Friday, February 20, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part VII: My 2014 in Final Review

This will be the seventh and final post in my “End of 2014” series. My previous six posts can be found at the following links if you’re interested in my top interests of 2014 and my top interests of 2015.

Honorable mentions of 2014:

Games 6-10 of 2014:

Games 1-5 of 2014:

Honorable mentions of 2015:

Games 6-10 of 2015:

Games 1-5 of 2015:

2014 was really the year that I got into tabletop gaming. My wife and I actually started out playing Munchkin around four or five years ago and we have always had a special place in our hearts because it is really the game the opened up a new world for us. For the most part we just played that game and had a ton of fun with it! I understand that many people hate Munchkin and, to be honest, I can understand why. There are many mechanics in this game that turn people off and I can understand that. That being said, we still like it and won’t make any apologies for it!

While Munchkin was our first “modern board game,” we didn’t get our next until years later when my wife bought me a starter set for Heroclix. We played that quite a lot and bought a fair amount of boosters for it that really opened the game up. This was our first foray into any sort of miniatures game and we love the mechanics of the wheel where your hero got weaker and he/she took damage. Em was actually quite good at this game and often kicked my butt with Wonder Woman and crew!

Now we finally fast forward to 2014. I was on the WizKids Games website looking into future Heroclix expansions when I came across Mage Knight: Board Game. As I researched this game further I became more and more excited about the prospect of getting this cool looking game where I could actually play it solo! This was such a novel idea that I had never heard of up until this point. That research and subsequent purchase was really the thing that set off what is now a great love of board and tabletop gaming!

I got my Mage Knight game in the mail, ripped open the cellophane cover, and proceeded to pull out the large quantity of chits, cards, boards, and miniatures that came packaged in the weighty box. This was my first ever opportunity to punch cardboard chits out of their sprues and I loved every second of it. My wife still chuckles at me when I get a new game and fully relish the opportunity to smell the new game smell and punch out the individual pieces with reckless abandon! I have offered many times to let Em punch them out, but as of yet she hasn’t taken me up on that offer. I like to think that she lets me punch them all out because she knows me so well and is aware that it is one of my favorite pastimes! Also, I’m kind of glad she hasn’t taken me up on the offer and caught the bug herself.

With the acquisition of Mage Knight, I had opened the door to a new world, one of shiny, new boardgames that didn’t have to be anything like those older, completely dated games that I played as a child. No longer did my wife and I have to pull out games like Monopoly, Clue, and Sorry. Now, we could pull out “new classics” like Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic. A new and fantastic world was opened up, but to be honest, it was quite overwhelming at first! As I did more research I realized that there were more than 1000 games that were released every year. How was I supposed to find out which ones would be worth my hard-earned money and which ones weren’t?

YouTube! That was the answer. 2014 was also the year where I found out how many different reviewers there were and how many others were doing playthroughs. This was it! This was how I would be able to find out which games I should purchase. It started with Tom Vasel and the Dice Tower. Now here is a guy (along with his entire network of podcasters and vloggers) who strives to review every single game that is put out. Obviously he doesn’t succeed in this, but he comes way closer than others do!

From there I found Richard Ham, otherwise known to his fans as Rahdo of Rahdo Runs Through. Here is a guy who has more excitement, more passion, and WAY more energy than most people I’ve met! He does a single camera runthrough of games which are mostly for 2 players and his main opponent is his wife Jen. What he does is a wonderfully fun way to look at the play of a game. Then, at the end, he’ll give his own personal views of the game. Rahdo’s is one of my favorite YouTube channels!

Then, I discovered a gentleman who is known as one of the friendliest boardgame media personalities out there. This is none other than the fantastic Rodney Smith of Watch It Played. He started this channel about three years back as an aid for his gaming group to learn the game Mansions of Madness by Fantasy Flight Games. He enlisted the help of his daughter Andrea and his son Luke and what came from that is one of the most popular sites for playthroughs of different boardgames.

Probably the biggest of these YouTube programs that I found was TableTop on the Geek and Sundry network. This is a show that was created by Wil Wheaton (yes, of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Big Bang Theory fame) and is one where he brings his friends on camera to play different modern boardgames. This show really opened my eyes to how fun games could be, especially when you get to play with your friends and family! I think this is where my wife and I really got the idea to form our monthly game nights.

Yes, 2014 was the first time that I got involved in a game group! In fairness, this is because my wife and I started it, but it is a game group none-the-less! We would love to be part of a larger game group, but life, time and area prevent that. We are not in a game-heavy area. As a matter of fact, most people in this area don’t even know that modern board games exist. This is a monthly affair where we invite our friends over to play games and eat delicious food prepared by my super-talented wife (check out her foodie blog at These nights have become quite popular and we now have a revolving group of people who love to come over and hang out.

Also, 2014 was the first year that I really sat down and created online content for a blog. About halfway through the year I decided that I was going to add my hat to the rack of game bloggers, vloggers, and personalities. In no way do I think that anyone even knows who I am, but I am quite proud of my little corner of the interweb where Late To The Table… exists. I hope to blog even more regularly this year and continue with what people hopefully find to be interesting content.

2014 was also the year where I found out that Kickstarter was also for boardgames! Now I had heard of Kickstarter before as my brother’s band, The Pig Merchants, funded their first album through the site. This was the first time I had even noticed that they had games as well. There were a ton of good looking games but we started out first with two small games. These were Province, which is a micro Euro-style game, and Poop: The Game, which is a game where you are getting rid of your cards along the lines of Uno and the like. Then, Super Dungeon Explore: The Forgotten King came up and on the last day I decided to go ahead and pledge. It was the first time I had seen a project that had as many stretch goals and extras that I felt I needed to get in on the Kickstarter! I have recently gotten an update that states that the game should be shipped before the Chinese New Year and hopefully the backers should get their game in a month or so. Lastly, I have two other Kickstarter’s pending, the promo cards for Pixel Tactics, and Viceroy. I am very frugal with these as there are a ton of games that look awesome but I only really choose the ones I would buy at full price.

Our collection has started to grow and along with that I finally found the website I love this site. It is an amalgamation of all things tabletop games! I have been able to get my whole collection placed up there and it allows me to keep track of my plays so I can see the games that I have trending and what I should get to the table. This site also has all the up-to-date news as they have an excellent team that goes to all of the toy and game conventions to keep up with all of the upcoming releases. They have forums of over one million users (which they just hit…congrats!) that love boardgames as much as I do and have all kinds of great content! If you want to hit me up on “The Geek,” just look me up at the handle, LateToTheTable.

Needless to say, 2014 was a fantastic year when it came to tabletop gaming, at least when it came to me and my wife! We now take time out at least once or twice a week to play games with each other which gets us away from the television or our busy lives and allows us to just have fun. I look forward to this next year as there are many different games that I am excited about and so much more fun to be had!

Thank you all so much for reading. Next up will be mine and my wife’s favorite game’s list.  Em will be up first and she is pretty sure she’ll have a list of somewhere in between 5-7 games. I will then do my own list where I’ll stick to my previous lists. I will have a three part list where my first post will be my honorable mentions, my second post will be my games 6-10, and my last will be my games 1-5. Stick around and find out what games Em and I chose as out favorites! Until next time, game on!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Obligatory End of 2014 Post Part VI: Top Interests of 2015: Top 10 List (Part II)

Alright! Here we are at the end of the top 10 list for my hot games of 2015! This post will contain the games 1-5 of my top 10 and these games are all must-buys. Actually, out of these five games, I’ve already pre-ordered or Kickstarted two of them and a third I’m just waiting for a new shipment to be delivered to CoolStuffInc! 

This is the sixth installment total of my “End of 2014” series. If you’re curious or haven’t read the previous posts, feel free to click on the links below and check them out! Again, if you’re not sure why a game is here and not on the 2014 list, just check out one of the honorable mentions posts and I go over my prerequisites for a 2014 versus a 2015 game.

Honorable mentions of 2014:

Games 6-10 of 2014:

Games 1-5 of 2014: Honorable mentions of 2015:

Games 6-10 of 2015:

Now that the precursors are out of the way, on to the main event! This will be my top 5 games on my top 10 list of hot games in 2015. I am super-excited about these games and 2015 is already shaping up to be an interesting year of gaming! With all that being said, as usual, if you have any questions/comments feel free to comment below or on my BoardGameGeek handle, LateToTheTable. Without further ado…the top 5! 

#5 – Fields of Arle (Z-Man Games)
Fields of Arle is a new farming simulation game that was released at Essen Spiel 2014 to great critical acclaim. This game was designed by the uber-popular Uwe Rosenberg and distributed in the United States by Z-Man Games. This is an interesting game to go over. Rosenberg is well known for his fantastic design work and is beloved as one of the best designer in the gaming community. His games Agricola, Caverna, and La Havre are just some of the most popular Euro-style games in distribution. In total honesty, I’ve never played any of his designs but I guarantee this will be the first! This is third game I spoke of earlier that I’m just waiting to be restocked at CoolStuffInc. This is the biggest 2-player-only game that Rosenberg has done and it just looks every bit of amazing! I can’t wait to get this game and get it on the table with my wife, I think she’ll end up loving it just like I’m sure I will! 

#4 – Dice Brewing (StuntKite Publishing)
Dice Brewing is a new dice heavy game that was released at this past year’s Essen Spiel. This game was designed by Filip Glowacz and Ireneusz Huszcza of Board&Dice and is being distributed in the United States by StuntKite Publishing. I have already pre-ordered this game from StuntKite’s website and it should be shipping out around the end of February or beginning of March. I am really looking forward to this game. It is a dice-building game where you use your dice as different ingredients in order to brew beer. As you go further in the game you can brew better beer and add different ingredients to create larger victory point scores. I am a huge fan of good, craft beer and of course I’m a huge fan of dice, so this is a match made in heaven! Along with dice-chucking, there are other mechanics that allow you to change the dice rolls, get new dice, and replace existing dice. This adds a level of skill and tactics to the luck factor of rolling dice. We even loved the idea of this game so much we pre-ordered a copy for my brother-in-law’s birthday, as he’s a beer brewer. 

#3 – Viceroy (Mayday Games)
Viceroy is one of the few games that I have ever chosen to Kickstart. This game was designed by Yuri Zhuravlev and will be distributed in the United States by Mayday Games. Viceroy was originally created in Russia and published by Hobby World. After becoming a huge hit at this past year’s Essen, Mayday Games decided to pick it up and put it up as a glorified pre-order on Kickstarter. Due to the low price and extras that were reached in stretch goals, I decided to go ahead and order the game. This game looks like a somewhat lighter fair, card game where you are trying to build a “pyramid of power” with the cards in your hand. You use “gems” to buy these cards using a blind bidding mechanism. Then you are able to match colors and get more gems and better powers as you continue to build up your pyramid of cards. This game just looks like it is going to be a beautiful and fun card-based game that I should be able to easily teach to others. As long as everything goes well, people who funded this game should be seeing their copies sometime in mid to late March. 

#2 – Pandemic Legacy (Z-Man Games)
Pandemic Legacy is a new game that will be out in August of this year. It is designed by Pandemic creator, Matt Leacock, and Risk Legacy creator, Rob Daviau, and will be distributed in the United States by Z-Man Games. To be honest, if you have any great love of modern boardgames, then you have probably heard about this game. It takes the uber-hit, Pandemic, and combines it with the new Legacy-style of boardgame where each decision made creates lasting effects on the future of the game. When a character dies, they are dead forever. When a certain event happens, it will make waves in the future plays. This sounds absolutely amazing! I love the idea of progression in games, and it has become a much more popular trend in modern boardgaming. This takes an already beloved game and adds the idea of the progression to it to make an even more interesting game! I can’t wait for this one to be released, and it may be another that I’ll bite the bullet on and pre-order. 

#1 – SeaFall: A Legacy Game (IronWall Games & Plaid Hat Games)
SeaFall is going to be the third game to be created with the “Legacy” tag added to it. It is currently being designed by Rob Daviau and will be co-published by IronWall Games (Daviau’s game company) and Plaid Hat Games. This game just looks like it is going to be amazing! It is a 4X-style game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) with an open-world sense where you takes ships and explore a mostly unexplored map. It takes place in a time similar to the Dark Ages where you are taking your civilization out to explore the seas. However, this is a different age where there appears to be magic and fantasy about. You are able to focus in a certain style of play in SeaFall. You can be a trader, an explorer, a warmonger, and probably even more specialties to be announced as the game gets closer to release. This game takes the Legacy title seriously as you change the board and the way the game is played with each decision that you make. These continue with you throughout the 10ish plays where you’ll actually change the board and play of the game. After you are done (in the same way as Risk Legacy is and Pandemic Legacy will be) you will have a game that is specific to the way you have played and you will be able to take each of the civilizations and play them the way that you have created. Also, it seems that each of the “X’s” is a legitimate way to win the game. If this game is even half of the ideas that Daviau has put out there, then this game has a very real chance of being one of my favorites! Sadly, I’m kind of cheating by putting it here as it probably won’t be released until 2016…but I guess that just shows how excited I am for it!

Well, there are the final games on my top 10 hot games of 2015. I am incredibly excited for these games and two of them should be on my table in a month or so! My next post (seventh) in the “End of 2014” series will be a wrap-up and review of 2014 as a whole. Considering it was my first year of serious boardgaming, I’m excited to write this one! After that I’ll do a few posts on my top five or ten games. Then, hopefully I’ll be able to convince my wife (check out her foodie blog at to do a guest post on her top five games. It’s going to be a great year! Until next time, game on!