Friday, 13 October 2017

Board Games Played This Week:

Timeline Challenge - Had a friend over who is a bit new to the modern board game world and was curious to try a couple.  Possibly not the best board game to introduce someone to the hobby as it's basically a different type of trivia game, but it worked well and he won our 3 player session.  While Timeline is just another answer questions party type game - I feel the educated (and random) guesses you can make never feels like your totally out of the game, and its got enough of a modern twist for it to be a bit unique.  Not as much of a pick up and play game as the basic version of Timeline, but I do like the various challenges that I personally think add to the game.

Welcome To The Dungeon - I was late to buying this game and even later to actually getting around to trying it.  It was sort of appealing but at the same time I also couldn't really be bothered with it as I didn't really think it was going to be anything special.  Well for a little box its filled with fun!  There's luck involved - like all card games, but there's a whole lot of bluffing and strategy going on in simple 5 minute rounds to make this one of my new favourite really quick fillers!  Technically a full game of four players can last a while, but I haven't minded just playing a few rounds until the first player is eliminated and crowning the winner the player who has the most successes or a final tie breaker round.  Not the way it was designed, but in small portions I'm really enjoying The Dungeon!

5 Second Rule - It was my birthday on the weekend and some friends bought me this for my birthday.  As with Timeline, this is another one of those party quick thinking kind of like a trivia type of games.  Timeline is better.  But 5 Second Rule does have its merits.  The first round it seemed like 5 seconds to answer a question was impossible, and as players before you use all the easy answers that you can't repeat, it was making things tough.  After a couple rounds however, everyone was mentally ready and 5 seconds seemed like just enough time to shout some random answers out.  Truthfully, this isn't exactly my type of game.  However it was very kind of the friends who bought it for me and it will have a place in the library for those very non board gamer friends who won't try anything that looks imaginative at all.

Rhino Hero - Classic simple kids game that I always have fun with regardless of who's playing and how old they are.  Not the greatest in longevity and definitely just a filler, but Rhino Hear nonetheless will have some moments of laughter and tension.  No strategy, mostly dexterity in this Jenga/Uno hybrid of a game.

Hey, That's My Fish! - Another one of those simple to play charming games that I have only recently decided to give a go.  This one is a surprisingly tactical but with a quick playing time and accessible rules, it's fairly easy to pull out for a quick round or two with anyone.

No Thanks! - Another simple game.  If you haven't got the theme this week, well it was mostly basic games for my birthday spent with friends and family who mostly don't play a lot of games.  That's where all these ones like No Thanks! and the aforementioned games come in handy as trying to convince people to sit down and be immersed in a three hour session of Dracula was never going to happen.  Pull out No Thanks however and everyone is up for a game.  Great game for anyone.

Camel Up - About as deep as I tried to go on my birthday and while others seemed to enjoy the game, I'm not convinced I really did.  Camel Up is okay, possibly playing with the full player count hurt this game as by the time it came to your turn again - most of the actions you would have done were taken.  I managed to win this, but didn't feel very engaged the whole game which is pretty rare for me.  Maybe all the easy games beforehand had been too much and I was craving something with substance and certainly didn't find it here.

Ca$h 'n Guns - After Camel Up, I thought this might be the difference.  I've had some really good games of Cash n Guns in the past, but this wasn't really one of them.  Must have been the group I played with.  We opted to not use the special powers as to not confuse the newer players, but still it was a struggle for some players to grasp.  Don't ask why, but things like dropping out of the gun fight with no guns pointed at you and taking a $5000 bill when there was $20,000's in the loot still caused a bit of frustration for me.  The first time this game has just been OK.

Dead Of Winter - Finally.  Something to sink my teeth into!  The next night I invited our normal board game crew over and we played a game that I've rarely been able to play.  I think I've tried this a total of 4 times and its ALWAYS been with new players (including this session) and I've always resorted to using the suggested 'first play' scenario of getting zombie blood.  Not this time!  I was determined to try something else and after a vote between two that I had previously picked - we tried to survive 5 rounds.  The game was going well, everyone seemed to pick things up fairly quickly (except we forgot to read crossroad cards far too often) and we were successfully completing all the crisis's every round.  I was beginning to think even though I had made it a 20% chance for a betrayer that we weren't going to have one.  That was until the 2nd last round when everything got sabotaged by a serial killer betrayer!  Unfortunately he sabotaged us too well that round and ended the game before he had successfully killed enough characters.  2 hours later - no one won!  But it was definitely the pick of the week and I'm glad to finally have tried a different scenario!  See you in another year Dead of Winter..

Board Games Purchased This Week:

Kingdomino - So I decided to see what all the fuss and hype was about on this inexpensive award winning board game.  Never really played dominoes but am intrigued enough to hope for another simple accessible classic along the lines of Splendor, Karuba etc.  Wouldn't surprise me if it gets played next week.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Large But Possibly Not So Great Haul

Board Games Played This Week:

Celestia - Enjoyed this one a fair bit a month or so ago when we played, so couldn't resist the temptation to pull it out again with some different players.  New group, same result.  Success. Celestia has become my go to push your luck game.  Easy to teach, easy to play, looks great, has an amazing ship component that while not necessary really adds to the game, and it's a lot of fun!  There's a few little decisions and choices to be made, but its a game about luck so even when the dice and cards are stacked against you - nobody cares, it just adds to the fun!  If you like Incan Gold / Diamont then I'd highly suggest Celestia.  Similar games so possibly not worth owning both but even though I always push things too far and end up losing, with the fun I've had with Celestia I don't expect Incan Gold to be played for a little while.

Tales & Games: The Hare & The Tortoise - While this seems like a repeat of a night I had when first trying Celestia and The Hare & The Tortoise, I actually wasn't intending to play both again in the same night.  Like I said it was a new crew than before and I actually had Not Alone or Once Upon  A Time in the selection of games I brought along that I was hoping to give a go.  However this was voted on and so we followed the brilliant Celestia with The Hare & The Tortoise which basically had the same result as last time and fell a bit flat.  There's nothing wrong with the game, but at the same time aside from some good quality production and looking the part, there's not a lot that really stands out?  It's reasonably rated on BGG with a 7.2 and I get that its more of a kids game, but can't help but feel a bit of disappointment with this one.  It's getting close to one that might fade towards the bottom of the pile shortly if a third play through ends with the same results.

Hey, That's My Fish! - It's been in the collection for a little while, but I've only just gotten around to playing Hey, That's My Fish!  Aside from all the punctuation when typing the proper title, there's not really anything bad to say about 'Fish'.  I've read complaints about the set up which to be fair does take a little bit of time, but its an easy monotonous set up that can be done by a few people without thinking and fairly quick.  So personally I'd say while a bit fiddly, the set up isn't an issue at all.  Once the game is set up, your ready to out smart and trap your opponents in an effort to eat the most fish as possible!  Each move you make the ice (game board) shrinks, leaving you less options and less fish to eat.  It was described as 'the most chess-like game' we played that night, and there is a fair bit that goes into out playing your opponent, but it's done in a very simple manner and one that doesn't really matter too much if you make a wrong move.  You just use one of your other penguins and try and do the same back!  It's quick, fun, challenging and easy to play.  All the makes of a good game that can be played both with kids and adults alike.  In a way it's kinda more what I was hoping Tortoise to be..

Welcome To The Dungeon - Sometimes a second play or a different group can make a huge difference on a game.  Of course such was the case with this weeks play of Welcome To The Dungeon!  The first time I played this (maybe three months ago), I gotta admit I wasn't entirely fussed on it.  To be fair it was a two player game and this time was with three of us - but what a difference it was this week.  I really enjoyed this simple but strategic game of bluffing!  There's a delicate balance between sabotaging your opponents by making the dungeon impossible and giving the impression of a sabotage so you can venture into the dungeon and reap its reward.  It works really well and is such a simple but clever concept that I'm surprised I haven't actually played anything too similar before.  A quick game is a good game as it means you can often play another round or move onto another game, especially when that game is just a filler before or after the main event.  This game fills that spot almost perfectly other than the player elimination factor which might leave your opponents a little bored while waiting. What more can I say about Welcome To The Dungeon other than I look forward to playing it again and just hope I don't get eliminated first!

Dominion - Still the only deck builder I've played, although I did acquire a new one this week.  We played one round based on the 'Silver & Gold' set up and even though it seemed to last a lot longer than our other games - everyone was loving it.  For a game with only some basic interaction, there seemed to be a lot happening this time and there was a lot of laughing going on.  I didn't win, I didn't care. Dominion is slowly creeping up my list of favourite games and I haven't even ventured to the Intrigue expansion, which came with the game and I'm expecting will only add more fun and conundrums as I struggle to build the most epic deck!  Okay so in theory it's not that exciting, but in reality it works.  Will definitely be sharing the fun with more new players at any opportunity, and while it might not be the best game ever, Dominion has given me feelings of when I first started to play 7 Wonders.

Board Games Purchased This Week:

So there's a lot this week, but I'm not going to split it into multiple posts.  These were bought off Gumtree as a package.  I offered the seller $60 or 5$ / game for his lot of 12, knowing there would most likely be a fair amount of duds included but hoping for a gem or two.  I won't say much about these games as realistically I think I had only heard of one of them before..

The Witcher: Adventure Game - This is the one game I had definitely heard of, but realistically I don't even know what I heard about it other than the name seemed familiar.  Looks like a fantasy dungeon crawler type but I could be completely off on that. In typical Fantasty Flight fashion there are lots of little pieces, some nice artwork and mini's for the main characters which spice it up a little. Components wise this looks to be the bargain of the bunch and I expect I'll eventually at least give this game a go.

Guatemala Café - A game about coffee.  I don't drink coffee.  Rio Grande Games, a bit older.. could be okay but I'm not entirely convinced.  Lots of pieces and a fair bit of wood for an older game. Components remind me a little of Catan. Not in much of a rush to play this one.

Hellas - A two player game from Kosmos and Rio Grande Games, I do enjoy a good game for two and I've been told this one is actually OK.  Bit of a war theme, components are a mixed bag.  The little soldiers and viking ships look decent but the art work on the lacks is pretty ordinary!  Reckon this one will get played.

Mammut - Queen games, interesting cover featuring a wooly mammoth that immediately makes me think an ice age/cave man theme.  Nothing stands out in the components but they all look sufficient. Comes with a colourful little bag that holds all the animal tiles, but that could be a home made one that I've acquired.  If the game is terrible I'll take the bag and add it to another game.  Mammut looks to be one that I reckon I could easily get others to at least try.  Hopefully its not a failure when we do.

Maharani - Not sure how to pronounce that but the box art is giving me Indian vibes.  Another one from Queen games, this one has a fair few tiles and generic wooden pieces and colors.  Nothing stands out but again it looks like one I'm sure I could convince others to try.  If these all turn out to be average at best my credibility of bringing a game to the table could be ruined.  Like the look of this enough to try it and it seems simpler.  So far in terms of which games I'll most likely play first I'm ranking them: Hellas, Mammut, Maharani, The Witcher (only cause it looks like a long one) and Guatemala Café.

Loch Ness - Bright, colourful and fun artwork might actually put this at the top of the to play list with these new games.  Minimal components which gives the impression of a simpler game, this is another one from Rio Grande Games and features a cool Loch Ness monster meeple.  I'd be surprised if I haven't had a chance to try this one by the end of the year.

Epic Spell Wars Of The Battle Wizards Duel At Mt Skullzfyre - Terrible name so I won't bother typing it again.  Epic Spell Wars appears to be more of a comical game then a serious one and by the looks of it the original owner might have gotten it as a gift.  Its actually completely brand new with the card board not punched and the cards still sealed.  I'll be honest, the cover art doesn't really appear to me.  Most likely way off on this but first impressions are giving me a Munchkin vibe - think I rate this just about Guatemala Café in terms of games I'm looking forward to playing.

Aton - Generic cover art with generic pieces, this older Queen Games release doesn't seem to have anything special going for it.  Hopefully it's really fun because at the moment I'd rather play Guatemala Café making this the game I'm least excited to try.  A few classics age well, this is definitely not one of them.

Bomb Squad Academy - From TMG Bomb Squad Academy is definitely a game I'll try based on a few things.  It's small, quick to play and bomb games often make for good tension.  Fuse and Boom-o come to mind and this looks to be a bit of a mix between the two which could be a bit of fun for a little filler game.  Reckon this might be at the top of the list now.

Cold War CIA vs KGB - Featuring the most worn box out of the games that I purchased - this could mean that it's a good game or so bad it was often neglected with care.  It's a Fantasy Flight game without a huge box, huge rule book and no mini's at all.  I'm going to say this falls into the former and could be a sleeper hit out of the twelve I just bought.  2 player, America vs Russia, stakes are high and hopefully so is the tension and decisions.  Really want to give this one a go but not everyone likes a more modern war theme so I'm not sure how I'll go finding someone to play it with me.  Might investigate this one further on BGG and if the reviews are solid, I'll force it on someone.

Pack Of Heroes - Small box, comic book style art and cards that are mostly black and white.  Looks like a two player game that started with a good idea but wasn't unique enough to make an impact on the board game world.  Not really that fussed on this one even though it falls into some of the categories that should in theory make it easy for me to find a willing opponent.  Still not on the bottom of the to be played pile.

Pixel Glory - My first thought when seeing this was Boss Monster.  A fun and niche game but nothing mind blowing.  What has me more intrigued is that the box says 'A fast-paced deck-building game'.  With how much I've been loving Dominion, I'm pretty hopeful this could be good as well.  Its brand new and never been played which could be a bad sign - but often board gamers can end up with a large pile of shame so it was nice for this owner to pass them on cheaply.  Unfortunately for these games they've been passed onto someone who already has a gigantic pile of unplayed games and some will be relegated there.  Pixel Glory looks to be one that will finally be opened.. but not for a while.  I'm still enjoying Dominion too much to venture into a new deck builder!

And that's a wrap.  12 board games that I basically knew nothing about and wasn't interested in until a 5$ bargain came along.  Time will tell if it was a worthy investment or a waste of money - that mostly depends on whether I actually play this or not.  I'm hoping I get to try some of them, but with so many good unplayed games sitting on the shelf it will remain a mystery for now.

Friday, 22 September 2017


Board Games Played This Week:

Timeline Challenge - While I don't mind playing the odd 'party game', more often than not I'd prefer to play a lighter filler game that involves some strategy or tactics as opposed to random guessing and acting dumb.  They have their purpose though and are more often than not the first board games people play as they can be quite accessible.  In my quest to have a board game for every type and occasion, a few party games have managed their way into the library.  Telestrations, Codenames and Times Up! are the few that come to mind as being some of my favourites - but the few editions of the Timeline series that have been played have all been really enjoyed.  A quick game is a good game.  Epic journeys through an immersive game are also amazing experiences, but its the simple things that seem the easiest to sell to a group and actually get played.  Timeline is one that I've never struggled with getting to the table.  'You got 5 minutes? Try this..'  5 minutes later, 'Can we play that again?'.  Rinse and repeat.  Timeline Challenge is the 'proper' board game version and after two plays in two weeks I'm just about ready to call it the definitive edition.  It's the same thing, only longer and with more variety.  It's an easy concept to grasp - guess the year this random event happened.  Some you may have heard of, a couple you might even know the exact date, however most will fall into the category of 'I've got no clue but with a bit of deduction I can take an educated guess'.  Those same factors are prevalent in Timeline Challenge and possibly even more as the different 'events' normally give you an easy chance to move ahead so you never quite feel out of it.  It plays longer, but with the extra things going on I feel like Challenge will give you some extra mileage on your cards and it appears it will still be easy to get on the table.

Takenoko - A few more plays of this beautifully charming Panda Japanese gardening adventure!  Takenoko is great, and just the way it looks will be enough to allure most gamers.  Not the deepest game and luck plays a factor, but there's enough you can do to try and help mitigate this.  I've still only played this as a 2 player game so am looking forward to trying it with 3 or 4 soon.

Zoomaka - Currently live on Kickstarter and about 50% funded.  If you enjoy card games, Zoomaka breathes some new life into the genre by giving you options, actions and more to think about than simply playing one card every turn. You need to build and complete your Zoo before any of your opponents to win.  To build your Zoo you'll need four exhibits filled with animals which are sorted into different types - animals with hoofs, animals that eat banana's, animals that fly etc.  Each type requires a different amount of cards to complete an exhibit.  Some animals have the advantage of belonging to two categories and there's also a couple rare chameleon cards that can slot into any exhibit.  It's not just animals in your Zoo that you'll be focused on as you'll also need money for your Zoo.  The currency 'Zoomas' is required to pay for action cards your opponents play against you, but to earn money you have to sacrifice one of the cards in your hand as well as an action.  You can always gamble and hope your opponent won't play a card that forces you to pay, but if you have no money in the bank your zoo has to pay with its animals which end up straight into your competitors attractions.  That's a quick summary of Zoomake, and if a card game about animals and a zoo, mixed with planning and strategy sounds enticing to you - then I'd suggest you go and back it now (link on the picture below).  Personally, card games have never really been my thing and as such I've decided to pass on backing Zoomaka.  I enjoyed it a lot more than traditional card games like Uno and Skip-Bo, but even with its stronger mechanics, Zoomaka is still a card game at heart.  That's not a bad thing - especially if you enjoy card games, but it wouldn't see enough time on my table to justify a purchase.

7 Wonders & Cities - First game of the mighty 7 Wonders in nearly a year!  We got our original gaming group back together on a sunday night and at the suggestion of one of the group, we went back to our roots for a game of Wonders.  It took a quick refresh on the set up and about 2 minutes before everyone got back into it like we had never stopped playing.  To make it simpler we voted on one expansion and Cities with its extra card each age, peaceful dove, debt and powerful black cards made the cut.  Oddly enough, there wasn't one vote for the tower of babel expansion (and yes that was sarcasm as no one ever really knew what was going when we used to play it!).  7 Wonders used to feel intense, but this game was just fun and relaxing.  The scores were all within about 5-6 points from 1st to 5th and I barely squeezed out a victory with a strong mix of victory points across all categories.  Not sure when we'll play again.  It could be a long while before our next Wonders session, but I know when we do get around to it, we'll all love and enjoy this classic once again.

T.I.M.E Stories: A Prophecy Of Dragons - The last game for this two week, weekly recap is our third play through of the Dragons scenario for T.I.M.E Stories.  Our first adventure through this episode was a 10/10 and possibly the most I've enjoyed a run through of T.I.M.E Stories, yet with each successive trial through the score has slowly been downgraded.  I absolutely love the new elements and am excited about the creativity and effort that is consistently put into each scenario.  Dragons played out like an RPG with spells, weapons, armor, potions, maps, thieves, warriors, wizards and everything else you'd expect in a fantasy setting.  It also boasts the most non linear experience (of the 3 scenario's we have currently played), with multiple ways to conquer and challenge the quest to discover the Prophecy.  That's what made the first play through so enjoyable, it was different and exciting, we were comparing characters and invested to try make them stronger and debated who's character was best suited for each task.  As I keep saying, I loved the first play through.  So what happened between the first and the third?  Well the biggest problem with T.I.M.E Stories is also its biggest asset in making it unique.  The time factor.  Being constantly on the clock and trying to solve the mystery before time runs out, keeps the tension and pace high.  Having to redo those things a 3rd time almost becomes a chore, especially when you've already made it to the very end only to fail - you've seen everything and know what's coming already.  Your just going through the motions and the only real choices are what do we skip, what's not important and what is a trap.  Thus our journey into fantasy became a game of memory and dice rolling.  This is the same experience we had with Asylum and The Marcy Case, both of which also took us three runs to complete.  The difference with Dragons is the story, or lack thereof.  I can loosely tell you what was going on, but realistically we either somehow avoided it in our three times through or it was severely lacking on this episode.  Both of the aforementioned scenarios, the resolve of the mystery and what was going on is what kept us engaged, but in Dragons we didn't have any sense of what was going on or even care to know.  I love fantasy and all the rpg concepts included in Dragons were an absolute treat, but at the end the only thing I was caring about was making sure my character had the best gear I could, which wasn't enough to see me trek through a whole set of already played out locations.  Maybe the T.I.M.E Stories experience is wearing thin?  I disagree as I can't wait to head to Egypt, the ocean and the Knights Templar on our next few scenario's, but I'm hoping we'll find ourselves more invested in the stories as they unfold in the future.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Quality Over Quantity

Board Games Played This Week:

Scythe - Just the one game this week.  We had a cancelled gamenight where we were intending to try out the soon to be kickstarted Zoomaka as well as try to complete A Prophecy Of Dragons on our latest T.I.M.E Stories quest.  Those will have to wait until next week now, but we did manage to get another game of Scythe in which I'll never have complaints about.  This time I went as the Red Faction (sorry I don't memorize the proper names) and used a strategy of controlling the factory and most of the tunnels to some how sneak out a victory.  It was the first game where our popularity made it to the third tier which is always a nice bonus especially when 3 of the other players didn't.  I do enjoy Scythe - lots to think about and it takes a fair bit for everything to come together well.  Is it my favorite, the most amazing game ever?  Definitely not.  But it does a lot right and has plenty to sink your teeth into for a 2-2.5 hour game.

Board Games Purchased This Week:

Once Upon A Time - Truthfully I have no idea if/when I'll get around to playing this game, so in reality maybe it wasn't such a good buy after all.  Impulse as usual, as I found it on gumtree for $10 and thought I'd add it to the library.  I don't really know much about this game other than that its a card game where you are trying to complete a fairytale and use all your cards before your opponents.  Could be fun for a small diversion or it could fall incredibly flat.  Feels a bit risky to pull out when there's other games I know will work well with whoever I'm playing with - but one day I'm hoping I'll be pleasantly surprised when I decide to give it a go.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Back To Our Normal Programming

Board Games Played This Week:

Dream Home - Invited some currently renovating and fanatics of the block around for a game of Dream Home.  Seemed fitting for them and even though we've played a few board games in the past together, the theme of building a home and the colourful presentation really seemed to win them over.  Unfortunately having played about a dozen games now, I've already noticed a bit of the charm starting to wear thin.  Is a good game for the casual crowd and would be easy to convince most to give it a go - but there isn't enough going on to really hold my interest beyond a simple gateway filler.

T.I.M.E Stories: A Prophecy Of Dragons - Second play of this one after really enjoying last weeks first trial through of this scenario.  I feel like I get the same feeling everytime we have our second play.  We take our time and get immersed on the first play and the second one we spend so much time before hand coming up with a plan but never seem to enjoy it as much as we've seen all the art work and spend the game rushing around and questioning each others memory.  I still think Prophecy of Dragons is a good break from the usual, but after thinking we had it cracked only to once again anger Bob, our team was a bit deflated that we'll be returning for a third play through.  Fairly confident we got it this time and hoping we don't make the same error we do every time and decide to enjoy it rather than rush through.

Takenoko - My first time ever playing Takenoko after constant debate of whether I needed it in the library or not.  It didn't disappoint.  Takenoko is just as good as it looks and I personally (along with most others I'm sure) find this a very good looking game!  It oozes with charm and a bit of culture to go with it in a beautifully presented tile placement / action selection light strategy game.  It's a 30 minute relaxing experience as you grow and water the Palace garden, while a Panda roams around eating the bamboo you've just grown. Even without the Panda, Takenoko would be decent.  Adding the Panda just makes this a winner and one that I'll bring out for a while to come, even if its just to show off this colourful garden world.

Board Games Purchased This Week:

Part Two

Doom - This is one epic game that didn't hang around that long.  It looks amazing, has tonnes of miniatures begging to be painted, and features an all vs one mechanic that I really enjoy.  However, I realized a while ago that you can only have too many of the same type of game as realistically you'll mostly play the one you like best.  Doom almost fills a niche, but I have a few similar type games so I decided to give it to a friend for his birthday who often plays board games with us but has a smaller collection himself.  He was pretty pleased, so I'm happy to see it go to a good home and know I'll be around to play it at his place anyway.  Two birds with one stone - smiles all around.

Sons Of Anarchy Men Of Mayhem - I really enjoyed the first couple seasons of this show, and while I stayed until the end I was less and less interested with what was going on in the far fetched adventures of the Sons Of Anarchy.  Licensed board games are often just good for fans of the content and I wouldn't really put myself in the big SoA fan category, so why did I purchase the SoA board game?  Read a couple of reviews.  For a licensed game, this one seems to have got it right with the game play and mechanics before adding a theme.  It's a worker placement game but with lots of bits of action going on at the same time that make it seem much more involved.  I'm not rushing to get this to the table, but know eventually I'll get around to giving it a go and secretly (or not now that I've just told everyone..) I'm hoping that I'll end up loving this.

Unlock: The Formula - I've done one escape room hand cuffed to two other people and after 60 minutes of puzzles and fun, we just managed to escape as the clock was about to expire.  At the end we still had one key on us that we hadn't managed to figure out what it was for - like the idiots we were, we had to ask only to discover we had been carrying around the key for the handcuffs that had made solving the puzzles awkward for the last hour!  It was a good memory and something that while I wouldn't often I'd definitely recommend.  One of the latest board gaming trends is to replicate that experience through puzzles in a board game.  I'm not convinced on the immersion of being locked in a propped out room will be felt just through reading cards, but I'm curious enough to want to give it a go.  Dunno why I started with this one and it was a tough choice between the Unlock and Exit series, but ultimately I settled on the Unlock one so I can loan it to someone else to have a go after.

Hey, That's My Fish - Small, cheap and a classic for all ages.  Did I need this game? Definitely not, but while I've already paid for the shipping why not add a smaller affordable game or two (Timeline Music & Cinema being the other one).  I know this is just a simple game but aside from the complaint that it takes just as long to set up and it does to play - everyone seems to enjoy it.  Don't imagine I'll see it out often, but its good to have something like this in the library for some of the younger games and that alone was enough for me to click on the 'Add to Cart' button.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Going Back In T.I.M.E

Board Games Played This Week:

Time Stories: A Prophecy Of Dragons - This week our group decided to go back to T.I.M.E Stories for another quest.  It wasn't that we didn't enjoy Asylum or the Marcy Case - truthfully we had a really good time with them over the 6-7 weeks we spent playing.  However in the interest of not wearing the game out, we had a break and decided it was a good time to travel through time and discover the dragons or the prophecy of them anyway.  Our first play through started with a quick brush up on the rules and then we were off again right where we left.  Only this scenario felt a lot more like an rpg!  Magic, money, new weapons, armor, spells, potions, stealing and some basic role playing elements largely replaced the traditional things like puzzles and story.  Yes there's a bit of both of those in Dragons, but mostly it felt like an adventure.  Whether that's a good thing or not is crowd dependant - but our group had an excellent first run through and are eagerly awaiting our repeat visit because of course we let Bob down again.

Rhino Hero - Had a few friends with younger kids over (around 10-12 years old) so figured Rhino Hero might be a good place to start.  It's simple and mindless but not only did they enjoy themselves, I found myself having a good time as well building up our tower for our rhino hero to climb.  While they were happy to go back for a third game I decided to mix it up with a new game.

Tales & Games: The Hare & The Tortoise - Bit of a long title on this one but its nicely presented in a book like fashion.  Based on the classic tale, this racing game mimics the story we know so well but includes some other animal friends for what is deemed the 'rematch' between the hare and the tortoise.  All players will hedge their bets at the start of the game and play cards to try hinder the other racers while sneaking theirs across the finish line to glory.  We played twice and  I gotta admit I was a little underwhelmed.  I realize its a kids game, but with Camel Up already in the library as another racing/gambling game I'm not sure both are needed.  Both games score points for style and presentation but I feel Camel Up is the better of the two with just a little bit more going for it in what you can actually do each turn.  As charming as it is, I'm not sure I'll be rushing to get this back to the table in a hurry.

Guillotine - An older classic that I hadn't played in a fair while, Guillotine is a simple, fun and luck based card game that at least makes you feel like you can somewhat control your destiny.  Still on the same night with the younger kids, this one didn't seem to work out as well as the others.  It was okay, but likely better left for a casual crowd of gamers just that little bit older.  Just the one game of this and we were ready to move on.  Oh and I came dead last.

Celestia - Another new game, in hindsight I should have learnt the game before the night rather than learning in a quick 5 minute break.  Luckily it was easy to learn and play while the others built the flying ship - also known as one of the coolest unnecessary components.  The ship is brilliant and somehow adds to the game even though it could easily be played without it. This is just a 'push your luck' but with tight mechanics and a really well presented production.  Celestia looks great and helps create some atmosphere with bright visuals as you fly around looking for floating Islands with treasure.  After only one play, I'm just about ready to take the crown off Incan Gold for best push your luck game to now give that honor to Celestia.  It's nothing amazing, but it ticks all the right boxes and is certain to please any fans of casual board games and fillers.

Timeline: Music & Cinema - One of the lowest reviewed editions of the timeline series, Music & Cinema was a complete impulse buy but one that I was actually happy with.  First it was on special and that always helps, but its actually one where I know or recognize most of the cards.  Sure a lot of the dates are guesses, but it makes the game a little more fun when you see a card and immediately try stretch your brain for the answer rather then using logic like I have on most of the other editions.  The only problem with this edition is that most of the cards are from the last 50 years.  Even still I enjoyed it a lot more than the science edition.

Board Games Purchased This Week:

A few this week so I've decided to split them again.  Post 1 will mostly cover the ones I've already played.

Tales & Games: The Hare & The Tortoise - If you read above you already know that while the Hare and the Tortoise is perfectly playable, It's realistically one that if I had played first I would have skipped.  It's too similar to Camel Up for my personal tastes, but there might still be something here for others.  First the rules and balancing of the racers is done in a clever way.  There's some neat tricks you can do to prevent other racers from advancing but utilizing things like the wolves howl or the fact that if the hare is leading and 4 hare cards are played, the hare doesn't advance.  These little nuances do create a bit of tension and investment, but overall aside from the production values (which in some ways was higher than I was expecting) I did come away a bit disappointed with this purchase after my first two plays.  I bought this as a lighter game that would be suitable when playing with younger kids, but found myself a bit bored while actually playing.  Plenty of other games in the library that I can enjoy while playing with younger ones and with space becoming almost a bigger commodity than funds - at this point I'm not sure the Hare is staying long enough to win the race.

Timeline Challenge - I've been surprised by the Timeline series.  Small, so easy to play and yet rewarding it expounds upon your knowledge of events, dates and important times from our history.  It's been a bit of a treat playing through the different editions, yet somehow I didn't even realize they had made a proper board game in the same vein as the Timeline games.  After reading a couple reviews that praised this as the best way to play Timeline, and of course as with all the editions, the fact that these can be combined with any of the other cards had me sold.  It went straight to the top of my must buy list and as soon as I had decided to make an order, Timeline Challenge was in my online shopping cart.  Haven't played it yet, but even just reading the rules has me convinced it was an excellent buy that should see a bit of table time shortly.

Timeline: Music & Cinema - I bought this just because I knew I was already getting the Challenge version of this game and figured more cards wouldn't hurt.  For some reason this could be the least popular edition of the game, yet it's the one I know the most about.  There's a lot of similar years, leading me to think it might not combine so well with Challenge, but I've had enough fun with it already to warrant it sitting nicely in the library.

Castles Of Burgundy: The Card Game - I have never played Castles of Burgundy. The box, art and theme does nothing to appeal to me.  The masses of board gamers who claim its one of the best games if not their favorite game of all time are the thing that keeps me debating whether to make the plunge and get it.  I'm sure I'd like it as everyone else does, but will I be able to get a basic looking game to the table easily?  That's the challenge that after thinking about often causes me to hit the 'delete' from shopping list button.  Along comes the card game edition of this classic which I found at a FLGS for a bargain price of $25.  I'm comfortable paying that much knowing it may never come out of it's box, but am hoping it eventually not only makes it out, but gains enough interest with our group that I realize I actually have to have the original edition.  That's the theory anyway, watch this space to see if it works out..

More to follow next week (so much for slowing down on the purchasing.. the struggle is real)
 for a hint just look at the picture

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..