Tuesday, August 26, 2014

88) Nations

A fun resource management game that has so many things I enjoy. You're buying and upgrading cards that give you different resources. You're placing workers on the cards you've bought to generate more resources. You're founding colonies, hiring advisors, and building wonders, which all produce resources. Additionally you're fighting to have the strongest military, influence, and knowledge as show in the bottom picture. There's so much going on and you're constantly balancing what your doing based on other players strategy. And yet the game play is so easy and smooth.

Just getting started
Cards available for purchase
Keeping track of everything but points
If you can't tell from above - I really enjoyed this game. Afterwards we were told this was a very atypical game as three players were battling for military almost the entire game. I'm excited to try again with a different strategy.

87) Talo

This is a game of strategic tower building. On your turn you roll a dice and get to place one or two pieces that add up to the number on the dice. You can move your colored piece as much as you want. The only catch is your piece can only step up one level at a time. Thus you must stair step your piece up to level ten in order to win.

Ready to start 
Half way through first round
Green wins
This was fun to play once. It's a great idea for a game. It plays relatively quickly the strategy involved is enjoyable. After playing once I didn't feel the need to play again. I think this game would be great for younger kids or for parents to play with their kids.

86) Imperial Settlers

Despite getting utterly destroyed I thought this game was awesome. Each player starts with a different group (I was the Romans) that produces a unique set of resources. There is a phase where players acquire cards into their hand. Then each player takes their turn spending resources to play cards and activate cards. As you build up your city you start to have more options and you can do exponentially more on your turn.

Ready to build something 
Just getting started
My player board
End game board state
I love this game because it has such high re-playability. You only see a limited amount of cards each game, thus, each game will produce a different mix of cards and require a different strategy for success. Despite the complexity of the strategy the game plays very smoothly. This was really fun and I look forward to playing again.

85) Paperback

This is a deck building version of scrabble. Everyone starts out with some standard consonants and a some wild cards. Players draw five cards and on their turn spell a word with the cards in hand. Cards used in the spelled word have buying power allowing a player to purchase different letters that can also come with special abilities. Eventually players are buying expensive wild cards that count as points at the end of the game.

Getting set up 
Letters available for purchase
8-letter word
Despite being a horrible speller I really enjoyed this game. It's a fun challenge of spelling words with a defined letter pool and buying other letters for future words. This is a great light game that introduces the idea of deck building.

84) Black Fleet

In this game each player controls two ships (a pirate ship and a merchant ship). The goal is to deliver goods to different ports with the merchant ship and raid other ships with your pirate ship. As you do this you'll earn gold, which allows you to buy cards that will eventually trigger the end of the game.

Ready to start
4-player game
Time to deliver some goods
Some of my cards
How cool is this box!

I enjoyed playing this game, but I question its re-playability. The actual game play of playing a card and moving your ships does get a bit repetitive and at the end of the game I felt like I had had my fill. Additionally, there is too much down time waiting for your next turn. The board is constantly changing so its difficult to plan out your next turn. This leads to extended wait times between your turns.

I do really like games with the pick up and deliver mechanic and adding to it the option to buy unique upgrades to your fleet made this game fun. I was glad I got to play this and would recommend it to others with the caveat that it may start to get old after a couple plays.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

83) Ubongo

This is basically speed tetris. Each player grabs one of the 36 different puzzle boards, the dice is rolled, and you grab the corresponding pieces and try to solve your puzzle. If you finish your puzzle you're allowed to score by collecting gems. Then each player grabs a new board and starts again.

Ready to collect some gems
Individual player pieces
Puzzle solved!
This game is super light and quite easy to pick up although can be challenging if you don't like solving spatial puzzles. The scoring is a bit silly as it feels overly complex and doesn't quite fit the game. Regardless, its a really quick game thats perfect as a filler or for people who enjoy lighter games.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

82) Samurai

This is a quick game thats easy to learn and fun to play. Essentially you're playing a tile and drawing a new tile in an attempt to collect the three different black pieces on the board.

Which tile to play?
The coveted three-piece spot
I like this game because its not super heavy, but still allows for some strategical thinking. It's great to pull out if you want to introduce people who don't normally play strategy games to the genre without overwhelming them.

Friday, August 22, 2014

81) Shadow Hunters

In this game each player has a secret identity. The goal is to eliminate players that are not on your team or complete the mission on your card. Throughout the game you'll be collecting equipment, attacking other players, and gaining information on other players.

Ready to start
Blindly killing each other
I'm dead

I had a lot of fun playing this game despite a number of parts of the game that I didn't enjoy. I'm not a fan of dice and in this game you roll to determine which action you can do. This often removes a lot of strategy from the game. Also, I found that with so many players you tend to get bored waiting for your next turn. The last thing I didn't enjoy was that players can be eliminated from the game and then must wait for everyone else to finish playing. Despite that it does accommodate a large group and everyone had fun. I do enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out who is on what team. I think for me this was fun to play a few times, but I can see myself getting tired of this more quickly then other games.

80) Glen More

In this game players are acquiring buildings from a shared area and building up their own city. Each time a building is added to your play area that building and all buildings next to it have their special actions activated to generate resources or convert resources to points.

Just getting started
Available buildings
Humble beginnings
Final board

I really enjoy this game. There are so many small mechanics that I love and to put them all together in one game is great. I enjoy the challenge of building your own village and trying to optimize which buildings you build and where you place them. I like the in-game scoring that awards points in three areas based on how much better you did then the lowest score. I also like the tension of selecting which building to purchase and the impacts that has on what other players will get. All in all a great game and I would recommend giving it a try.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

79) Risk Legacy (caution - contains picture spoilers)

Please Note: The pictures in this post contain spoilers that may negatively effect your experience of the game. I will not put any spoilers in the text.

I'm so glad I got to play this game in its entirety. When you sit down to start this game you're actually agreeing to play 15 games and whomever wins the most games after that is the winner. As you play the game certain things will happen that cause the game to evolve with new rules, different components, and the naming of different parts of the board. Who doesn't love adding stickers to things! Thus, while you are still playing the same game; the strategy will change from game to game based on these changes.

This game has many of the same mechanics of risk that still make me groan (endless dice rolling, the australian turtle maneuver, and the swingy nature of failed attempts to win), but the one big difference that sets this game apart is that you're racing to get 4 points (NOT take over the world). It took a game or two to learn the strategy implications of racing to 4 points, but it can make for some sudden game endings.

If you're able to find four other people willing to commit to 15 games of risk then I would highly recommend playing this game. Do make sure that the people you play with understand this is just a game (some backstabbing may occur and you do have to sit down with these same people for the next game and the game after that). And, if you do plan on playing, don't look at the pictures below. A huge part of the enjoyment for me was opening up new things and I would hate for you to see something below that would spoil that.

My faction for the last game
Bonus cards
The board in all its glory

Memories of past conquests

78) Valdora

In this game you're collecting gems distributed on the board and bringing them to various cities to fulfill contracts. Players are also competing for which contracts they get and which type (color) of gem they can carry. The player who optimizes all these factors will most likely be victorious.

Set-up for a four player game
Currently available for purchase
My final score
I'm glad I got to play this game, but wouldn't necessarily recommend it. I enjoy the mechanics and the race to be the first to complete different tasks, but as a whole the game feels too linear and became a bit repetitive after a while.

77) Harbour

This is a fun game of managing and optimizing resources. There are four resources that you're collecting and then selling based on market prices. The trick is every time someone uses the market the value of the goods change. Game play consists of placing your one worker on an available card and doing the action on the card. You start by collecting the goods and soon you can sell your goods to purchase one of the cards, which gives you end game points and some other bonuses.

Player board
The ever changing market
Four player game
My final board

As a whole I enjoyed this game. The one difficult part was that the market pricing felt random in the sense that if multiple people sell goods before you then the value of goods would be completely different then expected on your turn. This got much better as you start to anticipate when other players will sell goods and planning ahead became easier. This game has tons of replayability as the action cards of each game will be completely different and require a different approach to the game to be successful.

76) Star Realms

This game is very similar to other deck building games. Each player has a start deck with money to buy new cards and attack cards to deal damage to the other player. Once one players life total hits zero the other player wins.

Space themed deck builder

Just getting started

My board

The big strength of this game is the number of different cards. You always get a new mix of what's available to purchase throughout the game, which makes the strategy of each game slightly different. If you enjoy deck builders this would be a fun one to include in your collection.