Thursday, May 22, 2014

74) Shadows Over Camelot

This is a fun co-op game with a small twist - one of the players is actually a traitor. On the board there are a bunch of different quests that players go on. You play cards on your turn to progress towards completing quests, but you also must draw bad cards which make your quests more difficult.

Ready for action 
Mid-way through our game

My hand

Gathered around the table one last time

This game felt like you were constantly on the edge of losing (or winning if you were the traitor). It takes quite a bit of coordination with everyone else playing to optimize everyones actions. All in all a fun game that I want to play until I'm finally the traitor.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

73) Puerto Rico

This is a great game and maybe one of the first games I ever owned. There's good player interaction. You're forced to plan ahead and think about what others are going to do. You get to build things and produce goods and recruit workers and sell and trade goods. So much goodness.

5-player game

Just getting started

I love the office

End game board

Not much else to say about this one. It's a classic and if you haven't played it you should!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

72) Guildhall

A fun card game that had me itching to make some epic combos. Each turn you get to play two cards and activate special abilities each time you play a card. The goal is to make sets of the same name, but in each of 5 colors. But beware as other people try and thwart your neatly laid plans.


Not sure what's happening here

Just getting started

My hand

With four people I thought there was a bit too much going on. Other players can steal cards and re-arrange cards enough where on my turn it felt best to optimize my play based on that turn as opposed to future goals. The other problem I had with this game is the inability to plan ahead. Often a players first action can be to draw new cards, which then makes everyone else wait while the player sorts through the new information. Additionally the board can change a lot even the turn before yours, thus players will spend time considering options while everyone else waits. I do think a lot of this wait time could go away if everyone had played a couple times. I would certainly give this one a try again despite the drawbacks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

71) Machikoro

In this game you're collecting cards, which give you money to buy more cards. Eventually you have enough money to start buying the cards that allow you to win. All this is fine and good until you add in the dice. At the beginning of your turn you roll dice and cards of the corresponding number are activated, sometimes for one person, sometimes for everyone. My round often consisted of collecting money on other players turns, rolling the dice and being forced to give my money away and passing the turn. I suppose its my fault for buying the wrong cards...


Three player game

Available card pool

Personal card pool

This is a quick game thats easy to learn. This game isn't for me because I don't enjoy the mechanics and generally shy away from dice driven games that often have a lot of luck involved, but, that said, if this type of game sounds interesting to you then I wouldn't write it off based on my specific game preferences.

70) Tzolk'in the Mayan Calendar

For uniqueness alone this game is a winner. Throughout the game you'll be turning the center wheel, which in turn spins the smaller wheels. You place your pieces on the outer (smaller) wheels and as they spin different actions become available. When you decide to remove your piece you are allowed to do the corresponding action. This becomes very frustrating as you try to time where your pieces will be and which actions you can complete.

Getting set up. 
Yeah, this comes with the game!

The gears of time

Done feeding

This game is a great brain buster, especially on the first few plays. Towards the end of the game I started to see how it worked, which also meant I started to realize that my pieces were not where I wanted them to be. I also started to see different combinations and strategies that make me want to try this one again.

Monday, May 12, 2014

69) Mount Everest

This game recreates the experience of climbing Mt. Everest...for better or worse. You're in charge of two climbers who ferry tents, supplies, and people up and down the mountain. The more people you get to the top the better off you'll be, but watch your oxygen levels or you may be carrying someone down the mountain.

Ready to start

Gotta get those paying clients to the top

Tent  city

This game has a great concept, but the execution is a bit clunky. We all spent the first half of the game preparing to get people up the mountain (it was everyones first play). The second half of the game was spent ferrying people up the mountain and waiting for the ideal time to make a run for the top. As a whole this game felt a bit rote. Players all have the same strategy for winning and it becomes a bit of a chore running through the same steps over and over. There's no variety in strategy and there's limited player interaction making for a stale game play. There are a few things I did like about this game, but it wasn't enough to get me excited to play again.

68) Heros of the Three Kingdoms

This is a quick, easy to learn game that is great as a filler game. On your turn you can play cards to your board and potentially steal cards from others or choose to score some of your piles. I ended up playing a 2-player and 4-player game and its much better with more people.

Starting cards
Two player game

Building up

The number one selling point for this game is that all the cards have unique artwork. Beyond this its a silly game that offers a fun break from the heavier games.

67) Letnisko

In this game you're building and upgrading hotels and then having guests from the train come and stay in your hotel. Of course when they leave they give you money to further grow your hotel chain.

Passengers on a train

5-player game

End game loot

This was a fun game to play and easy to pick up. I expect that after multiple plays this game would start to move more towards a luck based game. It rewards players who get ahead and getting ahead in this game is based in large part about turn order and what level of passengers come out on the train. I expect once players learn these patterns and start to optimize their decisions this game could lose some enjoyment. It also didn't leave me with a feeling of wanting to play again. It's a good game to play once or twice, but there are better options in my opinion.

66) Fairy Tale

This is a nifty drafting game. For the most part its fairly straight forward although resolving flipping the cards face up is a bit awkward. There are a number of events that can happen depending on which cards have been chosen and they must happen in the correct order. It's a bit tedious going through each step when no cards are relevant to the step, but then you start to skip through the steps faster and triggers get missed. I think this fixes itself once everyone is more comfortable with the game as a whole.

A new story every game?

Hope I get more dwarves and dragons...


5-player game

The other dragon is upside down

As you can see above I choose the dwarf/dragon route and got EVERY card I wanted. It was fun, but not much of a challenge. I think future plays would offer more difficult choices, which makes me want to play again. My fear is this game would get a bit repetitive after a handful of plays. You're going to be seeing the same cards and strategies over and over and it could get old.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

65) Catan: Cities and Knights

This game is super popular for many reasons. Number one would probably be that its most people's introduction to longer strategy games and that creates a soft spot in ones heart. Also, it has city building, exploring, resource management, and so many other things that are just awesome in a game. People just love this game and you have to give it credit for that. My goal here is to give this game a fair shake, because I'm not really that big a fan.

Ready to start

Blue road, green road, game over?

Cryptic wheat

Fiddly-bit heaven

I think my number one complaint about this game is that you're rolling dice to determine whether or not you can do things on your turn. There's more to it then that (probability and trading savvy), but if your numbers are rolled less frequently then other players numbers you probably lose, and there's always that person sitting there not getting the good rolls who gets to watch everyone else play. I'm sure there's other things that I don't like about this game....but, if you haven't played this game then go play it, because its the roots that have allowed countless people to become gaming nerds and there's no arguing with that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

64) Carcassonne: The Discovery

This is a nice take on the standard version of Carcassonne. Basically you're placing your people on different land forms and then trying to complete and score them. The main difference from the standard version is that after placing a tile you have the choice of either placing a meeple or removing and scoring one of your meeples already on the board. The one complaint I would have is the scoring is not very intuitive. After a few turns everyone starts to pick up on it, but it is a bit more complicated then it needs to be.

A couple turns in

4-player game

Mountain meeple

The final map in all its glory

For me, I only need to own one version of Carcassonne and I'm happy its this one. I really like the standard version, but have played it enough as to where this is a nice twist on a game I already enjoy. If you already own prior versions of this game I wouldn't recommend buying this because the game play and strategy are largely the same. But, its always nice to be able to pull this one out as a 'new' game that  still feels like an old friend.

63) Glory to Rome

This is a neat game with a bit more depth then you initially expect. In this game, the first few turns were spent figuring out how the game works (as is true for most new games) and the latter half was spent trying to recover from those early decisions. One thing I did notice is the first 2/3rds of the game is spent fighting for every last resource and card and advantage. You then reach a tipping point and all that hard work begins to pay off. People start having ridiculously awesome rounds and the end is just around the corner.

For the glory. 
Getting started

Forum and Sewer for the win

Cards everywhere.

Once again, the joy in this game is in looking for and executing awesome combos. The buildings you build and the clientele you hire fuel these combos and allow you to put together some sweet turns. I also really like that there are so many different paths to victory and this just makes me want to play again to try out a different strategy. Overall a fun game that I look forward to playing again.

62) Smash Up

Quick and easy game with tons of re-playability. There are a bunch of different themed sets of cards. Each player gets two sets of themed cards to make a deck. Players then play actions and minions in an attempt to conquer various bases worth points.

The box says it all 
My deck ready for action 
Ninjas and plants!

Who doesn't want a dread gazebo.

I would recommend this game as a light card game that teaches card interaction. It does feel a bit random in that you have limited control when it comes to planning ahead. Players have so many ways to destroy, steal, move, and otherwise just mess with the cards you've played, which limits the amount of strategy one can have. The board state is often completely different at the the start of your turn then it was when you finished your previous turn. Despite this, the anticipation of the ultimate combo that blows everything out of the water would keep me coming back for more. So, thumbs up this one for a quick filler game.