Recent Boardgames (Your Last Played Game Volume 2)

Never seen anyone win like that before!!

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The Gang, new game coming out soon, from the same publisher as The Crew. This game is based on poker (actually Texas Hold 'Em, which I know nothing about). And like The Crew, it’s cooperative. It uses a standard deck of cards, so I just added some counters and we were good. On each round you take a token from one to three (because we had 3p), and you’re trying to put hands in order of rank. Normal poker rankings, high card, pair, two pair, up to a royal flush. There are no player turns, you take a token in any order, and can even take one from another player. Each player starts with two cards, and you keep these secret. In round you add three cards from the deck, and everyone sees them. The next round you add one more card, and then again, one more card. Then you do the final rankings. Based on that final ranking, you start with whoever took the one token and show your cards. If you ranked everything properly, you win the round. Otherwise you have failed. You need to win three rounds to win the game, and if you get three failures it’s game over. Very easy game to learn (even if you don’t know poker). I was worried that at 3p it might be too easy, but we failed. There are also challenge cards (to make it harder) and specialist cards (that make it easier), but we didn’t use them.

Dorfromantik, things went pretty well, and we scored over 200 points. And we used our special token properly (we forgot to in the last game). Unfortunately, we forgot to remove three random tiles at the start. Still enjoying the game.

Medical Mysteries: NYC Emergency Room, our next patient was medium difficulty (patient 1 was rated as easy). And he survived the night! Which gives you most of your points. We were doing well, barely half way through the night, when the patient discharged themselves and forced us to go to our final report. It seems we were meant to look something up online to perfectly do the case, we we missed that.

Orleans, an excellent game that I never do very well at. And this time was no exception.

Dino Tricks, another new game, this time a pnp game. There’s only 21 cards, so it’s easy to print off. The values range from one thru seven, across six suits, but each suit has a unique number of cards belonging to it. The back of each card shows the suit it belongs to. There’s no trump suit, you have to follow, but the winner is the highest number of any suit (so you can still win the trick with an off suit card). It’s another trick taker where you have to predict the number of tricks you will win. Good fun, well worth the trouble to print it off.

Shut the Books, another trick taker, and another game I had to make up from other cards (Phase 10 cards are great, they have values from one to twelve in four suits). Luckily the 3p game only uses one thru twelve, the full game goes up to fifteen. So, from your cards, you have choose how many tricks you think you will win. Each prediction comes from your hand, so that’s less cards to play. If you selected a green two for example, you’re saying that you will win a trick with either a green or a two. You get maximum points (four) if you get your prediction, only two points if you’re one off, and negative points for anything else. This is another game by Taiki Shinzawa, who also designed some other excellent trick taking games, like 9 Lives, Charms, Inflation! And the non trick taking (but still really good) auction game Big Top. Really really good, enjoyed this.

Harvest X 2. A new high score! (not by me).

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I broke out one of my recent acquisitions, Dice Conquest – a very light solo/co-op D&D-themed dice game in which 1-to-4 characters run a gauntlet of enemies (always culminating with the dragon Kalterstorm). The game is heavy on dice-based luck – each round another 3 enemies are added from the shuffled deck, and at the end of each round all of current enemies inflict damage – so if you can’t keep the number of enemy cards in check then you’re doomed to a rapid demise from the overwhelming onslaughts. Conversely, if you can defeat all opponents every round, you will suffer very little damage at all, and be in very good standing for the end-game. Ultimately it comes down to the dice, but the hero abilities allow you to manipulate them to your advantage.

Each hero character has two unique special abilities, one of which is persistently in play, and the other of which can be used if the selected die has their unique Critical Hit value (different for each hero); so playing solo with only one character limits your abilities significantly, whereas playing with multiple characters gives you more options.

Many enemies also have special constraints. Some of them will block certain abilities until they are defeated, perhaps forcing you to concentrate on those first even though another monster is going to inflict more damage. You might only be able to play certain die rolls on some enemies (e.g.: only odd numbers; only even numbers; no value greater than 9; must be defeated with exact damage; etc), and many enemies also carry magical items which you will gain if you defeat them. Then there are Traps, which can be mixed into the enemy deck as an optional Advanced variant (I’ve not yet played with these).

I found it a nice way to pass the time. There’s a lot of luck, and some bad dice rolls in the early going can doom you; but the game plays quickly and it’s a reasonably fun little package in a small box. I got wrecked in my first couple of games with a single Hero (the Thief) before winning a game, and then I played and won a couple of times with two heroes (Thief + Rogue).

It’s nothing too think-y, and the manual fails to address a bunch of edge cases, but all in all I think it’s a keeper for me.





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It’s too long since I’ve played Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter (using The Dark Judges solo expansion), so that came out next.

Details...

You win the game by either defeating all four of the Dark Judges, or else by gathering 6 “fragments of reality”. There are 5 fragments randomly distributed about the board, but you double your current total (which starts at zero) each time you defeat one of the Dark Judges (Fire, Fear, Mortis, and Death). The positions of the fragments, the Dark Judges, and your team members are all randomised each game, so every game plays out differently (although you place your own team last, and you get to choose which team member to place in each randomly-selected position, so you have a little control). I played twice as Judge Dredd and friends (being one of four included teams, each of which have different strengths and weaknesses) and managed to win both games.

In the first, Chief Judge Hershey started nearby two of the fragments, and I burned her cards to enable her to collect them both, at the expense of defence. Judge Giant was able to occupy Fire and Mortis while she collected the first fragment, leaving them distant enough for her to then grab the second before they fell upon her as well. Meanwhile Death was duelling Dredd in a corner of the map, and Judge Anderson was able to collect a third fragment while Mortis and Fire started to move toward her. This left me needing only a single kill to double my fragments from 3 to 6, and it was the previously-damaged Mortis who obliged by stepping into range first. Anderson took down his shields and then Mean Machine dealt the final blow.

In the second game, four of my five characters started out threatening Fear, and my starting hand was incredible strong for inflicting that defeat at the outset; but doing so with no fragments to my name would not have increased my score at all, and so I delayed the death blow until I had firstly managed to gather a fragment, before manoeuvring to collect another fragment across the map for a total score of 3, meaning I again needed a single kill for a victory. Along the way I lost Hershey, Giant, and Mean Machine; but my hand of cards held promising long-range attacks for Judges Dredd and Anderson, and I sent them into retreat together across the far side of the map in order to delay matters and draw even more attack cards from the deck as the Dark Judges approached. In the end, Mortis, Fire, and Death all came into range at about the same time, and it didn’t matter which of them was my target – it would have been almost impossible for any one of them to have survived the assault which awaited them.

I think I’ll leave the game on the table, and take Slaine’s team out next (and maybe break out one of the Wildlands maps I haven’t played on yet). Slaine and his wife are both monstrous in melee combat, so when playing that team I usually wind up ignoring the fragments and instead trying to eliminate all four Dark Judges.




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We gave my birthday present (Everdell: Farshore) a couple of shots yesterday. I won the first game 142-137, lost the second 110-120.

It’s fantastic! Still recognizably Everdell, so the learning and teaching went very breezily (I like that there’s an index of the differences at the back of the rulebook) and after that it’s just a matter of discovering the new cards and strategies. But it still has enough new wrinkles that we’re glad we have both.

Love the production values as well, though the lighthouse is frankly useless mechanically (the tree in the original at least could be used to pit your extra workers and the events.

Next game, we’ll likely introduce the weather cards from the solo game, as that’s the part of Spirecrest we loved the most.

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Played Rotten Romans as my wife nabbed it for free from our neighbour who’s brother just bought a house and was throwing the entire contents of it into a skip as it was an ex-rental. Apparently there were sealed boardgames. However this is a reskin of Escape from Colditz, badly designed game from yesteryear. My son wanted to play though.

Also two games of New Frontiers one without the expansion, and one with. I see no reason to play without the expansion, as there is one two new rules

  • These worlds are worth negative points at the end of the game if uncolonized
  • you can discard them at the end of the explore action you drafted it

That’s it. Insert time next

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And it just adds more stuff from the base game. No brainer expansion imo if you like NF

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I was inspired to get out this old game… called Arler Erde which I believe I had not played since I got it in 2014/2015. I bought the expansion at some point (2 years ago?) and always meant to try it. But as I unboxed the expansion it all seemed so daunting and so away it went.

Today was the day. I set it up on my game table and relearned the rules. Learned the expansion rules and… played 2 games and it‘s still on the table ready for another. Discounting rules learning, this is a quick game. You get a total of 36 actions with which to farm and build and do the „Rosenberg‘sche Rudlpfupf“ aka magical multiplication of sheep, cows and horses.

Why didn‘t I play this?
It might be that I played a lot more Rosenberg games in the past decade and so I am now coming back to it with a new appreciation? It‘s really the loveliest, cozy farming game I have ever played. It is also my original „solo game“. The first game I bought explicitly to play solo. It was the first game I encountered that was explicitly marketed as being „for solo play“ that it accomodates 2 (and 3 with the expansion) seemed more of an afterthought.

Arler Erde (Fields of Arle, for forum search purposes :wink: ) was published when I was freshly frustrated by not managing to win the Agricola solo mode and when 2-handing Terra Mystica seemed the only way to get it to the table regularly. I didn‘t play all that many games of it back then—I logged 3 but that might be a guess from later on because I didn‘t log regularly.

But at this very moment I think it beats out Nusfjord in my favorite farming game. Sure Nusfjord with its decks has more variability between setups… the different buildings that can be in Arler Erde aren‘t all that many. But the way the action setup splits between the two halfs of the year is just brilliant. And while there are of course never enough actions or resources to do everything you want and neither of games yielded a winning score… it plays quite relaxed. There is always something one can do… and while the action board is rivals of A Feast for Odin (which was published 2 years later) in its expansiveness, it is a bit easier to grok, especially with only half the actions available at any given point.

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Fields of Arle is indeed a truly lovely game. I got the expansion (because I have a weakness for expansions) but then realised something that’s pretty much perfect doesn’t need changing, so got rid of it.

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I really enjoyed the expansion pieces with the tea and the boats—though I have yet to use one of the trading ships. Sheep farming is easier and coming back to it I appreciated that it took off a little pressure.

But yes the game doesn‘t need them.

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The Tea & Trade is a mandatory game to play 3 players in the bg clubs I go to. If you often play two, Arle is solid.

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And also if you play one.

Played a game of Battletech Aces on Sunday with a buddy.

For those unaware, Aces uses the Alpha Strike rules and adds a simple* mechanic for controlling a unit/Star of Clan mechs.

We played the default Intro scenario: two lances of Inner Sphere mechs versus a single heavy Star of elite Clanners.

Nick controlled the Command lance (an Archer, Warhammer, Blackjack, an an Atlas with Stealth armour… part of a Steiner scouting lance, probably) and I used the Recon lance (Locust, Wasp, Phoenix Hawk, and a Wraith).

The AI had control of a Nova, Pouncer, Fire Moth, Warhawk, and Timberwolf.

As the game progressed, my Recon lance was sandpapered into oblivion (the Fire Moth inflicts 4 points of damage at close range and was the lightest Clan mech in the game… my Wasp had 2 health, and the Locust has 3… basically if a Clanner looks at an IS mech for long enough, there is a good chance that my mechs just spontaneously explode from fear), and so I took a few of Nick’s mechs that had more staying power.

In the end we took it with the Atlas and Warhammer still in the fight, and the Clan Nova retreating off the table.

I am going to do some research into the Tukayyid campaign, see if we can adapt it to the Aces system… Nick is having his 3rd kid in a few weeks, so hopefully before then!

*By Battletech standards

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So, over the holiday weekend, which I extended with some time off to cover my birthday as well, a lot of games were played!

Lots of games of Lost Cities, with me winning most of them, once with a score of 301! Also a few games of Star Wars the Deckbuilding Game, with me winning most of them as well. I lost the game we played yesterday, but had one amazing turn where I drew six extra cards which enabled me to destroy both the Mon Calamari Cruiser and base, neither of which had received any damage prior.

We had a couple games of Lords of Vegas, one of which my wife managed to hit the instant win 90 point spot on the last card draw, a first for us. She also won the other game we played.

One quick game of Ticket to Ride: London which I managed to win due to some better scoring tickets.

We had a game of Ethnos in which I got crushed. Two games of Kingdomino, losing the first by just 2 points, but winning the second thanks to a massive forest worth 52 points for a total of 64. My wife won at Chinatown, just edging out her brother, but both beating me handily.

My wife and I played a couple games of Azul. Lost the first by a few points, and had what I think is my worst game ever for the second, only scoring 31 points to my wife’s 70.

Played Isle of Skye yesterday and pulled out the win, with the relatively high scores (from what I recall, it’s been a while) of 80 - 75.

But most exciting, two games left my Shelf of Shame! First was Furnace with my wife and her brother. It went over pretty well, though my wife was a bit tired and struggled a little. I won with 80, her brother came in second with 74, and my wife had 57. I think she’ll do really well at this with a little more play, as she is great at chaining things together in other games, and that’s the majority of this one.

We also played Targi, which I’ve been wanting to try out for a while now. The game feels a lot tighter than it looks at first glance, as you often end up only having one space you can legally play your last Targi if you are the second player in the turn. We both enjoyed it and think we can finish a game a little quicker with more familiarity. We tied at 38 points, but my wife was the winner as she had a gold coin for the tie-breaker while I had none. Looking forward to trying it again sometime. Hopefully soonish.

It felt really good getting a couple games off my SoS, even though I now have two new games in A Gest of Robin Hood and Fantasy Realms so my numbers haven’t changed.

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Games night at the office – except there were only two of us, so I introduced my colleague to Hive, which they seemed to enjoy a lot. We played three games, and we threw in the Ladybird for the last game (although neither of those was ever permitted to move from its initial position :).

We have a few keen board gamers around the office these days, some of whom are interested in playing some decently crunchy games (one of them brought in Brass Birmingham), so I’m hoping games at work is going to become a regular thing for me again!

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Witness - I’ve been wanting to try this for years and years, and I finally found a reasonably-priced secondhand English copy, and we got two friends around to play it. It’s a mystery game where everyone has part of the answer, and you take turns whispering everything you know to the person next to you, so all the information slowly gets around to everybody telephone-style. Then you all try to solve it individually.

Did it live up to my expectations? ABSOLUTELY! It was a ton of fun. We did a couple of beginner missions just to get our footing, a couple of normal missions (one of which was much harder than the other because we weren’t sure what the important info was), then a hard mission which was easier than the first normal. And we could have kept going! Great memory game with a little touch of deduction at the end, and very fun to go off and have a little one-on-one with another person again and again.

We broke it up with a game of Cat in the Box. In the first round I bet low but couldn’t get a good area built up so I decided to pivot and play bunch of trumps to get as many tricks as I could. Unfortunately it very much backfired and I ended up paradoxing and going down 4! Great fun.

Finished up with a diabolical case (official difficulty level) of Witness. This one suffered a bit from a) ambiguous wording on the clues and b) very wrong information being passed around the table from an unknown origin. That meant that only the guy whose info got mangled was able to solve the final puzzle, but we didn’t realize that until the case was over and we were just going “Hm. This can’t be right. Wait but then… wait. That can NOT have been the correct info. Hmmmmmmm.”

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Spectral, first play. Obviously being a deduction game attracted me to it. The cards are arranged in a four by four grid. There are four different ways a card can point to another card, adding a treasure or a curse. Each row has all four types, and three of them give gems, and one gives a curse. The cards for each row are shuffled, and then the actual row is shuffled as well. Which seemed to confuse my brain at first – maybe because the top bit of the work sheet shows the rows as A, B, C and D, in order. Obviously once you see a card you know what row it belongs to. And then you can make decisions based on what the other cards in the row might be. We started with the beginners variant, where the four inner cards are revealed at the start, giving you some information from the beginning.

Using this beginners variant also means you play with less worker pieces, so that’s making the first game a bit quicker too. Gems are claimed by having your treasure hunters adjacent to the tile. If you are the only one next to a gem tile, you get everything. Otherwise, it is split between players. It doesn’t matter how many hunters you have there, same reward. The advantage of using more hunters is that you can’t be easily displaced. If someone wants your space, they have to play twice the number of workers. But you don’t want to be next to a curse tile, your guys are removed before any scoring takes place. It’s possible to have more than one gem on a tile, and it can also have gems and a curse.

I loved this game! Easy to learn, different to any other deduction game (at least that I know). And I won! By a single point.

The Green Fivura first play. Yet another trick taking game by Taiki Shinzawa. Fairly straightforward, typical trick taking. The difference is that every card has a green five on the back, so you can always play a green five (but there can only be one played per trick). At the end of the round, each winning card you have is added up, and you want to be under (or on) 25, anything more than that and you’ve busted. I went bust in the first round, then played a bit too conservatively in the following rounds – I didn’t go bust, but I also didn’t get the closest to 25. Made up my own deck using Phase 10 cards. I’ve bought so many Phase 10 cards to proxy, Amazon must be thinking “this guy is just obsessed with Phase 10…”.

Dorfromantik ,got a few achievement cards to track now. We improved on our last game, but not by much (209). Felt like we did ok, only missed one task. So we did ok for achievements, since they were all “score 30 from this type”. Which means new tiles for our next game! We’re still enjoying this a lot.

Concept, I always give this a game a go every now and then. It’s pretty simple, one player takes a card and chooses an answer. Then they give hints on the answer using various tokens on the board. So, for a movie you would put a token on the “movie/theatre” icon. We don’t score it, we just have a couple of goes at giving hints each. It’s pretty relaxed. You can be creative with your tokens, I put seven of them onto one of icons, trying to get them to guess “The Seven Samurai”. No-one noticed how many cubes I used, and once I pointed it out it only took another guess to get it.

Ganz Schon Clever to finish out the day. I did horribly, was way behind the leaders. I knew I was heading for a very average score, one area had a single value, so I knew that was not going to give me much for the foxes. I managed to pump it up a little in the last round, still too little. It’s tough, the better you do, the more extra stuff you get to cross/mark off, putting you even further in front.

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Two games gave me a loss and a by-the-skin-of-my-teeth win, respectively.

Summary

Slaine’s team comprises only 4 members vs the usual 5 (because Slaine goes beserk when he deals sufficient damage or gets sufficiently hurt, and Beserk Slaine has its own miniature).

In my first game I thought I’d had an ideal start with Slaine transforming with full health (which helps, as beserk Slaine stops defending himself in favour of dealing more damage); but that was as good as things got as he then got completely obliterated by Mortis and Death before I could take any advantage of his bonus damage, and the Dark Judges then steadily cut down the remainder of my team.

Game two saw Niamh cutting down Judge Fear in the opening turn, before the Dark Judges once more zeroed in on Slaine. This time the damage went back and forth, with Slaine reduced to 2 health by the time he went beserk; and although he had Mortis down to 1 health (assisted by a long-range fireball from the druid Kai), the pair of Fire and Mortis finished him off and then targeted Ukko at the top of the map. While Niamh moved to distract Death and consolidate Kai’s position at the bottom of the map, Ukko managed to finish Mortis before being killed in turn by Judge Fire – which left Niamh and Kai to face Death and Fire. Fire mercifully had a lot of ground to cover to progress past some rubble which blocked any long-range attacks, as Niamh and Kai just barely managed to take down Death between them in the interim (each of them getting badly hurt in the process), before Fire arrived and eliminated Kai, making it 1v1. Lacking the cards to do the necessary damage, Niamh ran, using the terrain to her advantage to avoid long-range shots while trying to accumulate some offensive cards; but having gained power from the three eliminated Dark Judges, Fire was back upon her in just two turns. Yet the cards she had drawn in that time offered just a glimmer of hope…

Fire had 2 health and shields. Niamh had 3 attacks, 2 health, and 1 interrupt card. Fire’s first attack card was going to do 1 damage and the second card would very likely end her – but by eating that point of damage and then playing her interrupt, she would have a chance at defeating Fire. It was do-or-die – all three attacks needed to succeed and… they did! Fire went down just two spaces from where Fear had fallen in the first turn, Niamh having circled the bottom half of the map.

Seven bodies strewn about the map, and the sole survivor with just 1 point of health to spare, but I’ll take the win :).

Next up: Strontium Dog take on the Dark Judges at the Warlock’s Tower…


This map is from Wildlands map pack #1. The Strontium Dog team has good ranged attacks, and the central tower space has line of sight to every other space, so I’m hoping that will work in my favour. There are also four portals on the map which are all adjacent to one another for movement and area attack purposes, which complicates things; and there are a ton of low/high-ground level changes that the Dark Judges are not affected by when they move. High ground also means I’m going to have to track line-of-sight more carefully (usually I only need to pay attention to solid walls).

This will have to wait until tomorrow, though!

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New Frontiers + Starry Rift - got hyped as well by the online BGA plays of it with forum members

Courtisans - my first play of this after UKGE. I played it with aggressive players and so, on both of our games, there were only 2 families who are exalted (positive pts). The rest are all fallen from grace. And so we got lots of negative points

Just One

Fields of Arle - 3 players again with the Tea & Trade expansion. The latter is an assumed inclusion from now on whenever we play this.

Went for a farming strategy and failed, despite having good building combos.

Pax Renaissance - 3 players with 1 newbie. I’ve played this loads on BGA that there’s a significant skill-gap, despite me full-on teaching the game and some gameplay pointers.

The King is Dead

Antike II - good game. Glad to play this again. I like how streamlined this is that I have taught this game despite not playing it for years. Also, glad to play again as it confirmed to me that I don’t need to own this.

Timebomb: Evolution - first time playing the advanced variant and it was fun

Bacon - shedding game by Sean Ross (designer of Haggis). Really liked it. I think I will opt for Planet Cute on a 3 player or Haggis. And will opt for Tichu on a 4 player, but this is still grand. I like the flexible player count (3 to 6 players) and it is simpler where I don’t need to teach any special cards like Tichu. There’s the Bacon cards, but those are just wild cards.

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Christ that’s a big game!

Interested you liked Bacon, my family bounced off it really hard. Constant, “why don’t we play Tichu?”

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