those Story Ending Cards and find out how the relationship ultimately moves on to Happily ever after or if things are so irrevocably broken that it falls apart and the partners go their separate ways.
Whew, that was actually more than I thought I was going to talk about with Fog of Love, I hadn’t intended on actually giving the rules that thoroughly, they just kind of came spilling out as I was writing this out.
From the beginning, Jacob had set out to create a game that isn’t like other games, that doesn’t necessarily play like other games. What started out as a game that Jacob and his wife could play, turned into something different, it struck a chord with people who played it so he continued to share the game with others and more and more folks started taking notice of how games could be designed a bit differently from the conflict heavy games that dominate our landscape now. The game is personal, it can evoke emotions and in tabletop this is a rare thing unless you are playing an RPG, at least it seems that way to me.
Design wise, Jacob and his wife Lotte have nailed it on this one, it looks the part of a modern designed board game that isn’t like anything else even in its preview form. The card design is well laid out, easy to read and the art on the cards really makes it really stand out. I really can’t wait to see this in final form with the actual board and wooden choice point markers, I really do wonder what they have in store or if they are going to go with the simple Blue and Pink wooden circles, they work perfectly fine if a bit fumbly for my non-dexterous fingers, and that is a small an issue with a game that tracks points on different sides of the board. But once again, I’ve not seen the final plans yet, only preview copy.
We’ve played the game both procedural and with trying to act out the parts as much as we felt comfortable with, my wife and I are not well versed role players, so this is kind of a newer experience for us, and almost an exercise and I’m sure she will mention that in our audio review where we talk about playing. But what I want to reiterate though is that we enjoyed our plays either way, because at it’s core, this is a card game, it’s just that the cards aren’t providing the main answers, we are. The cards are the nail and we are the hammers so to speak, sure the cards will hold the game together and make it what it is, but without the outside influence and personal choices made by the players it doesn’t work. What I mean is that you don’t play a card to answer a card like we do in so many card games. You have to come up with the answer on your own.
The first few turns of Fog of Love really do feel like that “getting to know you” phase of a relationship, the cards are generally lighter in meaning and meant to be a way to find out who your partner really is. As Fog of Love progresses, the questions get heavier and the decisions have a more lasting effect and can be more difficult to answer in a way that truly helps you in the game, but may help your partner. The possibilities of an unplanned pregnancy, or a sex tape being discovered or even infidelity by one of the players could come into play and completely change how the game progresses. Which Story Ending Cards you choose to discard becomes increasingly difficult as you move deeper into the relationship, are you staying together or is it going to end in a break up, it’s hard to tell sometimes.
I am curious how non-couples will adapt to this and play the game, I did not get to play with anyone other than Kerensa even though I really wanted to give it a try and I still may and if I do I will amend here and let you know how that goes. The only reason I wonder is because, well people may still have hangups about how to act or play a game with sexual implications with people that they don’t know that well or even someone of the same sex, I don’t really think it should be a problem but I do imagine that may mean that it isn’t a game for everyone, which is kind of sad.
Fog of Love will launch with 3 different scenarios and I imagine that more are in the works via stretch goals, but I have no verification of that. We’ve only played the one scenario and each time it has played a bit differently, but having more scenarios is always welcomed, along with more of those fantastic story cards that drive the game. We do have one other scenario in our possession and it’s a more traditional cooperative scenario and I’m hoping we get to that one soon and it’ll be part of the audio preview.
Launching on February 14, 2016 on Kickstarter for $39 including shipping here in the US and France, Fog of Love is really a no brainer for people who want a two player game that they can play with their significant other that has fun role playing and story telling elements, but most of all Fog of Love should appeal to people who want a truly unique and fun gaming experience unlike anything they have played before.
Kickstarter should be live at 2PM Danish Time which I believe is 7 am in the Central Time Zone in the US.
Note: This game is still in prototype/preview form, things may change during production to make things look a bit different. Originally distributed in Japan by Poki Design, this one is being brought to the rest of the world via Green Couch Games.
Have you ever thought that you had what it takes to be the world’s finest stir fry master, should you be flipping vegetables into the mouths of adoring customers who show up as much for the show as they do for the food? Well now is your chance to try it out without the fear of hurting yourself or others, well, mostly without that fear, I guess there is always that chance.
Wok on Fire! is the newest in the Green Couch Games line of “great little games that make great big connections”. We’ve had fun battling for supremacy in Fidelitas, we’ve built our treehouses to the sky in Best Treehouse Ever, we’ve battled our dinosaur packs in JurassAttack! and we’ve raced Yetis down the mountain in Avalanche at Yeti Mountain. Now, it’s time to cook!
Wok on Fire! is a set collecting, dexterity game about cooking the best stir fry. Every player will get a spatula card that the players will use during the game, they’ll also get two player aids that they will place in front of them that will act as the boundaries of the wok. There are 50 ingredient cards in the deck, shuffle those up then deal 24 face down to form the draw pile and then disperse the remaining 26 as evenly as possible within the boundaries of your wok. Now, you are ready to show your prowess in stir fry flipping and cooking.
On a player’s turn, you have three things to do in specific order.
Edit: In the video we show picking up ingredients by using the spatula, I’ve been informed that we’ve been creating our own variant for the game and making it a bit more difficult than intended, when you pick up ingredients you use your hand, not the card.
First you perform two “Stir Fry” actions. To do this the player takes their spatula card, slide it underneath an ingredient card that is in the wok and then they will flip that ingredient upward in hopes that they flip it to land face up to know what it is. Do this twice, you do need to at least flip one ingredient so if both times you try you fail, try again, practice will make perfect, young wok star.
The next step that the active player takes is that they are going to choose two face up ingredients and then attempt to pick them up and bring them to your player area. There are a few rules for doing this, you do need to indicate which ingredients you are going to pick up before you start, both ingredients. You need to do your best to not disturb and move around other ingredients in the wok. The center circle of the ingredient card must be visible, you don’t have to see the entire picture of the ingredient, but the circle does at least need to be visible. At least one corner of the ingredient card must also be visible as well. Lastly, if there are ingredients falling out of the wok area, they may not be chosen, with one specific exception that we’ll discuss later when we discuss the specific ingredient cards. These rules do mean that if there are fewer than 2 ingredient cards face up, you’ll pick up fewer than two on your turn.
The final thing that the active player will do on their turn is they will perform the “chop” action. What the chop action is, you take two ingredient cards from the top of the draw deck and place them face down in your palm with your palm above the wok area. Then with your other hand you take a “chopping” type motion chopping those ingredients into the wok, some may land face up, some may land face down, leave them how they land, unless of course they land outside the wok area. If there are cards outside the wok area, pick them up and chop them back into the wok, this includes any ingredients that may have been flipped or dropped outside the area during your turn as well.
Play then passes to the player on the left and continues until the ingredient deck runs out, when this happens, each player will get one more turn each.
Now the question arises as to why we are doing those things, why are we flipping and collecting ingredients, well, we do this in order to make the best possible dishes which will score us the most possible points. Because of course, the player with the most points will be the winner. What you will do is you will consult your player aid and see the combinations of ingredients that will score the most points for you. Each ingredient can only be used for scoring one time, meaning you can only use it in one combination or by itself. There are currently 11 different ingredient cards in the game and each of them will allow you to score things a bit differently. Take for example, the chicken. The chicken by itself is worth two points each. But if you pair that chicken with a garlic, you can triple the points of that meat. Or, if you combine the chicken with one vegetable and the rice, you get a flat 15 points, or if you use the chicken with a vegetable, one condiment and the noodles you score 25 points. So you see, how you collect and arrange your sets will vary quite a bit, it’s all about maximizing what you’ve collected.
One other note about the ingredient cards, remember when I said there was one exception earlier? Well, some ingredient cards have specific instructions for them whenever you pick them up, like if you are picking up the chicken, you must pick up all viable chicken cards at once as one single pick up action when you are gathering them, or the Green Pepper, which if there are ANY green peppers visible when you are picking up ingredients you must always pick them up first, even if they have fallen out of the wok, plus the first time you pick up a green pepper on your turn you immediately perform another stir fry action and then pick up another face up ingredient, if there are any.
So that’s all there is to it, you have some dexterity, you have some fun set collection and decisions to be made on how to combine your ingredients to best score your points. The cards special powers do add a bit of thought and a little bit of tactical strategy in the game since sometimes you can’t always pick up exactly what you want to get. Getting the most out of each turn by picking up the garlic or the green pepper can always add a lot to your collection. The dexterity involved is a bit harder than it seems, sometimes the cards flip nicely, sometimes they don’t, also, picking up specific ingredients can prove a bit challenging from time to time, especially if you are picking up something on the bottom of a stack of ingredient cards trying to get a little extra for your collection.
All of this is done in a span of about 20 minutes, the game plays fast, loose and fun, more than living up to that motto of Green Couch Games. We’ve had a great time with this one.
Mahola is a 3-4 player card drafting game from SP Hansen Games. In it, the players are trying to put together the highest scoring Native American dance to win the round and ultimately be the first person to collect three wins.
The game of Mahola itself plays very easily. At the beginning of each round the players are dealt a special character card, there are four different ones in the game, the Shaman, the Maiden, the Hunter and the Chief. Each of these characters have a special ability that can alter your tableau of dances that you are building in front of you and they are kept secret from the other players until you reveal them at the end of the round before scoring. After everyone is dealt their character card, the dealer will then deal each player 5 Dance Cards for their starting hand, placing the rest of the Dance Cards onto the center of the table to act as the draw pile.
Gameplay moves like this, each player will select a card from their hand and place it face down in front of them. Once each player has selected a card, they are revealed and placed into their tableau. The players then choose a card to pass to the player on their left and a card to pass to the player on their right. After they receive two cards in return they draw a card from the top of the deck and repeat the procedure until each of them have five cards in their tableau. The important thing to remember when placing down the cards is that they can only be placed on the ends of the tableau, you cannot place them in between cards in your tableau. After the five Dance Cards have been played to the players tableau, the players then reveal their character card, take the action allowed by the character card, if they so desire, and score their dances.
The scoring for each round is pretty straight forward, but it has a lot to do with coordinating your plays correctly and getting the cards in the correct order in the tableau. First off, each character card is either red or black, if your character card color matches the color of the number in the upper left of the Dance Card, you gain that many points. If your color does not match, you lose that many points, unless the spirit animal on the Dance Card matches the spirit animal on your Character Card, then you score zero. After scoring those points you add to that the points from the secondary dance icons if they match the card they are right next to. Also, there is a chance to score an additional 2 points on a card if you manage to have the correct dances adjacent to the card. If that all sounds a bit odd, well, it may be that way the first time through, but once you see the scoring in action it makes perfect sense. The highest score wins the round and takes the Wampum token to show that they have one win. You repeat this until someone has three Wampum tokens and that person wins Mahola.
To start with, the art for Mahola is absolutely fantastic and those who love the Native American theme will love examining the cards to soak up each and every detail on them, and that’s made a bit easier because the cards are larger than normal playing cards which is another bonus. That all being said, this was a Preview Copy of the game and I can only imagine that they’ve got some ideas to keep improving the look for the final product, and I can’t wait to see what they are.
Graphic Design was there were a couple small issues we had with the cards, mainly when trying to score, it was kind of off-putting how you had to look at the lower banner at the adjacent dance and then glance to the top of the two adjacent cards to read and see if you matched them. But it looks like Scott has already thought of that and they have color coded the dances to make them easier to pick up at first glance, which you can see in the photo above. This will be a great help when scoring your tableau.
Gameplay wise, this is a pretty straight forward drafting game that takes some careful planning to build your tableau to perform the best dance. Knowing what to pass off to the other players can be a pretty big advantage for you if you can figure out early on what they are going for. My only issue with it being that in a four player game there is going to be one player that each player won’t interact with at all, so you have to hope that everyone else is paying as close attention as you are when passing the cards. But, that would probably be easily solved by switching up the passing directions and adding a pass across the table as well. The chaining of the dances in the tableau make for a really nice mural that you are creating in front of you, I can’t state this enough that the artwork is fantastic.
The field is getting more and more crowded with these small box games that play in 15-30 minutes. It’s getting tougher and tougher to set yourself apart from the field and I think that Scott has done that with this one, the unique theme, the fantastic artwork and the ease of play with decisions to be made each round make this one an easy choice to back at $15, or $18 if you want the Wampum Beads to go with your game.
Mahola is scheduled to hit Kickstarter on the 26th of January.
Well, the girls and I survived a week without Kerensa around to take care of us and make sure we don’t do anything stupid, well sort of, Friday morning at around 3:30 am I was awoken by the sound of our 5 year old getting sick. Every half hour after that she continued to get sick until a bit later in the day on Friday. I hate having sick kiddos, there is not a more helpless feeling in the world that I can think of. But she’s a trooper and by Saturday morning she was bouncing around again. Gabby finishes up volleyball this week and we’ve got parent teacher conferences as well on Monday and Tuesday, so we’ll see what kind of mood we’re in after that, but I have no doubt in my mind the kiddos are doing fantastic. We had a couple game nights this week, Monday night the game group was kind enough to meet at our house instead of making me find a sitter and then Saturday evening Gabby graced us with an appearance and played three games with us which hasn’t happened in a bit. Without any further babble on my part, let’s launch into the games which includes a game that I haven’t played in about two and a half years and a brand spanking new game from friends of the show Jason and Lisa Washburn of Talon Strikes Studios. Let’s get to it!!
Monday night the game group met at our house as I said to play a few games. Normally we do play elsewhere but being that Kerensa was out of town they joined me here to play. First to the table at the request of Bern was the game that has not seen the table here in over two and a half years, Small World. Bern had never played before and he had a copy sitting at his house that he wasn’t sure if he should buy or not, so we offered to sit down to a five player game. Now, Small World is an easy game, but being that the break between plays was so long, we managed to screw something up right at the beginning, I think we were allowing over taking an area at the start too cheap and that spread our races thin so we went through that deck of base races pretty quickly, I think only 4 weren’t played the entire game. But even with that we had a good time. Small World is a great game to teach area control, it’s just too bad that die is so evil most of the time. I really thought I had this one in the bag, didn’t think anyone was close. I started with the rat men and just kept spreading and finding bonuses as I went, even with the Human Merchants towards the end basically tripling their score just based on the three or four areas I took with them. But, my final score of 93 was not enough, I seriously thought no one would touch that in a five player game, but Mike revealed 99 points and we were finished. Bern finished in third with 86, followed by Steven with 73 and Mark with 67. We’ve owned Small World forever, and played it now a handful of times and yet, even with all the expansions, I’ve never felt the need to expand it. The mix of races and traits really allows for a different play just about each time. I know Gabby enjoyed it, but I don’t think that Kerensa was too big of a fan which kind of explains why it sat unloved for so long, as it is, Small World may be the last game I ever reach for in a two player situation.
We followed up Small World with a new to all of us except Mark game, Nefarious. Now, Nefarious is a game from Donald X. Vaccarino of Dominion fame, but this one really plays nothing like Dominion as this one is pretty strictly hand management with simultaneous actions going on. Nefarious should be a pretty quick game, even with 6 players as we were playing this time since Jonathon had made it by that time, but with teaching and some shenanigans around the table, this one seemed to drag on just a bit too long, although I’m sure if we got into the theme and such it’d play a lot more fun than it did, since we were all just playing it pretty dry, I don’t even remember the names of my machines that I created. But anyway, Nefarious is a game in which the players are evil geniuses and we are racing to build our evil inventions. Nefarious is played over several rounds. In each round the players simultaneously choose and reveal one of their actions that will allow them to allocate one of their Minions to an area on their Lair, obtain money, obtain a blueprint for an invention, or build one of their inventions if they have enough money to do so. The minions that you allocate to your Lair can earn you additional income depending on the actions that your neighbors choose. The first player to build 20 or more points worth of Inventions AND have more points than any other player wins. There is a twist to the game, though – actually, two twists! At the beginning of the game, you randomly draw two Twist cards, which change the environment so that the game plays differently each time. This means that in order to win, the players will have to revise their strategies each time they play Nefarious. I am having a bit of trouble remembering what the twists were for us this game, I think one allowed us to collect an extra dollar for everyone adjacent to us that took an action that we had a minion on? Or maybe that’s part of the rules, I really don’t recall. I really should take more notes when playing new games that I know I’m going to talk about, I apologise. Also of note this was the new USAopoly version of the game and I’m not finding the rules online anywhere so I can look through and see if I can figure out which twists they were. I’ve not seen the old version before, but this USAopoly version looked nice, I liked the graphic design and the artwork, but the cards seemed thin and flimsy and the money was kind of meh as well. Now, I feel like I’m being a bit negative about the game, and it may be warranted a bit, but there is some fun to be had in this I think, and that fun will be with the groups that can bring about that mad scientist theme and get into the game, we just didn’t accomplish that on Monday night in spite of Mark trying, we all played it like a straight up card game and just went through the motions pretty dryly. I’d give it another shot or two, maybe with fewer than 6 people. I think I’d see it a bit differently that way.
After Nefarious most everyone packed up and headed home, so Jonathon and I sat down to a play of A Game of Thrones Living Card Game 2nd Edition, from here on out, just known as Game of Thrones the Card Game. We used the initial demo decks as provided in the rulebook from Fantasy Flight Games. I took the Starks and Jonathon took the Lannisters. Mike stayed around for a bit of the fun as I think about it, it’s his fault that both Jonathon and I bought the game, and yet he still hasn’t picked up a copy. Anyway, after last week’s attempt with Kerensa I was ready to give it another run with some refreshed rules in my head. But Jonathon and I still managed to mess a couple things up, mainly we messed up the Power challenge and instead of stealing power from the opponent we were just taking power from the general supply. I’m not really sure why we did that as I know that Kerensa and I played it the correct way the first time through, oh well. The Lannister deck got out to an early lead power wise, I had to let a couple challenges pass unopposed and such while I tried to build my army. We were straight military for most of the match up and that hurt us, we’d still manage to kill one of his characters but with no Claim 2 quests in our plot decks it really wasn’t doing much. Once I got Sansa Stark out though, my power pool started to grow and then I added Eddard to the army and we were rolling. But Jonathon managed to get me to run out of cards before we could either of us get to 15 power, and at game’s end we were both at 12 power. I dug it and like I said last week, once you know those cards and play it a few times, the game is going to move a lot faster and be even more enjoyable, I just have to find people to play with. I’m pretty sure that Jonathon is in, I’m not sure if he’ll buy more than one core, I have two and a third is on the way. I should have known better than to jump into this, unlike Small World above, this one just calls to that completionist or obsessive inside me. I have no need for three boxes, but I want to be able to build the best decks I can possibly build, even if I am only ever playing friends and never competing in a tournament or anything. I’m trying my best to not check the websites and search for decks, I’m going to try to do this a little on my own, just build a deck or two and see how they play, adjust and play some more, hopefully. I have only built one full deck so far, and I’ll post a link to it for anyone to check out. Please, feel free to go over it and tell me what I did wrong or even what I did correct, if I did anything correctly. It’s a Night’s Watch/Martell deck. I’m still learning the lingo so I think it would technically be a Martell Banner deck or something like that, I don’t know, I’ve still got a lot of learning to do with it I think, but at least it’s one that I’m willing to do that with.
No games were played the rest of the week as most of the time was just spent making sure that Gabby, AnnaBeth and I didn’t get in any trouble. But Saturday night we guilted Gabby out of her room long enough for her to play three games with us, starting with the new game from Talon Strikes Studios, KingPins. Jason reached out to me and asked if we wanted to give this one a spin and after looking at it a bit on BGG, I said sure, why not, it looked like fun, and it was. If you are familiar with Jason and Talon Strikes, you’ve probably seen his artwork and the Kickstarter game from last year, Hooch. Now Hooch didn’t make it, funding came up short, but the Hooch “universe” lives on in Kingpins. Kingpins is a really cool little hand management game where you are playing cards to a center area of the table and the object is to be the person who runs out of cards to end the round. If you have cards left in your hand you score those cards, you want to have the lowest score possible after five rounds. In the rules, each player is dealt five cards, but we played with the rules as Jason told us and played with 6 cards per player. In the center you have a draw deck and at the North, South, East and West locations around the draw deck you have cards flipped upright for you to build on in a solitaire like way, alternating colors and one lower value. The cards number from 1-12 and they are either black or red suited and most have some kind of “power” on them that you take after you play out the card. The 12s are the only cards that can be played in different spots, those can go in between the existing rows to start new rows, the 12s are called the Kingpins. On each players turn they can do as many actions as they possibly can, playing cards from their hand and taking the actions, moving rows from one to the other to create empty spaces that can be filled by the active player with any card they want to re-start that row with. There are cards that give you the ability to build under the row, these are Femme Fatale cards, you gain them by playing an 11. I’m sure there are probably other games around that do this kind of thing, I’m just not the card gamer to know what they are. But what those games don’t have is the theme and the cool touch of naming each and every card after someone different. It’s kind of fun to see that. For example the four Kingpins are Matt “The Virus” Leacock, Scott “Godfather” Almes, Benny “The Fish” Pinchback and Matt “Big Daddy” Riddle. I’m not going to say too much more other than I won our game this weekend, with me having 8, Kerensa having 11 and Gabby having 26 points(she got stuck with a couple 12s and that hurt her). I hope get a few more plays in and I think we’ll try to give this one the What Did You Play This Week review treatment with photos and everything. I think Jason is planning on selling this one on Drive Thru Cards, I will update folks when it’s available and such, but I think it should be pretty soon.
Now, speaking of Pinchback and Riddle, it’s time for Eric Booth to join us with another review. This week Eric takes a look at a game that was on Kickstarter just a few months ago and is already in backers hands. It’s one that I initially was backing but then backed out on because I just wasn’t sure about the game play after reading the rule book, well, let’s see if I regret that decision, take it away Eric!
Eric’s review can be found at the 15:00 mark of the podcast!
Thanks for that Eric, I was kind of worried about Floating Market at the lower player counts which is one of the things that popped out at me in the review, but I’m really happy to hear that it really plays well at the bigger player counts, I hope to get a chance to play it sometime soon, but I’m assuming my first chance will be at Geekway next year. I’m not sure how many copies will be available retail because if I’m not mistaken, the Kickstarter was for a limited amount of games to be in print, but I’ll have to double check later or maybe even we’ll get Matt and Ben to chime in.
Alright, next up on Saturday evening, Gabby asked for a play of Game of 49. I covered Game of 49 way back in the podcast, but I’m having trouble locating when that was due to me being a doof and not doing both the blog and the podcast at the same time for a while. It took me a bit to realize that the blog would be useful too as folks don’t always have time to have things stuck in their ears, but could usually read. See it pays to be a forward thinker sometimes, I just wish that was me more often. Anyway, here goes.
The Game of 49 is an auction game where the players are trying to connect 4 of their chips in a row, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally in order to win the game, with 5 players they are trying to connect 3 in a row, on a board of 49 spaces, each with a number from 1-49.
At the start of the game everyone will receive all of their chips in their chosen color and $49. From this point on all money should become hidden information.
When we chose the first player we’ll give them the deck of cards and the game can get going. Once the player flips the first card we’ll explain what the cards are. The card flipped can be one of three types of cards, a regular card with a single number, a wild/payoff card and a wild49/payoff card. The cards with a single number are auctioned off for that specific spot on the board. The wild/payoff cards are auctioned off for a space in the designated number range and after placing the chip, everyone gets paid $7 per chip they have on the board up to $49. The Wild49/Payoff card is a bit different. The 49 spot on the board is the only space on the board that you can displace another players chip, if you win the auction for this spot and the space is empty go ahead and place your chip in the center square. If there is another color chip there, remove it from the board and give it back to that player and place your chip in that space. If you already have possession of the space and you win the auction go ahead and place a chip on a space of your choice. After placing the chip a payout follows.
The auction is run clockwise starting with the player who flipped the card. If you pass you are out of the auction, you cannot re-enter if the bid makes it around to you. There is a penalty as well for overbidding. If you win a bid after bidding more money than you have, you immediately remove a chip of your color from the board. The spot that was previously auctioned is then re-auctioned. The winner of the auction places their chip on the space they win or the space that they choose within the range on the wild card and the deck of cards is passed to the next player clockwise and another auction is started.
When someone connects their 4 number of spots in a row, they win the game, if for some reason no one has connected the correct amount of spots and the deck runs out, the person with the most chips is the winner, if there is a tie, then the person among those who tied that has the most money is the winner, if there is still a tie, the player with the highest numbered spot occupied, among the players still tied, on the board is declared the winner.
This one actually went pretty quickly, we’ve had games of this that are pretty hard fought and you get a lot of the board covered, but I think at the end of this one I only had 7 total chips on the board and could still afford to outbid everyone to get that last spot I needed. For such a simple auction game this one gives Kerensa fits, I think it just drives her crazy trying to give a value to each square, and she said as much after the game, but I’m just glad that Gabby likes this one as I do too. And needless to say this one is better with more players than fewer.
So we finished out the night with another one that hasn’t been on the table for quite a while, although I have played it online fairly recently. We broke out Takenoko for another spin. This is one of Gabby’s favorites, which is why when we play, we have the privilege of playing the big collector’s edition, even if that die scares the heck out of me, it really could hurt someone, I’m just sayin. Anyway, this one we started playing back in 2012, and back then the rules weren’t always as clear to me as they should be and also we made some changes in how we played to allow Gabby a bit of leeway. I only say that because minus online plays, this may be the first time we’ve sat down and played getting the rules 100% correct from the rulebook, it’s not that the rules were difficult, it’s just that they are so ingrained in my head incorrectly that it kind of felt like playing a new game. I’m really glad we played this again, it’s whimsical and it’s a lot of fun, even if the plot cards can be a bit easier to fulfill than the others. I won this 38-35-32, once again, even with Gabby triggering the end game by getting that eighth card completed, she finished in last place. Seems she has the same problem as me when it comes to game with this kind of game ending. Pastiche has always given me fits, I don’t think I’ve won a game of it yet even though I do tend to trigger game end usually.
That’s it, that’s all the games that got on our table this week. James, Bill and I are slowly working our way through a game of Palaces of Carrara over on Board Game Arena and I am still working through an online game of Castles of Burgundy over on Boiteajeux with Bill Corey. Oh, and Season 9 of the Terra Mystica Tour is ongoing over at Terra.Snellman. I’ve finished one game in which I came in third, once again, big lead at the beginning but the engine always falters, it just never has clicked for me even though I have played it now 23 official times, although I think there are a few games I haven’t bothered to log. Competition over there though is really good and most everyone involved really know what they are doing, so I’m pretty outclassed that way as I am still way too much of a seat of my pants gamer, although I am trying to change that.
Star Realms season has wrapped up and I managed to fight back to an even 5-5 but that last game I just got beat to the punch by one round and lost, we both had some big turns and I probably wasted a round picking up the Freighter a second time when I probably should have just went attack since nothing in the buy row was very expensive, I think I saw one card that was value 7, the rest were lower than that. But you live and you learn. Now we have to wait and see to find out who is dropping down as there is a cluster of us at 5-6 this season. I will say, that even though my plays have been going better, I do still get humbled whenever Chris or Dustin challenge me to a match up. They just know exactly what to buy everytime and stomp all over me. Thanks for the challenges!! Keep ‘em coming to Vacabck.
Speaking of apps, that’s what I play Star Realms on. Patrick is back with us this week to give us a review of a classic, well, a classic that is getting that digital retouch that it deserves. So, does the number 56 game on Board Game Geek get the love it deserves in the digital world? Let’s find out, take it away Patrick!
Patrick’s Steam review can be heard at the 32:10 mark of the podcast!
I’ll confess, I’ve got Age of Steam and Railways of the World sitting on our shelves unloved. I need to really remedy that. And I’ll also be picking up the Steam app as soon as it’s available on iOS as well. Sounds like a winner, thanks Patrick!
We’re not going to talk a lot about Kickstarter this week, I am only really going to remind folks that World’s Fair 1893 ends its Kickstarter campaign on October 28th at 3pm CDT. Currently sitting at $36,700 I really can’t wait to see what the last 3 days mean for the campaign. It’s been a lot of fun promoting it, and it’s been even more fun playing it. So one more time we’re going to give it our thumbs up. The review is stickied on the blog, be sure to check it out if you want to know more of what we think about it.
Well, it seems that another podcast that I really enjoy listening to is going on a hiatus. Scheduling conflicts and trying to focus on the part of the hobby that’s most important, the actual gaming, seem to be the biggest reasons for the Punching Cardboard podcast leaving us for now. Jim and Eric have been around on the podcast for coming up on two years. Somehow that very first episode landed in my feed and I listened to it and stuck around for the better part of two years, I only remember skipping maybe a handful of episodes. If you go to their guild over on Board Game Geek and check out the member list and then sort it by date joined and check the last page, you’ll see that while Kristin, Jim and Eric are the first members, right after them is me. I don’t remember what drew me to the podcast at first, but I know why I stuck around. I honestly don’t think there is a gaming podcast I’ve listened to that I’ve laughed out loud more with than this one. They give their opinions and they pull no punches and even when there is a game that they dislike that I enjoy, I love hearing their reasoning behind it, and they always gave clear, well thought out reasons. In recent months their podcast has grown to include talk about whisky and music, which I know a lot of people disliked, but I loved it. We have plenty of gaming podcasts that strictly talk about gaming, it was nice to have someone talk about Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell and then introduce me to Polis and a Scotch I may never have the chance to drink. It was like sitting down and listening to two old friends catch up after a couple weeks away. Hopefully this isn’t the end, but just a pause, because the board game media needs guys like this, the curmudgeons with a critical eye a lot more than they need more folks who are just going to be yes men or women. So, I’ll raise a glass of Lagavulin 16 and say thank you Eric, Jim and Kristin. I hope to hear you all again soon.
If you follow the blog I post every once in a while over on Board Game Geek, you’ve already seen the big arrival this week, and when I say big, I mean big. On Wednesday afternoon while I was home with the kiddos after they had an early release from school, The Gallerist landed on our doorstep with a thud. You can see photos over on Board Game Geek if you want to check them out, I’ll post a link after this section, but I’ll just sum it up real quick, it was like a piece of art was delivered, a piece of art that I could play with and try to melt my brain with. I didn’t get a play in this week, no one was up for it, but I did open it all and carefully punch out all the cardboard, with my exacto knife and clippers nearby if needed and then I went through the rules and set it up for a four player game just to see what it looked like on the table. I’ve read the rules and they seem really well written, I think Vital is getting better and better at that each game, which has to be a difficult thing to do with games as dense and intricate as he makes, but with the help of some great proofreaders and some rules gurus it looks like this one will be easily learned by most from the book instead of having to resort to other methods. But anyway, enough gushing about a game I haven’t even played yet, what the heck is wrong with me.
Also arriving this week on Saturday was a pre-order that I had until recently forgotten about, The Golden Ages. I was reminded that I ordered it when Fedex sent me a message saying that a package was on the way. I picked this one up thinking that maybe it was a Civ game that I could get Kerensa or Gabby to play with me, Gabby at this point is a reach, but I think Kerensa might enjoy it if she’ll sit down and give it a shot, I just have to pick the right time and the right place. But I’m super excited to give it a try and I’m thankful that Stronghold Games brought this one over.
If folks aren’t aware of it, there is a tool that’s used a lot over on Board Game Geek by people like me who track nearly every play and like to know the stats of those plays. That tool is called friendlessstats. I’ll put a link at the end of this section for the blog and also on the notes for the podcast. But what friendless does is it gives you way too much information about your plays. What I’ve particularly been noticing, as you can tell by the podcast this week, is how long it sometimes is between plays of games. Two and a half years for Small World a year and a half for Takenoko. That all falls under the collection management tab of Friendless under the Games you should play that you own. What I’m going to do is I am going to put my shame list, my shame list is not unplayed games in my collection, there’s nothing shameful about that, my shame list is this list of games that haven’t been played in forever. Here are the fifteen games in our collection that have currently gone the longest between plays.
15) Pandemic-688 days since our last play. Now folks can see why I am just not that excited about Pandemic Legacy. I’m sure that it’s a fantastic and fun game just like everyone says but Pandemic has never been a coop that anyone in the family has ever asked to play.
14) Hey, That’s My Fish-706 days since our last play. Honestly, this one is a really fun game and the girls like it, but it’s such a pain in the butt to set up each time and I think that we’ve lost two of the penguins, but still, that’s no excuse to not play this one.
13) Morels-729 days since our last play. I think honestly, that I wanted to like Morels more than we really did. It’s a very beautiful and unique game, but there really isn’t a lot there. Plus, I’ve always been disappointed when I break it out and we don’t have the cool wooden sticks and the pans.
12) Letters from Whitechapel-786 days since our last play. This one is just theme I think. Both Kerensa and I really liked this one when we played it as a two player game. But it’s not really something that we want to necessarily break out with company or with our daughter, that’s why it has suffered I think. Should probably think about replacing this one with something like Scotland Yard or even the new Spectre Ops but I really like Letters and don’t want to replace it.
11) Legends of Andor-799 days since our last play. I have no excuse that’s worth saying, I loved this game when I played it but we just haven’t gotten it back to the table, this one actually makes me a littls sad.
10) Evo-804 days since our last play. I bought this in auction because I hoped it would play better two player than Small World would, but as far as I can remember, it didn’t.
9) Great Heartland Hauling Co.-832 days since our last play. Another one that doesn’t have any excuse to not get to the table except that we just have too many games. Last time we played this one was on a camp out I believe by lantern light and I really dig the game quite a bit.
8) Viticulture-856 days since our last play. Stupid excuse for this is that we have the first edition and have never bothered to upgrade to at least include the Grande workers which seem almost necessary to me to play this one. Better excuse is that Kerensa is still bitter about our last four player game in which Brad and Kate played with us and complained about the game the entire time and then Kate ended up winning. But honestly, it really should be played, upgraded or not.
7) Bohnanza-897 days since our last play. This one is more of a lack of players, I just don’t like it with two or three players which are the player counts that we play more than any other. Might be a good silly game to teach my parents though if I could ever get them to sit down and learn a fun little game.
6) Click Clack Lumberjack-897 days since our last play. Hmmm, that seems a natural fit, we played Bohnanza and Click Clack Lumberjack on the same day 897 days ago. This one doesn’t belong on the list, it’s been played I’m sure, we just haven’t logged any of them since it’s really just silly fun and we don’t keep score for the most part.
5) Fresco-911 days since our last play. This one kind of stunned me, I could have sworn that we had played this one but I guess we hadn’t since I know I would have logged a play. I love the waking up mechanism in this one and the game in general is really cool. Might have to change this one soon, wonder how it plays with two.
4) Snake Oil-1029 days since our last play. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Fun party game that requires as many people as possible to be fun. I remember playing this and laughing a lot. Need to find a party.
3) Tsuro-1213 days since our last play. Flat out it got replaced by Indigo. That’s all I can think of. Sure Tsuro plays more people, but when do we need to play with more than four? We don’t more often than not.
2) Super Dungeon Explore-1291 days since our last play. I don’t know, I wanted to like this game, I wanted to play this game a lot, I wanted to paint these awesome figures, but it just never works out. This was the game that I was going to use to try to hook the group that turned into the D&D group that I talked about last year. We played this twice, both times with more people than the game naturally supports and both times we played it I’m sure we fudged rule after rule, but we had fun, but after those plays no one really wanted to play anymore and my efforts to pique my interest in miniature painting with the game fizzled pretty quickly when I realized I don’t have the hands or eyes to do that anymore. So now it sits, with all the figures primed and a handful poorly painted. I couldn’t sell it or trade it at this point so it will just always sit here and taunt me I have a feeling.
1) A Game of Thrones-The Board Game(2nd Edition)-1339 days since our last play. This one is better summed up with one of my first blog posts over on Board Game Geek, on February 27, 2012. Oh, I was so young, so naïve, haha. Myself and my family have been having regular Friday night game nights for a couple months now, but this Saturday my wife and I hosted our first game night that involved a table full of “adults”.
We started preparations about 2 weeks ago when I sent out the invite to the respective houses, along with the invite I did send along the pdf of the rules and the 36 minute primer video that I had found helpful when deciding getting and ultimately playing this game. The video was met with some resistance, but everyone followed through and we had a general overview of the game before we started at 7:00 pm on Saturday night. Eight hours later, that video was just a distant memory.
We will start by saying, none of us have played this game before and being relatively new to board gaming, it was my first time trying to lead/instruct a group that consisted of someone other than my daughter or wife. Many rules were discussed, and then discussed again and then discussed a few more times while playing. We hammered through a 10 round game with none of us getting over 5 castles until the end when House Stark broke through for the 6th castle and the win. Seems we all abandoned the middle in our pursuit of the rich lands to the south and the north. Our ships were underutilized and I think we all realized that as we stared blankly at the board at 3 am, discussing what had just happened and trying to figure out when we could do it again.
Many adult beverages were consumed, much food was eaten and a good time was had by all, even though we got frustrated every now and then with the way the rules were worded and how the rule book was put together. But with all of us working to figure out our problems, the discussions never really took that long.
I’m jumping right back into the fire on Friday and hosting a night of Super Dungeon Explore for a group of friends that have a pretty decent background in pen and paper RPG’s, of which I have none. We’ll see where that goes.
I have tried a couple times to get that same group back together to play AGoT, but something always gets in the way, someone can’t make it or we just decided to do something else. But maybe we should never play it again, as that night was absolutely one of the best gaming nights I’ve ever had.
Gonna wrap up the show there, I hope everyone enjoyed it. Thank you to Patrick and Eric for once again doing something for this show just because they want to do it and enjoy doing it. Also, thank you to AnnaBeth for starting her new segment that I hope everyone enjoys and thank you to Kerensa for joining me as well, I’m really hoping we’ll find a way to make Kerensa a regular on here and maybe get her to do the game rundown with me instead of doubling up.
If anyone else wants to join us, please feel free to contact me and we’ll see what we can do. I’ve said it since I started doing this, the more voices the better, I think we reach more people that way.
In the coming weeks the 1 year anniversary of the What Did You Play This Week Podcast will be rolling around, that makes me really happy. It’s funny to listen to those first episodes and then listen to these, I think we’ve grown a little bit. For that 1 year anniversary I am hoping that I can get Patrick, Eric, Chris and Joe together with me and we can have a little round table discussion about gaming. Just a sit down chat and we’ll see how that goes. I love those big ensemble podcasts, but I dread editing those bad boys too. If anyone is interested in jumping into the round table, I think we’d be happy to have a couple folks on to talk with us about gaming.
Thank you all for listening, be sure to jump into the Geeklist over on Board Game Geek or if you are more comfortable, join in the thread! Have a great week everyone!
Well, it’s been a good week in Mid Missouri. The weather has really changed, even getting almost cold in the evenings, the leaves are falling(which really isn’t good news since that means I’ll have to rake them all up) and the Royals keep on winning. I actually managed to get a game in every night this week, with probably the exception of Sunday, unless the girls help me out in a little bit, but to be fair, one of those was a playtest of a game on Tabletopia and the other was the continuation of a game on BoardGameArena, but hey, I’m counting it. I’m hosting a game night at our house on Monday, the group was kind enough to join me here so I didn’t have to find a sitter for the girls on Monday night. So I should thank them publicly. Hoping to get some Game of Thrones LCG 2nd edition in and who knows what else. Kerensa is busy making plans for her convention that starts on Monday so she’s been busy all week, hopefully after it’s all said and done, she’ll be able to relax a bit. We’re also wrapping up volleyball for now on Thursday so there will be a bit more spare time for a week or so until Gabby decides to try something else out. I’ve caught AnnaBeth playing Blokus by herself a time or two over the last week or so, think maybe it’s time to teach that one to her and see how she does. But in the meantime, let’s talk about what we’ve actually played this week!
Monday was a state holiday, but not a school holiday so Kerensa and I had the day alone at home and we decided it was best spent finally throwing every expansion we have into the box and playing a gigantic game of Carcassonne. Now, I know that folks have more expansions than we do so it’s not really a big gigantic game in the grand sense of the word, but we did use the base game, Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders and the Count, King and Robber, so it was pretty big by our standards since we normally just play with Inns and Cathedrals. So we sat down and learned the rules for the two expansions that we hadn’t played yet and 20 minutes or so later we were on our way. I really like Carcassonne, I like that it can be played as mean or as nicely as you want to play it, you don’t have to play it one way or another to have fun or to win, unless of course it’s a two player game and the other player just wants to be a jerk the entire game. But we don’t play that way, well, most of the time we don’t, we do have our moments of swooping in and stealing another city or finishing off a road, but for the most part we’re pretty even about how we play. The Count, King and Robber actually adds in a way to help the other player but in the long run you help yourself as well. If you finish off a player’s city or road, you can take one of your workers and put them in a spot in the city that has become the starting area. This allows you to later use that meeple when you complete another area, either a road, city or even take over a monastery. At the end of the game it could allow you to place a farmer on a field to help out as well. But the Count is used to counteract that a little, every time a meeple is added to the city, that player can move the count to a different area in the city and block that action from taking place until he is moved again. In all I thought it was a pretty cool addition to the game and I used it one time to a huge advantage for me in order to steal a 50 point city from Kerensa, she was none too happy about that and I maybe did that a little early in the game, because it gave her plenty of time to plot her revenge. The King and The Robber portion of the expansion didn’t seem to add a whole lot, just a way to score at the end of the game based on whichever you possess. You get the King by completing a city that’s bigger than any other city completed and you get the Robber by completing a road longer than any other road previously completed. What these allow you to score at the end of the game is 1 point per completed city if you have the King or 1 point per completed road if you have the Robber. Not a small amount of points, especially on a larger area like we were building. As far as Traders and Builders go, the trader part really didn’t seem to add a whole lot to the game just a majority scoring at the end of the game, in which I owned all three majorities. The builder on the other hand is a fantastic addition I think, it allows for double plays, so you can plan a little better and hopefully good tile draws will allow you to benefit quite a bit from it. On any road or in any city in which you have a knight or a thief. You simply place the Builder on a tile that you place in one of those two areas and then the next time you extend it, you pull the builder off and take another turn. Pretty simple really, but it adds a lot to the game I think. This one that Kerensa and I played was a nail biter. Took us about an hour and a half to play it all out, fighting over areas, building the finest Carcassonne in all the land. I held on to the King the whole game and Kerensa held on to the Robber, I never could get a road of any substance or finish one of hers that would have given me the Robber. But anyway the final score was 265-264 with me eeking out a win. Kerensa even recounted the completed roads about 3 times just to make sure that she didn’t miss a point from the robber. I don’t know if we’ll play it like that everytime, but you know what, it really was fun that way, lots of new tiles to see, lots of new things to try out and to have it come down to 1 point after all that time was a lot of fun.
The final Tile
Oh, and that play finally bumped our H-index up to 16 meaning that we’ve now played 16 games in our collection at least 16 times. It’s going to take some work to get up to 17 as a handful of those games are just at 16, but we’ll get there. I like keeping track of our H-Index, but I don’t necessarily want to go chasing it. Plays should happen organically, not on a schedule, at least in my opinion.
Tuesday’s game was almost missed. I had completely forgotten that I had signed up to play test a game over on Tabletopia, but I remembered at the last minute and made sure I could get in there and ready when Ryan Laukat hopped in. We were playing Islebound. I’m not really sure what all to say about the game yet, because I didn’t think to ask Ryan after we played, but I will say that even on Tabletopia, the art shines through and looks wonderful. The game plays just as cool as it looks as well, although you couldn’t tell by my showing, which was pretty horrible, but I’m going to chalk that up to the other folks being more familiar with Ryan’s games. This one had a neat board which had islands spread out and you are moving your ship to and from these islands to gain benefits. You also have to manage your crew, exhausting them at some points or even injuring them. Really neat game, and if I get a chance to test it again over there I will say more about it. As a matter of fact if you check the forums for Islebound, anyone can join in and help. Playing this really pushed me wanting to get Artifacts, Inc and The Ancient World to the table soon and seeing everyone’s pictures of Above and Below is making me sad that I haven’t backed any of his games yet. I was going to back the City of Iron 2nd edition and Dingo’s Dreams but I backed out of that and I kind of regret it, oh well, thus is the life of a wishy washy Kickstarter backer.
Wednesday, Bill, James and I finished up our game of Seasons, that we started after Troyes last week. This one did not go as well for me as our previous game of Seasons did. I struggled the entire time to get crystals and when I started having enough, I started having to “donate” them to Bill when I wanted to summon anything or when the season changed, he was a verifiable Crystal Hoovering machine and the final score showed that with Bill winning with 200 points to James’ 138 and my lowly 109, that may be my worst score to date and it’s my 16th play. I think the only points I managed were from cards, I may have had 10 crystals at the end of the game. Way to go Bill, that was a butt whooping for the record books. Now, let’s see if James and I can reverse this trend with The Palaces of Carrara.
Thursday I was out of town for work in Kansas City, and after asking around and checking out meetup, I found a group that meets on Thursday night at Tabletop Game and Hobby. Firstly, the store is fantastic, when you find it. It takes a bit of driving around in the strip mall area to find. My iPhone was of no help as it showed me at the location when I pulled into the parking lot by the Wal Mart, but I did find it and even though I was about 45 minutes late, I still managed to play a couple games and watched a big portion of Between Two Cities being played. But anyway, the selection in the store was fantastic, they have everything popular and new that you could want, but also maintained a nice selection of older titles as well and the prices seemed to be a bit below MSRP, but I could be crazy. I found the section with GMT games and was tempted by a couple titles there, but the train section is where I was really tempted and I almost walked out of there with either 1830 or 1853. They also surprised me by having a nice little shelf of titles from Victory Point Games, which I don’t remember ever seeing in another store I’ve been to, so kudos to them. So anyway, I was wandering around and someone asked if I was looking to play a game, and I said sure and then sat down to my first play of Steampunk Rally.
Steampunk Rally is a race game from Roxley Games. The game supports up to 8 players and we played with 6. It has a neat modular board where you can make the races as long or as short as you want and has 108 dice! That’s right, it has a lot of dice. Anyway at the start of the game each player gets an inventor, I believe I was Marconi, and they get two pieces to their racing invention that you get to put together in a way that makes sense, connectors must connect, etc., in other words, don’t be stupid. On these ship parts are slots to put dice and those dice can either power your invention forward, repair your invention, get you dice of other colors or possibly most importantly, remove dice from your invention, as once a die is placed, it stays and occupies space until it is removed through that action. So during a turn there is a card drafting phase with each player getting four cards, you pick one, add it to your ship or discard it for the resources it gives, and pass the remaining cards in your hand to the neighbor on the left or right, depending on the round. After that is over, the players may “Vent” their dice by spending cogs that they have earned to reduce the number on a die by two per cog, if the die would go below 1, it’s discarded from the machine. This is important because those dice stay there otherwise and aren’t activated each round, they are used one time, even if you have another slot to add more dice to, the new die are the only ones that count. Then you roll all your earned dice that round and you use them to activate different parts on your machine to move or gain other benefits as I said earlier. Driving your invention through different landscapes can cause damage, and if your damage falls into the red, you have to discard parts of your invention equal to the damage done at the end of the round. Without going a whole lot further into it, that’s how it’s played. We did a short race and quickly we realized that you can jump out to a big lead, but you’re probably going to be losing some parts at the end of that round, it almost seemed best to kind of stay even and not really push out as hard as you can until you get some clean movement that doesn’t cause damage. The game doesn’t end after someone crosses the finish line, that just signifies that there is one more round left. The gentleman who owned the game jumped out and crossed the finish line before everyone else and I managed to get within one spot of him in that final turn just because I said forget it, let’s damage this machine since I had built it up fairly large and had the parts I could drop, I just didn’t have enough dice to get there. Our game was pretty quiet and I know this could be a raucous game as it’s got plenty of fun randomness. I’ll chalk the quiet down to the fact that I was new and no one knew me. Really is a fun way to do a racing game, I love the idea of building your racing machine as you play, means you have a lot more invested in the game than just picking a car or something and going. I like the ever changing state of your machine and how you always have to be trying to draft different parts to get different synergies with your dice. This might be one that I add to the collection sooner or later, as I think the game group would enjoy it and I also thing that Gabby might get a kick out of it too. Glad I got to play this one.
Next up was a game of Nevermore, but first I was going to go back into the store and buy one of the aforementioned games, but little did I know, the store actually closes and the back room stays open to allow the players to play for another couple hours after store closing. Someone said they made a last call, but I never heard it sadly. But anyway, back to Nevermore. We played this one with 3 players with the person teaching being one of the Double Exposure Envoys a group that I sadly need to work with more, but I just don’t have the time it seems. But anyway, this is another drafting game, but you are trying to eliminate the other players. I’m not going to say too much about this one as I don’t think three players is a very good player count for it and that’s what we played at. It has some interesting give and take aspects in it, but I think it’s going to fall into the “more the merrier” line. Just remember this is a Smirk and Dagger game though, it can be a bit confrontational at times, which isn’t bad, just like to make folks aware of that. I would play it again, just to see, but I’m in no rush to go out and pick this one up.
Also on Thursday I finished up a game of Castles of Burgundy on boiteajeux with Brad and Kate. This one took us awhile, since one of us likes to pretend to be too busy to play games all day. But we got through it and surprise the guy who didn’t rush through it, got the win by 4 points. I started scoring too late, but I did manage to grab a couple bonus tiles to add to the map that got me within those 4 points, I’m honestly surprised I ended up scoring that much, but all around this one was fairly close, usually our games of Castles have at least one of us being back pretty far but this one ended 214-210-197, everyone pretty close and within a few tiles of winning. I still love playing Castles, mostly played on boiteajeux though, but that was my 82nd play combined online and on the table.
Other than that, only one other game was played this week and I played it a whopping 5 times so far, but that’s pretty easy as it’s a small box solo/two player game, but I’ve only been playing solo so far. Onirim is a card game for 1 to 2 players where you are trying to navigate through dreams to find the 8 doors to get out. I’ve only played the basic game so far and I think the box came with something like 7 expansions to add to the game to make it more challenging, or at least make it feel a bit different in the challenge, but I’m having a hard enough time with the basic game that I’m not sure that adding expansions is the best idea right now. The game is hard, at least for me it has been. In the five games I’ve played the most I’ve been able to get is 5 of the 8 doors. But you start to see different strategies and try them and fall on your face or get a bit farther so you keep trying. I dig it, and hopefully I can get Gabby to play this one too and see what she thinks about it. I’ll post more about Onirim and Sylvion as I get more plays of them, right now, I’m still just trying to wrap my brain around it all.
Star Realms, oh Star Realms, I really don’t know what to think. Suddenly I’m back to winning more than losing and it’s just really weird as I seriously don’t change anything to do with my starting tactics. Maybe I’m back to adjusting to the available cards better or maybe I’m not using Play All as much as I normally do. I believe in league I have hit 4 wins and 5 losses, getting back to 500 again. Once again, thank you all for the games, even when you are kicking my butt, keep the challenges coming and I’ll keep accepting.
Chris and Joe from the Cardboard Architects are back with us to talk a little bit about what they’ve been playing, but putting a bit of a designer spin on it. Take it away guys!
Time 15:44 in the podcast
Thank you for that guys, I’m the same way with Star Realms, but I’ve played the physical copy probably a dozen times, now most of that is because Gabby likes playing it that way, but also I do enjoy it as well. My 725 games online though are to me based on the fact that it’s horribly convenient to play a game that I enjoy that way and also, it takes away all the fiddliness of scoring and moving cards around. I can definitely see where Joe is coming from on it though, it really is a solitaire game in building your deck, even though you do go head to head, the interaction is minimal, and Dominion is the same way, but I enjoy Dominion almost because of that, it allows me to look at everything and try to find that card engine that works together, rather than have to worry about what someone else is going to do to me. But then again, I like multiplayer solitaire games a lot of the time, I’m kinda weird like that. Thank you guys for hopping in and joining us this week, even though you did just put in Blue Jays propaganda on a Royals dominated podcast.
Alright, before we talk about Kickstarter and all the other stuff we normally talk about, I thought I’d answer a question that was posted in our guilds, well, one of a few questions that we received. Please feel free to add more, we’ll hopefully answer more as we go. But Aaron and Stephanie wanted to know if we had played RPGs before or if we still do. Well, here’s the answer.
I never played RPGs while growing up, in fact, I wasn’t a huge gamer for the most part either. I was the kid who was into sports, but played video games too, but even those were usually sports related games except for the normal Zelda and Mario games, not a lot of fantasy or RPGs. My taste in video games did eventually evolve and I started playing more RPGs on the Xbox and the PS3 eventually and that kind of got me to try my first tabletop RPG three years or so ago. We tried to get a regular group together for a D&D 4th edition campaign, well what happened was I tried to get us together for a regular board gaming night, we played Super Dungeon Explore, Formula D, Legend of Drizzt and met a couple times, but then they all started discussing D&D and wanting to get a group together for that, so that group evolved into an RPG group and I joined in and I had a good time, but D&D 4th was the complete opposite of what I thought a tabletop RPG was supposed to be, we weren’t really role playing much, we were more or less playing with miniatures on a table, discussing tactics and rolling dice so I kind of fell out of that and the 4th ed campaign eventually just went Poof. The rest of the guys have been working on a 2nd ed campaign and have been for a couple years, but only meeting sporadically. But I have heard talk of a 5th edition campaign being run with the same group so I can hopefully get into that, as I actually went and bought the beginner box as soon as it was announced because I really want to try one and have fun with it. I’ve also got Mouse Guard sitting here, that never got played because I just don’t think I was up for running one, plus Gabby was really the only person I could get interested enough to even think about rolling up a character, and now the 2nd edition is out and available so once again, I’m behind the times. I also have a couple other books around that I wanted to try with the kiddos but the time never worked out, Hero’s Quest and Fairies Tale. And I’ve bought two copies of Fiasco but they’ve never been played by me, Brad and Kate have borrowed the book and have played it at least once, but I was not part of that play. Online I have played a couple games on RPGGeek during the play initiative, a couple years ago I played Do Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and I really enjoyed that one, but it’s more of a story telling game and I think that’s why I enjoyed it and then last year I was part of playing Monster of the Week, which was awesome, but completely carried by the other people in our group as I was lost through a lot of it, just not sure of what my part in the party was going to be for a lot of it. I did eventually get comfortable but man, my role playing was nowhere near the level of some of the others. More than board games, role playing games seem to require a lot of time, time that I don’t seem to have, I’d love to, but I don’t. Maybe if I didn’t play so many board games I would though, but I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. In case you are wondering, video game RPG wise I’ve loved quite a few of them, but the one that really got me going into RPGs was World of Warcraft.
Kickstarter World’s Fair 1893 has about 9 days left on the campaign and is sitting at just shy of $33k in funding, really an amazing number I think and I can’t wait to see what these last few days hold as far as backers go. We’ve been voting on which exhibits and such we would like to see in the game as we progress through the campaign. Honestly, this campaign has been kind of nice, no worries about stretch goals, just interacting with the creators and giving some feedback though voting. Once again, if you haven’t heard our review, be sure to check the pinned post on the blog, or also go back to Week 44 of the podcast and around the 8:28 mark we talk about it and give a review there as well, plus my lovely wife Kerensa joins me to talk about it as well.
Great Dinosaur Rush is sitting at just over $18 funding with 36 days to go in this loooong campaign. It has funded, Spiel week was good to the campaign and now we are on to working on some stretch goals. I do worry about this one getting lost in the shuffle a little bit just due to the length of the campaign but being that it’s Ape Games teaming up with Scott Almes I trust that it’s going to pick up the pace pretty soon.
Which brings us to the new game that I am backing, Kodama from Action Phase Games and designer Daniel Solis. For those familiar with Daniel Solis’ work, you may recognize a part of this game from his game Kigi, which I believe is available from Drive Thru Cards online as well as a really nice Japanese version. But it seems that Travis from Action Phase Games liked Kigi and wanted to work with Daniel to get it onto Kickstarter with a couple changes.
Here are the differences in Kigi and Kodama:
THEME: In Kodama, players cultivate homes (trees) for the kodama.
PLACEMENT: In Kodama, there is no pruning, but rather a 10 point scoring cap for placement that encourages diversity while leaving players with a beautiful tree by the end of the game. Additionally, players now only place branches on their own trees.
FEATURES: Not only are all of the features updated to help represent the theme, there are now six features as opposed to five.
GOALS: In Kigi, goals came in the form of Commission cards that were shuffled into the branch deck. Now, players are dealt four kodama cards, three of which they will score over three seasons.
SEASONS: Play is now divided into three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall. At the beginning of each season a Decree will be revealed which will add or amend a rule in the game–adding more replayability and strategy to placement. After placing four branches, players will select one of their Kodama cards to score. At the end of three seasons, players score a final Kodama card and a winner is determined!
In Kodama, the players are growing a tree through placement of limb cards, being careful to allow for room for growth. At the end of each round Kodama will award points based on how well you filled its needs with your tree. This one really looks like it’s going to be a beautiful game on the table, it gives off a little feel of Greatest Treehouse Ever, without the card drafting, instead you are choosing your limb cards from a central display of cards. At $19 this one was really a no brainer for us, but we went ahead and backed it at $27 for the upgraded edition with the extra decree cards, Kodama cards and some wooden bits with stickers. At $41k we’ve already unlocked 6 of the stretch goals, but the $50k one looks really interesting as it’ll make the game a bit more accessible for even younger kiddos to get them playing with you.
So, I was chatting around on Twitter earlier in the week and I happened upon a conversation where a certain person, whom I really trust about games, called a certain game jokingly, “Farming for Trains”. Immediately my eyes opened wide and I searched through the conversation to see that they were talking about Snowdonia. Snowdonia has been on my wishlist for quite awhile now, so after asking a couple questions and getting nothing but positive responses, I searched it out and was going to order it from Miniature Market was doing their 10% off everything sale for Halloween, but that sale broke their site in about 2 minutes and they cancelled the sale. So then I turned to the mighty Amazon and found it for cheaper, so I bought it on the spot and it arrived on Thursday. If you really want to know how our collection of games has grown over the past three years or so, this is a perfect example. Word of mouth from people I trust, it’s just too bad I trust quite a few people, and they like way too many games. My 2015 Acquisitions Geeklist on Board Game Geek has grown to almost 3 full pages, now, not all of those are purchases, and most of those Kickstarter games listed have not arrived on our doorstep yet, but they will eventually, I was so happy to see the last update for Forged in Steel and Project Dreamscape, but still, almost 75 games in a year is quite a few, I’m glad I was keeping track this year, hopefully this helps quell 2016 a little bit, but we’ll see.
So, since we were talking about RPGs a little bit, I thought I would mention a couple podcasts that I listen to that talk RPGs. First off I am not going to say The Secret Cabal, while I love the Cabal, I rarely have time to listen to an entire podcast from them, so what usually gets dropped is the RPG stuff, I’ll listen to their reviews and the news and that’s about it anymore. For my RPG fix I kind of like what the Board With Life group is doing, they are giving us two different RPG sessions in two different shows, one using the Apocalypse World campaign called Houses and Humans and another cast using D&D 5th which is hosted on Board With Life Radio. I believe that Houses and Humans is done right now, I’ve not listened to the last couple episodes but it hasn’t been updated since September 10th, I really do need to catch up with it. Now, before everyone jumps in and listens to them, I will say that they do contain explicit language at times, I’m fine with it, it’s my ears, but just wanted to warn everyone. Now, both of those are podcasts with actual gameplay, as for other RPG podcasts I listen to, I do enjoy The Mad Adventurers Society Potelbat, but from what I understand any of the Mad Adventurers Society podcasts should be good to listen to. I’ve also recently started listening to Out of Character with Jon Forrester. He really likes to cover a lot of different aspects of role playing games and just gaming in general over his podcast and I’ve learned quite a bit from listening. The Gaming and BS podcast is another that I listen to from time to time when they have something that may be of interest to me, like this past week they covered what it takes to jump from player to Game Master. There is one other that I listen to as well, should have grouped it up with the actual play podcasts, but it’s The Adventure Zone. I’d say if you’re looking for a little RPG adventure in your podcasts, you won’t go wrong with any of these.
Okay, I think I am going to wrap up Week 47 right here with a nice fancy role playing bow and pose a question for folks in the guild or outside the guild. What is your favorite RPG setting, and what would be your favorite class to play. Or, if you’re more into the independent RPGs like Fiasco and such, what is your favorite RPG system?
Don’t forget, we love feedback and I hope that you all can see that any feedback that we’ve gotten so far we’ve tried to run with and make the show better. I’m thinking of adding bumper music in between segments as that’s something that I’ve always been told is a good thing to do to make the show sound more professional, but that’s not going to be an immediate thing, but I’ll be working on finding the right music to guide us through segments. Also, if anyone, and I mean anyone, wants to contribute, we’d love it. I like making this show with a few more voices than mine and my family, which I need to get back on soon, but they’ve been busy, well most of them have, AnnaBeth has no excuse. Just shoot me a message on Board Game Geek, Twitter, email or smoke signals for that matter. Just let me know. Also, I hate to ask for reviews, but I’d love to see a review or two up on iTunes if folks have the time and feel like they’d like to give us a good review.
But most of all I just want to say, Thank you for listening and we’ll be back next week at the same time, same place. Have a great week!
Well, this week was a birthday week for me, turned the big 43. Also this was a travel week for me at work and it just so happened that I got to travel within about 10 minutes or so of Miniature Market, so who wouldn’t stop by? So the acquisition section of the podcast will get a big boost this week and only one of the new games, well one and a half we’ll call it, got played. The baseball playoffs have started and since the Royals are in it, that’ll cut down on my game time a little bit, which is fine by me as long as they keep winning. As I write out the podcast this week, I’m watching them play the Astros in game 3. Fingers crossed for a good outcome for the good guys. But board gaming, that’s what we’re really here to talk about so here goes!
One of the new acquisitions this week was the most recent Kickstarter to be delivered from Foxtrot Games, the folks who are currently running the World’s Fair 1893 campaign, this one is Lanterns. Lanterns is a really light tile placement games where you are ultimately trying to collect sets of cards to turn them in for dedication tokens that have a specified victory point value. Ultimately at the end of the game the player with the most victory points is the winner. On a player’s turn there are three actions that they can take in a specific order. First up, the players may spend two of their Favor Tokens and a Lantern card from their hand and they may trade those in for a Lantern card of their choice from the card supply. The next action the player may perform is the Dedication action. They may then trade in a specific set of Lantern cards for a dedication token. There are three different types of Dedication tokens, you can trade in four like Lantern cards for a Four of a kind token, you can trade in three pair for the Three Pair token and you can trade in seven unique colored Lantern cards for the Seven Unique token. Each different token is part of a stack and they decrease in value as more players fulfill that token. The final action the players can take on their turn is where most of the action is going to occur, you can place a lake tile. The lake tiles will obviously have 4 sides and each side of the tile will have a color, sometimes the colors are shared on multiple sides, sometimes not, but a player takes their Lake Tile and they place it on the board and then based on the tile and the board, they get bonuses. First the player gets any matching bonuses, if the color on any side of the newly placed Lake Tile matches the color on an adjacent side of another Lake Tile, the active player receives a bonus Lantern Card of that color. Next, if any of the matching Lake Tiles(including the newly place tile) have platforms on them, the player receives one Favor Token for each Platform. Lastly, every player, starting with the starting player and continuing in turn order, which is clockwise, collect a new Lantern Card corresponding to the color on the side of the newly placed Lake Tile they are facing. If there are no Lantern Cards of the corresponding color the player does not receive a card. The active player then draws a new tile to replenish their hand to 3 tiles and play passes to the next player in clockwise order. Play continues this way until all the Lake Tiles have been placed and each player gets one final turn to Exchange a Lantern Card and Make a Dedication and then the game ends and the player with the most Victory Points on their Dedication Tiles wins the game.
I’ve now played all three of the games from Foxtrot Games so far and this one fits right into what seems to be their goal as a game company. Making accessible games that offer decent amounts of strategy to go along with some really fun game play. Relic Expedition was played a couple years ago at Geekway so it’s the least fresh in my head, but I do remember it as a really fun rules light exploration game and we all know how we feel about World’s Fair 1893, which is still on Kickstarter, don’t forget to check it out. Lanterns is another winner in that line. Nice, beautiful looking tiles, cards and tokens make sure that this one, no matter how small it may seem, has a really nice table presence as you build out the lake with all of the floating lanterns. If it looks nice on the table, you all know that’s a huge bonus for us as it helps to draw us into the game. Over the last month or so we’ve been really enjoying some tile laying games. Games like Akrotiri, Isle of Skye and now Lanterns have all been played recently and really enjoyed and each of them offer something just a little bit different in game play to warrant keeping each of them around. I love the trading action in Lanterns, how you have to earn the right so to speak to be able to trade by gaining those Favor Tokens through placement of tiles in the vicinity of those platforms on the tiles. This one is a winner and a fantastic game to keep around and play almost any time.
Oh, and as for our game play this week, we played it once on my birthday, Monday with just Kerensa and I with me pulling out the 44-40 victory. Saturday evening Gabby joined Kerensa and I and gave us a run for our money, but ultimately Kerensa won this one 44-41-41. We enjoyed it with both player counts and it really doesn’t seem to change much with three versus 2, you just add one more Lantern card to each pile and you have I believe only 2 more tiles added to the game.
I did have another matchup this week with James and Bill at a game of Troyes on Board Game Arena. This one I was a bit more comfortable with what I was supposed to be doing, I was just having a hard time executing it using the interface that was giving me fits. Specifically one card where I needed to click on a cube instead of the card to execute what I wanted to do, I think I did it incorrectly either three or four times. But that’s just an excuse, I don’t think even if I had played it correctly that I would have been in this one, but it would have been a little closer. Bill ran away with this one winning with 43 points to James’ 28 and my 23. So it was a much lower scoring game than last time. I think that James was having a couple issues as well, but still, we should have done better to give Bill a tougher go of it. Seems this is all rolling over into our current matchup of Seasons as well as Bill is just a crystal gaining machine, but we’ll talk about that one next week when it’s finished.
Isle of Skye got another play on Saturday evening, once again with only two players as Kerensa and I couldn’t convince Gabby to join in the fun after we did manage to get her to sit down and play a game of Lanterns. This matchup of Isle of Skye was more like our last play, a bit more lopsided on the score track at the end of the game than the first two were. I ultimately went in with the attitude of “you gotta spend it to win it” and it worked out well for me this time. First couple rounds of course we didn’t score much but the scoring picked up quick and I had the advantage from about the third round on, winning 71-56. That last round I picked up three new tiles and each of them wouldn’t really help either of us, was kind of a disappointing, but ultimately it worked out well as I just stuck a gold piece on each tile that I wanted to keep and kept a lot of my gold at the end to get some extra points that I ended up not needing, but it allowed me plenty of gold as well to buy something that I don’t think Kerensa was wanting to give up so she priced it fairly high. All in all this one continues to surprise and play differently each and every game, mostly based on the scoring tiles. Isle of Skye is going to continue to get plays, I just hope sooner, rather than later, I get to play with more than just Kerensa and I, as I’d really like to see how this plays out with more players. This might be a game that I push on the game group at our meetup coming up in a couple weeks and see how that goes.
Star Realms continued this week and I actually managed to win a couple matchups and get back into the Level 9 realm, but I just don’t know how long I’ll stay there. I’ve long ago come to grips that I’m a 500 player, but these long losing streaks are really discouraging, especially when you think that you aren’t changing any strategies that you know win matchups and ultimately it comes down to a draw or two that don’t work out. I believe I am now 2-4 in league matchups hanging out at the bottom of the standings, hoping that I can get a couple wins to get away from being demoted. Keep the challenges coming, I’ll keep on plugging away.
Nothing new on Kickstarter that caused me to make any second thoughts on backing. I’m happy with the two current running campaigns at the moment. 7th Continent is definitely worth a look if you like big exploration games and interesting and new mechanics, but honestly right now the price tag is too much for me to swallow, but quite obviously, I’m in the minority here as this thing has blown through the roof as this one is sitting at $684k with fifteen days left. That’s a lot of Kickstarter money for a game like this, really makes me wonder what folks are going to do for Scythe.
But anyway, World’s Fair 1893 is still chugging along to the tune of $28k with 16 days left to go. I’m going to keep saying this every week until the campaign is over, but this one should be on everyone’s shelf quite honestly. It’s a great combination of easy rule set and fantastic mechanics all wrapped up in a fun decision filled game.
The Great Dinosaur Rush still has about 43 days to go as of the time of writing this and it’s just about $300 short of funding so I’m assuming it was pretty well received at Spiel although the numbers are doing that typical Kickstarter fall off after a week or so of being active. They’ve got some nice little additions ready to roll for stretch goals so let’s hope this picks up a little bit.
Like I mentioned last week, we’ve got some big Kickstarter campaigns coming up and then as we get to the Holidays we should see it finally slow down a bit. I got Mistfall back in early September so I’m ready for some of the games to start showing up. We should see Project Dreamscape pretty soon as the last report I saw was that the boat had arrived in the States and it just needs to clear customs and get to the warehouse. The Gallerist is currently sitting in a warehouse in Kentucky awaiting a small stretch goal pack to get mailed out at the same time to save on shipping. I’d love to have it already and we probably should, given that Eagle Gryphon had said all during the campaign that the Stretch Goal packs would be delivered separately at a later date, but they changed the plan it seems. Also coming up soon should be Wombat Rescue, Carson City Big Box and maybe, if we get lucky, Hocus before Christmas. So that should help quell the acquisition disorder that seems to have set in pretty heavily.
Well, this was a ridiculous week for acquisitions. It started with my birthday when I received the aforementioned Lanterns, but as well I received an expansion for a game that we really should be throwing on the table more often given our obsession with tile laying games at the moment. I got the Count, King and Robber expansion for Carcassonne. So with that, we’ve got three expansions in the box, it’s just calling for a gigantic game. I do want to track down a copy of The River since the new expansion came with The River 2. But other than that, I think we’ve got enough Carcassonne, but who knows maybe well get ridiculous with it.
After that was a trip up to Miniature Market in St. Louis since I was up there for work anyway and after a quick check of the map, I was only 10 minutes away. This is the first time I’ve been to the new location and it’s really pretty nice, they’ve got a fantastic clearance and Ding & Dent section out front for you to browse and it just so happened that the day I went was also a 10% off Ding & Dent day, so bonus. So off the Ding & Dent I picked up The Ancient World and Belle of the Ball. Both of those games have been on my wish list for a while and since I got them both for 60% off I didn’t think twice about picking them up. There were a couple other games that I was tempted to get like Quantum that was sitting there at 70% off, but those were the only two that I picked up off the Ding & Dent shelf, but that’s not all we added to the collection.
I also grabbed Medieval Academy just based on how much positive word of mouth it’s received, hoping it works out for my family and I and I also grabbed Sylvion for some solo and two player fun, plus I thought it would be good for Gabby to play solo if she was looking for a solo game. Too bad they didn’t have Onirim but more about that later.
Last title I picked up from Miniature Market is A Game of Thrones The Card Game 2nd Edition. It’s been the game I wanted most coming out of GenCon and it’s finally here. I actually took the plunge and have two sets just in case I want to do some good four player Melee as well. I don’t see a need for the 3rd box though as I don’t ever foresee myself being uber competitive with it and that’s really the only reason I can see the need for the third box. But anyway, this one got the half play on Sunday morning and I’m hoping Kerensa and I find some time on Monday to play a bit more. I built the preview decks Saturday night and read through the rules again in preparation of trying it. Man, I felt like I was speaking Greek while trying to explain the game. First off, I’ve never played a competitive LCG like this and I’m very limited with Magic, and secondly Kerensa has never played Magic or anything like that with us that was always Gabby. So we were basically two new gamers trying to teach ourselves the game. I do like the new way that Fantasy Flight Games does their How to Play rule book, basically giving you a walkthrough of play so that did make it a little bit easier, but we struggled and never got passed the second round before we started getting interrupted by things going on around us and we just packed it up. But tomorrow is a state holiday and the kiddos are at school so I’m hoping we’ll get another crack at it and we’ll get a better start. Not knowing what the cards do and what everything means and never having seen a card designed like that makes for a slow start, I might just see if after playing tomorrow she wants to put together a deck and keep it with her and learn the cards as she gets a chance, that has to really help.
On Friday I was out of town again, and wouldn’t you know it, there was another game store within a close enough distance that I felt like I should stop by and wouldn’t you know it, I found a lone copy of Onirim sitting there calling my name. Paid a little more than I wanted to for it just based on this store being an MSRP store, but I didn’t want to wait for Z-Man to put out the reprint later. On Thursday this week I will mention that I played the tutorial/introduction game of Sylvion and I got smoked, it didn’t even really seem like I had a chance, but it was cool to see the mechanics at work and to see just what some of the cards do as the introductory game takes out a few of the cards. It’s very promising and I hope that I get to play it more soon. I think these titles will be my after the kiddos go to bed games or possibly my take to work to play on break games, but we’ll see.
That’s it as far as games purchased go, but I will mention that I did get another game in the mail to try out and get a review of out to you all before it launches on Kickstarter. This one comes from friend Jason Washburn of Talon Strikes Studios. Jason and his co-host, Jason, were kind enough to have me on their show, Docking Bay 94, a couple months ago to talk about GenCon and other stuff. Jason Washburn is a fantastic artist and game designer, I’m really looking forward to seeing if Hooch, comes back around. But this one is set in that same Hooch gangster inspired universe, it’s called Kingpins. This one looks like a fun card game in which you are trying to play cards out kind of in a solitaire like way, alternating colors and each card has to be lower than card under it. Each card also may have a special “power” that allows you to do different things. So watch for plays of that one coming down the line and I’ll have to get more information from Jason about when and where this one will be seen in the future.
Also another preview game showing up this week in the mail, but I won’t spoil that one as it may be the only acquisition to talk about on next week’s episode.
So Spiel 2015 is over and this year due to being out of the office and just plain busy, I didn’t get to watch much of any of the BGG coverage. I think I may have been watching for about an hour or so on Thursday and that’s it, I completely missed it. I thought that might make me feel a bit left out, a bit out of the loop, but honestly, it kind of felt good. Sure, I checked out all the loot hauls posted all over Twitter, Facebook and Board Game Geek, but I didn’t have that nagging feeling that I was missing something. Hopefully this just means I’m learning to be a little more patient and a little less impulsive, but who knows, with an acquisition week like I just talked about it’s hard to believe that. But just to wrap it all up in a nice pretty bow, here is the final top 10, or at least from what I gather, the final top 10ish from Fairplay.
1) La Granja
2) Mombassa, Nippon and Signorie
5) 7 Wonders Duel, Council of the Fourth and Grand Austria Hotel
8) Codenames, Isle of Skye, Mysterium and Shakespeare
12) Discoveries and My Village
I’m not 100% sure that this is the final list, but from looking around and using Google Translate this seems to be the closest thing I can find. It’s really funny to me, since La Granja was a 2014 Spiel release from Spielworxx, and yet again this year, it’s way up the list in from what I can tell, the number one spot. That’s gotta say something about the game if it can garner this kind of heat two years in a row at a convention that has over 700 games listed as released this year and last. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to quit worrying about the AP with this one and just play it. I think we did kind of good with our preview here, we hit on the hot ones and missed on a couple it seems. Mombassa was really on the cusp of our list but I just couldn’t pull it in there based on the theme alone, but it seems that folks at Spiel took a liking to it, so I should probably pay more attention to it.
I guess to sum up everything Spiel related, it’s looking like it’s going to be a fantastic year in gaming, GenCon was kind of a letdown as far as new games go, but I think Spiel kind of showed us that everything is a-ok in Gameville.
Alright, Patrick is going to take us out tonight with a review of the new Android app for Camel Up and he’s going to give us a game that he’s excited for coming out of Spiel this year, but also, he’s going to kind of talk about what makes conventions special, not the games, the people. Take it away Patrick.
That’s gonna do it for Week 46, I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you to Eric and Patrick for once again joining me and getting some extra content your way, I really think it adds a lot to the show and I am super appreciative of them doing this and I feel the need to keep saying that so they know that. I’ve got some plans if we can make them work for the show, I’m hoping to kind of do a round table so to speak with all the contributors and myself and maybe a couple other people if I can get them interested. It won’t be anything ground breaking, but I think it’ll be interesting to get all of us together to talk a little bit on the show about a couple topics, especially with all of us basically coming from different backgrounds and having kind of diverse interests I think. Other than that, I’d love for folks to send us some questions to ask the contributors and myself and my family, something we can use to tie everything together even while we do our separate things within the show. This week we got Patrick to talk a little bit about what he was looking forward to out of Spiel and while Eric didn’t record anything about it he did let me know that The Gallerist is his most looked forward to game coming out of Spiel. We’re trying to liven up the guild over on Board Game Geek so feel free to come over there and shoot some questions at us there if you want to, Facebook, email, Twitter, any place will do, I’d love to interact with our listeners out there. And once again, feedback I always welcome and always appreciated.
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.