Recent Board Gaming


I found some rules people have written around this.

They ban some leaders and wonders. They also ban discarding unless you legitimately can’t play any card in your hand.


I think it’s easier and more interesting to play Sushi Stop than 7 Blunders.


Sushi Stop? Is that just trying to go for low hands in sushi go?


Yes, I assumed that is obviously what I am referring to.

It’s more interesting because instead of trying to get at least 2 tempura and at least 3 sashimi, you now want exactly 1 tempura and exactly 2 sashimi. The chopsticks are also very interesting.


I can also see perhaps going for as many wasabi’s as possible while avoiding all direct point cards. Or trying to wasabi into 1s often


Was introduced to Century: Spice Road.

It’s very similar to Splendor with engine/resource engine, but adds its own variations of complexity with trade/upgrade cards.

I am enjoying it a lot as I enjoyed Splendor, and still have to play their expansions.


Since we just had PAX South, figured I’d pop in here and talk about some stuff. Overall I was really happy with the sheer number of new games I was able to play, definitely felt like more than any other PAX (Unplugged might have been similar if I hadn’t been enforcing).

I had a good time with pretty much all of them, but here are my top 3 from the weekend:

  1. Heaven and Ale - Outside of the fairly unique scoring process at the end, it’s just a big grouping of mechanics from other games that I already like and they fit well together. It felt like just the right amount of time for a game with lots of options and paths to take. I also generally like games with difficult positional heuristics, so it was really satisfying getting to the end, not having any idea how it would turn out, and having a score of 31/30/30. I didn’t win, but it was stupidly close.
  2. Mini Rails - This game is just so simple and elegent, very fast to play, and uses political play in a way that I like. Maybe I just say that because it all worked in my favor, but I like that you have to be more careful about it since you only get two actions per round.
  3. Phoenicia - I did terribly in this game, but I still liked the general flow of it. I think I would do a lot better in future games now that I have a better idea of how it goes.

Overall I think the only must-buy for me is Heaven and Ale, maybe Mini Rails but I don’t know if that would go over as well with the people I regularly play games with.


What did I play at PAX:

Indian Summer - I won with the almighty badger. Great way to play Patchwork with more than 2 players. This actually felt faster and easier than Patchwork. I haven’t played Cottage Garden yet, though.

Phoenicia - I just wanted Rym to play it because it’s a bidding game. I won again even though it felt like I was losing.

Heaven and Ale - This game feels very hard to play. Doing anything is a struggle. Yet somehow I won? The obfuscation of the scoring track and the limitations of the player board are really tough.

I’ll never forget That Year with the Dragon - somehow I won again. I really like the mechanic of one worker taking up multiple spots even though you only do one of the actions. I also like the idea of the one hand of cards guaranteeing you will take each type of person at least once. Still, it was very frustrating to play as I often had to take suboptimal actions.

Rattaneer - I like this game with the cute rats. The game itself though is getting a bit stale. Rym somehow has a trick to always winning the water tiles, but I can’t figure it out. I spent my time on the beach.

That one with the Emperor - I like the bidding to go first part. You want to play your cards to use their powers, but you can’t unless you are able to successfully bid up. I didn’t like that there was way too much stuff going on. It felt like if I tried to make my board better to make scoring worthwhile, I lost control of the power to choose scoring. When I had the power to choose scoring, I had a shit board that didn’t get many points no matter what I chose.

Long Shot - Still a great gambling simulator.

Ostritch Thing - OK. Nice egg bag.

Meeple Circus - It’s what you do when you are wating for your turn, only now it’s the whole game. Fun, but could wear off quickly.

Rajas of the Ganges - I like that you have two scoring markers and you have to make them meet. I like the cube/dice economy and the wooden boat. I didn’t like that one of the paths to scoring paid out way bigger than the others. Also, putting the little chits on the edges of the personal board was fiddly. The personal tile laying board in general wasn’t that fun. Also, I won.

I’m sure I definitely forgot some. Remind me.


Emperor’s Choice :stuck_out_tongue:

Pretty sure this was last week at MAGFest.

You only missed Blend Coffee Lab & Fuji Flush.

Love It: Neos, Heaven & Ale (new to me), Phoenicia, Race for the Galaxy, Throne and the Grail, In the Year of the Dragon, Mamma Mia!
Like It: Eggs of Ostrich, Indian Summer (new to me), Rolling America, Blend Coffee Lab (new to me), Fuji Flush, Gauner Raus!, 6 nimmt!, Deckscape: Test Time, Emperor’s Choice, Gads Hill 1874, Mini Rails (new to me), Nusfjord (new to me), Okey Dokey, Pandemic: Rising Tide, Super Motherload
Neutral: 1868 (new to me)
Not for Me: Royal Warrant (new to me), Rattaneer

Heaven & Ale is my favorite new game from PAX South. It’s a struggle, but it’s a pleasant one. Same way I’ve always felt about In the Year of the Dragon. You’re going to lose people, but you can plan for it.

I’m probably done with Rattaneer, not my kind of game. Too many opportunities to get nothing due to multiplayer chaos in a game this short, even accounting for the spaces that slowly get better over time.

Mini Rails was a great surprise. If the pieces weren’t so nice, I’d assume it was a Winsome game. Don’t know if I’ll get a copy myself (looks like funagain still has some) but I want to play it more.

1868 IS a Winsome game and very austere in design and appearance. You only have five corporations, four of them are functionally identical (they all start in the same city), and there is no terrain on the board. The privates have powers that make things a little interesting, but we all ran out of places to put money toward the end.

I came around on Blend Coffee Lab after three plays. My concern after the first play was whether you actually have control over what happens to you. After three plays, I feel like the answer is “yes” but I’m still not sure how much.

I was hoping Royal Warrant would be an entertaining variant on Aladdin’s Dragons, but Anthony identified the problem: turns feel too similar, and the smaller number of spaces and workers detracts from the game.

Nusfjord is very promising, I like the constrained space the game plays around in, and the ‘issue shares / buy shares’ action is a good metaphor for the mechanism that gives you a cut of other players’ income. I’m looking to pick it up once Mayfair finally gets it off the boat.

I raised my rating for Phoenicia from 8 to 9 - the same as Outpost. Phoenicia loses the insane acceleration of income and cuts out a few turns, but the extra constraints on purchasing workers makes the auctions agonizingly good in a hurry.

Eggs of Ostrich is still holding up. Along with Neos, it’s one of the most-played Japanese games I own.


Coffee Game - Not too bad, but not exciting.

Fuji Flush - I remembered liking it, but I didn’t remember how to play. Now I remember, and it’s good. The only flaw is that it comes down to luck when your cards run low.


My PAX South was 3 games of Azul, 1 of Meeple Circus, 1 of Majesty, 1 of Peak Oil, and 1 of 1868. Also 3 games of X-Wing where I got bounced out of a big tourney fairly early.

Enjoyed them all. Peak Oil was especially interesting as a much more in-your-face worker placement game.

Majesty I really dug. Trying not to draw too much comparison to Splendor since it is from the same guy, but it definitely fits in the same weight class, and I definitely prefer it. Simple set collection using the Small World-style market stack (is there a formal name for this? I can’t find the right term).


I am incapable of playing that game in physical form ever again. No amount of skill will make it as fast as the app. Not that I don’t enjoy it greatly: I just am not willing to play it unless the entire game takes less than 4 minutes and has zero setup time…


I’ve been playing a lot of Azul recently, since we picked it up after Unplugged. There’s some really neat mechanics (discarded tiles don’t go directly back into the draw bag, so the ratios skew during the course of the game until the bag runs out) and the amount of indirect fucking is perfect with four players.

I’ve also been playing Zendo with the fancy-shmancy new printing, but maintaining the theme and rituals of the old version. The idea cards are great for newer players, and let them play the Master without them needing to understand the difficulty curve.

Hex Hex is a party game about hot-potatoing spells among 3-6 players, and I think I’m into it. The amount of politics scales up after four players (“pass across the table” cards allow targeting) and I’m a little worried that certain card combinations might get convoluted (it’s meant to be very fast paced, so I’m worried they’d drag the tempo down), but I want to play it a few more times before I pass judgement.

Oh, and I finally played Captain Sonar (with six people). I am a worse captain than that guy from K-19. The other team got into a move-move-move-drone pattern and kicked my ass before I realized what was going on.


Finally got to try out the fourth edition of Twilight Imperium yesterday. It was a five player game, and took about 7 hours, after we finished teaching the rules to new players and stopped for dinner. Previously, I had played Twilight Imperium: Third Edition once before, a 14 hour game, so 7 hours was a big improvement. The game was great. I know this seems somewhat ridiculous to say for a game that lasted 7 hours or so, but it definitely felt much more streamlined than the previous Third Edition. The game was tense, with multiple players all vying to win, and was a lot of fun.


Back to normal after PAX South and MAGFest

Love It: Spirit Island
Like It: Charterstone, Legacy of Dragonholt, Space Beans, Bohnanza: The Duel, Glory to Rome, Tulip Bubble, Era of Voyage: the Dice (new to me), Mice and Mystics (new to me)
Neutral: Pulsar 2849

Six games into Charterstone and I haven’t gotten fed up with it. I am at least enjoying it much more than other games with the same worker placement mechanism (Euphoria and Manhattan Project).

Era of Voyage: the Dice is a pleasant game, and apparently obscure enough that it hasn’t been entered into the BGG database, yet. I agree with the OpinionatedGamers writeup.

Mice and Mystics is a bit long, and a bit awkward to split up among three players (most of the scenarios require that you bring four characters) but still enjoyable. Fills the same niche as Mansions of Madness. Plaid Hat rulebooks are… scattered.


Got a few of my Kickstarted games in as well as a few purchases made.
Got: Hardback (KS), The Last Garden(KS), Century: Spice Road, Topiary, Gaia, Majesty: For the Realm.
Majesty; I really like the speed that the game plays, although the knights feel super powerful if you can get them fairly easily.
Topiary; This is a quick game with quite a bit of “take that” and not much AP.
Century: Spice Road; I think I may prefer this a bit over Splendor for the speed alone, but I would still play Splendor, and still need to explore the expansion for it more.

I also got a chance to play Champions of Midgard which is a viking themed worker placement game that reminds me a lot of Lords of Waterdeep without the complication of quests, but with a lot of fighting monsters. It also has negative points that you can give to other players aka “Disappoints”.


Super Motherload is cementing itself as one of my favorite games, and I am not a person that finds it easy to pick favorites.


It’s so good, isn’t it?


Played X-men legendary with DemoWeasel on Friday. Fighting Nimrod, the Super-Sentinel from the future, and his army of turn-3 super upgraded Sentinels. We won, but good lord does Legendary not kid around.


A little bit of 18xx, and some of the games I’m aiming to play a lot this year (just look at all four of the games in the ‘love it’ category)

Love It: Ginkgopolis, Fresh Fish, 1846, Spirit Island
Like It: Cottage Garden, EXIT: The Game - The Forgotten Island (new), Unlock! The Tonipal’s Treasure (new), Little Town Builders (new), 2x Era of Voyage: The Dice, Charterstone

I taught local friend Eric how to play 18xx using 1846. Going into OR1, it looked like
Eric: Big 4, Mail Contract, Lake Shore Line, 2 IC @ 90
Erika: C&WI, 3 NYC @ 100
Chris: Tunnel Blasting, Michigan Southern ($20 discount in the initial distribution), 2 GTR @ 60, 1 NYC @ 100
It was a learning game, so we only finished through OR 4.1, but I was set to take off by that point with a valuable portfolio and two permanent trains. Later this week Anthony and I might play the 2p variant of 18CZ; you could say the trains are running frequently. :]

Little Town Builders is from the same designer as King of Frontier, and has the same stick figure art. There’s something appealing about how un-adorned both designs are; too “simple” for most euro publishers, but more complex than the card games that often come from Japanese designers.

We’re nearly out of published escape rooms. They have all been a blast (with the exception of the Nautilus Trap, which had two puzzles that felt unfair) and I suspect we’ll buy the next batch of Deckscape/Unlock/EXIT games when they show up.

We finished Saturday night with a game of Era of Voyage: the Dice using a separate set of dice for every player which was a great success. Rolling simultaneously cut the play time by about half an hour.