Recent Board Gaming


I have to play that game more.

I don’t know if I like it per se, but I’m both fascinated by it and kind of obsessed with it.


We played 66% of a game, which proved to be a very interesting 2p variant, a rarity for any stock game.
The game (in general) is less of an oddball than 1860 or 1862, not much of a leap from 1846.


For some reason I’m extremely bad at Splendor. I get the first-level positional and directional heuristics, but I can’t seem to walk any further down the tree for either. I’ve been playing the physical and digital versions against bots and humans, and it’s really perplexing me. Maybe I’m just not fluent enough at mental math to think about strategy while I’m doing sums? (in other games I don’t seem to have this problem)


How to win at splendor:

  1. Look at the nobles. See any colors that appear on nobles more than others? Prioritize cards with those colors.
  2. Look at the bottom row. See any gem colors (in the prices) that appear more than others? Prioritize those chips.
  3. Try to take 3 chips, and not 2. Only take 2 of the same color if it’s a really strong play.
  4. Keep snatching cards from the bottom row spending as few chips as possible. You want to get to the point where you don’t waste any turns on chips and are taking a card every turn for free. Turns are your limited action, get as many cards in as few turns as possible.
  5. If a card is really hot, or is going to give another player a noble, then you can think about snatching it with the gold coin.
  6. When given choices of cards, prioritize getting those nobles!
  7. GG.

While a good player at Splendor will wipe the floor with weak players, the game becomes almost entirely luck when played between strong players. Those two times when the perfect card is drawn right before a player’s turn, so they get first dibs at it for free will make all the difference.


This is the winning strategy in maybe half the games I’ve played… with a good flop it’s stronger to simply work out the fewest number of actions to 15, put the cards that you need in your hand, and do it. I’ve won quite a few games with 7-8 cards because the other players are building an engine while ignoring 5 points that would only take 3 turns to generate!

If you spent 3 chips on a 0-point card that you ‘use’ fewer than 2-3 times, why bother? Its primary utility is helping you count to 7 in a single color (4-5 points). Its secondary utility is accruing small discounts and noble points. It would be more accurate to say “get as many points in as few turns as possible,” which is tantamount to saying “win the game”. Getting free cards every turn is the “Dominion deck full of villages” of Splendor.


Hmm! I’m doing 1, 2, and 3, but didn’t realize about 4. Thinking about it more, I think my biggest mistake is not knowing when to switch from taking cheap cards / zero-point-discounts to taking larger cards, and so if I’m racing someone for a noble (or two) I end up losing. My engine-building takes too long (or maybe I get too much tunnel-vision on my specific engine).


Look at what other people are doing. Recognize a card that someone else can take for free on their turn, and mess their shit up.


Some new acquisitions. Unfortunately cut the title off “Lichterfest”, a.k.a. Lanterns in the english edition.



TL;DR Does anybody have any good suggestions for games to play with kids (8-10)?

As you guy might have noticed, over the last year or so I got a lot more interested in board gaming. Part of the reason for this is that I am trying to find a good activity for when I visit my sister and with that my niece and nephew, twins that turn 9 in September this year. Unfortunately the two are almost constantly fighting and I was trying to have a bit more orderly play that all can participate in to give them more common activities. However, I kind of struggle with this.

Last year in the summer during a family cookout we played Qwirkle together with the granddaughter of my stepfather who is a year or two older then the twins, which overall went really well, perhaps because it was later in the day and the kids had already been running around for a while. However I haven’t really had much opportunity to play with them since, and when we did we played the kinds of kids games they had which are somewhat frustrating to me as they are mostly randomness and even then there were issues.

Today I made another visit and brought “Lanterns: The Harvest Festival” with me. The game is a little bit more complex but under the surface somewhat similar to Qwirkle in being a tile-laying game at its core. The boy was with at a friend’s house so I played with my niece and her parents. And she said she was really bored. Perhaps it was too early for her but she also has the bad habit of giving up rather quickly should she fall behind in the game (or even just think she did), followed by declarations about how “things aren’t fair” and “I can’t win anyway”. She also refused to follow some simple strategic advice we gave her, like turning in her cards for points as soon as she could, or choosing to turn in her cards for a better option of points than the one she intended when she could do either.

Playing games with the boy is also not exactly easy. He’s the kind of kid who would try to cheat or play class clown, like obviously moving his game piece more then he is allowed to and grab another players game piece and take it off the board for no reason. I guess Qwirkle worked because the game pieces are out in the open and can’t be knocked over.

Of course both are childish behavior, but after all they are children. I tried talking to them too but yeah, parenting, even the limited function I have as an uncle, is hard. I also tried to play Hanabi with them simply because it is a purely cooperative game, but the boy wasn’t interested at all and the girl didn’t quite comprehend how to the deduce what she should do in her turn. Perhaps that was my mistake in trying the game too early. I also played some video games with them, e.g. Mario Kart, but that is also an issue simply due to the age difference and it’s hard for me to not just crush them, not because I’m some sort of gaming wizard but simply because I’m an adult and they’re kids.

Does anybody have experience playing board games with kids in that age range, and suggestions for games to play with them? Maybe something that doesn’t constantly show how players are doing, and that can’t be “knocked over” easily?


Paging @Matt for this one.

I’d look into the kinds of cooperative games that Rym + Scott won’t recommend. Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert will probably work better than Hanabi.

Something like Deep Sea Adventure might work… then again if your nephew likes to cheat by moving his pawn around that might be a problem.

Dream Home has an attractive theme and is less prone to that kind of cheating.

Any flavor of Carcassonne, maybe South Seas since it’s simple without being uninteresting.


Every kid is different. For instance, my kid has been playing Lanterns decently well at Age 6. Look at the slate of what works/what doesn’t, and tweak from there. You already have a few data points.

My strong recommendation here would be for Doodle Quest/Looney Quest, since they involve a lot of dry erase marker drawing and feel like a toy more than a game. Maybe Ice Cool fits into this mold as well. It sounds like they need more play than they do strategic competition. If you can set the table for board games as a fun and normal activity to engage in, you can slowly shift their tastes from there. But it sounds like you need to start from square one.

I second nixing Hanabi for co-op. My suggestion there would be Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters (the 2014 kinderspiel).


Mancala, Scrabble Jr. , Candyland, and animal upon animal are the go to for the kid over here.


I’ve been playing it with some friends for over a year now and it still works. Though admittedly, we have fucked up the rules a number of times.

But don’t let lack of frequency stop you, it’s great fun.


I recently received Robottery 101 from a Kickstarter campaign, it’s quick, fairly simple and everything is out in the open.


Enjoyed Lanterns. Kodama was also in that line of easy & relaxing fun.

For Splendor, I’ve been doing everything Rubin suggests plus identifying which gems have the right balance of rare/important (frequent in 2nd/3rd tier costs, or nobles) and drying out the supply.


Love It: Heaven & Ale, Blue Moon, Small City, Dominion: Hinterlands (new to me)
Like It: 18CZ (new to me), Charterstone, Indian Summer, Legacy of Dragonholt, The Sanctuary, Healthy Heart Hospital
Neutral: Reworld (new to me)

I received 18CZ in October, but we got sidetracked by Essen games. This was the third 18xx I played in January, after 1868 at PAX South and 1846 on a Friday game night.

Reworld is clever, but splitting the game into “load your colony ship” and “build your colony” was more clever than fun for me. Neither “game” was as interesting as I had hoped. I did finally get a copy of Heaven & Ale, which will probably shake out as my favorite Essen 2017 game.

Dominion: Hinterlands is one of the expansions I missed, so I was happy to finally play it! Of course we were all awful with the new cards.


Heaven & Ale just kicks your ass. I could not get any kind of efficiency or progress going on. Just scraping by the whole time, and then somehow I got a few points, and won by 1, when it looked like I was going to get 0.


Fresh Fish (2014) with the classic rules is easily my favorite Friedemann Friese game, and might qualify as my favorite “new” game in the past year.


What are the classic rules?