Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Top Ten List · Wish List

Ten Games I Want to Play in 2018

Last year I made a list of a ton of games I wanted to be sure to play in 2017. Overall I did a respectable job at trying most of those games, although I did miss a few of them. I thought I would make the same approach this year, but going with ten games to fit into ten different “categories” of my choosing. There are so many great games out there, but these are the ones highest on my list to try right now.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go to HeavyCon and knock a few of these off my list…

1. A Capstone Games game – Three Kingdoms Redux

This game intrigues me so much. A heavy game for exactly three players. Asymmetric sides. Shifting of power over the course of the game. A dynamic tension that will come from having the presence of three sides vying for power over the course of the game. This is a game that is likely to be difficult to bring and play at a random game night, but is the perfect game to coordinate a play. It is a Capstone title, which means I already am inclined to give it a try (thus the category for a Capstone game!) I definitely hope to play all of the Capstone games out there, but this one stands at the top of my list of their games I hope to play.

Which of the Capstone Games titles do you enjoy the most?

2. A Top 10 Game – Terra Mystica

As of this writing I have played only four of the top 10 games listed on BGG. I definitely want to try a few of the others in there, but the one that stands out most is Terra Mystica. It is that game I hear talked about so often, yet I am lacking a play of the game. It sounds like my type of game, one that I think my wife would enjoy playing as well. I know the new hotness is Gaia Project, but I would rather start with the game which paved the way for some of the other current games.

Which group should I play as for my first game? Let me know in the comments below!

3. A Train Game – Age of Steam

Hoo boy, I know I need to eventually tackle a train game. As in an 18XX game, not just Ticket to Ride or Whistle Stop. Before plunging into the deep end, I think it’d be beneficial to visit this classic in the genre. It is long out of print, but hopefully someone local has a copy that they’d be willing to pull out and teach. With around 160 maps to choose from, this is the ultimate game for variety out there.

Let me know which map(s) are best to learn on for each player count! I’m sure the teacher will already have an idea in mind, but if I could only play one map at __ player count, what should it be?

4. An Uwe Rosenburg Game – Ora et Labora

There are a handful of Rosenburg big-box games I haven’t played yet: Fields of Arle, Glass Roads, Le Havre. But the one game I want to try more than any other right now would be this out of print classic. I fully blame Edward and Amanda at Heavy Cardboard for this one, as their review of the game last year sucked me in and made me want to play this. The opportunity never came up last year, but I am going to work hard to get a chance to try it this year. I know at least one local player has a copy, which means there is a chance.

Let me know which Rosenburg game is YOUR favorite!

5. A COIN Game – Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain

Like the train games, this will be the year I try out a COIN game. There are plenty of them to choose from at this point, although only two of them have a strong theme appeal to me (Pendragon & Falling Sky). I was so excited about the release of Pendragon when I heard about it last year, and this one has a strong appeal with both a solo mode and what should be a great 2-player experience. I’m a huge Arthurian/Middle Ages fan, and that makes this the ideal game to reel me into the COIN system. I’m letting myself buy at most two games this year. This one has a very high chance of being one of those two purchases.

Which COIN game in the series is your favorite so far?

6. A Filler Game – Arboretum

Let’s go ahead and blame Heavy Cardboard for this one as well. Out of print? Check. Thinky filler? Check. You can never have, or play, too many fillers, especially of the variety which engage your brain. I’ve heard nothing but strong responses about this one, and I can’t wait to try this out. There were a few others that came close to stealing this spot, especially after watching a little of Heavy Cardboard’s live stream of Iron Curtain last night. But I decided to stick with my initial resolution of seeking a play or two of Arboretum. Maybe this will be a game that Capstone can bring back into print on their Simply Complex line…

What are some of your favorite filler games? Let me know in the comments below!

7. Golden Elephant Winner – Food Chain Magnate

This game was going to make the list already, but I decided to shift it here in order to open #9 for a different title. I have heard a ton of great things about this game, and I know of a few locals who own the game and at least one person who proclaims it as their favorite game. This might be among the easiest games on this list to get a chance to play. This is one of those games that, initially, I had no interest in playing when I heard about it. Thankfully, my tastes and interests have grown over time and now this game easily makes my list of ones I can’t wait to try out.

Let’s have some fun with this spot…2017 is in the books and soon we’ll learn the games Edward & Amanda will be nominating for their Golden Elephant awards. Any guesses on what games we might see as finalists for the award?

8. A Vital Lacerda Game – Vinhos

I played my first Lacerda game last year when I tried out Lisboa. I still crave a second play of that game. I’ve heard mixed opinions on which of his games are the best, but the one that seems to be universally proclaimed as being good is Vinhos. I really enjoyed playing Viticulture, which is that other wine-making game out there. And yes, I know the two games are as different as can be. This game will probably melt my brain, much like did during Lisboa, and I can’t wait to experience the game that kicked off Vital’s career as a designer. I am reasonably certain this should be an easy game to find a willing teacher for, and I have a feeling that 2018 might turn into a quest to try all of Vital’s games so far.

Which Lacerda game is your favorite? There seems to be a great divide over this question, so I am curious which one you love most and why!

9. A Splotter Game – Antiquity

Splotter is a company that holds a high reputation for games in the industry. I haven’t played a single one yet, and if this list works out I will have played at least two when I finish these ten games. It was a struggle to decide between this, The Great Zimbabwe, and Roads & Boats for the spot. TGZ was just mentioned by Edward as a Gateway to Heavier Games. Travis at Low Player Count sings the praises for Roads & Boats on pretty much every other episode of their podcast. At least it feels that way! But I think the recent reprint of Antiquity signals a good time to try this one out. I’ve seen a few locals posting about the game, which means it is being purchased and has people who would likely want to play the game. The theme grabs me more than any other Splotter title, as well, so I’ll be looking forward to trying this one out.

You know the drill by now: which is your favorite Splotter title?

10. People’s Choice – Keyflower

Yesterday I created a poll with ten games. Essentially, the next ten in consideration for this list. The ones that didn’t quite make the cut. What I didn’t expect was for one of the games on that list to win by a landslide. It was an overwhelming majority voting for Keyflower, which was a game I hoped to play in 2017 (it made honorable mention on my list) but the one time I cam closest to playing the game, it didn’t pan out. Too many people wanted to play a game and, rather than splitting into two groups, we played Bohnanza with 7 players. Oh, how I wish it had been Keyflower instead. This is one I know my wife would enjoy, too, as it is a unique worker placement game. What better way to hook her onto the Key-series, just like she’s hooked onto Rosenburg, than by playing this title with her?

Wide open question on this one: if someone said you could play only one game this year, which would you pick and why? It could be a new game, something new to you, or your overall favorite game!

The next 10

Here’s the next ten that would make the list, not sorted in order or by category:

11. Twilight Struggle
12. Caylus
13. Le Havre
14. Rococo
15. Dominant Species
16. Trick of the Rails
17. Iron Curtain
18. 1846: The Race for the Midwest
19. An Infamous Traffic
20. Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia

Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Solo Gaming · Top Ten List

Top 10 Solo Games – 2017

I had posed a few ideas for a Top __ List to cover this month and the overwhelming majority were interested in a solo list. This is, by no means, a definitive list. I finally played Friday for the first time a few weeks ago and my only Onirim experiences have been via the app. I’ve played Mage Knight a grand total of two times, which is the same number as my Terraforming Mars solo plays and one more time than my Scythe plays. Like any list, these are pretty much capable of being in flux at any point in time.

#10 – Chrononauts – This one is going to be one of the bigger surprises on the list. Believe me, I didn’t expect to like this one as much as a solo game. Friday is threatening to knock it out of the Top 10 for me, as I really love a deckbuilder game, but at least for this year I will keep this where I originally planned to place the game. It provides a fun and challenging puzzle, given you have to align the timeline for eight different travelers in the time it takes to go through the deck once. I’ve gotten to 7 of them one time, and most times end with 5-6 getting aligned. This is a hard, fast, rewarding solo experience. I wish it was a little more Doctor Who-ish in feel, which is why I can’t wait to finally get around to the Doctor Who 2nd Edition Solo Game…

#9 – Terraforming Mars – I had my doubts about this as a solo game, but my first two plays have dispelled those doubts. This is a solid game, and one that has a ton of potential for replay. It will feel repetitive to some players because, in essence, you are trying to accomplish the same exact objective every play. The trick comes in how to maximize the usefulness of those cards you get, which is less than half the deck on both of the plays I’ve done. You could probably do a back-to-back session using the rest of the deck for the second game for an interesting and challenging experience. This will likely rise by the end of 2018 once I log more plays.

#8 – Sherwood’s Legacy – I really need to break this one back out to determine where this really sits on the list. It was a really fun game in a tower defense style. I played with the easy rules of ignoring the Wanted system and barely managed to pull it off. It is probably the easiest and least luck-dependent of the three Legacy games from Lynnvander so far, making it a perfect puzzle to play through. I’ve been really pleased with all three of those Legacy games, and this is the game for those who want to be able to plan out their turns in advance to maximize their efficiency.

#7 – Scythe – I really, really love the Automa system that has been implemented in a handful of titles. This one has a fairly steep learning curve for the movement, but I think I got it down and played it right. I squeaked out a win by a single point thanks to an extra turn I hadn’t expected to get – this one will provide a great challenge and variety thanks to the various factions in the base game. I can only imagine how that will increase with the Wind Gambit expansion coming in December. I need to make a point of getting this one back on the table soon because this was a great experience and probably a game that will move up further once I play it some more.

#6 – Yeomen: The 9 Card Agincourt Game – This is a gem of a game that every solo gamer should print out and play. It is fast, challenging, and a lot of fun. There aren’t a lot of things to print and cut, making it a fast thing to get ready for the table. The rules might be a bit of a challenge for the first play, but after a while it really starts to click. This is a fantastic solo game that can be knocked out, every time, in under 15 minutes once you get the game’s rules down. I can’t recommend this one enough – unfortunately, this is probably going to drop hard once Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and others get some more plays at the table.

#5 – Mage Knight Board Game – This is the solo game to end all solo games, or so I have heard. And with two plays logged, I can see the great appeal here. The biggest detractor to this game is the time it takes to setup, play, and tear down the game. There is one other game on this list that comes close to the time, and it has a little easier ruleset and a more appealing overall theme for me. I really love the progression of the character, though, making this my one and only “dungeon crawl” style of game on the list. The former RPG-lover in me craves that kind of experience at times and this one certainly delivers.

#4 – Viticulture: Essential Edition – If you read my review of this one solo, this placement won’t come as any surprise. Actually, it might be a little undervalued. This one was one of two games to really catch me off-guard this year in terms of how much I enjoyed the solo experience (with the other being Chrononauts). Worker placement is really my wife’s mechanic, although I do enjoy playing them. So when this one hooked me completely for play after play, I had to pay attention. Easily the best game to pick up if you want a game that plays well for 1-6 players, and I’ve heard the expansion makes the game experience even better.

#3 – Race for the Galaxy – I think nostalgia for my early years of playing this game solo has it holding on to a higher spot than it deserves; however, it could equally be argued to hold this spot because it is always a fun and challenging experience. This was the game that led me down the path of solo gaming, eventually leading to my decision to get rid of my video gaming systems. In the past year or so since that decision, I’ve found so many great games. Yet I always know that I can grab this one, set it up, and that dreaded robot will force me to fight for every point needed to defeat it. On easy…

#2 – Albion’s Legacy – I will admit that the theme of the game appeals to me far more than it might for others, boosting this game up at least a few slots higher than it might deserve on merit alone. Yet at its core this is still a solid exploration/questing game that provides crushingly difficult challenges every step of the way. It takes some time to set up, but nothing quite as extreme as Mage Knight. This one has a play time of around two or three hours to run through a quest, even though it has a time limit of ten rounds. There is so much Arthurian lore interwoven through this game that it makes me giddy inside every time I play it. Only one theme could excite me more, which leads me to…

#1 – Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Boom! That is the sound of this list exploding in the past month. I had owned and played this game in the summer of 2016 and eventually parted with it rather than purchase expansion content for it. After all, the Core Set can only be played so many times before it grows stale and begs to be expanded. I reclaimed the game and, since I got it back, I have logged 18 solo plays, taught a friend who then purchased a core set, starting writing a strategy series about the core set, built and rebuilt half a dozen decks, signed up for the 2017 Fellowship Event in December, and agreed to quest regularly in the game with the friend who I taught the game to. I’ve played it five times this weekend and I’m itching to reset and play a sixth time. And I still haven’t expanded the game beyond the core…something that will be changing in the next few days. If I had found the Black Riders deluxe expansion local (or online) then I would have already picked that up because this game is consuming my solo play time in a good way. It is only fitting, after all, that my favorite solo game is a Lord of the Rings themed game. My favorite 2-player game (and by extension overall favorite) is a Lord of the Rings game as well, and I don’t see either of them losing their thrones any time soon. Yes, the Core Set alone has its limits and its flaws. But if there is one game I will gladly dive into for the long haul, it is this one.

A Few Speculations on Games that Could Appear Here in 2018

Arkham Horror: The Card Game would be a very likely candidate to make this list if I picked it up. I imagine it would have the same note as the Lord of the Rings game, in that it needs to be expanded to keep it fresh and interesting. The game takes a different approach than Lord of the Rings while keeping some familiar mechanics and does some great things. It is probably, mechanically, a better game. But theme is king when comparing the two and I just love Lord of the Rings a ton more than the Lovecraftian mythos. But this would very likely be a top five, if not top three game if I picked it up for solo play.

Nations is a game that caught my attention when I played it with two others, and I’ve heard it has a really solid solo play. There are times when you just want to sit down and do some civilization building, and this would be one that I could see contending if I picked it up. The problem is that price tag is too high for the game. If it came with the game and the expansion for $100, I might be convinced.

Lisboa is a game I really loved my first play of. I know nothing about its solo version of the game, but I am nevertheless excited to test it out if/when the game enters my collection. It is a game I was excited about picking up eventually, and knowing that others are enjoying the solo play makes me have high hopes for this one.

Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain is a game I have been super-excited for. Being a COIN game, it has a solid system behind it. I haven’t tried a COIN game yet. Not many of them interest me with their theme. However, I have decided that will not prevent me from wanting to pick this up to play alone and with others. Will running three factions via their flowcharts make the experience clunky, or will it provide the fascinating and challenging gameplay that I am hoping for? I hope to find out in 2018, which is when I will realistically be looking to finally snag a copy of this one before it goes out of print.

Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Top Ten List · Wish List

Top Essen Games I’d Want to Check Out (If I Went to Essen)

As the title implies, I will not be attending Essen this year. As great as it would be to go, and as cool as Essen would be for a first convention, this one is just not in my cards for 2017. Probably not even 2018. But that won’t prevent me from being able to look at the releases and seeing what games I would be excited about.

There are two sections included here: games themselves that I’d like to check out at Essen (some are already out, some are rereleases, and others are new and upcoming games), and a section with a few expansions I’m excited to try.

There are over 1000 games under the Essen preview tool. Less than a hundred of these made my initial “look into these more” listing. But getting it down to these was a little difficult. There are some really, really good games coming out. And there are some smaller or less-hyped games that sound good and could be amazing. So, before I ramble on too long, here are the games I’d love to check out if I was at Essen (in no particular order):

Games I know are already out

Lisboa – Diving right into a heavy game here…I’m not sure why but this is one of the games that is near the top of my wish list. I haven’t played a Lacerda game yet, but I see no reason why this couldn’t or shouldn’t be our first. The theme and mechanics of the game drew me in as I listened to Heavy Cardboard talk about the game. It was enough to convince me that this is a game I don’t want to miss out on.

Raiders of the North Sea – If Lisboa is near the top of my wish list, this game resides at the pinnacle. A Viking worker placement game that doesn’t use dice for combat. I think we’ll both find a lot of things to enjoy about this game, and I keep hearing fantastic things about the mechanics within the game.

Tiny Epic Quest – I have played and really enjoyed a few of the Tiny Epic games. When this was described as Zelda in a box, I knew it would be only a matter of time before I would play the game. I’m still seeking that opportunity, and can’t wait until I get to experience this one.

Whistle Stop – Okay, so I’ve played this game once. But man, there are so many things about the game I’d like to revisit and try again. It was a really fun game, and my stock-heavy strategy fell just short of victory. A few wiser decisions along the way and I might have ended up with the win instead of a loss. Bonus points for this being a game I am sure my wife would enjoy.

Antiquity (3rd Edition) – This one appears up here because it is a new edition of an existing game. It would be my first play of a Splotter game, and why not jump in with this instead of something like The Great Zimbabwe? I really want to try some Splotter games, as I am coming to enjoy heavy games a lot. And so this one makes it onto my radar.

Iron Dragon (Second Edition) – A fantasy train game? This might be one that I could get my wife to try out, probably as a next-step after introducing her to Whistle Stop. It might take time to warm her up to trying an 18XX game, but this one should be one we’ll enjoy together.

The King’s Abbey (Second Edition) – A rerelease of a worker placement set in Medieval times. Are you kidding me? You get to construct an Abbey, go on crusades, and more during a period of history that I really enjoy? And since it is a worker placement game my wife might be interested, too? Sign me up!

Charterstone – No surprise here, this game had to make the cut. I’ve been so excited for the upcoming Stonemaier Games release, and nothing that I have heard has changed that. It is a legacy Worker Placement game that can be played by 1-6 players, it’ll allow you to build your own unique charters that are replayable when the campaign is finished, and I am yet to meet a Stonemaier Games game that I don’t like. This is as close to a must-have as it gets for me.

The Climbers – Capstone Games is tied to this release, and I’ve had the same track record with Capstone as I have with Stonemaier. If that wasn’t enough, this was Edward at Heavy Cardboard’s top “Thinky Filler” game, and this is a game that will command attention when played at a game night. I can’t wait to try this one out and find out why Edward has been singing its praises.

Hunt for the Ring – My favorite game of all time is War of the Ring by Ares Games. I was so disappointed by The Battle of Five Armies because it was, essentially, War of the Ring Lite and I found myself always wanting to play War of the Ring instead. This game promises to be something completely different, making it a must-try for me. The Tolkien fan in me demands it.

The Ruhr: A Story of Coal Trade – We enjoyed Haspelknecht so much that I am definitely interested in exploring the rest of the Coal Trilogy. We don’t play many pick up & deliver games, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for that in our collection. This one should be very solid, and being a Capstones Game is an added plus.

Shadows in Kyoto – The successor to Hanamikoji. If I knew nothing else about this game, that in itself would be enough. But this sounds fantastic, being a game completely different from Hanamikoji but with the same outstanding artwork. I really, really can’t wait to try this game.

Albedo – This one is a tough one to have make the cut, but I think it just manages. I’ve had my eye on Core Worlds this year, and this game takes some inspiration from that. It is a deckbuilder with what sounds like a built-in “trashing” mechanism that sounds fantastic. This will be a hard sell to the wife, but she’ll tolerate a few plays of a deckbuilder. Who knows, this might join Mystic Vale as a deckbuilder she actually enjoys!

Alien Artifacts – This game has been described as a successor to Race for the Galaxy. Considering that Race is one of my favorite games, and has been for years, that makes me immediately interested in trying the game. Will it replace Race? I doubt it is possible, but I would love to try this one out and see how it stacks up.

The Cousins’ War – This one is another small one that deserves to remain on my radar. I enjoy 2-player only games that have a small footprint, small component list, and play quickly. This promises to provide all of that in this duel representing the War of the Roses. My wife may not like that it has some dice in there, but from what I’ve read this has enough things going on that it won’t be a dealbreaker for her.

Fantastiqa Rival Realms – This is another 2-player only game that makes the list. I’ve heard great things about Fantastiqa from reviewers like Mina’s Fresh Cardboard in the past, and a 2-player spinoff game sounds like it is worth checking out. Players are magicians building the landscape, finding beasts, creating artifacts, and more in a head-to-head competition. Yes, please!

Harvest – We really enjoyed Harbour once we got the rules of it right, and so this game promises to be a worker placement game we’d like as well. It isn’t supposed to merely be a retheming of Harbour, so I am excited to see how this one turns out and what is different.

Keyper – Holy buckets, this is apparently the eighth game in the Key series of games which started the Worker Placement genre. I’ve really wanted to try Keyflower, but I think any of these would be a fantastic place to jump in and play. My wife loves worker placement games, and something tells me this one wouldn’t be a disappointment at all for us.

Nusfjord – Rosenberg. Worker placement. My wife would drag me along to try this one out just from those three words. I do like the idea of leaving farming behind and instead managing a fishing fleet. It also sounds like this has some similarities mechanically to Ora et Labora and Agricola, both great Rosenberg games. Yep, this had to make the list.

Game Expansions

Mystic Vale: Mana Storm – I was surprised when she loved Mystic Vale, and so of course I want to expand the card pool and strategies available in this deckbuilding game. And this promises to accomplish both of those things.

Scythe: The Wind Gambit – Airships in Scythe! No more need to unlock Riverwalk as your first mech in the game, although I bet there is still incentive to do so. I enjoy Scythe a lot so far, and this would be the first must-have expansion which adds several interesting elements to the game.

Agricola: Artifex Deck – My favorite part of Agricola? Figuring out how my fourteen cards can be used in my favor. My wife’s least favorite part of Agricola? The cards. We’ll be divided on this purchase, but I hope to win out in the end. After all, she doesn’t have to use the cards if she doesn’t like them…

Cry Havoc: Aftermath – I really have enjoyed my first plays of Cry Havoc and this is one I need to get back to the table. People claim there are balance issues between the factions, but I don’t buy into that. I like a game that rewards repeated plays and finding out how to adapt in order to win, which means the game will remain in our collection. This expansion promises to take what is a good game and make it even better.

Kingdom Builder: Harvest – We’ve determined we both really enjoy this game and want more expansions for the game. We have Nomads now, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t or wouldn’t jump ahead to grab Harvest before getting the other ones. This is the one game I think she might actually like getting expansions for.

Board Gaming · Top Ten List

Top 6 Thinky Filler Games

Kudos to Edward and Amanda over at Heavy Cardboard for covering their own Top 6 Thinky Filler Games. I loved hearing about a good number of games that I hadn’t played yet, and have at least one of them that I am definitely going to be checking out here in the near future. It got me to thinking about my own set of filler games in my collection and which ones would be classifiable under their criteria:

  1. A game you wouldn’t normally go seeking to play at a game night
  2. A game playable in under 45 minutes (roughly)

The first of these is the biggest weight for the criteria, and rules out more games than I expected. I also had to consider the likely playtime at higher counts than 2-players with games that play more than 2. This might be a list I choose to revisit every year or so, with so many games out there that I haven’t played. There are two games on here that are, arguably, fringe games. There is some gray area, but they both should fall in these two categories. Even though I really enjoy them, I wouldn’t go to a game night just to play one of them.

Honorable Mention: Biblios – This game came so close to being in the top list, but I had to draw the line somewhere and I felt my one play of Hanamikoji simply presented far more meaningful decisions than this one. I love Biblios and the choices presented as you look at each card, but a fair amount of luck plays a factor because you simply don’t know what the next cards you’re looking at will be. The two phases of this game work well together to present a nice amount of depth, as you want to prepare for the auction in the first half of the game. And then, once the auction comes around, you need to be wise in your purchases so that you hold the majority in a few colors without overspending to get them. I always enjoy playing this game because it rarely feels like playing a filler, something you’ll hear me mention often when it comes to games like the others on this list.

6. Hanamikoji – Full disclosure: I’ve played this game only one time so far. But in that one play I was able to experience the depth of the decisions contained in this game. It is, without question, the best of what I’d consider to be a “micro game” in terms of the number of cards/components. I really love the tough decisions that come with having four actions at your disposal and the need to play each of them once per round. The order in which you do those actions will dictate how the rest of the round can play out for you, as each turn you get one more card into your hand. Having a secret card adds some uncertainty about who will end up with a majority on that number/color. Removing two cards from the round amplifies that uncertainty. And the other seven cards that end up in your hand? You’ll only play four of them on your side, and your opponent will get three of them. The more I reflect on the actions in this game, the more I love them. This is a game that may leap higher on this list as soon as I get some more plays of it.

5. Eight Minute Empire: Legends – This game certainly doesn’t play in eight minutes, but it falls firmly in the filler category. There are so many simple elements in this game, yet they combine together to present an excellent overall experience that contains more depth and requires more thought than you’d expect. In fact, it wasn’t until I sat down and wrote my review of the game that I fully understood how much I enjoyed this game. This game provides an experience that is bigger than the box would indicate, yet does so with such simple mechanics to where almost anyone can play the game and feel like they are doing well. The points are so hard to come by in this game that you feel like every turn’s decision matters, and your pool of coins are limited to where you really need to be wise about when to make that splash purchase that costs 2 or 3 of your coins.

4. The Speicherstadt – This game is deceptive. The name is clunky and funky to those of us in America. The board doesn’t looks that fantastic, and the coins feel like cardboard with some stickers on them, much like those gold coin chocolate candies. The theme is far from memorable. Yet in spite of all of these things, this game blew me away the first time I tried it. So much so that the next time I brought my wife to a game night, I insisted she try that game (thankfully someone different brought their copy of it that time). It isn’t a game I’d go to a game night to play (although I’d gladly play it if this was being set up…depending on what else is being set up at the time), and it definitely can be played in 45 minutes with a set of people who know what they are going and are not prone to AP. The decisions you have to make in this game are so hard. Money is tight. Your meeples are few. The cards you’ll want to buy are many, but you can only have a shot to buy a few of them. And the meeple placement to drive up the price is s stroke of pure brilliance. This is the game where I went from winning with enough points that I “went off the board” because it didn’t go high enough, to losing with negative points on my next play. And I had a really good time both times, enjoying the thinky nature of this game.

3. Battle Line – I had a really hard time placing this game. I had it wavering between #2-4, and ultimately decided to place it in the middle of the list. It was a game on Edward’s on list at Heavy Cardboard, and I couldn’t agree more with what he said about the game. There is so much potential to get in your opponent’s head in this game when placing out cards as they’ll start to wonder if you have those exact cards you’d need in order to capture that flag. The tactics cards are an added element that allow you to break the rules in some ways and also enable you to have extra of a certain number or color if needed, should you get the right card. Yet you also can’t hold them, because the flag can be lost if your opponent can prove there is no card in the Troop deck that can provide the victory. I expressed my love for this game in my recent review of it, and this will remain my favorite 2-player-only filler when I want to pull out a game that makes me think.

2. Kingdom Builder – This is the game that could be argued against placing on this list. After all, this one comes in a big box. But, in my opinion, it definitely fits the criteria listed before: playable in 45-ish minutes and a game you wouldn’t go to a game night to play. I’d certainly play it while at a game night, but it wouldn’t be that feature game I’d want to spend my evening playing. I really love this game, and the limitation of one card in your hand is part of what adds to the thinky nature of this game (which is one of the things I discussed at greater length in my review). Your placement, especially in the first rounds of the game, dictates how your game will play out in many of your games. Deciding which power(s) to go after first is vital, and will either help or hinder your game. Having three scoring conditions, which change from play to play, add replay value and also influence your placement both early and late in the game. There will be the occasional game where a bad string of draws can hamper your late game, but the majority of plays with this game end up being a near-ideal thinky filler.

1. The King is Dead – This is the benchmark that all future fillers will be weighed against. I taught this game to two friends. We immediately played it again and the game was intense. Silent filled the room as we weighed each action and its possible repercussions. With only eight actions available over the course of the entire game, and the removal of a cube from the board every time a player takes an action, this game takes the area control genre and flips it in a way that I positively love. What action you choose matters. When you play it matters. What cube you remove and from where matters. This game can be as thinky as you want it to be, and with the right three people this is a fantastic game to play. Yet it can also be taken as a “lighter” game if you want to play it a little more casually with someone who isn’t as intense about finding that right time to play the card from their hand. It works fine with two, as mentioned in my review, but is best with three. Any time I need a 3-player filler this will be one I’ll consider pulling out because it is that good and that fun.

So there you have it, my top 6 (actually 7) thinky filler games. They aren’t nearly as heavy as some of the ones on Edward and Amanda’s list, but there are some here that I think would give a really good, heavy experience when played. Much bigger than you’d expect to get out of a filler.

What are some of your favorite thinky filler games?

Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Top Ten List

Game Publishers I Want to Play More

**This post originally appeared on February 28 on BGG.

While my wife and I can hardly be considered as new to the hobby, I am new to the BGG community and it has expanded my board game radar exponentially. Gone are the days when I could look at our collection of board games and see a dominance of Fantasy Flight Games. And while there is nothing wrong with playing and owning a ton of games from a major publisher, there are so many others out there that I want to play their games, too. So, as a set of criteria, here is what I am sharing:

Five game publishers who I have played at least one game by, but no more than two from.

Five game publishers whom I have played no games from.

Without any further ado, here are the publishers that I hope to explore further in the coming year or two:

1. Level 99 Games
Games played: Pixel Tactics, Pixel Tactics 2
Games on my radar: Argent: The Consortium, BattleCon: War of the Indines, Exceed: Red Horizon, All Pixel Tactics Games/Promos INCLUDING the Mega Man Pixel Tactics!

Why it is on my list: I fell in love with Pixel Tactics before my first play, and it swelled upon playing the game. I feel the urge to collect them all now! Level 99 Games has another potential hit in Argent: The Consortium, which I searched high and low to finally snag a copy that we’ll be playing in the near-ish future. BattleCon and Exceed both sound like interesting 2-player battle games, which is an area my wife and I would both enjoy. I’m not sold on my wife’s potential to enjoy Millennium Blades, although I am completely fascinated by that game’s concept.

2. Plaid Hat Games
Game Played: Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, Dead of Winter
Games on my radar: Mice and Mystics, Tail Feathers, Summoner Wars, SeaFall

Why it is on my list: It would merit a spot simply for the expansions for Ashes that are already out and those coming this year. I’ve wanted to play Mice and Mystics ever since I heard about it but, sadly, haven’t had a chance yet. Tail Feathers might be the game we get next, since it isn’t a co-op game. I always hear great things about Summoner Wars, and SeaFall would be a blast to play (but probably not own since it is 3+) as our first legacy game.

3. Red Raven Games
Game Played: Eight Minute Empire: Legends
Games on my radar: Above and Below, Near and Far, Empires of the Void II

Why it is on my list: I have always sought a fantastic board game with storytelling aspects woven in. Dead of Winter started to scratch that itch, and my wife doesn’t get into that aspect of Gloom enough to satisfy me. Which is why I want Above and Below as well as Near and Far. Empires of the Void II sounds like a great Sci-Fi game that would be a hit for the two of us.

4. Czech Games Edition
Game Played: Galaxy Trucker
Games on my radar: Dungeon Lords, Dungeon Petz, Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar

Why it is on my list: The two dungeon games, primarily, carry this one onto the list. They sound fun and exciting for worker placement games. I got to watch someone play Tzolk’in for about 10 minutes over the weekend and it seemed like a challenging game where I would constantly taste defeat but still have fun. And of course, Through the Ages seems like it might be a nice competitor for my top Civ games.

5. Gamelyn Games
Games Played: Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Tiny Epic Galaxies
Games on my radar: Tiny Epic Quest, Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, Expansions to TEK and TEG

Why it is on my list: My wife was impressed with TEK and we’ve both enjoyed TEG so far. Words cannot express how much I want TEQ, as I have a feeling it will quickly become my favorite from the Tiny Epic series. I’m also excited to get my hands on their first expansion into a larger 4X game, and I expect that the delayed Kickstarter will come back even better and blow us all away. I have nothing for respect for Gamelyn, and have enjoyed both of their games and suspect I’d enjoy them all (even the themes that I’m not as thrilled to get, such as Western, or the co-op game of Defenders).

1a. Academy Games
Games on my radar: Mare Nostrum – Empires, 878: Vikings – Invasions of England, Fief – France 1429

Why it is on my list: One word: Vikings. A wargame set during the Viking invasion has me watching Kickstarter like a hawk. If Gamelyn has a competitor for the first game to push me to backing, this one is it. I would love to find a group to play Mare Nostrum with, and I might just break down and snag Fief in order to see how the system in the 878 – Vikings game will work so that we can jump right in when that arrives.

2a. Tasty Minstrel Games
Games on my radar: Eminent Domain, Orleans, Belfort, Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done, Eminent Domain: Microcosm, Harbour

Why it is on my list: Orleans is probably the one I am most certain about, although Eminent Domain would be a close second for the game I’d love to get my hands on. I just recently learned of the Microcosm version, and that one sounds like a great 2-player filler. I’ve heard great things about Belfort and Harbour, and Crusaders sounds like a theme I’d enjoy a lot.

3a. Garphill Games
Games on my radar: Shipwrights of the North Sea, Raiders of the North Sea, Explorers of the North Sea

Why it is on my list: A trilogy of Viking games? That can be played in order to make a complete experience? With expansions that add to the trilogy experience? Why, oh why, have I not purchased any of these yet!?

4a. Stronghold Games
Games on my radar: Among the Stars, Jórvík, Stronghold 2nd Edition, Terraforming Mars, Village

Why it is on my list: I’ve been desiring the asymmetrical Stronghold for about two years now and so it is past time I get that. Village fascinates me with its system dealing with family members over the course of the game. Terraforming Mars is, of course, one of the hot new games and it sure looks interesting to me. Among the Stars is supposed to be a Sci-Fi themed 7 Wonders system and is designed for 2-4 which is a better player count. And Jórvík just popped on my list because I played The Speicherstadt this weekend and enjoyed it and found that they just reimplemented the game with a Viking theme…so of course, I need it now!

5a. Stonemaier Games
Games on my radar: Scythe, Viticulture, Charterstone

Why it is on my list: Scythe should be an obvious presence on this list, as it is one of the latest hot games and sounds quite amazing for every player count. Viticulture should be an excellent addition to our worker placement collection, and the theme might just draw the in-laws into the game enough to get them excited. Charterstone sounds wonderful, the draw being a legacy game that could play 1-2 players rather than needing 3 or more like all the other legacy games not named Pandemic.

So there you have it, ten publishers who have at least a few games I cannot wait to get a chance to play at some point (and that doesn’t even factor in expansions, such as for my two Tiny Epic games).

So tell me, what game publishers do you want to try and play more from and what games make those publishers hit your list?

Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Top Ten List

10 Games I’m Hoping to Play in 2017 (Plus 3 Expansions)

**Originally posted on 1/19/2017 on BGG, with one modification made to an honorable mention expansion because I have since traded the base game. As of right now I have played 6 of the games featured on the list and have another one still to play in my collection, along with two of the listed expansions in my collection but they are still unplayed.

It is early in 2017, and there is a lot of time for board games. I’ve begun a Geeklist of new-to-me games in 2017, and there is already quite the list on there thanks to a rather generous Christmas haul. There is still one game and three expansions on that list I have yet to play, but that won’t stop me from compiling a target list for 2017. Obviously, I would love more than anything to obtain these games. But I’ll restrain myself and just wish for at least one play…

**Note: These are in no particular order.

10. Forge War – This game is a combination of mechanics, from a nifty little mining game followed by worker placement followed by assigning your heroes to quests. I’d be very pleased to play this one, and it is probably one of those try-before-buy games because I’m not convinced my wife would love this one as much as I will. But at least there is solo play, right?

9. Scythe – Everyone is talking about this game, and I am positive this is the type of game that would be a hit for our house. The artwork, theme, and mechanics of this game make it stand out as a must-play. The solo option against automa intrigues me greatly. It also helps that everyone keeps talking about this one. Which leads me to…

8. Blood Rage – I think it is a coin flip between this and Scythe as to which I see discussed more. I think Scythe is the hotter one here on BGG, but some of the Facebook groups I’m in constantly talk about this one. I’ve been convinced of this game’s merit for months now, and I am a little sad it wasn’t in my Christmas haul. Anyone who knows me clearly knows I love Vikings. Add in a wargame element and a shrinking board and it adds up to an instant hit.

7. Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings – I am trying to dip my toes into wargaming but, sadly, many of the games that catch my eye are out of print. I want something centered around the Anglo-Saxon age of England, which makes this one a prime candidate at a great price. I’d rather pick up Men of Iron by GMT, but this will be a great one to test the waters with. And who knows, I might even get my wife to play it with me…

6. Five Tribes – Mancala mechanics plus worker placement equals an almost certain hit for my wife. This one will undoubtedly make my brain hurt, and I know she’ll wipe the floor with me more often than not. But this one is long overdue for us to play, especially now that we learned how much she loves worker placement games!

5. Tiny Epic Galaxies – Apparently my wife really wanted to get this one for me for Christmas due to how much we both enjoyed Tiny Epic Kingdoms. If this is anywhere close to being as fun as Kingdoms, we’ll have a blast playing this one. Bonus points for another soloable game on the list.

4. Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King – We enjoy Carcassonne, even if it is a little too plain for our tastes. We love Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Put the two together and you might have a new top-10 game contender for both our lists. This is another one I’ve been eyeing for far too long now, so it needs to hit a table for us.

3. Cry Havoc – Words cannot express how awesome this game sounds. It can’t quite overthrow my desire to play Blood Rage, but it is a close contender. If this was ranked in order, it’d probably be #2 on the list, even though it is one of the most recent additions to my watch list. I love a game where each faction plays very differently, and the clever use of cards for this one has caught my eye.

2. Stronghold (2nd Edition) – Helm’s Deep in board game form! Two players, two very different games to play. I have visions of playing War of the Ring, and when the Free Peoples retreats into their Stronghold we pull this game out to determine that battle. I think it’d take the whole weekend to finish that War of the Ring game, but it would be a blast. At least to defend one stronghold via this game…

1. Argent: The Consortium – Worker placement + Harry Potter-like theme. As soon as I read about this game, I knew this was the perfect match for my wife. Not only is it a worker placement game, but one where you can directly attack and manipulate the other player’s pieces. My wife reminds me that she likes to defeat me in games, and somehow I think that the aggression level in this one would play right to her strengths.

Honorable Mentions: Keyflower, Holmes: Sherlock & Mycroft, Biblios, 7 Wonders Duel, Albion’s Legacy.

Three Expansions

3. Carcassonne: The Princess and the Dragon – Nothing will spice up that bland Carcassonne game like adding a dragon. We obviously need to also get the first two big expansions, and that would probably be it for this game, but this one sounds like exactly the type of expansion we’d love.

2. Tiny Epic Kingdom: Heroes’ Call – Why not double the land cards and the race cards for a game that we played and loved late in 2016? More variety to a game that already has variety, plus the addition of heroes to make things interesting.

1. Agricola: Farmers of the Moor – My wife really, really, wanted this for Christmas. But she told me that I couldn’t buy her anything board game related. So my hands were tied and the one person she expressed this one to ended up getting an expansion for Kingdom Builder instead. I’m hoping for word on a release date for the revised edition of this expansion, but this one is as close to a must-buy as anything can get for my wife.

Honorable Mentions: Kingdom Builder: Crossroads, Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium

Board Game Lists · Board Gaming · Top Ten List

Our Top 10 Games – 2016 Edition

**This post was initially posted on Boardgamegeek on January 3, 2017 and is being reposted here.

With the beginnings of a new board gaming blog, it seemed fitting to do a post in early January to go over our current favorite board games. We both have a game in our list that we didn’t get until late November, so there is certainly room for new games we play to make some waves. Since we haven’t played any of the Christmas games or expansions yet, this is the prime time to get our current favorites listed out. Ideally, we’ll do the same thing around this time a year from now. How much will the list change by then? Who knows! But I don’t expect my #1 to change anytime soon…

What is fascinating to me is how different our lists are. There are only 3 games in common, which means there are 17 different games to make up our combined Top Ten List! Not only that, but there are 15 different companies, with two companies each having two distinct games to crack the list. Read on to see what our current favorites are, keeping in mind we primarily play with just 2.

meeple#10 – Nicole’s Pick: Innovation by Asmadi Games

My wife was thinking of putting Sid Meier’s Civilization here, but ultimately decided to go with the smaller, faster, card-driven Innovation instead. I often find myself on the losing end of both games, but I have a lot of fun. Normally I win a lot when learning a new game and she eventually picks up on a strategy and begins her reign of eternal victory. Not true with this game. She beat me repeatedly from the start, forcing me to be the one to learn and adapt over the course of repeated plays. We both enjoy this game quite a bit, even though some cards seem overpowered at the time and can lead to a bit of dejected sulking mid-game.

sauron#10 – David’s Pick: Champions of Midgard by Grey Fox Games

When I discovered my wife loved worker placement games, I was convinced this one would be a hit. After all, it would bring out a game mechanic she loved and pair it with a theme I would love. I had hoped that the dice-rolling wouldn’t turn her off from the game, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I think it would need a dozen or so more plays to have a shot at cracking her list of favorites or to climb higher on mine. Sometimes a string of bad rolls can be brutally crippling, making it hard to climb back into contention.

meeple#9 – Nicole’s Pick: Catan by Mayfair Games

The classic gateway game, although surprisingly not the one that broke us into playing board games. When the game works well, it plays beautifully with a tight game and balance. Yet the reason it will never make my list is because of those dice. She really enjoys the game and has mastered the art of building the longest road, and it would probably be higher on her list if I wanted to play it more often.

sauron#9 – David’s Pick: Firefly: The Game by Gale Force Nine, LLC.

This one is one of my wife’s favorites as well. See the entry later on the list!

meeple#8 – Nicole’s Pick: Fairy Tale by Z-Man Games

It isn’t very often that my wife likes a game enough for her to be compelled to buy it. After all, she frequently reminds me this is my hobby. But Fairy Tale was one of those rarities, and is a wonderful game to play when we have only a few minutes, a short game to play before breaking out something bigger, and sometimes to play in a best of 5/7/9 series against each other.

sauron#8 – David’s Pick: Castles of Mad King Ludwig by Bezier Games, Inc.

I instantly knew that I would love this game, and after playing a round at a friend’s house I felt compelled to order it immediately. My wife hated it the first night, but warmed up to it over time. Everyone we’ve played with has loved it, and the reason it disappeared from my wife’s list is apparently because of the expansion. I assumed due to the moats, but she seems to think that the Secret Passages ruined it for her since she never remembers to use them until I’m landing massive combos. I’m guessing this one may reappear on her list by the end of the year, as I know deep down she really enjoys this one.

meeple#7 – Nicole’s Pick: Kingdom Builder by Queen Games

This is one of my favorites as well. See the entry later on the list!

sauron#7 – David’s Pick: Race for the Galaxy by Rio Grande Games

I played this one to death two years ago when I got it for Christmas. My wife enjoyed playing it a lot, too, until I started playing it solo against the robot (courtesy of the first expansion). That ruined the game for her, as I got better at maximizing my points as fast as possible in an effort to defeat the efficient robot. It still is one of my favorites, and I’ve accepted the fact that it’ll never be the same fun for her again. I’d probably be in my top 5 if she still enjoyed playing it.

meeple#6 – Nicole’s Pick: Firefly: The Game by Gale Force Nine, LLC.

The first game that is on both of our lists! This was one of our earliest board game purchases, and we’ve diligently expanded it time and again. It was her favorite game for a long, long time. And then she taught it to someone who, simply, needed Nicole to walk her through what to do every single turn. That made Nicole avoid the game for the longest time, although in the past two months we managed to play this a few times with just the base game and then finally with the expansions back in the mix. We’re both huge browncoats, and this is likely to be locked in both our lists for quite some time.

sauron#6 – David’s Pick: Kingdom Builder by Queen Games

Another duplicate game to discuss! Thanks to Wil Wheaton and his Tabletop series for getting me interested in this one. It is deceptively simple, and many people either really love it or else they really hate it. I’ve loved it from the start, and it wasn’t until my wife downloaded the app this year that she finally warmed up to it. Now we’re both happy any time this one gets pulled out, and I cannot wait to try it out with our newly-acquired Nomads expansion!

meeple#5 – Nicole’s Pick: Tiny Epic Kingdoms by Gamelyn Games

This one is among our newest purchases, and one we both enjoy a lot. My wife asked for it again and again when she first learned the game, which is always a great sign. Collectively, we’ve played with all of the races, although neither of us has been them all and we played this with 4-players for the first time last week (hint: it was still a lot of fun!). This game truly does pack an epic experience in such a small box, and we cannot wait to try some of their other games in the future.

sauron#5 – David’s Pick: Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game by Upper Deck Entertainment

This game was always more of my type of game, a pattern that will be repeated more than a few times in the top 5 here. I’m a huge fan of the Marvel movies, and would be a fan of the comics if it wasn’t so darn expensive to get into. This instantly replaced Dominion for me as the deckbuilding game of choice, and the competition for victory points means this is a co-op that my wife will play from time to time. It is mostly a solo game now, but I can still get this one to the table with her on occasion so long as we don’t mix in too much from the Secret Wars Vol. 2 expansion. She thinks we have plenty of expansions, yet part of me wants them all. That is a point we’ll probably never agree on.

meeple#4 – Nicole’s Pick: War of the Ring (2nd Edition) by Ares Games

This is one of my favorites as well. See the entry later on the list!

sauron#4 – David’s Pick: A Game of Thrones: The Card Game (2nd Edition) by Fantasy Flight Games

I was lucky enough to get a copy of the first edition core set for cheap last year, and we played the game enough times to realize it was a fun one. It scratched that old Magic: The Gathering itch for me, but at a far cheaper cost. When I learned they were redoing it all to make a 2nd edition, which would come with 8 factions instead of 4, it leapt to the top of my wish list. And I absolutely love the changes they’ve made, with both the Night’s Watch and the Greyjoys being among my favorite factions to play. The game can be a little too brutal at times, which is probably why it didn’t make her list, but I will always be ready to play a round of this.

meeple#3 – Nicole’s Pick: Splendor by Space Cowboys

The same friend who introduced us to Castles of Mad King Ludwig also taught us to play this one. My wife won that first game, and was instantly hooked. It also speaks volumes when a game is interesting enough to get my father-in-law to want to play it several times in a row. I had a very brief stint where I was great at this game, but my days of winning are probably behind me since my wife’s brain is wired perfectly for this game. I’m hardly surprised by this one appearing so high.

sauron#3 – David’s Pick: Pixel Tactics by Level 99 Games

The same day we bought Tiny Epic Kingdoms, we also bought this one. I taught her Tiny Epic first, knowing it was easier to teach and would be geared more toward her tastes. I had a strong suspicion this would be a game I’d love, but I had no idea how much I would love the game. The pixelated artwork pleases the SNES gamer in me, and the gameplay is fast, fun, and an entirely different experience every time. My wife picked up on my love for the game enough to get me Pixel Tactics 2 for Christmas, and I cannot wait to test out that batch of cards while continuing to explore what this one has to offer.

meeple#2 – Nicole’s Pick: Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary Edition by Days of Wonder

We’ve been gamers for a few years, but we didn’t own a Ticket to Ride game until last Christmas (we now own two!). It is a simple game with a very easy mechanic, making it our go-to game for teaching new players. While I am not a huge fan of the North America map for the two of us, it is still a fun game to pull out and play. The pieces for the anniversary edition are simply beautiful, and certainly something that is likely to draw in new players. This game will remain a staple in our collection for years to come, and something that we can always take when visiting non-gamers.

sauron#2 – David’s Pick: Star Wars: Imperial Assault by Fantasy Flight Games

I talked about this game at the end of 2015. A lot. Enough that my wife finally told me to stop talking about the game and just buy it. I haven’t regretting that for a moment. We played the Skirmish quite a bit at first, and then we shifted toward playing the campaign. That was my first mistake, as she ended up not enjoying controlling all the characters, nor did she like how the Imperial side had hidden surprises in each mission. So the campaign is, unfortunately, not something we will be playing together anymore but the Skirmish mode is, in itself, enough to make it worth keeping this game in our collection.

meeple#1 – Nicole’s Pick: Agricola (Revised Edition) by Mayfair Games

When I picked up this game, I had no idea it would become my wife’s favorite. It was our first worker placement game, and we didn’t pick it up until early fall. And my wife cannot get enough of the game! She hates using the cards, as the times when I win it is usually because of a card or two that gives me bonus points or helps me do something a little more effectively than I could have without it. I find that this game drives me crazy because I feel like I lose even when I win. It is a game of maximizing what you can do with the few resources and actions available, and she is brilliant at it. She really, really wants to get the Farmers on the Moor expansion for this one, and I am hoping to hold out long enough to see when the revised version will release to snag that version.

sauron#1 – David’s Pick: War of the Ring (2nd Edition) by Ares Games

The king of board games for me, and I don’t expect this one will ever be dethroned. I love Tolkien’s works so much and this game, for me, evokes the sense that I am right in the middle of his epic series. Both sides play very well against each other, and our games have been as short as 30 minutes (she rolled almost all character dice and I couldn’t buy a successful hunt roll) to 3-hour sprawling epics where every decision felt like it could alter the balance of the game. Win or lose, this game always has me feeling satisfied at the end (apart from that 30-minute fluke of a game!) and eager to play the next round. I cannot wait to test it out with the Warriors of Middle Earth expansion, and I’m going to be watching for a copy of Lords of Middle Earth in order to expand this to its complete, epic experience.