Tag: Pandemic

How To Teach a Board Game

How To Teach a Board Game

A few years ago I wrote a post about how to teach board games, I want to revisit that today, and take a little bit of a different tact with it. I think that teaching a board game is one of the often overlooked things 

The Collection A to Z: NOPe Games

The Collection A to Z: NOPe Games

What, that seems wrong, how are there no games? No, it’s just that there aren’t that many games out there. So instead I’m looking at games with the Letters N, O, and P. The Collection Numbers A’s – B’s – C’s – D’s – E and F’s – G and H’s – I, J and K’s – L’s – 

Point of Sale: So Long To Scythe

Point of Sale: So Long To Scythe

So this is a new series of posts that is going to happen when I sell off a game, or get rid of a game. It is hard to get rid of games, if a game has stuck on my shelf to now, that means that I probably like it quite well, or I haven’t gotten to it, so let’s look at the three games I traded in recently.

Scythe

Probably the most shocking on the list is Stonemaiers game Scythe. This is one of the most popular board games out there, and I actually never played my copy, so why did I get rid of it. The answer is because I’ll probably never play my copy. I have friends who have it and who know how to play it. So I’m going to be much more apt to play their copy with them teaching me. And because it is a bigger euro game, with amazing artwork I’ll give it that, I don’t have as much of a group to play it with as with some other games. So because this is a bigger game, more to know about and teach, I am getting rid of it, freeing up space in my shelf, and hopefully once I can game in person again, I’ll get a chance to play it with the person who has basically everything for the game and some of the bling for it as well.

Pandemic: On the Brink

I like Pandemic, in fact there are three different versions of Pandemic in my top 100, and 4 different versions of Pandemic on my shelf, so why am I getting rid of this expansion to the base game? If I want to have a fun gaming experience with a more advanced version of Pandemic, I will probably take someone through Pandemic Legacy Season 1. I’ve played it twice, and I’d happily play it again as a game master type of roll, because the game is still challenging. If I want to just teach someone the game, adding in stuff from On The Brink is going to add to the complexity of the game, so I won’t put it in. That means that it would have to be a very rare and special situation where I wouldn’t be taking someone through Pandemic Legacy Season 1, and I wouldn’t be teaching someone the base game to need On The Brink. It just was too rare a scenario for me to ever be likely to play it.

Image Source: Plaid Hat Games

Stuffed Fables

When this game cam out, I was really really excited for it. It was a game about stuffed animals who were going on adventures and fighting off the scary animals under the bed while their human, a little girl was asleep, the figures are adorable in the game, book maps are adorable and really everything about it is great component wise, so why am I selling it? There’s one main reason, the theme of this game is for kids, and for younger kids, but with four adults playing it, there were rules questions and things we weren’t sure on. I could eventually take my kid through that game, but by the time he would be able to grasp the strategy and the complexities of the game, I have a whole lot of other games that we can play as well. This isn’t kind of an in between game between kids games and games for adults, it’s just that way in theme. And I think that the theme definitely targets a younger audience than the mechanics do. So as much as I wanted to keep this one on the shelf, there are just too many other good games out there that I’ll be able to play with my toddler eventually to keep one with sometimes confusing rules around.

Which one shocks you the most, probably me getting rid of Scythe. I really want to play that game, and the campaign expansion box, Rise of Fenris looks amazing, but I just know getting my copy to my table wasn’t likely to happen.

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Holiday List – We Love to Work Together

Holiday List – We Love to Work Together

I’ve done a competitive person games list for that person who might be just a bit too competitive. Yesterday I did a stocking stuffer list. Today I’m looking at games for that person who loves to work together and like cooperative games. Dead of Winter 

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 2 Game 1

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 2 Game 1

Last night I kicked off a new Live Stream series playing Pandemic Legacy Season 2. This is the follow-up to Pandemic Legacy Season 1 that I’ve previously streamed. I talk a little about the differences that we’ll see going forward and I play through the 

Campaign Games through Zoom

Campaign Games through Zoom

So, this was a question that I posed on The Dice Tower Facebook group, Board Game Geek forums, and Board Game Geek Facebook group, what are games that are campaign style that would play well through Zoom? The reason for this is that we’re about wrapped up with Gloomhaven, one scenario left in the expansion, and yes there are side scenarios, but we won’t be playing those, at least right now. So I started thinking, what is the next big game we’re that we’re going to play and how are we going to play it. And with that I mean, we are finish up Gloomhaven outside wearing masks, and that’s not a long term plan for Minnesota with winter coming up, so we’ll be moving back to Zoom, what will work.

I got a few good ideas that I hadn’t thought of, and I came up with a few of my own, so for those who maybe have missed the bigger gaming via Zoom or are tired of just playing games like Scattergories, Codenames, or other more party style games via Zoom, here are some ideas that I was given and were given to me.

Charterstone

Now, this is a game that I was recommended and there is only one way to make this work and that’s playing it through the app. Everyone can connect to the same game and you just sit down and play it all together remotely on your device while chatting via Zoom. This is actually a really good one for a lot of people because all it requires is that you have a camera pointed at a board on a table or anything like that, this is done purely with digital gaming. Now, I have played through all but 1 game of this in the physical form, and one of the other people who I play with has played through it all, so it wasn’t the game for us, but for a lot of people, this is going to be a really good option.

Image Source: Stonemaier Games

Gloomhaven

Now, Gloomhaven can work two ways, if you are playing it with people near you, you can drop off their character and show the game on the board so that people can play with their own physical thing, one person will just have the duty of moving everything and doing all of that house keeping, which could be a lot. Though, with the Gloomhaven Helper App, someone else could be in charge of monster initiative and what the monsters are doing, so not the worst option and personally, I like playing with the physical components better than option two which is play it through the mod on Tabletop Simulator. Now, the base game is scripted, which means it helps with set-up, but there is still a lot of book keeping and if it seemed like a lot on the physical version, it is slower on the Tabletop Simulator version. This, obviously, also wasn’t an option for my group because that’s the game we’re literally finishing.

Pandemic Legacy Season 0, 1, and 2

Now, this one shows up and from here on out, you’re going to need a camera on the table. But Pandemic is a great game because there is no hidden information in the game. You play with the location cards out in front of you, so you can plan and worth together, your character is also open information as to what they can do. The only thing someone might need is a sheet of what the actions are that they can take, and that’s something that the person who owns the game can write up and add to as more actions are unlocked. Like Gloomhaven and basically anything that requires a camera pointed a the table, one person is going to have to do all the book keeping, but with Pandemic, that isn’t too hard, fairly often when playing Pandemic Legacy Season 1 & 2 with four players one person would be moving more of the pawns anyways just because of how it was positioned on the table. This again, though, for my group, falls into the category of games that won’t work as well because two of us have played them before, and I’ve played Season 1 twice now. And while none of us have played Season 0, that is one that I want to play with the people we played Seasons 1 & 2 with.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Folklore: The Affliction

This is one that I had recommend and I hadn’t thought of, but it’s actually one that wouldn’t be too difficult to do. Folklore is an RPG type of game in a box. You roll dice for your attacks, have a character sheet, and go through stories and scenarios. What I hadn’t thought about was the fact that beyond needing your own set of dice, which everyone in my gaming group has because they are all RPGer’s and of course they have at least one set of dice, I think one only one who doesn’t have at least five sets of dice is playing in my D&D campaign, and he probably has two sets of dice. But this one all you need is a camera pointed at a board, and sure, there are items and stats and things to track, but that’s like a regular RPG, so that can be done between sessions via e-mail or text messages without much trouble as players level up their characters. And, again, technically there is no or very little hidden information so that isn’t an issue with the game. Definitely one for people who want more of a pen and paper RPG feel. Might be one for my group.

Yggdrasil Chronicles

Now, I own this game, and I am excited to play it, I just don’t know a ton about it. But according to one person in our group who has the game as well, this is one where there is no hidden information in it, the god cards and their powers are out there. This is game that I hope would work well, my concern about this one is that because it has a 3D tree element you would need to know fairly well what is on all sides of the tree as things rotate and it changes. That for me would be the biggest challenge, granted, it wouldn’t be an issue for me because I have the tree in front of me, so I could see all sides at once, but for other people it might be a bigger deal if they get distracted or lose track of what is on what side and what is rotating which way. This one definitely interests me, but I’d want to play it in person a couple of times first so that everyone knew what was going on, it seems less intuitive than some others.

Tainted Grail

Now, I’m sure there are more but this is the last one that I’m going to talk about. In Tainted Grail you are exploring a large, about 50 hour, campaign as you explore through the lands of Avalon, journey to Kamelot, and keep Menhir lit to fight back the wyrdness that threatens to overtake the land. This is one that I’m definitely interested in trying, it’s already in my Top 10 games, and I’ve made it part of the way through, but to restart with more players seems like a lot of fun, though challenging in some other ways. This game would work if you could get the players their characters. They’d need both their character, the basic cards for their character and class and the upgrade cards as well. Items could be sent via text or e-mail between sessions. This is really such an exploration game, I think it would work well, the person who owns the game would just be reading the passages, which I actually like not the person who is doing the action reading the passages because it feels like there is more mystery in the choices. This is one that is definitely in consideration for our group as well, it’s one that I am enjoying already and I’m confident that our group would enjoy as well.

Now, I’m sure there are many a campaign game that I missed. Some of them, like Arkham Horror: The Card Game, could work as well, but people would probably need their own set of the base game to make it work. Forgotten Waters is another one that can work well, which I failed to mention, but see on my shelf, and because of when it got released, around May this year, I know they have focused on supporting it in a way that it can be played with more people. I’m hesitant to use that for my group, because I know my wife is interested in it, so I want to leave that free to play with her as well. Which would you try? Have you considered doing a bigger campaign game via Zoom, besides something like D&D?

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MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 10 THROUGH 1

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 10 THROUGH 1

We’ve made it through another list this year. No spoilers as to what’s to come, what might have moved up, what might just be a new game on the list, so let’s get into this. 100 to 91 90 to 81 80 to 71 70 

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 80 through 71

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 80 through 71

We’re back with the next ten, a bullet point of what I said in the first part (which you can find 100 through 91). If you aren’t caught up, you can find yesterdays 90 through 81 to see as well. But we’re back for the next 

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 100 through 91

My Top 100 Board Games 2020 Edition – 100 through 91

It’s that time of year again, and I’m going to talk a little bit about what I’m doing and when I’m going to try and consistently do it from here on out. We’re doing my Top 100 Board Games of ALL TIME!

Now, this is my top 100 games, not the 100 objectively best games, these are my 100 favorite games. To get this list, I go through all the games that I’ve ranked on BGG, minus a few, which I’ll get to in a second, and then using PubMeeple.com’s ranking engine, I go through and do the one versus one comparisons on the games until they are all sorted. This gives you a one to one comparison between the games and in my case was something around 1000 different comparisons. I could have done only my top ranked games, but this gives a chance for a game that I maybe haven’t rerated recently to show up on the list, even if I’ve rated it lower. So, I said this was minus a few games, and I don’t mean ones like Monopoly or Cards Against Humanity that I don’t like, those I actually rated, I’m talking about actually things like ICECOOL 2, Dice Throne Season 2, or Star Wars Destiny Two Player, because I have ICECOOL, Dice Throne Season One, and Destiny that I counted for those.

Next, when I do these lists, if the game sounds interesting to you, I want to give you a chance to pick it up. I always, and especially this year, recommend you order from your FLGS, but some of you might not have a local game store, some of them might be closed due to Covid, some local game stores aren’t friendly, and I fully recognize that sometimes you need a game, funds are tight, and online is cheaper, so don’t feel like you can use your local store, I hope you do pick them up online, more games to play, more fun options to introduce people to, no matter where they come from is great. I’m going to be linking to either CoolStuffInc or Amazon for where you can pick up the games immediately if you want.

Finally, this is obviously just my opinion. There are some games that you’ll hate that I love, almost guaranteed for some of you in my Top 10 even, and there will be some games that you love that won’t make my list, they were obviously my number 101 (all of them). And if it was on the list last year, I’m going to try and put down the number it was at before, just to see which ones move up and which ones move down and what new games have hit the list.

But, without further ado, here’s my list starting with 100 through 91.

Image Source: Greater Than Games

100. Lazer Ryderz

Lazer Ryderz is a game of goofy fun as it’s basically light bikes like you see in Tron and you are racing them around, leaving your path behind you hoping someone else will run into it, and trying to get goals. You basically have to go off of feel because you decide where you start at the edge of the table with your eyes closes, when laying down your track route, once you pick up a piece and put it over the top of the table, you’re committing to it. And it’s all in 80’s neon glory looking like a big four pack of VHS. So it has that goofy feel to go with what’s a very goofy game. Good one for when you want something pretty fast and very casual to play.

Image Source: WindRider Gamers

Last Year: 100

99. Ra

This game is interesting as it’s bidding, it’s set collection and it’s push your luck. I like the bidding mechanic in it a lot as you bid you put that number into the middle if you win the bid and take the number that was there, so it’s possible late in a round to hold onto a low number in order to be able to grab a high number from the middle and change your fate for a future round. There’s also some interesting push your luck because when you’re the last person who can bid, you can always draw more and more tiles, but if you get the wrong tiles you’ll bust. The game maybe plays a touch long for me for what it does, but I like the strategy in it, and I like the bidding in it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Catalyst Games

98. Shadowrun: Crossfire

We’ll see a game very similar to this coming up, but this is one that I wish I had in my collection, but I want to find used. I like it for the theme a lot. I enjoy the cyberpunk setting that it’s in, and the idea of going on these runs, missions, to take down the evil corporations. It’s something that is very interesting. Plus it’s deck building, so you can specialize, but that might not always be the best because you don’t know who you’ll have to face off against next and that might not work with your skill set. But other people can help you some as well, which makes it interesting to see how that works. And it’s scenario building as well which is fun as well.

Last Year: 91

Image Source: Thames and Kosmos

97. Legends of Andor

This is a dungeon crawl, kind of, really Legends of Andor is more of a scenario based puzzle as you try and rush to get everything done before the time runs out. And you can kill monsters, but that advances the timer, so you need to understand that is happening and figure out how to balance out killing monsters while trying to complete the mission while trying not to let the story advance too quickly so that you run out of time to complete it. The game does one thing I really like and that’s having both the male and female version of the heroes so people don’t feel like they are locked in playing a certain character because of the sex of that character. I think the one thing that might confuse people about this game is that it looks like it should be a big fight the monsters adventure, but really it’s a very tightly made puzzle where every decision really matters.

Last Year: 86

Image Source: Fantasy Flight

96. The Lord of the Rings: Journey to Mordor

So, first off, no link for this, it’s out of print from what I can tell and I couldn’t find it even on Amazon which is saying something. This is a little push your luck roll and write game where you are trying to get the ring to Mount Doom and by the first to throw it in. Thematically it doesn’t make sense because you can’t have one ring to rule them all and then four different groups each having the one ring, but as a roll and write, it was pretty solid fun. There are definitely others that I like better but this one was a good time and it plays fast. There is some take that to it which can be a negative thing, but it didn’t seem like there was too much and the game didn’t overstay it’s welcome to make the take that a big deal.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Matagot

95. Takenoko

This game is a really cute game. Takenoko has adorable little panda figure, and you are stacking up different colors of bamboo. There’s really just a lot of fun stuff in this game. You are growing the bamboo, moving the panda and having him eat it, putting out and irrigating more tiles to grow even more bamboo all to complete different scoring base off of bamboo growth, title placement, or what the panda has eaten and you’re seeing how many you can get done before all the turns run out. This is a game that has an amazing table presence with the bamboo growing up and the panda and gardener figures, and it’s a very enjoyable game to boot without being too complex.

Last Year: 97

Image Source: Catalyst Games

94. Dragonfire

So this is the game that is based off of the game system as Shadowrun: Crossfire. Whereas Shadowrun is a future cyberpunk setting, Dragonfire is classic Dungeons and Dragons setting where you are taking on monsters, fighting through scenarios, leveling up your characters and doing it all over again. I think that this game has worked out some of the kinks from the original and it has definitely gotten more support with a lot of scenario packs having come out for it. This just allows you to build into more and more game play and pick the scenarios that look interesting to you. Plus, deck building is always a plus in a game for me.

Last Year: 93

Image Source: How Stuff Works

93. Yahtzee

Second roll and write on the list, and this is the original roll and write. I still enjoy Yahtzee today because everyone understands how it works and the rules are simple. In fact we’ll see other games on the list that use a similar mechanic to Yahtzee. But what I like is that I kind of have it down, now that doesn’t mean that I roll a Yahtzee always, but it means that I can look and see what I might want to be doing, what I’ll want to keep, what the odds are of me getting what I need, when it’s worth it to push for a large straight, when it isn’t and so on. Plus, I can play it with my parents and it isn’t as much of a game that plays itself like a lot of the more classic games that we’d play such as Uno or Skip-Bo, which are number 101 in case you were wondering.

Last Year: Not Ranked

92. Pandemic

Last year this was a fair amount higher on my list, but it’s dropped some just because of having played Legacy Season 1 twice and Season 2 once, and Season 0 is coming out soon-ish. Base Pandemic is still a good game, it just feels like the introductory cooperative game that it is. It’s easy to teach, it’s easy to play, but it can be fairly hard to win, depending on how things come up. The game is a classic game for a reason and it is one that I won’t turn down playing, though, I’m not sure it’s one I’d immediately pull off the shelf myself when it comes to introductory games at this point. I think that it really highlights, beyond being a cooperative game, is how every players part of the game can be different with the variable player powers, and I think for new players that is something that is cool and uinique.

Last Year: 50

Tsuro
Image Credit: Amazon

91. Tsuro

This one also slipped for me because in some ways I’ve played it too much now. I think that this is a fun group game, and I think it’s one of a few games that plays fast and plays a large number but it isn’t just another party game. In this you are trying to be the last person on the board but you must follow the path that you lay out in front of you. And you have to be concerned about the other players as well. If you get to close, you could have to follow a path that someone else lays down, and that might run you off the board, in which case you’re out of the game, or it might hit another players pawn, in which case both of you are knocked out. So there’s some strategic avoidance but you also don’t want to stick yourself in a corner with no way out. It’s a fun game, just one that I’ve played a lot.

Last Year: 61

So we have a few movers in this section with three previously not in the Top 100 games, and two dropping a ways. Oddly enough, the very first game on the list, Number 100 was Number 100 the year before, good job Lazer Ryderz in being consistent.

Looking at this list, are there any of the games that stand out to you as ones that you want to play? If you’ve played any of the games, which is your favorite on this section of the list? Let me know in the comments on on Twitter.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

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Expansion vs New Game

Expansion vs New Game

So, when building up your board game collection, it can at times reach the point where you have so many games that you just don’t play them all that often, and that you have a core few favorites that you play all of the time,