Board Gaming · On the Table

August 2017 Gaming Recap

Over on BGG I provide a more detailed list of what games we play each month, who won/lost those games, and a full list of the games played in 2017 under three categories:

Games Played as a Couple

Games Played Solo

Games Played in a Group

For this blog, I want to approach my monthly recap posts a little different, and I will link to the BGG post at the bottom in case you want to see the more detailed list of data. I’ll still give the overall records, but my focus here will be to select a game that fits under each of several categories.

2-Player Gaming:

August Couples’ Record:
David – 12/22, 54.54%
Nicole – 10/22, 45.45%
9 Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 93/191 (48.69%)
Nicole – 100/191 (52.36%)
57 Unique Games (+3)

Most Played 2-Player Game: Hanamikoji – There was a tie between two games, each having six plays. That is over half of our games played as a couple this month. We made up for it with a boatload of group games, whether me playing with others or from having game nights with friends. My copy of this FINALLY came in last week, and we’ve pulled this out on those nights when we don’t have much time for anything longer. It is nice, quick, yet thinky. And I love it!
Favorite 2-Player Experience – Mystic Vale – We borrowed this from a friend for a few days and played it six times. I was torn between playing in a Destiny tournament or playing in a play-and-pay-for-promos event of Mystic Vale (I ended up being able to do both!) This game has hooked us both, and I’ve got promos on my shelf with no base game to put them with yet. But that won’t be the case forever. This may end up a well-worn game after we get a copy.
Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: Incantris – For the sake of variety, I won’t repeat Mystic Vale here but focus instead on the other big hit. My wife enjoyed this enough to bring it to a game night and teach it twice while I played a much bigger and longer game. And she’s really good at it. I love that there is a little campaign of matches you can play. Not surprisingly, she has won the first two of the four and now I need to win out to claim the victory…
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Mystic Vale and Incantris (tied)– Not surprising to me, but rather surprising at how much my wife enjoyed both of these games. Mystic Vale is a deckbuilding game, which is a category I love way more than she does. She resisted trying it because it was a deckbuilder, and ended up hooked. Incantris was a game that I hoped she’d enjoy, but it used dice. She had no interest in trying Warhammer because of dice, and I’ve been dragging my feet on trying Frostgrave with her because it was a skirmish game with dice. She’s enjoyed Incantris, which gives me hope for the future of skirmish games with her!
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Unearth – We played this the other night with a friend and had fun with it. We need to review the game, so it only makes sense to cycle this one onto the table next so we can see how it plays with just the two of us. Our friend wished they used something other than dice, and my wife really dislikes dice games, but I think there is enough here that we’ll end up enjoying the game.

Solo Gaming:

August Solo Record: 6/11, 54.55%
5 Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 31/63 (49.21%)
24 Unique Games (+4)

Most Played Solo Game: Stellar Leap – This game is going on Kickstarter in September and won’t ship until 2018. but this is one you should keep an eye out for. The solo play is going to be solid, and the designer has been very receptive to some feedback regarding the solo play. It not only enhanced the game, but she also added a third difficulty to enhance the game. This will be a game that is great both with a group and to play solo.
Favorite Solo Experience:  – Albion’s Legacy – There is just something about this game that I always enjoy when it hits the table. It runs far longer than you’d expect, it is fiddly, and the quests are all three essentially exploring until you find these X tiles and do something there. But man, I love love love this game. Part of it is the Arthurian fan in me. Part of it is because this game delivers a super-challenging experience. And some day I will win one of these scenarios.
Best New-to-Me Solo Experience: Mage Knight – It was only a matter of time before I had to play the solo game that is heralded above all other solo games. And yes, this one hits everything I would love in a solo game: character progression, exploration, clear objectives to accomplish victory, and so much more. I played the intro campaign without a dummy player, but even that was enough to convince me this game will hit the table quite often in the future.
Most Surprising Solo Game: Night of Man – I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a card-driven wargame. Especially playing both sides of the combat. But it was a lot of fun, and the deck of cards made it so you never knew quite when the round might end. Sadly, the human forces did not triumph due to a few very fast rounds near the end, but it left me satisfied and ready to play again.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Asgard’s Chosen – I got this a few months ago in a Math Trade and haven’t pulled it out to try yet. I’m still waiting for a Viking-themed game that really blows me away. This could very well be that game…at least I know it can’t be a bigger personal disappointment than Blood Rage turned out to be.

Group Gaming:

August Group Games:
25 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
70 Unique Games (+19)

Most Played Group Game: Star Wars: Destiny – Still no surprise that this game reigns at the top of this yet again. It plays fast, and I am always looking to play more games of this. Despite my flop at my first tournament in August, I’m really enjoying this and looking to build a new deck to test out!
Favorite Group Experience:
 Argent: The Consortium – I enjoyed my few plays of this earlier this year with my wife, but the Influence track as a tiebreaker made it not such a hit with my wife as a 2-player game. I got to play it with four and, wow, what a game! The players caught on fast to the mechanics, although the end game scoring is something you really need to experience before it truly clicks.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Terraforming Mars – I felt like I was in way over my head – we drafted cards for the game and it was my first play while the other three were very experienced players. Yet in spite of that overwhelming feeling and a terrible ending score, I was left desiring a chance to play again. This is one that I’m certain rewards repeated plays.
Most Surprising Group Game: The Fox in the Forest – I’m not a fan of trick-taking games. Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t own a single one. But you try things out at game days, and they had a demo copy of this one. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this little game, which has since convinced me that there are trick-taking games that I might like to play.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Ora et Labora – My wife is a huge Rosenberg fan, and after listening to Heavy Cardboard’s review of this game, I really really want to get a chance to try this one out!

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link:


5 thoughts on “August 2017 Gaming Recap

  1. I’m reading/watching lots of reviews trying to find the next game to play with my wife (and maybe one or two others).

    Mystic Vale is on my shortlist. Have you done a review of it, or plan to? Dominion is our favourite game, so the deck building appeals to us, though the card-carrying mechanism might be a nice twist.

    Other games on the list are Century Spice Road, Sagrada, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Lanterns and Valeria Card Kingdoms.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on any of those that you’ve played.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking us out, as we’re flattered to be considered when looking at reviews for games. I had plans to do a review of Mystic Vale, and you’ve convinced me to move forward with it next. Look for that either later tonight or tomorrow, unless something unforeseen happens (spoiler: we LOVE Mystic Vale with two. That card-crafting system is something we both enjoy a lot, and my wife isn’t a huge fan of deckbuilders. I was very happy to find she not only liked it, but was the driving force behind many of our replays in August. See my On the Table post in mid-August for a little more on our thoughts for that game. Definitely could end up on one or both of our Top 10 lists at the end of the year.)

      I have not played Sagrada or Valeria Card Kingdoms yet, but we do have the latter. It just hasn’t hit the table yet.

      Century Spice Road we haven’t played with just 2, but it was fun as a 5-player game and definitely a lot more fun for me than Splendor, which is a game it is frequently compared to. I imagine this one would remain fun regardless of player count.

      Lanterns is an okay game at two for us. It is far better with 3-4, but still a nice little game for two. Just expect the scores to be only a few points apart each game with 2 players. I don’t think this is one we’ll ever choose if it is just us but is great to play with nephews and players who want a light game to engage over.

      Tiny Epic Galaxies is a great game so long as you don’t mind dice being rolled to determine your actions. My wife isn’t a huge fan of dice, so this hasn’t caught on with her as strongly as Tiny Epic Kingdoms did last year, but I really dig the solo game of it. We’ve also had good experiences with a few additional players joining into the mix.

      Feel free to email with any questions:

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks very much for your prompt reply. It’s great to be able to expand the conversation on some of these great games.

        I was drawn to your blog because I mostly play with my wife, and it’s tough to convince her that we should get more games, so I like to do a lot of research first. Your focus on 2-player games was exactly what I was looking for, and I appreciate seeing more detail, thought and reflection than just a big list of titles of all the games everyone else is playing. 🙂

        I’m also a bit of stats nerd, and I log my plays, so it’s interesting to see some stats from others.

        I’ll be taking your feedback and going back to my shortlist. My wife also isn’t a big fan of dice or too much luck in her games, so that’s good to know re: Tiny Epic Galaxies (and I guess would apply to Sagrada too, though it’s more dice-drafting).

        I’m following your blog, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that Mystic Vale review, thanks for prioritising it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Any mechanics that you have found she really enjoys? Discovering her love for Worker Placement still helps me when researching new games to pick up.


      3. I guess she likes deck-building and likely any other ‘building’ mechanic. Very much dislikes ‘take that’ and player elimination, or most conflict/confrontational mechanics.

        Here’s my relatively small collection on BGG:

        Probably doesn’t show all that much. I’ve updated the ratings a little bit, but they are mine not hers.

        We also had a few other games before that I sold off because we never got them to the table, including Zombicide (too much setup and too long, not the biggest fan of minis), Sentinels of the Multiverse (too much accounting, poorly balanced if not using lots of characters at once) and Mysterium (prefer Dixit as it is lighter, quicker and generally more fun to play with a group of people).


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