Well, this week was a birthday week for me, turned the big 43. Also this was a travel week for me at work and it just so happened that I got to travel within about 10 minutes or so of Miniature Market, so who wouldn’t stop by? So the acquisition section of the podcast will get a big boost this week and only one of the new games, well one and a half we’ll call it, got played. The baseball playoffs have started and since the Royals are in it, that’ll cut down on my game time a little bit, which is fine by me as long as they keep winning. As I write out the podcast this week, I’m watching them play the Astros in game 3. Fingers crossed for a good outcome for the good guys. But board gaming, that’s what we’re really here to talk about so here goes!
One of the new acquisitions this week was the most recent Kickstarter to be delivered from Foxtrot Games, the folks who are currently running the World’s Fair 1893 campaign, this one is Lanterns. Lanterns is a really light tile placement games where you are ultimately trying to collect sets of cards to turn them in for dedication tokens that have a specified victory point value. Ultimately at the end of the game the player with the most victory points is the winner. On a player’s turn there are three actions that they can take in a specific order. First up, the players may spend two of their Favor Tokens and a Lantern card from their hand and they may trade those in for a Lantern card of their choice from the card supply. The next action the player may perform is the Dedication action. They may then trade in a specific set of Lantern cards for a dedication token. There are three different types of Dedication tokens, you can trade in four like Lantern cards for a Four of a kind token, you can trade in three pair for the Three Pair token and you can trade in seven unique colored Lantern cards for the Seven Unique token. Each different token is part of a stack and they decrease in value as more players fulfill that token. The final action the players can take on their turn is where most of the action is going to occur, you can place a lake tile. The lake tiles will obviously have 4 sides and each side of the tile will have a color, sometimes the colors are shared on multiple sides, sometimes not, but a player takes their Lake Tile and they place it on the board and then based on the tile and the board, they get bonuses. First the player gets any matching bonuses, if the color on any side of the newly placed Lake Tile matches the color on an adjacent side of another Lake Tile, the active player receives a bonus Lantern Card of that color. Next, if any of the matching Lake Tiles(including the newly place tile) have platforms on them, the player receives one Favor Token for each Platform. Lastly, every player, starting with the starting player and continuing in turn order, which is clockwise, collect a new Lantern Card corresponding to the color on the side of the newly placed Lake Tile they are facing. If there are no Lantern Cards of the corresponding color the player does not receive a card. The active player then draws a new tile to replenish their hand to 3 tiles and play passes to the next player in clockwise order. Play continues this way until all the Lake Tiles have been placed and each player gets one final turn to Exchange a Lantern Card and Make a Dedication and then the game ends and the player with the most Victory Points on their Dedication Tiles wins the game.
I’ve now played all three of the games from Foxtrot Games so far and this one fits right into what seems to be their goal as a game company. Making accessible games that offer decent amounts of strategy to go along with some really fun game play. Relic Expedition was played a couple years ago at Geekway so it’s the least fresh in my head, but I do remember it as a really fun rules light exploration game and we all know how we feel about World’s Fair 1893, which is still on Kickstarter, don’t forget to check it out. Lanterns is another winner in that line. Nice, beautiful looking tiles, cards and tokens make sure that this one, no matter how small it may seem, has a really nice table presence as you build out the lake with all of the floating lanterns. If it looks nice on the table, you all know that’s a huge bonus for us as it helps to draw us into the game. Over the last month or so we’ve been really enjoying some tile laying games. Games like Akrotiri, Isle of Skye and now Lanterns have all been played recently and really enjoyed and each of them offer something just a little bit different in game play to warrant keeping each of them around. I love the trading action in Lanterns, how you have to earn the right so to speak to be able to trade by gaining those Favor Tokens through placement of tiles in the vicinity of those platforms on the tiles. This one is a winner and a fantastic game to keep around and play almost any time.
Oh, and as for our game play this week, we played it once on my birthday, Monday with just Kerensa and I with me pulling out the 44-40 victory. Saturday evening Gabby joined Kerensa and I and gave us a run for our money, but ultimately Kerensa won this one 44-41-41. We enjoyed it with both player counts and it really doesn’t seem to change much with three versus 2, you just add one more Lantern card to each pile and you have I believe only 2 more tiles added to the game.
I did have another matchup this week with James and Bill at a game of Troyes on Board Game Arena. This one I was a bit more comfortable with what I was supposed to be doing, I was just having a hard time executing it using the interface that was giving me fits. Specifically one card where I needed to click on a cube instead of the card to execute what I wanted to do, I think I did it incorrectly either three or four times. But that’s just an excuse, I don’t think even if I had played it correctly that I would have been in this one, but it would have been a little closer. Bill ran away with this one winning with 43 points to James’ 28 and my 23. So it was a much lower scoring game than last time. I think that James was having a couple issues as well, but still, we should have done better to give Bill a tougher go of it. Seems this is all rolling over into our current matchup of Seasons as well as Bill is just a crystal gaining machine, but we’ll talk about that one next week when it’s finished.
Isle of Skye got another play on Saturday evening, once again with only two players as Kerensa and I couldn’t convince Gabby to join in the fun after we did manage to get her to sit down and play a game of Lanterns. This matchup of Isle of Skye was more like our last play, a bit more lopsided on the score track at the end of the game than the first two were. I ultimately went in with the attitude of “you gotta spend it to win it” and it worked out well for me this time. First couple rounds of course we didn’t score much but the scoring picked up quick and I had the advantage from about the third round on, winning 71-56. That last round I picked up three new tiles and each of them wouldn’t really help either of us, was kind of a disappointing, but ultimately it worked out well as I just stuck a gold piece on each tile that I wanted to keep and kept a lot of my gold at the end to get some extra points that I ended up not needing, but it allowed me plenty of gold as well to buy something that I don’t think Kerensa was wanting to give up so she priced it fairly high. All in all this one continues to surprise and play differently each and every game, mostly based on the scoring tiles. Isle of Skye is going to continue to get plays, I just hope sooner, rather than later, I get to play with more than just Kerensa and I, as I’d really like to see how this plays out with more players. This might be a game that I push on the game group at our meetup coming up in a couple weeks and see how that goes.
Star Realms continued this week and I actually managed to win a couple matchups and get back into the Level 9 realm, but I just don’t know how long I’ll stay there. I’ve long ago come to grips that I’m a 500 player, but these long losing streaks are really discouraging, especially when you think that you aren’t changing any strategies that you know win matchups and ultimately it comes down to a draw or two that don’t work out. I believe I am now 2-4 in league matchups hanging out at the bottom of the standings, hoping that I can get a couple wins to get away from being demoted. Keep the challenges coming, I’ll keep on plugging away.
Kickstarter Nothing new on Kickstarter that caused me to make any second thoughts on backing. I’m happy with the two current running campaigns at the moment. 7th Continent is definitely worth a look if you like big exploration games and interesting and new mechanics, but honestly right now the price tag is too much for me to swallow, but quite obviously, I’m in the minority here as this thing has blown through the roof as this one is sitting at $684k with fifteen days left. That’s a lot of Kickstarter money for a game like this, really makes me wonder what folks are going to do for Scythe.
But anyway, World’s Fair 1893 is still chugging along to the tune of $28k with 16 days left to go. I’m going to keep saying this every week until the campaign is over, but this one should be on everyone’s shelf quite honestly. It’s a great combination of easy rule set and fantastic mechanics all wrapped up in a fun decision filled game.
The Great Dinosaur Rush still has about 43 days to go as of the time of writing this and it’s just about $300 short of funding so I’m assuming it was pretty well received at Spiel although the numbers are doing that typical Kickstarter fall off after a week or so of being active. They’ve got some nice little additions ready to roll for stretch goals so let’s hope this picks up a little bit.
Like I mentioned last week, we’ve got some big Kickstarter campaigns coming up and then as we get to the Holidays we should see it finally slow down a bit. I got Mistfall back in early September so I’m ready for some of the games to start showing up. We should see Project Dreamscape pretty soon as the last report I saw was that the boat had arrived in the States and it just needs to clear customs and get to the warehouse. The Gallerist is currently sitting in a warehouse in Kentucky awaiting a small stretch goal pack to get mailed out at the same time to save on shipping. I’d love to have it already and we probably should, given that Eagle Gryphon had said all during the campaign that the Stretch Goal packs would be delivered separately at a later date, but they changed the plan it seems. Also coming up soon should be Wombat Rescue, Carson City Big Box and maybe, if we get lucky, Hocus before Christmas. So that should help quell the acquisition disorder that seems to have set in pretty heavily.
Acquisitions Well, this was a ridiculous week for acquisitions. It started with my birthday when I received the aforementioned Lanterns, but as well I received an expansion for a game that we really should be throwing on the table more often given our obsession with tile laying games at the moment. I got the Count, King and Robber expansion for Carcassonne. So with that, we’ve got three expansions in the box, it’s just calling for a gigantic game. I do want to track down a copy of The River since the new expansion came with The River 2. But other than that, I think we’ve got enough Carcassonne, but who knows maybe well get ridiculous with it.
After that was a trip up to Miniature Market in St. Louis since I was up there for work anyway and after a quick check of the map, I was only 10 minutes away. This is the first time I’ve been to the new location and it’s really pretty nice, they’ve got a fantastic clearance and Ding & Dent section out front for you to browse and it just so happened that the day I went was also a 10% off Ding & Dent day, so bonus. So off the Ding & Dent I picked up The Ancient World and Belle of the Ball. Both of those games have been on my wish list for a while and since I got them both for 60% off I didn’t think twice about picking them up. There were a couple other games that I was tempted to get like Quantum that was sitting there at 70% off, but those were the only two that I picked up off the Ding & Dent shelf, but that’s not all we added to the collection.
I also grabbed Medieval Academy just based on how much positive word of mouth it’s received, hoping it works out for my family and I and I also grabbed Sylvion for some solo and two player fun, plus I thought it would be good for Gabby to play solo if she was looking for a solo game. Too bad they didn’t have Onirim but more about that later.
Last title I picked up from Miniature Market is A Game of Thrones The Card Game 2nd Edition. It’s been the game I wanted most coming out of GenCon and it’s finally here. I actually took the plunge and have two sets just in case I want to do some good four player Melee as well. I don’t see a need for the 3rd box though as I don’t ever foresee myself being uber competitive with it and that’s really the only reason I can see the need for the third box. But anyway, this one got the half play on Sunday morning and I’m hoping Kerensa and I find some time on Monday to play a bit more. I built the preview decks Saturday night and read through the rules again in preparation of trying it. Man, I felt like I was speaking Greek while trying to explain the game. First off, I’ve never played a competitive LCG like this and I’m very limited with Magic, and secondly Kerensa has never played Magic or anything like that with us that was always Gabby. So we were basically two new gamers trying to teach ourselves the game. I do like the new way that Fantasy Flight Games does their How to Play rule book, basically giving you a walkthrough of play so that did make it a little bit easier, but we struggled and never got passed the second round before we started getting interrupted by things going on around us and we just packed it up. But tomorrow is a state holiday and the kiddos are at school so I’m hoping we’ll get another crack at it and we’ll get a better start. Not knowing what the cards do and what everything means and never having seen a card designed like that makes for a slow start, I might just see if after playing tomorrow she wants to put together a deck and keep it with her and learn the cards as she gets a chance, that has to really help.
On Friday I was out of town again, and wouldn’t you know it, there was another game store within a close enough distance that I felt like I should stop by and wouldn’t you know it, I found a lone copy of Onirim sitting there calling my name. Paid a little more than I wanted to for it just based on this store being an MSRP store, but I didn’t want to wait for Z-Man to put out the reprint later. On Thursday this week I will mention that I played the tutorial/introduction game of Sylvion and I got smoked, it didn’t even really seem like I had a chance, but it was cool to see the mechanics at work and to see just what some of the cards do as the introductory game takes out a few of the cards. It’s very promising and I hope that I get to play it more soon. I think these titles will be my after the kiddos go to bed games or possibly my take to work to play on break games, but we’ll see.
That’s it as far as games purchased go, but I will mention that I did get another game in the mail to try out and get a review of out to you all before it launches on Kickstarter. This one comes from friend Jason Washburn of Talon Strikes Studios. Jason and his co-host, Jason, were kind enough to have me on their show, Docking Bay 94, a couple months ago to talk about GenCon and other stuff. Jason Washburn is a fantastic artist and game designer, I’m really looking forward to seeing if Hooch, comes back around. But this one is set in that same Hooch gangster inspired universe, it’s called Kingpins. This one looks like a fun card game in which you are trying to play cards out kind of in a solitaire like way, alternating colors and each card has to be lower than card under it. Each card also may have a special “power” that allows you to do different things. So watch for plays of that one coming down the line and I’ll have to get more information from Jason about when and where this one will be seen in the future.
Also another preview game showing up this week in the mail, but I won’t spoil that one as it may be the only acquisition to talk about on next week’s episode.
So Spiel 2015 is over and this year due to being out of the office and just plain busy, I didn’t get to watch much of any of the BGG coverage. I think I may have been watching for about an hour or so on Thursday and that’s it, I completely missed it. I thought that might make me feel a bit left out, a bit out of the loop, but honestly, it kind of felt good. Sure, I checked out all the loot hauls posted all over Twitter, Facebook and Board Game Geek, but I didn’t have that nagging feeling that I was missing something. Hopefully this just means I’m learning to be a little more patient and a little less impulsive, but who knows, with an acquisition week like I just talked about it’s hard to believe that. But just to wrap it all up in a nice pretty bow, here is the final top 10, or at least from what I gather, the final top 10ish from Fairplay.
1) La Granja 2) Mombassa, Nippon and Signorie 5) 7 Wonders Duel, Council of the Fourth and Grand Austria Hotel 8) Codenames, Isle of Skye, Mysterium and Shakespeare 12) Discoveries and My Village 14) Celestia
I’m not 100% sure that this is the final list, but from looking around and using Google Translate this seems to be the closest thing I can find. It’s really funny to me, since La Granja was a 2014 Spiel release from Spielworxx, and yet again this year, it’s way up the list in from what I can tell, the number one spot. That’s gotta say something about the game if it can garner this kind of heat two years in a row at a convention that has over 700 games listed as released this year and last. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to quit worrying about the AP with this one and just play it. I think we did kind of good with our preview here, we hit on the hot ones and missed on a couple it seems. Mombassa was really on the cusp of our list but I just couldn’t pull it in there based on the theme alone, but it seems that folks at Spiel took a liking to it, so I should probably pay more attention to it.
I guess to sum up everything Spiel related, it’s looking like it’s going to be a fantastic year in gaming, GenCon was kind of a letdown as far as new games go, but I think Spiel kind of showed us that everything is a-ok in Gameville.
Alright, Patrick is going to take us out tonight with a review of the new Android app for Camel Up and he’s going to give us a game that he’s excited for coming out of Spiel this year, but also, he’s going to kind of talk about what makes conventions special, not the games, the people. Take it away Patrick.
Wrap Up That’s gonna do it for Week 46, I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you to Eric and Patrick for once again joining me and getting some extra content your way, I really think it adds a lot to the show and I am super appreciative of them doing this and I feel the need to keep saying that so they know that. I’ve got some plans if we can make them work for the show, I’m hoping to kind of do a round table so to speak with all the contributors and myself and maybe a couple other people if I can get them interested. It won’t be anything ground breaking, but I think it’ll be interesting to get all of us together to talk a little bit on the show about a couple topics, especially with all of us basically coming from different backgrounds and having kind of diverse interests I think. Other than that, I’d love for folks to send us some questions to ask the contributors and myself and my family, something we can use to tie everything together even while we do our separate things within the show. This week we got Patrick to talk a little bit about what he was looking forward to out of Spiel and while Eric didn’t record anything about it he did let me know that The Gallerist is his most looked forward to game coming out of Spiel. We’re trying to liven up the guild over on Board Game Geek so feel free to come over there and shoot some questions at us there if you want to, Facebook, email, Twitter, any place will do, I’d love to interact with our listeners out there. And once again, feedback I always welcome and always appreciated.
Thank you all for reading and listening!!