Recent Boardgames (Your Last Played Game Volume 2)

Dragon Castle, a great looking game we should play more of. You have all the tiles stacked up on the main board. On your turn, you take one tile from the top stack, then another matching tile from anywhere else (as long as one of its long edges are free). Then you place them on your own board, trying to make up a single group of a colour. The more tiles in the group, the more points you score. You’re also trying to place pagodas for points at the end of the game. Its a very easy game to learn.

Quirky Circuits, things getting a bit tricky now, trying to pickup and deliver seed pods. We failed…

Nova Luna, enjoying this a lot still. Would have been a worthy winner of the SdJ (and was my choice).

Byzanz, first play of this small box game. Basically, its all about auctions, and I love a good auction game, so it was a winner. With 3 players, you have 3 auctions per round, one with 6 cards, then 4, then only 2. You bid on each auction, and if you win, the cards you bid go into the market, and the auction cards go into your hand. What you’re trying to do is make sets of 3 cards of the same goods type. You keep the highest of the group for scoring, and the other two cards are discarded. So if you had a set of 4,2 and 1 – you would score 4 victory points. After all the auctions, each player gets a chance to take all the cards of a goods type from the market. Its a pretty quick game, there are lots of goods cards, but you going thru them pretty quickly. I really enjoyed it, was pretty easy to pick up, but had some interesting decisions to make.

Snow Time, first play. Another small box game with some interesting game play. The game board is a tree with 7 levels. At the start of each round you roll 2 dice to see which levels get a fruit. Each player has the same cards: character cards from 1 to 7, and three special cards: The Healer, the Watcher, and the Blizzard. Each player picks a card, and then you all reveal at the same time. If you picked the same character card as someone else – you both lose. If you pick a level above another player, you’ll fight them and make them fall out of the tree (and you’ll get points). After all that – if you finish on a level with fruit, you’ll grab them and score points. if you fell out of the tree – you lose that card (but you can get it back). The special cards let you get discarded card back to your hand (Healer), play a card after others have chosen (Watcher), and discard any character cards played (Blizzard). The Watcher and Blizzard cards are one use only. Its not a long game. The score track is a little odd, you can get bonus points if you land on bonus places, and if you gained points of the correct type (points can be gained by fruit, fighting, and mana). I actually quite enjoyed it, it doesnt outstay its welcome. It could probably use an extra player (from our 3p).

The Crew

Pictures, the SdJ winner gets another go! A relatively high scoring game (of the few we’ve played). We had two rounds where everyone got the maximum points (they guessed the correct pictures, and had their own guessed as well). Its not a game you should take too seriously.

Dohdles, havent played this for ages. You select an object to be guessed (like, “robot”), and then make it out of modelling clay. Players then alternate between asking 2 questions and asking for letters of the object. If you make it too easy, you’ll get no points. Make it too hard – also no points. I thought it was entertaining, although its easy to forget the answers to questions for an object. I think we used to take notes, just so it wasnt a memory exercise.

Silver and Gold

An excellent days gaming!


After the recent discussion about solo games, I went to my FLGS and acquired… Tapestry (bgg link) because most of the higher ranked games on my list weren’t available and well whatever, I have now played 3 games of Tapestry and since I’ve rarely seen someone mention it in this thread I thought–after last year’s hypeness–some might be interested to know how it went.

  • Game 1: me vs myself
  • Game 2: me vs the automa (on easy) and the shadow player.
  • Game 3: me vs my partner

I won all three games btw.
Setup for Game 1:

Game info
  • Listed playtime is 90-120 minutes. Which is optimistic, we would say. 2 hours should be possible when everyone knows the game well.
  • 1-5 players, however, the game only functions as it should with 3 or more (second side of board for 4-5 players has a larger map). My guess is that 3 players is ideal if you don’t want the competition for the landmarks to get cutthroat.
  • To make 1 and 2 players work the game includes both an automa bot and a shadow player both simulated through the same automa cards (the automa is made by automa factory) and there is a myautoma implementation on github.
  • The manual is a bit too short. Once you know the rules it’s good enough to look up details. And after 2 games I was able to remember everything and didn’t need to look up anymore rules. I’d recommend watching a teach video at the start.
How it plays

Setup: Each player receives a unique civilization, a unique tableau for their capital and an income board with 5 buildings in 4 colors. Each player places markers at the start of the 4 advancement tracks and 1 marker on the VP track. Each player places one or two of his “armies” on the hex indicated on his capital city board.

Players play through 5 ages that each start with an income turn which in age 1-4 is followed by as many advancement turns as players can afford. Players take income turns independently which meant in todays game that my partner ended the game a few turns before me. I like this as it means that someone who somehow didn’t manage to do well in age 2 doesn’t have to wait around for the others to finish that age, they simply advance to age 3 and continue playing.

Income turns are pretty complex. This is where some unique civilization abilities get triggered, Tapestry cards get played and technologies advance. Most victory points are awarded during income turns and as a final step each player gets new resources.

Advancement turns are much simpler: the player decides on which of the four tracks (military, discovery, science or technology–translated from German probably different names in English) they want to advance, pays the resource cost, reaps whatever benefit the next slot gives and possibly pays for the bonus.

Each of the four tracks is associated with a certain type of building, and certain game mechanisms and each track feeds back into itself for the most part (though there are some crossover benefits especially from the science track). So if a player wants to advance in a single track they can do that (exceptions apply), it is not necessary to advance in other tracks f.e. to move ahead on technology. In fact, specialization seems to be a decent strategy. Each track has 12 steps, divided into 4 parts and whoever reaches step 4, 7 and 10 first gets the landmark building associated with that step to place into their capital city. The benefits on each track get better and better and the final spot of each track is quite powerful.

Victory points are awarded during discovery of new lands, during conquering of lands, from some advancement slots, Tapestry cards, technologies, civilization powers but most points come from the player income board during income turns depending on how many buildings have already been removed from the board there are points for technologies, conquered lands and how many rows/columns have been completed in the capital.

BGG lists these mechanics and this is how they are actually part of the game
  • Dice Rolling: minimal. Players get to roll dice when conquering to determine what type of a reward they get and the science track has special rewards that include advancing on a track that is determined by a die roll
  • Hand Management: minimal. Technology cards are played to the tableau immediately, Tapestry cards are drawn to the player hand and one only gets to play three of them (exceptions apply) in the whole game
  • Hexagon Grid: player choice. Both discovery and military tracks interact with the map in the center, one can choose to ignore those tracks or focus the whole game on the map both seem valid strategies.
  • Solo Mode: it’s an automa, I like the game, it seemed to be a good challenge, will repeat but conquering seems unintuitive and for now it feels a bit on the micromanagment side
  • Tech Trees: not trees but 4 linear tracks and some technology cards that can be upgraded.
  • Tile Placement: a discovery reward one gets to place a hex tile, I didn’t do this in our last game at all.
  • Track Movement: yes. Players do this every turn except on the 5 income turns.
  • Variable Player Powers: sure, but of the 4 civs I played so far the powers were almost exclusively confined to the income turns, but they can define what type of tracks you choose. Some tracks work better with some civs than others.
Some criticism
  • The material is Stonemaier-nice and has some neat ideas, but not over the top (the building base size of the landmarks is weird)
  • The design is more functional than beautiful which is fine by me. I really like that the iconography is clear and only takes 1 game to learn
  • There is some interaction between players because players compete for landmarks, technology cards and land they want to conquer. There are also some interactive Tapestry cards and civilization powers. But for the most part the interaction feels “soft” and not very mean–however the more players the meaner it gets I would say, BGG suggests this game is best at 3 and from what I’ve seen, I would concur.
  • The theme feels okay but I wouldn’t put it up on the mechanical-thematic harmony thread.
  • I would rate it at medium complexity with more depth than it seems at first, especially with 2 interfering bots in the solo. My partner said he felt paralyzed each turn despite there being just 4 tracks to choose from having to consider all the consequences of each action, he had to backtrack several times especially when choosing which resources to spend (there is a lot of “generic” resource gaining and spending).
  • The solo mode is fascinating because it has two opponents (both managed by the same automa cards) but I felt the explanation was not well done especially not the examples of when the bot is conquering and the myautoma implementation wasn’t helpful in that regard. Something I nearly overlooked was that a lot of Tapestry cards get removed from solo because they would interact with other players.
  • The Feuerland version already has an additional sheet in it balancing the different civilizations a bit more because they definitely aren’t all equally strong.
  • The Tapestry cards are definitely not all good… and their effects far less pronounced than the game title suggests…
  • Don’t play 2 without the shadow player because the competition for the landmarks is absolutely needed or one person who gets a bit more lucky with how the landmarks and tech buildings fit on their tableau can score a runaway victory (that would be me)

Fazit: Overall this is a solid game, it’s not bad at all, has some depth and replayability and yet for a game of this price I had hoped it was something more… special? It’s weird. I am reasonably sure I can get this on the table again, however I wish it was a less expensive game because I think the material is better than the game and that feels a bit like a waste. My rating: 7.5 / 10 and now I want to play Spirit Island again :slight_smile:


Thanks for the comprehensive report! The most I’ve heard about Tapestry up until now is a lot of grumbling about how it’s not really a civilization game… What do you think?


People wanted this to be a different game possibly because it advertises itself as a “light” Civilization game–it’s right there on the cover. And the mechanics that people expect in a Civ game are there and the thematic trappings are there but none of that is central to the game. That’s the reason I listed all the mechanics from BGG and how they are present in the game. The game is more than those mechanics but less than what people expect.

And the theme gets thinner as you stare at it harder. One gripe people have that technologies and tapestry cards are completely random and there is nothing keeping a player to invent dynamite in age 1 hand in hand with capitalism and later following up with paper and the renaissance. But the game actually makes a point in asking: “hey isn’t that a fun civilization you are building with your capitalist mystics with dy…dy…dynamite?”

Another issue was/is balancing of the civilization powers and that tapestry cards which you acquire purely randomly from the deck vary wildly in their power.


I find Stonemeiers’ (or at least Stegmeiers’) biggest weakness is all the tracks. Jamey’s obsessed with sticking everything on tracks, whether to game’s benefit or not.
Viticulture, Euphoria, Tapestry. So many tracks!

Euphoria suffers the worst for it: going up several tracks to get resources, and then up more tracks to upgrade those resources into better resources. And that’s the overview of the entire game. Seeing the tracks puts me right off even trying Tapestry tbh.

Does Scythe have tracks, or some sort of abstraction of tracks? That’s one I haven’t played. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s just hidden tracks in there somehow!


I am not sure about Scythe, I’ve only played it digitally a couple years back. I think it has certain categories in which you collect “stars” or something that could be interpreted as tracks. Despite me never grokking Scythe I thought the design was pretty cool especially with combining two parts of the player board and the clever system of moving the worker around. I just never understood how to play the map in that game and kept losing or winning randomly against the computer. I never knew which one it was until the game was suddenly over :wink:

I haven’t played Euphoria.
What tracks does Viticulture have–besides the VP track?


The maturing of wine is an automated track, with a big part of the game centred around placing wine onto or taking it off of the track. It’s a quite unusual use of tracks - and maybe I’m being overly reductive to lump it all in together - but still based in the same design principle of systems from what I can see.

I really like Viticulture as a clean system, not ragging on it.



:joy::joy::joy::joy: boy oh boy

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That’s “popularity” on the left and “power” at the bottom. It doesn’t feel shoehorned in (to me) in this case, but I know what you mean about Euphoria. That’s a game where I really liked the setting, but found the game a bit “meh”.


Yeah, from what I’ve seen of Scythe, tracks don’t seem like the root of the design concept. With Euphoria, Viticulture, and Tapestry, the tracks appear to be the central thing everything else is designed around. I can’t imagine them arriving late in the design process, but maybe I’m wrong. Armchair critic!


If anything, I think the focus of Scythe is the player/faction boards (action selection). That and the awesome mechs :laughing:


I remember ranting about Tapestry on the SUSD forum. :sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile: But then Im not REALLY a fan of Stegmaier’s designs at all. :man_shrugging::man_shrugging::man_shrugging:


If you can keep a secret… EVERYONE ELSE LOOK AWAY. me neither. I enjoy Viticulture, but even that is quite plain. His designs are functional. The systems work, last the designated length of time, and there’s a winner at the end. He’s done the maths to make sure it’s balanced, and that’s it. Job done. The wheels don’t fall off the cart, but there’s no passion or joy in them. There doesn’t feel to be thought put into what the decision space is and what makes the game fun.

I’m sure if Stegmeier had started a few decades earlier he would be seen as a Rosenberg or Knizia with his classically streamlined gameplay, but as it is, he’s still doing very tame designs at a time when there is so many much more exciting things out there. As a gateway game you know where you stand with a Stonemeier game, it’s a consistent brand. But they still occupy a weird space where if you’re in the hobby long enough to have heard of Stonemeier, you’re already probably ready for more exciting games.

Scythe does seem to have captured that new generation Catan crowd though (the type who own one game and play it to death) so what do I know?

EDIT: I’m confused why everyone is liking a post that is clearly marked as a private secret between Luna and I.


Not to turn this into a thread for trashing Stegmeier, I’d like to mention that in everything I’ve seen or played by him is about 99% awesome… And then he throws in a ridiculous deck of cards that throw the potential for strategy out the window.


Then five years later he sells you another set of cards that do what you wanted the cards to do in the first place!


In defense of Scythe, I’ve played it a few times and quite like it. The two tracks don’t feel show horned in, to me they feel like different ways to win the game. In every game you have to keep them somewhat in mind but if you want they can be the focus of your strategy for that game. You can focus almost exclusively on the popularity track and win by being elected prom king/queen of Europa.


Not to derail the Stegmeier love fest…

Joe and I played Alchemist this evening with the Golem expansion. I love that game. I grew up doing logic puzzle books for fun and blending one with a worker placement game that requires you to take calculated risks when you haven’t quite solved the puzzle yet is just so much fun and a heck of a brain burner. I really enjoy the Golem expansion and actually think the things it adds is a little closer to how my brain works at solving puzzles sometimes. Joe has had a bit of a harder time with the Golem stuff but this time it finally clicked for him and he got the victory, 70-59.


On the Stegmeier front now that I got the post up that I’d already written, we have Scythe. I think it’s ok but not great. Joe likes it a little more than that. Several of our gaming buddies like it even more. It isn’t one of our most frequently played games but we pull it out from time to time and enjoy it when we do.

We’ve played Euphoria and Tapestry both once each at conventions. I barely remember Euphoria. Tapestry was frustrating as I kept feeling like there was something there but it wasn’t coming together and I couldn’t tell if it would on more plays or not. We decided it wasn’t worth the money to find.


I really love the idea of Alchemists. Not sure if there are people who wants to invest repeated plays on this.