One play down, well actually, one and a half plays down but we won’t bicker with semantics here.
So yeah, that’s the Okazu box, I am playing the Deluxified version from Tasty Minstrel Games that just delivered to Kickstarter backers.
So, what is Yokohama, well at first glance and during setup, you can say that it’s a complete cluster f*^k of a game. There are tiles everywhere and on those tiles you have you have cards with spaces to build things on and all kinds of iconography everywhere and bits and coins and cards and tiles and stuff. Okay, that may be getting a bit carried away, but I think you get the picture.
But what at first glance appears like a cluster f&^k, really isn’t isn’t that, it’s a mirage-y as Bugs would say.
The game is silky smooth and it is ultimately very intuitive once you know what you can do on a turn and what you are ultimately trying to accomplish, POINTS!
So on a your basic turn you have 6 things to possibly do.
Placement, this is the step where you place your Assistants out on the board. You may place 1 Assistant into each of 3 different areas or you may place 2 Assistants in one area.
Movement, this is where your president piece comes into play. You may remove your President from the Board and back into your hand, move your President from your hand to the board or more than likely, you will move your President around the board. The important thing to follow is that your President may only follow a path that has their own Assistants in the areas passed through(except the Canal)
Area Actions are then taken, first you figure the power of the action and this is done by figuring the number of player pieces of your color in that area, be it your President, your Assistants or Buildings and take the corresponding action. You can never exceed 5 power in an area, ignore anything beyond that.
POWER BONUS, if you are the first to complete a 5 power bonus in that area, take the Power Bonus Token and receive the goods or money on the token.
Construction, this is where you can build your Shops or your Trading Houses. Important to note, each player may only have one Shop in each area, plus there is only one Trading House allowed in an area.
Recover, at the end of your MAIN action phase you take all Assistants from the area in which you carried out the area action and return them to your hand.
Easy enough, those are your 6 main actions. But along with those actions on your turn you have 2 Additional Action Phases that you can perform, both before and after your main actions, these additional actions are where you are going to Fulfill Orders or Fulfill Orders or even carry out a Foreign Agent Action, but this is all going to be part of an other post I think as I am rambling with rules and I already want to stop typing and just go play it again already.
Ultimately the points are what really matters, right? You want to score as many points as humanly possible and you do that through many different routes, you can fill orders, you can buy tech cards(which are really, really important in the game, nothing like good old tech cards to tear up the rules), you can send your assistants to the Church, you can send your Imports to the Customs House for points and you can do a bit of set collection with those Foreign Agents I briefly mentioned earlier. All the while you are doing these things you are collecting goods, gaining points for building Shops & Trading Houses and fulfilling the Orders. There are just so many ways to get points, it’s almost like, and I know this will upset some folks, a better Feld point salad game than an actual Feld point salad game!
Our scores were a bit wonky this game, first place ran away with it, and I mean he smoked us, I’m talking 133 for first and 93 for second, 86 for third and 75 for fourth. I’m not sure of his strategy as I was too busy trying to do a little bit of everything, but that 40 point difference probably came from our lack of attention to the Tech Cards and Foreign Agent collection. But where’s the fun in specializing your first run through the game, it’s all about exploration and finding something that works or just trying to make something work.
I am anxious to play this one again, it reminds me of Orleans a bit in the collection of goods, or any other myriad of goods collecting and order fulfilling games, but the route and network building in this one sets it apart and give it a seemingly huge advantage in my mind. I heard Le Havre mentioned a bit as we were playing, but I couldn’t tell you whether or not that’s accurate as I’ve never touched Le Havre. I want just want to play more, to see if you indeed do have to specialize in one area and fill in for more points or if you can try to do a bit of everything and manage to get a respectable score. I want to see how much the modular board changes how you play from game to game, because surely there are going to be different routes being built based on how everything is laid out. There are a lot of things I want to see, including the Station in action.
It’s 11:45 in the evening, I’ve had 2 gin and tonics and I’m wondering if Kerensa is asleep and if she is, I wonder if she wants to wake up and play.
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.
World’s Fair 1893
Designed by J. Alex Kevern
Published by Foxtrot Games
Coming to Kickstarter September 29th, 2015
The preview for this game is being done using a review copy provided to us by Foxtrot Games. Please note all game photos are using a prototype or renderings, final product may be different.
On May 1st, 1893 the fair grounds were first opened to the public for the start of the Chicago World’s Fair. Forty six nations participated in the fair, constructing exhibits and pavilions over 630 acres in Chicago. This is the fair that first gave us Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, Quaker Oats and Juicy Fruit gum and demonstrated many breakthroughs in science, technology, entertainment and culture. Most may also know that this was the fair that gave us the first Ferris wheel, a creation 264 feet tall brought to the world by George Washington Gale Ferris, in its original form, it could hold 2160 people and took approximately 20 minutes to make a complete rotation. The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair provided us many fantastic firsts and fun stories, it continues to do so today with the game World’s Fair 1893.
World’s Fair 1893 is a set collection, area control game that is played over three rounds with two to four players. Players will be sending their supporters to the different areas of the fair to collect cards that will be turned into exhibit cards in that area, given that you have enough influence there.
To set up the game, you place the Ferris Wheel board on the table and place the Ferris Wheel Car at the bottom of the wheel track, this is the start spot. This Ferris Wheel Car will move around the track clockwise when certain actions happen, when it reaches back to the start spot, this signifies the end of a round and a scoring round takes place. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. After placing the board on the table, randomly place out the five areas of the fair around the board. These areas are Transportation, Fine Arts, Manufacturing, Electricity and Agriculture. (Setup will vary differently in a two player game, but we’re just going to cover the 3-4 player game setup here). Shuffle the deck of cards and then place two cards in each area around the board and put the rest of the cards next to the board as a draw pile. Set the scoring tokens aside, give each player 22 supporters of their color and determine who is going to start the game by whatever means you would like to use. Depending on starting position you’ll get a starting bonus card, perform the action specified on the card and you’re ready to go.
On each player’s turn they are going to perform 4 actions, first and foremost is your primary action which is to get your supporters in areas that you want them in, you do this by simply placing one of your supporters in one of the five areas of your choosing. Next, if you start your turn with any Influential Figure cards in your hand, you play them now, in any order that you choose however they best serve your needs. These Influential Figures cannot be held onto for multiple turns, they must be used the turn after they were collected. After any cards have been played that need to be played, the player collects all the cards in their chosen area. You place all of your cards face up in front of you in your personal card supply. Some of those cards may be Influential Figures, some may be Exhibit cards and others will be Midway Ticket cards. The Midway ticket cards are what moves the Ferris Wheel Car around the Ferris Wheel track, acting as the game’s timer. For each Midway Ticket card you collect, you move the Ferris Wheel Car forward one space. If the Ferris Wheel Car reaches the starting spot, it stops there and immediately you will have a scoring phase. The fourth and final action on a player’s turn is to put new cards around the board. Draw a card from the top of the draw pile and place the first card in the area that the player has just emptied. Continuing clockwise place one card on each of the next two available areas if there is space for them. Each area has a maximum amount of cards allowed on them either three or four as indicated by arrows on the outside edge of the area. If the area is full, skip it and place a card in the next available area. Once the player has placed three new cards out, the next player clockwise gets to take their actions, continuing this way in a clockwise manner.
There are three card types in World’s Fair 1893, we’ve already explained what the Midway Tickets do during the game, they advance the Ferris Wheel Car, but they also are scored at the end of each round. The player who has collected the most tickets receives a two point Midway coin. All players, including the majority holder, redeem their collected Midway Tickets for one point each.
The Influential Figure cards represent the favors that you can ask the influential people of the time period for. These are the cards that you have to play the round after you acquire them. They allow the player to perform different actions such as adding a bonus supporter to the area that you chose to send your first supporter to or adding a bonus supporter to one of the areas you sent your supporter to, or even moving one supporter, yours or an opponents from any one area to any other area. There are also Influential Figure cards that let you add a bonus supporter to the area specified on the card.
Your Main Exhibit cards represent your proposals for the main section of the fair. When you first get them they are considered “proposed”. During the scoring phase you can have them approved if you are one of the leaders of the corresponding area. You only earn points for these cards by having them approved and the more variety of approvals you have, the more points you will score.
So, how does the scoring work? Well it works a little something like this. When the Ferris Wheel Car hits the starting spot, you have a scoring round. There will be three of these in the game. First you score the Midway Tickets, everyone gets 1 point per Midway Ticket in their hand and the player with the most gets 2 bonus points, if there is a tie for most tickets, all players tied receive 2 bonus points.
All right, now the fun part, scoring the five areas. Starting with the area at the base of the board and proceeding clockwise the player with the most supporters in an area gains ribbons worth either 4 or two points, and matching exhibit cards they have collected for the area being scored may be approved. The number of players determines the number of points gained and how many matching exhibits that can be approved. After every area has been scored and the players have had their exhibit cards approved each player reduces the supporters they have in each area. For every two supporters you have, you remove one of them, always round in your favor though. After the first two scoring phases, play will continue clockwise as normal, after the third the game ends.
End of game scoring each player will score their midway coins, their leader medals and their approved exhibits. The approved exhibits are scored in sets of different non-matching categories with a full set of 5 getting you 15 points, 4 gets you 10, 3 gets you 6, 2 gets 3 points and 1 is just 1 point. The player with the most points wins!
If you just read or listened to that rules overview, I am pretty confident that you can now sit down and know how to play the game. It plays as smoothly and easy as it sounds. Yet within those 45 minutes or so you are playing, there are lots of little strategies and tactical moves that can come into play based on what is going on around the board. Sure it sounds easy enough, play one cube, pick up some cards, replenish, move on but if you play it like that, you probably won’t win.
The theme in this one shines through in the wonderful artwork by Beth Sobel and Adam McIver really help implant you in the 1893 World’s Fair. Even in a prototype form with some cards still missing pieces of information, the cards not having finished back design and such we couldn’t keep ourselves from noticing and admiring all the little details.
Weight wise, this one is going to be your go to game if you want to teach others about Area Control, I’m telling you this one has a place on your shelves right next to that tattered well-loved copy of Ticket to Ride that you break out every once in awhile for yourselves, but more often to try to show a friend that there is more to board games than dice and random luck. There is strategy even in the simplest of rule sets and fun to be found in finding out how to sneak into that last spot you need to get that last exhibit approved to complete that full set of exhibit tokens.
If there is one negative to the game, it’s that it can sometimes seem to end just a little too soon. You may find yourself just wishing for one or two more rounds, but you know what, maybe we shouldn’t think of that as a negative. Maybe that’s just the game pulling you back in, making you want to set it up and play it back to back to back, which we have done.
I’ve previewed a handful of games since I first started blogging and podcasting about our gaming experiences here, and my family has enjoyed each and every game we’ve previewed to varying degrees, but there hasn’t been a single one that seemed to grab my game group as soon as we sat down and started playing. Sure, they’ve enjoyed games that I’ve brought in the past, but I don’t remember them asking to play one more than once or twice. World’s Fair 1893 broke that, as soon as we sat down and started playing it, the wheels started turning and the chatter started and didn’t stop for a half hour or so after that first game was over.
World’s Fair 1893 launches on Kickstarter on September 29th. For $29 including shipping in the United States you can pick this one up. Shipping goes up for our Canadian friends and friends all over the world. I really can’t wait to see what Randy Hoyt over at Foxtrot Games has in store for this one during the campaign, I haven’t seen any stretch goals yet, but I trust that they will make the game even nicer to look at and to play.
GemPacked Cards Preview!!! A What Did You Play This Week Kickstarter Preview
GemPacked Cards Pencil First Games Designer: Eduardo Baraf Illustrator: Katherine Waddell
The What Did You Play This Week Podcast was provided a copy of GemPacked Cards from Pencil First Games in order to do this preview. Photos are using prototype pieces and do not represent the finished project.
The newest offering from Pencil First Games and the follow up Kickstarter to The Siblings Trouble is the completely adorable GemPacked Cards. Eduardo Baraf is back with this gem swapping set collecting game for 2-5 players that plays quickly at all player counts and has some really fun gem swapping to help you get the victory points needed to win the game.
Begin your game of GemPacked Cards by shuffling all the goal cards. Then draw and place one more than you have players on the table. These goal cards give you gem combinations to shoot for during game play in order to gain victory points when you trade in the proper combination out of your hand.
After that, you’ll set out a number of Sun and Nova cards based once again on how many players are playing. These cards also grant victory points for trading in the proper gems to win the card.
Next up, you will set out the right amount of Gemino Pip Tokens, again based on number of players, each player will then draw two of these Pip Tokens for their starting hand. These Pip tokens will represent six of the available colors. Next up you’ll shuffle the GemPacked cards and deal out the number of cards necessary based on player count, for 2-3 players that is nine and for 4-5 players that is twelve. These cards are comprised of the Square and Diamond Geminos that you are going to be trading for with your Pip tokens and other cards. Reshuffle the deck and sit it off to the side as the draw deck and now you are ready to play.
On a player’s turn they will buy Squares, Diamonds or any of the Goal Cards or Sun and Nova cards. When the last Pip token is drawn each player will get one remaining turn before the game ends and players then count up their score. But how do you do all that, you may be asking, well, here we go. At the start of a player’s turn if there 7 or more Diamonds on the board(or 9 in a 4-5 player game) the player MAY refresh the whole grid from the draw deck, ignoring any Action Cards that may be dealt. More about those Action Cards later. After the player assesses the board, they draw two Gemino Pips from the draw pile and add them with their collection of Pips. Then the player may perform any of the following actions, in any order and as often as they choose to do:
1) The player may buy a Square from the card grid for two Pips that could create that Square’s color. You can see the combinations that can be made using the chart shown below.
2) The player may buy a Diamond from the card grid for two Square that would combine to create that Diamond’s color.
3) The player can sell a square for two pips that create that Square’s color. Those Pips are collected from the common pool of Pips that have been used previously.
4) The player may buy a Sun, Dwarf or Nova card using the combination needed to purchase those cards. Three Pips for the Sun Card, Five Pips for the Dwarf Card and 3 Squares of any combination of colors for the Nova Card. Each of these cards, along with the goal cards can only be bought once.
5) If a player does not take an action, they can then draw one extra Pip from the Pip pile, essentially passing their turn.
Remember, these actions can be done in any order the players want and as many times as the players like or can which can make for some really short turns and also for some fun nice comboing turns where you are just mixing and matching a lot to get what you want. It should be noted that the board does not refresh though until your turn is over and play passes to the next player.
Also in the Pip pile and in the card grid are multi colored pips, squares and Diamonds, these are Wilds and can only be acquired by combinations as given below. These Wilds may be used in place of another Pip or Square when buying a normal color.
After the player ends their turn the active player refills any cleared spaces on the board with cards from the draw deck. If any of these cards are action cards, this is when those actions take place as soon as they are drawn, starting with the active player and going clockwise, once the card is resolved it is discarded and a new card is placed in its spot until the board is back to the original number of cards on the board. The action cards do different actions, anything from allowing each player to discard a card from the board that is adjacent to the Action Card(Comet) to allowing players to draw more pips(asteroids) or even allowing one player to buy the Sun Card for 3 Pips and adding it to their hand for the victory points. Depending on when they come out these Action Cards can have a huge impact on the game. The Asteroids in general can speed the game up quite a bit and depending on when it happens, can end the game rather abruptly.
As previously noted, once the final Pip is drawn the players all get one more turn to do what they can with their remaining Pips, Squares and Diamonds in order to gain more points. Once everyone has had their final turn, the players tally up their victory points from their cards and the highest Victory Point total wins the game.
GemPacked Cards is Eduardo Baraf’s and Pencil First Games’ third game and the first one that I have had the opportunity to play. We’ve backed the previous Pencil First Games title, The Siblings Trouble as it looks like a fantastic entry into Role Playing within a board game, something that I hope works perfectly for my family. All of the previous games from Pencil First Games are family focused games, and GemPacked Cards continues that trend with this lighter weight game. And it is light, it’s a filler type game with cute artwork from Katherine Waddell. It’s a perfect filler game to play when you have 20-30 minutes to spare before bed, which is when it saw the most play time for us and it would also make a fabulous addition to a lunch time game rotation. The mixing of colors has actually been a great thing to teach our 5 year old. Two Primary Pips equal a Square Pip of the same color, but you can also mix and match a little bit to get some secondary colors, Purple, Orange and Green. The younger players may miss a lot of the extra things that you can do to prolong a turn, but they definitely will have fun mixing and matching and making colors. Amongst all that cuteness and light hearted play there is a bit of a thinky element, as long as things stay set up for you, you can set up the turns pretty well and you may have quite a bit to do on your turn with trades to make and goal cards to purchase.
There are a couple of small issues with the game, mainly just dealing with randomness, which is easily forgiven and forgotten in a short lighter weight game like this. A little more annoying, at least in our games, seems to be a first player advantage mainly because the first player is always operating with more Pips than the rest of the players. But once again, that may be our grouping and it’s also easily forgivable in a game like this.
GemPacked Cards feels a lot like you are playing one of those puzzle apps on your phone when you are playing GemPacked Cards, which makes complete sense given that Eduardo has been developing an App for GemPacked Cards right along with the table top game. The app is also super fun so look for that soon, I believe it has been recently accepted on iOS, so it will be available when the Kickstarter campaign launches. The app while fun has no multiplayer and you are strictly trying to solve color and shape mixings as efficiently and quickly as possible, so while it feels similar it’s definitely a separate and fulfilling experience.
We have enjoyed our time with GemPacked Cards and look forward to backing our own copy. Look for GemPacked Cards to land on Kickstarter on September 1st. It will launch with a backing price of $25 plus $5 shipping.
Well, week 37, the week before summer ends for the kiddos, so I have one more week to torture them at home and make them wish they were in school. Was a good week for gaming, hosted a couple guys from the game group on Saturday and we got a few games in.
But first the week started with a three player game of GemPacked Cards with Kerensa and Gabby. We’ve got a review coming hopefully in the next week or so, but we still need to get a few more plays in to give it the full once over. Kerensa was all over us this game, she was using the ability to mix and match squares to get the right colors she needed, especially compared to me. Gabby had a nice last couple turns but just couldn’t get a big enough turn to catch Kerensa. We’re still having fun with this one and last update I received is that it’s set to hit Kickstarter on the 1st of September, so be on the look out for our review and for the Kickstarter campaign.
We didn’t get anything else played during the week, too many things going on but on Friday evening I had a playtest scheduled online. We were going to be playing Vital Lacerda’s newest game, Lisboa. I had read the rules a couple weeks back when I was originally scheduled to test it the first time, but circumstances prevented me from being able to join that evening. The rules are still in that early stage where they can be a bit confusing, but a couple read throughs got me the basics enough that I was comfortable enough to sit down and play with minimal instruction. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need help, because I did. There are a couple small actions that you can use that can be big resource managing moves that I kind of misunderstood from the rules, but once I saw them it was completely understandable. I’m not sure how much I should say, Vital did say that it doesn’t bother him to have information about his prototypes out and about, but I’d still be a bit nervous as this one was good, really good. In Lisboa the players are trying to rebuild the city after the earthquake of 1775, so it’s an Economic, City Building game. On your turn you can do one of three different things, but what you can do within those actions is where the game is and can get your brain hurting. It was tough, and I think I may have made it harder on myself than I should have, resources were tough for me to come by, but the cool thing about the game is that there was usually something I could do to gather or make those resources, it just took me a bit too long to realize that. I’m looking forward to giving this one another go now that I understand those couple things that I missed before. Paulo, one of the other players had a couple of really nice turns where he was comboing moves left and right and his score showed that he had a good game as he ran away from all of us, including Vital himself. If I get to play it some more I will definitely talk about it a bit more, but I think Paulo said that he would probably be posting about it on his blog on Board Game Geek as well, so if you are interested in learning more soon, you might check that out, I’ll post a link to it in the Geeklist when I notice his blog post online. Oh, and if you are interested in volunteering to try to playtest it as well be sure to check out the Board Game Geek thread link that I’ll post on the blog.
Saturday saw a couple of our game group friend’s show up to play some games at our house. Bern was the first to show up and he was kind enough to let AnnaBeth teach him some JurassAttack! while we were waiting for Ray to join us. We’ve had a lot of fun with JurassAttack! and the fun keeps on going, AnnaBeth lost a lot of points early on in her game with Bern, but made a little bit of a comeback, but ultimately came up short, so I played it real quick with Bern right after that and came up short as well. JurassAttack! continues to be a fun two player tactical game that we can play with anyone as evidenced by AnnaBeth enjoying playing it so much.
So Ray showed up as I was setting up Five Tribes to play with Bern and possible Gabby, but Gabby didn’t want to leave her bedroom just yet so Ray joined us and we had a three player game of it. For those who don’t know, Five Tribes is a fun 2-4 player game from Days of Wonder, it was one of the big hits of GenCon last year, but it hasn’t been without its detractors either for the seriously tactile nature of the game which can lead to some serious AP problems for some or for the use of Slave cards in the market that can be used as “currency”. I won’t get into that battle too much, just know that my copy has the original cards and I think it’s kind of a ripoff that Days of Wonder have replaced the slave cards with Fakirs, but you still have to purchase those if you want to change the cards, but you can still do that if you wish, they are in the Board Game Geek store for $5 and you’ll get the Dhenim djinn along with them. I wonder if they come in the expansion new expansion, I haven’t checked that yet. Anyway, Five Tribes uses a modular tile board of 30 tiles to create a different game every time you play it. After you set up the board, three meeples are pulled randomly from the bag and placed on each tile. There are five different colors of meeples, creating the five tribes of the game. Reds are the assassins, Whites are the elders, blues are the builders, Yellows are the viziers and Greens are the merchants. Each of the different tribes have different powers that can be activated through game play. Before each round there is an auction to decide turn order, once the order is decided the round can begin. The main mechanic of the game is the moving of the tribes around the board using a mancala like method. On your turn you pick up a pile of meeples from a tile and then you drop one meeple on each tile you pass over that is adjacent as you move to another tile. The last meeple dropped must match another meeple on that final tile. When you stop you pick up all of the meeples of that color from that tile and take them to your area. If, when you removed the like colored meeples from the final tile, you have cleared it of any meeples, you gain control of that tile by placing a camel of your color on it. At the end of the game you will the number victory points notated on tile. Next you take the action associated with the tribe color that you removed from the tile, if it is yellow, those Viziers are place in front of you. At the end of the game they are worth one victory point a piece and 10 points if you have the majority of them. The Elders are placed in front of you and can be used to buy djinns or to score two points a piece at the end of the game. The Merchants allow you to take as many resources as meeples, starting from in front of the resource line of 10 cards. Resources are collected in groups. The more different resources in a grouping, the more points you will score. The Builders allow you to take money, you count the number of blue valued tiles surrounding your final tile(including that tile if blue) and you multiply that by the number of builders plus any slave cards that the player may want to use to increase income. You then take that amount of money. Money at the end of the game is worth one victory point per gold coin you have. Lastly you could use the Assassins, the assassins allow you to kill one meeple as many tiles away as the number of assassins plus any slaves that may be used, or you could kill one Vizier or Elder from one of your opponents. After the Tribes actions have been done, you do the action that is represented on your final tile, that could be placing an oasis or a village on that tile, those are worth more victory points at the end of the game for whomever controls that tile. It could be a market action, either paying three gold to take one of the three resources from the start of the line or the big market which allows you to pay six gold to take two of the six resources from the start of the line. Lastly the tile could be a Sacred Place which allows you to spend two Elders or one Elder and one Slave card to buy one of the djinns. These djinns along with having a point value at the end of the game, allow the owning player special powers throughout the game as soon as they are purchased. Lastly, after all that is done, if the player needs gold, they can sell some of their merchandise for gold and play proceeds to the next player on the turn order track. Once everyone taken their turn, you replenish the resource line and the djinns if some have been purchased and you start the next round by holding another auction to see what the player order of the next round will be. Keep playing until the end of the turn during which a player drops his last Camel on a tile or there are no more legal moves possible on the tiles. Score the game and the highest score wins! I enjoy Five Tribes, I’ve only encountered the horrible analysis paralysis issue once. To remedy that I’ll never break it out in their presence again, easy as that. This game we were all a little money poor, none of the blue tiles worked out in an area with blue meeples, I think I only remember one or two actions taken with the blue meeples to gain some gold. But we were also bidding fairly actively to get the first play of the round, although I stuck to the back end of the turn order and just tried to follow along best I could and make the most out of each turn. The game ended in a tie with Ray and I both scoring 135 points to Bern’s 100. Ray and I just kind of ran away with the tile control, I managed to do so through use of the djinn that allowed you to spend an Elder and a Slave to take control of a tile that only has meeples on it. Make no mistake, Five Tribes is not a heavy strategy game, your best move can change three times before it’s actually your turn just due to people dropping meeples on tiles that you planned to use or even using your same move, but I enjoy that, I enjoy the tactical nature of this one. You just really have to make sure that folks don’t take too long on their turn, as Five Tribes isn’t a game where people should be waiting forever between turns, you have to keep it moving. It’s seen eight plays over the first 10 months in our collection as I believe this was a birthday gift last year. Maybe this birthday we’ll add the expansion to it and then wrongly still call it Five Tribes even though there are now six of them.
After Five Tribes, Ray brought out a game that I’ve heard tons of great things about but I’d never gotten a chance to play yet, Elysium. Elysium is at its heart, a set collection game, where you are trying to get sets of like numbers or sets of families. It uses a Mythological theme to pull you in and the well known card drafting and set collection to keep you hooked and it worked pretty well for me. You start the game with 5 mythological families, we played with Athena, Hades, Hephaestus, Poseidon and Zeus. That’s the group the manual tells you to start out with. Each player has a totem of each of four colors, this acts as their “currency” of sorts. When you go to buy a card from the offering, each card will have different colors on the top right of the card, you must have that color totem in your possession in order to purchase the card and put it in your domain. You can pay with any color you wish to, but you have to have that color to purchase.
There are also four quests associated with each color totem, and you have to be able to purchase a quest during each round as well, these quests give money, victory points and transfer points that allow you to move your cards from your offering to your Elysium, which is where you are going to be setting up your sets of cards. Either in sets of the same number or in sets of 1,2 and 3 of the same family. Essentially that’s all there is to the game, but there are a lot of actions that the cards can do, both instant and timed where you decide when to take the action or that help you score at the end of the game if they are in a set in your Elysium, which is how I won this game, by having three of those cards to score. I like Elysium, I like the openness of the drafting, where everyone can see what exactly everyone else is doing. I nearly lost this game, as I was dead set on getting another family of cards out but failed to get the quest to allow me to transfer three cards to my Elysium, but that turned out to be a good thing as I forgot that I had a single card in my Elysium that would go away and not score since it was not in a family, so I managed to get a partial family down there, it literally was an 11 point play, which allowed me to win 47-45-36. I liked it, and I’m tempted to add it to our collection based on Space Cowboys production alone as I’m not sure how well it would be received by Gabby or Kerensa. I think once they gave it a chance and saw how it worked, they would like it well enough to play, but not very often, but still, I think that Space Cowboys are a solid three out of three so far, with Black Fleet, Splendor and now Elysium joining the ranks. With all the wonderful things we’ve heard about T.I.M.E Stories there is no reason to believe they won’t be a solid four out of four in the coming months as well.
Ashes hit the table after Elysium but we tried to play a three player game with two of us knowing nothing of what we were doing and Ray ended up having to cut the game short to head to pick up his kiddos so I won’t say too much about it right now. But I will say that it has promise, and judging from my deck that I played, it will definitely reward those players who learn the best synergies of cards. The dice don’t make for too much luck as there are a lot of ways to change the faces to what you need, but still they are dice. The art is phenomenal just as everyone has commented so far. I do hope that I get to play this one again soon and dive in a little bit, but with A Game of Thrones TCG, 2nd edition on the horizon, I can’t really see myself picking it up, but things may change with more plays, we’ll certainly see I hope.
That was it for Game Day Saturday, the girls and Kerensa got home late so we didn’t play anything together Saturday night, although Gabby did ask if I had any games that could be played solo, so I brought out Castles of Mad King Ludwig for her and she tried her hand at her first solo play of a board game. She scored 50 points, which is pretty low according to the score notes in the rule book, but I can really see how some games will be easier than others, just based on the tiles that come out, but man, money is tight in the solo mode so you almost have to take a turn or two to take $5k.
So on Sunday afternoon I suggested that the three of us sit down and play Castles of Mad King Ludwig since it was fresh in Gabby’s head, I tried to get AnnaBeth to help me with it, but she was too busy watching My Little Pony to come help and I could have probably used her help. If you have listened to the show, you know that we like tile placement games around here, especially tile placement where we are individually building our own building. Suburbia didn’t go over too big for me, mainly due to the scorekeeping/bookkeeping involved with the game. Castles doesn’t have that problem. Kerensa won this one, but it was really close, well close for us, with 10 points separating first and last place. Kerensa ended up with 97 points, scoring huge points based on her bonus card granting her three points for corridor rooms, I tried to catch her by picking up extra bonus cards, but only one of them scored really big and that got me to 92 points in spite of me winning two of the King’s favors, well tying for one and winning the other. Gabby came in third with 82, but her bonus cards worked in her favor and brought her from a good distance back to within 10. I like Castles, and I think that if you listen to the podcast you’ll hear that Kerensa really likes it as well. Maybe castle designing would be her second calling, behind being a shipping magnate (see January episodes about Panamax).
That’s all for the week, I thought I might try to squeeze in a game of Rococo, but the opportunity did not present itself so we’ll have to try to remedy that next week if possible. This is the last full week of summer vacation for the kiddos so we’ll have to make the most of it for them, that may limit our gaming time or it may not, just depends on what they want to do.
Star Realms really didn’t get many plays this week as I was pretty busy at work and I ended up not sending any rematch challenges when I lost games, but I hope to remedy that this week if things are a bit slower around work and home. As it is, I am still sitting at level 9, but now currently 7/10 so I need my luck to change if I am going to get back to 10 and stay there. Thank you all for the challenges, I hope to get back with you all this week!!
Nothing new once again on Kickstarter that caught my eye, so we’re still sitting with only one currently funding, and that’s just fine with me. New Bedford is sitting at $73k funding with five days left in the campaign and currently only one more stretch goal to unlock. Since GenCon started we’ve added the 5th player to the game, added solo play which includes all the pieces needed in the game box and the board has been upgraded for 5 players as well. We’re just waiting to hit $80k to get the upgraded first player marker and round counter. Instead of cardboard they will be nice wooden pieces to fit with the game. New Bedford is a great example of what to do with a second chance.
We also got our backer survey for Carson City. Quined claims to be still well on schedule with this one so my fingers are crossed that we’ll see it on time or at least within a month of on time, it’d be a nice surprise to have this big box in my hands before Christmas time!
Nothing new acquired this week, I’m trying to take it easy, but I am part of the current Math Trade over on Board Game Geek that was ran last week, really fast one and I think our wants lists have to be finalized by 9:00 pm Monday night. I’ve got a handful of games in there, but I’m being a bit specific in what I am willing to trade for, so I could make out well or just not trade anything at all, either way I’ll be okay as I think I am going to go ahead and put together some games for an auction soon anyway, so if they don’t trade, they’ll go directly onto that pile. I hope to have that up and running by the first week of September, but we’ll see. Churchill is looking awfully tempting once it hits retail so I am keeping my eyes open for that, and I am of course anxiously awaiting A Game of Thrones Card Game 2nd Edition, which is on pre-order as well. But only one box, I’m not that crazy.
Geeklist and Thread
Great week again in the Geeklist and Thread over on Board Game Geek. Welcome to the thread Toombs, glad to have you posting and listening. I think I kept up with everyone’s posts this week even with being busy all week, was kind of amazed to see that I had thumbed all the entries, which means that I read them. Lots of great games and great gaming sessions and we even had a handful of GenCon wrap ups which was nice to see. Once again, if you are listening or reading this, and not participating on the Geek List or forum thread, that is a huge reason for why this podcast exists, always nice to see gamers on the ‘Geek chatting about their gaming week. Always is something to look forward to reading all week long.
A week of ups and downs, the laptop was failing, and then it wasn’t. I couldn’t get it to boot up all week, then when I finally take it to a professional, it boots right up with zero errors found, luckily the guy who looked at it didn’t charge me anything and just told me to run the diagnostics on it and let him know if anything popped up after, which nothing did. But I did manage to miss a playtest that I was horribly looking forward to on Friday while my laptop inexplicably decided it needed to run all 52 Windows updates at one time after I logged on to start playing. We’ve since rescheduled and I hope to be ready then, I hate missing something like this, makes me feel a bit unreliable. All in all though it was a good week of gaming, dusted off a couple older games that hadn’t been touched in over calendar year and played a couple of new favorites as well, and Monday brings the promise of a game night, who knows what’ll be here next week!
Yup, we’re still playing it and still having a fantastic time with it. Gabby had this one out and waiting for me on Tuesday evening after we ate dinner. I then proceeded to decimate her dino pack three games in a row, with each game getting just a little bit closer. I think I frustrated her a little bit this time around but she kept saying let’s go, and that’s a good thing, I love it when games do that to you, make you keep pushing till you play a round that you are comfortable with. AnnaBeth was helping both of us as well, so that may have been a bit of the issue for Gabby, distractions. As of this morning, JurassAttack! was sitting at a bit over $5k in funding with 6 days left to go. I’m not really sure what is slowing this one down, I would have thought with the low funding goal and the positive press that both the game and Green Couch Games has been rightfully receiving this one would have been a breeze. Kicktraq has this one projected as funding, but just barely and that worries me a little bit, I wonder if it’s just the conflux of timing(right before GenCon/Right after some BIG projects), being only a two player game that also happens to be a family weight type of game and just being a kind of niche type of theme(combating dinosaurs). I just don’t know, but if you would, give the project a look at least and see what you think, it’s just $15 with shipping for some fantastic fun.
We picked the gaming back up on Friday evening with another play of Cacao. This one was three player as we got Gabby to join Kerensa and I. This time I rode the water and cacao sales to victory scoring 63 points to 44 for Kerensa in second place. I managed to actually use a Sun Token for good use this time around and scored 12 point selling due to placement of some sales tiles. Our game went a bit long, I think I timed it at about 51 minutes according to the app I am using, I’m trying to time our games a bit more often just to see how slow we really are compared to what the boxes say. I am enjoying our plays of Cacao and while every game is different and the routes can change up, I’m really anxious to get my hands on the expansion tiles that I saw pop up on Twitter this week so we can add a bit more variability to the game, if I remember correctly one new tile was a volcano tile that can affect other players with negative points if they have workers touching it, so it can add a little bit of conflict in the game, which may be a good thing for this one. The expansion looks to be 11 modules to the game for extra variability, looking forward to this when it comes.
Despite my better judgement I asked if Kerensa and Gabby wanted to play a game of Open Sesame, Gabby was getting tired and I knew that Kerensa would excel at this one compared to me. My fears were warranted as Kerensa won this one. Open Sesame really is a fun memory game, there isn’t a lot of weight to it, the game is simply knowing when to push your luck as Ali Baba and remembering all the items when you are one of the other thieves. My problem is that I just get lost, I will forget something right in the middle of the list, but I did better than my sleep deprived child by a good long shot. I just may never beat Kerensa.
So on Saturday morning, Gabby and I decided to break out the feather dusters and play a couple games that haven’t been played in over a year, first up was the fantastic tile placement, jewel capturing game Indigo. In Indigo, from Reiner Knizia, the players are trying to guide jewels to the side of the board that they “control” by placing tiles down that have paths on them, these paths will wind around the board creating longer and longer paths that eventually take the jewel off the board and into a players scoring pile. You set up the board with one central tile in the middle of the board which holds 5 green jewels and 1 blue gem. Around the outside edge there are 6 tiles that start with 1 yellow gem on each of them. Players then in turn order place a tile and move the gem along the path that is created, think Tsuro, only you want the gem to reach the outside edge. In a two player game, each player will control three sides and will try to get the gems to exit in their spaces. Yellow gems are worth 1 point, green gems are worth 2 points and the blue tile is worth 3 points. In three player games, each player will control one exit and then share an exit with each other player, with 4 players each player shares a side with each other player. If a gem happens to go off the board where players share a spot, each player is awarded a gem of that color. The game is played until all of the gems are off the board, the players then count up their points and the highest total wins the game, in ties the tiebreaker goes to the player with the most gems. I really like Indigo and as evidenced by our plays, we reach for it over Tsuro most of the time. It doesn’t play nearly as many people, but I find it a lot more fun to play, the bigger board and seemingly more choices, even though there really may not be. 16 plays so far, and more to come I have a feeling once AnnaBeth figured out what it’s all about, she sat and watched pretty intently while we played.
So, then the duster needed to be used for this one as well, it’s been since December 2013 since we’ve broke out Dominion and I know why that is. Gabby really enjoys Dominion but she doesn’t enjoy the variety, she likes to play with certain cards that she knows and has used before, for me I am exactly the opposite, I like the variety that Dominion offers, I like that if we wanted to we could never have a game with the same cards so thusly it won’t play the same way. So when Gabby suggested it, I made sure to tell her that I would play it, but the first game we were going to randomize every card and she agreed to it. We have the Big Box version of Dominion so we have the Base game, Alchemy and Prosperity in one box, on top of that we have Intrigue and Hinterlands as well so we’ve got a pretty large base grouping of cards to randomize from and we got a really different grouping the first game. Not a single card offered an extra buy and we were kind of limited with extra actions as well, so I made sure to try to focus on the victory cards that we had in the offer. I went heavy into Tunnel due to the fact that I knew Gabby would be aggressive with the Militia and then I picked up every last Silk Road which essentially sealed the win for me, 107-36 with the Silk Road scoring me 60 points due to having 24 victory cards in my hand. After that, Gabby wanted to play again, but she wanted to hand pick 6 of the cards before I got to add in a random 4. She made sure she got her Militia in there, her Market and her Grand Market and some others, we randomly got Ill Gotten Gains, Trading Post, Develop and the Duchess. This one was ugly and it took a long time to build up anything. Gabby ended up with only 18 points, she kept running out of actions on her hand so she would end up wasting cards half the time she played, I wasn’t much better but I kept picking up Duchy’s when I played a Duchess and just tried to get as many Victory cards as I could. 36 points isn’t much of a win, but I’ll take it out of that setup, only thing I can think of that I should have possibly used a bit differently is used the actual Develop card and trashed a bit more out of my hand, but I just wasn’t sure how that was worth it, but who knows. I like Dominion but it’s detractors do have points, it is utterly devoid of theme for the most part, well I shouldn’t say devoid of theme, the theme is there, it just doesn’t really make much sense with game play, but it’s fun, it’s a puzzle every game if you use different setups and I like that in games. I love figuring out that path that is going to serve me the best and get me to the win, or as close as I can get. I’ve had Dominion on the trade pile for a while now, but maybe I should pull it off the trade list and get a few more plays with it. Who knows, maybe Adventures are calling my name.
For dinner we went over to Brad and Kate’s house and I brought along some games to play, but I knew, or rather I hoped, that we’d be playing Rattlebones a bit. Brad got this a couple weeks ago for his birthday. We had played it at Geekway and quite enjoyed it so I was looking forward to playing it again with more than two players. This time we played it with four and I never did quite figure out how to best get my dice manipulated. It didn’t help that we all rolled Rattlebones way too often. Brad ran away with it for most of the game, but Kate made a strong push towards the end, but Brad scored a handful of stars to end it, winning by 17. I finished in dead last, never did even break 20 points, but like I said, I wasn’t seeing a pattern to use and I just kind of randomly stuck new sides on the die and that didn’t work out for me at all. I like this game, and I love the idea of the game with the interchangeable parts to the dice. I wonder if I even need to use a movement die after a little bit, the only reason I should is if I wanted to score stars, which do seem a bit powerful, 1 star gains you 3 points, 2 stars gains you 7 points, 3 stars gain you 11 points and 4 stars gain you 15 points. I almost wonder if you could ride the star train to a victory alone just by building a die of as many star faces as possible. But then that requires you to get that many faces for your dice. Great game that I look forward to playing more as we get more chances, really glad that this one is around and in the family.
Last but not least for the weekend was a 4 player game of Scoville. I’m really enjoying our plays of this one and hopefully we can keep getting it to the table more often in the future. This was our biggest game to date and I really think that this gets better as you increase the player count, although with increased player count comes the fact that more people will have peppers and thus you’ll realize that the game really didn’t come with enough peppers, hopefully this gets remedied whenever the upcoming expansion is put out. I’d even possibly be willing to pay extra for some extra peppers. Brad, Gabby and Kerensa joined me and we were off picking peppers. Early on I think it was pretty even all the way across, but one thing we noticed right off the bat was that paths are going to be blocked a lot more than we do in the two and three player games. Due to some late game Ghost Pepper farming and recipe fulfilling, I ran away with this one, winning with 105 points, with Kerensa and Brad coming in second with 78 points apiece. Both of them used a different strategy to get to those points, Brad switched late in the game to just selling brown peppers, he had created a little plot away from everyone else and just kept farming for brown peppers while planting brown peppers just to keep increasing their price. Kerensa was pretty strictly recipe fulfilling as I don’t think she even had one shield trophy either. I did also this game use the auction for turn order a lot more than I did other games, trying to make sure that I got to make the choice of when I got to go in turn order, sometimes I wanted to be last so I could harvest first, other times I wanted to be first so I could plant and fulfill first, that part really opened up a bit more with 4 players, at least for me. Ed Marriott and Tasty Minstrel Games definitely have a winner here with Scoville. It’s light enough rules wise that I’d be comfortable teaching it to almost anyone, regardless of level of gaming experience, yet it is pretty strategic as well.
That’s the face to face gaming for the week, I did get in quite a few games of Star Realms in as well this week. I stumbled a bit, ended the season at 5-6 and had dropped to level 9 4/10, but I managed to rally back to 8/10 as of this afternoon. So thank you Sarah, Jacob, Alex, Steved and others for the matchups. It was good to start slowly adding in the Gambit stuff even though I am still a bit lost when it comes to some of the ships but I’m coming around. Keep the challenges coming to VacaBCK!
Nothing new backed this week, I was tempted to back something that wasn’t even board game related (shocking) but ultimately I forgot about it and didn’t back it before the campaign ended. So all that I am currently backing is Hocus and JurassAttack!. Hocus is motoring right along at over $21k with less than 5 days to go and as mentioned earlier, JurassAttack! is struggling along, hopefully something kicks into gear this week for it and we see some big jumps in funding. That’s it, I know there are a couple games coming along that are going to be tempting, but I am going to try to stay away from Kickstarter for the most part, although I am going to be tempted quite a bit by the fast approaching re-launch of New Bedford and then Consequential. Both of which I believe are running during Gen Con in a couple weeks. So, if you are interested, keep your eyes peeled for information on both of those Kickstarter campaigns.
I really didn’t get to listen to a lot of podcasts this week, they kept me fairly busy at work with things where I needed my ears for other things, but I did listen to a couple standout ones. Heavy Cardboard covered all things Terra Mystica and ended up giving it a middle of the road kind of review. I can kind of see that from them, there really isn’t a lot of conflict or interaction, either direct or indirect with it, it’s really a game where you are trying to be as efficient as you possibly can with every turn you take. I don’t agree that it’s middle of the road though as I absolutely love Terra Mystica for a lot of the reasons they felt it a bit lacking. But I do agree with Tony though on the fact that it’s really a Medium weight game, I don’t think you can really call it heavy. They also touched on String Railway which shocked the heck out of me, glad they found it interesting as I really liked my plays of it so far. Punched & Played touched on RPGs and board gaming with a friend of theirs Anthony, who doesn’t enjoy the competitiveness of board games. Really good episode. Paul over at Gaming Rules! Continues to bring a fantastic short podcast much in the same vein as we do here, had the 2nd part of the interview with Ricky Royal as well which was a lot of fun. The Tattered Board gave what may be the only positive review of Kill Shakespeare that I have heard so far. The Brawling Brothers podcast, which is quickly moving up the queue as a must listen had a great episode discussing the Top 10 games on Board Game Geek and reviewed a game that I desperately need to get to the table soon, Dark Moon. Marty and Tony over at Rolling Dice & Taking Names once again let Rhiannon and Suzanne invade the studio for some talk about marrying one game for the rest of your gaming life. Plus they reviewed a game that is moving up my want list with a bullet, Stockpile, great episode as usual. Once again, lots of fantastic podcast listening, even during a week where I didn’t get listen to nearly as much as I would like to listen to and next week looks even more fantastic. I checked my feed a few minutes ago and I know I had at least 8 new podcasts download.
So last week, we started the GenCon 2015 Top 10 with some honorable mentions and then games 10 through 6 that I would make an effort to run to the booth and check out if I were attending GenCon this year, well this week, it’s time for numbers 5-1 since GenCon is only 11 days away.
Check out the geeklist over on Board Game Geek and let me know what you think!!!
Here’s a quick recap of 10-6
10) Artifact Inc from Red Raven Games
9) Code Names from Czech Games Edition
8) Castles of Mad King Ludwig-Secrets from Bezier Games
7) Great Dinosaur Rush from Ape Games
6) Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot from Portal Games
5) Takenoko Chibis from Antoine Bauza and Bombyx Games Not a whole lot out there yet about this expansion to one of our favorite games here, Takenoko, so that’s partially why I’d be rushing to the booth to check it out. What we do know is that the expansion adds a female panda to the mix and baby pandas to the mix as well, the female Panda will have a model and I believe the baby pandas will be on tiles. The expansion also brings some more cards to the mix, more land tiles and some more bamboo as well. Only question is, will, or is it compatible with the Collector’s Edition box and if it isn’t, will they be releasing the expansion to fit that scale as well. I believe this one is releasing at GenCon so we should know more soon!
4) Odyssey-Wrath of Poseidon from Leo Colovini and Ares Games This one will be a demo only at GenCon, ahead of a September release, and I believe that Ares had it also at Origins this year, but I have heard little to nothing about the game from there. In Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon, one player takes the role of Poseidon, God of the Sea, while the others become navigators in search of the Sacred Island. Gameplay takes place on two copies of the same game board that are separated by the game box so that they are not visible to one another. The Poseidon player throws powerful storms against the Navigators, driving them off-course and confounding them so that they cannot reach the Sacred Island in time. Only Poseidon knows the real position of the ships as indicated on his copy of the game board. The navigators must sail through endless storms, blind to all around them, trying to gather clues to their whereabouts to stay on course. They also track the position of their ships on the game board, but the positions indicated are only a best guess — and they can become increasingly inaccurate as the game progresses. The navigators must use their wits to stay on course and reach the Sacred Island before the end of the game, while Poseidon wins by preventing them from reaching their destination. It sounds to me like sort of a variation of Battleship with some other things going on that may actually provide some really fun gameplay. It’s a game from Ares so we know the production on it is going to be top notch fantastic.
3) Ashes-Rise of the Phoenixborn from Isaac Vega and Plaid Hat Games This one has been all over the airwaves over the last month or so, with Isaac and Colby talking to just about anyone they can about this one and it sounds fantastic. In Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, a two-player expandable card game, players take on the roles of Phoenixborns, demi-gods and protectors of this world. These characters are the great saviors of their civilizations. Before they came into existence, the humans were plagued by monsters like chimeras that took away their lands and forced them to live in walled-off cities. When the Phoenixborns came, they fought off the chimeras and freed the lands for humans to take over once again. Ashes promises to be the next expandable card game system from Plaid Hat Games after the success of Summoner Wars. This one seems to take a lot of it’s heart and soul from Magic: The Gathering, but it cuts out a lot of the bloat. Each player starts with a deck of 30 cards and your biggest spell or attack can go into play immediately, no waiting around for land build up in this one. Get in and get after it. As of today, the 19th of July, it was still available as a pre-order on the Plaid Hat website, but I don’t imagine that will be the case much longer. It will be available for purchase at GenCon 2015, I’ve heard no word on stock.
2) Flick ‘Em Up from Gaëtan Beaujannot and Jean Yves Monpertuis and Pretzel Games This one has been on my radar since it was announce a few months back. A Western themed Flicking game?!?! How could anyone pass this up. This is the inaugural release from Pretzel Games, a company that wants to make it’s mark selling games that look as fantastic as they play, heirloom quality. Their first release, Flick ‘em Up, seems to be getting them off on the right foot, with a fantastic presentation to go along with fun shootout gameplay. The game is ran with scenarios where the Sheriff is trying to stop bank robbers, or escaped prisoners, or just a wild west bandit out for trouble. At $70 msrp, this one may be a bit steep, but the presentation, down to the wooden box makes it look like it’s well worth every penny.
1) Mysterium from Oleksandr Nevskiy, Oleg Sidorenko and Lillebud Yes, yes, I know, we already have a version of Mysterium and that version is perfectly beautiful and fun to play, but Lillebud has upped the presentation a bit and taken a fantastic game and hopefully improved it a bit. They’ve added a ghost screen which looks to help the ghost keep everything a secret all while making it easier on them. The new clock is an awesome graphical addition to the game and everything I’ve seen art wise makes me really happy and confident that they’ve really improved the game. The new rules are online and available to check out, but I haven’t had a chance to read through them yet and find out if much has changed or not, or even figure out which end game they are going with. Lillebud has said they will have a few hundred copies available at GenCon this year ahead of the release scheduled for October, so you might want to hurry up and head to the Asmodee booths to try to get a copy, but you won’t get it if you aren’t there quick.
So there we go, ten games worth sprinting to get through a gaggle of board game fiends all dead set on getting the same thing as you. All 10 on this list are worthy in my mind, and I’m sure there are others that I’ve completely missed and didn’t add to the list that others would have, like La Granja, Stockpile, Lift It, Nevermore, The Village Crone(this one I regret leaving off the list), everything at the Haba booth and many many others. But that’s why there are so many voices out there that will gladly tell you all about what they saw or what they want to see.
But fret not, for those of us who can’t make it to Gen Con this year, never fear, there is something for us to do as well. The wonderful Suzanne Sheldon is putting together another fun #GenCant for everyone. There will be camaraderie and fun and games over Twitter and over on Board Game Geek. Do yourself a favor and head over to the #GenCant website. and see everything that has been put together and above all participate and enjoy our non-con!!
This preview is also in audio form on Week 32 of the WDYPTW Podcast at the 3:49 mark.
If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you know that our family has been playing a new two player game from Green Couch Games. A couple weeks ago Jason Kotarski contacted us and asked if we wanted to preview a little two player dinosaur fighting game that was going on Kickstarter on July 10th. If you remember, we enjoyed previewing and ultimately backing Best Treehouse Ever, their previous offering, so I jumped at the chance to preview and let you all know how we felt about their newest game to come to Kickstarter, JurassAttack!.
It arrived in the mail this week on Monday. I sat down and read the rules over lunch and I was kind of curious as to how it would work. The instructions read like it was just a variation of War with variable card powers. So I was wondering if this one would be as fun as I was hoping. In JurassAttack each player has a deck of 27 cards, each card is either one of 7 different dinosaurs or Eggs. Each different dinosaur species card has a special power that they can use, it has their Ferocity in the upper left hand corner and their value in victory points at the end of the game in the bottom right. Eggs are strictly victory points that you or your opponent can win. Each player starts with a hand of 5 cards and on your turn, you pick a dinosaur or a pack of dinosaurs from your hand and place them face down in front of you.
A pack of dinosaurs can consist of the same species of dinosaurs or dinosaurs and eggs. There are also specific rules on some cards that allow for dinosaurs to be packed. After you have placed your cards face down in front of you, your opponent places their choice in front of them and then, if you are like us, on the count of three you both reveal your dinosaurs and your dinosaurs “fight”. When you reveal your dinosaurs you are comparing the ferocity level of your chosen Dinosaurs and the highest total wins. Whomever wins takes their opponents dinosaurs and place them in a victory point pile and then they take the dinosaurs that they played and place them in a discard pile. Any eggs that were played also go into the victory pile. After that, the loser of that round draws their hand back up to five, the winner does not, in fact if the winner has no cards in their hand they only draw one card to play next hand. The next round starts with the winner of the previous round being the first to lay their cards down so their opponent can see how many they have played. That’s it, the game ends when one player has no more cards to play from their hand and has no cards left in their draw pile. Each player then counts the victory points in their victory point pile and the highest total wins the game.
The Card Backs
JursassAttack! looks to be the first published game from Ryan Cowler and I believe he has a nice, light, fun game on his resume with this one. The cards, even in pre-production format, are fantastic. I love the art and design on them, and I also love that they are tarot sized, it is about dinosaur fighting after all, so the cards should be bigger than normal, right? The play is quick, which is kind of important in this as it isn’t meant to be a big full game, it’s a fun directly confrontational filler that plays in about 10-15 minutes or so and there are some good opportunities for bluffing your opponent. There are some choices to be made, do I run out of cards here by playing a big pack, or do I hold back and keep a couple just in case. The fight over eggs kind of seems to take a back seat to the dinosaur fighting sometimes, but we’ve had more than a couple matchups that came down to that one point difference so the Eggs did make a difference. The variety of the dinosaurs is pretty nice and the powers that each have can be useful and fun if played at the right time to get the best advantage. I’ve had a good time playing with my 11 year old who has really shown a liking to it, but she lives for games with direct confrontation and our 5 year old has had fun with it as well even though she can’t read everything on the cards. We kind of taught her beforehand who can pack with whom and what each dinosaur can do and she has had a lot of fun with it, even got the two girls playing together without my wife or I encouraging it, so it’s a winner based on that alone. JurassAttack! will be hitting Kickstarter on July 10th and just know that even though we’ll happily be playing our demo copy for quite a while, we will be backing this one to get a production copy as well, can’t wait to see what Green Couch Games does with the production on this one.
We crammed all of our gaming into Friday thru Sunday and ended up playing quite a little bit. Was kind of surprised at the amount we got in honestly.
On Friday, Kerensa was out at a fundraiser so Gabriella and I sat down to a game. I had decided earlier in the day that it was going to be Neuroshima Hex. So after bribing Gabby a little bit she agreed and we sat down and learned the game. First game was my Molochs vs her Borgo and we were taking it easy and just playing with the rulebook open, when all of a sudden during my turn, a thud and a rush of water rolled over the board and all the cardboard on it, my Molochs getting the worst of it. Gabby had dropped her 24 oz glass of water on the table. Did my best to not be irritated, and we hurriedly cleaned up the mess. After drying it off, and getting her to laugh a bit about it, because I could tell she felt horrible, I switched out the Moloch to let them dry properly and went with the Hegemony for round two which went much more uneventful. Neuroshima Hex really isn’t a complicated game to learn at all, in fact, it’s quite easy once you get what the iconography on the tiles mean, but wow it’s quite the tactical game. Gabby ended up winning this one, she had 12 health left on her base to my 10 when we were out of tiles, but it was good fun and I think she enjoyed it as well, looking forward to playing this one more.
Saturday Gabby and I got in a two player game of Machi Koro in before they went and hung out with their cousins while I chopped down a small forest in the back yard. I was going to start putting a timer on the game to try to speed it up, because it kind of just drags at times when you get to thinking too much about what you are going to buy, but I haven’t yet. Machi Koro at its heart is a light weight dice rolling game where the dice activate the cards in your tableau, or city. Those cards will make you money or can steal money from other players or make money for everyone. With that money you buy cards from the buy stacks, trying to best synergize your “city”. The cards all have a cost to them in coins but also they have a number or a number range on them that designates which dice rolls will activate them. The object of the game is to be the first to build 4 monuments, if you are playing base only, or 6 monuments if you are playing with The Harbor expansion. First person to build their last monument wins the game. So where it gets bogged down for me at least are the options, there are always 10 different cards in the middle to buy, but with the new rule in The Harbor, those cards can change all the time, so that means everyone has to pay attention and know what those cards are in advance to keep the flow going. Not to mention everyone keeping track of what they have that would steal from everyone else. I don’t mind the game when it’s played fast, when it’s played loose, because ultimately the dice decide everything and if a game is going to let dice decide everything for me, it should be quick. But, Gabby loves the game, so I’ll keep playing it as long as she asks. We also played this again on Sunday and taught it to Kerensa, that game was probably the longest game we’ve ever had, outside the full four player game we had a couple months ago. But that was to be expected as Kerensa did not know what any of the cards did and how they worked together so it moved slow. Gabby won the game on Saturday and Kerensa won the game on Sunday.
Machi Koro with The Harbor
Sunday morning over coffee, Kerensa and I learned Progress:Evolution of Technology. This is the second game from Passport Game Studios that I received for review so I won’t go into it too much, but we did end up playing it twice on Sunday and enjoyed it both times, although we did have one issue and I am waiting to see if that issue rears its ugly head with more than 2 players. Both plays on Sunday were just the two of us, but it seems that the Power Board points may be a bit swingy in a 2 player game, at least that’s what it seems to us. If you win 2 out of 3 of them you end up with a 8-10 point advantage, and from what we can tell in two player, that’s awfully hard to make up for in your tableau or on your player board, but we’ll see. I’m hoping to get a play in of this Monday night at our game meetup with a couple more players and see how it goes. Also of note, we’ve only played through 3 ages, we haven’t added the 4 Age cards in just yet.
Progress:Evolution of Technology
We did play one other game on Sunday, we got in another play of Doodle Quest and I further showed off that my sense of space and where to draw objects is just way off as I was a distant 3rd place to Kerensa and Gabby, but it’s still a fun game to play. Doodle Quest is one of those games where you sit down and play and think to yourself, why didn’t I think of this?!?! In the game each player has a blank transparent Doodle sheet and a dry erase marker. In the game there are six randomly drawn pictures that are placed in the middle. Those pictures have specific instructions on them, like draw a line from one corner of your transparency to the other. But the trick is there is usually something in the picture that you can’t touch with the line or you will lose points. So you draw the line and you take your transparency with what you drew on it and place it on top of the picture and see how you did, if you’re like me, that’s usually fairly bad, but if you have good spatial recognition, you should be just fine. The box comes with 20 of those pictures, each with an A and a B side, with the B side being more difficult than the A side. The game is silly fun and my only worry is how it’ll hold up if you play a lot of it with the same people, as those 40 pictures can be gone through fairly quickly. But I don’t regret picking it up one bit, super fun. Now, the only question I really have about it is, do I pick up Loony Quest as well!!
So that’s all the gaming I did face to face this week. I’ve managed to keep up with Star Realms pretty well with challenges coming from a few different folks. Sarah, kicked my rear end either once or twice, I forget, we have another in progress, but may not be done by recording time. Jflartner and I have been back and forth over a handful of games, and I’m getting good challenges from my brother in law and his wife as well. So Star Realms is still getting quite a few plays. I still haven’t pulled the trigger on Gambits yet, but I am sure I will sooner or later. But for now, I am Gambit-less.
Nothing, nada, zilch. Nothing was acquired this week game wise, although I did go ahead and pick up a pop filter for recording. I kept listening to myself and every now and then I thought I was bumping the desk, so I am hoping that this pop filter fixes that and muffles my B’s and my P’s a bit.
Best Treehouse Ever funded yesterday at just over $52k, coming up just short of the final stretch goal but close enough that they decided to include it anyway, which is fantastic. Really well done campaign ran by Jason Kotarski of Green Couch Games. I can’t wait to see what’s next from them as they look to have a good idea of what to do with that 30 minute filler game market.
The Siblings Trouble was backed this week. $30 gets you the game and covers shipping. This one is brought to us by Eduardo Baraf, who last year ran a Kickstarter for Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet, which I was a backer of but due to unforeseen financial stuff popping up I backed out. I wish I could have stayed in as reviews are good for it as it is being played by everyone who backed it now. But back to The Siblings Trouble. The Siblings Trouble is a card-driven cooperative storytelling game, that really sounds to me like it’s a fantastic jumping in point for younger children interested in role playing games, or families interesting in role playing games but they don’t want to do a full campaign with 2-3 hour sessions just yet. I’ll talk a bit more about it next week as I am going to dive into some of the videos and such, but currently it’s sitting at a little over $12k funding with a goal of $18k with 23 days left on the campaign. Give it a look if it sounds like something that may interest you.
I also backed one other game this week, but I’m not sure I’m going to stay with it. In theory I love the idea of the game, it seems like it may truly be the only Euro Zombie game, and that game is called Surviving: One Month In. This is really the type of game that I should be backing, it’s a small press and it won’t be produced if it doesn’t make its funding, it’s currently sitting at eleven thousand pounds, and needs to get to fourteen thousand pounds to fund. As of recording the campaign has 7 days to go. The price on this one is pretty nice, it’s quite a bit of stuff that comes in the box and it seems like you’d be able to get a lot of variety out of the play as well, with different modes and different board setups. I managed to sneak in and get one of the early bird prices when someone dropped out it seems what would be 30 US dollars, but you can get in now for $37. It has some good enough reviews from some folks who do quite a few reviews so it’s not completely unknown. Give it a look and see what you think, let me know if any of you all end up backing it. I’m staying in for the time being, but I’ll be watching and reading more this week before I make my final decision on it.
Weight loss challenge wise, I’m staying steady, but we’ll see where I sit tomorrow morning, had kind of a so so week food intake wise but I burned off quite a few calories on Saturday in the yard, but then I made up for that by eating like a pig at a party. So I’m kind of nervous about this weigh in tomorrow.
Fantasy baseball league is moving along and it looks like Paul from Cardboard Jungle and I turned around our misfortunes last week and won our matchups this week, Anthony didn’t fare so well though. Early in the season it looks like the cream of the crop may be Dan from Nonsensical gamers as he won again this week, but man, Division 1 looks brutal, I wish I would have been put into a different division, yipes.
Hoping next week to have something new for everyone so be ready for that. Thanks for reading and listening folks, I really do appreciate it!! Have a great week and I’ll see you in the Geeklist and the Forums!
Alright, slow week of gaming so a quick 19 minute episode this week, but it’s got some good things in there I think even if it is shorter.
Only two games got to the table this week, Volt:Robot Battle Arena and The Phantom Society. I give a brief overview of both of these. I talk a bit about Kickstarter, nothing new tempted me, but I did keep following Mistfall and I am enjoying watching Best Treehouse Ever just keep climbing.
I do also mention a new podcast to be watching for from friend, Travis Hill. It’s called Low Player Count and it’s going to be a podcast all about solo and two player games, can’t wait for that one to drop. Keep an eye out for it around Sunday of next week.
Also mention our Board Game Twitter Fantasy Baseball league which I am so going to win this year, and you’ll all get to hear a little about it as the season goes I’m sure, but be sure to mention to Anthony from Cardboard Jungle that his team looks pretty bad this year.
Don’t forget to register for the contest, just submit to me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org your favorite “Gotcha” moment from gaming, you could win a copy of Sheriff of Nottingham!! Submissions will be taken till April 3rd and I will announce the winner on the April 5th podcast. Submit your Gotcha moment either via text or even email me a voice recording of you telling the story.
Light week of gaming so I try to make up for it by talking a bit later in the podcast about some board game video content creators that I enjoy and follow.
We did play a few games, Tajemnicze Domostwo aka Mysterium, Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Can’t Stop.
Talked a bit about a couple of Kickstarter projects that I am backing, first up the Meeple Syrup Kickstarter and then Between Two Cities from Stonemaier Games.
Contest coming next week for a copy of Sheriff of Nottingham so get ready for that. And I do mention wanting to plan a sort of virtual Game Day on Board Game Arena sometime around the week of March 23rd possibly.