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Week 30

I’m back and a bit more rested. I need to give a huge thank you again to my wife for stepping in for me and giving you the rundown of what we played last week. I appreciate it and I do hope that we can time the recordings to get her and my daughters on the podcast a little more often..

I do also want to take a second to say Happy Father’s Day out there to all the Fathers and people who take on the role of Father to our children all over. I’d say we probably have the second hardest job in parenting, haha, okay, sometimes the hardest, but I won’t say that too often.

I will say that tonight I am enjoying a delicious 2015 Boulevard Saison Brett, I was lucky enough to find a store here locally that had a few more in stock and I went ahead and bought a handful to tide me over for the summer. It really is a fantastic beer and I am really thankful to have Boulevard as a local-ish brewery, I mean I can make it there in 2 hours, that’s local, right? In the spring we get the Saison Brett and in the Winter we get the Bourbon Barrel Quad, and if I could have enough of those to last all year, I’d never buy another beer again. Excuse me while I have another drink and get ready to tell you all about our week in gaming.

Tasty Boulevard Saison Brett

This week started with a swimming get together for my oldest on Monday and while she and her cousin were swimming, I took the time to teach Kerensa Cacao. Once again, I may have taught her a bit too well as she ended up winning this one 65-62. As you will see as the week progresses, Cacao continues to get played quite a bit. I was all ready to teach Kerensa Fields of Arle as well, but we just ran out of time doing stuff on Monday, but that evening we had a game night at Grace. We had a good turnout, a new family joined us and many games were played. Gabby and I arrived a bit late due to needing to get something to eat so we sat out the first round of games while everyone got settled in. There was a 4 player game of Caverna, a 4 player game of Roll for the Galaxy and a 2 player game of The Amazing Labyrinth. So after Gabby and I finished our dinner we broke out, you guessed it, Cacao, and played another round. Every two player game of Cacao that we have played has been close, usually 2 or 3 points difference and this one was no different, but this one was lower scoring than we normally are with me winning 55-53. The cacao buying and selling just didn’t seem to take off this game like it has others, and to top it all off our lake tiles didn’t come out until late in the game, luckily for me I had a sun token available that allowed me to build over one of my tiles and sell off 3 cacao for 3 gold a piece to give me the extra points I needed. While we were playing that, Carol and Laura finished up their game of Amazing Labyrinth and came over and checked out Cacao and we gave them the basic run down of how to play, but they went and played a 2 player game of Forbidden Desert while we finished up our game and then dealt out cards for a 2 player game of Arboretum.

This was Gabby’s first time learning Arboretum and the scores kind of reflected that with me winning the initial game 27-9. After we finished up, Carol and Laura joined us for a 4 player game of Arboretum and once again, I taught it apparently too well, or we just got smoked. Carol and Laura both picked up the play pretty quickly and the scoring showed it with Carol winning with 22, Laura coming in second with 20 and myself coming in third with 13, and Gabby would rather her score not be public knowledge at this point, but I will say that it was 2 points better than my lowest score.

We wrapped up Arboretum and I went and sat down with a group that was midway through a game of Dark Moon, which I had brought. They seemed to think that the game was way too easy for the uninfected, but soon the tides turned and the Infected revealed himself and wreaked havoc all over the ship and caused our uninfected to suffer a huge defeat. I can’t wait to sit down and try this one myself and I’m glad that they played it so that I could see it in action a bit. Caverna wrapped up right about this time and that left us with a half hour or so left, but no one felt like hopping into a quick game so the night was over. As always, I didn’t play nearly enough games, but I do always have a great time when we get together. I don’t know that Gabby would have been good for another game, as she was pretty worn out from a day of swimming and gaming by that point.

Throughout the week the time never presented itself to get any games played, but Saturday evening I did push it and we sat down to our first 3 player game of Scoville. It’s been awhile since we had played this one, Gabby played it back in January when Ray brought a copy to a game day and I had played it not too much after that with Kerensa after I bought it thinking that everyone in the family would love to play it, but it didn’t grab Gabby like I thought it did and any time that I had suggested it since then it has been denied. But, I played the Father’s Day card and finally got it played again. Scoville is a really neat game where you are basically mixing colors, or rather pepper types, to harvest new peppers. In a round there are basically 5 things that happen. First step is that there is an auction for turn order, pretty important, but in our plays I’ve never seen people get overly competitive for the first player. Second action, in turn order every player plants a new pepper in the field adjacent to an existing pepper. After everyone has planted a pepper, then in REVERSE turn order you harvest peppers. You harvest by moving your farmer between the rows of peppers at least 1 space, but no more than 3 spaces, each spot along the way that you go between two peppers, you create a new pepper. So if you go in between a red and a yellow pepper you get an orange pepper, just like the mixing of colors in Pastiche. After everyone has harvested their peppers you have a chance to fulfill pepper orders in the Farmer’s Market or complete a Chili Recipe. The recipes give you victory points, the Farmer’s Market cards reward you with money and possibly victory points and other peppers. You can also sell peppers at this time for a price based on how many peppers of that color are on the board, every two of a color equals a dollar. After the harvest phase you check for conditions to change the Farmer’s Market and Auction cards to the afternoon or check for end game conditions. If the game is not over, you go back to the beginning and do another auction for turn order and keep on picking peppers. If the game ends, you add up your victory points from Farmer’s Market cards, recipe cards and any awards you have received for being the first to plant a specific color of pepper, plus 1 victory point for every $3 in your possession, highest point total wins. I really like this game and with three it seems to have sped things up a bit. With two players, Kerensa and I seemed to need to work to place the perfect pepper every time, with three there are more options out there so while there are more choices to be made, it seems to speed up just because you have more peppers on the board, if that makes any sense whatsoever. Kerensa won this one with 81 points, to my 70 with Gabby having some issues with staying with us back in last place. Despite having to dust off six months worth of dust off of it I am really glad to have this in the collection and I think that we’ll get it played a bit more often now that we’ve ran through it again, at least I know that I’ll be asking for it more often. So after Scoville, Gabby and I persuaded Kerensa to join us for a three player game of Arboretum. Seems over the last few weeks we are getting more repeated plays of games than we used to, but then again, the repeated plays are coming from the shorter games like Arboretum and Cacao. This would be the first time that we’ve had a three player game of Arboretum, so I was kind of curious if it changed much from the two or four player games, and it doesn’t, although I do think that with lower player counts the luck of the draw is more prevalent. I won this one 23-21-13. There really wasn’t much blocking of scoring in this one and as with most of our other games there really wasn’t any competition for certain tree types, everyone seems to try to specialize with their own types and just try to block with a card or two. Kerensa packed up after this one and Gabby and I played a two player game with me winning 23-13. Everything played out much the same way, not a lot of fighting over suits, etc. Gabby was frustrated with having finished with 13 points in both games so we threw it out again for a third game. This one played out a bit different. I started with a Maple out, then Gabby threw out a Maple as well, so I thought maybe we might actually compete for the same suits, but as the game went on, I could see that there was no competition, she picked up every Maple it seemed, I never drew another one. Gabby ended up winning 31-27, if she hadn’t held onto a couple Willows we would have ended up tied at 31, but she pulled off the win in spite of only scoring two different suits. I like Arboretum, but I think it has some small issues, but despite those, I’m willing to keep playing this one as it is unique and a lot of fun. Just hope that everyone else still feels the same after about 9 plays in 3 weeks or so.

That’s it, that’s all she wrote this week. Nine plays of three distinct games. Cacao and Arboretum seem to have legs, but we’ll see over the summer how they hold up. I do have hopes of getting something to the table that’s a little bit meatier than what we’ve been playing, but we’ll see. Gabby has been hesitant when I bring up games with longer rule sets and more strategy, but I’m hopeful that she lets me try to get one to the table soon. Really been wondering how she’d do at something like Terra Mystica or even Last Will, but I’m not going to force it, I don’t want to ruin her on gaming with me by making her do something that she doesn’t want to do, although it does confuse me a bit as she willingly sat down and played Nations when we first got it and enjoyed it, but that was the last real “heavy” game that I’ve gotten her to play.

Acquisitions

Well, not a lot came in this week as I’ve been taking it easy on picking up new games, even going so far as to ignore most of the auctions that pop up daily on Board Game Geek, but I did acquire an expansion to a game that I absolutely love, Ginkgopolis. The expansion, The Experts, is getting harder and harder to find unless you find it in an auction with the base game, but I lucked out and a fellow geek was willing to break apart the base and expansion to sell since someone else only wanted the base game. So $20 later I have The Experts to add to the game. I’m not even really sure when we’ll play and which modules of the expansion will get used, but I wanted to add it to complete it. So thank you Donnie, I appreciate your willingness to sell them separately.

Kickstarter

Oh Kickstarter, why do you have months like this, it’s really annoying that I don’t have all of the disposable income in the world to back each and every game that I want to back. As it is, I had to skip over Mare Nostrum and a couple others due to the cost of some of the new ones I am backing. First up, we are still backing Epic, and with Brad and Kate we are backing for 2 boxes. I am really tempted to back out of this one and just wait for retail as I don’t really think I need any of the promo cards to play and it really doesn’t need my help, it’s over $335k at the time of writing this and really I haven’t played my physical copy of Star Realms all that much and I know I like that game. But as it is, I’m in, we’ll see if I stay in over the next 6 days. So new this week is Carson City and The Gallerist. Carson City I touched on briefly last week. It’s a long sought after title for me, and I just never felt like paying what folks were asking for it on the secondary market since it was out of print. With this new Kickstarter campaign I am getting the base game and two expansions, plus nice wooden bits for the same price as what folks were charging auctions, and oh man, look at that box.

Then came The Gallerist from Eagle Gryphon games and designer Vital Lacerda. I was backer number 6 on this one when it hit and I can’t wait to have this one on the table. Vital has given us Kanban, CO2 and Vinhos, all heavy, meaty Euros. The Gallerist looks to continue that tradition, but after a rules read it seems to be a bit lighter than those three, now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be light at all, but I think with the theme and rules weight it may be a good game to introduce to folks who want to take that step into heavier strategy games. Here’s hoping. I’ve seen all the complaints about the cost of this one, and I’ve seen all the Kickstarter moralists and their argument that Eagle Gryphon has no business using Kickstarter as they have enough capital to get games out to consumers on their own, and I used to be one of those who thought that way as well, but I’ve reconsidered my stance on it long ago. The costs on this one seem pretty steep. $59 plus $8 shipping, and you could get free shipping if you put enough add-ons on there that you get to $100. I’m not a huge fan of how Eagle Gryphon uses Kickstarter to get rid of surplus games, but I guess if it helps push the campaign, why worry about it. Also, if you search The Gallerist forums over on Board Game Geek, Rick from Eagle Gryphon offers up his explanation as to why the game costs what it does, plus Vital has chimed in as well to offer his thoughts on the matter and why the Stretch goals for this one are purely cosmetic, here’s a hint, they are cosmetic because the game is exactly how Vital wants it, there is nothing to add to it. Eagle Gryphon has a good reputation for game production, heavy boxes, heavy cardboard, fantastic bits, so when they tell you that no expense has been spared on this one, I tend to believe it, oh, and the box weighs 8 pounds. That’s 8 pounds of Pure Euro Goodness. With Wombat Rescue funding last week, this is two in a row from Eagle Gryphon that I have backed and I’ll be watching their Kickstarters pretty closely from here on out.

Only thing I am back and forth on backing is Monster Truck Mayhem from Dice Hate Me Games and Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback. On one hand it looks like a really cool real time dice rolling game, but on the other hand, I have Escape that hasn’t been played in forever even though we really enjoy it when we do get to play it. This one has monster trucks and that’s even more fun than trying to escape a temple that you are ransacking. I’ve seen the gameplay videos and it looks like fun, I love the addition of the Sunday Sunday Sunday cards to slow down the leader a little bit, plus it just adds a bit of fun randomness to the mix if your group gets into it. But with Carson City and The Gallerist already eating up quite a bit of our Kickstarter game budget, I just don’t know if I am going to be able to spend the extra money on this even though I know that Dice Hate Me Games stuff can be hard to find after delivery. We’ll have to see when it comes closer to the end time of the campaign whether or not we have the money to put towards it. As it is, I really hope it succeeds as it really does look like a lot of fun and I think Matt and Ben really make quality stuff although I’ve only picked up Fleet so far.

Monster Truck Mayhem Kickstarter Page

The Gallerist Kickstarter Page

Carson City Big Box Kickstarter Page

Geeklist & Thread

Lots of great games played and write ups written over on the Geeklist and on the forum thread. Freddie got in a play of Xia which really gets my jealousy moving as that is one of the games that I regret not backing over on Kickstarter, but I do hear that a second printing is on the way so maybe we won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to pick it up? Seems Adam got bitten by the Tabletop bug and played some Kingdom Builder last week, that game really doesn’t get enough love, for a game with that many choices and to still have a brilliantly easy rules set, it should get more. Also seems that Wil Wheaton took a bit of offense to some of the rules lawyers this week and threw his producer under the bus in a blog post over it, kinda glad I quit watching Tabletop with the exception of the rare RPG session. From Eric Kouris, Styren on BGG, we got our first glimpse of 7 Wonders Duel, at least I think it’s a first for us, and he did nothing to quell my acquisition disorder for it. I’m definitely also going to have to check into Town Center after seeing it mentioned several times this week. Thomas Leitner once again ran down 7 games that I would love to play at some point, even Nations The Dice Game which he isn’t too fond of. Amazing to me to see Seasons keep on appearing on folks lists as well almost every week. Scott once again probably had the entry of the week just due to all the Cult of the New goodness that was involved. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Flick ‘em Up and Codenames apparently is entirely too good for what it is, can’t wait to try it either. Jonathan got Super Dungeon Explore Forgotten King to the table, I honestly had forgotten that they were still expanding this game. It was one of my earliest leaps of faith of buying without trying and it kind of backfired as we only ever got a couple plays of it in, but maybe I’ll get inspired and get it to the table soon as it’s destined to stay in my collection anyway due to my horrible attempts at painting a couple of the figures, these eyes were not made for miniature painting. Asgard got a glowing review from Phil Triest, which is cool as it sits on my shelf waiting to be played soon! Keep up the great entries folks, I enjoy reading them and seeing what I am missing in games that I don’t get to see on our table.

 

Arboretum Review

Week 28!!!