2019 Top 100 · Uncategorized

2019 Top 100: #40-31

#40 – Claustrophobia 1643

This game delivers an asymmetric dungeon crawl experience for two players that clocks in about an hour for game length and has an incredible, tense gameplay for two players. I went into the game with very low expectations and had to immediately request another play of the game when it was finished. I’ve since looked into how to obtain a copy, and have been tempted twice by copies of the old game that I’ve seen locally – but I am holding out (and wishing hard) to get my hands on the new version of the game because it contains over 20 scenarios in the base box that should provide a ton of hours of fun gaming with my wife.

#39 – Crusaders, Thy Will Be Done

I came for the theme and stayed for the delightful gameplay on this entry. The rondel mechanic is so fluid, and the turns move at a pace to prevent downtime from being an issue. I really enjoy how the game scales in growth with the players – unlocking more things on your board makes you more efficient, but the more areas you conquer the more power you need to Crusade effectively.There are a ton of ways to earn points, and the game always ends just before you can really hit the peak performance – the ideal time to close out a game that is engine-building at its heart.

#38 – A.E.G.I.S.: Combining Robot Strategy Game

A skirmish game that has won me over far better than I ever expected. Sometimes when a friend really wants you to try their new Kickstarter game, you’re in for an experience that is bland or unrefined. Thankfully this is neither of those, delivering a top-tier skirmish game with mech-loads of replay value in a relatively medium-sized package. The best way to play this is by forming your own teams, but even the pre-formatted teams in the box are excellent to play as and there is far more room for strong strategic and tactical maneuvering than you would expect from this package.

#37 – Haven

One of the finest pure 2-player games on the market right now with stunning artwork and clever intertwining mechanics. This is the game that locked in Alf Seegert as one of my favorite designers to watch, as he always comes up with new and fascinating twists in his game. This asymmetric battle over a forest delivers a gameplay experience that stole my heart and is easily one of the best games that hit the market in 2018.

#36 – The King is Dead

When I have three players and need a quick and intense game of area (un)control, this is the box I will grab every time. The game is fine with two, is team play at four (which is a big “meh” for me), but is beyond outstanding with three players. And the face that you are trying to control specific areas but are removing cubes each round makes this play like few other games I’ve encountered. I recently saw this in a FLGS for $19.99 and at that price this game should be in every collection.

#35 – Vinhos

I’m in the camp of preferring the deluxe version of the game over the original, if for nothing more than the better production quality overall on the game. It is amazing to me how a game where you get 12-13 actions can deliver such a rich and rewarding experience. This is a challenging game experience that burns the brain in all the right ways and makes me want to set it up and play it again – but maybe not on the same day. This is a classic Lacerda and displays many of the hallmark traits that you’ll find in many of his other designs.

#34 – 878 Vikings: Invasions of England

This game punches in with an experience that I enjoy every time it hits the table. This is the wargame we reach for on the days when we don’t have time for a War of the Ring session. The expansion box adds in a good number of modules to mix-and-match to expand the gameplay and add variety, and I like that some are seamlessly integrated into the base experience while others add extra wrinkles to factor in. I just wish I had colored cubes instead of these miniature mini figures on the map – even if they do look pretty cool.

#33 – CO2

The Lacerda game I was least interested in theme-wise ends up being one of my favorite ones to date. It shocked me at the time when I played the game, but it didn’t shock me when this list was being made. This game is fun in a way I didn’t expect, and it helped that I actually had the game’s mechanisms and strategies sort of click into place from that first play. I also like the tension that can come from the possibility of a shared loss – something to encourage a little cooperation from the group but not so much that this could be considered a cooperative game in any way. I’ve heard the solo mode is outstanding and cannot wait to try it out first-hand in the future.

#32 – Eight Minute Empire: Legends

I still delight in playing this game, which is one of many small box games that punches in with a fun experience far larger than the box size. The gameplay is simple at its core, but the limited economy and the conveyor of cards to purchase makes this one a fun experience for me every time it hits the table. I wish the map size changed for two players, but that still doesn’t detract from a really enjoyable experience.

#31 – Star Wars: Imperial Assault

The first game to reenter my collection in 2019 from a string of bad math trade mistakes on my end that I need to reacquire – many of which appear on this list somewhere (Civilization, The King is Dead, Eight Minute Empire: Legends, Pixel Tactics, The Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Biblios, Fields of Green, Barony, Battle Line, Game of Thrones (Card & Board Game), Agricola) – this one does a fine job with the campaign in the box. I’ve started a solo campaign with the app and it does a good job of managing things so far and I definitely intend to play that through to completion in the very near future. However, the star of this box is the 2-player Skirmish mode (and has been from the start). It is such a fun, exciting, and tense game experience with a TON of replay value if you take the time to pick up those extra character packs – each one adds two new Skirmish scenarios and a handful of cards to use – which is incentive to purchase them all to add to the best thing about this game. I wish it was a cheaper game experience, but by slowly picking up the add-ons this should be manageable enough to cultivate a collection that I’ll still be enjoying with my children many years from now.


Expansion Review – Millennium Blades: Set Rotation

It is no secret that I really enjoy Millennium Blades. However, my first experiences with the game (which you can read about here) were using just the Set Rotation and a handful of mini-expansions mixed into the card pool. And if I am being honest, Millennium Blades is only able to exist comfortably in my collection because of this very expansion. Not only does this expansion pour a ton of cards into the card pool for the game, enhancing the variety and replayability, but it also adds in some Co-Op bosses to challenge.

Wait, Co-Op bosses? But David, you and your wife aren’t generally fans of cooperative gaming!

Indeed. Because these Co-Op bosses open up solo play in Millennium Blades. And how it executes this change from the base game is brilliant and satisfying enough to make me want to play it more and more. Which is an excellent thing, because it accomplishes a few things:

Provides an experience similar to the Millennium Blades multiplayer experience. This is good, because it doesn’t trim out the heart and soul of the game, or completely change how the game operates for the solitaire purposes. When I play this solo, it still feels like I am getting in a real game of Millennium Blades – mostly. There is no chance to buy from the Aftermarket (but you can still sell there), no Friendship bonuses, and no forming of collections. Just building up to construct a deck capable of destroying the boss.

Compacts the game into a single deckbuilding and tournament phase, rather than going through three of them. This shortens the gameplay time to where the solo game doesn’t overstay its welcome and encourages multiple plays. There are few games I want to play for 2-3 hours by myself for a single play – part of the reason why Mage Knight never became a hit for me – so I am very thankful that this reduces the game to just one complete deckbuilding session (7-7-6 minute mini-sessions for 20 minutes total) to keep the gameplay overall at around 45 minutes. That is the perfect amount of time to play this on a worknight before bed, or to plan a run through all four bosses in a gauntlet of challenges.

Contains enough open information to have ideas about what your opponent is capable of doing so you can build a deck to counter it – yet enough hidden information that you won’t know exactly what you’re going to face nor the order. Your opponent has 8 cards for their deck, 6 of which will be used (chosen randomly) and will come out in a shuffled order. You can look at those 8 cards during your own deckbuilding phase to get an idea of what may come, but you will never fully know. They also have four accessories, two of which will be used. These will slowly be revealed over the course of the deckbuilding phase, and can completely alter the experience of facing that boss. Those provide a delightful experience where you can play the same boss repeatedly and have very different results.

Provides a challenging score threshold to exceed to provide a solid win/loss condition. Nothing is worse than a “beat your own score” puzzle for solo gaming, and these boss decks are guaranteed to score a minimum from their deckbox, but can also score a ton more points during the match depending on how well you can counter their strategy.

Each boss has a different play style, and as mentioned before even has different playstyles within their own deck depending on what comes out, and therefore challenges you to adapt your strategy accordingly. If you fail to do so, you may end up with a board like mine where every single card I played was flipped at the end of the tournament. Better yet is the mini-expansion for the bosses, adding even more challenge, replay, and variety into the mix.

I’m genuinely excited to be a Day One backer for the new expansion, Collusion, which is slated to be the final big expansion for the game. Not only will it give me the storage solution I want and more cards, but it will also bring in new bosses to challenge. If you’ve always been eyeing Millennium Blades but were concerned about how often it would be played – if you are willing to play it solo, it will hit the table far more often because it is a shorter playtime while still providing a great and challenging experience. I look forward to facing these bosses many more times in the future, and am happy to have this game as a permanent part of my collection.


2019 Gaming Achievement Quest

With all of the 10×10 lists popping up, it has me looking forward to next year. In past years I’ve considered doing, and signed up for, those 10×10 lists and various other gimmicks for gaming. And, frankly, none of them work for me. Back in my days as a video game player, though, I did enjoy the Achievement system. So I’m going to attempt to tie the two things together with 50, yes 50 achievements to try and hit over the course of 2019.

Buckle up, this is going to be one MASSIVE set of accomplishments. Well, once I come up with all 50 of them. Consider this a work in progress at the moment, and if you have ideas on what I could tack on for my final 8 achievements, feel free to let me know!

  1. Play every game I own at least one time (0/84)
  2. Play 100 2-player games against my wife (0/100)
  3. Play every soloable game I own at least one time solo (0/31)
  4. Play every game on my “Shame” list (0/16)
  5. Play 5 new-to-me games off the BGG Top 100 (0/5)
  6. Play 5 new-to-me games from the 2018 People’s Choice Top 100 Solo Games (0/5)
  7. Revisit at least one game that left my collection that I want to play again (0/1)
  8. Revisit at least one game that I have rated poorly (0/1)
  9. Play 5 must-try games (0/5)
  10. Limit myself to only three new game purchases in 2019 (0/3)
  11. Complete all owned quests in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game that I have not already beaten (0/43)
  12. Complete the Hobbit Saga in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (0/6)
  13. Complete the main Saga in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (0/7)
  14. Complete the Mirkwood cycle in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (0/5)
  15. Complete the Grey Havens cycle in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (0/6)
  16. Use every unplayed hero in Sentinels of the Multiverse at least once (0/10)
  17. Defeat every unplayed villain in Sentinels of the Multiverse (0/20)
  18. Defeat Oblivaeon in Sentinels of the Multiverse (0/1)
  19. Defeat the four standard and four challenge mode bosses in Millennium Blades (0/8)
  20. Host a Vital Lacerda game day (0/1)
  21. Host a Millennium Blades session for my two good friends that would really love the game (0/1)
  22. Run a Level 99 Games event, including at least one tournament (0/1)
  23. Expand my website’s focus to highlight strategy articles, as well as my freelance work for rulebook editing, lore writing, and/or publisher blog posts. (0/4)
  24. Finish testing and tweaking my first game, The Honor of the Queen, and get it into the BGG Database (0/1)
  25. Finish designing Out of Gas and get it open for playtesting (0/1)
  26. Take part in the 2019 Button Shy design contest. (0/1)
  27. Design a solo system for a few games I own that have no official solo mode (0/4?)
  28. Play a full game of Hunt for the Ring, the results of which lead into a game of War of the Ring (0/1)
  29. Get in at least 10 plays of War of the Ring. (0/10)
  30. Try the unofficial solo variant for Argent: The Consortium. (0/1)
  31. Use all of the characters in the BattleCON: Fate of Indines box (0/10)
  32. Complete the Hero Realms: Ruins of Thranduar campaign with a new character class (0/1)
  33. Play through the Firefly series in Legenday Encounters: A Firefly Deck-Building Game (0/14?)
  34. Win 12 games of Sprawlopolis (0/12)
  35. Use all expansion modules for 878: Vikings – Invasions of England (0/9)
  36. Complete all missions in Agent Decker (0/5)
  37. Play through the North Sea trilogy of games using the Runesaga campaign (0/3)
  38. Play more Button Shy titles (0/24)
  39. Have 12 play sessions of the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game (0/12)
  40. Play the Middle-Earth CCG 10+ times (0/10)
  41. Attend Con of the Rings in October (0/1)
  42. Create a Top 100 Games list (0/1)

Want more details on some of these, such as what games appear on certain achievements? Check out the full Geeklist at BGG: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/250412/2019-gaming-achievements/page/1?


Year End Reflections

This time last year I was looking to do “awards” to games, and you’ll see some of that in here. What I did was plug all of the games I’ve played since I started tracking plays on BGG (so late 2016) into the Pub Meeple ranking system. It isn’t a perfect system, and there are definitely some games I would question their overall ranking for (some higher, some lower), but as a whole it did a pretty good job at helping to figure out my top games for a few different categories.

And so while I’ll be mentioning my top games of 2018 in here, be aware that there are many games I haven’t played (and still want to) that were released this year. I’ll do a more formal revisit to 2018 sometime in the spring of 2019 to crown the overall winner.

Top Games of 2018

1. Liberation – This game is seriously amazing. It hasn’t dethroned Hanamikoji as my go-to 2-player only game…yet. But there’s a chance this one could. I’m eagerly awaiting a copy of the game so I can play it some more, and mix in the small expansion coming with the game. If you enjoyed Star Wars: Rebellion, you owe it to yourself to try this one. Seriously, a wallet game might end up being the best game produced all year – and I love that.
2. Maiden’s Quest – This became one of my sleeper hits of the year. The solo community has raved about Palm Island, but I’d pick this game any day as my go-to portable solo game of choice. There is so much variety in the box, and you get excellent and interesting decisions along the way as you play through every encounter.
3. Obsession – Its theme is a standout in a crowd, and that is what draws me to this game the most. Beyond the theme, though, is a clever intertwining of thematic elements with solid, enjoyable gameplay to create a game I’ll be excited to see continue to hit my table in the future.
4. Fantastiqa: Rival Realms – Alf Seegert is a designer I’ve got my eyes on thanks to this game. A fun, fast game for 1-2 players with a massive footprint…but a lot of fun packed in a small box. There are some really clever things that this game does, such as the cards you use go to your opponent’s discard pile (where they can draw them back to their hand).
5. Thunderstone Quest – I have a weakness for deckbuilders, and this one does it well. Really, really well. I’ve played it only once, but it impressed me enough to break its way onto this list.

Best New-To-Me Games in 2018

1. Millennium Blades – I love the concept of collectable card games like Magic: The Gathering. I tried playing Star Wars: Destiny and the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game but bailed on them both when the money sink necessary finally outweighed the fun factor the game was providing. Millennium Blades offers an experience akin to those kinds of games, and does it in a unique and interesting way that blew me away. I know a few guys that I really want to teach this game to, and have been imagining how to make a fun day-long event of that experience.
2. Rococo – Who knew that making suits and dresses could be so fun? Yet it is the deck management in this game that really steals the show for me.
3. Gloomhaven – There’s a good reason it is the #1 game on BGG, and it will provide months of entertainment at a minimum for any gamer/group. This is that RPG in a box that the former video game player in me really enjoys.
4. Food Chain Magnate – This game is cutthroat and intense. It generated some memorable experiences and some fun laughter. That was only through its first play, too, yet all five of us kept going on about how fun that game was when it ended. It is an unforgiving game, but one I can’t wait to play more.
5. BattleCON – I’m not sure whether I prefer this or Exceed, a similar game by the same publisher, but I do know they are both excellent games. Sometimes you just want to duel against your opponent rather than interfere with them in a passive-aggressive manner of placing workers or gathering resources they need. This game lets you lay a beat down on your opponent in a style that reminds me of the great arcade-based fighting games I grew up with.

Current Wishlist

1. Millennium Blades – This game shot up the list like a rocket after two plays of the game using just an expansion (which I got at a steal of a price). This delivers on everything I want out of this style of game and more and, even if my wife takes one look at it and tells me she’s never playing it, I have two very good friends that this game fits right into their wheelhouse. Besides, the solo mode is really REALLY good so far.
2. Rococo – This game is out of print. There’s no confirmed word on any future reprinting. But I freaking love this game. Some day I’ll find a copy, whether that comes with an eventual reprint or getting lucky on finding a copy at the right price.
3. Gloomhaven – This monster of a game comes in a massive box. It might literally take me years to explore all the content in the game. But every time I’ve played Gloomhaven I’ve walked away excited to play it again. Our daughter removed me from a Gloomhaven group I just joined – but that group was enough to confirm I want this game eventually.
4. Food Chain Magnate – This game might be a total flop with my wife. I’m not sure. But wow, it blew me away enough – and everyone else playing it for the first time – that it soared up high on my overall rankings of games as well as my wish list. The game is so clever, yet brutal, that I can’t wait to play it again.
5. Glass Road – While this isn’t my most wanted Uwe Rosenberg game, it is the one that is in print right now. I really loved this game, and have heard it has an excellent solo mode (not that I’ve been looking or anything…). This game is so unlike Agricola/Caverna/Feast for Odin that I’m really hoping to add it to my collection soon.
6. The Gallerist – Now that I own Lisboa, the next Vital Lacerda game I need to get is this one. It might even be wise to get and teach this to my wife before pushing her into trying Lisboa with me, as this would be a little gentler entry point to his games.
7. Keyflower – I enjoyed this with my first play, and really like Keyper. I think my wife and I will enjoy this one more in our collection (at least I will, as Keyper is far more suited to her strengths) and I’ve heard it is still excellent with 2 players.
8. Maiden’s Quest – I need to return the borrowed copy soon to its rightful owner, which means I’ll be needing my own copy of this on-the-go solo game. With over a dozen plays, I’m still itching for more so that’s a great sign that it would be a smart purchase.
9. Arboretum – I bought a copy at Gen Con and never played it, because I ended up letting a local friend purchase it from me. She’s been happy with the game, so no regrets there. But I still would really like to get my hands on this game.
10. Thunderstone Quest – I didn’t want to like this game so much. After all, I didn’t think I needed any more deckbuilders. And then I played it, and it convinced me that I do, in fact, need at least one more deckbuilder in my collection.

Expansion Wishlist

1. Sentinels of the Multiverse: Oblivaeon – I don’t own everything Sentinels yet, but I still want this final expansion the most. Not only does it come with my new 2nd favorite character in the game, it also would allow me to get a higher loss rate by challenging the massive Oblivaeon…something I can’t wait to do.
2. The Lord of the Rings: Wilds of Rhovanion – The newest deluxe box for my favorite game. There’s a lot of packs I still need, such as all of the smaller packs from the Haradrim Cycle (Beneath the Sands, The Mumakil, Race Across Harad, The Black Serpent, The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat, and The Crossings of Poros) and, honestly, I’d be happy with anything that expands my Lord of the Rings collection.
3. Mystic Vale: Conclave – I need a bigger box to hold all of my Mystic Vale cards as it is, and so this expansion is a must-buy. Even if there was no additional content in that box, this would be reason enough to really want this.
4. Argent: Mancers of the University – This expansion adds a new mage type, which has me really excited. Honestly, I don’t know more than that but this is a top 10 game for me so I definitely want to pick this up.
5. Kingdom Builder: Crossroads – I’m always looking for more Kingdom Builder stuff – a game I need to get back to the table more often. A new expansion might just be what I need to accomplish that.

Top 5 Gaming Moments

1. Edward and Jess from Heavy Cardboard taking time to visit in Iowa City on their road trip to Boston – something I am still humbled by and grateful for that gesture. Words can never fully express how grateful I am for that, as I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time and Edward is someone in this hobby I’ve really looked up to. He’s as awesome in person as he always seems on the podcast/videos they produce, and I’m a herd member for life.
2. Playing Lord of the Rings LCG against designer Caleb Grace in an epic match, even though my Hobbit deck eventually lost. He has strong passion for the game, and cherishes being among the gamers who enjoy playing Lord of the Rings. He didn’t know me from anyone, and just happened to sit down across from me. After a bit of chatting, he asked if I wanted to play and what followed were two of the most memorable hours of my Gen Con experience.
3. Being a guest on the The Board Boys Podcast episode for Terraforming Mars, which let me make a few new friends here in the area who have been super supportive.
4. Learning Penny Rails with Travis Hill from Low Player Count – and meeting a great friend and contributor to the hobby. I’m looking forward to this one hitting Kickstarter in 2019, and to drinking some great coffee with Travis when we meet again. Maybe at BGG Con 2019?
5. Losing horribly at Liberation against Jason Tagmire from Button Shy Games, and then redeeming myself in Circle the Wagons. He’s been a great person to get to know and I have become a full-fledged fan of the work he’s doing and the games they are producing. See that Liberation at the top of my 2018 games list? It earned that spot, 100%, by being an outstanding game design.

Most Played Games

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – 83 Plays
2. Sentinels of the Multiverse – 20 Plays
3. Final Fantasy Trading Card Game – 17 Plays
4. Circle the Wagons – 12 Plays
5. Maiden’s Quest – 12 Plays
6. Kingdom Builder – 10 Plays

Board Gaming · Review for One · Uncategorized

Review for One – Maiden’s Quest

Thank you for checking review #73 by Cardboard Clash. My aim is to focus on reviewing board games and how they play for two people and, on occasion, how they play for one person. Because my wife is my primary gaming partner, a lot of consideration goes into finding those games that play well with 2 players, and we typically prefer to find those games that do not require a variant (official or otherwise) in order to play it with just the two of us.

An Overview of Maiden’s Quest

Maiden’s Quest is a game designed by Kenneth C. Shannon III and was published by Wiz Kids in 2018. The box states that it can play 1-2 players and has a 10-30 minute play time.

In Maiden’s Quest, a maiden — tired of waiting to be rescued — takes it upon herself to fight her enemies and escape.

Maidens use cards from their hands to attempt to defeat an enemy or obstacle. As you play, the game’s difficulty grows as enemies of increasing ferocity become active! An innovative turn-and-flip mechanism allows each card to represent up to four items, encounters, or allies.

This fun and easy-to-learn game takes 10–30 minutes if you play non-stop. However, since each encounter is resolved separately, you can stop and stow away the deck at any time, returning to play when and where you left off at a later time! Since no surface is required, you can play while standing in line to get your morning coffee, while you wait for an appointment, or while sitting on the couch at home! Contents include enough for true solo play, co-op, or competitive two-player games, and, with multiple copies, more players can join in!

description from the publisher

Gameplay differences for 1 Player
No changes, really, as I would say this is designed first and foremost to be a solo experience. Adding in more players has the players going through the first levels like a solo game, and being able to help each other in encounters after that (which sounds really cool, by the way).

My Thoughts

The game is relatively unique in being one that requires zero table space to play. In theory you could even set up without a table, although that tends to be handy. This is the kind of game you can take with you to play while waiting in lines, going on a walk (I still recommend paying attention to your surroundings!), sitting in a waiting room, and more. This allows the game to fill a niche in every collection.

The game has several difficulty levels you can play on, and each captor has varying difficulty. While I wish there was an official rating guide on difficulty, you at least know the two easiest from the rulebook. In my opinion, Hard is the only mode for me because you have a defined number of plays through the deck. However, the randomness also makes it so it would be possible to never encounter your captor. So I at least play until I’ve faced them at least once.

The replay value in the box is incredible, with 80 combinations just from maiden and captor pairings (8 Maidens x 10 Captors). That doesn’t include all the other cards going into each deck, all of which are different (usually only an item and up to 2 health cards are dictated specifically by a maiden, everything else is randomly added from that set of cards). This is the area where Maiden’s Quest crushes its “competition” in Palm Island and a huge reason I prefer this over Palm Island.

The cards are shuffled every time you pass through the deck. Some might dislike this, but I think it is actually a benefit of the game. Yes, you can’t “know” what cards are coming next through memorization. But if you just played the same sequence of cards 7-8 times in a row, you might never be able to pass certain obstacles and thus get into unwinnable situations. You can know what is in your deck and the odds of beating something without needing to know the exact cards coming next. The press your luck component is executed nicely.

The upgrading of your deck over the course of a play is really fun and interesting. It presents really strong decisions, and sometimes you find that downgrading a card is the best option (at the moment) for that card. Seriously, some are better on the flip side even though there is usually the cost of an extra hit while in your fan (if you fail) to add a nice risk-reward into the mix. This gives a strong sense of progression that plays out through all four levels. I wish it could carry on beyond that, but a small game like this can only have so much you expect from it…

Let’s talk theme for a moment. Not only is this a kickass theme about the maiden rescuing herself from the tower, but the cards in here are dripping with theme. Seriously, take the time to look at the card names, the symbols on them, and how that item changes with each upgrade/downgrade. Lots of careful consideration went into this delightful game beyond the simple mechanics. Do I notice the theme often while playing? No, but I don’t have to. I enjoy those things between games, and have those wonderful moments when I see that a Hooded Cloak downgrades to a No Snag Cape and then to a Towel. Or that a Belt can downgrade into a Really Long String. Or that a Candlestick can upgrade to Flame Dagger…or downgrade to my personal favorite: A Ham Sandwich. Did I mention they all have a small snippet of flavor text, too?

There is a ton of iconography and sometimes it can feel like a lot in those first plays. It took a long time for me to realize the value in Haste, which has become my Dark Horse to want in a fan. It is nice that the game comes with reference cards, and this would definitely be a negative without that. However, the rulebook is such an organizational mess that trying to find the full ruling on a keyword can be an effort in frustration. That is its greatest downfall, being a poor reference tool because things are referred to in several places but each time discusses a little different aspect. So you might need to look in three places in there to finally find what you were looking for.

I want to emphasize this, because it has been mentioned in other reviews as a total negative thing. The rules themselves are not bad. Could it be clearer in parts? Yes. Could it be organized better? Very much so. But I had no trouble playing the game after a single pass through the rulebook, only needing to refer back to it for specific situations. And guess what? The answer I needed was always in there. It isn’t a perfect rulebook by any means, but it is definitely going to do its job of teaching you the game effectively. And, spoiler alert, there may be a revised version in the works. I may have helped look it over.

The learn to play guide is fine. Much better than Root’s experience with it. However, it is short (two encounters) and really lacks the gusto that would help reward a new player. It was a nice starting point to run through the mechanics before diving into the rulebook, but I was in no way equipped to continue from that point without reading the rulebook. A longer guide would be a nice addition. Don’t be surprised, with how much I love this game, if a video tutorial appears on my YouTube in the near future…

The treasure cards are great, but there are only a few of them. Everything else has a strong variety, but these are really lacking. A fun mini-pack to add would be a “Treasure Trove” or something, adding some extra choices to flesh this out. After all, I can only flip the same treasure card so many times. Variety would strengthen this a lot.

Final Thoughts

This game isn’t one I am reviewing out of obligation because of getting a review copy, in spite of my best efforts to get one. I was rejected by Wiz Kids, even though the designer threw his support behind my request. I sought a copy out during my last day at Gen Con but was unable to get it while I was there (but did end up with the Unicorn Savior promo from a magazine!) I jumped on a chance to get one when the designer was offering copies, but it hasn’t arrived. None of that matters. I’m reviewing this game because it is one I really, truly believe in. That makes this one of those reviews I’m genuinely happy to write.
The game is not without its flaws. I am sure a left-handed person would dislike how things are organized on the cards and the fanning mechanic. A game can be lost due to luck, since you have no real control over what the next 5 cards will be when you start an encounter. It is portable to play, but doesn’t have any way to take it with you (such as a small wallet that those nice Button Shy games come in), and it can be a real challenge to shuffle while standing. More than once I’ve dropped a number of cards while attempting this and had to try and get them back in the proper orientation. The rulebook is a mess organizationally, even though the gameplay itself isn’t too complex and I had no issues with playing the game after a single pass through the rulebook (but was frustrated several times trying to find where a specific rule or clarification was located while playing those first games).
Warts and all, though, this is a game I really love. It is no secret that I love a story about a strong female protagonist, having written a fantasy novel featuring a strong female protagonist. I’d love to see Ava appear in this game, along with her trusty sword, Seraphina, and Edgar as a Savior card, and a maybe even a monster or two from the book pop into the game. (Let’s talk promos, Ken!) This was the game I needed because it has been perfect for my situation at the NICU visiting my daughter. Time and space to play games has been at a premium, and this game has delivered fun over the course of over a dozen plays so far.
There are two things I really love about this game, moreso than anything else. First of all is the replay value in this box, because there are a ton of maidens and captors and so you can mix & match for almost endless variety. You’ll never use all the treasures, items, health cards, dresses, saviors, or obstacles on any given playthrough so that varies a lot as well. Even when replaying the same exact setup, the order in which things are encountered can drastically alter the course of your play. This game, without any additional content, can provide hundreds of plays.
The other thing I really love is the sense of leveling up throughout the gameplay. You’re upgrading (and sometimes downgrading) cards as you complete encounters (even if you run away, it downgrades something in the fan). You gain that sense of becoming stronger and wiser as you play onto later levels because you have a better sense of what is in your deck. Not only does that apply from game to game, but across plays you get better at knowing what decisions to make and how to effectively upgrade cards and what symbols matter the most.
This is a game I could play all the time and enjoy. I have had fun with every success and every failure (I play on hard mode only, with the caveat of I’ll play Level 4 until I at least encounter the captor, which may take more than one run through if it pops into a fan). I’ve lost more games than I’ve won, something I wasn’t sure would happen when I won my first three games. There are great decisions and some excellent design and gameplay in this box. This is a must-have game for me as a solo gamer, and even if it didn’t have the benefit of being a portable, play-on-the-go style of niche game, it would earn a spot in that collection on merit of gameplay and replay alone. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to take a look at this one. It is fantastic fun, and a game I can 100% recommend.


Hopefully you found this article to be a useful look at Maiden’s Quest. If you’re interested in providing support for Cardboard Clash so I can continue to improve what we offer, check out my page over on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/CardboardClash.

Check out more of our reviews at the following Geeklist and be sure to let me know what you thought of this game.



Review for One – Dreams of Tomorrow

Thank you for checking review #71 by Cardboard Clash. My aim is to focus on reviewing board games and how they play for two people and, on occasion, how they play for one person. Because my wife is my primary gaming partner, a lot of consideration goes into finding those games that play well with 2 players, and we typically prefer to find those games that do not require a variant (official or otherwise) in order to play it with just the two of us.

**Note: a review prototype of the game was provided in exchange for an honest review.

The game is on Kickstarter: http://weirdgiraffe.games/DreamsKS22

An Overview of Dreams of Tomorrow


box cover

Dreams of Tomorrow is a game designed by Philip Falcon Perry and will be published by Weird Giraffe Games in 2019. The box states that it can play 1-6 players and has a 45 minute play time.

Gameplay differences for 1 Player

You are playing against the score of a Robot player, who has three difficulty ratings available. Each Robot difficulty has a different set of instructions, which essentially tell you how many spaces it will move, what types of spaces it will stop on (hint: it stops on the same 2 space types for all difficulties), what happens when it does its action. It also has you use two cubes of another color to track its turns which, essentially serve as a method for its score.


So while this robot is not competing for scoring the same way as the player, it serves as a clock for the player and a measurable bar to try and overcome for scoring. It forces the players to strike a balance between scoring points and ending the game quickly.

Rules Rating

I feel as though I cannot comment on this, as I am credited as one of the contributors to help go through and provide edits and suggestions regarding the rules. Needless to say, I feel they are done well and will be going through them at least one more time now that I have a few more plays of the game under my belt.

My Thoughts

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 The rondel system in this game is delightful, and I wish more games would implement rondels. Your meeple moves around this rondel of 4 cards, spanning 8 spaces. Where you land often provides a benefit for you, as well as a benefit for everyone else (Robot players do not gain benefit from your moves, but you can benefit from their moves!). You can move 1-3 spaces for free on your turn, and you can spend those easy-to-gain resources to move further.

 What really sets that rondel apart, though, is that it will not always stay the same. The cards are double sided, and you can gain abilities to flip and/or move the cards, and the Robot will have ways of doing the same. That action space you were planning to use next turn might suddenly be a long ways away from you, requiring an expenditure of resources or taking several turns to get there – all the while hoping it doesn’t move again before that happens. It can be frustrating in all the right ways when your perfect plans get foiled.


 The resonance for the set collection is interesting, and was something that I struggled to fully grasp in editing the rulebook. However, it took almost no time during gameplay to figure out how this works. It sounds like there are a ton of points to be scored here, however there is definitely a cap on there. See, each specific card has 4 copies in the deck, meaning that you can never score a set of 5 on both the top and the bottom. It is simply impossible. Which means the best you can hope for is a 5 and a 4, which would require getting all 4 of the exact same card, and one that matches either the top or bottom resonance. That was my first game, by the way. Most games after that had a 4, with the other half getting a 2 and a 3 as a pretty common result.

 One of the best things here is when you weave a dream. This is where you take a dream you’ve caught previously and add it to your eventual string of 5 dreams that you want to have at the end. On one side of every card is its action. When you weave a dream, you can add it either at the far left of your sequence, tucking that action under the other cards and removing it from your selection. Or you put it at the far right, making that the new ability you have. Granted, you can use the ability of dreams you’ve caught and not woven, but I like the decisions presented here as you’re trying to keep a useful ability while working on that set collection aspect.

 Night Mare Mode. Seriously, this adds so much fun to the game, making a mostly predictable sequence of events just a little more interesting. If you love being able to perfectly math out your turns 3-5 in advance, you’ll probably never use this mode. The Robot on its own can muck things up enough as it is. But you’ll be missing out on a fun variant for the game by skipping over this mode.

 The resources are too freely in abundance. I get it was a design choice, but it made it feel too easy to access the higher-point cards. Either they should cost more to gain and build, or the resources should be tapered down just a little. I’m sure it took a lot of playtesting to get here, and that the balance feels better at a higher player count. Then again, with 5 other players potentially triggering resources for you I don’t see how there can ever be an absence of resources.


 That abundance of resources makes it equally confusing as to why anyone would ever want to take a 2-point card when they could take a 4-5 point card for just a little more in every resource. The only time I did it was when I was trying to end the game and a card in the rondel was moved, making me choose between getting what I could buy now and end the turn on the next round, or play a full cycle around the board. I probably just don’t have the right mentality, situation, or player count to understand it…and that’s okay. But unless I really need the card for set collection, I’m likely to look at my other options instead.

 The Robot’s score is heavily influenced by its turn tracker. I’m not going to say that I cheated, but I’m convinced that I miss moving its cube at least once per game. Its action is just so quick and easy to do, that I jump to that and sometimes forget to do that small, simple bookkeeping. If you are as prone to human error as I am, this could be a problem for you as well. And since it affects both its score, and what happens on certain actions, this could affect your overall experience (even if you never realize it). Bumping is also a very, very dangerous thing to consider.

 I’m all for language independence in games. I’m not going to say this game has iconography on a Race for the Galaxy level or anything, but it has some pretty heavy iconography. So much so that it takes both sides of a card to show them all. However, that isn’t even the real issue. The problem comes in there being only two of these in a game that plays up to 6. Solvable problem here, and I hope they consider adding in extras so that each player can have one.

Final Thoughts



I wasn’t supposed to be interested in the game. It always sounded a bit simplistic for what my wife and I usually try out, but after I read the rules I knew it stood a chance. Because the rules didn’t provide much info about the solo play, it had me curious. When Carla asked if I wanted to review the game, I said yes mostly on the strength of the solo experience from both Stellar Leap and Fire in the Library.

I’m glad that I did.

Carla does it again with developing a solo mode that is interesting, challenging in the right ways, and leaves you ready to challenge it again. I wasn’t convinced after my first play against the Easy difficulty, but I’ve come to accept that I had a perfect run of luck on that one based on the other plays since that one. The Medium mode cranks things up enough to make you uncomfortable, and Hard is downright frustrating to any plans you’re hoping to make. In all the right ways. They all use the same core mechanics for the Robot player, just refining what happens when the Robot does certain things. Which is why Hard takes 2 cards.

I’m here to say that Carla from Weird Giraffe Games is designing some underrated solo experiences, and if you play solo games at all you NEED to pick up one of these games. This one has the least input randomness of the three I mentioned, and it still delivers an unpredictable and fun experience.

And then comes the Night Mare. Holy crap, that takes a fun game and cranks it to eleven. Well, unless you hate randomness. My wife would never play with the Night Mare mode. I would guarantee that right now. But for a solo game, sometimes adding in that extra element really enhances the experience.

Dreams of Tomorrow is a nice, fun, light game with amazing aesthetics. I love rondels, and this one has a small but pleasant rondel that sees plenty of use during your plays. This would be a great game with more players, but the fact that it stands up as a solo game is reassuring. If you want a game that is quick to setup and play, looks great on the table, and has multiple difficulties to challenge your abilities – this is a game you should definitely check out.


Again, this game is on Kickstarter: http://weirdgiraffe.games/DreamsKS22


Hopefully you found this article to be a useful look at Dreams of Tomorrow. If you’re interested in providing support for Cardboard Clash so I can continue to improve what we offer, check out my page over on Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/CardboardClash.

Check out more of our reviews at the following Geeklist and be sure to let me know what you thought of this game.



Prayers for Elowen – 9/21/18 Update

My apologies for the long delay between updates on here. All has progressed better than the doctors expected since Wednesday night. All of the prayers, messages, and shares have reached us and helped us work through the chaos and emotions of this time. She’s doing fantastic and has had sets of visitors since yesterday afternoon. I’m sharing the three updates my wife messaged out to people, with the first being what was sent last night and progressing up to the one sent out tonight. I will do my best to provide another update tomorrow if there appears to be an interest in keeping tabs on her well-being.

Confused? Check out the first post and the first update regarding Elowen.

Thank you all, and God bless!

-David, Nicole, Archer, and Elowen Wiley


Elowen got her procedure to drain the kidneys today around 1:30. It took about 2 hours. She was sedated before, during and still sedated now, resting and the sedation is going to slowly work its way out of her system. Though they don’t want her very awake anyway so that she rests.

It is hard seeing her not moving much. Haven’t gotten to see her eyes open, David has though. Going from feeling her move in my belly to barely being able to touch her is rough at times.

With the kidneys draining her belly is beginning to deflate and is looking so much better! Love that, that pressure is going down. It will hopefully give her more room to breath on her own as well.

They will reevaluate the kidneys tomorrow with ultrasound and also look at the blockage they think are in her ureters.

I am recovering well. Walking on my own, though on pain medication. I was pretty emotional this morning but a nap helped.

My milk production isn’t as strong as it was but it will hopefully go back up soon. They still are not feeding her yet, just an iv, so i’m not too concerned about not having milk for her.

She is doing really well, better than they expected.

Please continue your prayers! Still have a long road.

Thank you all so much for your support!!


They are happy with how well her kidneys have drained. They are still unsure on if the kidneys have been damaged but she has made some urine production since the drain. They think about 80-100 ml of urine made since drain.

They plan on doing another ultrasound today to look at them more now that the swelling is down and to look at the possible blocks as well.

If you remember she was 13 pounds at birth due to the amount of fluid in her kidneys, she is now weighing 9.8 pounds after drain! That is a much better newborn weight that will be going down in my records! She is a chunky little thing!

There next course of action is to have surgery sometime this weekend or monday to place a PD catheter in her belly. This is for dialysis if she should need it later on incase the kidneys are not healthy. They want to get it in and have it healed before it comes to her needing dialysis. She may end up not needing it at all but even if she does this is the type of dialysis that she can eventually come home on.

They are going to start giving her my breast milk slowly through the ivs in her belly button to let her gut get use to it. Only about 3 teaspoons a day but so happy she will begin to get it. All of her nourishment will still be through her iv though.

Her lungs are doing well enough that they will be weaning her off the ventilator slowly this weekend.

They are also going to be weaning her off the morphine so she will hopefully be more alert and less sleepy soon.

The genetics team wanted to wait till swelling goes down before they assess if she has dwarfism. They will take more precise measurements soon and possibly run blood work but she is so much more proportional now that her stomach is down that we are hopeful she will have a normal skeletal system.

There is still a lot going on but she is strong and she is surprising the doctors alot! God is healing her with their help!Thank you so much for your continued prayers!


Her surgery is scheduled 8am tomorrow. Should take about 2 hours. Everything should go smoothly. There is always risks but they don’t seem worried. Prayers are always good and appreciated. We will have a update on surgery and her plan of the day by noonish tomorrow.