Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'm Back.... Mostly

I'll save you all the long story.  The short of things is this.  Health problems stink.  Sitting in doctor offices stinks.  Not having answers is trying, deeply trying.

But never fear.  I am getting better, somewhat.  Enough that I can play games, and write about them.  So here's what I've been doing lately.

I've been playing a lot of two player games. Yep, that's right, I have a girlfriend who loves games almost as much as I do.  So, lots of Lost Cities, Dominion, Ticket to Ride, Star Trek Attack Wing, Love Letter, and even some Skip-Bo.

So I'm going to do a splattering of gaming impressions over the last several months.

Marvel Dice Masters - I managed to get some stuff before it disappeared between print runs.  I like the game, dislike the collectable nature.  I think it offers a lot of choices in team building and game play.  Lots of luck, but also good skill.  I'm not going to get into the tournament scene, but I do enjoy the game.

California - Older game that my gf bought.  Interesting puzzle type game with some worthwhile choices.  Not an amazing game, but one I enjoy from time to time.

Rise of Augustus - Essentially gamer Bingo, but still a fun game.  Not much in the way of choices, but it's a good filler game, and one you don't have to think too hard about.  It does reward wise use of what's called, so you can't completely shut down.  I like it, don't love it.

Dust - Older FFG game.  Interesting mechanics, interesting game, not meant for 3 players.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf - Fun party game.  Doesn't replace Resistance/Avalon for me, but acts as a shorter counterpart.

Bang! The Dice Game - Much better than Bang the card game.  Plays faster, still fun to watch after you've been eliminated.  Doesn't drag on forever since not much alters range.

Qwixx - Amazingly fun dice game.  Absolute keeper for simplicity and choices you have to make during the game.

Coin Age - Only played once, not overly thrilled with it.  Not a bad game for 5 minutes, but also not the most intuitive thing.  Scoring is a little convoluted for such a short game.

Splendor - Awesome game.  It clicks with my brain in terms of building up to get bigger and better cards.  Very simple turns, but a lot of planning to make everything work together.

Coup - Interesting bluffing game.  The jury is still out on this one.  I got a couple of rules wrong, which means I need to play it again, but I like the core of the game.  It's going to take several plays to really be comfortable with the full bluffing that exists.

And that's the new stuff I've been playing lately.  I'm still playing Star Trek Attack Wing (STAW) a bunch. I'm even co-hosting a video podcast about the game called State of the Federation.  More info at this Youtube link.  I make my debut in episode 008.

So, going forward things are going to be a bit different.  I'm still going to put my thoughts about games out there, but I doubt I'll be doing any formal reviews.  Also not going to do much in the way of monthly recaps or stuff like that.  I do want to put up a few STAW articles, so look for those soon.

To anyone still out there, thanks for coming back and staying around during my absence.  Hopefully I won't be gone that long again.

Friday, May 2, 2014

April 2014 Recap

Welcome to May. Hard to believe that 2014 is already 1/3 over.

April was a very good month of gaming for me, but not the best personal month, more on that later.   I logged 41 game plays and got to play 4 games I've never played before.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in April

10 Times
  • Resistance: Avalon
7 Time
  • Escape: Curse of the Temple
4 Times
  • Incan Gold
2 Times
  • Love Letter
  • No Thanks
1 Time
  • The aMAZEing Labyrinth
  • BITS
  • California
  • Concept
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Flash Point: Fire Rescue
  • Hanabi
  • King of Tokyo
  • Phase 10
  • Shadows Over Camelot
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
  • Suburbia
  • Takenoko
  • Ticket to Ride: Netherlands
  • Tsuro
  • Zombie Fluxx

Game Acquisitions
I bought Wave 4 Star Trek AW ships (USS Voyager, Borg Sphere, Species 8472 Bioship and Kazon Raider), as well as Ticket to Ride Netherlands. 

Personal Notes
I've been having some health issues over the last couple of weeks.  Things seem to be getting better, but they're not perfect.  As such, the blog is very low priority for me.  When I get feeling better and things under control, I'll be back, better than ever.  I have also started a new schooling program, so that's going to be a time sink as well.  Still, I love playing and talking about boardgames, so this isn't going to disappear.  Thank-you for sticking with me through these uncertain times.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tabletop Day 2014 Wrap Up

This past Saturday, April 5th, was Tabletop Day.  I spent my afternoon at Gateplay in Hilmar California and had a good time.  I didn't have the best personal health day, but I had a blast getting out and playing games.

I showed up a bit after the start, but managed to get into a game of Zombie Fluxx.  Now, Fluxx isn't my favorite game, mostly due to the fact that the game can take forever to finish.  Fortunately Zombie Fluxx has enough crazy going on that someone is going to put things together and win, and fortunately I was that person in this game, also my only win of the day.  After Fluxx, I managed to get into a game of Love Letter with two people who had never played before.  We all enjoyed it as the light filler that it is.

After Love Letter, I taught 5 people how to play No Thanks.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  I sat down to a game of Concept, which is kinda like Pictionary for people who can't draw.  It was an interesting game, though not really my style.  I'd certainly play it in a party situation, or if other people really wanted to, but I doubt I'll buy it.  At this point I was in the mood for a good co-op so I broke out Hanabi.  I only had 1 taker, but we managed a 21 out of 25, which is pretty good.  Then I started searching the game shelves for something short that I'd never played and found "The aMAZEing Labyrinth" which was interesting.  The game got easier as the game progressed, but it was a slow start.  At this point I was hungry, so after a quick break, I decided to play BITS, which is a kind of a boardgame version of Tetris.

This marked the end of games at Gateplay, but when I got home, my family was up for Shadows Over Camelot.  We finished that around 11:30pm, which was the perfect end to a wonderful day of gaming.

Some thoughts about Tabletop Day

  • I love that we as board gamers have a day to be nerdy and play games with a lot of people that might normally play games.
  • It's not as big of an event for me since I get to play games on a fairly regular basis.
  • I really enjoyed teaching some games and helping people make some informed buying decisions for new additions to their collections.
  • I'm looking forward to Tabletop Day 2015 and many more years to come.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March 2014 Recap

Welcome to April, and no, there's nothing April Fools about this post.

March was an excellent month of gaming for me.   I logged 35 game plays and got to play 2 games I've never played before.

I ended up pulling out a win in my Star Trek Attack Wing Month 6 which gave me the overall win.  I'm really looking forward to the future of the game.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in February

5 Times
  • Resistance: Avalon
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
4 Times
  • Hanabi
  • Love Letter
2 Times
  • Betrayal at the House on the Hill
  • Coloretto
1 Time
  • Bang! The Bullet!
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Dixit
  • For Sale
  • Kingdom Builder
  • Marvel Legendary
  • Qwirkle
  • Screaming Eagles
  • Shadows Over Camelot
  • Suburbia
  • Takenoko
  • Ticket to Ride: Europe
  • Tiki Topple

Game Acquisitions
I bought a couple of Star Trek AW ships, as well as Imperial Aces for X-Wing.  No new big games though.  I'm rather intrigued by Marvel Dice Masters, but we'll see what happens.

A reminder that Tabletop day is coming up on Saturday.  Find a place to play, or hang out at home. Either way, have fun playing games.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

International Tabletop Day 2014

I wanted to let everyone know that Geek and Sundry's 2nd Annual Tabletop Day is coming up on Saturday April 5th.  There are events all over the US and the world.  Tabletop Day is all about getting together and playing all kinds of games.  Board games, card games, CCGs, LCGs, Miniatures, War games, basically anything that gets you in a room interacting with other people and having fun with games.  I had a lot of fun last year, and I'm looking forward to another great year.

I'll be hanging out at Gateplay in Hilmar California.  If that's nearby, please stop by.  If it's no where close to you, go to and find an event near you.

Do check out the blog section on the website.  I had a chance to write an article -  It was a great opportunity to get the BoBG name out there alongside a lot of other great bloggers.

Mark your calendars for April 5th and play some awesome games.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Space Playmats

Applied Perspective Mat
The folds are only because it wasn't on a flat surface.
 I wanted to take some time to look at a few different playmate that I've purchased for Star Trek Attack Wing and Star Wars X-Wing.  I don't have a ton of pictures of them in game use, since I'm focused more on playing that pictures.  I started off with black felt from a fabric store.  That was quick, easy, and relatively cheap.  The problem, it didn't really add anything to the experience.  Sure, it was great for marking borders, but that was about it.  In the summer of 2013, I decided to buy a mat from Applied Perspective which was $35-40.  I got the mat, and it looked great.  It was exactly what I wanted, and it does a good job of staying on the table, providing a great surface, and not letting things slide too much.  There is a bit of slickness, but far less than a standard table.

Then, in late November, I saw a link for a kickstarter by 2 astrophotographers (people who take pictures of stuff in space) that had really reasonable prices.  One mat was $30, more mats were less per mat.  I ended up buying 4 for $100, so $25 per mat.  I got them early of all things, and I absolutely love the mats.  The art pops off the mat, and really gives a new dimension to space battles.  Since I'm a tournament organizer, it's great to have 5 mats for people to play on.

All of these mats are great, and each time I have to decide which one to play on.  It's a nice problem to have. One of the things I wanted to do was to make the things I have look nice.  I play a lot of STAW and X-Wing, so it makes sense to have nice play mats.  Now, I fully admit that I don't need 5 of them, but it's really nice to have the variety.  All of the kickstarter mats are on vinyl, which really stays put on a table, and keeps the ships from moving around too much.  They're not perfect by any means, but they do their job of keeping ships there.  At this point, the black mat is but a low cost memory.

I know storage on something like this is an issue, so here's what I've done.  I have a poster tube, where I keep my mats.  They're all rolled up together, with the images face out.  Every time I roll them up, I roll in a different direction so I don't crease the mats, but I'm not too worried about that.

My personal favorite

Close up of two ships on my favorite mat.
You can see how the ships standout, as do the tokens.
A battle that I wasn't in.  This mat kinda absorbs the
dominion ships, but it's still a great play surface.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Recap

Welcome to March!

February, while short, was a good month of gaming for me.   I logged 35 game plays and got to play 2 games I've never played before.  I came in 2nd (again) at STAW in Hilmar, and now I'm back in 2nd, by one point.

I started the Bits series, which I think is fun, so I'll be doing more of that.  I'll try to do some other articles, but I'm not sure what to talk about at the moment, so if you have any ideas, feel free to comment.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in February

12 Times

  • Resistance: Avalon
4 Times
  • King of Tokyo
3 Times
  • Love Letter
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
2 Times
  • For Sale
1 Time
  • Boss Monster
  • Catacombs
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Dixit
  • Eldritch Horror
  • Escape: Curse of the Temple
  • Hanabi
  • Incan Gold
  • Munchkin
  • Takenoko
  • Tsuro

Game Acquisitions
I bought Suburbia and Suburbia Inc, as well as an expansion for Dixit, and some more STAW ships.  I'm trying not to buy too much, life expenses loom, but we'll see how things go.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bits 5 - Social Games

Social games like Mafia/Werewolf and Resistance have been around for a few years, and they're here to stay.  With further development of these games with activities like 2 Rooms and a Boom, social games are making an impact.  But are they really games?

I think the answer is "it depends on the people."  I know that's not a satisfying answer, but it really is true.  Some people will consider them games, and some people won't.  Personally, I think they're both games, but they're different than games like Catan, Ticket to Ride, or Small World.  Mafia and Resistance both fall into the "group think" mentality, meaning that a group starts having expectations for the way loyal people should behave in the game, and anyone who does something different is under heavy suspicion.  These types of games often require people to have good poker faces, and learn to lie well in game.  I'm not saying that you should learn to lie well to people, but I will say that what happens in these sorts of games needs to stay in the game.

Observation and an ability to read people is crucial in social games.  Everything that someone does or doesn't do can give a little clue about them.  That's the main reason that I love Resistance: Avalon.  It's one gigantic puzzle that everyone is trying to figure out, where most people will get close, but it's hard to get perfect.  There's a lot of discussion, and sometimes it's impossible to know for sure. That's where you just take a guess and go for it.

Social games may not be games in the eyes of some people, but they are often a lot of fun.  I've spent a lot of hours playing Avalon and Mafia/Werewolf, and most of them have been a blast.  That being said, these games aren't for everyone.  You really have to be involved in the game, and when you're not, it's hard to have a good time.

TL:DR - Social games are games. They're not for everyone, but with the right group, they're a blast.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bits 4 - Tournaments

As a Tournament Organizer (TO) for Attack Wing and X-Wing, I have a bit of experience running tournaments, albeit rather small ones.  Still, I think there are some valuable lessons that I've learned both in running and playing these that I think are worth sharing.

First, we'll start with advice for running things.

  • Show up early, plan to leave late.
  • Over prepare, meaning, bring pens, paper, copies of any FAQ's/or be able to look things up.
  • Have a timer of some kind.
  • Be flexible. Random stuff happens and it's best to go with the flow rather than impose your will.
  • Encourage having fun.
  • Try to have some random prizes so that everyone walks away with something.
  • Create an environment that people want to come back to.
Now, some advice for playing in a tournament
  • Do not try to win at all costs.  Gaming is about having fun, not necessarily winning.
  • Listen to and respect your TO/Judge.
  • Respect your opponent, say something like good game or well played afterwards, win or lose.
  • Be grateful that you get to spend some time with fellow gamers who enjoy the same thing you do.
  • Bring something to do in case you get a bye match.
  • Bring extra stuff, you never know when you might lose something, or be able to help someone out who forgot something.
  • Be a gracious winner, and a gracious loser.
  • If you don't win, try to find something positive about the experience.
Hopefully none of these things are groundbreaking, but you'd be surprised how much a little bit of common courtesy helps things flow.  I've had a lot of fun winning and losing tournaments.  The only major issue I've had are with some people who don't know the rules/take far too long on their turns.  While I enjoy winning, I've learned that it isn't everything.  I'd rather have a lot of fun and lose than have no fun and win.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bits 3 - Too Many New Things

I feel jaded against all these new games.  I look at games that came out in 2013, and only a very small handful even interested me.  I think there are great games out there, but there's also a lot of mediocre games.  Case in Point: Firefly.  I enjoyed Firefly (the show and movie), I'd love to have a boardgame based on it, but the Firefly boardgame was nothing special.  It's a good pick-up-and-deliver game, but it's not great.  As such, I'm not buying it.

I think that we as gamers can be overly fixated on what's new and exciting.  I'm trying to be excited over playing the games I own repeatedly.  Repeated plays are where I learn new strategies and can try new things.  A game isn't much good to me if I only play it 2 or 3 times.  I've said that board gaming is a great hobby when it comes to cost because you can buy 5 games and play them each a bunch of times.  Buying a $50 game and playing it twice isn't very good value.

When new new new is pushed down our throats as gamers, good games suffer.  There's something to be said for playing 3 favorite games in a night, rather than 3 new games.  I still enjoy trying new games, but there needs to be a balance with old favorites.

All of that being said, I'm still going to buy new games, just not as many as I have in the past.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bits 2 - 5 Pillars

Many subjects have fundamental ideas that everything builds upon.  Boardgaming has many pillars, but I submit that there are 5 major pillars: Alhambra, Carcassonne, Dominion, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride.

I'm aware that this list is missing a war-game, a dice game, and a cooperative game.  If you want those, I'd suggest Memoir '44, King of Tokyo, and Pandemic respectively.

Each of these games brings a little something different to the table.  They introduce core concepts that other games build upon, but they are also good games in their own right.

Alhambra - A bit of set collection, understanding where you can score points, even if it isn't first place, and a reward for spacial thinking and planning ahead.

Carcassonne - Very light worker placement, multiple ways to score points, short vs long term investments, as well as learning when to work with other players on a feature and when to cut your losses.

Dominion - Deck building, learning how to maximize potential and minimize "dead" hands, teaches players when to go for more stuff, and when to switch to victory points.

Catan - How to manage resources, trading with other players and the board.

Ticket to Ride - Emphasis on route planning, adapting to unexpected changes (blocking), and balancing what you have versus what you might get.

So there you go, the 5 pillars of boardgames.  Agree or disagree?  Leave a comment.

Bits 1 - Why I don't like Magic

As a means of trying something different, I present to you "Bits" a series of posts aimed at discussing various topics in the world of board gaming.  These are going to be relatively short, likely to include a question, and really, they're aimed at getting some comments going.  Some may be controversial, but that's kinda the point.

Magic the Gathering has a consumer model that I don't care for.  I've never been big on playing CCG's.  I collected Star Trek CCG growing up, but I never played.  In my mind, Magic is a money pit.  Now, it's a very well designed money pit, but that just means that it can take more of your money.  I have a completionist (yes, I know this isn't a real word) mentality. It's the Pokemon syndrome (Gotta Catch 'Em All).  I'd go broke if I played Magic.  I don't want to be broke.  Ergo, I don't play Magic.  I'm sure you have your reasons why I should, or that "I can borrow a deck." Thanks, but no thanks.

I don't fault you for playing, but you won't get me to play.

Monday, February 3, 2014

January 2014 Recap

Welcome to February!

January was a good month of gaming for me.  I got sick, so I missed one of my Friday night game nights, but I still managed to play a bunch of games.  I logged 33 game plays and got to play 3 games I've never played before.  I finally won my first Star Trek Attack Wing tournament in Hilmar, and I'm in the lead with 2 months to go in the Dominion War OP.

I released my annual Top Games list, this year marking my first Top 50. If you haven't taken a look at that, please do.  My sister also published her Top 25 which should give you a different opinion on things.

Just a quick list of what I actually played in January

4 Times
  • Resistance: Avalon
3 Times
  • Escape: Curse of the Temple
  • King of Tokyo
  • Love Letter
  • Star Trek Attack Wing
  • Tricks & Treats
2 Times
  • Article 27
  • Cosmic Encounter
  • Takenoko
1 Time
  • Eight Minute Empire
  • Eminent Domain
  • Forbidden Desert
  • Hanabi
  • Relic Runners
  • Spaceopoly
  • TransAmerica
  • Zooloretto

Game Acquisitions
I received a copy of Tricks & Treats from the publisher, NAZCA Games.  It was an unexpected added bonus from the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction.  I bought the first expansion for Escape, mostly to get the 6th player, but also for some added variety.

Closing Thoughts
I'm not sure where this blog is going to go over the next few months.  I've never wanted writing for this to be a chore.  I write when I have things to say and time to say them.  I still love boardgames, I love playing them with awesome people.  I've met a lot of amazing people through gaming.  All of that being said, I want to enjoy this too, and lately I haven't.  That's why I haven't posted a lot.  You can see that I'm playing a lot of the same games these days, and I can't really review the same games again.  There are some games I haven't reviewed that I should, like Love Letter and Escape.  I'll get to those at some point.

This is by no means goodbye, but it is a potential start to the end.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 5 10-1

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  My top 10 has 6 of the same games as last year.  Even then, 4 games make their debut in my top 10.  I'd wager that there won't be another year with more than 4 new games in my top 10.  I played a lot of amazing games for the first time in 2013, and I think the amount of new games on this list reflects that.

#10 Article 27  New

Article 27 is a pure negotiation game.  Everyone is trying to get their way, but most of the time, no two players want exactly the same thing.  Each round is 5 minutes of chaotic negotiation, but oh my, what a fun 5 minutes.  I really enjoy Article 27 because the game plays quickly, but it packs a big punch in that timeframe.

#9 Star Wars: X-Wing  Down 4

X-Wing drops for a couple of reasons.  The main one is further down on this list, but the second is really the lack of support from FFG.  Production is constantly delayed, and they don't communicate with the fans.  Their tournament support is a bit lacking in comparison to another company.  The other big reason is that I want missions and/or a campaign.  Dogfights are fun in X-Wing, but they aren't everything that I want to experience in the game.  The game is still a lot of fun, but others are more fun.

#8 Incan Gold  Up 1

Incan Gold gets a bump because I played it a lot in 2013, and I really enjoyed every play of it.  It's a really fun push your luck game that I rarely win.  I usually run at the same time as someone else, run too early, or run far too late.  Still, the game is quick, and has a lot of laughs and good tension throughout.

#7 For Sale  Up 3

For Sale moves up because it's become a game I can play with anyone.  It's not a super deep game, but there are still important choices to make every turn.  It plays blazingly quick, around 20 minutes, which is the perfect filler for me.

#6 7 Wonders  Down 3

7 Wonders moved down simply because I'm playing it less.  The game is still a lot of fun, but I feel like I'm missing something when I play it.  There's still a lot to the game that I haven't delved into, so I need to get it back to the table for that.  It's a good design in my mind, with a lot of ways to win.  Adding in Leaders and Cities has given me a lot of variety, and I'd be happy with the game exactly as it is.  Of course, more wonders add variety, and another expansion might give me that little something I'm missing, so I'm not really sure.  Anyways, I enjoy 7 Wonders.  It's one of my go to games for a larger gaming crowd.

#5 King of Tokyo  New

King of Tokyo is a great dice chucking game.  I'm a sucker for any game where I get to roll lots of dice and use them to do something.  What better thing to do with your dice results than rampage Tokyo and attack the other monsters?  The game does suffer from player elimination, especially if you go out early, you can be waiting around for awhile.  Even then, KoT is a fun game to watch, so I don't mind that too much, but others might.

#4 Ticket to Ride Down 2

Ticket didn't really move down in my opinion, it's just that #2 and 3 jumped over it.  Ticket to Ride is a really fun, yet simple train game.  The game is fairly simple, with only 3 choices on each turn, but how players utilize those choices makes a huge difference in their game.

#3 Resistance: Avalon  New

I picked this up on a whim.  I played normal Resistance, and wasn't a big fan, but after watching a play through of this online, I thought it just might work.  Turns out I was right, and 50 plays in 2013 later, it's #3 on my list.  I mainly play it on Friday nights with a larger group, and we get really into the game.  We play at least 3 times every meeting, which has led to some discoveries of tells.  It has turned us all into better liars, which probably isn't the best thing in the world, but we've all promised to use those powers for good, not evil.

#2 Star Trek: Attack Wing  New

This is the aforementioned game that knocked X-Wing down.  Yes, the model quality is worse than X-Wing by a wide margin, but that pales to the enriched gameplay and missions that exist in the game. The tournament support has been fantastic, and more amazing things are coming this year.  I came into the game with a lot of skepticism, thinking it would essentially be X-Wing in Star Trek colors, but boy was I wrong.  The gameplay is so much deeper, with a lot more options in squad building and actual game play.

#1 Cosmic Encounter No Change

Cosmic holds on to the #1 spot, though it almost lost it to Star Trek.  Cosmic is a game I love every time I play it, and there is never a bad game of Cosmic.  I know it isn't a game for everyone, but for those people who enjoy a bit of chaos, and having to work together, but find the opportune moment to make a power play, this is the game for you.

What did I learn in 2013?
The biggest thing I learned is that there are great games coming out all the time.  My personal gaming tastes are changing all the time, and just about any game could find it's way onto my list.  My top 5 games have almost nothing in common as far as mechanics go.  I like them all for completely different reasons.  To me, that's a great testament to my desire for variety.  Stay tuned for this list next year.  I'm sure many things will change again.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Sister's Top 25 games of all time as of January 2014 Part 3 #5-1

Welcome to my long-awaited top 5 games! Hope you have enjoyed my top 25 games list and make sure to check out and play these games!

#5 Wits and Wagers

I like Wits and Wagers. It is fun to bet on how well you or your other players can answer trivia questions. The greatest part of the game is that all of the answers are numbers! You do not have to know any trivia to win this game. A few or a lot of people can play at one time, which makes it versatile and a fun, not too difficult game to play.

#4 Dixit

Dixit is a great game to play with people you know. It is also a good way to get to know people, too. During each round, a player tells a story about one of the picture cards they have in their hand. The other players put in one of their cards, then all of the players vote on which card is the storyteller's. It is fun and a way to get your creative side working. This is a great game substitution for Apples to Apples, and once you play Dixit, you will likely never want to play Apples again. The artwork on the cards is amazing and there are truly an infinite amount of stories ready to be told.

#3 Shadows Over Camelot

Even though I am not a fan of co-op games, I really like Shadows Over Camelot. It is fun to become a knight of the round table and defeat evil. Watch out for possible traitors, while searching for the grail, excalibur, and trying to defeat the Saxons. Each knight can pick their own powers and be useful on certain quests, but it all depends on the cards. It is fun to play and watch how the group of knights work together. Be sure to set aside 2 hours to play this game, but once everyone is an experienced knight, evil will be quickly defeated and the good knights victorious!

#2 Formula D

This car racing game is awesome! Each player is in the game until the end. The game does take some skill, but if you can roll the dice well, you will succeed. Just be careful to not make too many risky moves, otherwise you will crash and burn. Try and cross the finish line before your competitors, and feel like you are a professional race car driver.

#1 Ticket to Ride

Yes, Ticket to Ride is my favorite game to play! I have played the U.S. map the most, so I like it the best. Europe is fun and so is Nordic Countries. At the beginning of a game of Ticket, I plan out how I want to connect my trains to each city. Someone usually tends to mess it up, however, since there are only so many route options. So, even if I cannot win, it is also fun to try and score lots of points, or even better to put my trains where I know someone needs to go and stop them in their tracks. Ticket can be stressful, but the point of playing board games is to have fun. I could probably play Ticket all night and not be board, unless the same person kept winning. I see myself playing this game for years. I also do not see myself making this game less than my #1 game.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 4 20-11

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  Part 4 has a few more surprises.
5 games make their debut in the 20's.

#20 Flash Point: Fire Rescue  Up 6

Flash Point is one of the simpler co-op games, but I really enjoy it.  The theme flows throughout the game.  There's always a certain amount of tension since fire can spark up anywhere on the map.  I have most/all the expansions, so I have plenty of ways to play this game.  It hasn't been right for every group, but it's a game I can teach to just about anyone and they have a basic understanding of how to play based on real life ideas.

#19 Legendary: A Marvel Deckbuilding Game  New

Legendary makes its debut on this list because it has a neat twist on the co-op game.  Everyone wins or loses the game together, but there is essentially an MVP on the winning side.  Now technically, someone wins more, but I've played it as an MVP situation.  I enjoy the variety of superheroes in the game, and how each seems to do something unique.  The game rewards cooperation, but it also allows players to make their own decisions which is important in any co-op game.

#18 Hanabi  New

Hanabi makes my list because it is unlike any game I've ever played.  This is a puzzle game where everyone has a lot of knowledge, but no one has perfect knowledge.  Discussion is very limited, every clue matters, and players have to pay attention to everything, both spoken and unspoken.  A perfect game is obtainable, but it's really challenging.

#17 Alhambra  New

Alhambra is an older game, but I find it refreshing and challenging even today.  It just missed the cut last year, coming in at #48.  I was able to play it several times in 2013, which is why it moved up drastically.  I have the big box, which means I have over 20 modules which means I have a lot of replayability in the box.  Alhambra is one of the few games that my entire family will ask to play.  That alone makes it worth rating highly.

#16 Love Letter  New

Love Letter is truly a minimalist game.  It has 16 cards, and 13 cube tokens.  Even though the components are low, the game packs a punch.  Love Letter is played over several rounds, with the winner of each round getting a token, and the overall winner being the player to get a certain number of tokens first.  The game has a good combination of luck and strategy.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but most of the time, you're going to have some chance to win a round.

#15 Escape: The Curse of the Temple  New

Escape is the most tense 10 minutes of gaming you can play.  It's a realtime co-op dicefest.  Players have to work together to get gems, and then get out of the temple before time runs out.  If even one player is left in the temple at the end, everyone loses the game.

#14 Shadows Over Camelot Down 6

Shadows drops because of its length.  I did get to play it 3 times in 2013, but each time I realized that the game takes too long for what it is.  If I could get Shadows down to an hour, it would be even higher on this list.

#13 Battlestar Galactica  Down 7

BSG probably wins my award for game I wish I played more but can't/don't.  The game is so hard to teach to new people.  It really is something you have to go through once in order to understand how to play, and even then the game is complicated.  There are a lot of moving parts, and often it's too much for multiple new players to understand.  As such, this game sits on my shelf looking sad.

#12 Star Trek Fleet Captains  Down 5

Such a good game that I don't get to play.  It's hard to have a situation where I have 1 or 2 other people who want to play a long game.  Fleet Captains isn't the longest game, but it is a deep game with an immersive theme.  I love Star Trek, as you'll see in my Top 10, and Fleet Captains feels like Star Trek to me, but this game has a lot going

#11 Dominion Down 7

Dominion trends down for the second year in a row.  Here's my issue with Dominion right now: the game is big, it isn't easy to get new players into the game because experienced players will typically win the game running away.  I have enough Dominion cards to play almost forever without ever playing the exact same game.  I still enjoy the game, especially with people who know what they're doing, but I have a hard time holding myself back when I play with new gamers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Sister's Top 25 games of all time as of January 2014 Part 2 #15-6

Welcome back to Sarah's Top 25 games. Hope everyone liked my first post. Here are my next top 10 games. I enjoy these games more, since I play them more often, and they are a bit more strategic, but still as fun.

Now, the games!

#15 Martian Dice

I like Martian Dice, since it is a simple game that only involves a combination of some luck and timing. It can also be a quick game, or made into a longer game, depending on how long you can stand trying to roll humans, chickens, and cows to gain points against tanks.

#14 Resistance Avalon

Resistance and Resistance Avalon are both good games for when you become suspicious of your game group members. Try and figure out who is really on the good side and watch yourself over think, but still have fun.

#13 Tsuro

This is a quick game that involves some strategy, but once your tiles connect with others' tiles, then craziness ensues. It is best to focus on your path and not connect soon, but it is also fun to mess up the other players' paths.

#12 For Sale 

I like For Sale because it is fun to try and buy good properties and to avoid the horrible cardboard box properties. You learn how much people are willing to bet, to win, and who you will want to invite on your next trip to Vegas.

#11 Gem Dealer 

Gem Dealer is on my list because I am good at collecting the gems. I like that the game comes with actual (plastic) gems. It makes the game seem more real. It is a quick game, like For Sale, and is good to include for a night of many games.

#10 Aquaretto/Zooloretto 

I combined Aquaretto and Zooloretto because they are too similar to have to rank separately. The major difference is Aquaretto features dolphins, whales, and penguins, while Zooloretto features elephants, monkeys, and zebras. So it all depends which species you are in the mood to try and collect!

#9 Alhambra

Alhambra is a fun city-building game. I enjoy trying to create the longest wall and get as many tower pieces as I can. It is not too long of a game. I like that you do not know when each round will end (depends on the card shuffling), which provides for a sense of urgency to try and get more points and avoid ties with other players.

#8 TransAmerica

TransAmerica is a cool game to play, if you happen to ever be tired of Ticket to Ride. It is more simple than Ticket, but can be just as fun. A lot of the game can depend on where you place your starting piece, but at any point the game can completely change, especially since you do not really know when someone will finish connecting their cities.

#7 Hanabi 

I enjoy Hanabi when I feel like challenging myself. This is one of the only co-op games I like to play, and it is nice to not have to worry too much about your cards. You get to see the other players' cards and tell them which of their cards are important to use, while you have to wait for them to tell you about your cards. The game can be stressful, but it is a fun stress. Yes, you do want to put on a good fireworks show, but if there are a few bumps along the way, it can still end well!

#6 King of Tokyo 

There is not a dull moment, when playing King of Tokyo. Players are constantly battling each other for points, powers, and health. The base game, alone, is exciting, but the expansions are even more fun. Yes, dice are involved, but the luck is quickly exchanged between players.

Any guesses on which games I have in my top 5? Comment below and we look forward to reading them!

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Top 50 Games (as of Jan. 1 2014) Part 3 30-21

Welcome back to my top 50 games list as of the start of 2014.  Part 3 has a few surprises as far as placement goes.  3 games make their debut in the 20's.

Without further ado, the games!

#30 Can't Stop  Down 15
Can't Stop is a great push your luck dice game.  It fell on my list because I haven't played it in over a year.  I don't own it, so it's not really under my control.  The design is simple and straight forward, but I love the anticipation that each die roll brings.

#29 Kingsburg  Up 6
Kingsburg moves up due to more experience with the expansion.  The game really offers a lot of choice, even with limited dice rolls.  Yes, you can get messed over by terrible dice rolls all game long, but for the most part, you'll be able to do something on each turn.  The more I play Kingsburg, the more I realize the depth in the game, and the different paths to victory.

#28 Fleet  Down 12
Fleet is still a really really good game, but I need to expansion to keep it fresh.  The game has become a bit samey to me.  I don't think there's necessarily one dominant path to victory, but there are several key things that you need to do in order to succeed, and once you get those things together, you're really hard to stop.  I know that the expansion is going to change a lot of things, or at least add a lot of options, which will prevent some of those main paths.  I enjoy Fleet, especially with new players, but in order for the game to stay up here again, I need the expansion to be excellent.

#27 Takenoko New
I received Takenoko from my BGG Secret Santa, meaning I haven't had it long.  The first time I played the game, I really enjoyed it.  Every time I've played it subsequent to that, I've enjoyed it.  That level of enjoyment demands a place on this list.  I'm not sure where Takenoko will settle, but this seemed like a good place to start.  Takenoko is a very approachable game that starts off simple and gets more complex as you go along.  There are 5 options on any given turn, and you get to do 2, so you're not overwhelmed with choice, but you're also not too limited.  I really enjoy how everyone has to interact on the board, but everyone has their own goals.

#26 Eight-Minute Empire New
If you read my review of Eight-Minute Empire you'd know that I enjoy the game, even though the title is a bit of a misnomer.  This game is more like 15-20 minute empire.  Still, it's a very well designed game, and it works well in a short amount of time.  The game has two ways to score points, but they're directly related.  On your turn, you purchase a card that has a symbol on it, and then you do the action listed on the card.  At the end of the game you get points for sets of symbols, as well as points for areas controlled on the board.  It's a really tight game with several key decisions, but it's also over quickly, so one bad move doesn't leave you losing for hours.

#25 Forbidden Desert  New
Spoiler alert, Forbidden Island is gone, and Forbidden Desert has taken over.  Forbidden Desert isn't the most challenging co-op game, but is by no means easy.  The player powers are easy to understand, but making the best use of the combination in any given game is a true challenge.  Make no mistake, Forbidden Desert is a lot more difficult than Forbidden Island.  Sun beating down on the players will account for a lot of lost games.

#24 Small World Down 6
Small World is still a very enjoyable game for me.  I enjoy the variety of races and powers.  I also enjoy the player politicking that goes on to try to cut down the leader.  The only reason it dropped a bit was due to newer games taking higher spots.  Small World is a great game for Risk players looking for something a little shorter and something with a lot more variety.

#23 Dixit  Down 11
Moving down due to lack of plays and a lack of desire to play.  Don't get me wrong, Dixit is still an excellent party game, and my go to game for a very creative group. The problem is that I don't have the creative mix of people that I had in college.  Dixit truly takes a group of diverse thinkers to make it work as well as it can.  That's one of the things that makes it a great party game.  It serves as a way to get to know someone, but more importantly, learn how they think, and also discover some of the random connections that people have.

#22 Roll Through the Ages  Down 11
Down due to lack of excitement.  I still think that RTtA is a great game with a lot of choices to make.  It's one of those games that I want to play more to really explore different strategies.  The problem is that I don't have other people who want to go down that path, so it tends to sit on the shelf while other games get played.

#21 Pandemic  Down 8
Pandemic is an enjoyable game for me, but it moved down because the newest expansion essentially requires the new version of the game, and I'm really opposed to that.  Now, I still enjoy what I have, and I will happily play Pandemic with what I have.  The game is fine, but it gets a bit samey after awhile.  My plays of it have drastically decreased over the last couple of years.  It can suffer from one player telling others what to do.  Fortunately, in my group, there are two of us who offer opinions and then leave the final choice up to the player.  That system has worked well for us, though it's not perfect by any means.