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    by davypi

    klbush wrote:

    I would even suggest letting each player select which of the special cards they want in the deck (each player gets 1/p (p=player count) of the special buildings to select, then just shuffle them up and lay them out like the normal stacks.

    Connie and I messed around with a mechanic where special buildings were drafted at the beginning of the game. One problem is that since you only need six buildings it really only works for a 2/3 player game. The other problem is that even if you know what is in the pile, you still don't know when its coming out. The other solution for this is to use the Construction Site Variant. I think I've pulled this building out of my copy of the game because the mechanics seemed a bit fiddly when I was learning the game, but its certainly something we could try at some point.

    Since Davypi has experience with some buildings becoming too powerful those could be eliminated or cost doubled or something.

    I think the last idea I had about solving this problem was that standard buildings would score normal but special buildings would only count for half when scored in the bank/town hall. We had moved on to other games before being able to figure out if this was a good solution or not.

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    by Steve99

    bleached_lizard wrote:

    I figured it out - I was using all the ones that said "start" on them as starting cards. Like it said in the instructions. Whereas that's only for the short game.

    That really, really isn't made very clear at all. :shake:

    Same issue here. I'm not sure that the other two 1 player start buildings (Sawmill and BlackMarket) are used in the long version of the solo game. Judging by the "start" text on the building card being written in outline, it indicates only for the short version.

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    by Sean Ramirez

    The Dukes of Dice... A podcast about Board, Card and Role Playing Games

    [MP3]|Dukes of Dice - Ep. 98 - Cheers and Booooos[/MP3]
    For a direct download click here.

    This episode the Dukes...

    ... Discuss recent plays of Perfect Alibi, Belfort, Tiny Epic Western, Port Royal, Commands and Colors Ancients and Le Havre (4:15);

    ... Discuss the latest gaming news including the announcement for Power Up expansion for King of New York, the announcement for the new Ticket To Ride maps Rails and Sails, the winner for last year's Kinderspiel Des Jahres, and Hero Realms, currently on Kickstarter (21:10);

    ... Discuss their ballots for this year's Dice Tower Awards (29:02);

    ... Look back at their review of Mysterium in their Dukes' Double-Take (1:01:59); and

    ... Alex recaps his trip to the Rocky Mountain Gaming Vacation (1:10:22).

    Please consider supporting the Dukes of Patreon!

    For our full podcast archive, click here.
    Available also on iTunes and Stitcher.
    Visit our website (, follow us on Twitter (@dukesofdice), like us on Facebook (, join our BGG Guild (Dukes of Dice) or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    0 0

    by Milena Guberinic

    Hi friends!

    This was the week of the horrible root canal and filling. I'm still in pain, but I have hope that it will settle soon and I'm too excited to really care because Peter and I are going to Dice Tower Con next week! Yay! I can't wait for a nice long block of gaming and nothing but gaming! I also went a little nuts with the new games this week. :P I couldn't resist cracking Scythe open even though I WAS planning to wait until AFTER Dice Tower Con to give it a full and proper review. Oh well. I guess this will be a preview of the awesomeness that awaits! :P


    What's New?

    Stellar Conflict

    The Overview

    Stellar Conflict is a game of frenzied conflict between alien races in the Among the Stars universe. In this game, players build a deck of ship cards, play those cards to the table, and then watch everything explode in a fireball mess!

    Each player selects a race to play and takes the deck of ship cards for that race. Each player also receives all the damage tokens of that color.

    Players must then decide the scale of the battle they would like to play. If playing a Dispute, they can each select ships with a total credit value of up to 10. If playing a Conflict, this becomes 15 credits. If playing a War, this can be up to 30 credits.

    Then, each player shuffles his deck of cards, places his cargo ship on top of the stack and flag ship on the bottom of the stack.

    If playing a Dispute, set a timer to 30 seconds. If playing a Conflict, set a timer to 60 seconds. If playing a War, set a timer to 120 seconds.

    After this preparatory phase, players simultaneously draw the top card of their deck, placing it anywhere on the table and re-orienting it as they see fit. However, once a player removes his finger from the ship card, the ship is deployed and may not be moved again. Players continue to do this until the timer runs out.

    Once the timer runs out, the ships go into battle. Ships fire based on their initiative (top-left corner), with those with lower initiative firing first. Players use their damage tokens to keep track of how much damage their ships have dealt. Some ships have shields, which prevent damage, and others have special abilities that prevent them from getting damaged or modify the type of damage they deal.

    There are 3 basic sizes of laser beams. Purple does 1 damage, red does 2 damage, and green does 3 damage. When a ship has incurred damage equal to or higher than its hull points (below initiative on top left side), it is destroyed and removed from the playing area.

    Cargo ships are special. These are loaded with 8 cargo cubes at the start of combat. When a cargo ship is hit, cargo cubes equal to the amount of damage taken are moved onto the ship that hit it. As soon as a cargo ship loses its last cargo, it is removed from the game.

    Friendly fire also deals damage, so you can end up destroying your own ships. This is important because ALL destroyed ships go into the opponent's "kill pile," regardless of who destroyed the ships. Players score the number of points shown in the top right-hand corner of each of the ships in their "kill piles," 1 VP per stolen cargo cube, and 1 VP per cargo cube remaining on their own cargo ships.

    The Review

    Played prior to review: 5x


    :) 1. Very pretty
    I love the art in all games set in the Among the Stars universe and Stellar Conflict also features the same stellar art! It's thematically appropriate and vibrant and pretty!

    :) 2. Very fast
    In any form, Stellar Conflict is a super speedy game! The bulk of the time is spent planning your deck and administering the scoring phase at the end, but even with those factored in, the game only takes about 10 minutes to play. The short version of the game plays out in 30 seconds, the medium in 60, and the long in 120! I never thought I'd be calling "120 SECONDS" a long game! :P

    :) 3. Very fun
    Stellar Conflict brings fun to the fore by limiting players' time to stew on tactics during the execution phase and randomizing the contents of players' strategically constructed decks. The timed nature of the execution phase makes this particular phase of the game feel frantic and challenging and means that mistakes are bound to occur. And when they do, you will have no choice but to laugh at your stupidity as you blow up your own ships! Because the game is so short, this is funny rather than frustrating.

    Stellar Conflict does not pretend to be a deep strategy game. What it is is a deeply immersive 30-second frantic speed game of fun and laughs and that's pretty darn cool! There's nothing quite like it! (other than the original game on which this one was based, of course ;))

    :) 4. A decent amount to think about given how quick the game is
    Stellar Conflict is neither a deep nor cerebral game. But given its 30-second play time (5 minutes if you take the whole thing into account), it gives players enough to think about to make them feel like they have agency in the game. Most of this thinking goes on during the deck-building stage of the game. You have a limited number of credits to spend and can either build a large deck with many low-value ships in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent by sheer number or a small deck with a few high-value ships that do a lot of damage to ensure that you have enough time to optimally place these ships and to get to your most powerful fleet ship! And you have to tune your deck to the abilities and possibilities given you by the faction you are playing...

    :) 5. Four factions with many cards and variants make for lots of variability
    Stellar Conflict comes with four factions, each with a slightly different focus and slightly different abilities. The Wiss have blue lasers that delay other ships instead of damaging them, which may result in their getting blown up before they even have the opportunity to fire. The Vak have shield-penetrating lasers. The Hexai have ships that can shoot at two different initiatives. The Trakatori have 0-credit scout ships. These differences encourage you to build your deck differently depending on which faction you're using and encourage you to play your ships differently during the execution phase. If you are playing with the Trakatori, you definitely want to capitalize on your free and VP-devoid ships to try to overwhelm your opponent with little jabs and to possibly use them to block your cargo ship or more valuable ships from attack. However, a bigger deck will make your execution phase particularly frantic, limiting your ability to plan as you place your ships. If you have the Hexai, you want to include your double-initiative ships and perhaps build a smaller deck to allow yourself the time to optimally position those. Either way, you will have to adjust your deck-building and execution strategies to align with the abilities of your faction.

    Not only are there four playable factions in this game, but a couple of variants that change to feel of the game are also provided in the rulebook. The first is an "asteroid" variant in which 1-5 asteroids with cargo cubes are placed on the table at the start of the game in place of cargo ships. Particularly when you add a higher number of asteroids, the focus of games with this variant shifts from trying to point all your ships in the direction of your opponent to hiding behind asteroids and trying to point as many ships in the direction of the asteroids as well as opponent ships.

    The other variant is a "stolen goods" variant. In the normal game, every time a ship with goods stolen from a cargo ship is destroyed, those goods are destroyed along with it. In the variant, the stolen goods may be stolen again.

    Damage markers


    :soblue: 1. Takes disproportionately longer to score than to play
    Stellar Conflict takes just as long to score as it does to play. This isn't terribly problematic when playing a short 2-player game, but it does become increasingly arduous with the longer versions of the game.

    :soblue: 2. The chaos and the scoring time would be too much for me at higher player counts and if you're like me, you might want to stay away from this at higher player counts
    Stellar Conflict is a chaotic game. Even with two players, it is frantic and fast. But it is also fun and you are able to process everything that is happening to a moderate extent. With more players throwing ships everywhere, I personally would just find the whole thing chaotic, random, and overwhelming. I haven't experienced this, but I don't need to experience it to know that it would not appeal to me.

    With more players involved, there would also be more ships on the board and more time would be required to go through the battle resolution stage of the game, which would, for me, reduce the fun of the game.

    Final Word

    I can't think of another game that embodies the word "filler" as well as Stellar Conflict does. It is light on the brain and light on time, but provides a hefty dose of fun in the time that it does take to play. While I wouldn't consider playing it at higher player counts or in its longer forms again, I would happily play the short and medium versions with one other person any time and anywhere. :)

    MINA'S LOVE METER :heart: :heart: :heart: SOME LOVE


    BattleCON: Devastation of Indines

    The Overview

    BattleCon is a (primarily) 2-player fighting game that simulates the old 2D fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Combat and does so incredibly well! In this game, players select pairs of cards (called a style and a base) to determine their range, attack value, and priority and then execute their attacks and special abilities in initiative order. The last man standing (or the one with more hit points at the end of 15 rounds) is the winner!

    BattleCon: Devastation of Indines comes with 30 playable characters that are divided into 5 "flights." Characters in lower flights have simpler abilities like pure attack power, while those in higher flights have more difficult abilities that may alter the conditions under which your opponent is eliminated.

    At the start of the game, you will select a character and take all of that character's cards, which will include 5 styles, 1 finisher, 1 base, and possibly other cards as determined by that character's special abilities. You will also take a set of 6 generic bases.

    Marmalee's style cards, base, and finisher

    Generic bases

    The board is set up by placing the standees of the characters in play on indicated spaces on the board and setting each character's life point dial to 20. You will also set the round dial to 1.

    Each player will select 2 bases and 2 styles, placing 1 base and 1 style in discard pile 1 and the other in discard pile 1. These will be unavailable either until 1 or 2 rounds later.

    Each round in BattleCon proceeds as follows.

    1. Select attack pairs
    An attack pair consists of 1 style and 1 base. You select these and place them face down in front of you.

    An attack pair has power, range, and priority of the base card + the modifiers to each of these of the style card. Both the base and style cards may have special abilities.

    2. Ante tokens
    If your character allows you to ante tokens, you can do so during this phase.

    3. Reveal attack pairs
    Both players simultaneously reveal their attack pairs. Reveal effects on cards occur at this time. Once these have been resolved, priorities of the attacks are checked and the character with a higher priority executes his attack first.

    4. Execute attacks
    First, you perform any "before activating" effects on your cards, then you check whether your opponent is within the range of your attack. Then you resolve "on hit" effects and damage your opponent by the number of hit points indicated by your attack pair's "power" value. If you managed to do any damage, you resolve any "on damage" effects. Also, if your opponent doesn't have enough soak (which reduces the power of the attack) or stun guard (which is how many hit points you can take before you are stunned), he will be stunned and unable to launch a reactive attack. Otherwise, he launches a reactive attack at this point.

    5. Recycle
    Both players activate "end of beat" effects on their cards. Then, both players pick up their second discard pile, move the first into the second slot, and place their current attack pairs on their first discard slots. As such, you will have to wait two round before you can use cards that were part of an attack pair again.

    The game ends either after 15 rounds, at which point the player with more hit points remaining will be the winner or when one player has been eliminated.

    The game comes with a number of variants, including a co-op mode in which players fight against a variety of monsters.

    One of the enemies players can face

    Also included are these options to alter the arena environment.

    The Review

    Played prior to review: 10x


    :) 1. So beautiful!
    One of the things that drew me to this game was the artwork. I love anime/manga-style art and I love the vibrant standees and cards in this game. Everything in the box is well produced too! From the gorgeous and highly functional life and round counters to the cardstock used for the cards, all the bits are impressive. :)

    :) 2. So much stuff in the box! So much addiction-inducing goodness!
    The first thing you will see when you open your box of Devastation of Indines is this:

    I must admit that I did panic when I first opened the box. In my mind, I had put this game in the category of "relatively simple and quick playing." I was also assuming it wouldn't take too long to learn. I was right in thinking those things, but the box contents and the thick manual didn't seem to align with those thoughts and led me to close the lid and shove the game back under my bed the first time I considered trying to learn it.

    Strangely, that initial reaction of aversion to the amount of stuff in the box has become the thing that keeps drawing me back to play the game. It's precisely the sheer number and variety of characters and abilities and gameplay variants, including co-op modes and a variety of arena environments, that makes me want to keep taking the box out in an effort to explore it all. I want to experience the dozens of different tokens and abilities and all the versions of the game! The characters are particularly alluring for me, as every character is so different from the next that every time I try a new one, I feel like I'm playing a totally different game. And I want to play all the games in this box! But as much as I have enjoyed dabbling with a variety of characters, I have also enjoyed exploring one more deeply. And that's where this game shines! Not only does it feature a breathtaking amount of superficial variety with dozens of different characters, variants for co-op play, and more, it also has an incredible amount of underlying depth. The variety introduced by the dozens of characters, tokens, and abilities pales in comparison when it comes to encouraging me to play the game to the dozens of possible attack combinations that each fighter can make and the way these interact with those of your opponent.

    :) 3. Super simple rules and super quick to play but so deep
    The basic rules of BattleCon are super simple. You select an attack pair and reveal and execute! Boom! That's your turn. Your goal is simple too! All you have to do is take out your opponent before he takes you out or survive 15 rounds with more hit points. And in spite of this simplicity, the game creates a deep and rich experience that gives you SO MUCH to think about.

    Your fighters have 3 different stats - power, range, and initiative. Those stats are split over two cards that may include special abilities and further modifiers. As such, you have to constantly make tradeoffs between power and effects you would really like to execute. If you need to deal damage to have your effects go off, you also have to keep initiative in mind and try to save your high-initiative cards for times when you really need them and times when you can see your opponent doesn't have his high-initiative cards available to him. If you are stunned before you can deal any damage, your damage effects will not trigger, so keeping track of initiative is very important.

    In addition to the details of combat and effect triggers, you also have to keep your overall strategy in mind. That will depend both on your character's and your opponent's character's abilities and styles. As such, it is something that will take time to develop, as it will take time to become familiar with the various characters in the game and the ways in which they interact. In all honestly, I feel like I could play two characters against each other a dozen times and still have discoveries to make due to the extent of the subtle interactions between them and the extent to which this game is a mind game between players. Knowing your opponent (and not just his character) is a huge part of playing BattleCon well and developing that knowledge is part of the depth of the game.

    There are many layers to BattleCon. The endless superficial variety is actually bolstered by a layer of depth in decision making and player interaction.

    :) 4. Allows you to form informed long-term and short-term decisions
    It might not look like it, but BattleCon is super strategic. Yes, it is a card game, but it is a card game of near perfect information. You know exactly which cards you have available to you now and which cards you will have available to you in one and two rounds. You also have this exact same information for your opponent. As such, you can make both tactical and strategic plays that are grounded in your knowledge of the cards and the way your opponent plays. I wouldn't go so far as to state that there is zero randomness in BattleCon, as you can't know with absolute certainty which cards your opponent will select and how a particular round will unfold, I would say that you will definitely make INFORMED tactical decisions in BattleCon and those decisions will become increasingly better informed the more you play.

    :) 5. Characters appear to be well balanced
    We haven't played all the fighters against each other (not even close!) and we haven't played the game hundreds of times, so I can't really make any strong proclamation to its balance at this point, but I can say that I was incredibly impressed with how balanced the characters appear to be. Every matchup has been tight and exciting and every victory has been marginal.

    :) 6. So many powerful ladies! :)
    Yes, some of them are hilarious busty caricatures, but I'm honestly just happy that I have SO MANY playable female characters to choose from! And many of them are just cool and powerful gals! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT! I will never be forced to play a male character in this game!

    :) 7. Game grows with you
    BattleCon is a game that grows with you as you play. As I mentioned in the overview, the characters in the game are divided into "flights," which are basically sets of characters of increasing complexity. This is very helpful when learning the game, allowing you to start with characters that are easy to play, and allowing you to gradually ramp up the challenge as you become proficient with the system. The flight system is very effective at introducing new concepts and advanced aspects to the game and allows the game to grow with players. Even the early flights and beginner-level characters provide a lot to explore in terms of combining a variety of attacks, but when you feel confident in your skills with those, you have loads of moderate and advanced fighters to dig into. And while the beginner-level characters mostly focus on simpler aspects of the game like attacking and defending, the advanced characters can drastically the objective of the game and the environment in which it takes place.

    :) 8. Very evocative of theme
    BattleCon is a highly interactive, highly aggressive, fast-paced game. Battles are tight and you always feel like you have a chance at victory! And that's perfect for a battle arena filled with strong fighters.

    The characters in this game are also incredibly evocative of their personalities. The illustrations give you a clue as to how they will function, but their actual styles are so well conceived that they draw you into their minds (yes, fictional game characters have minds!:P). One of my favorite characters to play thus far has been Callista, the Dragon Queen. She looks a little promiscuous and a lot evil. She has petrification counters that she can give to her opponent at the end of each beat if the opponent is adjacent to her and she was not stunned. If an opponent would receive a 6th petrification counter, he is eliminated from the game! This ability means that the strategy you take with Callista will most likely involve drawing your opponent close and then slowly taking him off with your little poisonous snakes! How cool is that!? I felt like a seductive femme fatale the entire time I was playing her! Come close so I can poison you! :P SO MUCH FUN!!! I'm sure the designer had a lot of fun with these! And now we can have fun with them too!


    :soblue: 1. What's up with the insert?
    Either I'm totally clueless in how to make inserts work or this insert was only intended to store the game pieces during shipping. Once all the game pieces have been assembled and the various characters' style cards placed in their sleeves, the game doesn't fit into the insert. Try as I might, I couldn't make it work, so I recycled it. I only mention this because I am literally grasping at air. I have no real criticisms for this game. It's all kinds of awesome!

    Final Word

    If you're looking for an infinitely replayable, gorgeous, immersive, fast, and fun 2-player card game that plays like a video game, look no further than BattleCon! It is cool beans! And I don't even like fighting games! In video or analog form! :P What drew me to BattleCon was a) Brad Talton, the designer, b) Level99 games, Brad's publishing company that has produced only games I've enjoyed, and c) the pretty, pretty art (yes, I like pretty things). That was enough. I did enjoy Magic:The Gathering and Android Netrunner and Blue Moon as player-vs-player dueling games, but I had never before experienced a tabletop fighting simulator like BattleCon. Street Fighter and Mortal Combat and other such fighting video games have never appealed to me because they always make me nauseated, I could never mash buttons quickly enough to accomplish anything, and I never cared to improve my button mashing skills. I like to keep my fingers fresh for typing :P! All that is to say that I didn't have the highest of expectations for BattleCon. And perhaps that worked in its favor, allowing me to relish in all its joys without a cloud of grand expectations.

    BattleCon allows me to engage not in a battle of dexterity and reflexes, but in a battle of wits. Those battles are more interesting and satisfying to me. I will never be a fan of fighting video games on which BattleCon was based, but I will forever love BattleCon.

    MINA'S LOVE METER :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: ALL LOVE ALL THE TIME

    I love this girl!


    The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

    The Overview

    The Castles of Burgundy card game is a card-based distillation of the original Castles of Burgundy board game by Stefan Feld. Nearly all aspects of the original have been transposed onto a card format in a relatively fresh and interesting way.

    Each player receives 1 project, 1 estate, and 1 storage card, placing these in front of him. Each player also receives 1 good card and 1 animal card, placing these in his storage. Finally, each player receives 6 random action cards that he shuffles and draws 2 of these. These cards represent a player's dice pool.

    The starting player receives the starting player card and the second player receives 1 worker card.

    The display cards, which feature 1 through 6-pip die faces, are arranged in a row and 7 action cards (in a 2-player game) are placed face-up below these. The first 6 action cards drawn are placed below the display cards from left to right and the 7th is placed under the action card with the same pip value as shown on the 7th card.

    The 7 "triplet" bonus cards are placed face-up in a row. The first player to form a triplet of each type during the course of the game will receive the corresponding bonus card, which will be worth 1 VP at the end of the game. The 4 "type" bonus cards are placed in a stack, with the card showing a 4 placed on top. The first player to have all types of action cards in his estate will receive the top card, the second one the one below, and so on.

    Triplet completion bonuses

    "All type" completion bonuses

    The 5 round cards are placed in a stack, with A on top. These show the bonuses that players receive for making triplets in each round.

    The game is played over 5 rounds (A to E) and each player gets 6 turns (determined by his action card deck) in each round.

    On your turn, you will select one of your two action cards and place it in a common discard pile, performing one of the following 6 actions:

    1. Take an action card from the display below the display row card with the same pip value as the card you discarded. Place this action card in your project area.

    2. Place a card from your project area with the same pip value as the card you discarded into your estate area. You immediately gain the bonus shown on the card. A mine will give you 2 silver. A knowledge card will give you two workers. A ship will give you 1 good into your storage. A pasture will give you 1 animal. A castle will give you a bonus action. A cloister has no immediate bonus, but can be placed with any other group of cards to become a card of that type. Buildings provide a variety of bonuses, including 3 silver cards, 1 VP card, 1 good or animal, a bonus sell action, etc.

    Identical cards are placed on top of each other. If you are the first player to gain a triplet of a particular type of card, you receive the bonus card for that triplet, as well as the round bonus, which may take the form of workers, animal cards, good cards, and/or silver.

    Round bonuses

    3. Sell all goods with the same pip value as the card you discarded, moving them from your storage to your estate. You gain 1 silver for each good sold and will gain points for these goods at the end of the game. You also receive the 1st player card and will be the starting player in the next round unless someone else ships their goods during the current round.


    4. Restock your worker cards to 2

    5. Take 1 silver

    6. Regardless of the pip value of the card you discarded, you may convert any number of workers and/or silver into VP at a rate of 3 to 1.

    You may use worker cards to change the pip value of the card you discard by 1. You may also spend 3 silver at any time during your turn to take the top 3 cards of the action card pile, select one, and use it to perform one of the above 6 actions.

    At the end of the game, players gain points for
    *triplets in their estates
    *bonus cards
    *victory point cards
    *sold goods
    *animals (4 different: 4 VP; 3 different: 2VP; 2 different: 1VP)
    *start player card


    The Review

    Played prior to review: 7x


    :) 1. Fast paced and quick
    The Castles of Burgundy takes us about 45 minutes play. The Castles of Burgundy Card Game takes about 15-20 minutes. That's over 50% in time savings! :) And the card game is no less interesting for its time savings!

    :) 2. Too many things too do in too little time
    The Castles of Burgundy Card Game is TIGHT! Just as you think you're going to complete yet another awesome triplet or get that "all type" bonus, you realize you only have one or two turns to do it and your cards won't let you. I already addressed how quickly this game can be played and the low time commitment required to play is directly related to the sense of having too much to do in too little time. You have only 5 rounds and 6 actions in each round to make as many triplets as you can, collect and ship as many goods as you can, and get as many of those triplet bonuses as you can! And that means that you have to be as economical about your actions and as wise about the combinations of buildings you take into your projects as possible. Wasting an action to take a single worker, for example, is generally unwise, but if it allows you to set off a combo chain using the buildings in your project area, it might be worth doing.

    I love the economy of actions in this game and the great sense of foreboding that always washes over me in the penultimate round. What do you mean we're almost done!? I HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING YET!!!!!

    :) 3. Many different strategies to explore and you have to pick and choose among them
    The Castles of Burgundy Card Game is tight, but it's also relatively open strategically. You have a number of different options on which to focus your strategy. Collecting and shipping goods and collecting animals seem to be the most lucrative and a selective strategy, focused only on getting a couple of building types into your estate can be a sound one. Alternatively, you can focus on a large variety of building types and try to race for the "all types" bonus, along with the collecting as many of the triplet bonuses as you can. You also have to decide whether you will focus on buildings that will give you lots of points or buildings that will give you benefits you desire. The cloisters, for example, are worth 6 points in a triplet, but they give you no special benefit when you move them into your estate. And because the game is over so quickly, you can't do everything. You definitely have to focus your strategy.

    :) 4. "Multi-use card angst...sort of
    The Castles of Burgundy Card Game does not have quite Chudyk-ian multi-use cards, but each card CAN be used in many different ways and some tense moments of trying to decide between several options for a single card will arise. What most often happens to me is that I want to use a card to both take a card into my projects and move another card from my projects into my estate. But there have been times, particularly late in the game, when I've had to weigh shipping goods against dumping a card for workers to allow me to complete a triplet on my last turn.

    The reason I qualified the "multi-use card angst" title was that the cards you use to perform actions simply represent dice and the values of the dice determine the values of the options available to you, so it's not like every card inherently presents you with particular options. However, a similar sense of tension as that found in most multi-use card games is to be found here.

    :) 5. The great sense of accomplishment that comes from having made order out of chaos
    When playing The Castles of Burgundy, I love the sense of accomplishment I get from having bent the fickle dice and tiles to my will to complete that huge 7-tile region or to complete a number of regions for multiple bonuses in the first round. In the card game version, I get the same sense of accomplishment. There is definitely an element of luck involved in fabricating this feeling, but it isn't solely luck and I love feeling like I've somehow subdued luck and randomness to get the things I want to get done done. The random action card deck, the random building deck, the random animal deck, the random goods deck...They are all random! And yet, somehow, I manage to make triplets of buildings and quadruplets of animals, and stacks of goods, and it feels good. :)


    :soblue: 1. Quite a bit of randomness
    Perhaps I wouldn't feel this way had I never played the full Castles of Burgundy before, but I can't shake the feeling that some things are a bit too random. In the full Castles of Burgundy, you know which tile you are buying when you spend silver. Here, you draw 3 random cards and select 1. If the one you were hoping to get isn't among the 3 you drew, tough cookies. In the full Castles of Burgundy game, you know which goods tiles you are taking and can align their values so that you can ship them out at once. Here, they are randomly drawn and you have no say in the matter. Finally, in the full Castles of Burgundy game, you know which animals you are taking and can combine the animals you take to maximize the bonuses you receive from them. Here, they are randomly drawn and if you keep drawing animals of the same type while your opponent draws different animals, you have only luck to blame; there's nothing you can do. These aspects of the card game version can be a bit frustrating, but because the game can be played so quickly, they don't bother me as much as they would in a longer game. Ultimately, this isn't really a negative for me personally, but it's something to be aware of if you are randomness phobic and are considering this game.

    Final Word

    The Castles of Burgundy Card Game did not immediately impress me. After my first game, I felt like it was just another simple card game that would never ascend to the awesomeness that is The Castles of Burgundy. And while I still don't think that the card game will ever sit on the same throne as the board game, after a few sessions, the card game started to grow on me. It perfectly distills all the elements of The Castles of Burgundy into a smaller sized, quicker game. In fact, when I realized just how quickly we were banging out the card game (i.e. 15 minutes), I also started to realize the extent to which this little game is packed with interesting decisions and tense moments! While there is more randomness in the card game version than in the board game, I will happily play the card game when I only have 15 minutes to spare and want a Castles of Burgundy experience.

    MINA'S LOVE METER :heart: :heart: :heart: SOME LOVE


    First Impressions


    I received my copy of Scythe in the mail this week! And having the box in my house made me way too excited to ignore it until I had enough time to produce a full review, so I went ahead and taught Peter and me to play on Wednesday night. At this point, I have only played once and not very well, so everything I write below is incredibly tentative.

    Scythe is a game of world domination in an alternate reality in which farmers and giant mechs live side by side. You will lead one of 5 different characters to explore and conquer territories, collect resources, build infrastructure, engage in combat, enlist workers, and deploy huge mechs. You will do this by selecting one of 3 sets of actions on your player board each turn. Each action has a top and a bottom portion and each of these allows you to do something different on your turn, including harvesting resources, increasing your popularity or power, moving your workers/leader/mechs, deploying mechs, building technologies, upgrading your player board, etc. Your goal in the game is to have the most money at the end and money is accumulated both during the game through various actions, as well as through end-game scoring, at which time you will gain money for your achievements, territories, and resource multiplied by your popularity multiplier. You will also gain money for the structure bonus, which gives you some direction regarding which territories you should strive to control during the course of the game.


    Workers produce resources

    Structure bonus

    :) It's so beautiful and it smells like vanilla cupcakes! (SERIOUSLY! The minis smell like vanilla!)
    :) All the components are so amazing (I have the Collector's Edition). Peter wouldn't stop manhandling the pieces! He kept staring at them and stacking them and drooling over them. Also, Jamey needs to start a mint because the coins are mint!
    :) There is no world like the Scythe world! This place is unique!
    :) I love the huge deck of objective cards that gives you a different goal in each game.
    :) Aggression and combat isn't a huge least when playing with only two players. There are so many deterrents to fighting and the game is essentially a race to accumulate as many resources and regions and goods as possible that you have to pick your battles carefully. Fighting over regions with workers will set you back on the popularity track, which may reduce your point multiplier for everything else you've done in the game. I love this kind of contemplative aggression that necessitates arming up and keeping in line with your opponent in order to minimize possible threat, but never knowing whether and when aggression will be necessary.
    :) Combat is super simple, tense, and takes very little time. Basically, players secretly decide how many power points they are willing to sacrifice and simultaneously reveal to determine the winner. The aggressor wins in case of a tie, so there is a slight incentive to attack rather than wait around, but the whole process is super quick and painless to resolve. All combat should be like this. Shoot and move on with your life!
    :) I love how you have to do everything, but prioritize the order in which you do those things depending on what your opponent is doing, what your special ability allows you to do, where you are located on the map, and what the structure bonus rewards.
    :) I love the top/bottom split actions and the fact that you can do one, both, or neither when you select that particular action. I often felt pulled in the direction of one top action and another bottom action on the same turn. You have to pick your battles in order to be as efficient as possible.
    :) I really love the random encounters that leaders can unlock as they explore certain regions. It really gives the game a great sense of adventure and theme.
    :) I love the race for the factory! The factory is at the center of the board and when you get there, you basically unlock a special addition to your board! You get more choice if you get there first and the special addition you unlock can really make your life easier (I had an addition that allowed me to move and gain power, popularity, and a coin), so you want to get there first. However, the factory is also a decent source of points, so others will want to kick you out, sending your leader back from whence he/she came, possibly giving your opponent a star, and forcing you to either re-track your steps or give up and go and do something else. There's a fun tradeoff there. :)
    :) I love the fact that you cannot perform the same action twice in a row (unless you are Rusvietsky :P, which I was in our first game). This forces you to carefully plan your turns in advance.
    :) I love the end game tension! The game ends when one player places his 6th star, which means that when the 5th star is placed, you are on high alert, frantically trying to increase your popularity, presence in all the regions, and anything else that might give you points.
    :) I love the amount of variety in the game, including the variable player powers, the variable boards, and the structure bonuses and factory bonuses, all of which have a great effect on the way the game unfolds.

    There is nothing I don't love about this game at this point! It is so amazing! I do think it would change with more players involved. The board would be tighter and aggression would be more necessary, but I very much enjoy the level of competition for regions and the level of aggression when playing with only two players. I do look forward to trying Scythe with more than two players and I look forward to many more sessions with Peter as we explore this engaging and immersive world.

    It's all about money



    This is another new game I was excited to try because it hasn't even been released! I really wanted to play it before our vacation because Ted was kind enough to send it to me and I didn't want to take forever to get any information about it posted.

    America is a "trivia party game where close counts"! The game is played on a board that shows a map of the USA flanked by year and number bars. Each turn, the starting player selects which side of a deck of cards he wants to use and puts the question on the card to the players. Then, players take turns placing their guessing markers on the map, number, and/or year bars. Players may also place their markers on the "no exact" or "no exact or adjacent" spaces to indicate that they believe that there is no marker on the correct answer (3VP) or that they believe there is no marker on the correct or any adjacent space (7VP). Once all players have passed, the card is taken out of the box to reveal the answers and scored. Markers on a correct space provide 7VP and markers on spaces adjacent to the correct space provide 3VP. Placed markers that don't score will be taken away! You will never see them again! :P No, actually, you will see them. All players who have 1 or more markers in the non-scoring pile of markers will regain 1 marker. And if a player ever falls below 3 markers at this point, he will replenish his markers to 3.

    The game ends after the 6th card is scored. The player with the most points wins!

    We're heading to Florida!:P

    :) Ferris wheels, lobster rolls, vacuum cleaners, potato heads! It's all in here and it's all fun! I love the nature of the trivia questions in this game and the fact that you don't really need to know the answer. You just need to know whether your opponents would know.
    :) This game actually works with two players! It's a party game, so of course, it will be more fun with more, but even with just two it is interesting and fun.
    :) Super quick! It took us about 15-20 minutes to play our first game! This would definitely increase with more players involved, but the game is still very fast.
    :) This is the best part! This isn't just a trivia game! It's a resource management game! If you take chances with your markers and place them stupidly and don't end up scoring points, you lose them! So if you have a particularly bad round, you could end up with only 3 guesses to make in the following one! And that could be devastating if the topic is something you're fairly sure about! I really love this aspect of America. It makes it gamer worthy! And yet it's still simple enough to teach to anyone and everyone!

    I enjoyed my first play of America, even if it was at a less than ideal player count. The fact that the game even worked with two players and was relatively interesting came as a surprise. I'd love to try this with my family and trivia-crazed friend! I think she'd totally dig this! I will post a full review soon! :)


    What's Not So New But Still Exciting?

    Orléans: Deluxe Edition
    Orleans! Yay! I thought Peter liked this game more than I did, but I think I was wrong because I have been asking to play it on a weekly basis and he has been refusing to play it on a weekly basis. Until this week. This week, he finally agreed to play! Yay!

    I really wanted to focus on goods in this game and that was my plan, but we play with the variant included in the rulebook that removes tiles from each stack at the beginning of the game and the tiles that were removed were the ones I was hoping to produce some high-buck goods! :( Boo. When I realized that, I had to switch gears, but I knew I still wanted to try to make most of my points with goods. I didn't make enough of a push for the easy-to-get yellow citizen guys early in the game and Peter already had a couple, so I decided to get my goods the cheap way! The Christmas Market and travel! I managed to travel so much and get so many random goods that I almost won! Peter beat me by TWO points! :( Boo. I think I had 132 and he had 134.

    YAY! I finally got Peter to play Mombasa again! This is another one Peter regularly refuses to play :shake:.

    In this game, Peter decided to go up the bookkeeping track, while I decided to try to max out my diamonds as quickly as possible and unlock all my action card slots as quickly as possible. I had all five slots by the end of the third round and though I thought that was going to be an awesome thing, it turned out to be quite the liability! I kept having to buy cards to give myself something to use because they kept getting eaten by the action board! But I ended up making it to the top of the diamond track in record time. Unfortunately, I ended up spending too much money on cards, so I lost a lot of the money I pumped out of extra diamonds, but I still nearly doubled Peter's score! I love the fat little diamond guys! I had the full complement of colors! :P They even got me some extra points because ALL the companies were worth SOMETHING by the end of the game. But Mombasa was the fanciest because I made it so! :P

    Le Havre
    I had been itching to play Le Havre, so we took it out this week! It's one of Peter's favorites, so he's always ready to play. The only thing that makes him hesitate is that this game tends to make me quite unhappy. Since I was the one asking for it, he was happy to oblige! :)

    In this game, I decided to forgo food. Who needs food!? :P I starved my people over and over again and kept having to take loans. And then I had to take loans to pay for having loans. It was a vicious cycle! But I built so many industrial buildings and ships that I was completely invincible by the end of the game! I made enough money to pay off my 8 loans in the final few rounds and then just kept pumping out coke money! :P Peter had some crazy thing going with the Emporium form the Grand Hameau expansion. At first, he thought that the Emporium allowed him to buy unlimited upgraded goods, but we checked the internets and the consensus was that the card was mistranslated. It was still incredibly powerful, allowing him to buy one of each upgraded good. He made lots of money! But I did too! AND I had way more buildings! :) And I won!

    Swimming, swimming in my loan pool...

    Elysium is one of my favorite games of 2015 and it makes me a bit sad that we don't play it very often any more. We played it like mad when we first got it and for a good long while afterwards and Peter doesn't love it nearly as much as I do, so those are definitely factors in its table time's decline.

    I love Hades cards in this game because they allow you to transfer extra cards into your Elysium. I got myself a cap of invisibility at the start of the game and kept it in available for use over the course of the game in order to ensure I could afford to keep taking the first player tile. I love going first because options = :). Peter was working on his level-1 legend and had a full set before long! But I had family legends and end-game scoring bonuses galore! And I won! :)

    Ginkgopolis + Ginkgopolis: The Experts

    Gink! I want to do a little dance every time Peter agrees to play!

    During the drafting, I made a stupid error by drafting the Mayor immediately. Had I waited to see Peter's cards before I decided on an expert, I would have seen the Engineer, who I really like because he rewards hoarding tiles (doubles the points you score by returning tiles when they run out) and I'm good at hoarding tiles :P. But the Mayor was good too. He lets you switch colors without paying extra resources and gives you 1 VP per district in the city at the end of the game.

    I felt like I was doing very poorly this entire game. I DID have a few cards that made points, but I felt like Peter would just dominate with his tile hoarding. I had trouble getting anything other than urbanization cards and urbanization bonuses aren't exactly helpful for developing your tableau! However, I did do a fairly good job of increasing the number of districts in the game by capitalizing on the Mayor's ability to switch tile colors without using resources. And I had so many resource-gaining abilities that I ended the game by placing my last resource! AND I WON! I thought all hope was lost when Peter gained a good 26 points with his Engineer!

    Terra Mystica + Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice

    This week, I drew TWO expansion factions! Weird! That never happens! I drew the Acolytes and River Walkers. I had no idea which one I wanted because I don't really like either, so I ended up letting Peter choose for a few VP. He chose the River Walkers. He chose well because after he did, I decided that I wanted them. But it was too late. I was doomed to pilot the Acolytes for the remainder of the game.

    I dislike the Acolytes because they are doomed on the cult track and I like the cult track! I love getting cult track bonuses! Let's just say that I didn't get many cult track bonuses during this game. :(

    We played Clinic for the second week in a row in preparation for having to teach it at DTC. I must say I am not at all looking forward to trying to teach this thing. I understand it, but deary dear dear is it going to be tough to teach! :(

    Anyway, we decided to play the smaller clinics to challenge our clinic building muscle a little further than last week. I knew I wouldn't be building 3 clinics this time. That's pretty close to impossible on the tighter board. Instead, I decided to build one of my buildings up to the top, ensuring I had functional rooms on each floor (functional rooms give you good points at the end!) and build a second building just to get the two-building bonus. Peter was screwed by time in our last game, so he immediately set his sights on building corridors and elevators EVERYWHERE! He had a crazy efficient hospital! In fact, he was so efficient that he was barely spending any time! Although I was worried I'd take a huge hit due to all the time I was spending to move my staff and patients around compared to Peter, I didn't do much about it until about halfway through the game. That was quite stupid, but whatever. I built some corridors and an elevator and that was enough to save me some time. I WAS making way more money than Peter and stayed ahead of him in points, but that wasn't really to my advantage because that gave Peter first dibs on patient admission and everything else :(. It was a close game, but my super tall hospital did end up stealing the show! :P

    51st State: Master Set
    Nope. No week would be complete without a game of 51st State Master Set! :P I just adore this game! This week, we decided to switch the Winter expansion for New Era. We had been playing with Winter for a while and I wanted a change.

    I drew Hegemony and Peter got New York. He started making points very quickly, while I was trying to get a production engine going. I did have a bit of trouble with that, but it wasn't serious. I caught up quickly. And then I took over! I love Hegemony because they love to bang bang! I got myself a Mesmerisers' Dwelling, which gave me a point every time I razed, a Rifle, which gave me a card every time I razed, a bunch of guns, and a Confessor to dump those guns on and I was unstoppable! Mwahahaha! Actually, I had a whole bunch of other scoring cards, but guns were my main thing, which was appropriate. :)

    The Voyages of Marco Polo
    It looks like no week would be complete without a game of Voyages of Marco Polo either! :P I love this game too! And Peter really loves it too, so it's a win-win situation for us!

    This week, Matteo Polo was among the drawn characters again and because I beat him so badly with Matteo last week, Peter decided to take him. He said that if he won with Matteo, that would mean that Matteo is overpowered and we should ban him. :P Guess what happened? :P :P :P

    I picked Rubruk and regretted it early in the game. I had a plan, but I had a bit of a delay in actually executing it. One of the cards close to Venezia allowed us to exchange camels and silk for buckets of cash and I wanted to get to it as quickly as possible so I could travel as quickly as possible. I picked two difficult travel goals and wanted to make sure I could accomplish them, along with plopping Rubruk's two extra trading posts down along the way. Despite the delay, I managed to make it to all my destinations just before time (or rather, my dice) ran out! And my score was about 40 points ahead of Peter's, so I think we can put to rest the notion that Matteo is overpowered.

    The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
    We finished Ravens! I really didn't enjoy the rules on the second card and was disappointed by the contents of the third, but I won't go into further detail for fear of spoiling things for others. I still love the game, but Peter is done with it. He mostly played as Feth and I mostly played as Ren and we developed a very effective system of communicating, mostly due to the sheer number of times we played the game in a short span of time. I'm sure we will return to it in due time, but I think I'll have to commandeer Feth. :)

    We started a game of Fuse while we were waiting for my mom to come by for a visit over the weekend. And we never finished it. :( We had 3 minutes left on the clock when my mom arrived and we had almost half the deck of bombs to defuse! :( We were doing horribly. I attribute our poor performance to distraction and rustiness.

    I have been a bit hesitant to play Shipyard since the last time we played because I did so well in that game I knew I couldn't compete with myself! :P Because that's what it's all about for me! :P In that game, I built some monster ships and had a monster score. In this game, I built a bunch of smaller ships and felt completely directionless because my goal was to have as many different kinds of parts and people on my ships as possible. I don't like feeling like I have to do EVERYTHING. I like focus. I felt so scattered that I just wasn't having fun at the beginning. However, after a while, everything started to come together and I grew less frustrated. I tried to build small ships that satisfied the requirements of their canal tiles well, but all of them had a different focus. That both settled my mind and helped me maximize the points I got from my ships. And I won! :) I didn't beat my previous score (I just barely got to the 100 VP mark), but I didn't do too badly either...

    This week, BoardGameBliss had a crazy fire sale on Subdivision and that reminded me to get it played! :) I let Peter select the scenario and he picked the "School Districts" because it's the only one we had never played. This scenario removes the school zone tiles from the game and adds two clusters of schools to players' boards to make for a very tight little map. I thought it would be an easy map to deal with compared to the "Highways" one we had been playing, but I was wrong. I ended up getting seduced by the bonus goal tiles that wanted lakes and ended up blocking two of my zone tiles! :( That was 10 points lost! Peter was smarter. He didn't let himself get lured by the evil bonus goals and had 10 points more than me at the end! Oh well. We really must try this scenario again!

    Kingsburg + Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm
    Back to Kingsburg this week! I picked the busty fairy as my helper and Peter went for the decidedly flat-chested, creepy-looking trickster. I somehow managed to get and stay ahead on buildings and soldiers throughout the course of the game and pretty much doubled Peter's score! I'm not sure how that happened because all our previous games of Kingsburg have been super close. The recent ones have been particularly tight! I guess having a Basilica, Barracks, and a well-endowed fairy godmother makes you invincible!

    Dominion: Empires
    Peter won with gold :(. Boo. The events were Weddings (gives you 1 VP and 1 gold for 4 coins and 3 debt) and Advance (trash an action card to gain one costing up to 6) and the Landmarks were Palace (3VP per copper-silver-gold set) and Fountain (15 VP if you have 10 coppers), so the game was ALL ABOUT money! Peter totally cheesed the game, filling up his deck with gold and then taking enough coppers to satisfy the Fountain's requirement and then going to town with the provinces and silvers. Like Peter, I too gained lots of gold, but I also gained many action cards that didn't prove to be quite as useful as money. I did make very good use of my Crowns (which essentially allow you to play action or money card twice on a turn) and I did acquire way more Provinces than Peter, but I totally neglected coppers and silvers and ended up losing by 9 points. We initially thought we had a tie, but Peter had forgotten to count his Palace points. :(

    I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT! I BEAT PETER, THE "QUADROPOLIS TYRANT"!!!! :P :P :P Hehe. That took too long. :shake:

    I didn't think the monuments had it in them, but a couple of well-placed monuments surrounded by a bunch of gardens are pretty sweet! I mostly focused on making my monuments work and maxing out the cultural buildings, spreading them through ALL the districts in my city. I also made sure to take all the harbors and cultural buildings that came with free VPs! I needed everything I could get to overthrow the Quadropolis tyrant! :P I also decided to stay completely away from the red industrial and grey office buildings; those red things can be a serious liability, but I had so many parks hat it hardly would have mattered...Whatever. All I needed was one energy to power my little residential area and I managed to get that from a harbor tile! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) Happiness! Oh! And I made 100 VP!


    Fresh Cardboard

    1. The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands - This was a DTC auction acquisition. I honestly didn't even remember bidding on it when I got the message :P. I'm nuts. It might not be the best with only two players, but it wasn't expensive, so I want to give it a try. It's pretty and Canadian. All pretty Canadian things deserve a shot! :)
    2. The King of Frontier - Won in BGG auction! I didn't get this when it was on the BGG Store because they were out of the expansion and I didn't want the game without the expansion because I'm crazy. Well, now I have both...
    3. The King of Frontier: More Buildings!


    Next Week...

    We are going to Dice Tower Con! I will not be reporting on that until later, but I will have a list of my top 10 games and top 5 expansions of 2015 for you to peruse! :) I am going to try to get Three Kingdoms Redux played again at DTC, so I can provide a review when I return. I haven't been able to review it yet because it has faded a bit in my memory and I don't think 3 plays is enough for a proper review for it anyway. Also, look forward to a full review for Scythe when I return! :P


    Several readers requested Mina's Fresh Cardboard microbadges and [user=Thorin2001][/user] was kind enough to make two versions! If you have a second, please vote for your preferred version. :) Thanks!


    :) :heart: :) THANK YOU FOR READING :) :heart: :)

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY JACKIE BEAR! She just wants us to leave her alone so she can nap. :P

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  • 07/01/16--07:47: My Alphabet of Games
  • by Mat Thomsen


    Thanks to:


    for originally posting this inquiry in the Punching Carboard guild. I think it's a fun exercise. However, I had to include a second place where applicable. The letters in red indicate categories with many contenders. I chose from the games I currently own.

    # - 1775: Rebellion and 7 Wonders
    A - Arboretum and Acquire
    B - Bruxelles 1893 and Brew Crafters
    C - Cosmic Encounter and Cribbage
    D - Dice Town and Dominion
    E - Egizia
    F - Fleet
    G - The Gallerist and Guildhall
    H - Le Havre
    I - Innovation
    J - Joraku*
    K - Kingdom Builder and Keyflower
    L - Liar's Dice and Love Letter
    M - Medici and Merchant of Venus
    N - Notre Dame and Nauticus
    0 - One Zero One*
    P - Parade and Pandemic
    Q - Qwirkle and Quantum
    R - Ra: The Dice Game and Rapa Nui
    S - Stone Age and Santiago
    T - Ticket to Ride and Terra Mystica
    U - (no games owned)
    V - Viceroy and VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game
    W - Wir sind das Volk! and Winner's Circle
    X - Xenon Profiteer*
    Y - YINSH and Yahtzee Free for All
    Z - Zombie Dice and ZÉRTZ

    If I had to pick one letter I would pick T. Aside from TtR and Terra Mystica, there is Trajan, Tzolkin, Trickerion, Trains, Tobago, Timeline, Tichu, Thunder Alley, Through the Ages, and Targi.

    *My only game that starts with this letter

    Thanks for reading!

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  • 07/01/16--17:33: New Image for Le Havre
  • by Fedow

    <div>This is a cool idea, no more disorder on the board!</div>

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    by Steph

    Hi Folks! HAPPY 4TH!*If you celebrate that kind of thing*

    Looking forward to this coming week!!! But, first I will recap on last week! :D

    Monday night Ron was away so he didn't come to Monday night games. It was hosted by Geoff since Joe was away. They were all playing fast games when I got there and when they finished up Geoff, Bill, Marsha and I snagged Yokohama to play.

    I had just played a few days before but I knew I wouldn't have a chance in the rest of the week to play it again so I was on board!

    Geoff got to explaining this game- the player aid definitely helps for explaining purposes! He had only played once but did a great job explaining it. I jumped in only a few times, I don't think I was that disruptive when he was talking. At least I hope not. haha

    Marsha was wide eyed and I just had a feeling she wouldn't enjoy this game so much.

    After the first 2 turns Marsha made a comment on how she just didn't like it that much. I was nervous for the rest of the game. Turn by turn I was trying to help her and Geoff was the same. I was trying the trading house strategy and it was working quite well for me.

    I seemed to always be a cube/ assistant or $1 short of what I needed to do and I needed more missionaries working the streets for me. Geoff thought I was so far in the lead and I should have rushed an ending. I probably could have ended it 3 or 4 turns earlier. I wouldn't have gotten NEARLY as many points as I did and I think Bill would have beaten me either way. By taking my time I could ship my imports and fulfill extra contracts. It got me probably 30 points or more by waiting.

    Bill still had a ton of stuff he was doing but when I could have ended it sooner he was still ahead of me. He had more tech and more flags for collection. I didn't think I could win.

    In the end I took my time and I did pretty well, but, Bill still won with about 15 points more than me. I don't think there was a way to stop it but we will never know! Maybe I shoul dhave rushed the ending. I did make one crucial mistake which I should have thought more clearly about my situation. I SHOULD have ended it 1 turn sooner if I just saw what I needed to do. AH well. Live and learn! I am not sure Marsha or Geoff passed the 100 point mark but I think they were close to it.

    In the end Marsha liked the game enough where she said she wanted to play again some other time. So, I take that as a victory. She was a bit lost at first but I think it was becoming clear for her by the end of the game.

    Still Loving It!


    Next up was a game of Tichu. We were the same 4 players and managed to convince Marsha to stay and play. Tichu is about the only game that will get her to stay. :P

    We cut for partners and I was teamed up with Geoff. Yay! :D Geoff knows I am aggressive. Last game we played Marsha and Ron beat us up and I am pretty sure since I didn't ever call Grand. I only win games I call grand in, right?

    Well our game was going pretty well. I think Geoff called Tichu once and I managed to make 2 (!) Grand Tichu calls! Success! I never remember to take a picture of my Tichu calling hands. Geoff snapped a picture at one points I forget if he had called Tichu that time.

    There was one hand I had 2 aces, dragon and a 10-6 straight in the starting 8 cards. I managed to call grand but it was pretty risky. My hand was actually pretty good after that. Got passed another A and pair of 2s. I could have used the Phoenix that Geoff had more than the A since I had the bird and could have made a SUPER LONG straight.

    Somehow we still managed it and I made my call. It was great! I am always excited to call grand even if my initial 8 cards aren't always the BEST. But, I like a risk.

    Great game that Geoff and I ended up kicking butt in and taking names.


    The final games of the night was actually MANY games of Pit.

    I think we played 6 times? Whatever the amount it was too many for my taste. I like this game in the blue moon and when I do play only a few rounds for my fill. One HAS to compare to Happy Salmon once you have played it and Happy FISH is just SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!

    Of course no one in my Monday group agreed with me but they also haven't ever played Happy Fish.

    This was not a very yelling or excited group for playing pit with. No yelling or chaotic motions like the normal games of Pit that I have played. The Fun group I think had a better time playing it than the Monday group.

    In the end I lost every round and find the game meh. I don't really enjoy it. Happy Fish on the other hand is a true winner.

    Moral of the story. If you like Pit you should get Happy Fish aka Happy Salmon. It is way better. :D


    Tuesday night I had a sudden urge to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig.

    Ron doesn't care either way. I pick a game and we play. He is pretty easy going. Sometimes I make him happy and pick Nations. lol

    This game is not my favorite at the 2p count. I think it does work better with more players simply for the auctioning factor. I like the challenge of trying to place the tiles in the line up for $. You want to get top $$ for the tiles but you also don't want people to chinch out and buy stairs.

    Alas, we played 2p and neither of us decided to go for the moats. Common goals were most swans and most money. I did manage to get the majority for BOTH of those things. Ron was collecting $ for one of his secret end conditions and I would have done better had I gotten that. He didn't even score 1 point for money.

    I did alright but it wasn't good enough to pass Ron in the final tally for points. He cleared out some stacks in his favor and he had a lot of orange end game cards to score him points. I DONT KNOW HOW I LET HIM WIN.

    This is the game I can usually win at too. I guess I am just too tried to play games at night. Ron is just quick as a whip and excellent at games. I am not bad, myself but I am worse than he is. hahaha

    Still a great game and I am happy to play it. I wish I had the polish edi. I am thinking I might buy that one and sell the one I have with the expansion. I am not sure I need the expansion or not. I like the idea of the swans but polish edi... so pretty.


    Wednesday I found a package on my doorstep that I had been expecting. Chickapig! He contacted me on Instagram and asked if I wanted a prototype of his game. It looked adorable and I like abstract games so I said yes! Send me a copy and I will play it!

    Super cute game! No real rules for 2p game but we just played across the board with everything still set up. The object of this game is to get all your pigs across the board through the goal on the other side. You can move your hay bails and the cow otherwise when you move the pigs they move the entire direction until stopped by something. This action actually reminds me a lot of Ricochet Robots.

    To move you have to roll the die and you get to move any number of things totaled to that value. If you roll a 1 then you can jump the cow ANYWHERE and drop a dung where he lands. The poop, if trampled later, will give the player a poop card which are all bad. You might lose your next turn or something. If you roll a 2 you can either move or pick up a daisy card for a good benefit in the future turns. I never got one in our game.

    Otherwise you are just trying to get your pigs home safe.

    It is an adorable game that I am glad he was able to send to me. I really like abstract games, though. The game came in a sack! Pretty unique. The bits are nice and there is a time for those thinking too long.

    Ron and I just played 2p and I think it would be a bit crazier with more players all around blocking and rearranging the board.

    To no one's great shock, Ron won that game. He like got in a pig on the first move! I got a little more defensive after that. I managed to catch up and only needed 2 pigs to win but he only needed the one. I was trying to block the best I could. I picked up a poop card, however, and then I lost my next turn. He was able to use the two turns to get his final pig in the pen. Doh!

    Ron for the win. I look forward to playing this with 4p soon. Very cute. I wonder what the Monday night group would think.

    the designer applied for a game page so hopefully that shows up soon! I think he is going to run a Kickstarter but I am not sure. I will be sure to let you know if he informs me!


    Later that night Ron and I got to playing Fields of Arle. I wasn't sure if we would have time this weekend to get this played so it was nice we could find time and play on Wednesday.

    I had no real plans going into this game. I ended up getting some animals to help mitigate the cost for feeding in the summertime. I ended up getting some stalls and making some baby animals. I got a stable at some point even. I made lots of horses. I HAD to get my favorite 9 points carriage. Maybe that is why I always lose. I don't know.

    I seemed to be doing very well, but I had the feeling I was losing, as I do. My problem is I never advance on the tool track. I had only 1 points for tools and Ron creamed me with like 19 points. I might win a lot of the early categories but it never seems to be enough to beat Ron over all.

    This game I did fairly well with 125.5 points and Ron still owned me with 132 points.

    I had a full barn and was shipping tons of things. I had almost completed my road fully. Ron snagged the 3rd 15 point building from under me. There was nothing I could do to grab it before him. I totally just got OWNED.

    I love this game but, I really need to win it again. It saddens me that I can't win. I need to play against Riley or something. :P


    Thursday night was FUN GROUP! We had a gathering of 6 gamers and it was the perfect number to start the night off with Terra. Had I shown up a few moments earlier then I would have voted for America but I was happy to play this one again.

    I am not exactly up-to-date on my world knowledge but it is always interesting to see what I can come up with. I was sitting on the wrong side of Joe so I couldn't use his SMAHTS to build my responses to. He definitely destroyed us all and I think I ended up tied with Riley as it stood. I'll take it. I have NO IDEA how many pounds of Amber are in the Amber room. I really over bid on that. But I DUNO!

    Fun game but I like 'Merica better.


    Next up was, of course, America. Everyone almost right off agreed this was the better of the 2 games. Though Riley said he liked that there might be "2 areas" that are correct and it keeps it interesting, I guess. I am find with only 1 location being correct. I like the whimsical categories and pop culture. It is a lot of fun and I really don't know much.

    This game I knew even less than Terra! The categories were like GPS and we had a nerd off between Adam and Joe with lots of talk I was blind to since it sounded like gibberish. They were debating this and that about GPS. I was like buhwah.

    It was rather amusing though. They actually gave coordinates and Adam was SO SURE I guessed no accurate guesses. I guess that put cogs turning in Joes head and got him thinking and it ended up where Joe guessed the other place and he was accurate. I should have waited on my guessing no accurate till everyone passed! Nuts!

    It was a great game. This is going to be a hit with any group to put peoples knowledge to the test. I had no hope for the Call of Duty card... I had seen the game being played before, does that count?!

    I lost miserably. I think Scott actually won this game- it was hard to recall since I was just so far behind and everyone cleared the board too quickly! If not Scott than Joe, I am sure.


    Adam and Jeff left so I convinced Scott, Riley, Joe to play Histrio.

    These guys actually enjoyed it a LITTLE bit more than the past group, which made me happy. I don't think anyone right out hated it. But Joe was trying to think of ways to redesign it just like Dan had done.

    The game is pretty easy and I did a good job of teaching, I think, considering I just played it the time before like a month ago.

    The game is just so damn pretty. This game is really tricky. The problem falls when you match too many people too many times. You really don't get much from that. Maybe if you are compensated for the matching by getting a coin too or something else other than a secret card.

    This game we played correctly and had the end of show secret card in play for the whole game and you can score it twice. Didn't make much of a difference. I managed to persuade Scott to changing the play in the final moment to the show I needed for the second show. I ended up kicking butt because of it. I felt kinda bad, since everyone else had the other show they were voting for (even Scott!).

    I ended up winning by like 15 points but Scott and Riley were close for second place and poor Joe didn't want to talk about it. We kinda screwed him over a few shows in a row. I was collecting the end points for actors and succeeding in putting the show on for the kings mood.

    I like the game ok and I would play it more if more people enjoyed it. For now it is on the trade/sell list. :(


    I managed to convince Riley to stay for one more game of Stellar Conflict.

    I had really wanted to try this out with 4p to see what would happen. The whole table was eaten up. I went with mostly big ships this game since when I played with Ron I went with a lot of little ships and didn't get the chance to play them all.

    With 4p it was like a mad spree to get your ships on the table we all had 25 second before the clock ran out before be all finished! I had a LOT more time. Dang- the game changes dramatically with more players. I guess in the 2p game I was more cautious with Ron and where he was placing his ships it took longer to calculate.

    This game since I had fewer ships I was just quick to place and not so quick to think what the consequences would be. Considering this, I did quite well. Riley had a ton of 0 point cards! What the heck Riley! I managed to kill like 3 0 point cards. USELESS!

    I happened to place much better in this game than in the 2p game. I didn't blow myself up once! Hurray!

    In the end it took a much longer time to calculate than to play. We were going for a while in the first 2 initiatives but then it picked up. Each player was doing their own damages and then we resolved the hits points.

    Riley and I tied for the win! Grrrr. We both had the same amount of points and the same amount of ships killed and there is no further tie breaker from there. I guess we should have played TieBreaker. hahah

    We shared victory! How lame! But I had a great time playing and I think everyone enjoyed it and Joe said he liked it a lot more than the original game Light Speed. Very fun game!


    Riley took off and I convinced Scott and Joe for one final game of Animals on Board. Or as we renamed it "Cuteness on Board". Cause yah.

    Scott hadn't played so I explained it, better than the other time I explained it to Joe, and we got to playing. Joe was actually happy with my explanation this game. Well I have played it a few more times now, I know what I am doing!

    Joe wants me to call him Anti-Noah. He had managed to collect 10 different species of animals. I was hanging on to the hops of another fox being up for the taking. I was holding on to 2 foxes almost all game. Joe snatched one up and Scott snatched another up from under me. I needed them so I didn't have a pair. I kept taking the hidden animal in hopes but it only left me giving up my pair of foxes and turtles to Noah.

    It was quite a terrible game for me but I do recall Anti-Noah winning the game with his diverse pallet of animals. Scott and I just had too many pairs. But, Scott did manage to collect 3 of a kind so he did better than me. Yep! I was teaching, I lose!

    Adorable game which is hard not to love. SO CUTE!


    Friday night brought around a late night game of Le Havre. Mina told me I HAD TO, so I did. I had been wanting to play for a few weeks now so it was time.

    This game I made some good purchases and got my shipping line. I also got the Wharf! I went shipping like 4 times and it was awesome. I purchased 4 boats and was able to ship 11 goods per shipment. I ended up with 100 points in $ from all the shipments.

    We had the special building in play that Joe H calls broken. I told Ron we could take it out but he said it was alright. I ended up picking it up It allowed me to get a 3 energy discount when I use energy in the main action- which is like all of the time. I essentially got all my boats for no energy cost and spending my 10 energy coke to ship my 4 ships. It was pretty sweet. I have to say I was legit because I specifically asked if Ron wanted to remove it when it showed up. He said no! He has no right to complain. :P

    I picked up the bank when I could have had another ship to screw Ron over. Maybe I should have picked up the extra boat, but I got more points from the bank and I was feeling bad for beating up on Ron so much. (how come he never feels badly about beating me up?!

    In the end I managed to win this game with 257 points and Ron didn't break 200. He never actually told me his score but, I KNOW I WON! :D

    Yay! It was a great game and I was happy to actually do well. Love this game!


    Friday we were super lucky to find Scythe on our doorstep. New to me!

    Ron had played a round or two at Essen and was very excited for it. The game looks amazing and the upgraded components are the bomb. When Ron put it on the table I said "Holy crap!!! Damn this board it so huge!!!" It ate up like out entire black table. Ron backed the extra large board option and let me tell you it is so worth it. Since there are a bunch of minis and resources all laying on the main board space gets eaten up quickly. It is just amazing. I didn't follow the kickstarter and was totally surprised by how much awesomeness this game holds.

    I, for one, enjoy Euphoria. Ron didn't find interest there but I did and still own the game even though it gets played next to never. I mention this game since I believe it was Jamey's first game and he hasn't done me wrong since. We love Tuscany as a group too. I mention Euphoria since there are some ideas brought over from there into Scythe. There are no dice it he brings over the stars. You are to place stars to trigger end game. It is a very clever mechanic since while it triggers the end it doesn't mean whomever caused the end actually wins.

    There are 6 stars to get rid of but 10 objectives to work towards. You don't have to focus on everything to do well int his game. Once the end is triggered there are no more turns but everyone looks are their heart rung and calculates points by that chart. The higher on the heart chart you got the higher the point values would turn out. You get points for stars placed, hexes controlled, left over resources, and a random tile that gives each game something a little different. In out game that tile gave points for building adjacent to lakes.

    All game you are working to build up your empire and trying to fulfill different objective cards and get you buildings and mechs out on the board. It is an action selection game and each player has different abilities and powers they are using to try and gain control over different regions on the board for productions and area control.

    Of course there is military to consider in this game but it is a sort of "nice" military in that your buildings can never be destroyed and all workers and mechs that lose just go back home. You get compensated with a military card, too. Of course, if you win the battle then you get to place a star in one of the 2 slotted spaces for military victory. You have a dial that you use to say I will spend x amount of military points (up to 7) and extra cards valued 2-5 per big figure I the region, if you wish. Since the military track is public knowledge and you are literally spending your status it might be easy to calculate if you will win a battle.

    The actions are pretty much wonderful, it is easy to grasp if you have played a game like Eclipse. I do think this is easier thank Eclipse, however. Each turn you have the option of choosing 1/4 spaces on your personal player board to activate: trade, produce, bolster, move. Those are he main actions and you might have to pay to utilize them. A lot of the actions offers one thing or another, for example, trade you pay 1 coin and can get 2 resources of your choice or 1 heart. Additionally, each main action is paired with a secondary action to use if you wanted to. These actions are the same 4 for each player but they are all paired differently for each board. These actions you are paying resources to: upgrade, build a house, builds a Mech, or Enlist a recruit. Different boards cost more or less depending and there are a lot of good things to be doing.

    Once you are on a spaces you have to move off of the space for your next action, unless you are red whose power is that they can use the same space over if and when they want. I know this since I was red :D.

    There are a lot of other details but that is essentially all you have to know if you think you will like it. If you want more information just ask!

    In out game we played the Super huge board! if you see the images below and you see the black line... Yah the bigger "half" of the board is the actual board used in the regular game on the reverse side... Just saying.

    I picked red tiger, but it was hard for me since I love wolves more but Ron picked black wolf, Eric was blue muskox, Carrie played as white bear. My benefit was that I could reuse spaces without moving. Ron's ability was place unlimited stars for combat or objectives , Eric's ability was that his workers could swim across rivers ( otherwise you need a mech tech to tell you that you can cross...), Carries ability was allowed to take 2 benefits from the encounter cards (normally you get 1/3 to choose from and they are all awesome).

    We were all shaky out of the gate not really sure what we should be doing and just seeing the options while trying to produce and upgrade. I knew I wanted to get a mech out early so I could at least cross the rivers to spread out. I needed to occupy 3 villages to meet my objective so I was focused on that. Eric was pestering me and he made it to the farms before I could even get ability to cross rivers and he was able to start building up his grain in take. I really wanted that but never was able to acquire that so the enlisting was right out.

    I was getting my mechs out good enough but had one left over at the end. Not good enough I would say, since getting all 4 out is a star. Ultimately it all comes down to the most money at the end since everything converts to money so you have to be cautious of what you are spending you money on since points is points! Each star for me was worth 4 points so I really could have used any extra stars I would have been able to get.

    Ron started out his military spree and never attacked me. I never had a battle and had Tons of extra battle cards that I could have been using. I was collecting them via the recruitment benefits. The recruitment benefits happen when the 2 players to either side of you take the secondary action that you have recruited from. If I recruit for mechs than each time my neighbors utilize the build a mech space I get a bonus. It is tricky to get the recruits out, but, so worth it! If you time it properly then it all totally matters.

    I wanted to focus more on the heart track since you get a lot more points the higher up you are. But Ron ended it when I really needed 1or 2 more turns to make it happen. In the end Ron only hurt himself since he was on the bottom scoring for the heart track and he didn't make enough points to cover Eric's higher point scores. Carrie and I were in the low 40s for a final score. I think Eric had high 60s so it was quite a difference... Ron was low 50s.

    Dang, I mean I only got 2 star up on the board before the game ended. I was only just beginning. I didn't have a time grasp for the game at all. I will make sure and play better next time. I'm already thinking how I can improve my game for next time. I simply can not wait to play again. It is amazing. I love it!!! Instant classic just so good!!!! Freak just look how much I wrote. I mean, I guess I have stuff to say about it. I can't wait to play again!


    Ron was being awesome and made us dinner. While he was doing that I taught Eric and Carrie how to play Troyes. Eric wanted to play a game with dice and since playing Kings Abbey last week reminded me of this game I suggested it.

    I can't say I'm the best at teaching this game but I did recall it well enough. The actions I was less sure about but it is easy enough to look them up. Once we got going the game became clear to them and we played the final rounds pretty quickly.

    This game Eric was basically destroying us. He took on the early red building and started eating up all of the event cards for tons and tons of points and influence. He only focused on that one building to gain cubes on the events and he took basically all of the red dice. Carrie and I were fighting over yellow dice and doing neither of us any good.

    My end goal was $ so I was going for lots of Money and succeeding at that. I figured Carrie had the Church end condition since she was all about that. She actually had the influence card which fell right into Eric's hands. Eric of COURSE had the event end card and I didn't managed to get even one of them completed.

    When the game finally ended and we counted up points I only managed second place. I actually thought I was doing better than Eric but I was WAY OFF. Eric nearly DOUBLED my score. I only ended with like 38 points and Carrie was close behind me. Eric had like 65 or something crazy high. He completely destroyed us. We really needed to take those red dice away from him. It was just a mess on our end. Next time we won't be so dumb! :P


    Carrie had expressed interest in learning Tichu. I think that we had taught her before and she kinda of recalled the game a little bit.

    I teamed up with Carrie and Eric and Ron were a team. Eric had played before he remembered a bunch.

    Carrie and I were doing alright this game mostly due to my failing at a few Tichus and Grands. BUT I made up for the failures with successes. So, it was sort of a wash. I know Carrie tried calling and didn't make it. But, Ron and Eric were just getting tons of bombs- and even with out hands we thought we would win we just got over bombed. Unlucky draws for us. We were close but ended up not taking the win this time! It was a success since that Carrie and Eric both very much enjoy the game! Well how could the not!

    Boys for the win. Booooooo


    The final game of the night was America. Erica had played it the week before and was interested in playing it again so requested it.

    Being the 4th of July weekend how could I argue! This game is super fun and the topics are wonderful. We played 8 rounds totaling to 1 game. We decided early that Ron was handicapped to 0 points for the game and winner was the best of the 3 remaining.

    We had some cool topics and my knowledge was quite surprising when it came to NFL. I was almost dead accurate for all 3 spaces! It was shocking. 2/3 for NFL, are you kidding me! So good. I did surprisingly well for Serial Killers too... Maybe I watch too much Dexter. haha

    I have to say this game is very interesting and fun. So excited to have it in the collection now. It will get tons of plays.

    As for the winner since Ron was out and back at 0, I took the crown with Eric right behind me and Carrie behind him. It was a close game!


    Sunday morning bright and early Ron and I flew to Orlando For Dice Tower Con coming up. During the flight we played Le Havre on the ipad, YAY I WON!!! I won by 2 points! We also attempted to play Glass Road app, and yes, that crashed on us. It is one of the slowest apps adn then it crash when I tried to use the building in it. I think there is something wrong. I duno, not my favorite game to play on the app. We also played Star Realms, of course! He crushed me in that one though. It was a fast and painless death, though. :)


    Ron and I were around in the afternoon looking for folks to play games with but no one showed up. We played a couple dice games to pass the time. We started with Qwinto.

    Things were going so well and I thought the game was going to be over pretty quickly the way things were being rolled and Ron was getting X's we eventually stopped trying to get the high values and went and filled in the lower values.

    It happened so that we were able to fill in our rows pretty well except for the high numbers and then it came down to who ever could fill their X's first or get lucky rolls and be able to fill in the higher values.

    I ended up winning but it was a close game we had a pretty similar looking board but Ron got more X's. :P


    Since we hadn't played in a while I took out Rolling Japan.

    Not Ron's favorite but he plays since he knows I love it so much! Bad rolling all around and bad placement for me. SO BAD that Ron and I ended up tied. That is the worst!

    I should have placed differently and then it all would have been OK. Isn't that always the way.


    We went for food and then showed up at the tables again after. We brought some bigger games with us to play. Ron and I played a 2p game of Taluva.

    This is a great 2p game but I do think it is better with 3p. There is more board interaction and squishing and more uneasiness between turns.

    As it happened this was a 2p game and I managed to get out a tall tower. But later Ron was able to get out another tall tower for the win since there was nothing I was able to do about it. I was trying to get out my smaller tents and medium structures. I needed a 3rd area to control though and he was already on route to finishing the game. No hope for me this time. I don't think I am very good at this game.

    While I love abstracts, this one is pretty challenging for me to see the board. I can usually "see the board" pretty well but not this game.

    Ron destroyed me... boo. I will have to get him back today.


    Tom Vasel showed up and brought along a new game for us to try called Mystic Vale. He saw my post on facebook and showed up with a cool game looking to play. Very cool!

    Mystic Vale- New to me!

    This game I have wanted to play since I first heard all about it from Origins. It was a huge hit and has been since its release there. If you aren't familiar with the title it is a new deck building game from AEG that allows you to deck build and customize the cards you are using. It is a new twist and cool mechanic for the deck building worlds. Like many deck builders this game is also pretty theme-less but it doesn't bother me. The art is beautiful and that is really what matters, right?

    Tom got to explaining the rules and Ron and I are genuinely gamers and picked it up with ease and could have probably taught Tom if we looked at the set up first.

    End game triggers when the set number of points has been cleared and then we finish the round so all players get the same number of turns.

    There is a display of "cheap" cards 2-4 cost, medium cards 4-6 cost, expensive cards 7-9 cost. There is always the stack of value 2 cards that give you extra buying power in which you can buy from. Each turn you can buy up to 2 cards using the orb symbols on the cards you have revealed. Each player has a deck of 20 cards that you can not remove from play. Each card has the opportunity to host 3 slots. When you are purchasing a card you add that card (see through) to one card you have just played. You can not cover a picture but you can use the blank space to either side.

    The goal is to try and get the most points and to do this you are building/ customizing your cards to be the best they can be. Now, it works slightly different than the "normal" deck builder since you are essentially pushing your luck. In a deck of 20, 9 of them have decay. You pull cards to your display and reveal one at a time. the final card when you stop is not in play and remains on your deck face up. If you reveal 4 decay trees you bust. generally you stop when you have revealed your 3rd decaying tree. But if you really need that one more orb to buy a super awesome car you might say ehhh screw it I am going to push my luck and hopes of getting a single orb card with no tree.

    I do like this aspect of the game since you can choose when you want to do the crazy turns or never try to.

    As you are building the card you might be getting powers or benefits. So I was making a cool card that gave me points per armor head on the card and I had 2 armor heads so when that card was getting played I would get 4 points since both images were the same benefit. Other cards you might try to build up and get symbols to defeat the common goal cards. If you have symbols to use you can look at the top pretty art cards and say I have these matching symbols I can claim this card. It might be just points or it might be an on going benefit like mine which was spend 2 orbs to change 1 symbol into another symbol. I never ended up using it since I never found the chance to make it work.

    The game is super fast, we actually shocked Tom with how fast we were at gaming. He was like "whoa this is a nice change of pace". I guess he games with slower folks. :P

    I was collecting a lot of in game points and didn't manage to pick up the high value point cards from the common goals or just the end game points on the cards themselves.

    Stupid Ron is stupid and won the game and the score was 28, I had 23 and Tom put on a poor show and ended with 13. haha He had is one awesome card which he was so proud about but never got to use. :)

    It is a cool game and a cool idea. Even after 1 play I felt like it needed something more- so hopefully the expansion they are forming will bring more to the table. It is such a cool idea and I want to love the game. It just didn't wow me like I wanted it to. For me, it didn't leave me thinking about it (as I am still thinking about Scythe) and found it simply, ok. Not usually a good sign when after the first play you are saying when is the expansion.

    I will probably end up owning it and playing it some more. I think people will enjoy it but it in no way replaces Star realms or any other deck builder I love.

    You are supposed to take cards from each level "cheap" -"expensive" Tom made the point that we really didn't have to... It still triggers end game when the points run out. We could have used some more cards. We like ate almost all of the cards up before end was triggered. I suppose it is something to consider and maybe play that way from now on. Why does there have to be a set number of cards in the stacks when end is triggered by points. What if we don't see any POINT cards to acquire the points with? Food for thought.

    I was happy with my Wolf Moon card right out of the gate. He is so pretty.


    After much discussion with Tom about Gathering and game shows he creates and otehr new releases, Tom took off. It was cool to talk with him, he is a cool guy and I am quite happy he came along to play Mystic Vale with us.

    Ron and I were stuck with should we play another game or not. We decided on playing 2p Brew Crafters.

    This game was going pretty well for me until I missed out on $1 in the second year. I had to get a loan! It was a nightmare. I hate getting the loans- it is very bad and you lose lots of point is you accumulate them. Don't get loans, folks.

    I spent my first year building my tech since that is what I do. I love getting the free winter actions! They are just too good not to work towards. Ultimately, Ron was doing the same thing and there were PILES of resources for the taking. I should have re thought my situation and picked up a storeroom to hole all the amazing resources for the taking.

    Ron managed to get all that malt first, of course. I think there was like 12 of them. ugh so many and so good!

    I picked up what I could when I could and I had a few hire workers helping me out. I was collecting extra points from my barrelhouse and hired help but it wasn't quite enough to beat Ron this time.

    My STUPID loan caused me the game. Ron won this game with 59 to my score of 58! Loan is -2 points and that was that. SADDNESS! I wish I could have just paid it off... I had $2 at the end. But that is not the game.

    I managed to make a couple 9 point stouts and those were the bomb. Ron did a lot of variety and snagged the tokens to go along with them. He had an extra worker for him and I just couldn't afford it. I had no other end game scoring points but just the ale I brewed and the points in game. It was SO CLOSE but SO FAR!

    Awesome game and I look forward to playing it more this week.


    The final game of the night was a late night Tichu. A couple stopped by late around 10:30 and Ron and I asked if they were interested. They were looking tired but said they wanted to play.

    We had to do a refresher on the game for them, and had I known that I might not have suggested it. I didn't really want to do a learning game at that hour but it went ok.

    The game lasted a long time. On the first hand of the game i did call grand. Hannah, my partner didn't hear me and passed me a J or something. She was also just learning and remembering the game. I still managed to make my bet.

    Going forward in the game I was getting wishy washy hands and could predict easily enough if I would be going out first or not. It went on for like 10 hands before the game ended with Ron calling Tichu and they went 1-2.

    Boys for the win, again. Booooooooooooooo Still love the game though. I want to be Ron's partner next time.


    That was all for the week! I am excited for the next many days of gaming! You should all be very jealous. :P Well, unless you hate playing games for like 6 days straight then you don't have to be jealous.

    Here is one of my favorite views! Ron reading rules and all my games!

    Thanks for following along! I hope you have an amazing week.

    Until next week!

    Happy Gaming!!!


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  • 07/04/16--22:45: A-Ha-vre!
  • by Stuart Burnham

    By Jove, it seems that I have made a breakthrough with my "white whale" (see previous vexation post Here) Le Havre - a win, a decent score (I think?), with no "hints" from the app either, and perhaps an insight into how to handle this beast of a game.

    Now I know that as in most Rosenberg (et al) games the actual strategy will depend on what cards are out and what any opponents are (not) doing, but I've stopped making basic errors and started seeing efficiencies and the way to build a feeding engine.
    In my first games I was also too focussed on trying to build lots of buildings for end game points, but now I see properly, how preparing for a couple of big end game shipping actions can reap serious rewards. I also purchased a building (or two), not something I typically do, where it fitted in with a plan (such as there was, haha!)

    I also worried less about having enough food on hand for the end of round "harvest", provided that the action I was taking provided some traction towards another goal. This meant that I took a few loans, which I also paid off prior to the end game (got stung by that before too!) but it enabled me to make some big, efficient food generating turns, or to build a ship a bit earlier. This fleet then enabled me to do all that shipping in the last few rounds.

    The mix of the special buildings can obviously have a big impact on the game, and for once I was able to see some practical and advantageous ways to use them: The Wind Farm meant that I had a handy source of power for several actions (ship-building etc) making me more efficient, the Haulage Firm allows grabbing adjacent piles of resources, which meant I could take grain & cattle, which "fed" beautifully into using the Baguette Shop (bread & meat) for 6 francs a pop - handy indeed when I didn't have anything else to do (I'd kept a supply of grain & cattle throughout, ensuring that they increased at harvest time).

    The 6 ships, including a Luxury Liner (think that's the first time I've built one) generated plenty of points, and I finished with 72 Francs on hand from my shipping and baguette making for a total of 230, which I was very pleased with.

    I feel like I've gotten "over the hump" with this one, in a similar manner to how I felt the first time I made a reasonable farm in Agricola - these earlier Uwe games are much more demanding than the recent more open designs and can feel like hard work.
    I feel like it's beginning to pay off now and am actively seeking a cardboard copy for the shelves....!

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    by JAHjr PSU 88

    I found this at my FLGS about 3 months ago after they got a copy in and I snapped it up in a hurry since I thought it was out or print or heading out of print, now I am glad I did. Thanks Island Games in Centerville.....

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  • 07/11/16--19:34: New Image for Le Havre
  • by Fedow

    <div>Late game, Italian edition</div>

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  • 07/11/16--22:30: Thrill of the Chase
  • by Stuart Burnham

    A couple of days ago I wrote about Treasure Hunt, and organising a treasure (scavenger!) hunt yourself. It got me thinking about a famous treasure hunt that I'd heard about in the recent past, The Fenn Treasure, and also about "treasure hunting" for particular games.

    The following poem is found in the book The Thrill of the Chase by Forrest Fenn. It is said to contain nine clues, and upon complete understanding, will lead a person to a bronze treasure chest filled with over a million dollars worth of treasure.
    Although the meaning of the poem is believed to guide someone to the hidden treasure, the book is said to hold ‘subtle clues’ to help one with their quest.

    "As I have gone alone in there
    And with my treasures bold,
    I can keep my secret where,
    And hint of riches new and old.

    Begin it where warm waters halt
    And take it in the canyon down,
    Not far, but too far to walk.
    Put in below the home of Brown.

    From there it’s no place for the meek,
    The end is ever drawing nigh;
    There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
    Just heavy loads and water high.

    If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
    Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
    But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
    Just take the chest and go in peace.

    So why is it that I must go
    And leave my trove for all to seek?
    The answers I already know,
    I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

    So hear me all and listen good,
    Your effort will be worth the cold.
    If you are brave and in the wood
    I give you title to the gold."

    This site/ blog also has some good general info on the whole thing;

    Good luck if you're going to go off on this (wild goose?) chase!

    Onto gaming "hunting" (Heavy Cardboard term there!) then - what games are you currently on the lookout for?
    Do you have a list, or just a general idea?
    Are these expensive? Rare? Nostalgia driven?

    Me, I'm looking for Le Havre as my number one treasure to hunt, although Ora et Labora is not far behind. And I really wish I snagged a copy of The Bottle Imp in a recent auction and then a math trade. I quite often just miss out on what I'm hunting because it always seems to pop up when funds are low. But I've had a little sale / cull and the "ammo" is ready, waiting....

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    by nāt

    This is the part of the web-blog entry in which I make uninspired comments about the current month that it is. But what if I told you this web-log entry was different? What if I told you that I was going to turn expectations on their unsuspecting heads and throw convention down a deep, dark pit of crazy, kooky uncertainty? That I'd buck tradition and subvert the established status quo and not mention the word July even once? Override the norm in order to ignore the pleading masses and their dependence on the habitual comforts of vapid discussion regarding how it can't already be this late in this particular year but would you look at the calendar it is, it really is?

    You'd probably call me a liar, and that'd be a fair enough cop. Wow, it's July already! Unbelievable!

    Also, I played some games.

    Rocca Rails

    When I was growing up, my mother would leave out jewelry catalogs with certain sparkling gemstones circled in permanent marker, the words "ME WANT" printed directly below. The messages were for my father, but everyone in the family knew it was her way of saying "Ha ha, It Is a Joke, But Also Not." This intentionally crude style of passive-aggressive communication allowed my mother not only to maintain an air of humorous irreverence in regards to materialism, but also acted as a gentle prod in the right direction, were my father so inclined to spend exorbitant sums on anniversary gifts or birthday presents. The crazy thing is, the system worked. My father appreciated the fact that he wasn't wasting money on the wrong thing, and my mother would receive a new pair of earrings or a pretty necklace from time to time. It got to the point where "ME WANT" was a perfectly acceptable reaction to non-essential items, just as long as the user was aware that there was a 89.3% chance it wasn't in the budget and never would be.

    I mention this anecdote because the "ME WANT" response is still alive and strong within me, even in the privacy of my own adult home with no other family members around, half-spurred by the abhorrent need to fill various voids in life with inconsequential materialism, the other half by rote. It was in this way, in front of a computer screen, that I quite instinctively mouthed the words directly after stumbling upon the tiny Japanese card game Rocca Rails. I admit, my immediate need to obtain a copy was fueled mainly by the overwhelming amounts of twee emanating out from it, but also because I am a grown man gainfully employed and can spend my money in as foolish a method as I see fit.

    Photo credit: Flowbee*

    It's a dead simple little game; a single, solitary hot wing in terms of of meat being present on bones. UNO on rails, as it were, but the real charm comes from, well, it not being UNO for starters, but really mainly the fact that its cards are illustrated in an oh-so adorable isometric fashion. They're placed and stacked slightly on top of each other to create a supremely satisfying three-dimensional effect, little cuboid sections of landscape congealing together to lengthen train tracks down and to the right or left of a central starting point. There are colors to match and a die to roll and more cards to draw, but all of that pales in comparison to its charming table presence. It's a novelty item, no two ways about it, an unconscionably cute crowning piece in a board game collection to bring out and show off from time to time. Did I spend more than I should have in securing a copy? Most likely. Will I play it on a regular basis? Probably not. But am I glad to have it, regardless, and has it very temporarily assuaged my burning desire to obtain physical things in a desperate bid to calm the raging uncertainties in my soul? You betcha. It's not often you can turn such a fervid ME WANT into an I GOT.

    Dynasties: Heirate & Herrsche

    Gosh, this one had been on the Hotly Anticipated List ever since it was announced, despite knowing very little about it, despite the lack of English language information, despite the fact that the artist appears to have mistaken Philip II's beard as the biggest jawline this side of Bruce Campbell.** Why, you ask? Why, I reply, because of designer Matthias Cramer! Cramer's responsible for a whole handful of enjoyable games: Glen More, Rococo, and Kraftwagen being amongst them.

    Thankfully, as one might come to discover from this particular web-log entry, things living up to high expectations seems to be a common thing for July, because it turns out Dynasties is a very good game. What's more, it might very well be my favorite Cramer title to date. This is due to a large number of things, some of which will be worked into a list, because we all love lists.

    1.) I Split You Choose: Dynasties incorporates this element into several different parts of the board, and it really, really works. I love the grueling task of having to divide a group of five resources into piles of three and two, knowing that I won't be the one who gets first dibs. I could ensure that at least one of the piles has the two or three that I desperately need, but there's always the chance that my opponent will take it, leaving me with nothing useful at all. It's a painful yet amusing game of compromise that brings a lot of uncertainty and challenge to fulfilling your goals.

    2.) Mawwaige!: It's really fun marrying off your little family meeples with other family meeples, securing whole entire swaths of the board via consensual or shotgun weddings, maintaining area majorities by having children at just the right moment, forcing your way into dynasties at the last second through pure political clout. It captures what I loved about the theme in Signorie and distills it down into an even more enjoyable experience. Plus, it makes me actually OK with the back and forth tussle of area majority, which is really saying something.

    3.) Lovely Board, That: Dynasties wins Most Beautiful Depiction of Super Dull Europe-y Map. I mean, take a look at the board. It's gorgeous!

    4.) Luck: There's a fair amount of luck to be stomached with Dynasties, but ultimately, I think it works. Some games you simply won't draw what you absolutely need, and that will be that. Other games, you'll coast along on a comfortable cushion of good karma, grabbing up all the right resources and scoring cards you need for a considerable victory. As much as I prefer my dry Euro games filled to bursting with pure, uncut stratagem, I do appreciate a bit of luck now and then. The monkeywrenches can be infuriating, debilitating, exhilarating, polarizing, but you also can't argue that luck is a perfect scapegoat for a crummy performance. Yeah. That's why I lost. Both times.

    Imperial Settlers

    The more I play Imperial Settlers, the more I fall in love with its engine-building. It might be my favorite example of it, in fact. The feeling of starting with a paltry sum of two or three goods and a few cards, working slowly but surely to play out more and more buildings, amassing greater and greater piles of resources until by the last round you've managed to string along action after action after action, every one of which provides even more opportunities to prolong the game and expand your empire. It's a fantastic snowball effect, and just about the only complaint I have with the game is waiting on others who are trying to do the same. Knowing exactly what you want to do next but having to wait until your other opponents take their turns can be downright excruciating, especially in a game that rewards you for lining up long strings of multi-step, self-perpetuating plans. Oh man, other people, am I right? Heck, I'd win games if it weren't for other people! The obvious answer to this drawback is to simply not invite other people to play your game, instead staying inside with the curtains drawn, trying out the solo variant.

    While the solo variant insists on razing to stay alive, I don't find it as reprehensible as it is in a multiplayer game. For one, it's only attacking an AI, instead of another human being with feelings and hopes and dreams, and it's also guaranteed that you'll be crushed by this faceless automaton if you don't reciprocate. The solo version of Imperial Settlers is great for a quick-fix of engine-building, but the officially sanctioned Print-n-Play Campaign mode is really where the solitaire experience starts to shine. Imperial Settlers campaign mode allows you to add a "Legacy" element to multiple games, introducing costly but lucrative provinces to manage, special events and challenges to weather, upkeep to maintain, and Civilization-style technological advancements to add to your faction. All of the additions do a bang-up job of making you feel like an ever-expanding empire. With each victory, new benefits are granted, but with each new benefit, costs are increased. Since the playtime is drastically reduced with only one person playing, the campaign mode makes for the perfect nightly 45-minute challenge that's both easy to track and fun to revisit.

    Le Havre

    There seem to be two very distinct styles of Rosenberg design in the wild. The first, and earliest, appears to be based on Success Despite Restriction. The second, and most recent, centers itself around Success Despite Profundity. There's a reason people either lovingly or scornfully refer to Agricola as "Misery Farming." It's the same reason that the Agricola vs. Caverna debate rages on. There's a specific type of board gamer that delights in overcoming obstacles, while the other type prefers a more open-ended "sandbox" environment in which to experiment. I can understand the benefits and drawbacks to both. I'm not here to argue the superiority of one one versus the other, but it's no secret that I personally enjoy Profundity far more than its Restrictive predecessor. To me, Le Havre falls into the Restrictive category, though I'm sure there will be fans crawling out of the woodwork to tell me why I'm wrong.

    It'd appear that Le Havre is one of those games that demands a second play before I can fully ground myself in its world. Figure out its ins and outs. Grasp the subtleties, pinpoint and define its various paths to success. Problem is--as is the case with most games with similar demands of multiple revisits--I don't wanna. Generally speaking, I love Uwe Rosenberg games. I love that he implements and reimplements, iterates and reiterates familiar mechanisms and elements from his past ventures into new and exciting titles. The upcoming A Feast for Odin is my most highly anticipated game for 2016. But for as big of a fan of Rosenberg as I am, I can still recognize when one of his games is not for me. I suppose the problem with having multiple games with so many similar elements is that they can never truly exist on their own. You'll always have people comparing and contrasting them with each other.

    It's difficult for me to solidify what it is in a game that causes me to dislike it. My negative experiences (which are thankfully few and far between) come from gut feelings, are often times born of some weird, disconnected intuition, or simply exist as vague frustrations with sums rather than parts. That said, I'm rather embarrassed to admit that my core complaints with Le Havre stem mainly from the fact that it isn't Ora et Labora. I really love resource conversion. It's very much a form of that beloved engine-building I so enjoy waxing rhapsodic about. I find the resource conversion in Ora et Labora to be handled in a really satisfying way, with a bit of worker placement, a bit of spatial puzzle, and a bit of careful planning for specific windows of opportunity. There are very few fees or harvests to keep in mind and thus what you get is a less hindered form of resource conversion than what exists in Le Havre. Le Havre is business management with resource conversion thrown in. It has feeding of employees, private ownership of buildings, and *shudder* loans and usury to contend with. Amidst the hopes of turning cows into leather into furniture into cold, hard victory points there are a myriad little roadblocks in the way. Maybe it's the fact that you can focus on converting just about anything you'd like in OeL, whereas Le Havre has several very specific, very mandatory conversion milestones everyone must focus on in order to proceed along to a higher phase of efficiency. If you don't get the building that allows you to go after reliquaries in OeL, no big deal. There are half a dozen other little chits to chase after. If you miss the figurative (and literal) boat for steel-making in Le Havre, it's several excruciating turns of watching your opponents prosper while you have no choice but to wait your turn. It's the same position I find myself taking when considering "acquired tastes." Why bother acquiring a taste when there are so many other tastes that taste good from the outset?

    The King of Frontier

    I don't pretend to be a licensed practitioner of aesthetic critique, but lots of Japanese games have a distinct look. You can see it with Minerva, or Yokohama, and now with The King of Frontier, as well. It's not particularly user-friendly. It's downright claustrophobic at times, with text bunched together and icons shoved in wherever there's room left over. There's a vague sensation of mid-1990s chutzpah floating about, all boxy and chunky and busy with textures and gradients and not particularly self-conscious the way 2010s design is all blatantly solid colors and LOOK-AT-ME-BEING-SIMPLE minimalism. It can be difficult to navigate and it can be more or less fugly, but it's still somehow alluring in spite of itself. Maybe it's just the charm and intrigue of foreign exoticism. Maybe I'd hate the same look if it came from my own home country. Be that as it may, I foster a soft spot for these kinds of Japanese import games, and The King of Frontier is no exception.

    The King of Frontier is a fusion of Carcassonne, Walnut Grove, San Juan, and xkcd. It takes the core essence of each of these things and folds them all into one rather simple tile-laying game, and I appreciate that. Players attempt to fill their 4x5 grids with landscape tiles, completing resource cube-producing areas of wheat, stone, wood, and cities, all while using these resources to buy and build special building tiles and score points. Each turn, the leader declares one of four actions, does a slightly better version of that action, then allows the remaining players to follow by doing a slightly lesser version of that action if they can or wish. It works-- if you have the appropriate fan-translations of all the various special buildings. There isn't anything ground-breaking or novel about the game except the fact that it managed to incorporate a number of fun mechanisms from other games into its own fun self.

    Broom Service: The Card Game

    An airy light filler that captures nearly everything I like about Broom Service and does away with all the frustrating tidbits that I don't. I like: the brave/cowardly push-your-luck element. It's there in the card game. In fact, I'd say that's all that's there. Players collect sets of colored potions by playing potion cards bravely (the side with multiple potions) or cowardly (the side with only one potion). Playing cowardly will always net you your one potion, but taking a chance on brave only provides you with the multiple potion count if you're the only or last one to do so. The roles from the board game are replaced with different colors of potions to collect, and gone is the oft-infuriating pick-up-and-deliver movement and blocking of the board. It's not that I don't enjoy Broom Service, it's just that the Card Game manages to deliver (har-har) only the best parts in one-eighth the time, so I call it a success.


    I now understand the love for Stonemeier Games. What's that? you ask, You mean to say you didn't beforehand?! Oh, you know me. I buy games based mainly on the fact that they're Japanese and hard-to-find. I can't be seen going along with too popular an opinion. In fact, I'd always found the rampant praise and fanboyism of Stonemeier Games to be somewhat grating on the nerves. I'd played Euphoria and Between Two Cities and found them both modestly entertaining, and had no real interest in ever trying Viticulture despite its pretty package. It's not that I didn't believe people when they went on and on about Stonemeier Kickstarter campaigns, it's just that I had no real personal connection with the glowing experiences, and no real reason to join the bandwagon. That is, until Jakub Rozalski came into the picture.

    At the risk of sounding the full-blown hipster, I am compelled to mention that I'd seen Rozalski's art before the whole Scythe ordeal. Someone at some point had "linked" me to some "pics" of it via the "I.N.T.E.R.N.E.T."*** (as youth today are wont to do), and I'd very much loved it. It reminded me of James Gurney's Dinotopia books with the classical depictions of hulking fantastical leviathans amidst humans in antiquated garb, or even Chris Van Allsburg's picturebooks, presenting somewhat ominous, always mysterious illustrations that prompted the viewer into fabricating his or her own stories of what was going on. Naturally, when news of a board game utilizing Rozalski's work surfaced, I got a little excited. Y'know, along with the 7 million other board gamers doing the same. So mainstream.

    For nigh on nine whole months I weathered the excitable titters and internettal ramblings of fellow board gamers who couldn't wait to get the game onto their tables. Nine months of hype I endured. I tell you expecting couples on Facebook posted less about their unborn babies than the amount of flowery prose I heard about Scythe. It was impossible to ignore. I was buffeted from all sides. It was realistic resin components this and cool metal coins that and LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT BOARD, WOULDJA?! I promised myself I wouldn't succumb, wouldn't give in. That I wouldn't allow myself to get excited at the mere prospect of a game I had never played and wouldn't be able to try for another XX weeks. I'd been burned before by the irresistible hype factory of other Kickstarter projects. Games that would've otherwise been perfectly enjoyable experiences had perished to the colossal myths they'd had to live up to, withered away right before my eyes as they failed to match the impossible standards I'd administered in advance. I wouldn't let it happen with Scythe. It meant nothing to me, and thus had nothing to lose.

    And then, after countless informative and regular email updates, constant communication and clarification and tracking numbers and photos from manufacturers, it arrived (not that I cared). It was a heavy box (even though weight has nothing to do with anything). It was a beautiful box, with a little personalized number on it (except ten thousand other people had received pretty much the same thing). The little pieces inside were gorgeous, and the miniatures glistened, and the cards sparkled, and the endless Rozalski art emitted an ethereal glow like that briefcase scene from that one movie about pulp fiction literature****. Okay. So I was impressed. But that didn't mean diddly-squat in terms of actual gameplay.

    So, naturally, I played it. And wouldn't you know, I liked it. More than I thought I would. Like, really liked it. The combat I was concerned about wasn't too miserable. The replayability seemed solid. The rules were intuitive. The decisions were meaningful. The asymmetric powers were neat. The little player mats were great fun. The race to place stars had been improved since Euphoria. The coinage was plinky. The pieces were chunky. The board extension was, in fact, enormous. All of it cohered together into one highly enjoyable board game with unparalleled production values and drop-dead gorgeous design. Who woulda thunk it? I mean, apart from the 7 million board gamers who spent nine months thunking it very much aloud (and over and across my head). Fine then, you got me. I suppose I should issue an apology to anyone I ever plugged my ears at, to those I consciously avoided, or whose heady claims I breezily scoffed upon. I'm sorry. You were right. Stonemeier Games is the be-all and end-all. Scythe is probably the harbinger of a new board game renaissance. Metal coins can be cool. Popularly held opinions of popularly anticipated board games are just as worthwhile as that obscure out-of-print Belarusian game about publishing anti-Stalinist newspapers in 1936. I admit defeat.

    But I'm still not going to play Blood Rage with you.


    We all have guilty pleasures. For some, it's eating a carton of ice cream whilst sat in front of multiple episodes of incest-ridden, anti-hero-centric cable TV programs. For others, it's being able to get close enough to give little warning kicks to passing ground-pigeons. For some, it's peeling off that plastic coating sheet that covers the screens of recently purchased electronic devices. For others still it's being able to successfully pass off a naturalistic-sounding "heyyyyyy" when you temporarily forget the name of the person walking past you in the hallway. All give little rushes of adrenaline, cheap thrills that hold one over until one can learn to skydive or drag race or shout "I DON'T REALLY CARE" when a group of people start talking about lacrosse. My guilty pleasure is playing multiplayer board games by myself. It's not something I'm proud of. I wouldn't want to admit to doing it to just anybody, which is why I'm only telling you, in this extremely private area of the world wide public internet space. There's just something fun about playing the part of two or three people. Maybe it's the fact that no matter what, I'm guaranteed to experience a victory. Or maybe it's the fact that this might be the beginning stages of undiagnosed schizophrenia. Whatever the case may be, Taluva is a darn fine example of the perfect board game to play by yourself. Y'know. If you're into that kind of thing.

    Taluva's ruleset is deceptively simple. That is to say, for so few things to keep track of, there's a heck of a lot of opportunity out on the board at any given time. On your turn, you lay a new tile either up or out, then build one of three types of buildings. The first person to build all of two types instantly wins, otherwise, once the tiles run out, whoever has managed to place the most temples, then towers, then villages wins. It's one of those classic-feeling games. Clean design with room for lots of interaction. You can really only ever do two things, but the way in which you do them, or rather, the things you do in order to do these two things most efficiently makes all the difference. Playing offensively is just as important as defending your territories, and as such, there's a healthy amount of tension that's maintained throughout the entire game. Volcanos can erupt to wipe out villages and set back progress. New terrain can be placed in clever ways to prevent or block unwanted presences. Expansion of villages can secure a greater hold while spreading out can divert attention.

    It's such a beautiful game, too. There's something very attractive about seeing the island expand over the course of a game, little clusters of brightly painted huts and towers breaking out across lush, tropical landscapes. And the theme is pleasantly apparent for what is essentially an abstract racing game. The stacking and connecting of tiles really feels like you're creating a bigger and taller island out of the sea, watching the indigenous life thrive and relocate over centuries of volcanic activity. It speaks to the beauty of a game's design when I want to play it even when there are no others around to play it with me. Just don't tell Adlai, Beauregard, or Constance. They think they're real people.

    * * *

    Now's the part of the web-log entry where I attempt to wrap things up whilst giving credence to whatever upcoming month that it will be is going to be. Something about the weather, no doubt, as that really brings in the readers. ...But what if I refused to bend to the will of quotidian rigmarole and simply didn't? What if I closed our time together without ever mentioning that August is in the offing and that the weather is hot or something and humidity really is the worst? Take that, suffocating mundanity! I refuse to kowtow to your oppressive praxis! Down with tedium! Death to platitudinous guarantees! I reject the triteness and strive for almighty change!

    Boy, how about that sport team, eh? They sure sported it up in regards to competing against the opposing force, huh? I should say they even sportsed it in a superior fashion, and will continue to do so for the duration of their sport term. Welp, 'til August! Stay cool and dry!

    Until next time, happy games!

    * Using usernames in real life depresses me. Really good ones depress me because I wasn't the one to come up with them, and really bad ones, well, are really bad. One of my favorite things about avoiding the news nowadays is the fact that I don't have to hear depressing things like "The online shooting was witnessed by Twitchcast commentator 2BOOBZ4U_69, who said 'dat carnage was gay lel'." I suspect it will be a sad fact that our children's children's history books will include depressing phrases like "General jellybeanpawz led the ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Army in the 100 Years YouTube War." It's only a matter of depressing, depressing time.


    *** On I.N.T.E.R.N.E.T., everything is an acronym, including I.N.T.E.R.N.E.T., which I can only assume stands for Internet Network Trans-Electronic Routing Number Ethernet Throng.

    **** Ken Burns' A Complete History of Papyrus, Part XVI

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  • 07/17/16--11:00: Staycation
  • by Corey Hopkins

    A new Sunday Scorecard, just for you! (and everyone else!)

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    by Anna H

    When it comes to solo gaming, time is almost always my biggest opponent. I’m decidedly better at acquiring new games than actually playing them. I’ll spend weeks thinking about getting a game out, only to get no further than pulling up the rules and/or balking at the setup. So now I am asking myself two big questions about every game in my collection: How long does it take to get the game from shelf to table? And, assuming it does get there, will it ever make it there again?

    My reviews break that down as follows:

    :star: The Rulebook: How long did it take me to learn the game, and did I need to supplement the rulebook?

    :star: The Setup: Was the night over before I was actually playing the game?

    :star: The Gameplay: Was I engaged by the solo experience? Or, did it feel like I was merely going through the motions?

    :star: The Verdict: Did I experience everything the game had to offer? Or, am I excited for more?

    So, what does that mean for Glass Road?

    Read more »

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  • 07/18/16--14:08: New Video for Le Havre
  • by Kueltazar


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    by jcgrenier55

    Can someone please run trough the changes in each print run of Le Havre? i.e. Were there changes to the rule book, components, etc.? I found a lookout games version I may make an offer on. Is it worth trying to find a Z-Man edition that includes the expansion?

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    by Jasonbartfast

    The expansion is nice to have but definitely not essential. You used to be able to find it super cheap on its own.

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  • 07/26/16--06:23: Marty's July Play Summary
  • by Marty Strubczewski

    July has come and gone. Lots of new games played this month. Let's jump right into it!

    New to me Games:

    Karuba - 4 Plays

    The spiel nomination sparked my interest. I was also in need of a light family game. This one knocks it out of the park. Such a simple design but full of interesting decisions. It is multiplayer solitaire but you face the challenges together. That spurred a ton of table talk and good laughs on how well or bad we designed our paths to the temple. Excellent game for its audience and quick to teach and play.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection.

    Above and Below - 2 Plays

    You are refugees running away from your village that was burned down by invaders. You start a new village of your own. While growing your new village you find that there are interconnected caverns beneath you. Over 7 rounds you can acquire new village members, build new buildings, harvest some goods, and/or travel into the caverns. You can play the game however you want without ever having to travel beneath your village. But this is where the game gets interesting.
    Every time you travel below ground you have a unique encounter (from over 240) and you are presented with choices. After you make your choice your people that traveled roll for their success at completing the option you selected. Some villagers are better at others for completing encounters. Successful encounters reward you with items you can bring back to the village. By the end of the game you will have acquired several new villagers, built a half a dozen or so buildings both above ground and below ground and collected goods to increase income and points generation. It all comes together with beautiful and pleasant artwork. For those looking for a lighter game with some interesting decisions and a little bit of story narrative will really enjoy Above and Below.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection. Near & Far Kickstarter is currently running. Backed!

    Tiny Epic Galaxies - 2 Plays

    This is my stab at trying any of the epic games. I figured this was a good place to start since Tiny Epic Galaxies is the best rated. I got two solo plays in and it is quite neat. The AI design is intelligent. It gives you the feel of playing against a real opponent. I really like the planet art and the powers. It is fiddly (small pieces) and the cost is a little high ($25-35) for such a small footprint game. I can't think of another small sized game that is this good. I will use this as my go to travel game.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection

    Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - 2 Plays

    I've been avoiding Tzolk'in for quite some time. The Mayan theme, the art, the gear gimmick, and "heaviness" of the game were not appealing. Boy was I wrong. As with any Euro; theme is just for the art. I don't need theme to sell me on a game. The artwork and production are actually quite good. The gear mechanism is unbelievable good. There is a lot of brain burning and angst when planning your moves. It gets easier with more plays. And after a play or two the rules are quite easy and the gameplay smooth. I'm glad I gave this a try. I'm excited to give this a deeper exploration.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection (Top 20)

    Grand Austria Hotel - 1 Play

    I like euro's and this is another great one. There is a balance between getting customers into their rooms and making sure the emperor is satisfied during his visits. I really enjoy the hotel assistants and the added benefits they provide. They help shape your strategy and end game scoring. Iconography can be frustrating and downtime with 4 is unplayable. Keep it at 2-3 and have a strudel blast! Excited to give this one many more plays.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection

    Runebound (Third Edition) - 1 Play

    I'm quite good at predicting games I will like. This one was a failure. I was looking for a fun adventure game as there aren't many out there. Runebound seemed like a good place to start. The token chucking is different if unnatural. I really think a Star Wars Imperial Assault Design with dice would have faired better. The game is ridiculously long for what you actually accomplish in the game. It drove me nuts to spend the majority of my turns to move and then acquire an adventure card. That series of events uses all of my actions. Why am I rolling terrain dice for movement? And why is my success of a quest dependent on markers from the common skill deck? I don't mind random elements but Runebound is a hot mess of random that takes way too long to play for that kind of randomness.
    [BGCOLOR=#CCCCFF] 5/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Traded Away

    Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game - 2 Plays

    Yes! A great adventure game. You are actually making thoughtful decisions and planning the timing of your skills. Combat is simple but satisfying. Acquiring gear cards is exciting. Story elements bring you into the theme. This goes to show you that you don't need a massive board and mini's to get the adventuring feel. Warhammer Quest does it right. Give it a try!
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99] 8/10 [/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection.

    The Prodigals Club - 1 Play

    I respect games that do something different. Worker placements are everywhere and Prodigals Club tries to separate itself from that massive pack. It does however get you to think differently in that you are trying to exchange goods for cheaper goods, lose votes in elections, and piss off members of the high class society. This theme is fresh and the mechanisms are cleanly designed. The artwork is excellent and the component quality on par with any modern euro. Expect plays to run about 2 hours with a decent amount of set up time. There is also some frustrating iconography. But those are relatively minor quibbles for an otherwise excellent game.
    [BGCOLOR=#66FF99]8/10[/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection

    The Castles of Burgundy - 2 Plays

    By modern day standards this game is quite ugly and the components as low grade as they get. However, the design is Amazing! If you are a fan of euros this needs to be in your collection. Especially since it can be obtained for less than $30. The use of dice to focus your decisions, workers help mitigate the rolls, and clever tile placement make for one the best point salad games I have ever played. This is really good and def. worth its high rank on BGG.
    [BGCOLOR=#009999]9/10[/BGCOLOR] - Into my Collection (Top 20)

    Arcadia Quest - 1 Play

    Not sure what I was expecting out of this one. Maybe another dungeon crawl alternative. There are some very fun elements. Exploding dice are exciting. But it is just a silly gimmick. The competitive aspect makes the experience a little tense. Gearing up between scenarios is fun because that is where you make your characters unique. At the end of it I felt let down. The decisions and gameplay are quite simple. I didn't find myself immersed into the world of Arcadia. A solid game but not my cup of tea. Zombicide Black Plague covers my dungeon crawl itch better.
    [BGCOLOR=#33FFFF]7/10[/BGCOLOR] - For Trade

    Oldies but Goodies:

    Scythe - 2 Plays

    I now have a total of 10 plays. 8 of them prior to getting the physical copy. It was my favorite game even after only playing it on Tabletopia. Now that I have the physical copy the experience is through the roof. Scythe isn't for everyone. No game is. But for me this game is far ahead of any other game I have played in this hobby. I love the art, the production, the encounter cards, the action mechanism, the upgrade mechanism, the threat of combat, the point scoring, and the snowball effect from engine building. Scythe is my favorite game and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

    Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King - 2 Plays

    I understand everyone's disappointment that Pandemic Legacy did not win the Kenner Spiel. Pandemic Legacy is the better game. But Isle of Skye is the more approachable game. I predicted Skye to win for that reason. While no individual game of Pandemic is intimidating. The package as a whole can be very daunting. Many will never finish all 12 months of a Pandemic Legacy campaign. However, they will be able to finish 1-2 games of Skye in a given game night. I love the clean design. The price setting mechanism is simple yet challenging and every game has a different end result. The award is well deserved and everyone I introduce the game to loves it. In that regard Isle of Skye is a success.

    51st State: Master Set - 1 Play

    Played solo as Texas. Won 31-24. Really struggled to get my engine going. Texas doesn't have the best exchange rates. I love tableau and engine building. 51st State is one of the best games out there for those wanting these mechanisms. Did I mention the artwork is fantastic?

    Champions of Midgard - 1 Play

    Champions is an excellent choice for introducing new comers to the hobby. It teaches worker placement, planning, and spices things up with simple dice combat. It may need an expansion for experienced gamers but this is one of my go to games when playing with a newbie. So good and I love it.

    Kingsburg - 1 Play

    I really like Kingsburg. The choices are controlled by your dice but you do have options in how you use them and what you build. A simple game but clever in execution. I introduced this game to a new player and they enjoyed it greatly. Kingsburg is a great gateway game and a staple in my collection.

    Quadropolis - 1 Play

    Stilling playing classic mode. I have yet to try Expert. Even with just classic mode the game is very solid for abstract civ building. It's point salad but its pretty and fun. Definitely recommend for a try.

    Russian Railroads - 1 Play

    Scored 395 points against Emil (solo). I greatly enjoy both Russian and German Railroads. I hear people getting bored of Russian after just a few plays. It's hard for me to believe that you have explored all of the strategies in just a handful of plays. If you haven't tried German railroads then you really should. It solves any variability issue you may have with the base game. This is my second favorite worker placement game and I love playing it. I hope they don't stop making expansions.

    Blood Rage - 1 Play

    Blood Rage has been quite the roller coaster for me. After my first 2 games I hated it and got rid of it. I picked it up again because I figured I must have missed something. Played it 8 more times and it is a good game. But for me and my group it is not great. The dominance of specific strategies (Loki/Ship Loop) really keep this from being something special. I'll be happy to play with another group if suggested. The excitement isn't there any more. Out latest games were just going through the motions of making the strongest plays. Locking up provinces, using the well known combos, and fighting to be the best exploiter. Blood Rage is a game of points grab and combo exploitation. The game experience aggravates me. But don't let that keep you from giving this game a try.
    [BGCOLOR=#33FFFF]7/10[/BGCOLOR] - Traded Away

    Awaiting arrival:
    Legendary Encounters: Firefly - August 2016.
    Legendary Encounters: Aliens Expansion - September 2016.
    Orleans: Invasion - October 2016.
    Xenoshyft: Dreadmire - August 2016.
    Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star - March 2017.
    Cry Havoc - August 2016.
    Near and Far - May 2017.

    New to me games on my shelf:
    Codenames - Hoping to get some plays in at GEN CON
    Time Stories - Should get to this in August

    Trade Pile:
    Arcadia Quest - Looking for Le Havre (ZMAN edition)
    Tuscany: Expand the World of Viticulture - Looking for Terra Mystica
    Munchkin Deluxe Edition - Someone out there must want this right?

    0 0

    by lostphd

    Jasonbartfast wrote:

    The expansion is nice to have but definitely not essential. You used to be able to find it super cheap on its own.

    Agreed. I have Grand Hameau expansion but I have not yet used it, basic game is just fine.

    As far as I know, the only change between editions is in the version of English. The Australian edition has many more instances of the letter "u" in the rules and in the components. All of the rest is the same.

    One thing though - Grand Hameau comes with a corrected version of the Shipping Line card, which had errors on it in an early printing of the game. However, you don't need the new version. The Le Havre FAQ should cover off any issues.

    0 0
  • 08/08/16--03:19: A winning streak
  • by Peter Hazlewood

    Specter Ops is the game I currently rank as my all-time favourite. Le Havre held that title for a long time but had to be demoted to no.2 simply because it became clear that I would almost always choose to play Specter Ops, if others were willing. I am blessed cursed with an exceptional group of board gaming friends and will normally be firmly at the back of the field in pretty much any game we play with more than 3 rules. This is particularly true of first plays; I just don't get the games as quickly as my friends. Actually, I feel like I pick up rules quite quickly now (one of the virtues of playing so many new games) but strategy is a different matter altogether.

    What all this means is that when I manage to get a win in any game, the satisfaction is all the more intense because it's probably been a while since the last. There does, however, seem to be one exception. Specter Ops; a wonderfully tense and exciting hidden movement game. My winning streak is now at 9 consecutive victories; I last tasted defeat on 20th February when Jon "Princess" Gameson analysed the cr@p out of me and I simply ran out of time. Out of a total 15 plays to date, I have lost only twice, both times playing as the Agent. This means I have never lost playing as The Hunter. Although the majority of the plays have been 2p, there have been occasions with 3, 4 and 5 players.

    So my current score stands at:

    Hunter 7-0
    Agent 6-2

    What games have you enjoyed winning streaks on?

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