Recent Board Gaming


I think you will enjoy the Executives expansion. Unique player powers is typically not my jam, but they really work here. They are pretty advanced, not just “you get a special power to break rule X.” For instance, the public broadcasting network has to take actions by using a 5-space rondel to represent bureaucracy, but gets a point every time they make it around the rondel. The streaming network gets to ignore all timeslots, but loses two points every time a timeslot switches genres. They are all good. Also, you draft for starting shows.


We have a quorum for 18xx again on Friday nights, so maybe look forward to seeing trains every week.

Like It: Gloomhaven x4, Blue Moon, 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight, Charterstone, Fields of Arle: Tea & Trade (new to me), Tramways

Settling into a rhythm with Gloomhaven. As a complex co-op, it’s not likely to overtake Spirit Island or Mage Knight… but it has surpassed the combat in D&D4. And it’s probably going to get dozens of plays just because of the nature of the game.

The new expansion for Fields of Arle means more opportunities to play, the 3p option is an obvious addition and it seems to work well.

Tramways is a solid keeper. I haven’t actually played Age of Steam, but I’m impressed that bolting on a deckbuilding/handbuilding element works at all.


Love It: Race for the Galaxy, Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation in the Elysian Quadrant, Gloomhaven
Like It: Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Exit: The Game - The Forbidden Castle (new to me), Charterstone

With The Forbidden Castle, we’ve completely exhausted all the published Exit, Unlock, and Deckscape games. We’ll have to go puzzle-less for another few months.

On Thursday, I posted a “what should I play” poll on twitter, which Sidereal Confluence won. It was an easy sell, two new-ish people came to open game night on Friday and wanted to play Vast: The Crystal Caverns and Sidereal Confluence, which were both excellent sessions.

One of the semi-regulars on Friday let slip that they really enjoy Le Havre; I also just received my copy of 1880: China from an acquaintance on the heavy cardboard slack channel, AND I just got my shipping notice for John Company. So now I’m working on a growing list of considerably involved games I would love to play this month. (For those playing along at home: 1880: China, 18CZ, A Feast for Odin, Fields of Arle, John Company, Le Havre, Small City, Tramways)


If you can’t play some, make some.


I don’t like to make my own fun. That’s also why I never made any Mario Maker levels.


You won’t have fun solving a puzzle you made and know the answer to. You are supposed to have fun making it. The making is fun.

Then we play it and the fun multiplies.


My brain has to save the creativity juice for draw-time. Ain’t gonna spend it trying to make a game.


Did I miss your thoughts on the Tonipal’s Treasure Unlock? That is the only one I don’t have friend-loan access to or own myself, so debating picking it up as we continue to play through the others.


I didn’t mention anything specific about it, but it’s in the upper 50% of the escape room games I’ve played, and I like the Adventure Island / Monkey Island / etc. theme. They go hard on the tropes, which works well for an escape room adventure game.

Have to share my favorite rules from both games I’m reading right now.

1880: China

Trading Fees: For each 10% share sold there is a charge of ¥5 which must be paid to the Bank (this also holds during the Communist Phase).

  • During the Communist Takeover there are no share price changes whatever.
  • These rules come into force with the sale of the first 4-train and are lifted with the sale of the first 6-train (opening of the Shanghai Stock Exchange).

John Company

Throughout the game, players gain and lose control of offices within the East India Company. A player’s family members (cubes) move through the Company via promotion

When filling any office, except the Chairman, players are penalized for Nepotism. If a player promotes their own cube over another player’s cube, the promoting player must give one of their cubes from their stock as a promise to every player with at least one eligible candidate.

The game may also end with Company Failure (J3) or Mutiny (J4).


We attended Emerald City Comic Con this weekend on Thursday and Friday. Bought a lot of art and comics, and played a few games. We demoed three games, and now own them.

The Last Garden Worker placement game in which you manipulate gems on a board and then score points based on where your robots are located. Made by a local designer, and is pretty fun.

Ancestree Part of the Table Titans series from Calliope games (they challenged several top designers to design games that are approachable to most everyone). In the game, you draft members of different families and build a family tree and try to chain generations of family members to make a better tree than your neighbors. I like this as a lighter drafting game.

BetaBotz Mostly an auction game. You bid currency to buy a bot with a set of 4 stats, then bid on components to upgrade your robot. Components are # of players -1, so someone ends up missing out, but they get a code card instead (although you may decide to opt out of the auction and take a code card. A mission card is then flipped and a stat check determines if the robot beats the mission. Code cards can be played to help your bot, hinder someone else, or make the mission more difficult. You can also team up with players and split the reward. It reminds me of Ninja burger, but better in some aspects.


Pictures! Well just Last Garden. I enjoyed all three games. Lots of good dicking opponents with Beta Botz and Last Garden.

Ancestree doesn’t have dicking really, but it’s a good Caliope game and hearing the story behind it was pretty cool. I played it completely wrong, but dig the art.

Like what Jeremy said, the story behind it was Caliope is doing the Table Titans series and they went to Eric Lang to make a game with the following restrictions: 2-6 players, under an hour, with only 1 higher end mechanic.

The higher end mechanic is drafting of the tiles. When we heard that, it never really dawned on us that drafting is considered a high end mechanic. However it does make sense.

It’s a solid game, not super complicated, but a nice kill time while waiting for people to show up to play longer games.


Love It: 2x Gloomhaven, Ginkgopoilis
Like It: 2x John Company (new to me), 2x Fields of Green (new to me), Mafiozoo (new to me)

Mafiozoo is a redeveloped Louis XIV; the redevelopment was a lateral move.* The game is improved, but the rules got a cluttered three-column layout. The art is fun, but the super clean Alea style got replaced by itsy bitsy icons that get lost on the board.

Fields of Green is… a redeveloped Among the Stars. Mostly positive changes for me. By changing the theme it became a logistics puzzle where you need to keep your water => food => money pipeline healthy every round.

John Company is not a redevelopment of an existing game. We need to get 4-5 people for the next game, because both 3p games have been great but there’s no room for temporary alliances outside of 2v1 stonewalling. I thought about this one so much last week I needed to ramble about it over in the other thread.

* I never actually played Louis XIV, only read the rules, so take this with a grain of salt.


Bit of a low-key week.

Love It: 1846
Like It: 2x Anachrony (new to me), Blend Coffee Lab, Trick of the Rails, John Company

I like the way the second half of Anachrony creates scarcity on the main board, it’s a thematic way to incentivize building up your own stuff. Still haven’t played with the Doomsday module.

I’ve seen a lot of players dig themselves a hole in 1846; when you get in financial trouble with a corp, the easiest way to get a permanent train is to divest yourself of some less valuable shares and plow money into a new corp that can buy trains across. A lot of people don’t enjoy running two companies, even though it relieves this pressure, so I’ve seen many 3p games that end with a company that never starts. I wonder if the right move would have been to start the Grand Trunk myself and run three corporations. Almost all the track was there to run Chicago Connections to Windsor a few times at the end of the game.


Played more board games.

Played Hardback the successor of Paperback. Hardback is better imo. I love the genre card mechanics as well as Ink (press your luck) mechanic.

The only thing I see where is fails, it towards end game, similar to Paperback, people tend to take their time on their turns trying to figure out words. People need to be faster.

Overall still enjoyable game. We ended up tying, but I won the tiebreaker because I had ONE more ink the then other person that tied with me.

Will definitely bring to Prime to play.


No new games this week! Technically we played with some new expansion stuff in Stop Thief and Mansions of Madness, I suppose.

Love It: Gloomhaven, 2x Race for the Galaxy, 1846, Samarkand
Like It: Mafiozoo, 2x Villannex, Mansions of Madness, Legacy of Dragonholt
Neutral: Charterstone, Stop Thief!

Gloomhaven is one of my favorite games from the past three months (the others are Throne and the Grail and Tramways, which… have very little in common with Gloomhaven). This week it was also the first game where we used the new mini poker chips.

Charterstone campaign is done; mostly harmless, at least as a 3p + 2AI game. Curious if postgame (or no AI) might do a little better to reign in the chaos.

We played Mafiozoo with the ‘flip all cards between rounds’ rule from Louis XIV - if nothing else, it ensures every resource will be available twice during the game without needing to win a majority.

The cooperative mode in Stop Thief is pleasant enough. We found and reported some bad data in the app’s node relationships that they patched immediately. We were confused because the thieves teleported twice in our game.


That Gloomhaven is so hyped that every skeptical bone in my body on full alert. Not just the hype, but the theme, graphic design, and genre also have me on full alert. It’s prejudiced for sure, but that game will have to impress the fuck out of me to get a compliment from me.

It really gives me the same feeling as a AAA video game that everyone in the world is head over heels for, and I give no fucks.


As a person who knows you, there is 100% no reason for Scott to play Gloomhaven. I can already anticipate Scott’s criticisms of Gloomhaven. Its soloability and communication rules are comparable to Spirit Island. But it is the right place / right time for a game like this to blow up the new BGG audience, hence the sweep of the 2017 Golden Geek awards. I would have preferred to see Spirit Island on top of… any category at all, but what can you do.

Gloomhaven won the “Most Innovative” category on BGG. It is not innovative, but it is incredibly ambitious. However, this is a people’s choice award, and crowds are a blunt instrument.

I would only recommend Gloomhaven to someone who enjoys cooperative tactical combat. It is exactly what it appears to be on the surface. It is a very polished, ambitious, and professionally constructed one of those, and its popularity makes perfect sense to me.

Honestly, the most impressive thing about Gloomhaven (besides the size of the box) is that there is a single person with the Designer AND Developer credit. And, rather than making another coop dungeon crawl, their next game is a Great Zimbabwe-esque logistics and shared incentives game.


I respect this.


I could be wrong about this, but Gloomhaven’s use of two cards as its action mechanic, requiring the player to use the top half on one card and the bottom half of the other card, but allowing the player to pick which half at any point, is pretty innovative, especially for a dungeon crawl.


FWIW the “Rogue” in Gloomhaven shares a lot of similarities to “The Silent” from Slay the Spire.