Friday, March 27, 2015

Obligatory Favorite Games 2015 Edition Post Part III: My Favorite Games: Top 10 List (Part I)

Woot!  Now for my top 10 favorite games (at least at the time of this posting) of all times!  This is the third post in a multi-part series focused on mine and my wife’s favorite games.  If you’ve missed the first couple of posts you can check them out at the links.  The first post is my wife’s top 5 games and the second post is my honorable mentions.

Check out the links if you’ve missed them.  Especially my wife’s post, because she’s awesome and plays games with me!  Also, just as a shameless pimp of my wife’s blog, check her foodie blog out at  Now for the main event, the first part of my top 10 list!  This post will be games 6-10 and the following post in the next few days will be games 1-5.  Without further ado, games 6-10!

#10 – Dungeon Petz (Z-Man Games)

Dungeon Petz is a worker-placement game designed by the fantastic Vlaada Chvatil.  Chvatil has set himself up as one of the best modern game designers and this is just one of his fantastic creations.  Dungeon Petz is set up in a world that he already created in a previous game entitled Dungeon Lords.  Where Dungeon Lords was a worker-placement game that put you in the shoes of a dungeon overlord, Dungeon Petz puts you in the shoes of a family of imps.  As these imps you are trying to create a business model where you are raising, feeding, training, and ultimately selling dungeon monsters to overlords who are looking for creatures.  This is a cute game with awesome art that just oozes thematic quality.  A wonderful game and it is also on my wife’s top 5 list!

#9 – Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords (Paizo Publishing)

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords is a great card game with a progressive model that was designed by Mike Selinker.  This game takes the super-popular Pathfinder RPG and condenses it into a card game that still has some of the ideas of the big-brother RPG.  That being said, understand that this is NOT an RPG, it is a card game that is set in the same universe and has some really cool mechanic s and progressions.  You take your character all the way throughout the large box set, which has 6 total decks of adventures (as well as a basic introductory deck), weapons, allies, and challenges.  My wife and I love this game!  It is also on her top 5 list and she loves taking the character Merisiel (a rogue elf) while I play with Valeros, the mercenary warrior.  This game is very fun and lasts for a long while!

#8 – Elder Sign (Fantasy Flight Games)

Elder Sign is a dice-rolling, press-your-luck, co-operative game that was designed by the fabulous Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson.  This game is one of the many Cthulhu-themed boardgames out there and really fits in with the rest of the Arkham Files series of games by Fantasy Flight.  These games include Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, and Mansions of Madness.  These are all heavily themed games that take place in the Call of Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft fame.  Elder Sign is quite different from these other games because it is a dice-chucking game that applies Yahtzee-style mechanics into the theme.  Em and I love playing this game and have recently brought it out with other people and it’s gone over really well so far!  This game also has a couple of expansions, Unseen Forces and Gates of Arkham, which add new mechanics and give it higher replayability.  If you’re a fan of dice and Cthulhu, this is the game for you!

#7 – Sentinels of the Multiverse (Greater Than Games, LLC)

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a card game that is quite possibly the most thematic super-hero game that I’ve ever played!  This game was designed by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, and Adam Rebottaro and is a wonderfully designed game.  What makes this game special is all of the individual decks of cards.  You take 3 to 5 hero decks (all of which are different), a villain deck (again, all different), and an environment deck (surprise, they are all different!) and then go to battle.  What makes this game incredibly thematic is the fact that each of these decks is completely different and really feel like the characters you’re playing.  Legacy is a tough hero and leader who consistently supports his fellow heroes.  Tachyon is a speedster whose deck is super fast.  Absolute Zero is an outcast hero who doesn’t really want to fight but is super powerful when he does.  All of these decks along with the villains and environments just make Sentinels great!  Also, the Multiverse has grown as there are many different expansions.  These expansions include Rook City, Infernal Relics, Shattered Timelines, Vengeance, Wrath of the Cosmos, and Villains of the Multiverse.  Along with these larger box expansions, there are multiple single decks such as the heroes Guise and Unity, the villains Ambuscade and Wager Master, and the environments Omnitron IV and The Final Wasteland just to name a few.  Sentinels is just a great, thematic card game that has tons of replay value!

#6 – Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games)

Star Wars: Imperial Assault makes it on to my list at number 6.  It was designed by Justin Kemppainen, Corey Konieczka (designer on the upcoming Gen Con release, Forbidden Stars), and Jonathan Ying.  Imperial Assault is a dungeon-crawl style game that was built on the same rules as Descent 2.0, also by Fantasy Flight Games.  This game is a one versus all game where one player takes the role of the imperials and the other players take the role of a band of rebel specialists.  This game is just amazing.  My wife and I have started one campaign with just us and another with a friend of ours and they are both tons of fun.  I already love the replayability of this game.  The game progresses through a campaign of about twelve missions and branches depending on whether the imperials or the rebels win a specific mission.  There are upgrades, new units, and new locations to explore through the different missions as each group levels up their characters.  I could easily see this game moving further up my list with more plays under my belt.  Also, I love the fact that this game already has a bunch of small character expansions such as Chewbacca, Han Solo, and IG-88 just to name a few.  Also, at the recent GAMA Trade Show, Fantasy Flight released the first pictures and information of the first big box expansion for Imperial Assault, Twin Shadows.  A great game with even greater replay value, a win-win!

Well, there are the bottom 5 games on my top 10 list.  if you have any questions just let me know in the comments.  Stay tuned for my top 5 games post in the next few days or so.  Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Obligatory Favorite Games 2015 Edition Post Part II: My Favorite Games: Honorable Mentions

This is the second part of a four-part (or maybe five-part!) series on favorite games.  If you missed it, my wife, Em, guest-blogged for the first time on my site listing her favorite five games.  I quite enjoyed this post and to be honest what quite pleasantly surprised by her list.  I knew her top game, but other than that I was very interested to see what she chose.  Check that post out at the following link: 

That was the first post in the series.  This post will focus on my honorable mentions, and the next couple of posts will be my top 10 games!  Lastly, I may do a fifth post that would focus on some games that I expect will crack the list either soon or closely in the future.  Understand, this is the first time that I (and my wife as well!) have made a favorite games list.  We have now been seriously into the hobby for about a year and it has been great!  That being said, understand that my list may still be very fluid as there are so very many games that I want to play and haven’t yet.  With that caveat out of the way, here are the honorable mentions that just missed my top 10 list.

#5 – Samurai Spirit (Funforge)

Samurai Spirit is a beautiful little co-operative game by the fantastic Antoine Bauza.  To be honest, I was a little worried when I first heard about this game that it would just be a re-skin of Bauza’s other fantastic co-op, Ghost Stories.  That being said, after getting and playing this game, it is nothing like Ghost Stories.  As a matter of fact, I think (at least for myself) that Samurai Spirit has more tactical and strategic decisions than Ghost Stories.  Because of this reason, I place it just ever so slightly ahead of Ghost Stories on my personal list.  This isn’t taking anything away from Ghost Stories; it is just saying how much I love Samurai Spirit as a total package.  Other high points of this game include the size of the game (much smaller shelf space and super portable!),  the beautiful artwork, and the fact that it plays anywhere from 1-7 players!

#4 – Zombicide (Cool Mini Or Not)

The next game on the honorable mentions list is Zombicide by Raphael Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, and Nicolas Raoult.  This game is just pure Ameri-trash (or Ameri-thrash) fun!  Cool Mini Or Not really hit a sweet spot with this game.  Cool Mini Or Not funded this game on Kickstarter a couple years ago and now have two other large box expansions (these are also stand-alone game) that have made millions of dollars on Kickstarter.  The expansions are Zombicide Season 2: Prison Outbreak (the one I have) and Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue.  Along with the large box expansions they have a couple of small box expansions in Zombicide: Toxic City Mall and Zombicide: Angry Neighbors.  Each of these adds different types of zombies and a few different mechanics.  Then, because this isn’t enough, they have multiple sets of zombies and Kickstarter-exclusive survivors that you can add into the mix.  All of this just makes for a super fun package that I pull out when I just want to roll some dice and kill some mindless drones of zombie attackers!

#3 – Quarriors! (WizKids Games)

Quarriors is the next game to slide its way onto my honorable mentions list.  It was developed by the fantastic Eric Lang and Mike Elliott and effectively created a deck-building game that doesn’t use cards.  Quarriors is the first game to take the ideas of a deck-building game (using your weak cards to buy and use better cards) and create a dice-building game.  Now, instead of cards, you use custom dice to roll the currency of the game (called quiddity), and then use that currency to buy bigger and better creature dice.  This game is just fun!  My wife and l love to play this game and have just introduced a friend to it.  Needless to say, he loved it as well!  We would love to get some of the expansions (Quarriors! Quarmageddon, Quarriors! Quest of the Qladiator, and Quarriors! Quartifacts to name some of them) to add to the number of creatures and custom die!  The newer Dice Masters’ games (which we have yet to try) are based off of the ideas that Quarriors was created on.

#2 – Takenoko (Bombyx/Asmodee)

Takenoko is a lighter game by Antoine Bauza and is the second game to be on this list.  This game has some tile-placement, some set-collection, and some slight area control that are all shoved together into a game with absolutely beautiful artwork.  This was one of the first games that I used to really get my wife into the hobby and it is now on her top 5 list!  Basically, you take two actions during your turn in order to grow brightly colored bamboo (beautiful wooden pieces that connect together) with a little gardener miniature, eat the bamboo with a cute little panda miniature, and/or spread out the gardens with tiles-placement.  While doing these actions you collect and score cards with set-collection.  This is just a fun game that we use to get new players into the hobby!  I can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to play games because Takenoko will be one of the first we use to get her into the hobby.  Also, as a random aside, we will be getting a new expansion for this game around Gen Con 2015 that includes a female panda and little panda baby chits.

#1 – Carcassonne (Z-Man Games)

Finally, the game that just missed my top 10 is Carcassonne.  This is a tile-placement, area control and worker-placement game by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede that is now considered a modern classic.  Em and I got this game while we were on our anniversary trip this past year and it has become a favorite of both of us!  It is the number 2 game on Em’s top 5 list, just getting edged out by the fantastic tableau-building game, Seasons.  This game has you taking small tiles and creating a country landscape and scoring points as you finish specific areas.  I would also like to make a note that I love the artwork on the older edition of this game over the newer edition of the game.  I love the sparse artwork of the original and personally think that the new edition’s art is too busy.  Again, this is just personal preference, but I do think that this should be noted for those looking to buy this game.  This is a light-weight, gateway game that is fun for heavier gamers as well.  We break this game out to people who have never played and they all seem to really like it as well!  Again, on a side note, this game has tons of great expansions including (but not limited to) Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, The Princess & the Dragon, The Tower, Abbey & Mayor, Hills & Sheep, and more.  I love this game, and it is one I could see jumping higher with more plays and expansions!

There you have it.  These are the games that just missed my top 10.  In no way does this make these games bad, as a matter of fact, I love them all!  What it does mean is that I have 10 games that I love more.  Stay tuned for my next couple posts as I reveal my favorite 10 games.  Until next time, game on!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Obligatory Favorite Games 2015 Edition Post Part I: Em’s Top 5 Favorite Games List (Guest Blogger)

Yeah, you can tell we really take life seriously around here!

My husband has been asking me to write this guest blog post for at least a month at this point, so today I finally found the time to sit down and give it a shot. First of all, you should know that until last year I was never into tabletop games. My best friend Becks can attest to that fact, since she had to bribe/threaten/bug me constantly to get me to play a game with her when we were kids. Part of that reason is that I never won…ok, I won ONE game of Trivial Pursuit in our entire 20+ years of friendship. That tends to turn one off to games. We also would go through these weird stretches where we were obsessed with one game…Monopoly comes to mind. Please don’t judge me too harshly, I was in middle school at the time! 

Anyway, my interest was piqued in modern boardgaming when my husband introduced me to Munchkin, which he’s talked about on this blog several times. We really enjoyed playing it and then he eased me into Heroclix, which preyed on my love of all things superhero/geeky. We started actively buying modern boardgames and setting up date nights just to play, then it branched out into our own little monthly game group. Before I knew it, I was into tabletop gaming. I even watch some of his favorite YouTube channels on the topic.

I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into my Top 5 Games thus far, just for kicks so check them out below: 

#5 – Takenoko: This is one of the first modern boardgames Aaron introduced me to after our first foray into Munchkin and Heroclix. He knew the panda figure and artwork style would hook me in, and it totally did. I love how entry-level this game is; it has a simple mechanic but still allows an element of strategy. We routinely use it as our go-to intro game to newbie tabletop gamers and everyone has loved it so far, we even gave it as a gift to friends of ours this past Christmas! 

Dungeon Petz
#4 – Dungeon Petz: I love this game. I can’t even really tell you why, it just is so much fun to play! This was the first worker-placement game that Aaron taught me how to play (by the way, he is insanely patient and good at explaining new games to the less experienced of us, thanks babe!) and I was surprised how quickly I picked up on the rules and feel to the game. The artwork is fun and being able to raise the cute/insane monsters in order to compete on the auction block was definitely unique to me. Whenever we want a fun game that might take more than an hour or so, I always vote for this one.

#3 – Pathfinder: This game is addicting. I’ll admit it, I am completely hooked. We even brought this game with us on our anniversary trip this past year and played it constantly! I had never gotten into a game where you actually build your character through multiple rounds. It plays on my love of the “choose your own adventure” mechanic and I like the cooperative element. This was the first cooperative game I was introduced to and as a bizarrely competitive person; it probably was a good thing for the health of our marriage for us to try the cooperative approach. My character is Merisiel, by the way, and she totally kicks ass. 

#2 – Carcassonne: So simple, yet so complex when it comes to strategy, I could play this game all day. We just recently started getting some of the expansions, so those have been fun to throw into the mix. I still love just the classic straightforward original version too. This was my first real introduction to a map-building concept (other than Takenoko) and as someone who angrily hates puzzles, it was so freeing to be able to have a mellow puzzle-type mechanic, but with so much freedom to build where you want.

#1 – Seasons: I. Love. This Game. Even though I’ve lost the last 2 times I’ve played (which irritates me, believe me!), I can’t not put this game as my number one. The artwork pulled me in, then the strategy hooked me completely. This is our go-to game when we want to play but aren’t feeling anything specific. I love it and we recently were able to teach it to a friend of ours, which was the first time we played with more than 2 players. It was crazy! And I lost pretty badly…but I just can’t get enough of this game.

Of course there are more than 5 games I really like, Quarriors almost made the list, so did 7 Wonders and Elder Signs. I’m thinking this time next year it’ll be a lot harder to narrow my list down to 5!

So, as my husband says…until next time, game on!