Board Gaming · On the Table · Gaming Recap

September 2017 Gaming Recap

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

Games Played as a Couple

Games Played Solo

Games Played in a Group

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

2-Player Gaming:

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

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

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

Solo Gaming:

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

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

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

Group Gaming:

September Group Games:
18 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
83 Unique Games (+13)

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

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

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

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

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

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Board Gaming · On the Table

August 2017 Gaming Recap

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

Games Played as a Couple

Games Played Solo

Games Played in a Group

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

2-Player Gaming:

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

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

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

Solo Gaming:

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

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

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

Group Gaming:

August Group Games:
25 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
70 Unique Games (+19)

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

Be sure to check out the full slate of games played over at the BGG Blog by following this link: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/68647/august-2017-game-recap

Board Gaming · On the Table · Gaming Recap

On the Table – August 2017

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

Hot Games of August

Mystic Vale

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

Stellar Leap

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

Next Games on Deck

Unearth

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

Mage Knight

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

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

Incantris

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

Albion’s Legacy

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

A Wishlist Feature

Raiders of the North Sea

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

Between Two Cities

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

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

July 2017 Gaming Recap

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

Games Played as a Couple

Games Played Solo

Games Played in a Group

 

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

2-Player Gaming:

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

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

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

Solo Gaming:

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

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

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

Group Gaming:

July Group Games:
15 Unique Games

2017 Group games:
51 Unique Games (+7)

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

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

Board Gaming · On the Table

On the Table – July 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 July

Haspelknecht

This game is outstanding. We played it three times in a row one morning and it definitely brings the brain burn when done back to back to back. This is a game with a lot of fun and interesting mechanics working together. It provides a really unique entry into the worker placement genre, and it might just be my favorite worker placement game. Easily in my top three for that category. This is one we just haven’t been able to revisit in the past week or so, which is the one thing preventing a review from getting up. I bet we fix that early in the week so that we can give you a bigger, better coverage of a game you should play by a company you should be watching.

Castles of Caladale

This is an unique entry as a hot solo game because it isn’t me playing this one so much solo…she is! Which is something that I really enjoy seeing and hearing about – Herbaceous is the other game that she’s been soloing a fair amount this past week. She is outstanding at games like Caladale, and with her solo feats I don’t know that I will ever be able to win a game of this against her in the future. Fantastic game that is a little more interesting than Carcassonne but not a very heavy game. We love some of the unique things it does with more players, but it also makes a nice solo option.

Next Games on Deck

Exile Sun

We got this one in a math trade back in March and there have been a few times she’s asked about it. Foolish husband that I am, I hadn’t read the rules yet each time she asked. That step has been corrected, but she hasn’t mentioned this one again since that happened. The smart husband would forego one of his own favorite games to pull this one out in the near future. I think this has the makings of being a hit with us, and I really think the battle system will be perfect in a 2-player game.

Sherwood’s Legacy

I love the solo on the first Lynnvander game, and I have no doubt I’ll enjoy this one just as much. I’ve never been quite as big into Robin Hood as I am into King Arthur, but I do enjoy Robin Hood quite a bit. When I punched this game out a few weeks ago, I really had to convince myself that I wanted to play Albion’s Legacy instead of this one. Ever since that night, I’ve had the temptation to pull this back out and play it. There is no way this remains unplayed through the end of this month.

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

The Castles of Burgundy

She really likes this game. We actually picked it up off a friend for a good price, since his own wife never really enjoyed the game. She always asks for this one and I usually oblige. After listening to Heavy Cardboard talk about this game, I am itching to try it again. I’m yet to win a game of this one, but I almost always have fun while losing in this game. Except when she takes the building I need in the last round, leaving me just short of filling that 8-hex grouping. I’m not bitter at all about that…

Stamford Bridge: The End of the Viking Age

I really enjoy this game, and am curious to test out both maps again in a solo match. While I still need to drag my wife into a game, there is something relaxing about pushing the chits around on the map and trying to maneuver both sides into ideal situations and see where the dice happens to fall. The simple system makes this a really good solo wargame, as I’m not constantly flipping through the rules and there is only one chart to reference.

A Wishlist Feature

Stronghold (2nd Edition)

This game is one I’ve talked about before, dating as far back as my 10 games I want to play in 2017. This is one I still haven’t gotten a chance to try, and I am still convinced this will be an outstanding 2-player-only game. I love that each side plays very different, and I just want to have The Two Towers playing in the background while we battle over Helm’s Deep the stronghold.

Mage Knight Board Game

I think it is time for me to take the plunge into the quintessential solo game of all solo games. I don’t know how often it will hit the table, but I have a feeling that after one game of this I won’t care. This is the #1 solo game for a reason, and it is a game that sounds like it will hit all the right spots for me as well. Maybe I’ll try to find a day every few months where I can sit down, set up, and play a 3-6 hour game of Mage Knight. My wife can be understanding of my desire to play a game, and sometimes even supportive of my solo gaming decisions. The price tag has been the only thing keeping me from picking it up sooner. Here’s hoping for a Christmas surprise.

Board Gaming · Gaming Recap · On the Table

On the Table – June 2017

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

Hot Games of June

Holmes: Sherlock and Mycroft

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

Yokohama

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

Freedom: The Underground Railroad

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

Memorable Game Night Quote

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

Next Games on Deck

Haspelknecht

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

Stamford Bridge: End of the Viking Age

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

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

Viticulture: Essential Edition

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

Race for the Galaxy

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

A Wishlist Feature

Herbaceous

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

One Deck Dungeon

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

Board Gaming · On the Table

On the Table – May 2017

**Before I begin, I want to bring a little attention to a Kickstarter that is ending very, very soon. Battle for Biternia is a great-looking game that has hours left on the campaign. If you are reading this on May 15th or May 16th, check this link out and consider backing this campaign or, at the least, helping to spread the word about this game. I think it looks excellent, and I am really hoping they get that final surge to fund this game.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stonecirclegames/battle…

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 May

Agricola (revised edition) with Farmers of the Moor Expansion

I was never a fan of Agricola. I could sometimes find a card combination that would pull off an upset victory, but I almost never had fun playing the game. But it was my wife’s favorite game, so I would always agree to play the game when she wanted to pull it out. This year we picked up Farmers of the Moor and…well, it transformed this game from one I would play because she liked it into a game that I actually kind of enjoy. It will never be a Top 5 game for me, and time will tell if I like this or Caverna more, but the expansion was a game-changer and now I actually want to play this game from time to time.

Space Hulk: Death Angel

Oh how I love this as a solo game. This is easily in my Top 5 for solo games, even though I have logged just three plays of it so far. I played it twice in February when I got the game and finally pulled it back out the night before our move. And wow, it was a blast. I had a few lucky draws, a few lucky rolls, and some advantageous location cards that all led to my first victory. I lost half my marines, yet each team still had one man standing by the end. This one is likely to see a play or two more this month!

Next Games on Deck

Yokohama

We got our copy of this right before the move, so it went straight into the box. Yet my wife and I are both set to have this be the next game we learn to play, which should occur sometime this month still. I think this will be a game that we’ll both really enjoy. It looks like a table-eater in terms of space for setting it up, but the turns sound really simple. It almost reminds me of Istanbul, which is a game that appears complicated with all the different spaces and their powers yet is quite simple when you realize you do two things on your turn: move and activate the space you land on.

Elevenses for One

With all the great solo games in my collection seeing play time, I do need to make the time to get back to some of the games I printed out to play through solo. This one is arguably the shortest and simplest in my binder, so I am positive I can still find the time to pull this one out and learn a new solo game this month in addition to 9 Card Siege. Everything I hear about this convinces me that there is a really good game within that small set of cards!

Games We Can’t Wait to Replay

Cry Havoc

This one finally hit the table a few days before our move. It was great fun, even though I was thoroughly defeated by her Human armies. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I am itching to try pulling those Pilgrims out for a rematch against her. This was a game I had really high expectations for and, after just one play, it appears as though it should hit those expectations. Which is the opposite of how things played out for Blood Rage. I really need to get them both back to the table soon, but I have a very strong feeling that I will end up enjoying Cry Havoc more in the end.

Lord of the Rings: LCG

When I was early in my solo journey as a board gamer, this was a game I picked up because so many solo gamers raved about the game. I knew, going in, that my wife wouldn’t want to play because it was a co-op game. I also knew that eventually I would need to either jump in full-force and buy expansions or it would reach its end. I chose to forego expansions, even though I played this probably 25-30 times in the first months owning it. I passed it along to a friend, and he happened to be helping us move this weekend. When I asked how they liked the game, he confessed they hadn’t played it yet and mentioned if I wanted it back, I was welcome to it. Right now, I think I might just take him up on that….

A Wishlist Feature

Stronghold (2nd Edition)

This one has been on my wish list for way, way too long. It is a game I need to finally just go ahead and get into our collection, because I am convinced it will be an excellent experience for the two of us. I can already imagine pretending that I have Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn there helping to defend the swarms of Uruk-hai and Orcs at Helm’s Deep. I don’t know why we don’t already own this game, but it will fit really well into our collection of war-related games that I win 15% of the time but still have a ton of fun losing.

Onirim

Before Shahrazad, I had convinced myself that this was the one highly-rated solo game I didn’t really need in my collection. It didn’t sound like the game would have a long-lasting appeal for me. Yet the experience with Shahrazad has led me to believe this one might just be as good of a game as people claim. It is priced well, and is certainly the first Oniverse game that a person should start with. So now I am prepared to dive right in to this game and see for myself how it plays and see if it becomes a favorite.