Recent Boardgames (Your Last Played Game Volume 2)

Good use of spoiler tags! Nice to hear a bit about your experience without getting any surprises ruined :slight_smile:

I have started playing Chess, mostly inspired by The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. It’s good! I have no idea what I’m doing but watched a couple of videos that give some basic ideas about strategy. It’s interesting to learn a game that has such an established history and breadth of information on strategy. Not something I’ll stick with in any serious sense, but I’d like to reach a level where I don’t feel like an absolute beginner.


First gaming day with friends in yonks, we played:

Bargain Quest, really great game of this one - we played with the advanced 2 player rules, which are great. We lost a few heroes along the way but killed each boss the turn it showed up. Came down to a cash tiebreaker - won off of stealing some cash from a hero in the final round! There’s a bit of fiddle in this game that keeps it from being a true favourite, but it’s still a lot of fun.

51st State, this game is nuts - I expected something more similar to Imperial Settlers than I got - crazy combo’s were the rule of the day - I went for maximum razing and my opponent had over a dozen deals by the end! It’s a terrific engine building, card combo game though. My engine took off earlier and converted to great VP’s at the end so I won by a solid amount. We both really enjoyed the game though! I might even like it more than Empires of the North, but they’re quite different takes on the same central conceit.

Thebes, it’s been awhile since I’ve played this one, but it’s still a lot of fun. My opponent scored big off of his exhibitions and did a bit better on his digs but I gave enough conferences for us to tie at the end. (The game offers no tiebreaker rules though. Which seemed odd. They probably just assumed it would be so rare they didn’t bother)

Welcome to the Dungeon, a nice light 3 player game of this just before dinner. One of us got knocked out early but my remaining opponent then made it to 2 successful runs, with like 1hp left at the end!

Azul, this one went really weird - one of us had never played the game before, but he won by a solid 20 points or so. And I’m sure he was scoring it right because he asked me to check his scoring as he went. Nuts. He had so many tiles played out we never stood a chance. It might just be his game or possibly beginners luck. I’m looking forward to another game of it with him to sus that out!

Railroad Ink, we played without any expansions and I ended up with the win, but my gosh those dice were not co-operating - the ‘intersection die’ rolled the same face every single round! It was awful for everyone. Pretty low scores all around.


You are equally renowned in archaeological circles!

I honestly think more games should embrace the tie as an outcome. It’s not uncommon to see multiple tie-breaker rules in an effort to award a single “winner” by ever more tenuous margins, but really… what’s wrong with a draw??

(My opinion might be biased by growing up watching cricket – a game in which a draw can be a nail-biting outcome after five days of play : )

Tangentially, I once tried Thebes as a team game, and it worked wonderfully! Deciding which of you is going to do the digging on any given occasion, and that person then having the responsibility to their partner of being luckier than they would have been… it injects some additional tension and drama into the digs, and I’d very happily play it that way again in future.


I like tiebreakers the players have some control over, but not so much tiebreakers that are essentially random.


Just lay off the green pills…


After my copy of Viscounts of the Westkingdom arrived yesterday, I couldn’t wait to try it out. Normally I would have learned the rules and played 2 handed before playing with my partner but after some sub-optimal recent teaching experiences (before the thread happened), I decided to try a new approach of learning the game together. I wouldn’t do this to anyone else because it takes much longer learning from the rulebook than getting an explanation from someone who knows the game but I needed to verify if it was my teaching that was ruining the games. (spoiler: mostly the answer is yes, I forget too many details when teaching)

So Viscounts is the third in the trilogy with Architects and Paladins preceding it. Architects has seen lots of love in this thread, Paladins I haven’t seen much. Of the three I’d say Architects is the easiest and least complex both to teach and as gameplay and Paladins is at the opposite end with Viscounts ranking in the center in both aspects.

This is a combination of several mechanisms, none of which completely dominates the game so when you look up what BGG says this game is (which I cannot because BGG appears to be down oO) there will be a list of things that tells you very little what this game is actually like.

In general–just like with its siblings–you win by collecting VP in different forms in this game. The VP are added up at the end, there is no VP track. The game plays over a variable number of rounds in which players take their turns one after another.

The game ends when the “Kingdom” has either sunk into poverty (by players taking up a certain number of debt cards) or become prosperous (by players taking a certain number of deed cards). It is possible for both poverty and prosperity to exist in the Kingdom because when the game end is triggered one more full round is played allowing everyone a last grab at VP.

A player turn consists of multiple phases that are helpfully lined out on the playerboard using already familiar iconography that is very much like the previous two games.

  • Phase 1: (tableau building) play a card and resolve effects
  • Phase 2: (point to point movement) move the big Viscount figure on the board
  • Phase 3: (action selection) Take one main action. The location of your Viscount determines what type of action you can take. The strength of an action is determined by the symbols in your little card tableau (plus other sources). There are four main actions you can take which–except for trading–contribute to your VP:
    • trading for resources,
    • building one of your little houses on one of the slots in the outer circle,
    • scribing a manuscript or
    • placing some of your workers in the castle at the center.
  • Phase 4: (deck building) Buy the current card next to your viscount figure
  • Phase 5: (West Kingdom specific)… this wouldn’t be WK if there wasn’t some kind of virtue vs corruption gameplay and in this phase players check if their virtue and corruption have “met” somewhere on the track and resolve the situation by gaining either deeds or debts (or both). This is the main driver for ending the game
  • Phase 6: draw cards…

Each main action can cascade into a variety of effects making decisions tough. The randomness in the game comes from shuffling your own deck and from the random setup of the cards and manuscripts at the start. Everything else is deterministic.

I found the decisions interesting but not too tough. My partner said he had no idea what he was doing throughout the game. We each fell into quite different strategies. I added a lot of workers to the castle while he bought a lot of manuscripts. We weren’t quite sure how each of those would give VP and the end result was really close (I won with 75 to his 72). If we had known a bit more about the manuscripts I think he could easily have pulled of a victory.

We did reasonably well for a first game but since neither of us could gauge the importance of resources or how hard it could be to get the larger buildings on the board our strategies regarding which cards to buy and play were rather “uninformed”. I expect this to go much smoother in further games.

Including both of us learning the game from scratch it took us about 3 hours to finish the first game.
I think I enjoyed it more than my partner but that is not that much of a surprise, I have less trouble playing without quite knowing what I am doing. He is more of the type who needs to have fully grokked a game. Definitely looking forward to try again. There is a solo-mode like in the other two games and the Tome Saga comes with a campaign mode and coop modes which I am very keen to try.


Recent winning streak for my wife. A few days ago we played Fields of Green, where my mistaken cattle placement saw me lose by one point to the points she bought with her tool cabin and all the equipment she surrounded it with. Despite this I had a perfectly efficient farm that left me with no food and no water at the end of the game, which was quite satisfying.

Then today we played Race for the Galaxy, where she put down a turn 2 Investment Credits and Galactic Federation. Meanwhile I had a bunch of blue and Alien Toy Shop, so the race was on between her massive development engine and my massive consumption engine. Unfortunately she got pretty good draws with further 6s, of which I had none, so she took it 56-50 in what was a very short game.


I played a quick introductory game of Air Land & Sea with my partner and that is one spicy little peanut. We both enjoyed it a lot and can see this getting played quite a bit. The fact that we can break it out between us on the couch is just the sweetest plum.

Really too bad about the oversized theatre cards. I’ll may end up printing out some standard sized cards to replace them and move things into a tuck box, but in the meantime the box is boarding Outpost 18, another (as yet unplayed) 18 card microgame. Maybe I’ll toss Martian Dice and Devils & Black Sheep in there too. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Martian Dice really shouldn’t be as much fun to play as it is. The entire game is just 13 custom dice, which you can pop into a little pouch and carry anywhere.


I played a solo of Viscounts of the Westkingdom last night against the bot. There are in fact 4 bots in the game: each player board has a different version of the bot on the opposite side each focussing on a different winning strategy.

I lost by 1 point, 40 to 41 for the bot.

I wanted to focus on manuscripts for my game and so chose the flippy bot (deeds and debts really need to be flipped for their maximum worth in VP). What I didn’t consider was that Flippy would make for a really short game and I do not have enough practice to get my “engine” up quickly.

Overall, this is the most intuitive of the three West Kingdom bots. It is always immediately clear (to me) what the bot is doing.

After this second play, I can see this one becoming my favorite of the trilogy because the complexity is there but not overwhelming and the gameplay is pretty straight-foward. For me the Viscounts might just hit the sweet spot of puzzliness. Between getting the right cards in the deck and then into the tableau at the right time while positioning your Viscount to sweep into a sequence of strong actions with cascading bonus effects… several elements need to align to make all this work which is far from trivial but it is all in the player choices and not so much in complicated rules.


Is this in any way related to Zombie Dice?

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Yep, and there’s at least one other as well (Dino Hunt Dice). I only have M.D. and haven’t seen any reason to get another one. BGG has some discussion of course.

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Just gone down a huge rabbit hole on Zombie Dice vs Martian Dice vs Dino Hunt Dice which ended up at Go Nuts! and Dungeon Roll and Dragon Slayer.

…I still have no idea what I want, but I suspect it’s either Martian or Dino. Extreme portability and no additional components except the dice is a great idea.


If it helps any, one of the things I like about Martian Dice is how funny the theme can be. When you start by attempting to abduct a chicken, and then each successive roll just adds more and more Earth defence forces and ufos, until finally every available Martian and Earth unit is engaged in pitched battle over that one chicken… imagining that scene always makes me laugh.


In a legal sense, no: different designer (Scott Almes), different publisher (TMG). One might mention that it came out the year after Zombie Dice, is packaged in a cardboard tube, contains 13 custom dice, and is a “keep rolling until you either stop or get too many of the bad icon” game.


Sadly, the tube is no longer available. The latest editions come in a silly box with a little haphazardly glued plastic window that falls out when you look at it. I mean, it just gets tossed into a little pouch when it goes out with me, but the tube/cup is a perfect vessel for a handful of dice.


Finally introduced my wife and kid to ‘The Crew: TQFPN’. I love trick taking and was hoping that as a co-operative game that this might be the one to win them over. Kiddo loved it, and my wife didn’t instantly dismiss it… which is as close to a win as I could have hoped for! :slight_smile:

Hope to get it to the table again tomorrow. :crossed_fingers:


Been away from screens all day yesterday (lovely day out and BBQ in the afternoon/evening at friends place to blame) so I had not reported the two frustrating games of Welcome To… I played with my partner on Friday night. Lost both, and after losing the first one claiming: “oh, we are a bit rusty, we haven’t played in a while and the city plans were full of one house lots” I lost the second one… scoring even less points in an easier looking setting… :man_facepalming:

I remember we used to go over the 100 points threshold often! Never mind, still was fun, if painful, we had a few giggles.


The lesser-reported fourth little pig constructed its house entirely out of hubris.


Got two games of Architects of the West Kingdom in with the girlfriend yesterday. We played the first game open handed to begin with and no dummy player. We picked it up very quickly and both really enjoyed it. The different routes to victory is really nicely done here, and the twist on work placement is a lot of fun. Second game we added in the dummy player which really mixed things up. A much more chaotic game.

First game was a draw. I think I won based on the virtue track, but we don’t really like how that works thematically. I think in future draws we will use most buildings (including steps on cathedral track) to decide a winner. The house rule meant she won this game.

Second game, I won by 3 points. In both cases we played in very different ways so it was interesting to see the scores so close by the end.