Gaming Recap

March 2020 Gaming Recap

Another fun recap list where I expand on thoughts of the games, both old and new. You may notice the lack of ranking the top 2019 releases or the top new-to-me games. Well, that’s because about a week ago I announced the finalists for my 2019 Game of the Year and, honestly, I don’t want to tip my hand too much as to which of those games might be the overall winner as I attempt to reevaluate them all in the next month or so.

March Games Played Recap

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

My friend got his rematch, after I went 2-0 back in January to kick off our deep dive into wargaming. It also marked the first time when Russians were a side that he didn’t get randomly forced into playing them, which might have had something to do with his success. This time I played a really aggressive 2nd round, which opened things up for a brilliant play on his part that made me end the game in Defcon 1 on the Military track due to a lack of Command value on my cards. Well played, my friend. Until I defeat you next time…

Agricola, Master of Britain

Oh how I missed this little game from Hollandspiele. After playing Charlemagne (more on that below), I found myself itching to get this one back to the table. This one is refreshingly quick to set up, given the much smaller map, and I had plenty of time in about 90 minutes to set up, reread the rules, and lose at the end of Round 4. I forgot, during the first Round, that this one has a set number of actions (even though I just read it…) per Round, unlike Charlemagne where things can go For-ev-er assuming you don’t pull those End Turn chits. The scope and scale of this is much smaller, making a really tight experience where it feels like there is a very low margin for error, and I was on the ropes from the start with nearly every Tan unit on the map to begin the game. Only one leader came out all game, and that was with one action remaining and myself unable to reach his location before he disappeared. Oh well, this one will get a rematch soon enough as I’m determined to finally win – especially when I was given the reminder that my best effort was obtaining 74 out of the 75 VP needed at a minimum to win…

Battle Line: Medieval

This one replaced the previous version of Battle Line, which I parted with a while ago. I couldn’t pass up the beautiful Medieval retheming of the game, and the artwork here is so outstanding. It also uses cards instead of pawns for the battlefield, and those cards have abilities that you can use to trigger special effects for each of the nine fronts being fought over. All in all this was a complete upgrade in my books, and the gameplay is still just as fast and fun as the original.

Call to Adventure

Sometimes you want a game that is just enjoyable to unwind and play. For me, Call to Adventure is becoming that game. It isn’t challenging or especially thinky, but as a writer and a fan of the Fantasy genre, this game invites you to craft stories for your characters as you gain the cards. I’m yet to run the risk of losing the solo game on this, which normally would be something I hold against a solo experience, but in this I think I’m just looking for something different when it hits the table. It is my guilty pleasure game, as the casting of runes and the crafting of characters is a sheer delight – and I genuinely cannot wait for the Stormlight Archive expansion to be released this year!

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Like last month, this was a welcome game to hit the table. We always enjoy it regardless of player count, and this time it was a head-to-head with my wife that didn’t really go well for me. She’s too good sometimes, and there was never a prayer of catching her…something that was pretty clear by mid-game. Yet I always love this one because there is a sense of accomplishment at the end with the castle you’ve constructed!

Charlemagne, Master of Europe

Holy Charlemagne, this game is epic in proportion. Last year I fell in love with Agricola, Master of Britain but, when trying this, I was overwhelmed by the added complexities. Well, two months into solid wargaming and this was a perfect, fluid system that kept me delighted across my entire 10-round loss. Yes, I am disappointed it came to a premature end – darn Byzantium chits got pulled three actions in a row, costing me 24 points before I could counteract the board state. Combine that with the 9 I lost at the end of the previous round due to Minimum Army Strength and that was a 33-point swing I just barely fell short of overcoming. Had I banked one more EVP it would have been enough to go on, and this just showed me how brutal the game can get in the later turns if those Turn End chits remain elusive in the cup. Brilliant game, fantastic design. This one is everything I wanted and then some.

Command & Colors: Ancients

Let’s get the first thing out of the way: we played the introductory scenario, I played one key thing wrong, and it was an absolute landslide thanks to impossible rolling by my opponent. So with a grain of salt I wasn’t overly thrilled by the game; however, the key thing wrong was I didn’t realize I was supposed to draw a new card each turn. With all of the stuff explained after the start, I clearly forgot that and my opponent didn’t notice, and so I was stuck playing 4 of my 5 really crappy cards until I lost via his “I Am Spartacus” god turn that let him activate all 4 of his Heavy Infantry, each of whom rolled exactly 4 hits when they activated to wipe 3 more units of mine off the board. Dice can do that, and it left a really sour taste in my mouth about a game that took longer to set up, and then longer to explain, than it did to actually lose the game. I intend to request a rematch on this one the next time we play games, as I’d like to give it a better shot…especially since I really want to try his copy of Command & Colors: Medieval soon.

Empyreal: Spells & Steam

What more can I say about this one? Check out my review, which went live around mid-March, for more detailed thoughts on this. I’ll say that if this game had released in 2019 rather than 2020, it’d definitely be a finalist for game of the year. So don’t be too surprised if this one happens to stay near the top of the pack over the course of 2020!

Founders of Gloomhaven

I have found that I enjoy the designs of Isaac Childress. Sure, there’s the obvious Gloomhaven that everyone drools over, but I might even like both Forge War and Founders of Gloomhaven better than the massive dungeon crawler. This one certainly has interesting layers of depth to it, much like Forge War, and I am honestly surprised at how lukewarm the overall reception seemed to be toward this game. I speculate that it is because they wanted a game more like Gloomhaven instead of a heavy-ish Euro with the Gloomhaven world. I failed spectacularly at the game, in part due to a poor choice of race which was nice early with the exclusive access to the Jewelry upgrade, but hurt later in the game because I needed to make connections to more things in order to upgrade other tech. Ultimately, that was my downfall in the game…and I would gladly play it a second time if the chance comes about.

Great Western Trail

A personal favorite of mine, the play of Maracaibo made me have the urge to play Great Western Trail and my loving wife spoiled me by agreeing to that play. Per usual, she whomped on me but I absolutely loved my play of the game – as I have every play of it so far. This game is a near-perfect blend of things to make a game I can sink my mental teeth into. Next time we’ll integrate the expansion which I’ve heard makes the game even better. I’m not going to enjoy the task of deciding which I like more: this or Maracaibo. Maybe I should claim I need to play them both a dozen times first…

Gunkimono

Last year the designer of Gunkimono came into town (he is from this area originally) and showed up to teach his games at a local game day. I went with the hope of playing Pandoria (which I did get to try!), but before that he opened things up with a play of Gunkimono. I thought it was a clever design at the time, even if I was horribly beaten in our 5-player game since I was using the type of approach that would be good in a 2-3 player game but hurt my own progression as the game flew to the finish. This time was a 3-player game and while I still didn’t win, I did significantly better at being competitive. I don’t think I would ever turn down a game of this, but at the same time I don’t think I’ll be actively seeking plays of it, either.

Hengist

This game was a minimal gamble for me to pick up, as it was a mere $2 add-on to an order. With the designer being Uwe Rosenberg and it being a Viking-themed game, I figured we could get at least that much enjoyment out of the game. Yes, I had heard all the terrible things about the game. And, well, it isn’t a great game. It felt like we were drawing far too many cards, making it easy to move down for the gold especially late in the game. There was rarely a strong reason to push forward rather than try to plunder more of the gold if able. Its biggest fault was a lack of tension, from what I could see. I’m quite willing to give it another play or two, as I know there is a decent game in there. However, I imagine we’d probably grab something like Odin’s Ravens before this going forward.

Jambo

Ah KOSMOS, why did you have to make so many excellent little 2-player games? And why won’t you reprint some of them, like Jambo? That was my feeling after getting introduced to this game, which has a really neat resource conversion aspect to earn money which are, essentially, points. You start with 30, and are racing to get to 60, but most of that initial 30 will likely be spent to set yourself up for future success. I knew the local Half Price Books had a copy for $40, and it was during the coupon sale week when I played so I figured I would wait it out and grab it Sunday for $20 if it was still there. Sure enough, it was gone. Oh well, like I have any shortage of good games, right? Still, I’m going to be keeping an eye out for a chance to get this at a reasonable price in the future.

Lisboa

So at least one of these must be true: my wife is a brilliant genius with heavy games, I’m a really good teacher, or I am just terrible at Lisboa. It is probably at least two of those three, with the questionable one being how good of a teacher I am when it comes to games. I am bad at Lisboa, and there is no longer any room to deny it. I have a track record of not just losing, but losing horribly. Even when teaching new players, I’m not even competitively close at the end. 20-ish points may not seem like much, but it is a chasm of difference in a game like this. But the great news is that my wife now knows how to play and it will be far easier to lose in the future when I want to get the best of the Lacerda games to the table. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll win a game of Lisboa before the end of this year.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

My favorite solo game of all time is always a welcome presence at my table. I played my Ranger trap deck a little more and finally took out a handful of cards. I think I have a better handle on the deck now to where I can consider modifying it to trim it down to 50 soon, making it a more consistent, viable deck to play and actually win with regularly. When it fires, this deck is fun. When it whiffs, this deck flounders as it is. It didn’t help that I was playing a quest that didn’t have many enemies, and had a really fast acceleration in needed Willpower to quest successfully.

Maracaibo

We all have those designers. The ones we know, before even playing a game, that we’re likely to enjoy the game they designed. There are three such designers for me, and the tops among them is probably Alexander Pfister. His games resonate with me as a gamer in all the right ways: engine building, multi-use cards, strategic planning. This takes everything I love about Oh My Goods and Great Western Trail, adds some new and innovating things, and delivers a game that honestly feels like it was designed with me in mind. Like his other designs, this one took a little time to grasp everything presented on the board, the cards, and the player area. But once it all clicked, the game flowed in the same, smooth way that Great Western Trail has become. Calling this a reworking of GWT would be a disservice to Maracaibo. It has similarities, sure, but is a completely different game. Both will be able to exist in my collection, and this has rocketed up to become the next game I want to add to my collection. I can’t wait to play this one more, to teach it to my wife, to test out the solitaire AI opponent, and to play through the story campaign. This is the best new-to-me game I’ve played in quite some time, and it isn’t even close.

Nevsky: Teutons and Rus in Collision, 1240-1242

A complete shocker of an experience. That is hardly an understatement, considering that Nevsky went from being a game I hadn’t ever heard about to being a legitimate contender for 2019 game of the year. It has such unusual, interesting approaches to the wargame genre with its focus on operations and the calendar track to keep tabs on how long your leaders are willing to serve under your command. The longer the war lasts, the more you’ll see a fluctuation in the forces you can muster. Not only that, but it is difficult to feed and move a large army, which has to be maintained or you risk losing them early. Add in some programming of the order in which you resolve your units, and there is a lot here to sink your teeth into. I’m jonesing to get this one played again with my friend, exploring some of the longer scenarios in the box.

The One Hundred Torii

This little tile-laying game caught my attention last year on Kickstarter, and sounded like an enjoyable game experience. Last month I tried it solo and thought it was fine, and this month I played it with my wife. The multiplayer experience is definitely better overall. I question still the longevity of the gameplay, which seems like the scores will be fairly clustered once players figure out strong strategies to tile placement, this is one I will gladly welcome back to the table soon in order to explore everything else it has to offer.

Peloponnesian War

I had anticipated not being able to finish my play of the long campaign session of this one, but a series of circumstances opened up the way for me to play two more rounds (getting to Round 4’s conclusion) at the beginning of the month and bring this to a satisfying conclusion. I’ll be interested to see the other scenarios and what they change or involve, especially the new one designed for 2-players to compete. Sadly, I never was forced to shift sides on this, thanks to a lucky roll when I had a +3 SPI at the end of Turn 3. An unlucky Augury brought the AI to an early conclusion and a chance interception cleared a nice path to take my 3rd General down to Sparta with reasonable odds of being able to pull off an upset victory. Ultimately I think the single d6 has a little too much power in here, allowing small yet powerful swings that went both ways. The first two rounds went heavily in the Spartan AI’s favor, digging me into a VP hole and clearing off my efforts while expanding Rebellion in the eastern parts of the map. Then in the final two rounds they all seemed to go my way, allowing me to lock down decisive victories and chip away at the Spartan forces before heading down to an even-sized match against Sparta where they still had the modifier advantage (thanks to a +2 for being in Sparta and another +2 for having over half the army as Spartan hoplites) but they rolled really low vs my high number, which was just enough to win. I enjoyed this, and the scenarios will determine how much staying power this could have.

Quiddler

Word games are the bane of my wife’s existence, so i don’t think this will ever be a game I play at home with her. Yet as an English major I have no qualms about playing a word game like Quiddler, and I only had time for something shortish after Founders of Gloomhaven finished. So the couple I was gaming with grabbed this and taught me. It isn’t the worst word game I have ever played, but it isn’t the best either. I had fun, for what it was worth, and would potentially play it again.

Shadowrift

There used to be a lot of buzz about Aeon’s End being the greatest game since sliced bread, and I’ll admit it has some clever innovations (I especially liked the non-shuffling of your deck). However, from the first time I played Shadowrift I lost the urge to ever do Aeon’s End again, because it provides a similar theme and does it better thematically with having villagers and travellers, and the construction of walls, to fend off the waves of enemies attacking the village. Sure, it lacks a big baddie (which you can get via expansion), but it more than makes up for that with the experience. Things are slowly getting worse as you slowly get stronger – this probably has one of the tightest economies for a deckbuilder I’ve ever played. I still really enjoy this one, and got to try out some of the new stuff from the recent expansion Boomtown.

Three Kingdoms Redux

If you look back at my blogging history, this game has been on my “I want to try this” wishlist for years. Not owning the game is, of course, always a hurdle to overcome. But I also knew the 3-player only factor was going to be a preventative factor. Well, the stars aligned and this game was played and it lived up to everything I hoped for and then some. There is such an interesting development of balance between the three factions, and it is really interesting how one of them starts off “stronger” than the others but the balance corrects itself over the course of the game. It felt like, as the Wei player, I had the weakest generals overall in terms of the abilities. More often than naught, what I expected to chain into a great combo proved to be completely irrelevant while I watched them rake in great benefits. But who am I to complain, when my leader has the ability to win ties? This was a surprisingly low-scoring affair and the end game scoring was extremely clever and unique, as for most of the things it has you compare your position with the others to determine how many points are scored. The game ended a turn sooner than I expected, and was unfortunately during a turn when I had only 3 Generals to use and so even if I had anticipated the end there was a limit on how much I could have adapted to that information. I’d love to play this one again soon, and I know my wife would absolutely love the game (hint: it has a strong worker placement element). We do have a 3rd player coming on a regular enough basis to where we could probably even get this to the table regularly if we wanted to do so. And I think I do want to get this back onto the table soon, while the game is still fresh in my mind, to see if I can do better at planning and adapting now that I’ve seen the game to its conclusion.

Vikings: Scourge of the North

This little folio game was the first of the recent review copies of wargames to arrive, and I was excited to get this to the table because it promised a quick playtime, minimal rules overhead, and a Viking theme that sounded delightful in a solitaire-designed package. I shouldn’t be so surprised that the game was very luck-heavy, with dice being rolled for nearly everything involved in the game. Is it fun? Absolutely, and I am excited to get it back out a few more times to prepare for a review. The real question is how much does the dice influence the game vs. the decisions I make as a player. My initial impression is the dice reign supreme, especially in a game with only a handful of activations to accomplish everything. Especially considering you roll to see how many spaces you sail on the sea, and then roll to see if you lose anyone on said sea voyage…

Watergate

A 2019 favorite, as you might have seen from the very recent post announcing my finalists for 2019 game-of-the-year. I didn’t expect to be blown away by Watergate, and had hoped it was the first impressions that left me thinking it was a little gem. Unfortunately, the second play was just as enjoyable as the first, even having switched sides. Each side plays very differently, and this is one I know my wife would enjoy if she could get past the theme. I won’t hold my breath, though. However, I can’t wait to play this one again and again, the mark of an excellent game.

Next 3 Reviews
Vikings: Scourge of the North
Traveller Customizable Card Game
The One-Hundred Torii

2020 Husband/Wife Record

Him: 15 Wins (+3)
Her: 20 Wins (+5)

Next 3 Games to Teach My Wife
Avatar: The Last Airbender CCG
Julius Caesar
Escape Plan

Five Games I Want to Try Soon
Commands & Colors: Medieval
Mombasa
Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar
Irish Gauge
Cooper Island

Next 3 Acquisitions
Mystic Vale: Harmony
Pipeline
The Wars of Marcus Aurelius

2020 Five & Dimes (Games with 5+ Plays)
Vikings: Scourge of the North (6)
Arboretum (5)
Circle the Wagons (5)
Hostage Negotiator (5)
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (5)

Best Releases of 2020
Empyreal: Spells & Steam
On Mars
The One Hundred Torii

Best Expansions of 2020
Mystic Vale: Nemesis
Shadowrift: Boomtown

First Impressions · Gaming Recap · Wargame Garrison

Session Report – 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

This is the one. The game that began the very deep hole my friend and I have plunged into. Exactly two months ago from this day we played 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis at a local game day. Was it relatively “antisocial” to play an exclusively 2-player game at a regular gathering of 20-30 gamers? You make that call, but as a result we’ve been antisocial many more times, playing titles from Twilight Stuggle to Watergate to Sekigahara to Nevsky. Both of us have read about wargames, obtained new wargames, and played plenty of wargames since that fateful evening. And if I’m honest, without the opening plays of 13 Days, we might still be quite content exploring heavy euros in larger groups – and let’s face it, we both still greatly enjoy said heavy euros and will mix those into the cycle.

But this third Session Report of 2020 is on the game that started it all. Because of the time that has elapsed, combined with the shortness of the game itself, this will be a lot more abbreviated than my Twilight Struggle and my Sekigahara ones. There are a few things I do recall from the plays (we played it twice in succession), and while they didn’t translate into success at Twilight Struggle later on I think that I did pick up on some valuable insights.

1) Points don’t matter until they do.

There is a fancy little point track on the board that shows who is in the lead on the score. Only one side can have points at any given time – something players of Twilight Struggle will find to be very familiar. However this one has a limit: 5 points. That’s the hard cap. Unless we completely overlooked a key rule, getting to 5 points accomplishes absolutely nothing during the game. Getting beyond 5 points is wasteful, because your score remains at 5. The first game we played? I’m pretty sure if the track had allowed I would have been losing by at least a dozen points. The track was stuck at 5 for the Russians and I couldn’t do a darn thing about it. Until the final round of the game, when a clever set of plays (I wish they had been clever…I am positive it was more luck than anything) scored me 6 points for the round while he scored none. Just like that it went from down by 5 to winning by 1 as the game came to a close. It didn’t matter how many points he kept tacking on, they were a waste. Does that mean to completely ignore the points? Absolutely not! I doubt I could get such a perfect storm of a final turn ever again. But at the same time, don’t focus too hard on the score during the game. Focus more on setting yourself up for the final round.

2) The Defcon track will sell you out

There is no loyalty in the Defcon track. It will go from rewarding you with points in the Agenda phase to threatening to cause you to lose the game by getting too many markers in Defcon 1 or sneaking one up into Defcon 1. We both played far more aggressively on this area of the game in the 2nd play, and it very nearly cost me the game on two occasions. In fact, my final turn was spent exclusively toward making sure I didn’t automatically lose because my opponent played extremely well and put me in a place where I had to work to undo everything he did to force me up.

3) Agendas bring the Jedi mind trickery

You each get three cards and choose one of them for the round. And the problem is that you also mark the three “areas” you had in hand. This leads to a lot of guesswork about what Agenda you should play, as well as how to focus your own turn. Ignore the wrong thing and points flow freely – I should know, I bled points in that first game. Time and again I failed to choose wisely, getting no benefit from my own agenda while losing ground on his because I picked wrong – until the final round of that first play. This is a very small thing, but I think it might be my favorite part of 13 Days because of the way it can impact your decision-making.

4) Don’t overlook the Aftermath

This was a “learn from the mistake of my enemy” moment, as the first game I grasped the importance of the Aftermath while he used it to avoid playing cards with my events on half of the turns. 2 points may not sound like much, but it was the difference between losing by 1 and winning by 1. In a game with a hard cap at 5 points, that 2 is extremely powerful for the end of the game. Yes, it can be painful to toss a good event in there, or to toss an affiliated card with a lot of command cubes. But unless that card can earn you guaranteed points, it might be better long-term in the Aftermath.

5) World Opinions Matter

It would be so easy to focus solely upon manipulating the Defcon track and jockeying for control of areas of the small map. But there are three World Opinion spaces and, honestly, they matter. Mileage may vary here – for instance, the United Nations feels a lot more important to gain control of at the end of the game for that 2 points than for the +1 Influence that the Personal Letter provides. Television is important, allowing you to either escalate on a track prior to resolving your Agendas and thus add (or reduce) the points to be gained by the Agendas, or to deescalate a step in order to keep yourself out of danger. But perhaps most important comes in the Alliances space, and here’s why. It lets you have control of the extra card, adding it to your Aftermath pile for the extra cube advantage for those final 2 points at the end, or letting you discard it. And if you are discarding, odds are that means it was affiliated with your opponent and thus you get to deny them the use of that event on the card. Power. This could arguably be the most important space to control on the board.

Wrap-up

As promised, this was a bit shorter than the others but this is a far shorter game. I did win both games we played that night, although they followed very different paths. The first I won because of a perfect series of scoring my Agenda, not letting him get anything on his Agenda scoring, obtaining the United Nations points, and getting the Aftermath points. The second game was far closer, with it being a tug-of-war around the 1-point mark on either side. Ultimately I walked into the final round with the 1-point advantage and broke even with him across the scoring in spite of having spent the entire round mitigating my earlier aggressive plays on the Defcon track. It has been 60 days since our double-header on 13 Days. It won’t be too many more (I hope) before we get a rematch and a few more plays so I can collect these thoughts into a full-fledged review, although I am at my friend’s mercy since we must play his copy since I don’t own one yet.

But here’s tipping my hand a little: this game is pretty great as a short, quick-playing game with tense, interesting decisions and a nice tug-of-war over area control and Defcon leads. Which is pretty much all I could ask of a game like this one. I strongly recommend getting this to the table if you haven’t already.

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap

February 2020 Gaming Recap

Buckle in folks, this is a long one. There are plenty of games to check out, and stats/rankings at the beginning and the end of this post. Don’t feel guilty if you just skip to the games of interest and/or those rankings and lists. I don’t blame you. This is a LONG post, one I’ve worked on as games have been played throughout the month. But what better way to encapsulate the thoughts on the games I play? Some of you might enjoy this. I hope you do. Let me know! Ultimately, though, this is as much for me to collect my thoughts as it is for you to enjoy reading them. So without any further ado…

“Top 10” of 2019 Releases, Alphabetical Order

I’m not quite ready to announce this as a final list of top games of 2019. There are at least two games I really want to try for the first time, but here’s a glimpse at what is likely to make the cut. Regardless, all of these are likely to get a few more plays before an official “winner” is announced, as I’m itching to play all of these more.

Antinomy
Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
Marvel Champions: The Card Game
Pax Pamir (Second Edition)
Peloponnesian War
Pipeline
Res Arcana
Roam
Skulk Hollow
Watergate

Top 5 “Expansions” of 2019: Alphabetical
Bushido: Rising Rage
Exceed: Street Fighter (aka Exceed Season 3)
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Shadows in the East
Res Arcana: Lux et Tenebrae
Thunderstone Quest: Barricades Mode

Ranking the New-to-Me Games in February
1. Empyreal: Spells & Steam
2. Watergate
3. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
4. Meltwater: A Game of Tactical Starvation
5. Peloponnesian War
6. Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
7. Noria
8. Ahead in the Clouds
9. The One-Hundred Torii
10. Leaving Earth
11. Tokyo Highway

February Games Played Recap

Ahead in the Clouds

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This little game from Button Shy Games is a clever resource generation game for two players (although expansions make it play 1-4). It took a little time to wrap our head around how it operated, and a misprint in the rulebook didn’t help matters. But once we figured the game out it flowed really well. My wife is great at games with resource generation and fulfilling objectives through them, so it was no surprise that she completely obliterated me in the game. The outcome was never really in question, and we did both enjoy this one and look forward to getting it back to the table some more in the future.

Anachronism

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I’ve been exploring old, dead CCGs and this was a highly regarded one from a lot of folks. I played it a few months ago for the first time and was delighted to get some more plays of it with a friend. The game is so fast, simple, and very tactical in nature. There is some luck involved, but it isn’t exclusively a luck fest. Games take 10-15 minutes, and the cards are incredibly well made. This might just be my favorite CCG to date, and being non-randomized in packs with a deck size of 5 cards makes this an easy one to collect and play time and again. I’m pretty sure my wife would think it is “fine”, but I probably will still try to teach it to her at some point in time because I’ve got an itch to play the game.

Arboretum

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This game became an instant classic in our household last year, and is the most-played game we own since it hit our collection in 2019 (not counting my solo exploits in the LotR LCG). And with good reason, because this game is quick to play yet is full of tense, agonizing decisions almost every step of the way. Balancing the need to play cards into paths, holding the right cards to try and score the paths you need at the end, holding cards to thwart your opponents from scoring said paths, and having to discard a card which can be scooped up by your opponent if they want it…well, let’s just say there are few games that make my brain hurt in as short of a playtime as this one. This is the quintessential thinky filler for us.

Banned Books

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This little wallet game packs a fun experience, at least for the English major in me. I love the concept of being literary characters trying to fight to reverse the banning of their book. The mechanics are pretty darn smooth in the game, and it flows quickly. It presents tough and interesting choices along the way in terms of when to trigger actions, the order to trigger them, when to just flip cards or move them along the line, etc. It is a game of balance that I did horribly at this month, coming short both times due to Stamina loss. But this one will definitely continue to hit the table as a solo experience I greatly enjoy for the timeframe it covers.

Broom Service: The Card Game

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We absolutely love Broom Service, regardless of player count. It is one of those interesting, unique hybrid board games that offers just enough interesting decisions to make it a welcome hit on the table. So of course we picked up the Card Game version – admittedly, I was more interested in the promos for Broom Service. The card game takes the fascinating Brave/Cowardly mechanic and spins an entire 20-minute experience around just that. And it works well enough, providing a fun filler to close out an evening of games. I think we’ll always prefer the board game version of Broom Service, but this is definitely a keeper for those times when we want a quick game with a handful of other folks.

The Castles of Mad King Ludwig

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I’ve been a fan of this game from the first play, and every time it gets back to the table I remember exactly what I love about it. I’m yet to play with anyone who dislikes the game, but I also carefully avoid introducing it to our one gaming friend who actively dislikes “building games” because this is very much a building game. And that always provides an enjoyable sensation by the end, seeing the castle you’ve constructed. Even when I play poorly and come in last, like I did when we taught it to a friend this month (#goodteacher), this game is a pure joy. The auction/bidding mechanic is one of my favorite parts of the game, something echoed in another of my favorite games: Isle of Skye. If you haven’t played this one yet, it is definitely worth checking out.

Circle the Wagons

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Even though I love the 2-player version of the game more, I really dig the Lone Cowboy expansions (I have them both, giving me 9 cards total to try!). The rules modified here are really simple and the most challenging part can be determining which territories are the most predominant for the “opponent”, since they only score their 3 most abundant types. Which almost always scores more than my 6 combined, since they don’t play by the same rules. I feel like I need to get far better at risk-reward decisions around the circle, as I’ve suffered far more losses than wins in the solo play of this. Not quite to Sprawlopolis level of pitiful, but pretty darn close. This is the one wallet game I would choose to keep if I could only retain one Button Shy title in my collection, even though it isn’t my favorite overall of their games. This one is simply perfect for what it provides.

Empyreal: Spells & Steam

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One of my most anticipated games since the end of 2018 has finally arrived and let’s just say I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product here. The game has production value that is out of this world, a fantastic and simple set of rules, and immense amount of replay value without any need for hundreds of maps to accomplish that replay value. This game is everything I want in a pick up and deliver game, and reaffirms my belief that Level 99 Games is the most underrated publisher in the industry. They have so many enjoyable, replayable games in their catalog and they will continue to dominate my Top 50 of all time. Odds are really good that this game will make a strong rise after some additional plays, too. I didn’t back the game to get the expansion as part of the package, but a local gamer did get the As Above, So Below expansion and was kind enough to loan me the Automa cards to try it out solo. And boy, it is a smooth and simple solitaire system – my opponent had the unfortunate placement early on to where it drew too many “dead” placement cards, placing a hard cap on its deliveries throughout most of the game. Even so, it was a fun and fast solitaire experience that will hit the table more – and convinced me that I probably should also pick up said expansion at some point for the solo deck…as well as the Purple player components for my wife to play with!

Everdell

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This one returned to the table for a match against the evil rat, Rugwort. After playing with 2-3 players, the solo experience was the final piece of the puzzle I was looking to include when preparing for a review of the game. And I shouldn’t have been worried, as this solo experience provided a nice, challenging loss for me in a very narrow game. It still suffers from one of the main issues I have with the base game experience, which I discussed in depth in the review: the special event cards. That is a really thick deck of cards, and even with getting through a fair chunk of cards each play I have only seen one game where a special event has been accomplished. The problem in solo play? Rugwort gets points for each of these you don’t score…which is pretty much money-in-the-bank for him.

Fairy Tale

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An old game in our collection, and one of the longest tenured games for us. It doesn’t get pulled off the shelf often enough anymore, but is still a delight every time it hits the table. My wife wanted a short game to play at the end of the night following the brain burn that learning Noria caused for us at the table. The simple gameplay, the easy drafting of the cards, and the interesting scoring mechanics make this a welcome treat every time it gets played. It’ll never be our most-played or favorite game, but I don’t foresee it ever leaving our collection either.

Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga

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This game is one I’ve wanted to play for years. It was rumored to be among the absolute best Viking-themed games on the market and I am a complete sucker for Viking themed games. The problem: 3-5 players. We try to avoid owning games that cannot play 2, but I had a chance to get this last summer from a local guy for $20 and pounced on that chance, thinking we’d eventually get to try it. Eventually finally arrived this month, as a friend came over and requested to play something we hadn’t ever played. This fit the bill perfectly, especially since this friend (who hates building games) enjoys pick-up-and-deliver games. I think my wife even got over the presence of dice in here, as at the end we all talked about how enjoyable the game was and I think we might see a repeat of this one next month as we get in some more plays. I’m not sure if it is my favorite Viking-themed game I’ve ever played, but it definitely is up there among the best. My wife really wishes it could be played at 2, which is an equally good sign. This one is going to join the A Game of Thrones Board Game and the Broom Service Card Game as permanent additions to our collection that require 3+ players, a rarity on our shelves.

The Honor of the Queen

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You may not know this little solo game, and why should you? It is my first game design and, as yet, unpublished. I worked hard on it and had it mostly in a good place last year, but something was bothering me about the game. The feedback was mixed on the chit-draw system for testing so I needed to change it. That meant either going with dice rolls or making a deck of testing cards. I wanted to maintain the chance of automatic success and automatic failure, but wasn’t sure how to do that with dice apart from radically changing the values on all cards. I had a revelation at the end of the month and now things are updated to include rolling 2d6 and subtracting the lower result from the higher. This gave me the spread of numbers I wanted (0-5 as possibilities, with 0-2 being the most likely) and allowed double 1’s and double 6’s to fill the desired success/failure rolls. Give it a week before you check the game for the 2.0 files and rules to be uploaded, but I definitely welcome you to try the game out if you’re interested! It is a page of 9 cards and 3 pages of rules, all ink-friendly! And I submitted the new version off to a publisher. Fingers crossed! Let’s keep the design momentum going and get a 2-player game wrapped up in March…

Hostage Negotiator

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A friend loaned me his copy of Hostage Negotiator, which has everything released in there, so I could try the game out. I talked about it last month, and set it aside thinking there was a small chance I’d try it again before returning the game. And, well, I happened to notice that Crime Wave was deeply discounted at my FLGS to where it would be difficult to pass by. So I resolved to try my friend’s copy one last time before deciding if I wanted the game or not, and I tried to figure out what was only from the Crime Wave expansion and use that content. In spite of the dice rolling to pass/fail testing, this is a quick and fun game that I genuinely enjoy getting to the table. And then I pulled it out once more a few nights later, running through base game cards and had such a run of bad luck for two games in a row that it never once seemed like I had a prayer of success. Which, ultimately, saved my wallet from a bad investment. I’m glad I played the game, and would gladly do so again. But if I want a dice-chucking fast solo game, I’ll turn to Hoplomachus.

Jorvik

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A classic Feld game with a fresh look and theme. I’ve loved The Speicherstadt from the first play of the game, but the theme and appearance left me wanting. Jorvik had been on my wishlist ever since I learned of its existence, but it took forever to finally get around to acquiring it for my collection. We finally tried out the game at 2 (I’ve previously played 3-5) and I finally got to include the expansion board and cards from the original (already included in Jorvik!) and, well, I’ll never want to play without the extra stuff. And this game is so tight and cutthroat at 2 that it is a sheer delight to play. Plopping down that meeple where you have no intention of buying a card, purely to make your opponent either pay more or have to forsake the purchase of that card, is so wonderful. And it happens all the time at 2. Cards become pricey quick, even with only 2 players, because you have 4 workers to spread out among 6 cards (3 if playing without the expansion). Auction/bidding games rarely work with 2. I can think of only one other that has left a strong impression (Biblios) as being great with 2. And I think I officially can go on the record to state that Jorvik/Speicherstadt is my favorite Feld game so far. That should give you an idea of where this might fall come June when I refresh my Top 100…

Leaving Earth

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This game was highly recommended to me as a solo game, and I’ll admit I was a little curious to try it out. Once I read through the rules and watched part of Heavy Cardboard’s solo playthrough video, I had a good handle on what to do for the game. And I was genuinely enjoying myself in the game, having a solid plan from the start on how to achieve victory via a series of Moon-related missions and sending a probe out to orbit Mars. And then I landed on the Moon with a Probe and discovered the Moon wouldn’t be able to allow landing at all so my collection of a sample wasn’t going to work any more. This left me in a predicament, as the Moon presented a ton of my points and, after running the numbers, the only path to victory required me to collect a sample on Venus instead for the biggest chunk of points. It took a lot of planning. Figuring out how to make a trip there and back without needing a bajillion rockets. FIred a probe off and started working toward that Mars orbit, trying to get them to coincide for victory around the same year. The probe arrives at Venus and, wouldn’t you know it, can’t land there, either. Hours invested into the game for my first play to run into the end result of an unwinnable game regardless of how well I planned or executed. Unwinnable situations are fine in a shorter game, because you can reset and try again with hope for a better scenario. But a game this math-heavy, taxing on the brain for all the planning, and a multi-hour journey…only to find out there was no path to win…. Yeah, hard pass for me. I’m just glad I was able to borrow this before considering a purchase.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

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My favorite solo game of all time. I have more plays of this game than the next 4 games combined. It is always fun getting this to the table, even with my ~30% win rate in the game. I decided to continue playing through quests in order of release, although that will soon come to an end since I am missing most of the Dwarrowdelf Cycle – I played through the second and third quests from Khazad-Dum using an unrefined Ranger/Dunedain trap and sidequest deck that has too many cards and I think runs just 1 of every card in there to try and get a feel for which cards should stay and which should go. Playing through earlier quests helps me to appreciate the maturity of the design that happens, as some of the quests are just ridiculous with the tricks they have or the very narrow requirements. However, these two have been pretty fun and enjoyable. My loss in the third quest was probably more a problem of my deck (not drawing into allies after the first round and getting no traps beyond 1 in my opening hand) than an issue with the quest itself. More plays to come this month…

Lords of Waterdeep

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This game is very much a classic worker placement game, and it was refreshing getting a chance to experience it again. This was my first play without the expansion included in the experience and it definitely changed the game flow. The board was extremely tight with 5 players (I’ve never played with fewer than 5, either! Something I need to change eventually when we get the game for our own collection) but we all knew the game so things flowed extremely well. We all pursued our unique strategies and ended up clustered relatively well along the scoreboard at the end, which is something that felt good to see. Every time I play this walk away wanting to play it more often, which means we definitely need to get around to picking this up soon.

Meltwater: A Game of Tactical Starvation

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Oh boy, did this game come out of nowhere. I hadn’t heard a thing about the game until my wargaming friend mentioned it about a month ago. He kept repeating the name with satisfaction, as if that was all that should be needed to interest a player. And sure, it has a unique name. Hollandspiele is full of games that are unique in name and in gameplay. From that perspective, this was a perfect fit for their catalog. We had some initial issues in missing a key rule because it was mentioned under the components (bizarre place for a critical concept) but once we figured that out and started over, the game was great. Lots of planning and adapting to a shrinking map. Plenty of room for being mean to your opponent: after all, you win by being the last one with units still on the map. Delightfully easy rules to parse, which opened the way for the gameplay to shine. I don’t think it is my favorite Hollandspiele game, but this one is a game I’m going to be excited to play more and might just be one to teach to my wife…and I’m fully aware I’ll lose playing against her, too. This might be the best hidden gem of a game I’ve encountered for quite some time.

Millennium Blades

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It had been too long since this one hit the table. My wife isn’t a fan of card games and, well, this is very much a card game plus. A friend of mine requested to learn the game, since he owns it but felt overwhelmed on where to begin in terms of sorting, etc. on what he had. So I brought out my copy and we played using the recommended Store setup with the modified rules from Collusion to separate out the Core Set into its own stack. As anticipated, the first tournament played was a one-sided affair as it can be a challenge to know how to value things going into your first ever tournament round. However, from there it swung hard in his direction and he built a monster of an 8-card deck that obliterated me in the second tournament and just barely outscored me in the final tournament. I have never been happier to have been a #goodteacher in a game, and afterwards we both felt like we had played a nice, heavy game. He compared the brain burn to what he gets after an 18XX game, even though this is a very different, unique game to play. Hopefully he enjoyed it enough to want to play it more, and this one cements itself again as one of my absolute favorite game experiences to get to the table.

Mystic Vale

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This game was an instant favorite for me years ago when a friend introduced it to me. And 18 bajillion expansions later, this is still a top-tier game for me. I picked up the new Nemesis expansion on the last day of February, which was an auto-buy for me since it introduced a way to experience solitaire play of the game. For some reason no one else delights in the towers of cards as much as I do with everything mixed together, so this will allow me to get this game to the table a lot more. With 13 different opponents of varying difficulty and two sides to the AI selection board, this is going to have a TON of replay value. I still need to pick up that Harmony expansion that was released last year to “complete” my collection – minus a promo I’m missing – and I still have a row to fill in this Conclave box. I can never get enough of this game, even when it all goes horribly wrong for me like it did last night. I really enjoyed the smooth AI opponent to face, and the new Level 4 advancement cards plus the Titan Leaders add enough cool things for anyone to want to grab this expansion even if they don’t want to play it solo.

Noria

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This game intimidated me to no end. I was in love with the art and the idea of the game since I heard it announced, and I finally got a copy of the game late last year. And I danced around learning and teaching the game far too often to where it just needed to get played. The rules themselves didn’t seem to be too brutal, but the unique layout of the rules combined with the very spatial aspect of the action wheel made it one of those that simply wasn’t going to fully click until it hit the table. And yes, the first 3-4 rounds had us all asking questions and verifying how things should flow. But a funny thing happened – about halfway through the game we no longer hit those snags. The issues with turning the wheel subsided (mostly), and we were able to just enjoy the gameplay. All three of us had very different strategies, and the scores were reasonably close overall all things considered. And I think we all have thoughts on what to do differently, especially in the first half of the game, when it gets played again. I have a feeling this will be one that we return to another time or two this month, along with Empyreal.

The One-Hundred Torii

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This one came in the mail unexpectedly, as had the past two Pencil First Games titles (Heroes Welcome and Skulk Hollow, the latter of which you might have noticed is one of my top 2019 titles! I strongly recommend that to anyone looking for a 2-player asymmetric game). This one appeared to be a lighter, tile-laying game experience with fantastic components and artwork, and I brought it out several nights in a row with the intent of playing it solo if I had time. After several non-plays, I finally got it to the table as a solo experience. While I misplayed one pretty big rule, forgetting to give the AI an extra bonus tile when they got double Torii tiles, I did enjoy this quick and lighter game. It’ll scratch an itch that my wife should enjoy, similar to what Seasons of Rice provides but in a little longer and deeper format from that. It is one I could see being a staple for nights when we want to play a game but don’t want anything too complex as a nice way to competitively pass the end of an evening. And I’ll definitely give the solo another run or two with the correct rules this time before passing judgment on that aspect, although I think it’ll stick around more for the multiplayer experience.

Paper Tales

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I picked up the expansion around Christmas time and finally got a chance to try it out with the solo mode this month, facing off against the Lich King. I was initially dismayed by its score, as it easily surpassed my typical scores. However, there were some key cards into the mix from the expansion that helped me to raise my own “bar” for scores, especially since I started off the game with a Relic of War and focused on pumping that up whenever I was able. It gave me just enough to topple the Lich King in a fun, easy-to-use solo system that plays really fast (just like the base game). It was a great challenge, and has me looking forward to some rematches soon!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Core Set

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You probably saw the review, but if you didn’t you can find my full thoughts on this game there. This is easily my favorite version of this game, as the look and feel of the game is fresh yet retains the positive aspects I enjoyed. It is still dice-dependent and you rarely feel overpowered to where success is guaranteed, providing both tension with every test and swingyness as a factor to overcome. When it goes well, this is one of my favorite solo games to play. When the dice roll consistently horrible, it can still feel crummy in losing. I wish it set up a little quicker, but the game plays at a nice pace and I love the integration of a story booklet.

Peloponnesian War

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This one is a hard game to place. Right now, it is sitting around the middle of the “month” experiences for new-to-me games because it is going to require more time diving into the game system and trying out a little more of what it has to offer. I’ve run through the introductory walkthrough turn and then a few rounds from the beginning, but haven’t played a game out to completion yet. Which means this game has all of the potential in the world to move up that list in the future, but is going to be very limited because it requires both time and space, and some days I just don’t have enough of one or the other in order to get a full play of it in before it needs torn down. So far my impression is cautiously optimistic toward a really fascinating solitaire experience from GMT Games. Forcing you to switch sides in the battle if you are doing too well, but not well enough to win, blows my mind in the perfect sort of way. If you go hard for the win and fall short, suddenly you are having to dig out of the hole the other side was placed into by your own aggressive efforts. You want to bring the war to a successful, early ending, and the better you do at accomplishing that the stronger your score. This might be a dark horse candidate for game of the year. That’s how much potential I see in this one. However, I’m not sure if I will ever get a chance to play it to completion – I’ll be looking to see if any of the other scenarios are shorter than the 10-round campaign.

The Perfect Moment

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It was the perfect moment to play this game. I was stuck in a hotel room with a sleeping child and no one else. I needed something to rescue me from the boredom that would fall upon a normal person. So I pulled this out for my second and third solo plays of this, and it went WAY better than the first time I tried to wrap my head around the game. Granted, the first time was months ago when in the hospital while my daughter was dealing with issues, so that might have been the issue on that first play. This game is challenging in all the right ways, and I fell short both times. I realized when the first game was ending that I was making it harder on myself because I was only focusing on the Paradox and trying to match that rather than including the Plan in my hand. Sadly, I did worse on the next play…so this is going right along with all of the other Button Shy solo experiences: I lose, lose, lose. Late in the month I finally got my wife to try it out against me and, well, it didn’t fare any better for me. It took her some time to wrap her head around the game, which isn’t surprising, but once it clicked for her the game flowed well. She liked Ahead in the Clouds, which we played first, more than this one but I am confident we’ll play this more in the future.

Res Arcana

**This appears to be the ONE game I played this month that I failed to take a picture of…**

This game continues to impress me every time it hits the table. It had been far too long since my last plays of the game (how had it been since September!?) and that won’t be an issue before the next plays of this one. The first expansion was picked up around the holiday season and integrated seamlessly into the core game, adding extra Mages, Artifacts, and more. It also limits the number of Monuments put into play, and overall provides a nice, tight experience with no real need to explain any additional rules apart from the presence of the Scrolls. This game is fast, fun, and has plenty of room to slow down an opponent’s engine if you get the right cards and want to use them. I’m not saying this replaces Race for the Galaxy by any means, but it definitely is in consideration for the best Tom Lehmann game I’ve ever played – and that says a lot, since Race for the Galaxy is probably still a Top 20 game for me overall. I love having the personal deck of 8 cards, and trying to figure out how to potentially build a functional engine from those cards (depending on when you draw them, of course!). My downfall this play was not getting anything that generated Essences in the opening turns, and I was stupid for not digging actively to get those cards out – that put me about 1-2 turns behind the curve, which is a lot in this tight engine builder.

The Rose King

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This one just had a review go live, so if you want more detailed thoughts be sure to check that out. Ultimately, this was the Kosmos title I expected to need to find friends to play as I assumed my wife wouldn’t really dig the abstract theme. Turns out I was wrong, she not only wanted to play it but wanted to play it several times in relatively quick succession. This game is extremely simple, plays relatively fast, and has room for some clever curse-inducing maneuvers along the way. Trying to decide when to use your limited, powerful moves to flip an opponents’ piece is important, as is trying to manipulate the board position for placement. There’s a lot of good strategy in here and I’m glad she enjoyed this one!

Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan

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This was another game that had been on my radar for years, but I never had an opportunity to try it out. Block wargames appealed to me from the perspective of a “fog of war” effect, and I’ve enjoyed hidden information games like Stratego, or more modern ones like Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation. The game took a while to get going, as setting up and diving through the rules was interrupted by random folks at the gameday who were drawn toward the board and the blocks upon it. Once we got underway, things began to flow well with only a few rules needing referenced as we came across situations. This one has quite an interesting mix of concepts going for it, as you not only get towering stacks of blocks that your opponent can only guess at the power of, but you are also limited by your hand of cards. Moving efficiently requires using cards from your hand, but if you want to bring a block into play during a battle you need a card of that symbol to marshall that force. All in all it had an interesting ebb and flow to the game experience, and it was a really tight push-and-pull affair. My Tokugawa forces took an early board advantage that was lost mid-game, but then reclaimed in the final rounds as the other side turtled up inside their fortress. I think we both have ideas of new strategies to attempt the next time we play, and this is definitely a game I cannot wait to play a second time. What more do you want from a first play, right? I’m hankering for a rematch…even though I was ultimately victorious.

Thunderstone Quest

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This game had been in my collection for far too long without getting played. First, I didn’t realize at the time that I needed the (then) upcoming Barricades expansion to play it solo. Second, I just never could get it played – I even set it up 3 different times to play with my wife and ended up putting it away before we could play each time. Well, that streak of failure ended this month with a solo play of the Barricades mode. And boy, was it FUN. I love deckbuilding games so much, and this one is no exception. There is so much tension with the boss and the destruction of areas of the town. I played one key thing very wrong, spending half the game with Festering Wounds remaining in play upon receipt (In my defense, the rulebook mentions the wound cards and right after that talks about Curses. I saw the “this card goes into play in front of the player and remains there until removed” and assumed it was still on the Festering Wounds so that made life REALLY difficult until I checked again when about to get slapped with 4 more cards. Oops. Well, my revenge on that Spider Queen should go much better the next time I challenge her. And now I also know to try and make sure at least one of the 4 market cards generates light, as needing 6 to reach the boss was the only reason I didn’t win in spite of the handicap. This one should hit the table quite often over the course of the rest of this year.

Tiny Towns

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I taught this one to my wife recently at our FLGS and, well, it didn’t go well for her in any of those games. So when we were back to play games at that same store this month, she wanted a revenge game to try and redeem herself. And I genuinely felt like I was positioning myself to do well, but ended up getting cornered and had one too many bad colors in a row to pull things off. Ultimately, I had two choices of where to put my 2nd to last cube, and based on the next color I chose wrong and it locked me out of the game and let her very comfortably defeat me. I really enjoy this one and will gladly replay it any time we’re there, although I’m not convinced we’ll want this one in our collection.

Tokyo Highway

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After the Tiny Towns defeat, we were needing something simple to play and I couldn’t resist trying a new game that I had seen and heard about. The rules were extremely simple, making it an easy one to explain. And, well, there were a lot of things going against this one. The table we were on wasn’t exactly the most stable surface. My wife was exhausted, and she didn’t even want to stand to try and get better angles for placement. And my hands were far from stable while making key placements. Ultimately the table proved to be the deciding factor as she placed her winning move. It was a fun experience that I don’t feel any need to try a second time. Would I play it again? Sure, I would gladly do this before jumping into something like a party game. But it definitely isn’t one I’ll ever crave to try again even though I am really glad I got the chance to try it out.

Watergate

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Last month I played some nice Card-Driven Wargames: Twilight Struggle and 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis. I greatly enjoyed them both, and then I met Watergate. There was a lot of buzz around this game last year and, honestly, it is 100% merited in this case. Watergate is good. Really, really good. It has a theme that, like 1960: The Making of the President, my wife would have zero interest in trying. Yet since this is a short enough game, I wonder if I could convince her to give this one a try. After all, I love Capstone titles and this might just be the best they have right now – in a small box designed exclusively for 2 players. The board is deceptively small, so you feel like victory is easy to obtain as the Journalist, yet it proves to be just right in size to allow for aggressive blocking, and there are so many cards that mess with your best-laid plans to make this a perfectly delightful little title. Spoiler: this is definitely in the running for the best 2019 game.

Next 3 Reviews
Empyreal: Spells & Steam
Shadowrift: Boomtown
Traveller Customizable Card Game

2020 Husband/Wife Record

Him: 13 Wins (+5)
Her: 15 Wins (+10)

Next 3 Games to Teach My Wife
Thunderstone Quest
The One-Hundred Torii
Lisboa

Five Games I Want to Try Soon
Maracaibo
Commands & Colors: Medieval
Mombasa
Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar
Three Kingdoms Redux

Next 3 Acquisitions
Helionox: Deluxe Edition
The Great Heathen Army
Pipeline

2020 Five & Dimes (Games with 5+ Plays)
Arboretum (5)
Circle the Wagons (5)
Hostage Negotiator (5)

10 Best New-to-Me Games of 2020
1. Empyreal: Spells & Steam
2. Helionox: Deluxe Edition
3. On Mars
4. Watergate
5. Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan
6. Meltwater: A Game of Tactical Starvation
7. Age of Steam
8. Peloponnesian War
9. Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga
10. Twilight Struggle

Best Releases of 2020
1. Empyreal: Spells & Steam
2. On Mars

Best Expansions of 2020
1. Mystic Vale: Nemesis

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap

Gaming Recap Q2 2018

Last year I did a monthly tracker of the games I played, breaking it down to keep a tally on win/loss vs. my wife and in solo gaming. This year I am taking a much more relaxed approach, going with a quarterly breakdown of the games played.

Q2 Games played:

161 Total Plays, 78 unique games, 42 new-to-me games (italicized below)

Husband/Wife Record:

Me – 27 Wins, Nicole – 23 Wins

Dimes

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Nickels

BattleCON: Trials of the Indines
ORC
Herbaceous Sprouts

Others (in alphabetical order)

7 Wonders Duel
Agent Decker
Among the Stars
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
Assembly
Azul
Between Two Cities
Black Sonata
Caesar & Cleopatra
The Castles of Burgundy
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Charterstone
Circuit Breaker
Coal Baron: The Great Card Game
Concordia
Count of Nine
Constantinople
Cutthroat Caverns
DC Comics Deck-building Game
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Fairy Tale
A Feast for Odin
Final Fantasy Trading Card Game
Fire in the Library
Firefly: The Game
Five Tribes
Fuji Flush
The Game
The Game of 49
Gladiator Gauntlet
Glass Road
Habitats
Hanamikoji
Herbaceous
Hero Realms
Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft
Hunt for the Ring
In the Year of the Dragon
InBetween
Keyper
Kingdom Builder
Lignum (Second Edition)
Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game
Lord of the Rings: The Duel
Middle-Earth
Mini Rogue
Mr. Jack Pocket
Mystic Vale
Nations
Notre Dame
Oh My Goods!
Onitama
Ora et Labora
Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game – Rise of the Runelords
Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game – Wrath of the Righteous
Port Royal
Power Grid
Raiders of the North Sea
Rococo
Seasons
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Shadowrift
Shadows Over Camelot
SOW
Sprawlopolis
Star Fluxx
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Unbroken
Vast: The Crystal Caverns
Vikings: The Board Game
Vinhos
Viticulture: Essential Edition
War of the Ring (Second Edition)

2018 Games Played:

331 Total Plays, 127 unique games, 71 new-to-me games (italicized below)

Husband/Wife Record:

Me – 45 Wins, Nicole – 43 Wins

Quarters

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Dimes

Final Fantasy Trading Card Game

Nickels

BattleCON: Trials of the Indines
Charterstone
Hanamikoji
Herbaceous Sprouts
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Kingdom Builder
Oh My Goods!
One Deck Dungeon
ORC

Scythe
Sentinels of the Multiverse

Others (in alphabetical order)

1960: The Making of the President
30 Rails
7 Ronin
7 Wonders Duel
878: Vikings – Invasions of England
Above and Below
Agent Decker

Albion’s Legacy
Among the Stars
Android: Netrunner
Arboretum
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Ars Alchimia
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
Assembly
Azul
Between Two Cities
Black Sonata
Caesar & Cleopatra
The Castles of Burgundy
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
Caverna: The Cave Farmers
Century: Golem Edition
Circuit Breaker
Coal Baron: The Great Card Game
Codenames
Concordia
Count of Nine
Constantinople
Cutthroat Caverns
DC Comics Deck-building Game
Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon
The Draugr

Eight Minute Empires: Legends
Elevenses for One
Endless Nightmare
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Fairy Tale
A Feast for Odin
Fields of Agincourt
Fire in the Library

Firefly: The Game
Five Tribes
Fuji Flush
The Game
The Game of 49
Get Bit!
Gladiator Gauntlet
Glass Road

Guilds of London
Habitats
Harvest
Herbaceous
Hero Realms
Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft
How to Rob a Bank
Hunt for the Ring

Imperial Settlers
In the Year of the Dragon
InBetween

Innovation
Islebound
Keyflower
Keyper
Lignum (Second Edition)
Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
Lord of the Rings: Dice Building Game Lord of the Rings: The Duel

Lords of Waterdeep
Mage Knight Board Game
Middle-Earth
Mini Rogue
Mr. Jack Pocket
Mystic Vale
Nations
Neverland’s Legacy
Notre Dame
Odin’s Ravens (Second edition)
Onitama
Ora et Labora
Outpost: Siberia
Patchwork
Pathfinder: Adventure Card Game – Rise of the Runelords P
athfinder: Adventure Card Game – Wrath of the Righteous

Police Precinct
Port Royal
Power Grid

Race for the Galaxy
Raiders of the North Sea
The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
Rococo
The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade
Sagrada
Seasons
Sellswords: Olympus
Shadowrift
Shadows Over Camelot
Sherwood’s Legacy
SOW
Sprawlopolis
Star Fluxx
Star Realms
Terra Mystica
Terraforming Mars
Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary Edition
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Unbroken
Utopia Engine
Vast: The Crystal Cavern
Vikings: The Board Game
Vinhos
Viticulture: Essential Edition
War of the Ring (Second Edition)
Yokohama

Progress on the Games I wanted to play in 2018 (In order that I enjoyed them):

7/20

Ora et Labora
Rococo
Vinhos
Keyflower
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia
Arboretum
Terra Mystica

Gaming Recap

Gaming Recap Q1 2018

Last year I did a monthly tracker of the games I played, breaking it down to keep a tally on win/loss vs. my wife and in solo gaming. This year I am taking a much more relaxed approach, going with a quarterly breakdown of the games played. Be sure to drop a vote in the poll at the end where you can see my math trade acquisitions and help me decide what should hit the table first.

Q1 Games played:

170 Total Plays, 70 unique games, 29 new-to-me games (italicized below)

Husband/Wife Record:

Me – 18 Wins, Nicole – 20 Wins

Quarters

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Dimes

Final Fantasy Trading Card Game

Nickels

Charterstone
Kingdom Builder
One Deck Dungeon
Scythe
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

Others (in alphabetical order)

1960: The Making of the President
30 Rails
7 Ronin

878: Vikings – Invasions of England
A Feast for Odin
Above and Below
Albion’s Legacy
Android: Netrunner
Arboretum
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Ars Alchimia
The Castles of Burgundy
Century: Golem Edition
Codenames
Reiner Knizia’s Decathlon
The Draugr

Eight Minute Empires: Legends
Elevenses for One
Endless Nightmare
Fields of Agincourt
Fire in the Library

Firefly: The Game
The Game
Get Bit!
Guilds of London
Hanamikoji
Harvest
How to Rob a Bank
Hunt for the Ring

Imperial Settlers
In the Year of the Dragon
Innovation
Islebound
Keyflower
Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation

Lords of Waterdeep
Mage Knight Board Game
Mystic Vale
Neverland’s Legacy
Odin’s Ravens (Second edition)
Oh My Goods!
Outpost: Siberia
Patchwork
Police Precinct
Race for the Galaxy
Raiders of the North Sea
The Ravens of Thri Sahashri
Rococo
The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade
Sagrada

Sellswords: Olympus
Sherwood’s Legacy
Star Realms
Terra Mystica
Terraforming Mars
Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary Edition
Tiny Epic Galaxies
Utopia Engine
Vast: The Crystal Cavern

War of the Ring (Second Edition)
Yokohama

Progress on the Games I wanted to play in 2018 (In order that I enjoyed them):

4/20

Keyflower
Rococo
Arboretum
Terra Mystica

[b]Games acquired in math trade (vote in the poll to help determine which I should read the rules for first!):

(Hop on over to the post on BGG to vote, or leave your answers as a comment!

Poll
Which game(s) from the math trade should I teach my wife first?
Lord of the Rings: The Duel
Lord of the Rings Dice Building Game
Vinhos
Among the Stars
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
Mr. Jack Pocket
Orc
Box
Sow
Spy
Vikings Board Game
Notre Dame
Coal Baron: The Great Card Game
Rivals for Catan
Caesar and Cleopatra

0 answers

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap

End-of-Year Statistics and 2018 Goals

2017 has closed on us, and already my subscription box is flooding with other users doing recaps for 2017. I missed my November recap, having lost the motivation to dedicate the incredible amount of time it took to construct that recap and add in all the links. The latter is really the part that bogs things down, and so I’ll opt to skip that in here, but those who have been watching will know my wife had led all year in win/loss record for our head-to-head gaming. And that October saw me finally get even with her. How did the final two months shake things up? And did I pull up over 50% on my solo victories?

2017 Games played as a couple

7 Wonders Duel: 7 (David x 5, Nicole x 2)
878: Vikings – Invasions of England: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 1)
A Feast for Odin: 2 (David x 2)
Aeon’s End: 1 (Co-op Loss)
Agricola (Revised Edition): 3 (David x 2, Nicole x 1)
Albion’s Legacy: 1 (Co-op Loss)
Argent: The Consortium: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 1)
Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn: 7 (Nicole x 3, David x 4)
Barony: 7 (Nicole x 4, David x 3)
Battle Line: 6 (David x 3, Nicole x 3)
Biblios: 4 (David x 3, Nicole x 1)
Blood Rage: 4 (Nicole x 2, David x 2)
Carcassonne: 1 (David x 1)
The Castles of Burgundy: 3 (David x 1, Nicole x 2)
Castles of Caladale: 3 (Nicole x 3)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig: 3 (Nicole x 3)
Catan: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Caverna: The Cave Farmers: 5 (David x 2, Nicole x 3)
Caverna: Cave vs Cave: 2 (David x 3, Nicole x 2)
Century: Golem Edition: 1 (David x 1)
Century: Spice Road: 9 (David x 5, Nicole x 4)
Charterstone: 5 (Nicole x 2, David x 3)
The Climbers: 3 (David x 3)
Codenames: Duet: 1 (Co-op Loss)
Council of Verona: 2 (David x 2)
Crazier Eights: Avalon: 4 (David x 2, Nicole x 2)
Cry Havoc: 2 (Nicole x 2)
Custom Heroes: 1 (David x 1)
Eight Minute Empire: Legends: 6 (Nicole x 4, David x 2)
Exile Sun: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Fairy Tale: 7 (Nicole x 4, David x 3)
Fields of Agincourt: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Fields of Green: 4 (David x 2, Nicole x 2)
Firefly: The Game: 3 (David x 1, Nicole x 2)
Five Tribes: 5 (David x 3, Nicole x 2)
Galaxy Trucker: 5 (David x 3, Nicole x 2)
The Game: 1 (Co-op Win x 1)
Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Guilds of London: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Hanamikoji: 10 (David x 6, Nicole x 4)
Harbour: 5 (David x 2, Nicole x 3)
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle: 2 (2 Co-op wins)
Haspelknecht: 5 (David x 3, Nicole x 2)
Herbaceous: 9 (David x 6, Nicole x 3)
Holmes: Sherlock x Mycroft: 8 (David x 3, Nicole x 5)
Incantris: 4 (David x 2, Nicole x 2)
Istanbul: 1 (David x 1)
Jaipur: 1 (David x 1)
The King is Dead: 3 (Nicole x 2, David x 1)
Kingdom Builder: 8 (Nicole x 6, David x 2)
Kingdomino: 3 (David x 2, Nicole x 1)
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival: 4 (David x 3, Nicole x 1)
Legends of Andor: 2 (1 Co-op win)
Lignum: 2 (Nicole x 2)
Lords of Scotland: 2 (Nicole x 1, David x 1)
Love Letter: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Mint Works: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Mystic Vale: 9 (David x 5, Nicole x 4)
Niya: 2 (David x 2)
Odin’s Ravens: 4 (David x 1, Nicole x 3)
Patchwork: 4 (David x 3, Nicole x 1)
Photosynthesis: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Pixel Tactics 2: 3 (Nicole x 2, David x 1)
Queendomino: 2 (David x 2)
Scythe: 4 (David x 2, Nicole x 2)
Seasons: 2 (David x 2)
Sellswords: Olympus: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Seven Dragons: 1 (David x 1)
Shahrazad: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 1)
Small World Underground: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Splendor: 1 (David x 1)
Star Fluxx: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Star Realms: 12 (Nicole x 5, David x 7)
Star Wars: Imperial Assault: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Sushi Go!: 1 (David x 1)
Takenoko: 3 (David x 2, Nicole x 1)
Ticket to Ride 10th Anniversary Edition: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 2)
Tiny Epic Galaxies: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 1)
Tiny Epic Kingdoms: 3 (Nicole x 3)
Torres: 1 (Nicole x 1)
Unearth: 4 (David x 2, Nicole x 2)
Viticulture: Essential Edition: 3 (David x 2, Nicole x 1)
War of the Ring: 4 (Nicole x 3, David x 1)
Yokohama: 5 (David x 2, Nicole x 3)
Zero: 2 (David x 1, Nicole x 1)

David – 142/279 (50.09%)
Nicole – 137/279 (49.10%)


2017 Games played solo

9 Card Siege: 5 (1 Win)
A Feast for Odin: 1 (1 Win)
Aeon’s End: 1 (1 Win)
Agincourt: 1 (1 Win)
Albion’s Legacy: 2 (0 Wins)
Castles of Caladale: 2 (2 Wins)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig: 1 (0 Wins)
Caverna: Cave vs Cave: 1 (1 Win)
Chrononauts: 4 (0 Wins)
Dice of Arkham: 2 (1 Win)
Elevenses for One: 1 (1 Win)
Firefly: The Game: 1 (0 Wins)
Freedom: The Underground Railroad: 4 (1 Win)
Friday: 4 (2 Wins)
The Game: 2 (1 Win)
Harbour: 2 (2 Wins)
Herbaceous: 6 (4 Wins)
Imperial Settlers: 5 (4 Wins)
Legendary: 1 (1 Win)
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game: 24 (10 Wins)
Mage Knight Board Game: 2 (1 Win)
Mini Rogue: 2 (2 Wins)
Neverland’s Legacy: 1 (0 wins)
Night of Man: 3 (1 Win)
Race for the Galaxy: 9 (4 Wins)
Scythe: 1 (1 Win)
SECRET Solo Game: 4 (1 Win)
Shahrazad: 5 (2 Wins)
Sherwood’s Legacy: 1 (1 Win)
Space Hulk: Death Angel: 3 (1 Wins)
Stamford Bridge: End of the Viking Age: 2 (2 Wins)
Star Realms: 1 (1 Win)
Stellar Leap: 6 (4 Wins)
Terraforming Mars: 2 (0 Wins)
Tiny Epic Galaxies: 3 (3 Wins)
Tombs: The Sword of Valhalla: 1 (0 Wins)
Valeria: Card Kingdoms: 1 (1 Win)
Viticulture: Essential Edition: 8 (4 Wins)
Yeomen: The 9-Card Agincourt Game: 6 (1 Win)

2017 Solo Record: 64/121 (52.89%)

So there you have it, I accomplished both of my goals for 2017 by having a 50% win record in solo games and a 50% record or better in 2-player games with my wife. In her defense, had our gaming not dropped a lot in the past two months I am certain she would have thumped me. Did she really win all three games of Kingdom Builder we played in the last two months? I need to fix that…

And so here are the things I am hoping to accomplish in 2018:

 Play all of our owned games (69 games)
 Play all of my soloable games solo (23 games)
 Eliminate my shame pile of unplayed games (10 games)
 Complete my 10×10 (Charterstone, Android: Netrunner, Kingdom Builder, 878: Vikings – Invasions of England, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, Scythe, Mystic Vale, Seasons, Innovation, Albion’s Legacy)
 Play 50 new-to-me unowned games
 Complete the Charterstone campaign
 Play all soloable print and play games (20 games)
 Find and print a new solo print and play game each month
 Beat all Lord of the Rings: The Card Game quests that I own/will own (24 quests)
 Purchase the Adventure Packs to complete the two cycles in Lord of the Rings that I’ve started (10 packs)
 Purchase no new games in 2018 (two exceptions, one game as a reward for hitting a weight goal, one for completing my 10×10. Expansions/add-ons do not count but will remain limited in purchase)
 Keep a better log of plays!


So how about you? What are some of your 2018 goals?

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

October 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:

October Couples’ Record:
David – 14/25, 56%
Nicole – 10/25, 40%
13  Unique Games

2017 Couples Record:
David – 125/251 (49.80%)
Nicole – 125/251 (49.80%)
76 Unique Games (+7)

Most Played 2-Player Game: Century: Spice Road – We had a friend let us borrow the game and my wife wanted to make sure we got plenty of plays before it went back to them. It was enough to confirm that I really enjoy this game. Something about this really clicks for me, as I was able to steal a reasonable number of games. But, like all other games, I know my time of winning will come to an end eventually. She always ends up getting better at a game than me. Always. Unless I can practice it solo, like Race for the Galaxy…
Favorite 2-Player Experience: Lignum – She wouldn’t pick this as a favorite, but since Spice Road is getting two entries here already I wanted to gush about the game I can’t stop itching to play again. It is going to be a challenge to get it to the table often, but when I do I know this is going to always deliver a satisfying experience. That is something that few games can promise, like War of the Ring, and is something I value. I love the necessity to plan seasons ahead as you go along, as what you do now has a ripple effect into the future rounds. This game could be a serious contender for best game of 2017.
Best New-to-Us 2-Player Experience: Century: Golem Edition – The game isn’t different than Century: Spice Road, but wow this one is produced in a very different way. I really enjoy the chunky crystals (something my wife disagrees about) and love how this fits better into the box/insert. The art on these cards are fantastic. The colors catch the eye. If we’re going to get a version of the Century game, we both agree this is the one we’ll be getting.
Most Surprising 2-Player Experience: Jaipur – This was a game I was looking to play if the opportunity ever came up. To say we were both underwhelmed would be an accurate statement. She was tired and probably not in the best mindset to play the game. I was expecting some earth-shattering experience that would elevate this among the best 2-player only games out there. What I discovered was a good, fun game but it didn’t stack up to some of my favorites out there. We definitely plan to try it again, but so far this isn’t a game we’d be likely to purchase.
Next Unplayed 2-Player Game to be Played: Neverland’s Legacy – She was very interested in the Peter Pan theme when it arrived. But not once I mentioned it was cooperative. She’s finally played some good co-op games and has warmed up a little bit to them, so I think the time is finally right to play this one with her. It was a fun solo experience when I pulled it out, and while it is challenging it isn’t nearly as brutal as Albion’s Legacy. I can’t wait to find out what she thinks of this one when we play it.

Solo Gaming:

October Solo Record: 7/15, 46.67%
8  Unique Games

2017 Solo Record: 45/91 (49.45%)
32 Unique Games (+4)

Most Played Solo Game: Viticulture: Essential Edition – I raved about this one in my recent review, and those statements all stand. This is easily a top-5 solo game for me, and I will always be willing to pull this out for a quick play. Which says a lot, since I’m not the one who is a big fan of worker placement games.
Favorite Solo Experience: 
Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Oh, how I have missed this game. I gave it away so long ago to a friend because I didn’t want to purchase more than a Core Set. I had reached a point where the Core Set offered nothing else for me, and so I thought a friend and his wife might enjoy it. Well, they had never played it and when he offered to let me have it back I jumped on that. I’ve played it a few times since it came back home and I can’t believe how much I’ve missed this game. It will be time to expand soon…as this game climbs up and challenges my #1 solo spot.
Best New-to-Me Solo Experience: Imperial Settlers – This was on my board game quest, and I decided to finally pick the game up along with its first expansion. It sounded like the sort of game I’d enjoy: card based, engine building, light civilization theme. After two plays, I can confirm that this is exactly the type of game I enjoy. The solo play of it might not be enough of a challenge, but this will definitely be a game I want to pull out and play when I can.
Most Surprising Solo Game: Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – See above.
Next Unplayed Solo Game to be Played: Friday – I don’t own the game, but I have a good friend who does and I’d love to try this one out. So my goal is to invite him back over, teach him Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and then try out Friday. It’ll be a great time, even if Friday disappoints.

Group Gaming:

October Group Games:
26  Unique Games

2017 Group games:
99 Unique Games (+16)

Most Played Group Game: Star Wars: Destiny – This game reached the top one last time, since I went to two Destiny game nights. On those nights, I also played three games of Netrunner. I think I’ve reached the end of my interest in this game, even though it is brimming with all sorts of exciting new content coming out in the future.
Favorite Group Experience: 
War of the Ring (Second Edition) – This probably would have been Netrunner, but I can’t pass up a chance to love on my favorite game of all time. It was as epic and enjoyable as ever, and it was fun teaching the game to someone new. I lost, but only because getting to 10VP isn’t an instant-win condition. Their final die allowed the Fellowship to destroy the ring and steal victory from my grasp after I had conquered what I needed to win.
Best New-to-Me Group Experience: Lignum – Words cannot fully express how much I enjoyed this game. I already mentioned it above, so I’ll be brief here: it is a game that is great with two, but even better when you add more into there!
Most Surprising Group Game: The Game – I played this as a 2-player game a while ago and had some fun. When that same guy was over for a recent game night and we needed a closer, he wanted to pull this out. I was curious how it would be with four (it’s harder) and if my wife would like it. Surprisingly, she really enjoyed the game. And I think I do, too. This is one I think we’ll look to pick up eventually as a good filler for all player counts, including solo.
Group Game I Want to Play Most: Android: Netrunner – I like this game. And I mean that I really, really like this game. Which was a big surprise to me, since it never appealed to me when I would read up on the game. But it has that fun asymmetric style and a good bluffing aspect that can be used along the way. While it is more fun to be the aggressor and play the Runner, I have found some good enjoyment from being the Corp as well. This is a game I can’t wait to play again.

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

Finally, an update on my Quest for Designers/Publishers. I’m sitting at 14/144 (+7) games played. If I had to throw them in an order of favorite to least-favorite, it would look something like this:

Lignum
Argent: The Consortium
Scythe
Viticulture: Essential Edition
Haspelknecht
Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
Eight Minute Empire: Legends
Patchwork
The Castles of Burgundy
A Feast for Odin
Imperial Settlers
Agricola
Caverna: Cave vs Cave
Herbaceous

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!