Recent Board Gaming


All I’m saying is that Monpoly Millennium Edition wasn’t any better than Monopoly $10 from the drug store edition.


ATM Monopoly has to be one of the worst addition ever to a game. I’d prefer having real currency than to have to constantly look it up on the ATM machine. At least Monopoly on the computer constantly displays your money.


I feel like after playing Azul, I never really need to bother with Sagrada again. Every time I’ve played Sagrada, I’ve felt like it takes ages for other people to draft their die for some reason. I haven’t seen that happen with Azul yet, despite the fact that when you DO take tiles in Azul, the long-reaching repercussions of doing so are a lot less obvious.


That’s exactly how I feel. Azul is like Sagrada distilled down to the core and the parts that are left benefit as much from what isn’t there as from what is there.


My Local Gaming Store did an event together with a private organizer for the International Tabletop day and I played like 10 different games today over the course of it. Maybe a bunch of those are old hats to you guys but they’re new to me so there.

Because at first we were only two players there, we played a round of Star Wars: Destiny a two-player game that incorporates both dice and card elements. It’s okay. Unfortunately both cards and dice of course introduce randomness. I would have crushed my opponent due to drawing more effective cards earlier, but I almost goozled myself by rerolling an opponent’s dice with a far better result for them. There is a bit asymmetry because of different card effects but they could have leaned into that heavier.

Actually the above game was kind of broken because I noticed my phone was missing. I quickly ran to my car to see if it was there (thankfully it was). In the meantime my opponent started a shorter game with a kid bystander to pass the time. The game Martian Dice is a yahtzee-type were you play an alien trying to collect specimen (points) without getting shot down by russian tanks, rather similar to Zombie Dice. After returning I joined midway and quickly gamed the system by just not taking many risks. It’s a decent party game but nothing to write home about.

When we finished the Star Wars game, a couple other players had arrived. We started a game of Colt Express. Each player is a train-robber in the old west and you have to collect loot. The game already scored big points because of the presentation, the “game board” being a miniature card-board train set.

Your actions are performed by a sequence of cards you play similar to Robo Rally. However, since everybody puts their cards into a collective stack and there are actions by other players which cause you to drop loot you collected or change your position, things get wacky rather quickly. Maybe not great strategic depth with six players (though some players performed very well in those circumstances) but a ton of fun. And I say that even though I lost this game horribly as the only player who ended the game without any loot whatsoever.

Because one of the players desperately wanted to try it out, I finally got around to playing Secret Hitler, which is a really excellent variant on the Werewolf formula.The first game went pretty smoothly with six players. Unfortunately the second and third game with nine players were cut abruptly short because some players mistook some game rules and gave away vital information which destroy the game. We played a fourth game with nine players and that thankfully completed without out a hitch. The funny thing was that people were really suspicious of me because a fascist used the power granted by the passing of a fascist policy to inspect my party membership and immediately decried me as a fascist, which I of course denied as I was in fact a liberal. At this point I had already passed a liberal policy as chancellor. I then became president next and managed to pass a liberal policy again. After I was voted chancellor again and passed another liberal policy they finally believed me that I was a liberal. The final policy giving the liberals a win was also passed by me as chancellor.

At this point it was already 14:30 and some people hadn’t had lunch yet. I had packed some sandwiches which I had eaten earlier and didn’t join them when they went out. In the meantime another player arrived and we played a quick round of Star Realms to pass the time, a game I really like as a deckbuilder that takes a medium amount of time and isn’t that hard to learn. Unfortunately my opponent didn’t quite understand the game or I did a bad job at explaining it (though I had done so successfully to at least 4 other players before) and I kind of crushed him. Thankfully the group of players had returned when we were done.

Because some more players had announced they were coming we played a couple of rounds of Exploding Kittens (with the Imploding Kittens expansion) and Bang! The Dice Game, which are both fast paced, fun party games with a lot of actions and time to joke around.

We then split the tables. I played a four-player game of Photosynthese, a game I had really wanted to try for some time. The game is about resource management and board positioning while managing a grove of trees and competing with other trees. It’s actually kind of beautiful when the trees continuously grow and change. I also rather like that there is an asynchronous advancement of the first-player token and the position of the sun.

The game was really good and I won it even though I thought for a long time I had no chance of winning, simply by a lucky circumstance (I was the player after the player who first claimed the middle, so I was able to immediately claim it when he vacated the spot) and by managing my growth in the last couple of turns of the game, denying opponents the ability to make points while successively collecting my own from the board.

The only issue I have with the game is that whenever the sun moves, the game basically takes a break as all the players calculate the energy they earn and have available during their turn taking into consideration the shadows cast by the trees. This is a bit of a tricky process, which makes me think that the game would be less cool but more functional as an iPad app.

Finally we played couple of rounds of Captain Sonar. For the few who do not know, the game is played by two teams who take different roles on a submarine, trying to find and torpedo the other team in real time. I was the engineer for all of them and the game is rather stressful, mostly because communication was kind of bad at first with the captain shouting commands without waiting to hear from the crew if that’s a good idea or even at all possible, and without announcing what systems he requires next. It’s a lot of fun though. We won one round, and lost another basically because the other team shouted “Stop” a second before we could and dealt the last bit of damage to us even though we would have sunken them too if it were the other way around.

So yeah, spent 11 hours playing board games and had a ton of fun today.


:rotating_light::rotating_light::rotating_light: S C O T T J O H N S O N A L E R T :rotating_light::rotating_light::rotating_light:



Also confirmed: Scott Johnson is overseer of krud.


I know now what I must do.

A ScoJo must appear in cameo in any game I am ever the primary designer/producer for.


Some good games this week and a tabletop day event at my local store.

Love It: Gloomhaven, 1846, 2x The 7th Continent
Like It: 3x Azul, Vast, Little Town Builders, For Sale
Neutral: Space Base (new), Elder Sign

I have played Azul 6 times and scored last in all but one of them. Like Traders of Osaka, another game I enjoy despite regularly losing, I never look far enough ahead to see the cliff I’m about to fall off.

I might prefer Little Town Builders to King of Frontier. There’s something oddly charming about no randomness/high interaction in such a light worker placement game, you can start comparing it to Caylus or The Great Zimbabwe.

Space Base is an improved Machi Koro + Harbor style game with all the cost-curve weirdness ironed out. Basically guaranteed to end in fewer than 20 trips around the table. It feels very safe for an economic snowball, a pleasant toboggan ride down an open slope with no trees or rocks.

We finally died (and restarted) the first curse in The 7th Continent. I don’t see enough praise for the skill cards; they are the primary source of novelty for a second trip through the same landscape. Associating the skill check, the “draw cards” action, and the game timer to a single element/event in the game works very well here.

Bonus: I was thinking about Chicago Express earlier this week, a game I have only played twice and I had an itch to scratch. I walked out of the store with three Winsome games.


I finally went to my local gaming store and brought 3 games: Fresh Fish, Vast and Aeons End. I was sort of scared that I’d go there, not find anyone to play with and just go home (so I brought a friend should the worst happen) but, it ended up going splendidly, I ended up playing Seikatsu with it’s designer ( Isaac Shalev ) which was a treat in itself. We also played Fresh Fish, Azul and Sentinals of the Multiverse.

I see now why everyone has been playing Azul, it’s complexity from simplicity, my favorite sort of game. All in I had a great time and will likely be dropping by my local game store more often. Especially because a friend of mine works there and gets a decent discount on everything.


X-Wing is releasing a 2.0 version will be interesting to see how everything shakes out.


It seems a lot of people, and my friends who are really into X-Wing are among them, seem to be really upset that FFG is charging $50 for an upgrade kit per faction!

We’ll probably never know why FFG decided to reboot X-Wing to version 2.0, but this might end up killing the game, especially when they just released Star Wars Legion.


The first time they did the 2.0 thing it was Game of Thrones. The game had gotten big and out of hand, so they reset.

Netrunner, they did a mini-reset with Core set 2.0.

These mini resets not only let them fix all kinds of problems with the game all at once, but they also provide a window for new players to jump in. I think they also like doing it because it doesn’t technically make your old stuff obsolete, even though it does. They feel like they are making a brand new game and not changing the old game, even though the old game gets no more support whatsoever.

I guess the numbers on their previous 2.0 products have been good, so they are going to stick with this pattern.


I get that, and it makes sense, but this seems a bit different, but then again, maybe I don’t know the full changes from X-Wing 1.0 to 2.0.

When they rebooted the Game of Thrones LCG, they changed the game pretty dramatically and none of the cards were compatible between versions. When they did the min-reset with Netrunner, they offered a new starter box, but they didn’t require you to buy an upgrade kit for your old Netrunner cards or invalidate them.

With X-Wing though, not only are they changing the game, but they’re splitting the two factions into four. For someone who owns X-Wing 1.0, that person would need to spend $200 to upgrade their ships, if they want to play all four factions, and that’s even before they spend a single dollar on any new product. That seems a bit extreme, even to me.


Most of FFGs money comes from miniatures, which includes and is primarily X-Wing. It is vastly more profitable than the other products. They are going to milk it as much as possible.


I agree, I’m just wondering if instead of milking their Golden Goose, they accidentally strangled it instead…


That’s how they do.


Most people aren’t going to upgrade their stuff all at once. They haven’t even mentioned Resistance and First Order upgrade packs yet.


True, but you’re forgetting the Scum and Villainy faction. If I want to upgrade all my existing ships, that’s $150 right out of the gate. By contrast, when FFG released the upgrade kit for Descent 1.0 to 2.0, it cost $25 and it covered all the heroes and monsters from the first edition.


Eclipse 2.0 is the one I’m the most curious about.