Saturday, 19 August 2017

Almost As Good As A New Board Game

Sorry for the lack of an update last week - I was in Melbourne and there wasn't a whole lot of board gaming to report on..

Here's What I've Been Playing This Week:

Dream Home - Dream Home wins on aesthetics alone.  With bright, colourful, charming and endearing art work combined with a theme about building a dream home that everyone can relate to - how could you not love this game? Mix in simple but fun mechanics and most players will easily be able to enjoy a round or two of one of my newest games in my library.  Those looking for depth won't really find it here and I can imagine with multiple plays Dream Home will wear a bit thin, but regardless its an excellent game to have in the collection if you can afford the luxury to have a game just to please the masses.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy it, because I certainly do.  But after four plays I've tried what I've wanted to with Dream Home and will most likely just use this game to lure others into the hobby.  Which of course means it'll see a fair few more plays to come..

Dominion - A few more plays this week of a game that has possibly snuck into my top 10 games.  As I'd mentioned before, this is the first and only deck builder I've ever played but with how much I'm enjoying Dominion, I really don't feel the need to venture to other deck building games.  It's easy to play and teach, but the possibilities seem nearly endless. We've just been playing through all the preset kingdom cards as per the manual and haven't even felt enticed into trying Intrigue yet (which came in the big box).  There's still so much to do and I don't feel like I've really mastered any sort of strategy.  As a matter of fact I'd go as far as to saying I'm pretty ordinary at this game and lose just as much as I win.  But win or lose, its just so fun.  We all start the same, we all have the same cards to add into our decks and yet our decks are all so different by the end of the game.  The design is genius and if I ever feel things are getting stale I know there's a heap more expansions to explore so I can imagine my deck building will comfortably sit with Dominion for the next little while.


Board Games Purchased This Week:
Shelves - Shelves!! Finally!! Since I've been growing the library, all my games have been relegated to the closet, hidden away where no one can see.  This clearly is a problem as whats half of the beauty of a collection is to admire a collection.  When I'm not admiring it, it's nice to have it on display to allow others to admire it.  Sometimes if you have no one to play a game with, just looking at the boxes can be enough! Well almost anyway.. I've gone for a two plus one combo as I couldn't fit a four stack under the tv.  This has already created issues as I'm out of room!  Inside the bottom right box is a bunch of smaller games and for now the rest of the games I couldn't fit have been sent back to the closet.  Oh and this isn't a Kallax - there's no Ikea in Tasmania so I've had to resort to the cheaper Bunnings shelves.  I don't care, just looking at it makes me happy..



Sunday, 6 August 2017

Sometimes Kids Games Are The Best Games

Here's What I've Been Playing This Week:

Rhino Hero - For a simple dexterity kids game, Rhino Hero is actually pretty fun!  It's a bit like a more friendly, better looking version of Jenga, that has you pitting against your opponents as you build a tower for the Rhino Hero.  The goal is to be the first to play all your roof cards, but to play a roof card you must first build the walls in the tower by following the plan laid out on the previous players turn.  Skip a turn, pick up a card, change direction and other cards will feel familiar to Uno players, but with a destructive structure, Rhino Hero towers above other similar games to feel fresh and exciting.  Worth picking up if your after a simple and kid friendly filler.

Fuse - Am sure I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again just in case.  I love real time games! I find them some of the most intense games and its nice going into a game knowing exactly how long it will last.  Escape: Curse of The Temple is still my favourite real time game, but Fuse with a few more plays may be just the game to capture top spot.  If the 10 minute timer isn't pressure enough, the theme of diffusing bombs definitely helps!  We only did the training mission and only once. It was a win - but only just.  As fun as it was, from the start we were only ever going to play once as a quick fill in before moving on.  I'm definitely intrigued to try some more and see how challenging Fuse can become.  We didn't bother scoring as everyone was just happy that we won, but am sure will do things more properly when we actually sit down to actually give Fuse its proper dues.  Watch this space..

Biblios - It was a filler kind of night.  Biblios is one I hadn't played in a good year but randomly decided it was time to give it another go.  I've always liked it, but never loved it and the first 2 groups of players I tried it with didn't rate it too highly.  A third group a year later can often change things, but once again I felt the same.  Biblios seems to be highly rated for a filler but I personally just think its ok.  There's plenty of filler games and while Biblios plays smoothly and easily, its just not that exciting.  Even the dice moving from 3 to a 4 or dropping one from a 3 to a 2, doesn't seem that dramatic or game changing.  Everything about Biblios works fine, but for me it falls a bit flat when there's quite a few other fillers raring to go in the library.  This one is headed back to the shelf to collect a bit more dust but hopefully next time I try it my thoughts change.

Roll For The Galaxy: Ambition - First time trying with the expansion, but it was only really a half hearted attempt as we just played with the new black and orange dice and the new game starting tiles.  I debated using the whole expansion, but as it was a last minute decision to play Roll, I hadn't read the rules since I first got the game and wanted to just get straight into the game before others lost interest.  Having just the new starting worlds and factions made a difference and combining them with the black and orange dice did manage to breath some new life into one of my favourite dice games.  I think the new dice made the game easier - it just felt like I could do what I wanted to do more often as the dice allowed more freedom, which attributed to my highest score ever.  Potentially I built my engine well and played to my strengths better than usual, but I think having the leader dice made that possible.  So if the expansion gives you the creative freedom to focus on what you want from the start, but being more flexible and being easier to recruit workers - isn't that a good thing?  Not sure the others necessarily agreed, but in my opinion that part of Ambition is here to stay.

Scythe - My second game of Scythe.  The first game, while a hit that definitely taught us the basics - was filled with gameplay errors.  Funny how the actual rules often make the game better to play.  This time I borrowed the rule book and read up the night before on everything we did wrong the first game.  It wasn't much, but the little things we did wrong were enough to really alter Scythe in a bad way. After a quick five minute discussion on what the real rules were, we were off without barely a hitch.  I think the rule book was consulted once, possibly twice the whole game and everyone seemed to be a lot more efficient at building their engines and following along with a strategy.  Lucky for me, my strategy paid off with a convincing victory, but it was only because everything just seemed to fall into place.  Yes I had some idea of what I wanted to do, but even the other players seemed to be falling into place with what I wanted so the results were nice.  Not sure when we'll play again, but if its suggested I'm definitely there!


Board Games Purchased This Week:


T.I.M.E. Stories: Lumen Fidei - Our group still has a lot of catching up to do with the T.I.M.E Stories scenarios. We've completed Asylum and Marcy's Case and have mentioned starting A Prophecy Of Dragons a few times, but then obviously have Under The Mask and Endurance still to play through as well.  We meet once a week for a board game session (which sometimes turns into a Movie night too), and take it in turns picking the weeks entertainment and I know eventually someone will pick T.I.M.E. Stories and even if we have more breaks in between the scenarios - one day we'll get around to playing Lumen Fidei and most likely every other forth coming expansion.  So I'll get them all as they are released unless some how we decide we are sick of them.  But for $30-$35 and 2-3 nights of immersion in a narrative story, I'm definitely not complaining.

Celestia - Another quick simple filler that will be placed above the aforementioned Biblios.  At least that's how I think it will play out.  I enjoy Incan Gold, and Celestia from the surface appears to be a slightly deeper game with the same laugh out loud push your luck mechanic as Incan.  Is there room for both in the library?  Most likely not as proven by the fact Port Royal has barely been looked at since Incan Gold came around.  But if one game is going to replace Incan as my go to push your luck, I have a strong feeling it's going to be Celestia and it's a pretty good looking game to boot too!



Friday, 28 July 2017

Finally Played It

Here's What I've Been Playing This Week:

Timeline: Historical Events - Had a five player game of Timeline and while I still enjoy the game and found it fun with more players, I can see how the replay value just isn't there.  As it's my game, after playing seven times I've got a distinctive edge as you do start to learn roughly when certain events happened.  Its a double sided edge - one of the main appeals to Timeline is that you are learning, but the more you play the less playable the game becomes as you'll remember and memorize when certain events happened.  For the price and ease of play, I'd still recommend Timeline - just don't play it too much too soon!

Timeline: Science and Discoveries - While the aforementioned version of the game is mostly filled with cards you've heard of and your knowledge combined with a bit of deduction of the artwork can lead to some educated guesses, I find Science and Discoveries all guesswork.  Science isn't a particular strong point for me.  It could be coincidence, but having tried this with six different people now each time has gotten the same result.  It's mostly just random guesses and a bit of luck that wins the game.  Mixing the two together just adds a luck of the draw as to who gets the Events cards and who's stuck with Science cards.  This edition will suit certain people more of course but just generalizing, Historical Events will appeal to most and is the better version to buy.

Cardline: Globetrotter - As I mentioned last week, when I purchased a first in the Cardline series I thought it would blend with Timeline.  Same concept, different games - they don't mix.  We gave the population variant a try and found it very similar to Timeline: Science.  Our group was mostly just guessing the population of countries we'd never heard of and even when we did know the country we still found ourselves mostly guessing.  Again, people who know lots about countries populations, land mass, gdp and waste will find a lot of fun here and a bit of a challenge.  For us commoners with limited knowledge outside of a few of the major countries, this was another guessing struggle.  Pretty sure I accidently did guess one card right before the game was won.

Scythe - Finally.  The behemoth that is Scythe, one of the top 10 games on boardgamegeek's infamous board game rankings, a game with mostly critical acclaim and praise over the last year.  After reading reviews, scoping out pictures and looking for sales - I decided I would not be adding Scythe to my library for some time to come.  Why?  Well, nothing at all about Scythe, just more the current state of my library of games which features 15-20% of the games unplayed and another 25-30% of games that have only been tried once. Scythe is a beast and I have a few beasts like Mansions of Madness, Fury of Dracula, Terraforming Mars, Blood Rage, Crisis, Dead of Winter (and the Long Night), Through The Ages, Powergrid, and others that rarely or never have been played.  I came to the conclusion as much as I wanted Scythe it would be pointless to add it to the list of unplayed games that take a while to play at this point in time.  That's where a good friend came in handy.  We've often played board games together but his first modern board game purchase happened a couple of weeks ago and it happened to be Scythe.  Being the only game in his collection, I'm sure any time we are at his place to play a board game it will be Scythe - brilliant for me.  Now that I've explained why I personally don't have Scythe - how was my first play?  It was a struggle to be honest.  Not because of the game, but because it was the first game in ages that I've played without reading the rules first!  I don't know how many rules we played wrong but I have a feeling there was a fair few.  It didn't matter too much as I still got to experience and appreciate the scope and beauty contained in Scythe - and even though rules were realized and discovered throughout the whole game, I still had a lot of fun.  Just wish I had a better understanding of how the game is meant to be played and some of the rules we were initially playing didn't seem to make a lot of sense which made for a bit of a lesser experience for my first Scythe night.  Regardless, I'll be back for more (and can't wait), but am definitely going to read the rule book first!



Board Games Purchased This Week:


Time for the other half of last weeks purchases..

Black Fleet - I bought this for two reasons.  #1 It's pirates.  #2 It's got some good looking components including metal coins.  Will try it eventually!

The Blood Of An Englishman - For me two player games are some of the easiest to actually get to the table and get played.  The obvious reason being you only need to convince one other friend rather than get a whole group together.  Blood of an Englishman was purely bought on a whim.  It was cheap, I know I'll be able to play it and it features asynchronous gameplay which is something I really enjoy in two player games.

Rhino Hero - I saw this in a shop for $20 so I decided after seeing a fair few Instagram posts I may as well see what its all about.  Not in a rush to play it, but am sure the mood will strike me on a non gaming night and this looks like the perfect 'activity' game to turn a night of nothing into a night of board games.



Friday, 21 July 2017

Dominated

Here's What I've Been Playing This Week:

Dominion - Three game nights this week, all three nights we only played one game.  No filler to start or end, every minute spent working our way through the various Dominion recommended set ups while trying to efficiently master our decks. I think I've said it before but it doesn't hurt to say it again - Dominion is a Must Buy purchase!  It's so easy to play, in fact the rule book explains the rules as 'ABC' and they literally are that easy.  Learning how the different cards works is also pretty simple to pick up, but mastering the balance of your deck?  An entirely different story!  You need victory points to win, but having too many too early can really cripple your hand.  You need to be diverse, focus on cards that will give you more cards/money/actions/buys etc and build up your deck engine faster and more efficient than your opponents and load up on those victory points once its running.  Dominion is a breath of fresh air for me as I had never played a deck builder before this, and now that I've played one I can't get enough.  By the way, we still haven't included any of the Intrigue cards.


Board Games Purchased This Week:

It's rare for me to buy new board games and not even attempt to play them.  As mentioned however, Dominion has been the focus at the moment so these filler games will have to wait!  Also I've decided to split this into two posts as I don't anticipate buying any new games again for a little..

Dream Home - This game oozes with charm and seems like it'll be a perfect game on the easier side of things for those friends who don't really get into board gaming the way I do.  Bright, colourful and attractive artwork to match a theme of house decorating (or designing really), make for a good combination to hopefully lure and appeal to some friends who still think board games are about Monopoly or Pictionary.  Been wanting Dream Home for a while so am pleased to finally have it!

Cardline : Globetrotter - I've enjoyed my short time with the Timeline series enough to try and diversify it a little as to not get old so quick.  After purchasing this on a whim, I've since discovered the two games are not really mixable.  Guess I should have known since the titles are different.  At least there's a couple ways to play Cardline, am I'm fairly confident we'll try the population and maybe the land mass variants at some point.

Thief's Market - I actually don't know a whole lot about this one, it was a Kickstarted game and something about the theme appeals to me.  Most of this next batch of games were impulse buys to capitalize on a good sale, and I had seen Thief's Market on Instagram a couple of times so am hoping it was worth the purchase.  I'm thinking its a fast paced, bluffing / take that game.. but I could be completely off on that.  I guess a big reason I didn't try any of my new games this week is purely for this reason.  Aside from Dream Home, none of the rest were planned purchases for the library.  There could be a few duds but I'm hoping I might discover a treasure or two as well and I've got my hopes up for this one as being in the latter category.





Friday, 14 July 2017

Just Playing Some Newer Ones

Here's What I've Been Playing This Week:

Imhotep - Had some mixed feelings on this one when I first played it the other week, after another revisit my thoughts basically remain the same.  It's a good game but it doesn't really do much to stand out from the other 100 games in the library.  Its strengths are the fact it can be taught in about five minutes total and it can be played in 30-40 minutes.  Games that are accessible, with a quick play time but involve some planning and strategy are always winners for me, and overall Imhotep ticks all the right boxes.  I'm not exactly sure yet what it is about Imhotep that I don't really like, but it still sits in the 'neat' but not 'so amazing I just want to play again' category.  Having those few previously mentioned qualities of accessible, quick and with depth will most definitely see Imhotep with a strong potential for future plays - but I won't be surprised if I explore other games first.

Karuba - I've already played this game about 10 times in a couple of weeks. Feels like one of those games that I'll burn through quickly and be ready to move on soon, but until then I find myself quite enjoying this puzzle of a game.  It's the type of game that most will find some redeeming qualities in, including those who rarely play board games and experienced more hardcore gamers.  It's definitely on the lighter side and does play more like a puzzle than a game, but stream lining your paths, balancing your movements, collecting gold and crystals, and racing to the temple offer enough to do for the more serious games to enjoy a small diversion or two from things far more serious.  At least that's how I've found Karuba anyway!


Board Games Purchased This Week:

None - Don't be deceived, I'm not back to my restrained, controlled, mind over matter, I must resist the allure of more board games - me.  I'm just waiting for a few things to show up in the mail.  Shipping to Tasmania can often take that little bit extra.  Am sure things will start showing up in the next week or two!  P.S. Expect a fair few filler games to be featured here shortly, ones similar to this..






Friday, 7 July 2017

Two Is Better Than One

So last weeks delayed post has now become a double post this week, or at least two weeks worth combined in the one weekly recap.


Here's What I've Been Playing This (And Last) Week:


Dominion - Well spoiler alert but I couldn't resist some end of financial specials - and the 2nd edition Dominion big box with Intrigue, was one of my purchases. I've never played a deck builder game before but have always been remotely interested, especially after seeing countless instapics of the Legendary and Harry Potter deck building games. So this week I got to finally play one.  Even after reading and explaining the rules, I wasn't entirely sure how Dominion was going to play out and wasn't convinced I really 'got it'. Two turns later and I started to convince our small group that it'd get better and as we kept playing we'd work it out.  In reality I was trying to convince myself, but as the next few turns ensued - I was hooked!  What a brilliant game!  I've only been able to play a few three player games since, but am definitely anticipating delving further and further into the Dominion world and getting to a point where I want to add not only Intrigue, but other expansions.  It's just a lot of fun with everyone starting the same, with the same cards to select from and ending up with entirely different decks.  Highly recommend everyone give this classic a go!

Karuba - Another gaming mechanic that I haven't really ventured far into is tile laying / placement.  I've tried Carcassonne, just the once, as a three player game where the other two players knew the game inside out.  I don't mind losing a game (actually enjoy it!), but the lack of rule explanation did not help things and even after a full game I still don't get how you actually score points.  So that basically left a bit of a sour taste for the tile laying genre and the great Carcassonne resulting in the fact that I haven't played another one since.  Haba is known for their more 'kid friendly' games, so I decided to start fresh with a very basic tile layer and I'm glad I did.  Karuba is a simple, fun, well crafted easy to play game that definitely deserves a place in my library as a game that I know I'll be able to play with those who prefer the lighter side of gaming - and I'll still be having a good time.  It may not hold much interest for me personally for a very long time, but its definitely an excellent choice for a gateway game and will be an easy one to bring to the table (which is reflected by the 6 plays in one week).

Timeline: Historical Events - Simple concept, minimal execution and a great 10 minute distraction.  Place four cards about historical events on a timeline in their relative order of occurrence.  Place one of your four cards incorrectly in the timeline and your forced to draw a new one as you race your opponents to get rid of your cards first.  This game is one of the easiest to teach and while it lacks any real depth, it's just fun learning and outsmarting friends while you do it.  There are enough cards included to last a few games before you start seeing repeats, but the more you play the more you'll memorize the dates which will definitely impact the fun of Timeline - however that's where this comes into effect..

Timeline : Science & Discoveries - The same game but with a different theme.  The Timeline cards are all part of a series that can be combined and expanded on which each new set, to add more replay value before you have all of a set memorized.  My own personal taste inclines me to prefer the earlier mentioned Historical Events, but that's only due to my lack of general science knowledge and care.  History just resonates a little more with me, but by adding the two together made Timeline a better overall game.

Imhotep - Pretty sure this Egyptian themed game has won a few accolades for putting its own spin on a worker placement game.  There's a few unique ideas that lead to some interesting decisions that make it a worthy edition in the library at the moment, but my initial play didn't leave me with a particularly amazing feeling.  I've just had the one play so it's still too early to judge but after we finished our first play through I more considered Imhotep a neat game rather than a brilliant one.  Its got me curious enough to play some more and I'm invested enough to want to explore some different strategies, so overall I'd say its a win.  However with too many new games recently purchased, Imhotep isn't rushing to the top of the pile I'm itching to get back on the table, but I definitely know I'll play it again.



Board Games Purchased This (And Last) Week:


Dominion Big Box - I purchased the second edition of Dominion Big Box which while having a ridiculously large box, also includes one expansion - Intrigue. As written earlier, I'd never played a deck building game before I made the decision to purchase this classic of a game and let me say it wasn't without reservation.  Quite often I've found that 'classic' games of a genre were absolutely amazing for their time and really helped to advance board gaming in new and inventive ways, but sometimes the years aren't as kind to them.  Newer games steal and improve on the original concepts, offering far more enticing and attractive ways to play what was once a pioneering experience on the original counterpart.  Dominion is seen as the game that started deckbuilding, and now that I've finally played it, I can attest that it does still Dominate.  Really happy with this purchase!

Karuba - As a keen Instagrammer and follower, I've seen many trends of new board games to spam my feed as a new board game is released.  This is definitely great advertisement for publishers and if you make a good looking game, your more likely to have fans taking happy snaps.  Karuba is one of those games that got sold to me through Instagram.  Without the consistent bombardment of picture after picture of tiles, treasures, temples and meeples - I succumbed and bought Karuba for myself.  First purchase from Haba and also my first tile placement game in the library. 

Timeline: Historical Events - I've not only eyed off Timeline for a while, but have also had it in my online shopping basket too many times to count.  Need to spend that little bit extra to qualify for free shipping? Throw a version of Timeline in the basket and it'll get you an extra $15-$25 at most online stores.  Not sure how I got around it in the past, but before finalizing the order, Timeline was always removed and put into the trash from my virtual cart.  Well this time the sales were calling and at $12, this was just an outright purchase and not something used to satisfy free shipping requirements.

Timeline: Science & Discoveries - Knowing you could combine the Timeline series for a longer lasting game, I pretty well knew if I was going to buy one of the series I'd at least get another.  This theme was the one on sale that seemed to appeal to me most (my gut instincts were a bit average this day), and now it sits as the lesser version of Timeline in the library.  For $12 I'm not complaining though!

Imhotep - This was cheap, I was somewhat interested and now I own it.  I guess that's what sales are all about and it worked on me.  At full price I doubt I'd have purchased Imhotep as it wasn't personally over appealing, which most likely has effected my somewhat tempered thoughts after a first experience, but for now Imhotep is in the library to stay until I can make some further judgements after a few more plays.

Fuse - I love realtime games.  You know exactly how long you are going to be playing for before you start the game and they are also some of the most intense board game experiences.  I currently have Escape (very accessible) and Space Alert (rarely played) in the library and felt Fuse could find a place in between those two games for a bit more of a serious realtime experience that's still easy to play.  Yet to try it, but hope I was right.

Drakon - Marketing strikes again. This time not in advertising but just in the fact that this game was ridiculously cheap to purchase.  It's got a few cool components, based in the fantasy theme which I love, and it was like $15.  How could I resist?  I actually don't know much about this game and can't recall ever seeing or even hearing of it before, but now I can say I'm the proud owner of a Drakon.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Delayed

Sorry guys..

This weeks post will be a little delayed!

Will update asap

Here's a hint
Dominion
:)