Saturday, December 31, 2016

Obligatory Favorite Games 2016 Edition Post Part V: Em’s Top 10 Favorite Games List (Guest Blogger)

Looking back at my top 5 games list from 2015, I can’t believe how many more games I’ve played and loved in just 1 year! While I still enjoy all the games I listed last year, this year’s list is definitely bigger and more diverse.

I got into tabletop gaming a few years ago when my husband I started playing together. While he’s definitely the expert, I’m finding myself enjoying tabletop gaming as much as he does!

Below are my Top 10 Games…I’ve played them all this year and it’s going to be so much fun to see how much this list changes and grows in 2017!

I know, it’s such a typical tabletop n00b game, but we didn’t play it until this year! I’m finding myself completely addicted and we have a TON of maps to choose from now. My favorite maps to play are United Kingdom and Pennsylvania. I have yet to win on the India map…damn you Mandala bonuses! But I have hope I’ll be able to kick Aaron’s butt in the new year somehow.

I. Love. This. Game. Seriously, it was a struggle to put it at #9 but there are so many fantastic games on my list this year! I love the combination of the baseball theme with the futuristic addition of cyborgs and robots. We have a lot of fun playing this one and I see many more gameplays to come.

I’m a huge fantasy/sci-fi nerd so this game was perfect for me. I love the hat-tips to Harry Potter throughout the game and being able to work cooperatively against this super-mean book of spells is a lot of fun. I thought it was a great gateway game for newer players too, so it gets a lot of play in our house!

Yes, another baseball-themed game, can you tell I’m a baseball fan? I love how simple this game is and it’s a 2-player one, which makes it perfect for Aaron and me to get to the table. I have to say that I replace the regular meeples with Totoro ones and it always makes me laugh. We have the Sentinels of the Multiverse expansion deck to use with it too, so that adds even more replay-ability to the game. Definitely a favorite!

#6 – Sushi Go

So simple, so easy to teach, sooooo makes me want sushi every time we play! We got the deluxe version this year and I enjoy it as much as I thought I would. An easy set collection card-based game, it’s perfect for new gamers and older ones who want a break from heavy, longer games. I can’t look at the dumpling cards without salivating though, so be warned!

I’m addicted to dice games, seriously dice love me about 98% of the time. The best part of Roll is that there are SO many ways to manipulate the dice so it isn’t completely luck-based. You always have moves to make and different ways to win.

AMAZING GAME! It’s a struggle not to describe the gameplay experience of this one in all caps, I swear. This was our first Legacy-style game and I’m completely hooked. We’re actually playing Seafall right now with a fellow gaming buddy of ours and the only reason that isn’t in this list is because we’re not done yet! I love the Legacy mechanic and the whole experience playing this game was phenomenal. Can’t wait for “Season 2” to come out and hit our table!

#3 – Tokaido

I adore this game. For some reason it’s the most relaxing gameplay experience for me. I love the artwork and the whole traveling concept. Being able to have so many different ways to win is always a plus with gaming for me and I have yet to get tired of this one. Aaron just got an expansion for Christmas and I’m sure it’ll be back to our table soon!

This was almost my #1 game this year and I’m still back and forth on it! I love this game! I’ve never been into the collectible card game genre and so I came into this game as a complete newbie. I’ve played with so many decks and have had an amazing experience every time. Fantasy storylines, dice rolling and mitigation and cards? Sign me up. I’ll be hard-pressed to ever move this one out of my top 10!

And here we are at my #1 game! 7 Wonders (the original game) was one of my favorites but it did get a little old and honestly not being able to have a great 2-player gameplay option was a bit of a handicap for me and for Aaron. When Duel came out I was so excited but a little skeptical that it would be what we were looking for…boy was I wrong.  It has the flavor of 7 Wonders with so many cooler components and ways to win, I love this game and would happily play it on a weekly basis (and we often do lol).

So there it is – my list for 2016…there are so many other fantastic games we’ve played that didn’t crack the top 10 but are worth mentioning so check out my sub-list below (in no particular order)!

***Hey everyone, this is Aaron.  I just wanted to provide some links to previous posts if you’re curious about the previous posts and/or lists.  The next four links are from this year’s favorite games’ list.  The follow links are to our posts from 2015.

Well, that’s it.  As always, thanks so much for taking take out of your day to read these posts.  Until next time, game on!

Obligatory Favorite Games 2016 Edition Post Part IV: Games That May Crack My Top 10

We’re back with another post.  This one will differ slightly as it is going to be a list of games that I think could eventually crack into my top 10.  Before moving one with this post feel free to read my previous three posts.  The first post was my honorable mentions, the second was games 6-10 on my top 10 list and the third post was games 1-5 on my top 10 list.  Just click on the links below to check out those previous posts.

This is going to be a speculation post.  This basically means that I’m just looking at some games that I think could very well be on my top 10 list at this point next year.  Before we move on I’ll just explain that some of these games I haven’t played at all while others I don’t feel I’ve played enough to place it on my list yet.  These are all games that I’m extremely interested in due to either some limited plays or because of some interesting online reviews and/or playthroughs.  These games will all be in alphabetical order, not numbered.  Enjoy your read!

This is a hand management, card-drafting, multi-use card game released by Portal Games and designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek.  This game could one day overtake Imperial Settlers as my multi-use card game of choice.  I love the theme, art and gameplay!

This is a co-operative, hand management, adventure game released by Fantasy Flight Games and designed by Nate French and Matthew Newman.  We just got this game and have played the first scenario and it was awesome.  I could see this moving up the list with subsequent plays.

This is a worker placement, set collection, action point allowance system, industry game published by R&R Games and designed by Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer.  This game is the very definition of an elegant Euro-style game and I could see this game moving up with more plays.

This is a worker placement, tile placement, economic, pattern building game released by Z-Man Games and designed by the great Uwe Rosenberg.  My current favorite Uwe game is Fields of Arle but I could see this one moving up with its clever “Tetris” mechanic much like Patchwork.

This is an auction, set collection, area control, Mancala-style game published by Days of Wonder and designed by Bruno Cathala.  We just got this game and have only played it twice but have loved both plays!  I could see this one moving up quickly on my list as we really get into it more.

This is a heavy economic, worker placement, commodity speculation game published by Eagle-Gryphon Games and designed by Vital Lacerda.  This game is awesome.  However, I haven’t played it enough yet to really put it up high on my list.  This game could end up cracking my top 5 if I can get in enough plays of it!

This game is a hand management, tile placement, deck building game released by Stronghold Games and designed by Alexander Pfister.  We just go this game for Christmas and haven’t gotten a chance to play it, but from the playthroughs I’ve seen I know I’m gonna love it!

This is a hand management, area control, multi-use card game released by Tasty Minstrel Games and designed by Tony Boydell.  This game is an amazingly designed game with some of the best uses of multi-use cards that I’ve seen.  I look forward to more plays to see where this one shakes out!

This is a time track, economic, car manufacturing game released by Stronghold Games and designed by Matthias Cramer.  This is another really elegant Euro-style design that my wife and I love.  I still need more plays to see where it ends up but we really love it!

This is a dice rolling, story-telling, co-operative, mystery that is released by Fantasy Flight Games and designed by Nikki Valens.  I was always interested in this game but didn’t like the one versus all play.  With the app and the second edition this is solved and the game is very fun!

This is a co-operative, programming, card-drafting game that is released by Riot Games and designed by the group of Chris Cantrell, Rick Ernst, Stone Librande, Prashant Saraswat and Nathan Tiras.  This game is everything the hype played it up to be.  I would be surprised if this didn’t move up my list and possibly crack the top 10.

This is a card drafting, hand management, commodity speculation game released by Level 99 Games and designed by D. Brad Talton,Jr.  This game is quite an amazing piece of work.  It truly feels like you’re playing a CCG.  This game is very close to working its way on to my top 10 list.

This is a card drafting, tableau building game released by Formal Ferret Games and designed by Gil Hova.  The theme of this game is what originally drew me to it.  I love the idea of building up your television station and Em and I have loved our few plays of the game thus far.

Roll player is a dice drafting, set collection, fantasy game released by Thunderworks Games and designed by Keith Matejka.  We picked this up just before it went out of stock everywhere and have been able to play it a few time.  We really like it and I could see it in the top 10 with enough plays.

Well, there you have it.  These are a bunch of games that I could see possibly cracking into my top 10 list with enough plays.  The only couple that I haven’t gotten any plays of yet are Great Western Trail and A Feast for Odin and those two I think could really move up the list if they are as good as I think they are.  We are almost at the end of this series of posts.  Keep an eye out later today for the final post which will tackle my wife’s top 10 list.  I was excited to see her choice and some actually surprised me!  Thanks again for reading.  Until next time, game on!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Obligatory Favorite Games 2016 Edition Post Part III: My Favorite Games: Top 10 List (Games 1-5)

Now we move on to games 1-5 of my top 10 favorite games. These are games that I would play anytime I had the opportunity. While it was quite difficult to really narrow down my games to a top 10 list, I feel that the top 5 were pretty easy to determine. This is always a fun exercise working out my favorite games and this time was no different. Before moving on to the “best of the best” feel free to take a look at my previous couple of posts in the series.

My Favorite Games: Honorable Mentions (2016)

My Favorite Games: Top 10 List: Games 6-10 (2016)

Okay, now we move on to the top 5 games that are on my top 10 list. I love all of these games and am kind of looking forward to see where things shake up next year. But, that is for next year, let’s take a look at where things are this time!

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

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a co-operative, set collection, Legacy-style game designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau and published by Z-Man Games. Em and I played this game with a couple of friends of ours and had an absolutely amazing time. This game is an experience and that is the best way of putting it. All of the players get to play out a game of Pandemic that takes on Legacy gameplay where the board changes along with the different mechanisms of the game. The game is played over a year period of time where you can play anywhere from 12 to 24 games during the experience. I love pretty much everything about this game. I suppose though, in the end, this game would probably be even higher if it had more replay. However, due to the Legacy mechanisms that are in play, this game can only be played through once and then it is complete. That being said, even though this is a bit of a negative, this game is still my #5 game of all time!

#4 – Fields of Arle (Z-Man Games)

Fields of Arle is a worker placement, economic, farming game designed by Uwe Rosenberg and published by Z-Man Games. This is a two-player only game that finds each player building up their own farm in the small community in East Frisia, Germany. This is truly a sandbox game with worker placement elements as each player will be placing their workers on different action spaces in both the summer and winter months. These different actions give you a ton of different options and routes to victory as you use your workers to cut peat, deliver goods, breed animals, etc. This game is absolutely amazing and so far is my favorite of Uwe’s games. I know that there is a planned expansion and it is an insta-buy for me when it is finally release. This game makes its way to #4 on my top 10 list.

#3 – Imperial Settlers (Portal Games)

Imperial Settlers is a card-drafting, multi-use card, hand management, civilization building game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games. This game has been one which we took to right away and have enjoyed every play of it. I love how each faction plays completely differently and gives a totally different flavor to their deck. The Atlantean’s deck that came out last year really made things even more interesting and put technology into the game which put some new and interesting mechanisms into play. I love this game. The artwork, the hand management, and the feel of the game all put it up very high on my list and I think it is going to probably stay up here for a long time. The one game that could possibly knock this one down is 51st State: Master Set which takes the ideas of the original 51st State and Imperial Settlers and really streamlines the mechanisms along with a very cool post-apocalyptic theme. This game makes it onto the list at game #3.

#2 – Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (Plaid Hat Games)

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn is a hand management, dice rolling, and battle card game in the vein of Magic: The Gathering. It is designed by Isaac Vega and published by Plaid Hat Games. I saw he early art on this game and was immediately fascinated by the world that Vega and artist, Fernanda Suarez, were creating. What has been created is an absolutely amazing, expandable card game where you get to use dice as mana while you get to actually choose your starting hand. In my personal estimation, this game has cancelled quite of a bit of the problems that I had with Magic. I don’t like the heavy luck in the card draw at the beginning and hate how sometimes you just can’t pull land to save your life. In Ashes you get to roll the dice in the beginning and are able to mitigate them with simple discards of cards in your hand or off the top of the deck. This gives the game less of a luck factor even though there is dice rolling. In the end I suppose it is preference, but Ashes is my choice for this style of game and it ends up as #2 on my top 10 list.

#1 – Seasons (Libellud/Asmodee)

Seasons is a hand management, card drafting, dice rolling game designed by Régis Bonnessée and published by Libellud with Asmodee. This has been my favorite game almost since the moment I played it. This game is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played as it features the amazing art of Naïade and the incredible components that Libellud is known for. This game has some of the best dice in any game that I’ve ever played. They are big and chunky and are very fun to roll. This game also has some of the most fun card combos of any game as you are able to take a hand of ten cards in the beginning and have an awesome drafting phase with your opponent(s). This game hasn’t moved from its top spot. My wife and I started making these lists a little over a year ago and this was my #1 then and will continue to stay there for at least the near future.

Well, there you have it, my top 10 favorite games as well as some honorable mentions between my last three posts. The next post in the series will be some games that I could see eventually moving onto my top 10 list. The reason that they aren’t there yet are that I just haven’t played them enough to really feel I can put them up there at this time. That being said, they are all really good games and I think at least one or two have a legitimate chance to move up the list. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you come back for the next post. Until next time, game on!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Obligatory Favorite Games 2016 Edition Post Part II: My Favorite Games: Top 10 List (Games 6-10)

Now we move from my honorable mentions to the meat of my favorite game’s list…the top 10!  This post will focus on games 6-10 while my next one will be games 1-5.  This list just got tougher and tougher to make as I moved higher as there are so many games that I really enjoy.  After much deliberation I have narrowed the games down and am quite happy with the list that I’ve ended up with.  If you haven’t yet had a chance to read my previous post, feel free to check it out at the link below.

Now with that out of the way let’s move onto the list.  These are games that are all amazing in my personal estimation and I always enjoy good plays of these games.  It was much tougher to make this list this year and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Baseball Highlights: 2045 is a deck building, hand management, card game that is designed by Mike Fitzgerald and published by Eagle-Gryphon Games.  This game is a fantastic head-to-head, two-player card game where each player takes on the role of a specific team and attempts to win 4 games in a best of 7 match.  This game feels highly thematic as each player spends their earnings in between games to buy free agents who can improve their deck and make them stronger in some of the different categories.  Each team can have a selection of natural fielders, cyborg pitchers, and robot hitters.  Each of the different types has their own specialties so you are really able to build up your deck in a ton of different ways.  Em and I found that we absolutely love this game and have a blast every time we play.  It almost always comes down to the final game in the best of 7 series which makes it a nail-biter the whole time!  This is also one of the few games where we tend to get pretty competitive which is also fun!  I’d highly recommend this game to any deck-builder fan, sports fan, and/or two-player game fan as it makes its way to number 10 on my list.

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a co-operative, hand-management, superhero game that is designed by Christopher Badell, Paul Bender, and Adam Rebottaro and is published by the Sentinel Comics offshoot of Greater Than Games.  I love how this game starts each player off with a separate deck of cards that represents the hero that they have chosen.  Each different deck plays completely differently and is highly thematic.  There are many who seem to really dislike the art but I can’t say that I’m one of them.  Actually I quite enjoy the art, it’s not great but it definitely works for the game.  The high replayability is also a great point of the game.  It is fun simply choosing the decks that you’ll use and the villain you’ll fight against and in which environment you’ll fight in.  This is fun to play with new people as well as it doesn’t really play like anything else I’ve tried before.  I can’t wait till the new expansion, OblivAeon, comes out as I think it will really be a good ending to the series.

Roll for the Galaxy is a dice-rolling, dice-building, tile-laying, civilization building game designed by Thomas Lehmann and Wei-HwaHuang and published by Rio Grande Games.  We found this game and instantly fell in love with it.  This game is quite an amazing dice rolling game that has a ton of dice mitigation in it.  Basically, depending on how you build up your civilization, you can completely change your dice faces and create some very cool combos.  I also love how each person will choose an action that they are going to carry out and the other players can follow them as well as long as they have a dice on that action.  This game is so very well designed it is hard to really find much wrong with it.  Roll for the Galaxy also has a great expansion by the name of Ambition which adds two new dice colors and some goals that players can strive for to really add more depth and replayability to the game.  I don’t see us tiring of this game anytime soon.

7 Wonders: Duel is a card-drafting, set-collection, civilization building game designed by Antoine Bauza and BrunoCathala and published by Repos Production with Asmodee.  This game came out last year and it was one that I was very interested in from the very beginning.  Em and I picked it up and it instantly became a favorite.  Then, this year they released the first expansion for the game called Pantheon which makes the game even more amazing!  This is an absolutely amazing two-player game and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is able to play two-player games on a regular basis.  Half of the fun of the game is how deep it is and how much better it gets with multiple plays with the same opponent.  With even more time this game could continue to climb my list.

Ticket to Ride is a card-drafting, set-collection, route-building game designed by Alan R. Moon and published by Days of Wonder.  This is a classic “gateway” game that is super simple to teach but has some fun decisions to make throughout the play.  This is a game that took us quite a while to actually break down and buy.  Finally, around the summer of 2016 we decided that we needed to own this modern classic.  We haven’t looked back!  This has become one of our most played games in the short time that we have owned it.  We basically started to play it and went right out and bought some of the different map packs to make the game infinitely replayable!  I am sad that we didn’t get this game earlier but we have more than made up for it since.  This game is also great because we can easily teach anyone how to play and they pick it up and have a great time with it right away!  I was surprised at how much Em and I really liked this game and because of these reasons it moves its way to number 6 on my top 10 list!

And there we have it, games 6-10 on my top 10 list.  These are some amazing games and we still have 5 left that I consider even more awesome!  Come on back in the next day or so and I will have up my next list which will be games 1-5 on my top 10 list.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read!  Until next time, game on!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Obligatory Favorite Games 2016 Edition Post Part I: My Favorite Games: Honorable Mentions

Alright!  It is that time of year…the time when my wife and I sit down and make our top 10 lists!  Honestly, at this point in time I could easily make a top 20 or 25 list but I’ve run out of time this year so a top 10 it is!  These few posts in this series are some of the toughest to decide.  There are so many great games and so many that we really like!  I do a ton of research so I know that the games we’re getting are one that we will like.  It is very rare that we have a miss so our collection is full of really good stuff!  This post will focus on my honorable mentions.  These are all games that I’ve played enough to feel as though I can fairly put them in my top 10 list.  The next couple posts will be my actual top 10 games while the last post in my part will be games that I haven’t played enough yet but I feel could crack the top 10 with more logged plays.  Read on and I hope you enjoy!

Above & Below is a city-building, story-telling, action-selection game designed by triple threat Ryan Laukat and published by his company Red Raven Games.  This game is a fantastic little gem where you are a group of survivors who has made it to a new land and must band together to rebuild their civilization.  They find an underground network of caverns which they must explore in order to build both above the ground and below the ground.  This 1-4 player game sports some absolutely incredible artwork as Laukat has done it again.  I am always astounded by his art as it really somewhat gives me the same feeling as a good Studio Ghibli film a la Spirited Away.  The action selection is fairly simple by the story telling really adds in a very cool element to the gameplay.  Finally, the game has an interesting scoring mechanism where you can decide what goods to put on your track and where which can give you some really great end scores depending on your decision.  I love this game and wouldn’t be surprised if further plays pushed in higher on my list!

Carcassonne is a classic tile-laying, territory building game designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede and published by Z-Man Games.  As I was making my list I realized that this game is always fun!  Every time my wife and I pull this game out along with the multiple expansions that we have for it we have a blast.  I love the tile placement in this game and the simple but fun ways to score.  I am also a fan of the tile art and really dig the first editions of the game before they redesigned them and made them busier.  This game will always be one that remains on our shelf due to the simplicity of play but the fun decisions that you get to make during the game.  It is one that we can break out with just the two of us and have a great time or pull it out with others and teach them to play in just a couple of minutes!  I would highly recommend this game to anyone who is new to modern board games as it is a fantastic representation of what the hobby can be.

7 Wonders is a modern classic card-drafting, civilization-building, set-collection game designed by the fantastic Antoine Bauza and published by Repos Production along with Asmodee.  This game continues to stay up near the top of my list even though we don’t get to play it very often anymore.  This game is one of my favorite games that includes card-drafting.  We got this game at the beginning of our collection and it has been in ever since.  I love the simple idea of taking a hand of cards, playing one to the table and then passing them to the next player all while hoping you get something good from the person passing you their cards.  This is such a great game and one of Bauza’s greatest designs which is really saying something considering his pedigree!  Just writing this post makes me want to break it out and plays a few games of it!  I love this game and would highly recommend it to anyone in the hobby if they dig a solid card-drafting game.

Mysterium is a deduction style, co-operative game designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko and published by Libellud along with Asmodee.  This game hit the scene hard in 2013 as it was released by Portal Games under the name Tajemnicze Domostwo.  The game was grabbed up quickly and became pretty hard to find until Portal made a second edition of the game in 2014.  Finally, it was Libellud/Asmodee who picked up the rights to print the game in the United States and they renamed it Mysterium and made the best edition (in my opinion) of the game so far.  They really pulled out all the stops as they made some new card art for the “who, what, and where” cards that are used in the game.  They also made some nice player envelopes, plastic crystal balls, and other ancillary pieces that really integrate in the theme.  The game itself is just an awesome co-operative game and I’d highly recommend this one to any gaming group who likes a good, asymmetrical co-operative play.

Mottainai is a card-drafting, set-collection, multi-use card game designed by Carl Chudyk and published by Asmadi Games.  This game really surprised me when I picked it up.  We got it about a year ago for Christmas and I have loved playing this oneCarl Chudyk is the designer of the popular Glory to Rome and this game is basically the spiritual successor.  Honestly, when I was doing my list I thought this one would absolutely be on the top 10 but it just missed.  I think if I got to play it even more it may crack the top 10 at that point!  The game really has an amazing feel as it is simply a deck of cards with a player board and that is it.  You will draft these cards using powers from the cards you play to your floor.  This is when the game starts getting interesting.  Each of the cards in the deck has multiple uses and the crux of the game is really optimizing your usage of the cards in the most efficient manner during your turn.  I love the card play, I love the decisions, and I love the art.  I would recommend this one for any serious hobby boardgamer who wants a crunchy card game to really sink their teeth into.

Other honorable mentions of note:

Well, there you have it!  These are my honorable mentions!  So many good games and we still have 10 more to go!  After I finish up my list I’m going to do another post in the series which will be some games that I think could crack my top 10 at some point with enough plays.  These will all be games I don’t feel as though I’ve played enough to really put them on the list but I want to continue playing to find out.  Please join me for my next post which will tackle games 6-10 on my top 10 list.  As always, thanks for reading!  Until next time, game on!