Tag: Board Games

Malts and Meeples – Aeon’s End War Eternal Unboxing

Malts and Meeples – Aeon’s End War Eternal Unboxing

Trying my hand at this for the first time to see how it goes to unbox something. Also, this was supposed to have gone up on Twitch, but I had issues where it said it was streaming there and it didn’t. You can find me […]

TableTopTakes: Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Solo and Group

TableTopTakes: Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Solo and Group

So, recently, as I’ve been posting out, I’ve finished a playthrough of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 solo on Youtube. You can find that on Youtube at Malts and Meeples or on the Nerdologists. But, I wanted to go back to this game and write an […]

TableTopTakes – Cat Cafe

TableTopTakes – Cat Cafe

Another GenCon game, this time a little roll and write about cats. And when you think about it, with how popular roll and write games are are right now with the likes of Welcome To…, That’s So Clever, Dino World, etc., and etc., and etc., it was only a matter of time before someone did one about cats and hit another area that is really popular in our culture.

Cat Cafe, as I said, is a roll and write game where you are trying to build up your best cat tree(s) so that you can attract the most cats possible. On every turn you roll a die for each player, plus one. Going in a circle, you draft dice until there is only one left. Then, you pick which die you want to use for drawing a symbol and which die you want to use to determining the placement on a cat free for that symbol. These symbols are things like food dishes, cat beds, toy mice, etc. You get points in the game for complete cat trees, but also for placing the certain cat items in a particular pattern, depending on what you’re drawing, on the cat trees.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

I haven’t played this game a ton yet, but when I have, I’ve gone for a different strategy than the other person (oh, I should say this game plays up to four people). They went for the strategy of building up their cat trees as fast as possible, because once one person completes three cat trees that ends the game. I, on the other hand, went for building combos. The food dish wants to be surrounded by different items, so the more unique items, the more points you get, the mouse toys want to be a in connected path, so the more of those, the more points you get. I think that I messed up the strategy and wasn’t as efficient as I could have been for scoring points, but in the end, I lost a close game. I was kind of doing this intentionally because I wanted to see how balanced the game seemed. And while I do think you need to complete some cat towers to really have a chance, I don’t think it’s a race to completing the towers.

Aesthetically, I think that this is a pretty good looking game. The sheets are actually very nicely laid out to add to the puzzle aspect. But the dice in the game are bad. I have a picture on this page from Board Game Geek, those are not the dice you get with the game. The dice you get with the game look like someone took some old six sided dice (D6) and painted them again to be D6. So you can see the old pips underneath them and it makes no sense. I also wish that the score tallying area was a little bit larger. I do want to point out, though, that their pencils come with erasers, which is amazing. I really wish that more roll and write games did that.

Overall, Cat Cafe is a fun roll and write game. I wasn’t expecting anything too thinky, but Cat Cafe gives you some interesting choices to make. And with the drafting of the dice, I can see a lot of interesting choices coming up in the game. It’s definitely a roll and write that is a bit more than something like Second Chance, but probably around the same weight as Welcome To… in terms of the decision making, however, Cat Cafe is a smaller package. If you like roll and write games and are looking for another to try, I think that Cat Cafe could scratch that itch.

Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: A-

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Malts and Meeples – Criss Cross and Welcome To…

Malts and Meeples – Criss Cross and Welcome To…

Back again last night, still on Youtube, but still planning to move over to Twitch soon here. I played two different roll and write games while drinking a beer from Dogfish Head brewery. The games were Welcome To… in which you are building up your […]

Teaching the Rules

Teaching the Rules

Too often one of the biggest blockers of getting a board game to the table is the ability or inability to teach the rules of the game. Or, probably more fairly put, one of the biggest blockers of getting a game back to the table […]

TableTopTakes: Hats

TableTopTakes: Hats

There will probably be a number of these coming up as I play through different games that I got from GenCon. But Hats is the first of the games to hit the table multiple times. And get played multiple times each time it’s been pulled out.

Hats was one of the games, going into GenCon that I was really excited to try and definitely knew I wanted to pick up. There were a few different things that drew me to the game. The first was the Alice in Wonderland theme. The idea of Hats is that you’re at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and you are trying to get the best collection of hats. I have liked the theme on other games, mainly Parade, which might have an Alice in Wonderland theme, but like this game also be a primarily abstract game. The next was that I got to watch a play through that Man vs Meeple did on their Youtube channel. In it the game seemed like it was a lot of fun, but as importantly, and the last thing that drew me to this game, the game seemed simple but challenging.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Hats, like I said, is a game with an Alice in Wonderland theme, but really it’s an abstract puzzle. In the game, you have a hand of cards that you are using to swap with the cards on the Mad Hatter’s table. There are seven different suits in the game, numbered 1-6. You can swap the cards out, as long as the card you’re replacing is the same color or has a smaller number than the card that you’re playing. You then place the card you took in front of you, and that will be what you end up scoring. The tricky part of the game comes with the fact that you only score the colors on the Mad Hatter’s table. So, if you have three blue cards, and the blue card on the table is in the first spot, you get three points, one for each card. If there is also a blue in the six spot on the table as well as the one spot, you still get three points, because you always score the lower numbered spot. And it’s possible that you’ve collected a couple of pink cards, because they are in the six scoring spot, so it’s going to score you twelve points, but one of your opponents on their turn, seeing that you’ll be getting a lot of points from it, can potentially swap out that pink card, as long as they have a higher number.

In most card games, you know which cards are going to be used to score form your hand. In something like Uno, you know that you want to get rid of high numbers. In Hearts, you know you don’t want to take hearts of the queen of spades. In Euchre, you know you want to take so many tricks. You can plan how you are going to use your hand to score or not score points. In Hats, your hand probably won’t be the majority of your points. You’re going to be taking the cards that were dealt to the table originally, and what your opponent is playing. So you have to think about what cards on the table you can use to score, and what cards you can put down so your opponent doesn’t score. And as you get more information about what your opponents are taking, you have to consider more what you want to grab yourself and what you want to try and take away from your opponents.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

There are two final ways which you score in the game. Sometimes you can’t play a card, you don’t have the right colors and you have low numbers. The game realizes that this sucks, so it gives you two options. At the start of every turn, you can discard a card to draw a new one, as long as there are still cards to draw. But if you still can’t play, you can play a hat card face down, and that’s worth a single point. The other way to score is the more interesting way. At the end of the game, you still have a card in your hand. You add up your total in the color, say I had three blue cards the 1, 3, and 4, I would add that up and I have 8, and then I subtract the blue card I kept in my hand from them. Hopefully I kept the 2, and I’d score 6 points, but I might have kept the 6, in which case I’d score to points. Black Hats shouldn’t be a big strategy in someones scoring, scoring off the table is basically always better, but if it’s late in the game, and you can’t play or don’t want to help an opponent, it’s a valid strategy. But the scoring based off of the last card in your hand, that can be huge. I’ve seen people get over 10 points, and I’ve seen people get negative points from it.

They’ve done a great job with components and theming of the game. I did say that this is an abstract game, and this is really an abstract game. But it works with the theme, and the cookie is amazing, the board and art are beautiful, and the scoring pad is a dry erase board. My only complaint about the quality of the game is that the dry erase marker that they sent with the game doesn’t have an eraser. Fortunately, I have a lot of dry erase markers with erasers, so I can swap in one from what I bought for roll and write games that I’ve laminated. But if you don’t have that, you’re always going to need an actual napkin or something to clean off the scoring sheet. It seems like a pretty obvious oversight, but not anything that really knocks the game or the ability to play the game.

Overall, I like this game a lot. I think that it’s challenging, even though I’ve probably played it eight times. I think that there’s good strategy to it, but you have a single action, playing a card to the table, and taking the one you played it on for scoring. So it’s a simple yet tricky game, and a fast game. The game says 20-30 minutes, and I think most of the games I’ve played have gone 10-15. Granted, that is two players, but with the full four players, I think that time frame seems accurate to maybe a little bit long. If you want a game that you can teach fast, have some interesting choices, and play multiple times, Hats is a very good game for that.

Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: B+
Overall Grade: A

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GenCon Recap – Shopping Spree

GenCon Recap – Shopping Spree

Final GenCon recap article. This time about what I bought. There’s so much to see at GenCon and so many hot games that you could want to get. I budgeted what I could get, and compared to what I saw some people come back with […]

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Finale

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Finale

After an exciting run of games, I am wrapping up Pandemic Legacy Season 1. See how it all ends and find out how well I did in the game. Pandemic Legacy is a Cooperative board game that I’m playing as a solo game where you […]

GenCon Preview – Top 5 Expansions for Sale

GenCon Preview – Top 5 Expansions for Sale

I’m on the road to GenCon! So I’m writing this ahead of time, and I’m excited to be getting there. So disclaimer like before, I don’t know anything that Fantasy Flight might be talking about on their In Flight report. But what are the expansions that Board Game Geek has on their preview am I going to check out? Only five of these, because I some of them I don’t have the base game for.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Five – Cloudspire – Chip Theory Games is also coming out with a couple of expansions for Cloudspire. The game looks cool, and maybe, if I get to demo it, it’s really awesome, I’ll grab the expansions for it as well, but I’d be curious to know what they add to the game, if it’s just more story, or if it adds something else to the game, like new actions or places to go to.

Four – Detective: City of Angels – Bullets over Hollywood – This one is an expansion to a game that I want to check out. If the game looks good and I get there fast enough to get it, I’m not going to rush, I might end up getting the expansion as well, but getting more cases and things to do in this Detective game, it seems interesting, especially since I don’t know how replayable the game is going to be after you’ve finished a case.

Three – Sword and Sorcery – I’m adding multiple ones here, like some of them higher on the list, because there is a whole new story arc to go through, but also there are a couple more characters, and while I might never play all the characters, I do kind of want them for my game. I’m excited to get this game either to Malts and Meeples, or possibly this will be the game I play with friends after I’m done with Gloomhaven.

Two – Sagrada: The Great Facades – Passion – First of the trilogy of new of expansions. This one seems fun, I really do like Sagrada and I need to get it back to the table. I don’t know that I need more for it, but having some new dice is interesting, having some new goals is cool, and having some different private objectives is really really cool. So I’m excited to get it added into my game.

Image Source: Amazon

One – Welcome To… – So many expansions for this, but they are all interesting. You get different city maps that might be set in Halloween, or maybe now there are fallout shelters on the board. I definitely want to get a couple of these to add even more variability to the game. It’s a game that has worked well every time I get it to the table, and I think these expansions will keep at at the table for a long time.

Are there any expansions that you’re looking forward to coming out at GenCon? Any that I’ve missed, probably since I don’t have the base game?

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GenCon Preview – Top 10 For Sale Games

GenCon Preview – Top 10 For Sale Games

Last week I did my top ten demos that I’m curious about at GenCon, so now with GenCon officially two days away (though, there are some things Wednesday), let’s talk about games for sale that I’m interested to check out. Keep in mind, this is […]