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?

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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!

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

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!

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 · Gaming Recap · On the Table

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