Recent Board Gaming


My rules project this week was Combat Commander, which I played twice: on Friday (with Sean) and Sunday (with Anthony). The game on Sunday was a bloodbath, with three out of the four leaders dead in the first two game turns. Seemed like a good time to call it, anyway, since I didn’t have a snowball’s chance with my German platoon hunkered down in a useless farmhouse, surrounded by 50+ leaderless Russian riflemen.

Anthony wanted to play a trick-taking game and had a go at the 3p variant of Yokai Septet this week. It works with three, but it doesn’t hold up to my favorite 3p trick-takers… I’d like to try the partnership game, you could actually capture some of the weaker 7s by working together.

This week’s Quartermaster General: The Cold War immediately became a hot war over Germany, which passed back and forth just enough for the third world to sneak in a win, even after enduring a significant bombing campaign from NATO at the end of the war. If the world superpowers could only make a dozen nuclear weapons between them, and immediately opened fire in 1946, this would have been a plausible outcome.

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Kraken. One of Anthony’s favorites, with a new expansion. I like the Kraken, adds just a bit more drama to the story. It’s also another opportunity to get completely demolished by bad rolls, so it helps to set your expectations accordingly.

Also The Lost Expedition, Everdell, and The Rise of Queensdale (game 7/?)

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Played a full game of Forbidden Stars this weekend. While I enjoyed the session, we horribly mangled a number of rules; Forbidden Stars is definitely a classic FFG game in that it’s got more exceptions than it has rules.

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Warmed up on Friday playing Agility with @DemoWeasel, before a spontaneous game of 1846. You might not think it’s possible to play a train game spontaneously, but at present the only games I’ve played more than 1846 in the past decade are Netrunner, Race for the Galaxy, and Dominion. (after last year, 1889 is creeping up there, too)

Saturday was a fully pleasant game day of Rise of Queensdale, Solenia, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and Kingdom Builder. Queensdale and Consulting Detective are stand-outs; we hit all the beats unraveling the second case.


A few hands of No Thanks and Sticheln during the week… also:

Combat Commander: Europe, which has proven entertaining enough to order the extra box with British, Italian, and French armies. Last night Eric got the event that spawned Dietel the German hero AND the event that turned him into a veteran back-to-back, gave him his only heavy machine gun, and Dietel personally killed two squads of Russian militia, ran through a minefield, and winged the Russian captain with a stray bullet before getting lit up in a fatal melee inside the Russian command post. He was like a Team Fortress scout who made it all the way to the flag room and got destroyed by a turret.

It’s not as easy to make time for 2p games, but CC has been worth it.

Maria is a wargame with a completely different approach - a European design about a very European war, for three players, using a hand of suited playing cards and a dense point-to-point map. It reminds me of when I first played a tabletop role-playing game published by a Japanese designer for a Japanese audience - a design on a completely different wavelength from anything Avalon Hill or GMT would publish.

Anthony also ordered two expansions that arrived this week. One expansion for the recent Dice Forge (not to be confused with King’s Forge, Dice Throne, or Castle Dice) which adds a nice bit of variety.

An expansion for Euphoria, which is practically a second edition being sold as an upgrade kit. This weekend we played Euphoria for the first time in four years, and all of the changes seemed well-considered.

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I bought a copy of Fury of Dracula and played a first game tonight without the advanced rules. Up to four players play four hunter characters from Dracula lore while another players Dracula, who moves hiddenly by playing cards with his position face down. If the Hunters find one of Draculas cards they may encounter one of his minions or other traps, or have to fight Dracula himself, while Dracula has to stay alive, hopefully have his vampire minions remain untouched by the minions to achieve a point goal.

The luck of the draw made me Dracula and I admittedly played pretty badly. I cornered myself early and the hunters managed to expose and kill my vampire encounter card I had on the board. I had to flee by sea from southern Europe but the Hunters also blockaded ports I wanted to land on and forced me to stay at sea longer. However, that also caused them to get confused. Just as they had almost caught up to me in Spain, the most vocal player on the table exclaimed that he was an idiot and that I was likely went to the Black sea on the other side of the map instead, as I admitted that I had overlooked that it borders the Ionic sea through the Bosporus earlier in the game. An involuntary sly smile from me sealed the deal and they turned around, trying to chase me in eastern europe again, leaving me loads of time to saunter through the spanish countryside.

However, in the end I also made a mistake. I had an event card that would have let me redirect a train in a direction of my choice but I forgot about it, which let one hunter wildly guess on their last turn and catch up to me. A combat ensued with me only on 6 life. However, the hunter made a mistake and played their combat cards in the wrong order, allowing me to end combat by countering one of their cards and made me win by hitting the point goal in two ways almost simultaneously.

It was a very entertaining game for me when the hunters put themselves on a wild goose chase. However, it also took way too long as we played for almost 4 hours, including teaching the game to the other players beforehand.

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Fury of Dracula is three hours of beautiful tension followed by ten minutes of anticlimactic rock paper scissors. I enjoy most of it but that last but makes playing it over something like Treasure Island very difficult.


Four hours does seem awfully long for Fury of Dracula. There’s no formula for “this game is taking too long”… you just feel it in your bones.


90 minutes is already a little long for that game, IME.


Yeah, the table took a long time deliberating an analyzing my every move once they had a trail, counting up the entire possibility space, or the players took a long time deciding what to do during their turn. There were also multiple discussions into vampire lore and Bram Stoker’s Dracula in particular which didn’t help to speed up the pace.


I think your players were just slow. When we played Fury of Dracula or Scotland Yard we narrowed down the space very quickly.


Spent a Saturday with some board game friends! We played two games of Azul, I introduced them to Cat Lady, we played Magic Maze until we beat the basic scenarios, and I was taught Qwirkle. I also learned that Qwirkle and Azul have the same basic scoring rules.

I’m also hyping up Root. Among my local gaming friends, they’re the most likely to take to it.

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We careened through Codenames: Duet and Web of Power before the crowd showed up on Friday.

Jumped straight into the store copy of Age of Steam (unpunched!) - I suppose it’s been on everyone’s mind because of the new edition on kickstarter. It’s nice to have people walk back and reveal they’re fans of an older game like AoS - we got a few spectators.

Web of Power and Age of Steam both have Kickstarters running right now, so we went for three by playing Root on the winter board. The riverfolk company kept themselves in good business long enough to build an unstoppable army of landsknechts, with a little help from a kingmaker woodland alliance (blame my tactical myopia for that one).

Then Saturday… playing The Rise of Queensdale with Dan and Anthony is still a treat, everyone’s built a neat little machine over the past 10 games.

The previous time I played Fresco was a frustrating experience, my own fault - it’s easy to perceive it as a non-interactive set collection game, which is broadly true until the second half of the game. Once the fresco tiles are picked over, it begins to feel (in a very distant way) like a family-game version of moving goods in Age of Steam.

Maria is very good, although the specific appeal is difficult to capture in photos or descriptions - this was our third game in two weeks. The tension between the three players is unique - not very similar to other 3p wargames we’ve enjoyed like Quartermaster General: The Cold War or Triumph & Tragedy. And you get enough room to try a different approach without being a wide-open sandbox like T&T, which generated a few “next time I’ll try it this way” discussions.

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I am really loving Queensdale and I’m sad so few other people seem to be playing it.

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Playing TTS in VR with people was a great success. We played one game of Glory to Rome.

I’m now poking around the workshop to see what’s been made well enough to be worth it. I’m debating making a game in there for funsies. Something simple like Wizard, just to see what the dev experience is like.


The owner of our LGS is a personal friend of mine. He recently told me that King of Tokyo, a game that I love, is no longer being published in german. The reason for this is that the IP of the game belongs to IELLO games, a french publisher. The german edition was previously published by german publisher Heidelberger Spieleverlag. The problem is that that company was recently bought by Asmodee, another french publisher who is a direct competitor of IELLO and thus IELLO revoked the license and has not given it to another german publisher.

My friend was now stranded with two expansions for King of Tokyo taking up shelf space, and no base games available. That is until today. There’s a big store in one of our malls and I made a visit when I bought shoes in a nearby shoestore, ostensibly to check out the anime section of their video department. However, out front they have two columns with slashed price wares they are trying to get rid of. There I discovered a KoT base game, which I bought and sold off to my friend later that day. Didn’t really make a profit, but I guess the good deed of the day is done.

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Earlier this week - Combat Commander and Res Arcana with @DemoWeasel. And in the day we had at Zenkaikon: Dice Forge, Wingspan, Mob Town, Treasure Island, Wurfel Bohnanza, and two more Combat Commander scenarios with @Raithnor.

Nothing new other than Res Arcana - I always find something interesting about Tom Lehmann’s engine games. Our first 2p game suggested an enjoyable balance of input randomness, timing, and planning.

I finally beat Anthony by a narrow margin in Wingspan, but it was tight.

Obviously, Combat Commander is continually enjoyable… there are moments where a scenario seems like a foregone conclusion, but you keep playing and it finds a way to surprise you. There was a memorable moment in every game I played this week - Germans getting cut down by a Russian machinegun on the first move of scenario 1; Americans with flamethrowers getting frustrated by a game-ending sudden death roll as soon as they reached the doors of a chateau; two equally-matched squads of Brits and Germans firing back and forth between a thicket and a gatehouse - each refusing to stay broken - until the British charged the trees and nailed the melee roll.

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“The proper care and placement of Razorwire”.

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My Zenkaikon Weekend -

Combat Commander with @pence: Another memorable moment: German Officer trying to reinforce broken troop at the farmhouse. Narrowly avoiding getting gunned down by two different line of fire. It’s a nice game overall even when you’re trying to find the right cards to do what you want to do.

Rise of Teotihuacan: Worker placement game where most activities “age” your workers. Once a worker dies the game clock advances. The board looks very busy, but once you get the overall flow of the game, it’s not that complicated.

Terraforming Mars: Colonies - Perfect for those players who have a lot of titanium and no Space projects to spend it on. They’re similar to how buildings in Lord of Waterdeep function, only you can have multiple people invest in the colony. There are bonuses for being one of the first 3 settlers for each colony and the bigger the colony the more resources can be extracted from it.

Space Base: Very quick and simple game: Roll dice, collect stuff, upgrade your cards so you can collect on other people’s turns until you have 40+ points. Kinda reminds me of the base version of Machi Koro now that I think about it.

Call to Adventure: Create a Celtic-Norse flavored adventurer. Two sided runes are the game’s dice system. Start out as a nobody and see if you can achieve your destiny.


I like Scythe.

Fifteen characters worth of liking.


Is this any good, because I am 150% susceptible to that theming.