Recent Boardgames (Your Last Played Game Volume 2)

More Bardsung, this time with a 7 and a 10 YO. I appreciate that the designers put a good old fashioned D&D style monk in the mix. My 7 YO (profile picture kid). Doesn’t want to think much, just wants to punch a bunch and roll dice. He had a blast. My 10 YO likes that there is a girl character, who is also a kid character, who also lights things on fire. I appreciate that there is a bird that can run away. Something for everyone!


Visited friends, got to eat pizza from the BBQ and played some games.

First a few rounds Krazy Pix with the 2 kids which intially had them a bit stumped “How am I supposed to make an image from these symbols?” But soon everyone got the hang of it and my best one was definitely making a “Pope” from just a mouth tile and half an ellipse as a hat. At least one person guessed it. I think there isnt enough words in it and also there are a bunch of words in it that are definitely not 10+ though judging by later events, maybe that’s just us… I think I will rebuy Krazy Words to go with it: a) more words to choose from and b) both fit in the same box and c) another game in the same vein (long story why I sold my copy to rebuy it and didn’t)

Then before and after dinner a bunch of rounds of So Kleever which was also a big hit with everyone and even the 11 yo soon got the hang of it—also she was definitely best at guessing everyone’s weirdo clues. So Kleever words seem more kid friendly in general. I love the game. It’s such an easy thing to explain and people almost didn’t want to stop. It makes me want to play Just One again as well. I love word/clue games in general.

Lastly, after watching the SUSD review I finally grokked Pictomania enough to teach it and I admit that I hate drawing games and games that want me to be fast. But it was a blast—especially with the escalating difficulty levels. Sure an octopus is easy to draw. But drawing chaos? Or an emotion? Also nationalities when you have no colors for flags… the tanks I drew were mistaken for soup. If it hadn’t been quite late already, I think everyone would have been up for another round.

So once again, quick smallbox games with no setup time took home all the prices. To think I was almost ready to get rid of Pictomania because the rules for distributing points are so convoluted…


Yes, the point distribution in Pictomania seems unnecessarily complicated at first. Then you realise it’s finely tuned to ensure everyone has to do the drawing and the guessing as fast and as well as possible, and there’s no way to “game” the system or optimise in a way that avoids engaging with some part of the game to everyone else’s detriment.


I am behind on mentioning the games I have played lately. I have been playing Unmatched on TTS here and there as part of a league, just for fun. Even played as Dracula against a fan deck of The Doctor on Thursday evening which had a pretty neat gimmick to it. I nearly won, but took a chance attacking when I had no defense cards in hand when he was at 1 HP, but he defended and was then able to hit me with two attacks, which was enough to kill me. I should have run away.

My wife played it with me last night as well, and I was able to try out Daredevil for the first time against her Medusa. I actually won, by both of our decks running out, but having more health than her so she died from exhaustion first.

Daredevil deck spoilers, for those who might care

DD is pretty cool. He only has 22 cards in his deck (all other fighters before had 30) and his ability lets him Blind Boost attacks and defenses if you have 2 or fewer cards in hand, which means you discard the top card of your deck and add the Boost value of that card. He also has a card that will heal him using a Blind Boost. So he can burn through his deck rather quickly. However, he has a couple of cards that shuffle itself and the top four cards of the discard pile back into the deck as an After Combat effect. So with healing and putting cards back in your deck, you can really keep going much longer than you otherwise would, which is very thematic for the character.

There have been a number of games of Lost Cities with my wife, and I have won most of them, but she did eradicate me in one game, where I finished with a total score of -16 to her 115. So she can have that feather in her cap.

Today we played Ethnos, where we had Skeletons, Centaurs, Giants, Elves, and Wingfolk. It was a very tight game, but she again pulled off the win, 60 - 58.

And I am all caught up!


Played a couple of games with my partner.

Bargain Quest went well, though a little stilted as it was the first time I’ve ever played it and there are a lot of steps to remember. Think it would work better with more than two so there are more options for heroes to attract and items to draft.

Exit: The Stormy Flight was probably the worst of the games we’ve played so far. A lot of frustratingly vague parts and poor component design that left us unable to solve puzzles even when we knew what to do.

There’s one part where you’re meant to bend a mirror card to reflect parts of another card and make it look like numbers. Between the shape you’re meant to bend it into being awkward and the reflections looking terrible, it was easier to just look up the solution.


[following on from What Should I Play? (Help me decide)]

Another one from the list has come and went from my table.

Clinic: Deluxe Edition – I think it’s my fault. The end

Wait, hang on, that’s not quite right. Let’s try again:

Clinic: Deluxe Edition – It is my fault.

There. That’s better.

What’s my fault? Well, it’s that I thought Clinic would be a thinky “SimHospital: The Boardgame”. But, in actuality, it’s “Alban Viard hates your puny, pathetic plans: The Boardgame (22 of 39) – Oh, and there’s a hospital theme”

I wanted it to be a fun sandbox game. I wanted to marvel in choices abounding. But, instead, I planned an optimal route starting at the first round and extending through, way past the end of the 6th and final round, to meet the objective set before me. There’s no time or space or money available to build a whimsical Clinic. I did not build the clinic of my dreams; instead, I hastily threw together the bare minimum of hospital rooms, run by a barebones crew struggling to keep up with the insanity of this, two-and-a-half-dimensional, isometric hell.

And you know what? I would have won, too, if it weren’t for the luck of the draw when filling the patient pool.

You hear that, Alban? The crux of your highly structured, edge-of-a-knife-sharp design is undermined by random draws.

I dunno. I guess I’ll try to find a good video for the game to maybe see if I’ve internalized the strategy all wrong. I really want to like this game, because it has so many things I love.

I’d hate to be that guy, but I’m contemplating house-ruling the game to be, likely, unrecognizable from the as-published game. Namely, I would change:

  • Build Action: You can build as many modules or structures as you can afford.
  • Hire Action: You may hire both a Nurse and an Orderly, instead of one or the other.
  • Admit Action: You may spend $1 for an additional Queue Point.
  • Valet Parking: Pay $1 if you are unable or unwilling to park a the car on your player board. Keep track of valet parked cars. When a patient leaves, take first from valet-parked cars. Pay $1 upkeep for each car Valet Parked during the Admin phase.

These changes, I think, would make it more of a fun, sandbox experience – allowing me in a solo game to build bigger and more interesting Clinics. But… I will resist for now, and see if, perhaps, less is more. But I doubt it


Tonight at Local Game Group:

Deep Sea Adventure, always fun, especially with no survivors in round 1.

VOLT, one of the two games I’ve bought specifically because of Yucata. The inlay really isn’t doing its job and I’m going to have to design my own storage system, or at least bag things. But we had a great time in the Rome arena. I think of myself as quite bad at this because I usually lose on Yucata, but they’re a pretty hardcore bunch of players and I dominated this one.

Finally Bohnanza which I think still stands up well.


Had another game of Unmatched on TTS Saturday night, playing Moon Knight against Elektra. I lost, as I did not pressure her enough.

Elektra deck details

She starts with 7 health, but after she hits 0, she and any of her remaining sidekicks are removed from the board. On her next turn, she resurrects with 9 health and all of her sidekicks, reshuffles her discard pile back into her deck, and many of her cards then have more effects when played.

She only has a 20 card deck, but if she can get through most of it on her first life, it gives her more than 30 cards to work with overall, meaning she can exhaust the other fighter. So heavy pressure is needed to get her through her first life quickly and give her less time to prepare a good hand going into her second.

Then on Sunday, my wife, her brother, and I played Lords of Waterdeep. A lot of good buildings came out, so resources (other than gold) were very plentiful, meaning scores were pretty high. My wife won with 225, her brother 205, and I brought up the rear with 173.


Wow, that pretty high, were you using expansions?

No, that’s what made it so crazy! My wife had something like 9 quests that matched her lord, and also got the plot quest that scores 2 points when playing an intrigue card, plus the quest that gives you an intrigue card any time you take a wizard, so she was usually getting 4-6 points a round, starting in the third or fourth.


[following on from What Should I Play? (Help me decide)]

Clinic: Deluxe Edition – an retraction?

It was my fault, and I was wrong.

I got Clinic back to the table last night after having a while to think through my last experience. This time, I was determined to plan through the random luck, rather than rely on it. My plan? Nothing is off-limits.

This time, the bonus tiles provided me my choice of a Garden or a free Orderly; I opted for the Orderly. The Special Modules available this time were the Operating Room and the Outpatient Services (I built the Operating Room, but didn’t use it much). My selected solo goal was, again, No White Cubes Remaining in the Patient Pool or on any Board.

My plan this time? If I can’t treat a white cube, I will let it turn into a yellow cube instead. But wait, how will I churn through the cubes to make sure I can get all of the patients I need admitted? Well, recruit new, fresh doctors right out of school, and use them to treat the really sick patients (seems backwards, but, okay). And if I don’t have any really sick patients? Well, I’ll just wait until they get worse – thereby rewarding me with more funds, allowing me to build faster, and providing me with those precious Queue Points needed to manipulate the Admission’s Queue.

And that’s the game, really. I’m not supposed to be treating patients, I’m supposed to be making money which merely has a side-effect of treating patients. Alban Viard: you cynic (though I don’t disagree).

I’ve found what I was missing, I believe, and now I quite like this game. It’s a crunchy decision space with very few rules (reminiscent of an 18xx, in that way), and the whole solo game took me about an hour (if you account for having to go upstairs to let a 2-year-old use the bathroom in the middle of the night).

I was definitely wrong, and now I wish I had some of the expansions, as there are some variants in Exp2 and Exp3 that might correct some of the niggles I have (but might be playable with base game only?).

Oh, and I won; there was only a single cube left remaining in the game when I finished, and it was orange. I scored 51 points, which puts me at the rank fellow.


Dice Hospital is similar: what matters is not curing the patients but getting as many as you can to full health on the same turn.


I finally got the chance to sit down with Sentinels of the Multiverse again, and took out Baron Blade using Bunker, Legacy and The Wraith in Megalopolis. I won fairly handily, but things got tight leading up to his mode change and I’m pretty sure we’d have lost if I included the Baron’s advanced rules.

Legacy spent most of the game keeping his attack buffs up, and not much else. He had already been eating more damage than the other heroes, so I didn’t have much use for his bodyguard actions. He did put up some good ongoing defense though and based on our remaining HP at game’s end, it’s pretty clear those defenses would have also been hugely important had we used the advanced rules (damage buff during the Baron’s second form). Just the same, I didn’t find him especially compelling to use.

Wraith and Bunker, on the other hand, were so much fun to play! Wraith gets to draw lots of cards and even just flat-out pick whatever she might need, boosts projectile attacks, dumps items for huge damage, self-defends, doubles up on powers with the right effects in play, etc. Bunker, meanwhile, needs to charge weaponry by top-decking cards (sacrificing them as ammo, basically) and unleashing huge barrages, with the ability to spread it around or focus on single, tougher baddies, preferably while he’s got one of his “modes” engaged for various boosts.

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate having a pure tank-and-buff defense role like Legacy, but I’m missing any pizzazz. No doubt his abilities will be more consequential against tougher opponents, but I can’t see them becoming more engaging for it. I mean, his most exciting maneuver is one that lets an ally take an action.

@RogerBW and @Lordof1 am I missing something with him that only gets revealed with further play?


On Sunday we played Brian Boru: High King of Ireland, which our friend had got in a maths trade. I did think that it seemed a bit like someone had randomised the mechanics list on BGG and picked two just to see whether they could make a game out of it, but it works really well! There’s a lot of interesting balancing to do between the various tracks and the decisions about where on the map to go and whether to try and won or lose a trick are nice and crunchy. The end score was very close - only one or two points between each of us. Would definitely recommend!


I’m thinking of Brian over Hansa Teutonica.

To me both fill the same space, but the first is much easier to teach.

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They played it on Gamenight on their most recent episode or so and it was really interesting.

I think all of them kind of appreciated it but struggled with doing what they wanted. It seemed to me that you needed to be really smart with the drafting and memorising aspects. Additionally from their comments it seemed like the game has this weird veil that makes it look like losing a trick is better than it is - you get so much stuff losing that it’s easier to forget that winning is the real way to win the game.

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No, I think you’ve got Legacy right; he’s fantastic to have on a team and a little dull to play. There are variants which make them more of a damage dealer but they’re not really very good at that compared to the other heavy hitters like Ra.


That’s been my experience so far too - he’s useful, but not as much fun as some of the others.


If you’re keen to try a more interesting support character, I’d suggest Argent Adept. He spends most of his time buffing the rest of the team but in a much more fun way that makes you feel very clever. He’s more varied and versatile than Legacy, although a little fiddly. I love him.


I also had my first games group night recently (outside of a handful of occasions with a very small number of friends).

There were four of us at the table, and we played Sagrada, Ecosystem, Get Bit!, and Qwirkle.

I’d played Sagrada once before, but a long time ago, so I’d mostly forgotten it. It’s neat, and pretty, but I found it incredibly easy to accidentally make illegal moves when I hadn’t yet internalised all of the constraints (and checking that everyone is playing correctly seems like it would be difficult to do, although we had such an eagle-eyed player who did a very good job of this). When you’re waiting for your turn to come around, you know exactly which die you want and where you’ll put it if no one else takes it, and yes! it’s still there when your turn comes, so you grab it and place it, and someone says “you can’t do that”… that’s quite frustrating (especially because you then slow the game down by rethinking your turn). It’s not that this never happens in other games, but it happened to me so many times in this one. I did still enjoy it, but I don’t think I’d buy it – other people might not suffer the same mental blocks that I did, but I’d rather not risk it.

Ecosystem is a card-drafting tableau-builder, where each type of card (which are animals and habitats) wants to be adjacent to particular other animals/habitats in your grid in order to get points; and you are penalised at the end if you fail to score points with at least one instance of each type of card you’ve played (for failing to satisfy that part of the ecosystem / food chain). There’s a fair number of card types each with their own requirements, so it’s not a small amount to take in, but it’s not overwhelming either. Nice and light, and I’d happily play this one again.

Get Bit! is a push-your-luck game about tactical swimming in order to keep at least one other player between you and the shark which is bringing up the rear (and which bites off the nearest limb at the end of every turn). The game comes with a miniature shark and “robot” swimmers with detachable limbs. It’s basically a quick funny filler with a great gimmick. In my hurry to refresh my memory I messed up one of the rules (somewhat impressive when there are so few of them), but it was still fun. Hopefully I’ll get it right next time.

Qwirkle was Scrabble with colours and shapes instead of letters. I enjoy most word games except for Scrabble (I don’t play it for the sake of the other players as much as for myself – my brain can’t do it, and I’ll always slow the game down, taking forever to come up with even poor words). As it happened, I didn’t enjoy Qwirkle either, even though I generally enjoy pattern-matching. Maybe there’s just something about this style of tile layout that I’m really rubbish at…