Monday, October 19, 2015

Obligatory “What I Played In…” Post Part III: September 2015

Hey all, we’re back for another round of “What I Played In…” This is my series of posts where I list what I played for said month, and said month is September of 2015! This post would normally have been earlier in the month but that time was taken doing my Essen Spiel 2015 series. Now that those are done, on to my “What I Played In September 2015 post! This month has taken over as my most plays, but mostly that is because of some smaller, quicker games that have been hitting the table a lot. Alright, check out my list and enjoy!

Total plays in September 2015 – 68
Total unique games played in September 2015 – 25
New games played in September 2015 – 3
Most plays of a single game – 22

Designer – Vlaada Chvátil
Publisher – Czech Games Edition
New to me
First play – 9/7/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 22

A friend of mine let me know that Codenames was at our local comic and game store and I went right over to pick it up to make sure I got a copy! This has been the hotness since Gen Con and I wanted to see what it was all about. 22 plays later I’d say it is a hit with everyone we’ve played it with! It is just a fun word association game that was brilliantly and simply designed. I highly recommend this to absolutely anyone, it will go over great!

Designer – Rikki Tahta
Publisher – Indie Boards & Cards
Last play before September 2015 – 8/22/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 10

This is the second month that we’ve had Coup and it is still very popular. Such a simple and quick game and I like the deduction in it. It is one of those games that I look forward to teaching to new people because I think it will draw them into more modern boardgames.

Tides of Time
Designer – Kristian Čurla
Publisher – Portal Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/24/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 5

This game continues to hit the table. It is such a simple 2-player card drafting game and those are incredibly rare. Normally card drafting isn’t a mechanic that works well with only 2-players but here it does. My wife and I can finish a game of this in about 10 minutes and then move on to another game if we want. It is a fun and heavily tactical card game.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords
Designer – Mike Selinker/Paul Peterson/Chad Brown/Tanis O’Connor/Gabby Weidling
Publisher – Paizo Publishing
Last play before September 2015 – 6/5/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 3

I played 3 rounds of Pathfinder ACG this month to finish up The Hook Mountain Massacre Adventure Deck for my solo play. My wife and I really enjoy this game but we find it more and more difficult to get it to the table. Oh well, we will finish the adventure path eventually!

Shinobi Clans
Designer – Jürgen Mayer
Publisher – Posthuman Studios
New to me
First play – 9/8/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 3

My sister-in-law and her husband got this game for me for my birthday this past February. We finally got it to the table and really enjoyed it! I was actually annoyed that we hadn’t gotten it out sooner when we realized that this is quite a fun little game. We’ve played it 3 times now and everyone has had a good time playing.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
Designer – Isaac Vega
Publisher – Plaid Hat Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/29/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 2

This continues to be a hit among me and my wife. We are starting to get to the point where we want to add in other players and trying this like the drafting and deck building parts of the game. We’ve had a blast with the pre-built decks and I don’t see us stopping this game any time soon. I highly recommend this for any CCG fan! Plus, bonus, it’s not a CCG!

Munchkin Loot Letter (Love Letter)
Designer – Seiji Kanai
Publisher – Alderac Entertainment Group
Last play before September 2015 – 8/15/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 2

What more to say about Love Letter? This is just a simple, small game that goes over well and is a very solid filler. It will always be in our collection just for quick plays and teaching to new gamers.

Roll for the Galaxy
Designer – Thomas Lehmann/Wei-Hwa Huang
Publisher – Rio Grande Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/16/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 2

This game is just awesome. We haven’t had a missed month of playing this game since we obtained it earlier this year. We can’t wait for the expansion, Ambition, to be released to give us even more options!

Shadowrun: Crossfire
Designer – Mike Elliott/Rob Heinsoo/Jim Lin/Gregory Marques/Sean McCarthy/Rob Watkins
Publisher – Catalyst Game Labs
Last play before September 2015 – 8/31/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 2

Designer – Yuri Zhuravlev
Publisher – Mayday Games/Hobby World
Last play before September 2015 – 8/31/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 2

This continues to be a game that we’re going to pull out a few times a month and completely enjoy! Actually we’ve started to wonder what it would be like to play at either 3 or 4 players so we may be getting even more fun out of the game soon!

7 Wonders
Designer – Antoine Bauza
Publisher – Repos Production/Asmodee
Last play before September 2015 – 8/9/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Again, 1 play in a month is never enough of this game. Every time I play it I love it more! I can’t wait to get my hands on the new 2-player version of this game that was released at Essen Spiel 2015 entitled 7 Wonders: Duel. I think that Em and I will get 7 Wonders: Duel to the table quite often!

Brew Crafters
Designer – Ben Rosset
Publisher – Greater Than Games
Last play before September 2015 – 7/2/15
Total plays before September 2015 – 1

We got one play of this in September and it is another game that we may only pull out once a month or every other month but we have a great time playing it when we do! It is a great worker placement that is apparently somewhat similar to Agricola but with a much cooler theme!

Designer – Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
Publisher – Z-Man Games
Last play before September 2015 – 6/12/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

We had a good, mellow play of Carcassonne this month with Em’s dad, Terry. We really love pulling this game out with people who aren’t necessarily gamers as it goes over well and is just fun to look over the board afterwards at what you’ve built.

Designer – Klaus Teuber
Publisher – Mayfair Games
Last play before September 2015 – Not sure
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Wow, I think it’s been about a decade since I’ve played this game. A buddy gave us a copy of Catan and we finally decided to break it out and play. I remember not liking it but actually enjoyed my play of it this time. I still think the thief/robber is a terrible mechanic but that’s just me. As a side note, my wife is still really not a fan although she also said it wasn’t as bad as she remembered it being.

Designer – Mike Fitzgerald
Publisher – Stronghold Games
Last play before September 2015 – 6/28/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

We got in a play of Diamonds with Em’s dad. He ended up pulling out the win in this one. It’s always a good time playing this one, and super easy to teach!

Dice Brewing
Designer – Filip Głowacz/ Ireneusz Huszcza
Publisher – Board&Dice/StuntKite Publishing
Last play before September 2015 – 7/6/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

We got 1 play in and as has been the norm recently, we seem to be enjoying it more and more with each play. Once you figure out how to gain the resources you need this is a fun play.

Designer – Antoine Bauza
Publisher – R&R Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/6/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

This continues a run of this game. We’ve played it a couple of months straight which is cool because I really like it and it seems to be growing on Em. This is one of those games I can take anywhere and teach easily. We played a 4-player game with Molly (sister-in-law) and Dustin (brother-in-law) and score a respectable 18 points. I think if we’d played again we would have done really well!

Imperial Settlers
Designer – Ignacy Trzewiczek
Publisher – Portal Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/24/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

We played. Of course we played! This is one of our favorite games of all time! Oh, and I lost to the Egyptians with the Atlanteans. Always an awesome game, even when I lose!

Mage Knight Board Game
Designer - Vlaada Chvátil
Publisher – WizKids Games
Last play before September 2015 – 7/12/14
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Wow, I finally taught this game to Em. It was epic! Honestly, she didn’t enjoy the game that much but she was still willing to learn and try the game with me which is just one of the reasons that she is so cool! This is an awesome game that I may only pull out once or twice a year due to its epic nature but I love every moment when I do!

Mice and Mystics
Designer – Jerry Hawthorne
Publisher – Plaid Hat Games
Last play before September 2015 – 11/18/14
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Em and I took on the fourth chapter of the Sorrow & Remembrance story line and she rolled those die like a boss! We cruised through this chapter without very much difficulty and loved every minute of it! We always enjoy our plays of this game and hopefully this will give us enough of a kick to remember how fun it is and pull it out more often. On the same note, hopefully Tail Feathers will bring it to the forefront of our minds more often!

Designer – Samuel Strick
Publisher – Laboratory Games
Last play before September 2015 – 8/2/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Em and I played this at a coffeehouse in September and had a great time. It is such a small and quick Euro-style game and I love that it takes no work at all to pull it out and get it ready! It is a solid and fun little game.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island: Voyageof the Beagle (Vol. 1)
Designer – Ignacy Trzewiczek/Robert Masson/Marion Heuser
Publisher – Z-Man Games/Portal Games
New to me
First play – 9/26/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

This is similar to last month is that I’m considering this a new to me game. I’ve played the base game a bunch of times and love it but this is the first time that I’ve played the Voyage of the Beagle expansion and I think that Ignacy and crew did a wonderful job on it. I am looking forward to future plays of this expansion!

Samurai Spirit
Designer – Antoine Bauza
Publisher – Funforge
Last play before September 2015 – 8/20/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

This game continues to be one of mine and Em’s go-to co-op games. We always have fun with the small puzzle that this game puts forth on every play. We always love it and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good puzzle, a quick game, and a solid co-operative experience.

Designer – Régis Bonnessée
Publisher – Libellud/Asmodee
Last play before September 2015 – 8/16/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

Yay for a game of Seasons! This game is still both mine and Em’s number 1…at least for the time being. That just means that it is always fun and we always love it! This still has my favorite custom dice of all times! Oh, and gorgeous art by Naïade!

Designer – Antoine Bauza
Publisher – Funforge
Last play before September 2015 – 8/19/15
Total plays in September 2015 – 1

We broke this one out for a play with Em’s dad while he was here for a visit. This is always a simple game to teach but still fun and relaxing. I actually scored 99 points in this one which I’ve never done before…so close to 100! Oh, and again, art by Naïade! How can you go wrong with this one?

And there you go! Those are my plays in September 2015. As usual, it was a great month of gaming with my wife and friends. This month’s winner was definitely Codenames as that game just seems to hit the right note with everyone who plays it. Shinobi Clans was really a surprise and I knew the art was good but didn’t know a ton about the game when it was bought as a gift for me. We’ve quite enjoyed the plays we’ve had of it so far.

October is going to be a heavy new games month as (spoiler) we’ve already gotten a few for our anniversary. I won’t tell what they are yet but we’re enjoying all of them. If you haven’t had a chance, go back and check out my Essen Spiel posts. They are all about my interests from this past weekend’s gaming convention in Essen, Germany. If you have any questions or comments feel free to make note at the bottom. Until next time, game on!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Essen Spiel Post Part V: Top 10 List (Part II)

And here we are at the final post (probably) in my Essen Spiel 2015 series.  Tomorrow will be the first day of Essen and I can’t wait to see the live feeds coming from the BoardGameGeek crew!  They set up a booth every year and do some short live demos of the new games coming out at the convention.  They are set up through Livestream and I hope to be able to watch a decent amount of their feed this year to see all of the sweet games that are coming out.  That having been said, if you haven’t had a chance then feel free to check out my previous four posts in the Essen series.  You can check out these post at the links below:

Thanks for checking out those previous posts.  This will most likely be the final post in the Essen series (unless something else jumps out at me!) so sit back, relax and take a look at my top 5 games being released at this year’s convention.

#5 – 7 Wonders: Duel (Repos Production)

7 Wonders: Duel is a card drafting, set collecting, civilization building game designed by Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala and will be released by Repos Production.  Many of you have probably heard of (played and loved!) 7 Wonders.  This game is the two-player version that was created from the ground up by the original designer Antoine Bauza and his co-designer Bruno Cathala.  This game uses a card drafting system in order to gain cards which are placed in the player’s tableau and will score then and/or help them in some way during play.  This game looks absolutely amazing.  It takes many of the ideas and graphic concepts of 7 Wonders but it uses slightly different ideas to bring these ideas to fruition.  My wife and I love 7 Wonders but never got into the 2-player variant as it seemed a little too fiddly for our tastes.  This looks like it will give the same feel of its big brother while being just as fun (if not more so!) to play.

#4 – Antarctica (Argentum Verlag)

Antarctica is an area movement and control game designed by Charles Chevallier and will be released at this year’s Essen by ArgentumVerlag.  In this game you are a researcher down in Antarctica.  This game is set many years in the future and ours is looking grim as global warming has caused mankind to send people down to the last continent in order to further research.  This game has an interesting mechanic where you can’t do certain actions until the sun comes around and warms up the area so you can move your ship and have your researchers do other actions.  This is a beautiful game and looks like it will be quite fun.

#3 – Big Book of Madness (Iello)

Big Book of Madness is a co-operative, deck building, fantasy card game designed by Maxime Rambourg and will be released by Iello.  This game finds the player taking the role of a student who is in their first year at a magical school.  They have been told not to open up a certain book which ends up being a grimoire prison!  Of course, being that they are young students, they open up the grimoire and these housed monsters start to come out of the book.  You will use your deck in order to cast spells and help your fellow players defeat these monsters.  All the while different events will come out that you need to pass before getting these monsters back in the book.  This game also has amazing art by Naiade so there is another plus for it.  I already have this game on pre-order and can’t wait for it to hit my door!

#2 – The Gallerist (Eagle-Gryphon Games)

The Gallerist is a worker placement, commodity speculation, set collection game designed by Vital Lacerda and will be released by Eagle-Gryphon Games.  This game was originally on Kickstarter and funded with quite a few people buying into the game.  I wasn’t sold on this game at first but the more I looked into it the more I liked it.  This game finds the players using their workers in order to discover artists, help them become more well known, sell works of art, find works of art, and getting visitors into your art gallery.  The artwork and the gameplay in The Gallerist both look amazing.  Lacerda is well known as a great designer who just keeps getting better with hits like CO2, Kanban, and Vinhos.  This looks like an even more accessible and fun game.  This will probably be a Christmas purchase this year and I can’t wait to see this beautiful game in person!

#1 – Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (Z-Man Games)

Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative, hand management, set collection, legacy-style game designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau and will be released by Z-Man Games.  This has been my most anticipated game for some time.  I have been interested in Pandemic for a long time but for some reason have never pulled the trigger.  When I heard that Pandemic Legacy was a thing, I got super giddy!  The legacy style of game is starting to creep into our boardgaming hobby and I think it is nothing but a great thing!  I love the idea of persistence in a game.  The decisions that we make now will affect us five games down the line.  This is a story game where we, as players, get to decide where we take the game with our actions and that is just exciting!  I can’t wait for this game as it will be a definite Christmas purchase.

There you have it.  These are game 1-5 on my top 10 Essen Spiel 2015 list.  This year’s convention appears as though it will be a blast and I really can’t wait till we start to see photos and videos on the proceedings.  If you think these games look good, let me know.  If you think there are more worthy games in my top 5 from Essen, just let me know.  And of course, any questions or comments just let me know!  Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Essen Spiel Post Part IV: Top 10 List (Part I)

Essen is upon us!  Just a few days left until one of the largest boardgame conventions in the world begins and 10’s of thousands of people descend upon Germany in order to buy new and shiny games.  I wish I could be there.  But, since I can’t, I instead do my Essen Spiel series to lighten the sting.  If you haven’t yet checked them out I’ll have the links below to my first three posts.  Post one took on my top 5 game expansions, post two took on my top 5 reprints, and post three took on my honorable mentions that just  missed my overall top 10 list.  Check out the links below for these posts and then come back for more! 

Essen Spiel 2015 Top 5 Game Expansions

Now that we’ve finished that, we move on to my top 10 list!  This post will take on my game 6-10 and these are just some great-looking games.  I’m not even sure that all of these games will be released in the United States.  Regardless, I can’t wait to check them out and see what others are saying about them.  Enough preamble, here we go!

#10 – Signorie (What’s Your Game?)

Signorie is a dice rolling, hand management, and worker placement game designed by Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi and will be released by What’s Your Game?  This game uses dice which are in a common pool and you (as a Lord of a prestigious family) take these dice and place them in your city.  The color of the die and the number on said die create both the action and the cost of said action.  I love mechanisms like this and Andrea Chiarvesio has already been successful with dice placement in Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm.  These two have also worked together on Hyperborea so they have a good report.  Add that to the fact that What’s Your Game? always seems to pick great games and we may just have another great game on our hands here.  I’m looking forward to this one and it already looks great!

#9 – Bretagne (Placentia Games/Post Scriptum)

Bretagne is an economic, action point allowance, area control game designed by Marco Pozzi and will be released by Placentia Games and Post Scriptum.  This game finds the player using worker placement in order to build lighthouses along the coast of 19th century Bretagne.  Players use their turns to take actions to get resources, trade resources, get cards or money, hire workers or engineers and build these lighthouses.  What makes this interesting is that players can score immediately when they build or hold off to possibly gain more points at the final scoring.  This game looks absolutely beautiful and I think the theme is very cool.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about this and hope that it will get a release in the United States.

#8 – Dice City (Alderac Entertainment Group/Artipia Games)

Dice City is a dice rolling, worker placement, city building game that is designed by Vangelis Bagiartakis and will be released by Alderac Entertainment Group and Artipia Games.  This game finds the players using their board which has six columns and five rows which correspond to the colors and faces of the five dice that each player has.  These dice are rolled and put on their row and column intersection and the players are then able to use these actions to get better buildings and defeat bandits and attack other player’s cities.  This is a beautiful-looking game with fun dice rolling and mitigation for those who really hate luck.  I think this will be right up my wife’s alley as well so this may be a Christmas purchase.

#7 – Tail Feathers (Plaid Hat Games)

Tail Feathers is a miniatures flight game with dice rolling that is designed by Jerry Hawthorne and will be released by Plaid HatGames.  This game is set in the Mice and Mystics universe also by designed Jerry Hawthorne.  This game just looks great!  It is a battle game where you have mice/rats on birds that you will use are airborne troops.  There are ground troops as well that you can use to attack the air units or can go on missions where they will attempt to take out the other team’s nest.  This game uses the same dice and you can actually use any models that you have from previous Mice and Mystics games.  I have been more interested in this game of late and have found in not just entering my list but moving quickly up it.  This may be the X-Wing style game for my wife and I.

#6 – Simurgh (NSKN Games)

Simurgh is a worker placement, tile placement, fantasy game designed by Pierluca Zizzi and will be released by NSKN Games.  This game finds the players as the heads of powerful clans where dragons and humans live and hunt together.  Each player can breed these dragons and use their powers to help make their own house the most powerful of them all.  Turns go around with each player able to take one main action and then any number of free actions that they have to spend.  The players build the board with tiles and then are able to send their workers there at later times with some spots only able to be taken by dragon riders.  This is a beautiful looking game by a solid designer and I hope that it is picked up for an eventual United States release.

There you have it, games 6-10 of my top 10 releases at Essen Spiel 2015.  This year’s Essen is really ramping up into a great convention.  Again, I wish I could be there, but at least I can rest assured that most of the great games that come out there eventually make it over to the States for us gamers to purchase.  What do you think of these 5 games?  What did I miss?  As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to make them below.  Come on back tomorrow for my final post in the Essen series where I will take on my top 5 of the convention.  Until next time, game on!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Obligatory 2015 Essen Spiel Post Part III: Honorable Mentions

Alright!  Two of my Essen Spiel posts are up and running and only three (maybe four?) to go.  If you haven’t checked out the first two posts give them a look.  The first post was a look at my top 5 game expansion interests from Essen while the second focuses on my top 5 reprints/re-implements coming out of Essen.  Check out the links below to head straight over to those posts.

And there you have it.  Now that you all are back and ready to roll let’s get this new post rolling.  This will be the third in my Essen Spiel 2015 series and it will focus on my honorable mentions.  These games are all ones that just missed out on my top 10 list of games that I’m interested from this year’s Essen.  Alright, on to my honorable mentions!

The first game to make it onto my honorable mention list for this year’s Essen is The Pursuit of Happiness.  This game is designed by Adrian Abela and David Chircop (with development help by Vangelis Bagiartakis) and is published by Artipia Games.  The Pursuit of Happiness is a worker placement game that is an attempt to take your “character” through their life and trying to gain points with different life experiences.  You are able to take on projects, get jobs, buy items, establish relationships, and raise a family among other things.  This is a very pretty looking game with an interesting theme.  I think it is a fun idea to take this character throughout their life and gain points for living a good and happy life.

The next game that has interested me and made my honorable mentions list is Favor of the Pharaoh.  This game is designed by Tom Lehmann and published by Bezier Games, Inc.  Favor of the Pharaoh is dice rolling, dice building, Yahtzee-style game where you are rolling dice and gaining tiles which in turn give you more powers and more dice to use on subsequent rounds.  This is a fun looking tableau building and engine building game with an interesting endgame.  I love Tom Lehmann’s other popular dice rolling game, Roll for the Galaxy, and hope that this one holds the fun and quickness of that game without being a re-hash of it.  From everything I’ve seen this is something different and give a fresh feel to the Yahtzee mechanics.

The third game that gets a shout-out on my Essen honorable mentions list is Porta Nigra.  This game is designed by the power duo of Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer and is published by Pegasus Spiele and Stronghold Games.  This is a worker placement, area control, action programming, and simultaneous action selection game where you take on the role of a Roman architect who is following the master builder in order to build the city gate of Porta Nigra.  You are only able to build where the master builder is currently located and the farther around the track he goes, the more expensive it becomes.  It will have beautiful plastic building pieces that will give the game a three-dimensional look to it.


The fourth game that makes it onto my Essen honorable mentions list is Hengist.  This game is designed by the prolific and fantastic Uwe Rosenberg and is published by Lookout Games and Mayfair Games.  This is a 2-player, hand management, and area movement game with a distinct bend towards exploration.  In this game you take the role of a Saxon brother who will compete to pillage the coastal towns in order to gain treasure tiles.  This is a game that will reward good card play as it isn’t always the most direct route that is the best choice.  I have faith in Uwe as he makes some outstanding games and this looks to be no different.

The final game to make my Essen honorable mentions list (and therefore just miss the top 10!) is Oath of the Brotherhood.  This game is designed by Vangelis Bagiartakis and Tony Cimino and is published by Desyllas Games.  In this game you take on the role of a pirate in the Brotherhood of Pirates.  A famous captain has arrived and is looking for someone to add to his crew and take up his spot so he may retire.  This game uses worker placement, card drafting, and set collection in order to flesh out the theme of the game and it looks very cool.  Bagiartakis is really on fire this year as he has this game, Dice City, and help develop The Pursuit of Happiness.  I’m looking forward to everything he is doing and I will be keeping my eye on his career.

There are my 5 games that just missed my top 10 list (games 6-10 will be up tomorrow and 1-5 the day after) but still warrant mentioned as they just look great.  There are so many great games out this year that I’ve also decided to give the names of 12 other games that I feel should get some love!  Check them out!

- Bastion
- The Curse of the Black Dice
- Dilluvia Project
- ExoPlanets
- Food Chain Magnate
- Inhabit the Earth

- Lignum
- Mistfall
- The Prodigals Club
- Taverna
- T.I.M.E. Stories
- Trickerion

And there my friends you have it.  Those are my honorable mentions from this year’s Essen Spiel and from here we will only get better!  Check out the blog tomorrow for my top 10 list.  It will contain games 6-10 of my top 10 of Essen Spiel 2015.  I hope you enjoyed the read and let me know if you have any questions or comments below.  Until next time, game on!