Board Gaming · On the Table · Gaming Recap

September 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:

September Couples’ Record:
David – 18/35, 51.43%
Nicole – 15/35, 42.86%
19 Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 111/226 (49.12%)
Nicole – 115/226 (50.88%)
69 Unique Games (+12)

Most Played 2-Player Game: Harbour – This game went from being one she didn’t enjoy and turned into a game we played repeatedly while borrowing it. Things clicked when I caught one rule I had misinterpreted, and that made all the difference. This is a nice, light worker placement game in a small box. This has me excited to try out the “sequel” to this game, Harvest. I imagine we might want to get one of those games to have a fast and portable worker placement game.
Favorite 2-Player Experience & Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: Century: Spice Road – Okay, this one is for my wife. I’d have chosen something else here, but I’m only one half of the gaming couple here. She really liked this game from the first play, and as of last night we’re borrowing this one from a friend. I have a feeling I’m destined for about a dozen plays of this one before that goes back, which is fine by me. I don’t dislike this game in the same way I’ve come to with Splendor.
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Aeon’s End – This one was surprising simply because it was a cooperative game that my wife expressed she enjoyed playing it. I had actually played at a game day, the next day she had a co-worker teach it to her and she asked me about the game afterwards. To find out she liked it enough to want to borrow it for a play or two was a huge shock for me. Turns out this one is a pretty fun co-op, even though we’ve won 3 out of the 4 games we’ve played collectively.
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Lignum – Not only was this slotted here yesterday, we actually played it last night so there won’t be a repeat of this appearing. Why was it here? Because it promises to be a brain-burner much like Haspelknecht turned out to be for us. Capstone Games continues to hit it out of the park with the games they produce.

Solo Gaming:

September Solo Record: 7/13, 53.85%
8 Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 38/76 (50%)
28 Unique Games (+4)

Most Played Solo Game & Favorite Solo Experience: Viticulture: Essential Edition – I’m working my way through the solo campaign on this one and having a blast with the added challenge each step brings. So far I’ve only lost once, but don’t let that fool you. These wins have all been where luck falls my way toward the end, allowing me to get that perfect card to just edge past 20 points. Really enjoying this solo play.
Best New-to-Me Solo Experience: Neverland’s Legacy – I shouldn’t be surprised that Lynnvander/Jasco delivered on yet another fun solo experience. I love Albion’s Legacy. I really enjoyed the first play of Sherwood’s Legacy a month or two ago. And then I tried the Peter Pan game and had a blast. It surprised me, as this was the one I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic to try. But I know this is the one my wife was most interested in, and I thought it would be a good idea to get a solo play in so I could play it with her. All signs point to us having fun when we try this one together in October.
Most Surprising Solo Game: Aeon’s End – And here is where the game appears again but for a different reason: I won my only solo play. And it was a true solo play, using one character against the Carapace Queen. Sure, it was a close one. Yes, I might have been walloped by any other boss in there since this one didn’t really do damage often. But I was a little disappointed that I won that first solo try.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Star Realms – One of my favorite games from last Christmas was Star Realms. I enjoy the game a lot, and on occasion also like to play the app version. But there is something I really cherish about setting up the physical game and playing it. The time has come to pick up the Gambit set expansion for the game so I can play it solo. Something tells me I’ll enjoy it a lot.

Group Gaming:

September Group Games:
18 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
83 Unique Games (+13)

Most Played Group Game: Star Wars: Destiny – Still no surprise that this game reigns at the top of this yet again. However, its time may be nearing the end, as I have recently soured on the collectable aspect of the game. My hope is that this next game takes over as my most-played game each month.
Favorite Group Experience: 
Android: Netrunner – Oh man, the potential for this one is unlimited. It takes everything I enjoyed about Destiny (constructing a deck, head-to-head matchup, a growing card base) and removes the two things I disliked (random booster packs and dice rolling). This one has a poker-like bluffing aspect that at least one of my friends is sure to really like. This might be something I try to teach my wife and all of my gaming friends to see who might want to get together and play this on a semi-regular basis.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Seasons – These last three were hard to pick from, but I thought I shouldn’t just repeat games since I had so many. Therefore Seasons appears here. I loved the drafting at the start and the choice to use three in each year. I enjoyed the dice drafting for resources, etc. This is a simple game to explain, yet it would take a lot of plays to really master based on the card drafting. Since you’ll get 9-12 cards in a game to see and/or play, this one would have a ton of replay value.
Most Surprising Group Game: Whistle Stop – I like Ticket to Ride well enough, but it no longer satisfies the gamer inside of me. I wanted to find a more competitive train game, and this might be the next step up. I don’t think my wife has any interest in learning a massive 18XX game anytime soon, but this has enough interesting and new mechanics that I could see her loving this one a lot.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Nations – I loved Civilization, both the PC game and the FFG version of the board game. My wife, on the other hand, wasn’t a big fan of the board game. This is one I am pretty sure she’d like, as it combines a bit of worker placement with some card selection, adding in a few elements of building your civilization while trying to mitigate potential negative effects. I really enjoyed the first play, and I know the second try will go much better in terms of scoring.

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/69504/september-2017-game-recap

Finally, an update on my Quest for Designers/Publishers. I’m sitting at 7/129 games played. If I had to throw them in an order of favorite to least-favorite, it would look something like this:

Argent: The Consortium
Haspelknecht
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Viticulture: Essential Edition
Eight Minute Empire: Legends
Agricola
Caverna: Cave vs Cave

But, really, there are no bad games on this list. I’ll be updating this each month’s end as well, and maybe these rankings will fluctuate as well!

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Board Gaming · First Impressions · Gaming Recap

New-to-Me First Impressions: 8/1/17-9/21/17

While this isn’t an all-encompassing list, here are some brief first impressions of games I recently got my first plays with. I’m also including a “Replay rating” for each game on a scale of 1-10. 1 would be “I’d rather sit out and watch others play games than play this again” and 10 being “Save me a seat, I’d gladly play this any time!”

Terraforming Mars – A challenge to navigate on a first play with a group of very experienced gamers, especially while drafting cards. Yet it didn’t prevent me from being impressed and itching to play this one again. (9)

Rocky Road a la Mode – A light game of set collection, engine building, and the time mechanic I love from Patchwork. Enjoyable, but hardly memorable. (5)

King of New York – I hated my first play of King of Tokyo this year, and this one wasn’t much better. I’d play this over Tokyo, but… (2)

Honshu – A pleasant card game with a fun spatial element. Really enjoyed the two-player version on this one. (7)

The Fox in the Forest – Not usually a fan of trick taking games, but this one was fun. Loved the powers on some of those cards. (6)

Suburbia – I prefer The Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but this did some fun and interesting things. Definitely room to have both in a collection, as they share similar concepts but have very different executions of those things. Greater familiarity with the tiles in each stack will help to plan purchases a little better. (8)

Century: Spice Road – I never want to play Splendor again. Even when losing, you feel like you’ve accomplished something which makes it a game I can enjoy even though my wife will assuredly demolish me every time. (7)

Clank! A Deck-building Adventure – If only my wife loved this game as much as I do! That’s the only thing keeping this from being a 10. There is definitely some luck and some potential for take-that, but I enjoy the thrill of trying to press deeper and nab the treasure…but not knowing if that decision will cost you the game or will propel you to victory. (9)

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King – Good-bye Carcassonne. Hello to a thinky tile-laying game that I hope enters my collection soon. Enjoyed the bidding mechanic and the changing scoring methods. Although, other player’s AP almost killed my enjoyment of this one. (8)

Night of Man – The best wargame I’ve played to date, even though that number is very small. Really like the card system and hope to experience more plays soon. (8)

NMBR 9 – I was as underwhelmed by this game as I expected to be. It didn’t help that everyone was calling out the next number as I was still trying to place my tile. (3)

Codenames: Duet– Cooperative game + party game ends up not being our sort of game. Enjoy Codenames enough, but prefer to compete. (4)

Favor of the Pharaoh – Too many dice! This game seemed like it should have taken a lot longer, but one person was able to chain in dice early and obliterated us all. (3)

Seasons – I might actually have enjoyed this one a little more than I did Terraforming Mars. Another play would see far better drafting on my part. Really enjoyed the use of dice to gain the seasonal powers. (9)

Mint Works – Almost felt too light and simple. I want to try it again, but would question how many plays it could provide before collecting dust. (7)

Torres – The power cards are a muddled mess at times when trying to decipher what the card actually lets you do, but otherwise this is a fun game that I can’t wait to play again. I love building those castles! (8)

Nations – Best game I’ve played in nearly two months, which says a lot based on how much I loved both Terraforming Mars and Seasons. If I still had Sid Meyer’s Civilization, this would easily have replaced it. Not sure the game would be worth picking up for $100, though. (10)

The Game – An interesting puzzle and could be fun with the right people. Pretty sure I’d enjoy this most as a solo game, though it worked fine with two. (6)

Whistle Stop – I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the game, just that it had a lot of buzz. Went stock-heavy and didn’t get many trains off the end, but had fun competing in a game where I just barely fell short. Which means multiple paths to victory, something I like a lot. (8)

Harbour – Only played solo so far and that solo play has been underwhelming. Curious to see if an actual player enhances the experience of if this ends up falling flat. (6)

Board Gaming · On the Table · Gaming Recap

On the Table – August 2017

So far I’ve been consistent in having a recap post at the end of the month where I cover the games played, including win/loss tracking, for the month and a tally of Year-to-date. Last month I had the idea to do a second monthly post where I highlight some of what games we’re enjoying right now, what new (to us) games we can’t wait to play for the first time next, games we’ve played but don’t own that we are itching to play again, and one game on our couple’s wish list plus one on my solo wishlist.

Hot Games of August

Mystic Vale

This is an interesting one, a game that I never suspected would become the hit with my wife that is has been. I fell in love with this game from the first play, which was a local gamer teaching me how to play. I talked about it for nearly two weeks afterwards. That friend came over for some games and I kept mentioning we should play Mystic Vale. For the final game of the night, my wife conceded that she could try it even though it was a deckbuilding game (which she’s not a huge fan of). She fell in love with the game. We borrowed it from that friend for four days and played it six times. We played it again this week when the friend came over for another game night. This is one we’ve just started to explore, and we’re both eager to play again and again.

Stellar Leap

I don’t know if you’ve heard about Stellar Leap, but this game is going to be fantastic. Carla at Weird Giraffe Games was kind enough to send me the print and play files so I could help her test out the solo version of the game. And let me tell you, it is going to be great. She’s made a few tweaks already, and I’ve only played against the Easy AI so far. With two more to test out this month, I can’t wait to get it back on the table. Look for this to hit Kickstarter on September 18th, and a review to go up sometime before that.

Next Games on Deck

Unearth

This one from Brotherwise Games looks and sounds so fantastic. I haven’t opened the box yet on this one, but this game is one I’ve been tempted to grab more than once since it arrived. Now that our Mystic Vale marathon has come to a forced conclusion, it might be time to break this one open and get her hooked on this game.

Mage Knight

Who said that a wish list never gained you anything? My loving wife saw this on last month’s post for my solo wish list, she ordered it on Amazon. It was my “Christmas” present, although she insists I don’t need to wait until December to play it. Which is good, since I have no intention of waiting that long to get this one to the table. There are many other games I probably should get to the table before this one, but I hope I can find a free afternoon to sit down and play this one out. Sadly, it will likely eat that entire afternoon.

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

Incantris

When our friend comes over for a game night, we usually try to make sure that at least one game on our shame list is played. Last week it was this game, and my wife ended up enjoying it a lot. Which is good, since we’ll need to play it a handful of times in order to review it. And maybe a few more times to try out all four possible modes. And after all that, maybe Frostgrave won’t seem to daunting to her!

Albion’s Legacy

I love this game and its theme. Fiddly or not, this game holds so much appeal for me. I’m just sad that it hasn’t hit the table more often, but other games have taken priority when I get time for solo gaming. As soon as I finish up my time playtesting Stellar Leap, this is the next solo game to revisit the table.

A Wishlist Feature

Raiders of the North Sea

This game is nearly here – at least the Renegade Games version of this one. Viking theme + unique Worker Placement mechanic = something that is hopefully going to be a hit for both me and my wife. I’ve been having an eye on Garphill Games’ Viking trilogy of games for a while now, and knowing that it’ll be readily available this fall has my excitement level really high right now.

Between Two Cities

I’ve been loading up on heavier solo games lately, so this time I’d like to look at one of the other Stonemaier Games titles out there. This one plays 3-7, but has an Automa for solo play (just like Scythe and Viticulture) and has rules for a 2-player version of the game. We don’t have many games that can play up to a larger number, and my wife has expressed wanting to get some shorter, easy-to-teach games for when we have non-gamer friends over. I think this one would fit the bill, and I’m looking to get all five Stonemaier Games titles into my collection (this would make the 3rd, with Charterstone this December marking the 4th).

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

July 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:

July Couples’ Record:
David – 20/37, 54.05%
Nicole – 17/37, 45.95%
16 Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 81/169 (47.93%)
Nicole – 90/169 (53.25%)
54 Unique Games (+7)

Most Played 2-Player Game: Herbaceous – This was a game my wife really wanted, and the length of this game makes it a perfect one to pull out when we don’t have a ton of time to play a game. It sets up fast and plays almost just as quickly. I have a feeling this one will continue to see a lot of plays going forward.
Favorite 2-Player Experience & Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: Haspelknecht – I had a feeling this game would be a hit for us, and it didn’t disappoint. It offers several paths to victory based on development tiles, rewards you for planning ahead for your turns, and punishes you for not hitting certain criteria but it doesn’t cripple you like a certain farming game can. This one will be a staple in our collection for a long time.
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Exile Sun – I was so excited to try this game. Its description won me over during a Math Trade. The battle system sounded fantastic, and playing it at 2 would eliminate the common complaint of people sitting idly while battles resolve for other players.  And it turned out that I did really like the battle system. Unfortunately, everything else fell flat and we called it a game after just one round.
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Stamford Bridge: End of the Viking Age – It is time. I’ve been meaning to break her into a wargame for months now, and August needs to be the month when it happens. This game provides a simple entry point that she’ll be able to pick up on quickly and hopefully not get overwhelmed. After all, it only uses one die roll and has one table to reference.

Solo Gaming:

July Solo Record: 4/6, 66.37%
5 Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 25/52 (48.08%)
20 Unique Games (+4)

Most Played Solo Game: Chrononauts – This one hit the table twice last month after getting a copy from Looney Labs. I am not sure what I expected, but this wasn’t it. What I discovered, upon playing, was that it exceeded every expectation. It provides a fun, fast, challenging solo game that really rewards planning ahead and paying attention to ripple effects. I’m pretty sure this will hit the table a few more times and get reviewed this month.
Favorite Solo Experience:
Viticulture: Essential Edition – I was certain I would lose. Seven years to surpass 20 points. Going into year 7, I had 9 points. I had cards and wines to pull it off, but I needed everything to go right in both seasons. If the Automa blocked me even once, it was game over. I won, 21-20. That is the sort of thing you remember, whether playing solo or against others: the time when everything goes right to lead to an unexpected win that likely wouldn’t happen the same way twice. I’m looking forward to trying out the campaign on this.
Best New-to-Me Solo Experience: Scythe – I knew I’d love it. I played the Viticulture Automa first to understand how they are designed to function. I had an hour or two to play a solo game. I set this up and almost tore it back down without playing. I didn’t understand the Automa’s movement at the start. But it started to click. The turns went fast. The game pushed me and, in a similar style to my Viticulture experience, I pulled off a 1-point win. But only because I got one more turn to get my fourth star, thanks to pulling an Automa card that didn’t add a star right at the end. Without that turn, I would have lost for certain.
Most Surprising Solo Game: Chrononauts – See above. It wasn’t the game I expected, but it certainly is the one I’m enjoying.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Night of Man – I failed to get this to the table last month. I intended to one night, but the rule book wasn’t in the box. Everything is in the box and ready to play now. I’m excited to test this one out so that I can turn around and teach it to my wife this month as well!

Group Gaming:

July Group Games:
15 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
51 Unique Games (+7)

Most Played Group Game: Star Wars: Destiny – No shock here, this is likely to be holding this place for a long time. When you play 5-7 games in an evening, and do that once a week, the game racks up plays. And, as you’ll see below, I keep craving more!
Favorite Group Experience:
 Mystic Vale – I was excited to try this one out, so much so that I requested a friend bring his copy of this when he came over to play games. This has such an unique take on the deckbuilding aspect that I immediately fell in love with the game and its system. I’m itching to play it again, and this is another one I need my wife to play to see if she enjoys it.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Star Wars: Rebellion – The only thing missing was the soundtrack for the movies playing in the background. There are a lot of Star Wars games out there. I enjoyed Imperial Assault. I’m in love with Destiny. Yet this is the game that feels like Star Wars. This game is to Star Wars what War of the Ring is to the Lord of the Rings. I love the cat-and-mouse aspect of one side trying to discover the hidden Rebel base while the other side is trying to complete objectives to shorten the game’s timer and bring it all to an end.
Most Surprising Group Game: Yamatai – I had expectations that were too large going into the game. I was hoping to find a game that was at least on the same level as Five Tribes. After one play, it fell short of that mark. I enjoyed the game, and now that I understand it a little more I will probably like the second play better. But so far, the game didn’t wow me like I hoped it would.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Star Wars: Destiny – I could play this game every day and not grow tired of it. I really am enjoying the combination between building a deck, rolling dice, and finding ways to manipulate cards and dice throughout the game. If I had to make a Top 10 list today, this might very well be slotted at #2. Now I just need to convince my wife to give it a play.

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/67654/games-played-recap-july-2017

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap

June 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:

June Couples’ Record:
David – 9/24, 37.5%
Nicole – 15/24, 62.5%
9 Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 61/132 (46.21%)
Nicole – 73/132 (55.30%)
47 Unique Games

Most Played 2-Player Game: Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft (7 Plays) – This is fast, fun, and a really solid worker placement game. Check out my recent review on this one, as it deserves to be in every 2-player game collection.
Favorite 2-Player Experience: 
Viticulture: Essential Edition – This wasn’t my favorite game played, but the quote shared earlier this month makes this stand out to me. I got my revenge in our rematch later in the month, showing her that I can win eventually at worker placement games.
Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: 7 Wonders Duel – After the first game of this, my wife expressed that she enjoyed the game a lot. The next two times we played it, she dominated me with a military and then a science victory. Winning was nice for the first game while it lasted…
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Fields of Green – It is hard to see a card drafting game that works as well with two as it does with more. The small variant in this one not only works well, I think I might actually prefer it over the regular gameplay!
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Haspelknecht – Worker placement. This is going to be another game my wife dominates me in, but I’m excited to dig into the first game in this planned trilogy by Capstone Games!

Solo Gaming:

June Solo Record: 6/11, 54.54%
5 Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 21/46 (45.65%)
16 Unique Games

Most Played Solo Game: Herbaceous (4 Plays) – This is really fast, even as a solo game. It helps that you take out half the deck when playing solo. I also like the Biblios-like approach toward placing cards as you go, and the restriction on cards in the Community Garden area. It won’t be my favorite solo game, but it is a fun thing to pull out.
Favorite Solo Experience & Best New-to-Me Solo Experience:
 Albion’s Legacy – There was no doubt in my mind. I finally got this one, and on a night when my wife went to bed early I pulled this out and played it. I had such a great time, even if it kept me up to midnight. Now I just need to beat the first mission!
Most Surprising Solo Game: Stamford Bridge: End of the Viking Age  – I knew I’d like this game, but I was really, really surprised by how simple the rules and charts were for this wargame. It will definitely be a great one to play with my wife.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Night of Man – After a few more plays of Stamford Bridge, I’ll need to pull this one out and start through its campaign. For solo gaming, that word “campaign” is like music to my ears.

Group Gaming:

June Group Games:
17 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
44 Unique Games

Most Played Group Game: Kingdomino (2 Plays) – This could have been a handful of other games, but I picked this one out because of all the attention the game has gotten. It was a fast, fun game with 4 and not quite as enjoyable with 3. I can see the appeal of the game, but it didn’t wow myself or my wife.
Favorite Group Experience:
 The King is Dead – I played this with some guys on my birthday. The second game we played was so epic in the intensity that you could have heard a pin drop in the room. With the right two people, this could very easily be the best 3-player experience out there.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Star Wars: Destiny – This game rocked my world. This was the Star Wars game I’ve been searching for and had never found. It convinced me to join into the foray, and I just need to pick up some starter sets so I can show my wife why I’ve been talking about this game all week long!
Most Surprising Group Game: Herbaceous – I had very little knowledge of the game, but it seemed like a light filler. My wife loved the game, and I found it to be a decent experience. Way better than I had anticipated, which is why I found time to pull it out and play solo, as mentioned above.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King – It was on my ten games I want to play in 2017. I have a handful of games left on that list to get to, and this one seems the most likely to appear and be played. I didn’t run into it in June, but I have high hopes to see it in July.

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/66814/june-2017-games-played-recap

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

On the Table – June 2017

So far I’ve been consistent in having a recap post at the end of the month where I cover the games played, including win/loss tracking, for the month and a tally of Year-to-date. Last month I had the idea to do a second monthly post where I highlight some of what games we’re enjoying right now, what new (to us) games we can’t wait to play for the first time next, games we’ve played but don’t own that we are itching to play again, and one game on our couple’s wish list plus one on my solo wishlist.

Hot Games of June

Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft

I was almost positive this game would be a hit for my wife. She excels at worker placement games, and that is her favorite mechanic in a board game. The fact that a card gets flipped over for a round if both players go there makes for some agonizing choices throughout the game. The theme itself doesn’t really come through very strong because, ultimately, this boils down to collecting sets of cards which will score if you have the majority at the end. But there is enough going on in this one to make it a game that has been a hit for us both and will be played many more times in the future. Look for a review of this game coming in the near future!

Yokohama

It took four games. I was utterly humiliated for three straight games of Yokohama against my wife. Every time the game ended and I was way back on the scoring track, I vocalized how much this game sucked (I think losing had something to do with that opinion). But I was always ready to play it again. And on the fourth game, something finally went right. Maybe she was tired. Or distracted. Or trying a new strategy. Or letting me win so I’d actually like the game. Whatever caused it to happen, the fourth game saw things finally click and I won. I like the movement restrictions in this one, and while the modularness doesn’t provide as unique of a variety as I would have liked to see, this one will remain a fresh worker placement game to pull out time and again. I can see this one being a game we’ll enjoy for quite some time. Look for a review on this one, too, coming soon!

Freedom: The Underground Railroad

This game is one I go back and forth with. My first game I almost won, and could see where playing a little smarter would have changed a lot of the game. My second game I won easily by Round 5. My third game I lost in Round 6, but was also playing on the harder difficulty and with what was definitely the weaker of the three roles I’ve used so far (at least in solo play). The game presents some challenging decisions, and the need to move the slaves towards Canada, while also managing to move enough in the south to make room for the next wave of slaves coming in, provides a tough puzzle at times. Especially when you end up hurting for cash, which was part of the issue in that third game. Look for a review coming in the near future once I try out the other three roles.

Memorable Game Night Quote

“Don’t feel bad about losing, love. You know worker placement games are just my thing!” – Nicole after beating me in her first game of Viticulture: Essential Edition

Next Games on Deck

Haspelknecht

This wouldn’t be my first pick for the next unplayed game to pull out; however, in a marriage it is important to keep the wife happy. And when she saw this game arrive, she declared that it looked like it would be a fun game to play. And thus, I am likely to pore through this rulebook next so that it can make it to the table either at the end of this month or the beginning of the next month. And you know what, I think she’s right on this one. It does look like it will be a really fun and interesting game!

Stamford Bridge: End of the Viking Age

This game is tiny. The rule book is tiny. And the theme of this one is everything I could ask for. It’ll be my first dive into a non-print & play wargame, and I cannot wait to jump in first for some solo plays before attempting to ease my wife into the game. And by playing solo first, I can have a good feel for which of the two battles to play and which side she should play in order to have the most fun (i.e. the highest chance of winning her first wargame experience). We have another wargame on deck after this one, so I am hoping this is a big enough hit that she gets excited to pull out Night of Man after that.

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

Viticulture: Essential Edition

I got two Stonemaier Games this month and we’ve played them both together once. While I might want to replay Scythe more, I also know she’d be eyeing another chance to stomp me in Viticulture so it appears here. This game is really fun, and I love that you need to manage your workers so that you can operate in both action-placement seasons for the year. This presents some really hard decisions, and the use of a Grande worker in the wrong spot or wrong season can be devastating. I love how the early game is so slow with scoring, but then as your “engine” builds up you can churn out the orders. This may become my personal favorite for worker placement games after a few more plays.

Race for the Galaxy

Sometimes you need to revisit your classics, and that is the case here for my solo game nod. Race for the Galaxy is still my #1 Solo Board Game, and even the app hasn’t changed the fact that I enjoy playing against the Robot AI in the physical version. I love the challenge that the Robot provides, with a little bit of luck sometimes being the difference between winning and losing. This one needs to hit the table again soon.

A Wishlist Feature

Herbaceous

We played this game at a game night this past weekend and really enjoyed it. My wife went searching the stores for a copy of the game but they were sold out. We checked another store but they were sold out, too. Amazon has it, but for above MSRP and isn’t available for free Amazon Prime shipping. I hear a new print run should be out by the end of the month, so we’ll be keeping our eyes open to snag a copy of this before it is gone again. A smart husband understands that he should purchase a game when his wife wants to find it. A smarter husband would have done this same thing for Takenoko a few months ago…I’m a work-in-progress still!

One Deck Dungeon

Everything I’ve head about this game tells me this is an experience I don’t want to miss as a solo gamer. It is small, easy to set up, and crushingly difficult to win. I am yet to see a copy at a local FLGS, so I will likely need to break down eventually and purchase online. I love dungeon crawls and I think my love for them is not as enthusiastically matched by my wife, so this would be a great way to explore a dungeon alone without needing a massive table and a large block of time.

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap

May 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 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:

May Couples’ Record, includes 4 co-op plays:
David – 9/17, 52.94%
Nicole – 8/17, 47.06%
13 Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 52/108 (48.15%)
Nicole – 58/108 (53.70%)
40 Unique Games

Most Played 2-Player Game: Star Realms (10 Plays) – One of the best games I got for Christmas and it is one I’m always willing to play. We got it to the table once again this month.
Favorite 2-Player Experience: 
Eight Minute Empire: Legends – This game hits so many of the right aspects that we look for in a game, and this one is a game that has such a short play time yet provides a rich experience.
Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: The King is Dead – If my wife wasn’t so darn good at area control combat-based games, Cry Havoc might have entered this spot. But my two crushing defeats weren’t as fun as our first plays of this game. Which is a short game like Eight Minute Empire: Legends and is area control, but with such an unique twist on it.
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Blood Rage – I’ve avoided pulling this game out since her utter domination of me across three plays in February. It was a game I really wanted to enjoy, but couldn’t win a single battle. This time around I actually won a fair number of combats, and managed to pull off a win.
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Yokohama – I wanted to get this to the table for a few weeks now, and the move followed by being on a card table for a week prevented this one from getting played. June 1st is my target date to get this one played.

Solo Gaming:

May Solo Record: 5/10, 50%
5 Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 15/35 (42.86%)
12 Unique Games

Most Played Solo Game: Race for the Galaxy (8 Plays) – This is my favorite solo game, and even though I now have the app for the game I still find I prefer the Robot AI over the Hard app AI.
Favorite Solo Experience:
 Space Hulk: Death Angel – This game is so crushingly difficult at times, and I hope to play this one a lot more. I finally won a game thanks to some very lucky flips for the rooms. If I would have needed to actually kill a lot of the enemies, I would have definitely lost.
Best New-to-Me Solo Experience: Freedom: The Underground Railroad – This game really surprised me as to how hard it was, as mentioned below.
Most Surprising Solo Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad  – Two turns into the game, I thought this was going to be a walk in the park. Halfway into the game I was still very confident in my victory. The final rounds obliterated all of that, and I lost one too many to survive the round and so I lost even though I met the game’s objectives.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Arkham Horror – I’ve heard great things about the game, and have this and an expansion from a Math Trade. It is time to get it out of my unplayed list and onto the table…if I can find the time to play it…

Group Gaming:

May Group Games:
7 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
28 Unique Games

Most Played Group Game: Insider (5 Plays) – This party game fell flat for me, although I didn’t fully realize that in the moment. The bad thing about game groups is sometimes you’re pulled into a game you’d not choose, and with something this fast they wanted to play again and again.
Favorite Group Experience:
 Scythe – More on this in the next spot. I asked about the game, someone local had a copy and was willing to bring it. Two nights later I went to a game night just to play this game.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Scythe – I wanted to play this game so bad, and I was very happy to get a chance. My wife had to stay home which is a complete shame because she would have enjoyed this game as well. It just barely edges out Viticulture in both of the categories here listing Scythe.
Most Surprising Group Game: Codenames – Many times the surprising factor will go to one that exceeded my expectations. In this case, it is because the game fell far short of the hype. I enjoyed the game and would certainly play again, but I can’t understand how this is ranked so high on BGG. Or why people were still playing this hours after I bowed out at the end of the third game. Party games are clearly not my thing.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King – It was on my ten games I want to play in 2017. I have a handful of games left on that list to get to, and this one seems the most likely to appear and be played. I almost got to play it over the weekend, but the addition of a sixth player pushed us into Bohnanza instead.

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/65863/may-2017-games-played-recap