Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Family Game Night #7

A few weeks ago we have our 7th family game night! Sadly this one only consisted of me, Em, and Dave because two other had to bow out due to previous engagements. Even though there were only three of us it was still a blast!

Em chose to go with some really good appetizers for this game night (not that she ever cooks anything bad) and everyone enjoyed them immensely. The first thing she went with was a jalapeno bacon popper. They had bacon cream cheese in them and then were wrapped in crescent dough and baked in the oven. These were my personal favorites and we tore through them! The second appetizer was a roasted butternut squash dip. This had goat cheese in it and we ate it with crackers. It was delicious! Then, in honor of the fall season, she made a batch of deviled eggs that looked like little pumpkins. Lastly we had some brownie cheesecake bites as a dessert appetizer. You can find the recipe for the brownie bites at my wife’s blog at A Tastymess. After filling out stomachs with delightful food and some Dogfish Punkin Ale leftover from our last game night (thanks Sean) we moved on to the gaming portion of the night!

The first game we chose to play was Sentinels of the Multiverse released by Greater Than Games. This is a wonderful card game where everyone chooses a hero and goes up against a villain in a particular environment. The amazingly cool thing about this game is that each hero deck feels completely different from the next! It makes this game very thematic as you’re attacking the villain. Also, each of the villains and environments that you go up against feel very different and thematic.

To begin with we chose to go up again the villain Baron Blade. He is a psychotic villain who hates the hero Legacy (a Superman-like character) and just wants to defeat him. His current plan leads him to create a ray to pull the moon into the Earth and destroy everyone, including Legacy! Like I said, he’s a psycho. We chose to take the battle into the environment entitled Ruins of Atlantis. This is a water-heavy (obviously) environment that lightning users thrive in. After the villain and environment was chosen we each picked our characters.

Em went with her favorite character, Wraith. She is a Batman-style of character who uses weapons, martial arts, and her intelligence to defeat the enemies. She is a damage dealer who is good with protecting herself. Dave went with Legacy, the Superman-style hero. He is good with protecting and aiding his fellow heroes. Lastly, I chose to go with Tempest, an Aquaman-style hero. He is an alien who is great a dealing lightning damage and healing his fellow heroes. We took these three heroes and were able to destroy Baron Blade with very little difficulties. It was a ton of fun and it is great to see how new people respond to this game as it’s easy to learn and fun to play!

Carcassonne Unboxing

Carcassonne gameplay

After finishing Sentinels we moved on to Carcassonne. This was all of our first time playing this game and we all loved it! This is such a simple tile-laying game where you are connecting roads, cities, and fields and placing meeples (wooden people tokens) on these roads, cities, and monasteries in order to score points throughout the game. It is a simple, quick game that absolutely anyone can learn and play and enjoy. I would highly recommend this game for new gamers! In the end, Em schooled us and one by a fairly large margin!

Dave's breakdancing meeples

Traditional "usie" catching Dave by surprise this time

As usually, we had a great game-night and I can’t wait for the next one. I have Diamonds, released by Stronghold Games, coming soon from CoolStuffInc and that may be on the docket for our next play. Any comments or questions, just hit me up in the comment section. Until next time, game on!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Obligatory 2014 Essen Spiel Post Part III: Top 10 List (Part II)

This is part 3 of my three-part posting following my interests among the game releases at this year’s Essen Spiel. Feel free to back up a couple of posts to check out part one which focuses on my honorable mentions and also part two which focuses on my games six through ten. What follows will be my games one through five that are coming to Essen Spiel

#5 – Mysterium/Tajemnicze Domostwo (Portal Games)

Mysterium (which is being released by Portal Games as Tajemnocze Domostwo) is a game that plays from two to seven players and uses co-operative play and hand management mechanisms to create its clever gameplay. First of all, I want to begin by saying that this game is released by Portal Games. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite companies with one of my favorite designers/publishers in Ignacy Trzewiczek. Ignacy becomes a huge reason that I sit up and pay attention to Portal Games releases. Besides it being a Portal release, this game looks like it holds up amazingly well on its own merits. The best way to describe this game is as Dixit with a twist. It uses deduction as one player is a ghost in a haunted house and the other players are paranormal investigators. The ghost is able to communicate with these investigators using dreams (i.e. the cards in Dixit) and they have seven days to solve what the ghost has to say. I think this game sounds amazing and will probably try pretty hard to get my hands on this release.

#4 – Panamax (Stronghold Games)

Panamax is a fairly heavy, Euro-style game released by Stronghold Games. This is an absolutely beautiful game that uses dice rolling, point to point movement, and stock holding as its major game mechanisms. It is a heavily economic game where you are trying to move cargo through the Panama Canal. You first roll dice and use the pip numbers that come up as the cargo and then place them on either your ships or another players ships to get them through the canal as quickly and efficiently as possible. This game looks absolutely amazing and appears to have gameplay that backs up the beautiful board and components. I don’t have a whole ton of the “heavier” games (outside of Mage Knight) and would love to add to them. Panamax just may be the next heavy game to hit my shelf!

#3 – Fields of Arle (Z-Man Games)

Fields of Arle is the next release by heavy hitter Uwe Rosenberg of Agricola and Caverna fame. Rosenberg’s games are very well known Euro-style releases that always do well and mostly get very good reviews. This one really interests me because it was solely created as a two player game and you don’t find that often with these heavier games. This is another worker placement style game where you are attempting to develop your estate by expanding territory. This looks like a “point-salad” game that may be the first Rosenberg to hit my shelf. I am very interested in this release which is why it has jumped so high on my list!

#2 – Alchemists (Czech Games Edition)

Alchemists is a new game published by Czech Games Edition where you play an alchemist attempting to become more knowledgeable in the alchemical arts. Players will use worker placement and an auction mechanism in order to create their concoctions and potions. A very cool addition to this game is the use of an app. This app evaluates the ingredients and creates the potions by randomizing the rules of alchemy for each game. The creations that you place will give reputation for the budding alchemist and determine if said reputation goes up or down. The players will score points based on whether or not their theories were correct and the one with the most point wins. This is another game where I love the idea of the addition of an app to help the gameplay and make it more interesting but isn’t the focus. Hopefully this game does the app thing right and makes a very cool gaming experience.

#1 – Dice Brewing (board&dice)

And my top interest for this year’s Essen Spiel goes to the board&dice release, Dice Brewing. This is a dice-building game where the players take on the roll of a beer master attempting to create new and more impressive beer recipes. The players each have a board and location cards and use these to create their resource pool. The players will be acquiring hops and malts (from a marketplace or the black market) in order to brew different styles of beer that will gain them more points towards their mastery of the art. I love that this game has both dice rolling and card drafting mechanics in order to create the ambiance that they are going for. I am very excited for this game and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Thus ends my three-part post series on this year’s Essen Spiel in Essen, Germany. I hope you enjoyed reading these posts and as usual, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask. Until next time, game on!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Obligatory 2014 Essen Spiel Post Part II: Top 10 List (Part I)

Tomorrow marks the start of the first day of Essen Spiel 2014. This year’s largest European gaming convention will be a huge spectacle with a large amount of new games both published and unpublished hitting the floor. Also, there are usually some surprises that are released that you don’t hear about till the actual convention which makes for some interesting news for us gaming geeks! One such surprise has already been released and it has already created some buzz. A picture came up a couple days ago of a Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game and a release date of 10/16/14…these are the reasons I love gaming! Nothing is known yet but I love that they can do this and create some buzz for something just before the Spiel! This will be the second post I’m making in as many days regarding Essen Spiel. The first was about my honorable mentions list and you can find it at http://www.alittlelatetothetable.blogspot.com/2014/10/obligatory-essen-spiel-post-part-i.html. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

#10 – Kingsport Festival (Passport Game Studios)

Kingsport Festival is a game by designer Andrea Chiarvesio that apparently plays very similar to his previous game called Kingsburg. This game involves quite an interesting way to use dice. A player rolls their dice and then uses the numbers that have come up to place them on certain tiles and gain their effects. Essentially it is a worker placement game with a dice rolling mechanic. I love different ways of using dice! While I love a good Yahtzee style rolling game I also get a large amount of enjoyment out of clever and different ways of using dice. This gives a bit of luck to the game but still is largely based on the skill of your moves using those dice. I find this more interesting than Kingsburg because this is set in the city of Arkham during the Kingsport Festival of Lovecraftian lore. You essentially play a cultist attempting to raise the elder gods (including Cthulu) during this festival. I quite enjoy Lovecraft’s world and I think this is an interesting theme to paste onto what is already a highly rated game.

#9 – Clinic (Self-Published)

Clinic is a tile-placement and city-building game by the designer Alban Viard. This is intriguing to me because apparently this designer often creates his games and self-publishes them and brings them to Spiel to sell. He often does pre-orders on these games and sells the few extra copies when he arrives. These designs often sell out quickly so he has become somewhat of a hot commodity during the convention. This designer is known for his 3D style mechanics where you not only build across but also up. It makes for extra strategy in where you place your tiles and how you spend the money you receive. I would love to pick up a copy of this game but know that unless it is picked up by a publisher I will never be able to play this limited run of 200 copies.

#8 – Aquasphere (Matagot/Pegasus Games/Tasty Minstrel Games)

Aquasphere is one of this year’s new games by prolific designer Stefan Feld. Honestly, I’ve never played a Feld game before but this game has really drawn me in with it very cool theme. You play as an underwater research team attempting to gain as much data as possible about the environs at and around the ocean floor. You use your actions to improve your lab, send out submarines, study the resident octopi, and improve your team’s capabilities. This is hindered by amount of actions, number of decisions, and the size of your lab. All in all I think this is an incredibly interesting game and it may be the first Feld to really get me interested enough to pull the trigger and buy a copy.

#7 – Assault on Doomrock (Beautiful Disaster Games)

Assault on Doomrock is one of the few “Ameri-trash” style of games to find its way onto this particular list. I found that my Gen Con 2014 list (you can find these three posts on the blog) had much more in the way of the heavy thematic Ameri-trash while this list is tending much more towards the Euro style of game. I think that this is just one of the differences between the two conventions. This particular game is a co-operative game that relies on dice-rolling in a grid-free, tactical, role-playing style game. You get to chose your character and trait at the beginning of the game and from there go throughout a random map and face on in three distinct encounters. The outcome of these battles as well as the way you control the time element of the game will determine whether you win or lose. These elements give it a push up my list to the number seven game of interest.

#6 – Onirim: Second Edition (Z-Man Games)

could be considered by some as a cheat for this list, but I say to those people, nay! Onirim was originally released in 2010 in its first edition and had seven expansions for the base set. This game has been out of print for some time. It isn’t the hardest game to find but can get a little pricy for the base game as well as the seven expansions. Z-Man Games decided to release a second edition of the card game that included a larger box and all three expansions. I include it on this list because it has been on my personal list for some time and I’ve known about this edition and thus held off on buying the random copies that come up on amazon or ebay. Onirim is a solo/co-operative card game where you play a dreamwalker who is lost in a mysterious dream labyrinth of unknown origin. You must find the Oneiric Doors before your dream runs out or you will be lost forever. Much of what excites me about this game is the absolutely gorgeous and avant-garde artwork that exists on the cards. Also, I make no bones about the fact that I love a good solo/co-operative game that I can pull out even when I don’t have someone to play with.

There are numbers six through ten of my Essen Spiel top ten interests list. I find these games very interesting, but maybe you don’t. If you think something else should have been included just let me know in the comments. Next post should be up in a day or two and conclude my Essen Spiel posts. Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Obligatory 2014 Essen Spiel Post Part I: Honorable Mentions

Oh boy, here we go...Essen Spiel starts this week! Essen Spiel is one of the two largest gaming conventions in the world. This one takes place is Essen, Germany and is known as the convention with the largest amount of new releases. This year Eric Martin of BoardGameGeek has a large list that has over 700 releases coming out during the four day event. Starting on Thursday, October 16th and going until Sunday, October 19th, gamers, designers and publishers from around the world will come together for the epic event hoping to be one of the next big things in gaming. If you are curious about the list on BoardGameGeek, you can find it here. After looking through the comprehensive list I’ve narrowed my interests to my top ten as well as five honorable mentions. This post will take a short look at the five games that haven’t quite made my top ten but still get an honorable mention.

The first game to eke its way onto my honorable mentions list is The World of Yo-Ho, published by Volumique. This game won’t actually see its release until 2015, but they are supposed to have a playable demo of the game at Spiel this year and it looks incredibly interesting. This is another game to take the idea of boardgaming and mix it with an app on your tablet/smart phone. In this game you have a pirate ship (very fantastical, not realistic) and you go through the oceans solving mysteries, defeating sea monsters, and becoming the greatest swashbuckler around. This game uses a board where your phone actually becomes the ship. It uses the phones camera in order to see the board and then places your ship on the apps board. You move your ship around and it will interact with the environments of the board as you come to them. This looks like it will be a fun game that goes even further in creating a mix of traditional boardgames and modern videogames/apps.

The second game to make my honorable mentions list is La Isla, created by Stefan Feld and published by alea. This seems to be a lighter design by the traditionally heavy designer, Feld. You have a circular and modular board where you place animal tokens. You then use hand management in order to get resources which help you to move camp and then take an animal tile. It is essentially another “point salad” game by Feld, but I like how it seems to be a slightly lighter game which may get newer players into his designs.

The third game to sneak its way into the honorable mentions is Tragedy Looper, designed by BakaFire and published in America by Z-Man Games. This game plays out like a murder mystery with deduction elements but has a very interesting twist. The game plays from two to four players with one of the players acting as the mastermind. The mastermind has all of the information and knows the outcome of the scenario while the other one to three players try to figure out the logistics of the murder. What makes this game interesting is that the protagonists have the opportunity to go back in time to try and piece together the mystery while the mastermind tries to foil them and have the murder happen just as it did. I think this grabs the idea of deduction games and makes it so much more interesting! This is just one of many interesting card/boardgames coming out of Japan.

The fourth game to hit the honorable mentions list is Kanban: Automotive Revolution, designed by Vital Lacerda and published by Stronghold Games. This game is a worker placement where you play an ambitious manager who is trying to impress his/her board of directors in order to gain achievements and promotions in their career. You take your workers and move them about the board in order to best manage the assembly line and make yourself the best possible manager. This appears to be another fairly heavy Euro-game release by Stronghold Games along the lines of their other heavy Euro, Panamax (which may or may not appear higher on my top ten list!). I love the idea of this theme and hope the gameplay stands up to that theme.

The final and most interesting game, to make the honorable mentions list is The Convicted, designed and self-published by Mateusz Albricht. This game just looks awesome! The only reason it didn't make the top ten is because I would like to see it played a little more before I jump onto the Kickstarter bandwagon that rolled this game. However, that aside, this game does truly look great. It centers on a group of convicts who have been given a second chance. They are charged with creating a town that will bring greater honor to the king. While they are creating this town they will be attacked by barbarians, warlords, and monsters all while they are creating a new and bustling city. It is a co-operative game which I always seem to like that can also be soloed. It seems to be a city builder where you have to hunker down and do some tower defense in between building. I love the idea and hope it is as awesome and it seems!

This concludes my honorable mentions for the 2014 Essen Spiel. During the next week I will have two more posts up that will be the six through ten games and then the one through five games of my top ten. Until next time, game on!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Family Game Night #5 & Family Game Night #6

So I’ve decided to post about our last two game nights in one go.  Mostly this decision was made because we forgot to get pictures of our Family Game Night #5, oopsie!  Oh well, I’ll just post a bunch of picture from Family Game Night #6 to make up for it!

For Family Game Night #5 we invited our buddies Dave, Leigh, and Lydia to come over for appetizers and games.  Unfortunately Leigh had to bow out but Dave and Lydia were able to come over.  Because of some rough days, we decided to play 7 Wonders which is a game we all know.  We ended up also playing eight hands of Poop: The Game closing out the evening.  This is a super-simple game where you are playing cards and trying to get rid of everything in your hand.  You want to play numbers to keep it under a certain number so you don’t clog the toilet.  Also, just to add to the silliness, you have to make random noises (such as fart sounds) when you play wild cards.  It is a silly game that is a great way to end a night.

Em chose to use this night as a Mediterranean-themed night.  She started off the thought process by finding a recipe for a Mediterranean 7-layer dip.  This recipe gave her the idea for the theme and she ran with it!  Another of the recipes she made was an original for a Tzatziki dip.  Then she found another recipe for a pretty classic Baba Ghanoush.  Lastly, for dessert, she made some mini Baklava cups.  As usual, everything went over well and we polished the food off pretty quickly.  You can find the original post at Em’s blog, http://www.tastymess.org/2014/09/in-love-with-dip-mediterranean-style.html.

Family Game Night #6 went in a slightly different direction than the past few.  We invited over a different group of people and ended up breaking out a game we hadn’t played in a while.  Em and I were joined at this game night by Sean, Jenn, and John.  All three of these friends are gamers.  Because of this, we chose to break out Munchkin.  This is a game that can best be described as a hand management game that is more party game than “serious” game.  We’ve always said, if you can’t just have fun playing Munchkin without being too serious about winning, don’t bother playing!  That being said, we had an absolute blast!

(L-R) Sean, Em, Me, Jenn & Jon

Munchkin is always a blast, but Dogfish  Head's Punkin Ale makes it even more fun!
I jumped out to a large lead in the first few turns but was unable to hold it as I had terrible cards in front of me!  Soon everyone had come back and we ended up completely tied at nine points.  Sean, due to some silly good cards, was able to eke out the win at the end of the game!  It was a great night and Em had a blast on the day before her birthday!  As a side note, Jenn and John got her a Doctor Who Yahtzee game as a birthday present!  Overall another great night!  Until next time, game on!

Sean, the triumphant (and slightly smug) winner!

Booooooo! (sore losers!)