Recent Boardgames (Your Last Played Game Volume 2)

I’ve been making use of my new dedicated gaming table in my office, but I’ve been lax in talking about it.

Merchant’s Cove x5 –

I picked up a secondhand copy of Merchant’s Cove a month or two ago, anticipating the new kickstarter campaign as a good way to pick up additional content for the game if I end up liking it.

I do like it. But it’s not a great game. It’s really a mediocre game. But, then, why play it 5 times? I’ll tell you why: because it’s a cool system to sink your brain into; and also I played each of the base game merchants once, but the Captain twice because I lost the first time. Each of the different merchants plays a completely different minigame; but at the end of the day (and the round), all goods produced are fungible. I make a “small red” good for sale and my opponent makes a “small red” good for sale? The game ignores everything about how that good was made and makes them identical for the purpose of selling to the incoming adventurers.

I’ve only played the game solo against the Peddler AI/bot. But I will tell you that multiplayer play would be fairly solitaire in its execution. The only point you rub up against other people is the turn order clock and placing incoming adventurers on different boats to influence what goods will be available for sale and at what price. The latter part, the placement of adventurers on boats, is deeply athematic as far as I can tell, but without it Merchant’s Cove wouldn’t really be a game at all. I think this level of incidental player interaction is good enough for a casual game like this.

I would never go out of my way to try to show Merchant’s Cove as a good game or force it upon seasoned gamers that expect direct interaction between players, but I am going to introduce it to my partner because I think she would really like it and we tend to like soft/minimal player interaction games when playing 2-player.

I’m still undecided if I’m going to back the new Kickstarter. The prices seem about on par with current OGS pricing, so it would really come down to the KS extras that are included. I’ll do another analysis of the campaign closer to it’s end date to see what all will be coming along with the big box expansion for backers.

Petrichor Collector’s Edition –

This one is a long overdue Kickstarter reward that has been languishing on my shelf for a while. I love the aesthetic and the chill nature of the setting/theme. The components are just lovely.

However, the solo AI is a dirty cheat.

I played one game against the AI and was clearly out of the running for points by the last round due to the way the AI places votes on the weather events and etc etc etc – while writing this I went back and checked the rules and I gave the AI too many points for the final round weather events because only the 2 highest vote totals award the vote track advancements, not all 4. So after all of that, I actually won my game! I thought the final score was AI’s 73 to my 62, but I gave the AI 13 points too many, which makes it a very close 62-60 final score.

Still, I didn’t get the feeling that the AI was a worthy opponent. In the final round, I basically held the AI to effectively nothing except weather votes (the AI randomly determined it would add rain drops to tiles or clouds where it was already leading significantly). Unfortunately, due to the AI’s random luck, I had to forfeit a 4 point tile win in order to defend my leading Wheat Token position.

So what about the game rather than the AI? I think the game is really clever. It’s really an economic/dudes-on-a-map area-control strategy game masquerading as a rainy day. So how does it stack up against other area control/influence games? I don’t know, because I haven’t played many of them.

Now that I realize the AI wasn’t quite as much of a dirty, filthy cheat as I originally suspected, I may have to return to the game to re-evaluate. Up until I was writing this post, I didn’t really have interest in further exploring the AI, but since it ended up being such a close contest (and I’m pretty sure I accidentally cheated in my favor at one point?) I feel like I should, at least, explore some of the other possibilities and permutations available (3 expansions and a number of promos that all came with my Collector’s Edition all-in pledge).

I will, say, however, that the southern winds AI’s Wind event is both so annoying, boring and frustrating.

Wind: after resolving your wind weather effect (which is still moving any one drop to an adjacent tile), check each of the tiles P3 to P6 in order. On each checked tile, if there is at least 1 of your drops on it, move 1 of your drops from the tile to the adjacent tile to the North (a drop on P3 would move to P1 for example).

The solo layout always has “better” tiles at the bottom of the layout than at the top; which basically means you have to fight really hard to keep majorities in the south, or you have to formulate a plan to win using mostly P1 and P2. I had almost exactly the same layout as shown above, except my P3 was Rice instead of Potato. I positioned well on each of the tiles except Rice at least once, but keeping majorities in the southern tiles meant either massively overloading them with my rain drops, or voting
to prevent the Wind event.

At the moment, I’ve got Merchants of the Dark Road set out on my table and am hoping to get a game of that in this evening (finally; it’s been half-setup for 3 days now; between reading the rules, watching a solo playthrough on YouTube, and just not having the energy at the end of the day to actually play)


Broke into V-Sabotage tonight, just to try it out solo. Played the Bridges level with the blue side of the Officer and the Scout. Played it twice, as the first attempt ended poorly. Officer got detected when an enemy entered his space, and he was stuck next to two enemy entrances. While he was able to take out the new enemy, the two ones just to the north of him shot him up a bit. Moved to a small tile to go stealthy again and got shot again while running away.

Meanwhile, the Scout was on the other end of the map, had crowbarred the enemy entrance on his tile. Figured he could move stealthily to the large tile to the north and eliminate the guard on the alarm, but got spotted. Killed the guard, but after the enemy reinforcement and movement phases, there were plenty of adjacent guys and both commandos hit -3 and bled out the next turn.

Set up again with the same commandos, and this time it went much better. Got lucky with enemy movement and also a few 0 reinforcement draws on key entrances. Scout ended up getting spotted when entering the second objective tile, but that was enough to eliminate the guard, disarm the explosive, and move to the large tile. Officer, meanwhile, used his +1 AP to shoot the two enemies who entered his tile, remaining stealthy the whole time. Both commandos exited the level on the next turn.

Good fun, and looking forward to playing more.


Things I have learned in this game of Xia:

  • That wasn’t me, it was my twin brother in an identical ship.
  • Do not play chicken with comets.

Xia: Run away… stay away

Thanks for an excellent session Roger.


Push It! - played it 2 player while we were waiting for people to arrive. WIth 2 players, you simply play with 4 pucks: warm colours vs cool colours.

The King of Siam aka The King is Dead - played it with 3 players. I did comment a long time ago that 3 players is my least fave player count, yet I still love it. The dastardly British invaded twice, but the Ramas end up supreme.

6 Nimmt!

Scythe - played 5 players and clocked at 1.5 hours. That is how you play Scythe. I got a bad combo of Crimea + Mechanical and didn’t manage to finesse it. I got spoiled by the app as well. 5 players who play at a nice pace is still boring. You plan 2 or 3 turns ahead and you’re still waiting. Jeez. I’m thinking of downgrading this in the ranks now.

Poseidon - we only played 2 rounds of stock round and operating round. I don’t think this is comparable to any 18xx - in a bad way. However, as a game in itself that runs for 2 hours, this seems like a good one. I will explore this a bit more and confirm my feelings.


I played my first game of Resist! today.

There are stand-alone scenarios and also a three-scenario “historical campaign” in a second booklet, but I just played the standard game with 10 randomly-selected missions to tackle from the set of 20.

The game has a pretty interesting push-your-luck end condition, whereby you can choose to cut your losses after any mission and end the game with whichever points you’ve acquired thus far (with thresholds for “draw”, “minor victory”, “victory”, and “major victory”), or else you can continue to the next mission and see if you can acquire enough points for a better victory (or even the ultimate “epic victory” if you defeat all missions) – but at the risk of hitting one of the “lose” conditions and ending with nothing at all!

You start with a deck of 12 maquis who are working in secret. These are either randomly dealt from the 24 in the game, or drafted (draw two, keep one), with every maquis having its own special abilities. These “hidden” maquis go to your discard pile after each mission they are involved in, and will be shuffled back into your deck when it is expended; however you can also choose to “reveal” any number of them during a mission in order to perform a more powerful effect as a one-time action, after which you lose them from your deck entirely (i.e. they are captured or killed due to their overt action; a sacrifice for the cause of the resistance). It’s possible but rare to be able to recruit any more (from the 12 which weren’t selected initially), so your starting 12 are largely all you’ll have for the entire game.

Succeeding at missions is fairly tough, so you will commonly be forced to reveal one or more of your maquis in order to avoid worse problems, meaning your deck gets thinner and thinner over the course of the game. Your deck also contains some “spies” which can’t be removed, and so as you slowly reveal and lose your good cards, the chances of drawing spies in your hand gets higher and higher, making it harder and harder to achieve things with each new hand (especially if more spies infiltrate your deck during the game).

So as the enemy squeezes tighter and your “hidden” forces dwindle, you will be wondering whether you can afford to risk one more mission, or if it’s time to accept that you have achieved everything you can. As a thematic decision, I found this quite striking. The card play is somewhat abstract, but it’s definitely not a “pasted on” theme – the sense of being an against-the-odds resistance movement comes through well.

I was much more successful in this first game than I expected, and managed a “major victory” with nine successful missions and 24 points (but burning most of my remaining resources in order to get the ninth, so an “epic victory” was completely out of reach). It’s possible that I had a fortunate set-up, as one only sees about 50% of possible missions and maquis in any given game, and other comments I’ve read have suggested that statistically I shouldn’t have done quite that well in my first game. I look forward to seeing how things go in future plays, and also to checking out some of the scenarios.

Other related things…

  • Space-Biff discussing the thematic side of the game.
  • SVWAG liked it and will presumably talk about it again in future.
  • Card quality seemed fair to me; but as I’d seen BGG comments wishing for better, I sleeved the game before I played. I found the Sleeve Kings 80x120mm sleeves perfect for the large cards, and likewise their 63.5x88mm sleeves for the small cards. There’s not actually very much shuffling going on, though; and mostly it’s only small numbers of cards. The only larger deck is the enemy deck, which I needed to re-shuffle just once mid-game; otherwise (aside from set-up) it’s just your maquis/spy cards, and you’ll mostly only be handling ~15 of them when you shuffle, so you don’t really need to do very much. Although I played it safe I’m inclined to suspect that, so long as you’re not treating the cards roughly, there’s not anything much to worry about.

Last weekend we played a looong game of On Mars with a couple of friends from work who foolishly expressed an interest in playing “complicated” board games. None of us had any idea what we were doing but it was still fun. We followed that up with Space Base, which is somewhat reminiscent of Machi Koro and Henchmania which is a fairly short take-that card game involving duelling.

This weekend we have been introducing my parents to Lanterns and Swatch. Both are set collection games but Lanterns is driven by laying tiles to collect different coloured cards, whereas Swatch is driven by playing cards to collect cubes to collect discs to collect cards :laughing:. My parents have started playing board games regularly with some people from their church (mostly Ticket to Ride, by the sounds of it) and they were instructed to gather intelligence on more games !


We played two games of Kingdomino yesterday. The first game, we tied at 32 points, but my wife had the largest contiguous terrain with 9 wheat fields, so won the tie-breaker.

I won the second game, 36 - 27. I only had forests and lakes, but had 18 points in each of them, so they were sizable.


So after playing around 20 games of Terraforming Mars on the app, I decided I had to play my actual copy. After the fun my partner had with Ark Nova and him listening to me comparing that game to TM… it turned into another solo experience to nobody’s surprise really. :woman_shrugging:

Since this is my all in copy, I decided to mix it up a bit and included Venus Next (the strategy is straightforward for that. Just another rating to push. But it gives you the world government that upgrades one rating at the end of every round (except #14) and helps get to some of the good stuff faster.

With the experience of 20 games behind me, I wasn’t all that worried about my abysmal performance in the first half of the game. The solo really ramps up from turn 10 usually. However… I missed winning by about 6 credits which would have allowed me to buy the last point for Venus. Ah well, I am also not sure if I placed the lake you get from temperature rising. And I probably made a few book keeping mistakes.

Overall the table experience is more enjoyable because I can just see all the information all the time. TM as an app is one of the better ones. But there is a huge difference still between table presence and an app.

PS: I never really build cities except via cards. And those I got were space cities :slight_smile:


Games weekend with a friend who lives too far away for convenience:

  • Sentinels of the Multiverse – current month’s challenge. The Matriarch is tough. Especially when you get the entire stock of Fowl cards spawning at once, and their damage is irreducible. Nibbled to death by ducks…
  • Star Realms – this was my first deckbuilder, and while I can see the problems (e.g. no “purge the market of all these expensive things I can’t afford” option) I still enjoy it.
  • Perdition’s Mouth: Abyssal Rift – I’ve been wanting to try this for ages. I like what it’s doing with the rules, but it’s still basically a big box full of plastic with a dungeon-bash theme.
  • Xia: Legends of a Drift System – the main event! Five “players” (actually two of them were teams of two, which probably slowed things down a bit), all expansions, and it took a while even to play to ten points but we had a great time. (I’ve already spotted several rules mistakes we made.) Also apparently I need more folding bits trays.
  • Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn – I’m mostly playing with the same opponent when we can get together, and we’re gradually working our way through the precon decks. This time, I was Noah Redmoon against Saria Guideman, and just barely pulled off a win before my cards ran out.
  • Go500 Racing Dice Game – as published it’s basically Yahtzee, but some BGG types have made it a bit more playable. Definitely a light change of pace. (Very rarely available outside the US; an Amazon vendor had it briefly.)
  • Rivers, Roads & Rails – my wife was in the mood for it, and she doesn’t game often. Absolutely not a game to play technically, and the fact that there’s a winner is almost incidental. Lovely art by Josef Löflath, his sole BGG credit.
  • Baseball Highlights: 2045 – I used to be good at this. Went down 4-0 in the seven-game main event. Sigh.

Nevertheless, I’d like it to be noted that I was the winner.


As you also were at Star Realms, Go500, and Baseball Highlights. I just didn’t mention it. :slight_smile:


The Phoenixborn loss hurt the most though :disappointed_relieved:


Just played our first game of Ice Team. It’s fine. Very cute, fun, quick and easy. For the younger gamer. I lost, of course, 22-13.


Today I managed to get my copy of Oathsworn on the table for the first time.

The manual is… not good. Not horrible, but a lot of things are mentioned without any reference to what they are, or how to use them. For example, how to use Item - Equipment cards is never really explained, just kinda hinted at (for example, can you use Armour for its Block value when you are attacked? No. Can you use weapons for an attack, and if you do so are they exhausted? Maybe! And so on). The designer is very active on BGG, but it’s a damn shame it was necessary. The book is very bad for people wired like me who always default to Rules As Written because the RAW often is lacking critical pieces of information.

Just as an example: the Huntress starts the game with 2 different two-handed weapons (a longsword and a bow). But she can only equip one of those… so when does she equip it? At the start of a Chapter? At the start of an Encounter? We eventually found an answer, but it shouldn’t have been necessary to search for something so foundational.

That stated, we did have fun with that first round, and using the little gems for mana/stamina was neat. Like… Conan’s old system, but a little more refined?

Oh, and the terrain models are ridiculously huge. Way too big. But whatever, they’re fine.

We had fun. I look forward to playing again!

EDIT: Ooh, I forgot about the “Free Company Token.” A perfect example of why I am so consistently annoyed with the rule book. Eventually you are told to place your “Free Company Token” in a specific location… but no such token exists. Check the packing list, check all the pictures of the components in the two different rule books, nothing… start searching Google, and eventually find a single line buried halfway through a different rule book (because of course) that “Free Company Token: use any model from your Free Company as a token to track your location on the map.”



I got a good deal on a secondhand copy of Forgotten Depths, and was able to spend some time organizing and playing it this weekend. A good, light dungeon-crawler with some interesting ideas. I will definitely be cutting the box down, though. It’s huge.


I played the introduction Chapter of ISS Vanguard last night. The rules are heavy, at least with a lot of components to keep track of to begin with. Luckily the manual and the app are quite decent at explaining the rules. I must admit most of my trouble was momentarily trying to find some component that does not get used much (Planet Scanner or Bookmark for the Systems map come to mind)

The chapter took a good over 3 hours, with the log being played on the app, so I don’t know how much longer/shorter it would have been without the app, but I tend to think that looking around on the log book would have taken longer. I can hint that the first mission without time limit is going to be way easier than any other planet exploration phase to come later, but I will have to wait and see.

The final Book Ship phase I thought it was going to be a drag, but it was actually quite entertaining. It is book keeping in a way, but they have made the choice selection interesting, so it goes a lot lighter than I expected.

I will have a look at a tutorial video to see how right I was on my interpretation of the rules, but so far, I am quite positive about it. I am loving the theme, and the voice acting in the app is really good, so the theme side of things is very, very good. I am getting very good vibes a la Mass Effect / Early Start Trek.


Played 1860: Isle of Wight with @EnterTheWyvern and two other players - Very different from the usual 1830-style games in that you can own 100% of the company and you can also dump all shares without a dead company hanging on you like baggage - very similar to 1862: East Anglia (Same designer). Amazingly dynamic. Since the risk of holding a company no longer exists, the game puts so much emphasis on timing. When to buy which at the right time.

There was some lamenting that I won during the mid-game, but some companies end up being late bloomers and they rocketed from shit share value to top tier value. Mistakes were made where I didn’t set myself up for late game. This is something I haven’t figured out yet. While you can indeed cycle in and out between companies with zero baggage, you should be setting up for the end, and then buy into those companies as much as you can.

The companies themselves are very weird in a good way. The first layers of companies that can be open, they can start with more money, but it’ll be them who will pay for infrastructure and trains. While the companies on the bottom layer have less money, but the rail network is already set up for them. The starting companies though are the best placed for late game as they are the ones that can put their tokens on the board and have excellent positioning. Again, the problem for players is timing. When to buy which at the right time.


Procrastination ftw. And I hear from SVWAG that one must brag about winning Regicide.

I just had my first ever win of Regicide (on BGA).

Now I have to go back to work and do some stuff that hurts my brain even more.


I didn’t know that was a rule =P. I got a “silver” win on my 2nd play. I guess getting “gold” (no jester use) requires a healthy dose of luck, I haven’t tried.