Sorry for the delay in this week’s episode, it was a long weekend and Sunday was filled with family, friends and bbq, so much so that there was no way I was going to be able to record on Sunday night, so I hope everyone is okay with a Monday release and sticks with us. I really enjoy doing these but the family comes first so while we’ll try to stick to a Sunday release schedule, sometimes, like this week, it’s just not going to happen due to life. Enough with the excuses, we’re here to talk about games, so let’s do it!
We really had no time to game during the week, I tried a couple times to get games to the table but it just didn’t work out for us, but we did have a game day scheduled at our local library so I knew there would be plenty of games to be played this weekend.
The biggest hit, or at least the game that saw the most action was the newest acquisition for our shelves, Codenames. Seems most Online Game Stores got their stock in on Friday and I had pre-ordered a copy from Miniature Market but I was anxious to play so I searched locally and found out that Magelings, a store north of us in Columbia, had a couple copies in stock so I raced up there Friday afternoon after work and picked up a copy from them. It was the first game to hit the table on Saturday morning and it was played about six times throughout the day. Codenames is really at its heart a competitive co-op game where two teams are trying to find the special agents of their color on a 5 by 5 board of cards that contain single words. Each team has a team leader, the two team leaders sit on the opposite side of the table as their teammates. In front of them they keep cards of their team color, red or blue, a stack of tan innocent bystanders and a single black assassin card. Also in front of them is a card that only they can see, this card is their map of where their team’s special agents are located on that board of 25 cards, on that cards is also four “lights” around the outside edge, this tells the leaders which team is the first to go. On your turn, the leader gives their team a one word clue and a number. The word should in theory lead their teammates to pick the correct words, the number, it can be anything 0-9 but good luck getting 3 or more, tells the team how many words they should be looking for with this clue. At most your team has to guess one word on the table, if it is correct, they can keep going or they can stop, choosing to let the other team have a turn. The team guessing can keep guessing up to the number given by the leader if they are correct each time, then they can have one more bonus guess if they choose to. But beware, if you end up selecting the word that represents the assassin, you lose the game. There are all sorts of rules for what you can and cannot say as the leader, but we won’t get into that, you can kind of guess that you have to stay within certain parameters in order for the game to be fair and balanced. We played it 5 or 6 times on Saturday, everyone played it at one time or another and I think that everyone really liked it. Sometimes you could tell that the leaders were struggling a little bit to find clues that would allow their team to guess the correct answers, but we kind of soon discovered that even a clue with a one can be really important, especially if your team remembers clues from earlier that did not get completely guessed, so with their bonus they can ultimately guess one more time. You just have to kind of remember those clues through the entire game so as the board gets cleared you can figure things out. I wanted to play this one with my family on Sunday but the opportunity never arose, but that’s okay, I’m pretty sure that the game will see more than its fair share of plays.
The other most played game of the day was Sheriff of Nottingham, I never got to play it but the younger kids that were in attendance did play it 2 or 3 times, always having a great time and laughing. Gabby loves playing this one as well. I just figured I’d mention it even though I didn’t play it since it did get quite a bit of play.
Bern, Mark, Steven and I sat down for a four player game of Castles of Mad King Ludwig which continues to get steady plays. Steven was the only one who had not played before so we gave a quick explanation of the rules and what you do on your turn and we are off. That’s one of the things I really like about this one, it’s really not horribly rules heavy, the game just lets you hop in and get going. Master Builder was used pretty well this game, I think the rest of the table was trying to figure out what everyone was shooting for and price them accordingly, a couple did it better than others, as I never was comfortable with money, but I did always have enough to never have to pass a turn to take money and I doubled up on square rooms both on the public goals and my private goal. Also along the way I managed to pick up 3 more goal cards and kind of ran away with this one, finishing with 107 points, 12 points ahead of Steven who was concentrating on outdoor rooms. Bern finished at 88 points, he managed to score a couple of the public goals but never managed to pick up any extra goal cards for himself, and Mark finished back in fourth with 81 points in his castle filled with hallways, seems he misread one of his goal cards and was just shooting for a lot of corridors, when in fact it was only scoring for stairs, made a pretty big difference in his score as he bought a lot of hallways and even had a couple corridor rooms that he purchased. Every game of Castles turns out differently, it’s always a good time. That master builder mechanic really makes this, every turn folks get to change the rooms around on the sale track to prices that they think will get them the most money all while making it easier on themselves if possible. Can’t wait to check out the expansion that should be landing at Essen Spiel, looks like it adds some moat tiles which seem to me to be like the boarder tiles in Suburbia’s first expansion and some gardens and swans, not sure what all they do yet, but it should be fun.
After that I sat down and played a game of Tokaido with Andy, Sarah and Mark’s youngest son, Gabe. First time I’ve played this in forever and I wasn’t the only one as I don’t think Andy had played it in a long while either. But I remembered the rules and let Andy give those to Gabe and Sarah and we were off on our journey down the Tokaido road. Tokaido is not a race, it’s a relaxing, really beautiful game that sometimes seems more to me like an exercise than a game. Sure there is set collecting and knowing how far to move ahead, but it really doesn’t have too many huge decision points in it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it, I do, but it doesn’t get played around our house as neither Gabby, nor Kerensa particularly enjoyed their plays of it. This one I was distracted through about half of the game as Bern and Mark were checking out the next game I wanted to play, so I was trying to walk them through the rules and concentrate on playing Tokaido and I failed and I kind of feel bad, I should have sat there and played instead of bouncing back and forth. Andy won this one over Sarah by the narrowest of margins, after a recount, 83-82. I finished back at 76 points with Gabe finishing right behind me at 74. As I said, I enjoy playing this one now and then, I don’t think I’ve ever requested it even though I do own a copy as well. It really is a beautiful game though, the artwork is fantastic, but man those scoring pieces are way too small for my fat fingers.
After that, Andy and Sarah went for a walk to grab a bite for lunch and I sat down with Mark, Bern and Gabe again to play a round of a game that I’m really looking forward to previewing in a couple weeks, World’s Fair 1893. What I will tell you right now is that, at four players, this was really fun. Ultimately this game is an area control game with a bit of set collection going on. I can’t wait to see what Foxtrot Games has in store for this game once it hits Kickstarter later this month, the 29th of September I believe, but I will double check. I played this one another two times after we got home, once at 3 player and once as a 2 player game. Each play felt different and offered some interesting choices, so I look forward to more plays and telling you all more about it in the near future, but for now, just know, we really enjoyed it.
We followed World’s Fair 1893 with another Kickstarter game that we are previewing and this one is live right now, Avalanche at Yeti Mountain. (8:52 of the Podcast)
We finished up our game day at the library with a 4 player game of Cacao, most everyone else had taken off, so there were only four of us left to find a game to play, I was wanting to throw Medina on the table, but as soon as I sat it out, I felt lost, it’s been entirely too long since I have played it and I didn’t want everyone to end the day with me fumbling through a rules explanation, so we went with Cacao which has become a fantastic standby game for us. Really, the rules and tile explanation can be done in about 5 minutes and the game, even at full capacity can be played in about 45 minutes or so. It’s not like those 45 minutes aren’t full of choices to be made either, this isn’t just a lay a tile down and hope for the best, you can kind of find a strategy in here and stick with it, well, you could have if you weren’t me. Once again this was one of those games where I was just lost, I never really got a cacao selling engine going and I couldn’t get a foothold controlling any of the temples. I managed to claw my way to a whopping 36 points, well behind the winner Steven who had 55 and we were the two who had played this one before. Andy finished with a respectable 50 points and Sarah finished up at 42. And that was it for our game day at Missouri River Regional Library. There were other games played that I did not get to play, there was a game of Marvel Legendary, some Love Letter and I believe Perry Rhodan. We won’t have another library meetup until the 5th of December, so if any listeners are local (or will be local that weekend) and want to hang out and play games on a Saturday, please feel free join us and pull up a chair! Thank you to everyone who came out this time: Mark, Gideon, Gabe, Isabella, Allesandra, Bern, Andy, Sarah, Steven, Gabby, Brad, we’ll see you all next time I hope and maybe a few others will join us as well.
Saturday evening after the girls all got home, Kerensa, Gabby and I sat down and played a three player game of World’s Fair 1893, it was like pulling teeth to get Gabby to play and it showed in the first round, but once she got settled in, everything worked perfectly and she even enjoyed it. Not enough to not want to go hide in her room the rest of the evening, but she did say that she liked it. Kerensa and I set up a 2 player game right after that and ran through it with that player count as well. Like I said, look for a preview coming in the next couple weeks, right now, we’ll go ahead and say that we have quite enjoyed our plays so far and look forward to backing the Kickstarter and seeing it in final production.
Sunday was all day lounging around the pool and BBQ, but Sunday morning before we went to do all that, Kerensa and I sat down to play our rematch of Targi. Kerensa won our initial match up of this one by 1 point a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been ready to try it again since then. Targi definitely lived up to the first play, although our last two rounds this time mainly consisted of my blocking Kerensa from taking the Silversmith and her blocking me from taking the Noble action, everything in the middle was kind of inconsequential for her as she had her 12 tribe cards in her tableau already at that point. I was struggling to try to pick up a couple more victory points as I wasn’t sure where we would end up and luckily I did manage to sell a gold to the Silversmith for points and ended up winning this one 33-30 to even up our matchup. This one felt more combative the whole way through, we weren’t afraid of taking a spot just to keep the other player from getting it and that kind of increased the tension with the game, which is a good thing I think. So continued thumbs up for Targi, hope we get it to the table soon again.
Star Realms keeps chugging along, I won a league matchup to bring my record in league to 4-5, hoping I can put together a couple wins to end the season and finish above .500. But we’ll see, there are some pretty good players in our division. I believe I lost 2 of 3 against Adiliberto this week as well, but I may be wrong as I am currently sitting at 7/10 which is a two game improvement over last week, so I may have lost a win or two somewhere in my head. Keep the challenges coming to VacaBCk, I’ll keep playing. Hopefully everyone doesn’t forget about Star Realms when they all get their copies of Epic.
On the podcast at the 18:46 mark, we get a review of the new game from Blue Orange Games, New York 1901. This is a guest review from THE Eric Booth. Give it a listen and let us know what you think.
We're looking for contributors for the podcast, if you'd like to join in and give a review or just talk about something gaming related, let me know and we'll get you a spot on the show! The more people we get involved, the more ideas I have of where to go with the show.
Kickstarter Nothing much new on Kickstarter that made me pull the trigger this week, although I have a feeling I will eventually be backing more than a couple that launched this week.
TableTopia keeps on moving along, tripling its funding goal this week and opening up even more trial games for everyone who backs to try out the interface. I swear this week I will hop on and play some! Two more weeks left on this one and it’ll be all finished up and then we just get to wait for the Beta roll out.
Other than the smaller games that we’ve previewed, I am looking quite a bit at a couple other games that sound fantastic. First up is Gloomhaven, if you haven’t seen this one, be sure to check it out. It’s Isaac Childres’ follow up to Forge War and it looks fantastic, my only reason for not backing immediately is that it’s a fantasy dungeon crawl type game, and we all know how many of those get played around here even though I would love to play them. If the price tag was a little lower I think I would have jumped in without thinking though, but as it is at $64 I don’t think I can take the chance of it just gathering dust for years, plus, who wants to back at $64 when you can bump that up to $79 and get some fantastic miniatures for your heroes. This one doesn’t need my help, it’s almost doubled its funding goal of $70k in the week that it has been out on Kickstarter, already opening up 5 stretch goals with more on the horizon.
The other title I am looking at is still The Networks, which just looks like it plays fantastically. I love the idea of running a television network for a game, it seems like a really fun theme. I’m hoping to sell Brad and Kate on this one so I can clear up some money for other projects, but thus far I don’t know if they are biting. I need to get to work on this as it has funded and has 23 days left on the campaign.
Other than that, we’ve got two projects on the horizon that I am looking forward to Campaign Trail and the aforementioned World’s Fair 1893. We’ve also got a copy of Campaign Trail on the way for review as well, so I’m looking forward to learning more about it and seeing how it plays in the near future. Even further into October, you have Scythe from Stonemaier Games ready to make you part with your hard earned money, tentatively it looks like that one is launching on the 13th of October. So there is a lot to look forward to on the Kickstarter horizon, if anyone knows of any projects that I need to pay attention to, please feel free to let me know and we’ll check into them!
Acquisitions Only one game landed on our porch this week but it’s another heavier game that may take a little bit to get to the table, La Granja. It’s been on my radar since Essen Spiel last year, but honestly had kind of faded out until recently when folks started playing their copies from Stronghold Games. Ultimately, Stephanie Straw convinced me that it was a game that would go over well once it got played here so I went ahead and grabbed a copy off of Amazon while they had it marked down about 35% or so. This one is punched, sorted and bagged and ready to roll. I’ve read the rules and watched Rahdo’s run through for it this week. For a game that was kind of advertised as a medium Euro, there seems to be an awful lot going on, we’ll see soon enough!
Geeklist and Thread Well, it seemed to be a down week on the Geeklist with only about 36 folks participating, I’m going to assume that school starting and summer winding down had a lot to do with that, but everyone that posted over there had some fantastic games played and I actually managed to keep up this week in spite of still being shorthanded at work. We saw Russian Railroads rise from the ashes to see a couple plays, I don’t remember the last time I saw that on someone’s list. Ginkgopolis still gets plays, I seriously think that Xavier Georges should thank the fine folks in our geeklist and thread for continuing to post about the fun we have with that game, I absolutely adore it. Cathoris and his daughter continue to get some plays in of games that I really want to play some time, I still have not played Survive and Tales of the Arabian Nights just doesn’t get requested anymore. Xavier Gueniffey Durin got some love with some folks playing both Seasons and Lords of Xidit, I love his fantastical art style in those games. The thread over on BGG was filled with plays from all over the world as well and more and more people keep hoping over there and letting us know what they’ve been playing. So keep it up folks, I absolutely love reading the reports over the week and you all always help me find a game or two that I may have never found before.
We’ll wrap up Week 41 here, thank you all for listening! I do want to reiterate, if you have something you want to bring to the podcast, be it a short review, a talk about game mechanics or just something from the board gaming community that you want to talk about, be sure to let me know, I’d really love to have more contributors to the podcast from time to time. As I’ve said before, it wouldn’t have to be a regularly scheduled thing, just whenever you felt the inspiration arise. It doesn’t take much to record your voice, heck, I think our first Meet the Gamer interview was half recorded on an iPhone if I am not mistaken, but if you use a computer, Audacity is a completely free recording software with editing features as well. As I’ve said before, I’ll happily edit if I have enough time. I do want to keep this a family friendly show, but I think everyone knows that by now as well, so, no questionable content, alright?
Have a fantastic week!!!