Good week of gaming in celebration of #NOrigins, the celebration for all of us who could not make it to Columbus Ohio for the annual Origins Game Fair. Lots of interesting coverage of Origins all over the place, from the fine folks at Meeple Syrup giving us live updates, interviews and game demos using the Periscope app to the nightly updates from Marty at Rolling Dice and Taking names and many others, but most of my coverage was from folks live tweeting their findings from the fair on Twitter. Thanks to all of you all for keeping us who couldn’t be there informed. I’m really going to push to make Origins a destination for my family next year, looks and sounds like a lot more fun to me than GenCon at this point due to the more relaxed atmosphere. Looking forward to Spyfall from Cryptozoic and interested now in a game called Why First? coming from AEG after being published by Pegasus Spiel over in Europe. Seems a fun lighter racing game where the object is to finish in second place rather than 1st. Looks like an interesting idea for a fun light game.
But, this podcast is about games we’ve played, not games that we want to play. So, nothing got played at the house on the table, although I did get on Board Game Arena and played a game of Spyrium with Bill Corey and the Bullocks. Was a great time and glad I got on and joined in, even though we got smoked by Bill. Looking forward to playing some more.
Other than that, there was nothing played during the week other than lots of Star Realms. Lots of games but no progression towards level 10, as a matter of fact I think I am one win lower than I was last week at Level 9 4/10. Lost my one league match up this week leaving me at 5-5 with one match up left. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a season over .500 so we’ll see what happens in the final match up. My brother in law has had my number this week winning every matchup I think. So thank you all for the challenges and the games, if I lose to you all I’ll usually send a rematch request, if I win I usually wait for you all to send a rematch request to me. So keep ‘em coming!
Saturday we hosted another game day at our local library, Missouri River Regional Library. We host a quarterly meetup there and we’ve had attendance anywhere from 5 people to about 20 on our busiest weekend, this weekend we were right in the middle at 11 people at our highest player count so we usually had two different games going.
We started out the day with a three player game of Cacao, while we waited for others to show up. I taught it to Steven and Bern and we were off. As is the usual with games like this that I teach, I ended up losing, even managed to come in dead last. I kind of went over Cacao a bit last week, but we’ll give the basics again. Cacao is a light weight tile laying game where each player has their own stack of “worker tiles” and a common group of “jungle tiles” that are used by the group. On your turn there are three actions you take, you place a worker tile, you then place jungle tiles if necessary and then you take your worker actions. Rules for tile placement are simple, never can a jungle tile share an edge with another jungle tile and never can a worker tile share an edge with another worker tile. Doing this creates a “checker board” look to the game area. After you place a worker tile if this creates a space where two worker tiles are adjacent to an unoccupied jungle space, you then place one of the two flipped over jungle tiles in that space and any other spaces that were created by placing your tiles. After you have filled any spaces that need to be filled, you take the actions of your workers. The workers are on the edges of your worker tiles, all the tiles have 4 total workers, they just differ in what edges they are place on. Some have 2 on one edge and 1 on two edges, and so on. Whichever workers are touching the edge of a jungle tile now take their actions. The actions vary from collecting cacoa, to selling cacao. You can collect Sun Tiles which allow you to build over previously placed worker tiles after all the jungle tiles have been placed, you can find gold mines and collect money, there are water tiles that move your worker up the water track, which is just a way to score more points or if you ignore it take a significant hit in points at the end of the game, or there are temple tiles which the players fight over control over to score points at the end of the game. You play the game through till everyone has placed all of their worker tiles and then add up victory points and the winner is the person who has the most points. I’ve played this with two and three player and there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference play wise. All you do with 2 players is take a dozen jungle tiles out that you leave in for 3 or 4 players. Cacao really is a fun lightweight tile laying game that doesn’t really seem like it’ll go over 45 minutes or so even with the max player count. It plays fast and it’s easy to teach, but it does have some strategic thought that goes into it. You want to maximize your actions every turn, sometimes all you’ll be able to do is get a couple actions, but if you can plan it correctly and get three actions from your workers you are getting a good hang of things, but usually when you get that many actions you are also going to be giving someone else an action. After a couple plays I really wonder what the Spiel des Jahres committee saw in their three nominations that made them choose them over Cacao.
After Cacao, Andy joined us and taught Downfall of Pompeii. I’ve played it a couple times before and I’ve enjoyed it each and every time. In Downfall of Pompeii you race to put your family and friends out on the board through cardplay and then about halfway through the game, it switches gears and the volcano starts to erupt and the race becomes a frantic race to get out of Pompeii. Your movements are based on how many people are in the district that you start in and you are allowed two movements per turn, but before that you have to draw a volcano tile from the bag and place it out based on the symbols on the tile, you are essentially creating the lava flow. How you place it can cut off exits or even kill off opponents people that are trying to escape. Really a fun game that you can’t help but be a bit sadistic, what with throwing your opponents into the volcano and all. Andy won this one with me a distant second. I didn’t get enough people out in that first part of the game, I never had the right cards to get more than an extra 1 person on the board, plus my placements were just, well we’ll just call it like it is, bad. I didn’t take enough consideration into where to place my relatives, but that’s okay, even in losing it’s a fantastic game that I’d probably play just about any time it gets brought out. Only negative that I can think of is that set up with the cards is a bit of a pain in the rear.
After that, it was time for a five player game of Dead of Winter. We recruited Sarah to join us and we went about trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. It was the first time playing for 3 of our 5 so I tried to teach it the best I could on the fly, and as I was a bit rusty I had to take my time to set up the game and then try to explain, usually I try to consolidate setup with explanation, but that wasn’t going to work this time. After my quick rules run through we picked up the Scenario and it was “Too many Mouths”, man that’s a rough one for the survivors, usually bad for us since all the crisis cards usually require us to stockpile food along with feeding the colony. But all that didn’t matter to me since, well since I was a betrayer. I’ve never gotten to play as the betrayer in Dead of Winter, so now was my chance. The first crisis card requires putting tools in for the crisis, that kind of bothered me as I wanted food as I thought that would make it especially hard on folks, but we had one player lose both of his survivors on his first round, thus losing all his starting cards and we ended up with only 3 players contributing to the crisis including me, boy was I glad that I gave a tool to it to try to convince them that there wasn’t a traitor. So the first round we lost 3 morale. Second round required more tools in the crisis and we had zombies everywhere, bad thing about this crisis was that it brought out a lot more zombies if we failed, and boy did we ever fail, we failed so much that morale ended up at zero while we were adding zombies after finishing the second round, well I shouldn’t say that we failed, they failed, I won as the betrayer without ever having to do anything really betrayer like. We just had way too many helpless survivors in the colony due to Events from searching and a couple Crossroad cards. I really wish I would have thrown this on the table later in the gathering when it was requested, but I just wasn’t sure we’d finish it in the hour and a half we had left, I didn’t think the second game would go as badly as that first one for the survivors.
After Dead of Winter we got three games of One Night Ultimate Werewolf in, this time with 10 players. I don’t think we’ve ever played with 10. Only a couple folks had never played before so off we were, but in our rush we forgot to explain exactly what the minion is supposed to do and the minion outed the Werewolf as soon as we started discussing who we thought was who, whoops. So we reset and the second game went much better, but the villagers still got the werewolf. Third game was a bit more fun, I was the minion and Sarah was the only Werewolf at the start. After everyone woke up a couple people were figured out, the Troublemaker and a couple villagers all verified by the “Seer”. I gave them a few seconds to discuss everything and then claimed that indeed the Seer was not who he claimed, as I was the seer and I had looked at one of the Villager cards. So that cast suspicion over at myself and the other Seer, then someone else made a reveal but they got caught looking at all the available roles before they claimed, so that brought more suspicion on him, but ultimately I took the fire and our Werewolf was safe and she never said a word. I really do enjoy ONUW, a fun compact game that once you play once, everyone usually wants to play it again and again.
So after that, Andy and Sarah took off and Steve went to go eat lunch so the kids played some Sheriff of Nottingham and some PitchCar while four of us tackled Cyclades for the first time. No expansions, just the base game. Cyclades has been on my shelf unplayed for a long time, very first meetup I went to here in Jefferson City, Adam was giving away games and I walked out with that, hasn’t been played and I kept swearing that it would be, even put it on my 15x1 list this year. So, of course I was game to try this one, and to be honest, I was a little let down, but I don’t think that’s the game’s fault, I think that Cyclades just turned out to be a different game than I expected. I expected it to be a bit more confrontational, like its cousin Kemet. But it wasn’t, and I think there were only two or three conflicts that required rolling the dice, and one of those I just did because I wanted to use ships. Adam won this one, rather handily as well, with Bern and Mark finishing with 1 Metropolis a piece, meanwhile war mongering me didn’t have one built, I never got a good footing on what I should have been doing other than building up my navy and army. But I do want to give it another shot as I think if I went in knowing what I was supposed to be doing instead of assuming that I knew what I was supposed to be doing, it’d be a bit of a different story.
It was getting towards closing time for the library so instead of breaking out another big game, a couple folks broke off and played some Race for the Galaxy and I taught and played a couple 4 player games of Arboretum. After explaining how really simple play is, I then went and tried to explain scoring to the best of my ability and I guess I either glossed over or folks didn’t catch a couple things I said, so our final scores were wonky as a couple people didn’t keep cards in their hand of suits they wanted to score and a mention of things being in ascending or descending order were met with an odd look. So, we reshuffled after walking through the rest of the scoring anyway, as it’s kind of easier once you see it and shuffled ‘em up again. This one was mean, with three of us blocking scoring and a fourth who seemed to have everything click and ended up walking away with it. I really like Arboretum, and I look forward to more plays, going to try to get Gabby and Kerensa to sit down and play it this week so I can see it at all 3 player counts, at that point I may write up a brief review and how to play on it, just because I think it deserves it, it’s a fantastic little card laying game.
So as the other group finished up their last game of Race for the Galaxy, we packed everything up and closed the doors on another successful quarterly meetup. I’m already chompin’ at the bit for September to get here. So thank you to Mark and his kids, Gabe, Gideon and Alesandra, Steven(who is the newest member in the group), funny thing, I asked Steven if he had played anything since our last meetup at the church a month ago and he said, nope, this is his only gaming. I don’t think I could survive at this point like that. Bern, Adam, Gabby, Andy and Sarah, thank you all for coming out and ignoring weekend chores for another Saturday, we’ll do it again in September!
After coming home after 8 hours of gaming, you would think that I had all the gaming out of my system, well nope, that’s not me. After having the H-index discussion last week it weighed on my head all week that we needed to bump it to 15 since it was right there, so I talked Gabby and Kerensa into sitting down and playing a game of Carcassonne to officially give me 15 plays and thus bump our H-Index up another notch. Gabby managed to score a HUGE 40 point city early in the game, seemingly getting everything that she needed to draw to complete it, but her luck left her after that and I pulled out a win with only 95 points due to some lazy farmers laying around in the right spots. I like Carcassonne, I always have and according to records I’ve actually won more games of it than anyone else has in our playing group, which doesn’t happen very often, but man, those tile draws can be so finicky and you have to know when to quit building that huge town and close it off or keep pushing, that’s what hurt Kerensa as she didn’t get to score her partial city due to having the Cathedral in it. Carcassonne will always have a place in our collection as it’s one of those games that rarely is turned down by any of us.
We finished up the evening with a game of Richard Ritterschlag aka Brandon the Brave with AnnaBeth. She sat patiently while we played Carcassonne, holding her bright yellow Haba box wanting to play as soon as we were done. Richard Ritterschlag is a pretty simple tile laying game, where you draw a tile and try to match up spots on the tiles in order to complete your set number of tasks that you have in your possession and thus win the game. Every once in a while you’ll place a tile down that has a horse on it, that’s your clue to move Brandon the Brave Knight. From then on out whenever you place a tile next to a tile that holds Brandon, you get an extra turn. Really is a fun little game for AnnaBeth and I really don’t mind playing it as I can still have some fun with her while she’s having fun. She managed to win this one, much like Carcassonne, the tile draws can make or break you. Now, I’m not saying that Kerensa and I were trying horribly hard to win, but it’s always fun to see her win and then thank everyone for playing and say good game. That’s it, eleven quality games on the table this week, really not a bad week that was definitely saved by our quarterly game meetup.
Ahhh, I love weeks like this for acquisitions, even though I am sure that the Postal worker or UPS driver or FedEx delivery person cusses our steps each time they walk up them. So coming in this week was a copy of the long sought after, at least here, Madeira. I had been wanting to pick this up for awhile now, but just never pulled the trigger due to cost. Even though I know that it’ll be a fantastic game, I just never thought that I should spend that much on a game that would get played maybe once or twice a year. So over Memorial Day weekend, Cardhaus had a sale and they had it for $12.99 and I missed it, I was so irritated. But soon after that Amazon dropped the price to $29.99 and I pulled the trigger and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve watched the Connect More 2 hour video explaining the game, I’ve watched Rahdo run through it, now I just need to read the rules and get someone to sit down and play with me. I’m hoping I can sell Kerensa on it as I know that she enjoyed Panamax which was from the same design team. Then came the Friday delivery of Dark Moon from the contest that I won on Twitter. I sat down and punched it, although it came with those patented Stronghold games self-punching sheets of cardboard where they are halfway punched as soon as you open the box. I sleeved up the cards in the sleeves provided to me from Mayday Games and read the rules while watching Joel Eddy’s Drive Thru Review. But alas, it didn’t get played this weekend. I went the easier route and taught Dead of Winter instead since I had taught it before a few times even though it had been awhile, but soon it will get to the table, I promise! Then Gabby got to open her first Board Game Geek auction win. Two expansions for PitchCar. Needless to say she’s ready to build and race all the time now, although we realized that we had somehow lost one of the cars at some point so now we can only race 7 players until I figure out how to get some more. We still want to pick up the stunt extension, the long straights and the cross then I think we’ll be completely satisfied, at least until Geekway next year and she sees some of the tracks they put together.
Only one new game backed on Kickstarter this week and that one is the follow up to Star Realms from White Wizard called Epic. Now, it could have been anything and I’d probably have backed it as I absolutely love playing Star Realms, but this one seems to try to take a trading card game and make it not a money chase as there are no rares, there are no boosters, everyone gets the same cards regardless, well except the Kickstarter rewards which will eventually be given out at tournaments and such. There’s not a lot out there on the Kickstarter page about how it works yet, but they promise that is coming, and everything I’ve heard from Origins where it was being demoed has been pretty positive as well. Currently Epic sits at $207k out of their original $50k goal, so yeah, it’s been quite a positive experience for White Wizard. With 22 days left to go, we’ve blown through the first 6 stretch goals and there are currently 4 on the horizon, with two to be revealed as more unlock. We’re in for a box and Brad and Kate are in for a box as well so we can do 8 player sealed deck and draft, along with Emperor and team draft, because, well, we always have 8 players ready to play, right? I’m still on the Wombat Rescue bandwagon and it looks like Matt and Eagle games had a good Origins game fair as the funding jumped up over the last 3 days or so and now sits at $21k. Coming up on the next stretch goal at $23k to add some boulders that act as barriers for everyone to have to maneuver around. If you haven’t checked this one out yet we’ve got a week to go and I’ll only be able to remind you one more time as it funds on Monday June 15th at 1:13 pm central. Be sure to check out Rahdo’s run through and I’m sure we’ll hear some more good things from Origins attendees as the week moves on.
Game Release News
Coming up is going to be a rough stretch of Kickstarter games, I’m looking at no fewer than 4 that I really want to back in the coming month, The Gallerist which launches on June 18th from Eagle Gryphon and Vital Lacerda, Monster Truck Mayhem from Dice Hate Me Games and Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback on June 16th, it’s real time dice rolling, modular boarding, car smashing monster truck racing on your table top. Then we have Hocus, from Hyperbole Games and Joshua Buergel and Grant Rodiek. I’ve been following the development of this one and have finally went and downloaded the Print and Play files to give it a whirl, but from reading about it, it’s definitely my type of card game. That one should be hitting on June 25th if memory serves correctly. Then, to top it all off comes the Carson City Big Box from Quined Games and easily one of my top 3 or 4 designers, Xavier Georges. A long sought after title for our collection but until now the price has been quite outrageous due to being out of print and quite a good game. But we’ll be able to remedy that come Mid-June sometime with the Kickstarter.
Other than Kickstarter we had a couple pretty big announcements from Stronghold Games this week, one they are going to be the ones to bring us The Golden Ages to the North American market. The Golden Ages was a Euro style civ game that got a lot of really good press after Essen this past year and had been quite sought after here, even though we could import it. But Stronghold steps up and we no longer have to do that, so look for that one on the Stronghold website soon. Then Stronghold felt like following that up with the announcement that their first game in their Great Designer Series was going to be from the duo of Kramer and Kiesling and it would be none other than Porta Nigra which I am horribly excited about. So keep an eye out for those and maybe more!!
Geeklist and Forums
Quite a great week on the geeklist and in the forum entry, although it seems we saw fewer entries on the Geeklist even though we had more thumbs, odd, I don’t know what to think. But there were lots of great games played, lots of smiling faces in photos and that’s what gaming is all about, it’s about the smiles that it can bring to the faces of those who play them!