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
:)


Saturday, 24 June 2017

One Last Trek To Hollywood

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

Hollywood - Finally got to introduce this to the person I thought would like it the first time I played it.  I wasn't let down either as not only did they enjoy it but they came away with a pretty decisive win - speaking of which I actually haven't managed to win Hollywood yet and not only that but I typically come dead last.  Regardless its a bit of fun, but now that I've introduced it to everyone I wanted to I don't imagine it'll be back to the table too quickly.  There's nothing wrong with the game, of course you play games to have fun and it certainly does that - but aside from a couple of neat ideas, its basically a simple version of 7 Wonders with a movie theme.  If you couldn't afford both, 7 Wonders is by far the better game with a lot more potential in its expansions, but I'm happy to have Hollywood in the library for a stress free drafting fix.  I really like the double blind auction mechanic here, where you secretly not only select a card but also have to determine how much your willing to pay for it (spending from your earnings no less, highest earnings = winner).  If someone else happens to bid on the same card as you, there's potential for you to spend your box office dollars and come away empty handed.  It works great and creates some interesting decisions so I'm surprised I've never come across this way of bidding before.  Oh and the movie of the year awards are pretty cool too.  Worth checking out if you can find it somewhere.

Ticket To Ride Europe - I haven't played this since giving it away to my sister a good year ago so it was nice to settle back in to this classic game of trains and trek across Europe.  Inviting a player to join us, who tried it about two years ago and didn't like it was always going to be a bit of a risk - but it was one that paid off in the end.  Sometimes you just need a second game before properly making up your mind and that's exactly what happened here when he tried it again.  I managed to win overall by 1 point and a close game is always a good game regardless of whether you win or not.  However, playing Ticket To Ride again has actually cost me some money.. You see I decided after playing that if I bought the 1912 expansion it'd rekindle the magic and maybe we'd start playing it more.  Well read on below to see how that went.


Board Games Purchased This Week:

Nothing New.. Yet - If you just read above before reading this then you'll know I broke my self imposed hiatus.  I just figured a small $30-$40 expansion wouldn't hurt.  The trouble is, I didn't even buy 1912, the game I was looking for.  I had been eyeing off Karuba for a while as it seems to meet a niche that I don't currently satisfy with the library I have.  I tried Carcassonne once a few years ago and forever reason I decided it wasn't for me.  Since that one bad experience I've gone off any Tile Laying games which as a result means I don't actually own one.  Why Karuba? Well mostly its had a lot of positive reviews about being an accessible game for anyone that while filled with luck also has a bit of strategy. It just sounds fun and sounds like something that'll get played which is always most important, and I didn't mention its actually the first time I've come across Karuba for sale in Australia.  The worst part and biggest problem is I didn't even stop there.  Once you start, there's always another game you need! Ah well.. Just a few little things which I'm sure you'll see here over the next couple of weeks.  Happy Days :)



Friday, 16 June 2017

Corruption Of Waterdeep

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

Time's Up! Title Recall! - We had a board game night which consisted of about 15 casual fans aged from about 12 to 60.  We split into two groups - one group spent the night playing Codenames and Boom-o while our group only managed to play to play one game.  We were going to start with Times Up, but everyone was enjoying it so we even decided to do the optional round where you need to hold a pose for your team to guess.  If you haven't played Times Up yet, its by no means a strategy game of any sort.  It is a party game similar to many other 'guessing' type games and sure feels like something you've played before when you first start.  However as the rounds progress you continue to give clues for the same 40 cards each round until the game ends.  How exactly is that fun?  Well each round the restrictions become tighter to the point you can't speak and have to do actions, or in the case of the optional fourth round can only strike a still pose while your team has their eyes closed.  It's amazing the lingo you'll create and how some simple clue can turn into the longest answer, and for anyone who stops for a look late in the game they'd be completely lost to the point they'd think everyone else was cheating.  It's deceptively a brilliant party game and one highly recommended for a light night with friends.

Scoundrels of Skullport - I can't remember exactly when I purchased this expansion to Lords of Waterdeep, but as much as I've often heard how much better it makes LoW for the most part it's been sat on the shelf untouched.  It just seemed pointless to add as I was still enjoying LoW and didn't really feel the need to complicate it and add in a bunch of new rules etc.  Well I was wrong.  It happens from time to time and I've no problem with admitting that we should have added Scoundrels of Skullport a while back.  Its the exact same game, but improved upon in basically every way!  This isn't an expansion that completely changes the base game, it merely gives what's already there so much more life.  Decisions are far more weighted, Intrigue cards were played every round multiple times and the corruption! How good is the corruption mechanic!  Its just ever so tempting to think okay I can afford to take one as I'll be able to lose it later, only to find a couple rounds later you have 5 of those pesky blue skulls sitting at your tavern!  If you like LoW then I'd highly suggest getting the expansion as it just makes for an overall better game, with new cards, new lords, new quests, new action locations and new rules that can literally be learnt in two minutes.  The game doesn't become complicated but your strategy certainly does as you can accomplish so much more.  We really enjoyed this expansion and will most likely include it for all future plays.  There is two expansions in the box, but they are minor enough that you can include both on your first play and I'd be very surprised if anyone thought Waterdeep was better without the Scoundrels!


Board Games Purchased This Week:

Doing Well - Two weeks in a row with no new purchases and got to try a new game (albeit an expansion) that I've had on the shelf for months.  Plus there's a few end of financial specials getting about so I'm pleased I've mostly been able to refrain from purchasing (okay there might be one or two games coming in the mail shortly..)



Friday, 9 June 2017

Time On Mars

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

Terraforming Mars - My newest game, and since I said I wasn't going to be buying any games for a while and broke my own pact, this game was always destined to be played right away.  Two separate nights of Terraforming Mars, two different results.  The first night I take full responsibility as I didn't read the rules clearly enough.  We/I made the huge mistake of thinking you could each only do one or two actions every generation and as a result about 2/3rds through the game we decided to not only stop producing (had run out of cubes), but we also weren't taking cards.  The game dragged, and money and cards seemed worthless.  I don't think anyone was having a particularly good time - but I knew I must have made a mistake somewhere.  A game this highly rated couldn't turn dull half way through the game.  Even with this huge error, I saw the potential and knew if I could figure out what we were doing wrong, there was still a lot of hope for mars and most specifically Terraforming Mars.  After a bit of research I found out that the mistake we made was somewhat common with groups who were all playing for the first time.  With the problem realized and fixed, we decided to come back a second night to properly play the way the designers intended.  Ahhh.. what a difference!  Everything had weight and meaning now.  Our second play through went a lot smoother with the only negative being almost a three hour game for three players.  I lost by one point based on a silly error on my very last turn - but it didn't matter.  We all enjoyed it and will definitely play again.  However, the time factor is a bit of a killer here.  I find it hard to get long games like this played often, and am hoping that the soon to come expansion with its two boards fixes this.  A side of mars that plays quicker, with faster win conditions to bring Terraforming Mars to a 1.5-2 hour game would really put this in the Must Buy category.  As it stands now its certainly one worth giving a go, and if you have the time and friends to spend a few hours together to play with - it might just become a new favourite.



Board Games Purchased This Week:

Nothing - Back to the quest to conquer more of my non played games before buying more.