I’ve been on a roll and write kick lately, and Second Chance is one of them that I picked up because I thought it looked fun in a video that Board Game Geek did. I was right, it was a fun game, though not my…
Tag: Second Chance
Alright, this whole week and probably for a little bit longer, but let’s talk about those things you can get for the nerdy people you have in your life. Or things that you can suggest that people get for you, since you’re the nerdy person in their lives.
Stocking Stuffers are going to be small games, though a few of them might be slightly too large for a small stocking, but they are going to be smaller games and hopefully slightly cheaper options for you as well. These games are not going to be big and grandiose, but hopefully you’ll find a good range of games for the people in your lives. This list isn’t in a best to worst or vice-a-versa order, just alphabetical
Age of War – This game will easily fit into a stocking. It is a simple little dice game where you are trying to collect fortresses by rolling combinations on the dice. If you get a set, you can lock them in, but if not, someone can try and steal it from you, though it’s a little bit trickier. This game is very simple and small. It’s a good game for people who like a bit of dice rolling, but don’t want anything too thinky.
Boss Monster – A game that’s a bit bigger than Age of War, but it’s still easy to play. Each person is a monster in a 8-bit video game and you are trying to set-up your dungeon and lair so that you can defeat all the heroes who are coming from the town. But you also have to be able to attract them. But if they don’t die in your dungeon, you don’t want to take too much damage. This is for someone who likes a lot of nerdy things and retro video games being one of them. There are good nods to other nerdy things on the cards.
Cat Cafe – Your crazy cat lady aunt will love you for this game, though you’ll probably have to teach it to her. It’s a bit more complex than some roll and writes, but in the game, you are creating your own cat towers to attract cats to you. You score in various ways by placing mice toys together or by getting food dishes or other things your cats would love. This is a good game for the whole family.
Criss Cross – Another roll and write, you might see a third on the list, but Criss Cross is a little game, but a good one for people who like to puzzle out the best score. In Criss Cross you are rolling dice and everyone is placing the symbols rolled onto their own board, but you have to remember that you are scoring both columns and rows, so you don’t want to have too many of them that score zero. It’s a very small game and easy to play multiple times.
Gloom – This is completely different than the other games, because Gloom is a story telling game. In it you are taking turns playing down cards to either make your opponents characters lives go better, or to make yours go worst until you can kill off your whole family. You are telling the horrible things that are happening to them as you play card. This has a nice dark humor to the game, and it just ends up being silly fun for a potentially dark theme. Plus, the cards are clear plastic, so that they stack on top of previous cards and you can see through.
Hanabi – A card driven game, Hanabi is unique because the cards aren’t facing you. Your hand of cards is facing your opponents and they are giving clues to help you play down your cards. You are all trying to work together to get stacks of fireworks from 1 to 5 of their colors, but if you play down the wrong number or the wrong color, you lose a fuse, and you don’t want it to blow up in your face. It’s a unique idea and it works well for a small box game.
Hanamikoji – This is a great game to get for your significant other, if they enjoy gaming. It’s a two player only abstract game where you are trying to win favors of various Geisha. But to do so, you must give them gifts using four actions that you can take. And your opponent has the same four actions. When you use them and the choices you make are what work well in this thinky game. It plays fast, though, and generally I’ve found that people want to play again after the first game.
Just One – Okay, you’ll need a large stocking for this one. The game isn’t that huge, but it’s larger than most. A cooperative word based party game, this one is great for your family if you are sick and tired of playing the same party games over and over again from the 90’s or you’ve read every single Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity card. In Just One, one person is it, and you are all trying to get them to guess a word, but you can only write down a one word clue. If you match with someone, though, both clues are hidden. It’s a super fun game that takes the place of a lot of other party games.
Onirim – Maybe you have a family member who likes to play solitaire games, probably including solitaire, but they haven’t jumped into modern board games. Onirim is a great game for a solitaire player with simple rules in the base game, and a lot of challenge as you are playing cards, it’s one of the best purely solo games out there. The artwork is unique, but I like it, and the game is small, just a bunch of cards, so it won’t feel like too much.
Parade – This game can be a bit hard to find, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s an interesting card collection game where you are trying to get as few cards and as few points as possible. But, in a twist, if you get the most of a certain color/suit, those cards only count as a single point. It’s an abstract little game, but the Alice in Wonderland artwork will draw people in.
Say Bye to the Villains – If the person likes hard games, this will be a good option. Say Bye to the Villains is a very hard game, I haven’t beaten it, but a ton of fun. You are all Samurai who have 10 days to prepare to fight a group of villains at the end of that time each of you will face off against one. You can prepare by improving your stats or scouting out the villains. This game works well, because it’s cooperative and you feel like you can’t get everything done that you need to. Extremely tough, good variety in the game, and if you are looking for a challenge it’ll be a good choice.
Second Chance – We’re back to roll and writes, but Second Chance is a great one for it, and a simpler one. In this game, two cards are flipped and you have to draw in the shape shown of one of them on your board. The person who has the fewest spaces left at the end of the game wins. However, to keep it from being the same, each person has a unique starting shape, and if you use larger shapes, you might run out of room faster, but you get a bonus spot. If you can’t fill in one of the shapes, you get a second chance, and if you can use that new shape, that is just for you, you can keep playing. The game has a nice art feel to it and works well in large groups. Another game that you will play multiple times in a single sitting.
Stipulations – Another party game is making the list, and this one will easily fit in a stocking. Too many party games either need to have a ton of cards, Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity, because you go through them quickly, or they have large pieces like Catch Phrase, but Stipulations is a fun game in a small package. In the game the person who is it picks a dream job, super power, life time supply or fulfilled dream that then other players write a stipulation for. It’s a good creative game, and one that you can make as dirty or as clean as you want, so you can always play with anyone.
Unlock! – Any of the Unlock games, or the Exit games, would work in this spot, but if you have someone who loves escape rooms, give them an escape room in a box. Unlock puts you into a situation that you have to combine cards, solve riddles and other puzzles and figure out the solution before time runs out. And then when it does, you can still finish, you just get fewer points, but you can watch the clock count down and get stressed out. If you are looking for that escape room experience but on a budget, it works well with groups too, probably up to 6 players maximum, though I think 4 is the ideal number.
Alright, I don’t know how many that was, but it’s a good variety of games that you can stick in people stockings. If you want, you can probably find one for everyone in your family. Board games are fun to give and get over the holidays because you can then turn them into a family activity if you want.
Which game would you want to get in your stocking? Which one would you be most apt to give?
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Normally, this would be another Halloween article, because I’ve been doing those every Wednesday, tomorrow, since it is actually Halloween will be my Halloween themed article. Instead, you are getting more of my top 100 board games, which will wrap up on Friday. ***Disclaimer***These rankings…
There are so many roll and writes or flip and write games out there, how do you go through and find the good ones? In some ways, you just have to guess and find the style that you like. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a map to find the good ones?
Cartographers is a mapping flip and write game where you are trying to create the best area of land for scoring. Your cartographer goes out and is trying to place Tetris style shaped pieces and other shapes onto your map. These shapes are different types of land, and depending on how the land is laid out, it is going to allow you to score throughout the game. But watch out for monsters, if can you can’t get them surrounded in your map, they are negative points, and your opponents are going to be the people who are putting the monsters onto your map.
Cartographers is scored over four seasons, each with two different scoring criteria. In spring you score A/B, summer – B/C, fall – C/D, and winter – D/A. So you have to both be planning ahead and trying to score as much as you can on each round. The first round is generally lighter scoring, because you haven’t built up anything for either the A/B scoring. And the scoring can be having squares surrounded but not filled, having forests surrounded, having six or more buildings next to each other, etc. These can really change up how you play the game, and help make it unique because maybe in spring I am not set-up to use something right then, but I can plan for the summer. Or you can really focus on a couple of them in hope that they are going to score you more points. Plus, you can get coins by surrounding mountains or using smaller areas, and those give you points each season that you have them. And the monsters are going to be negative unless they are completely surrounded, and each spot open by them is a negative point, and that can add up fast.
Now, there are a ton of roll and write or flip and write games out there, is there anything that makes Cartographers stand out from other games? First, there is no down time, not something that makes it stand out, but something that is nice. On each card flip you are placing land on your map or a monster on your opponents map. So you are always going to be able to play, and even if you can’t fit the shape, you then get to place a single square of any type, which you’ll be able to fit for sure. I also like the scoring throughout the game. Cat Cafe has a little bit of this, as does Welcome To… but Cartographers leans into that a whole lot more. And the scoring changes for each season which adds to the puzzle nature of the game. I think if the scoring was just static, the season scoring wouldn’t work. So like Welcome To… the scoring is going to change up every time that you play the game. Finally, having other people put things on your map and you putting things on other peoples is really interesting and different. You can really mess someone up with a monster and give them a lot of negative points.
The theme works fairly well in this game. I think that the land types being next to each other or surrounded, etc. for the scoring makes pretty good thematic sense. I think that you can argue the mountain being surrounded gets you a gold can make a bit of sense if they are paying you for completing a percent of the map. The monsters, however, being negative points if they aren’t next to anything seems backwards. I think that any that they would be next to would be negative because you don’t want to be by monsters, but I understand from the point of the game, that doesn’t work nearly as well. Like most roll and write games, the theme is a bit abstracted away, but as someone who likes drawing maps, I don’t mind, and I think it works well enough. I can get that itch for making Dungeons and Dragons maps out of my system with Cartographers, which is technically set in the same world as the game Roll Player.
I also think that while this roll and write is a bit more complicated than some other roll and write games, that it isn’t going to be hard to teach, and the visual representations on the board are easy to see and the different terrain types are easy to draw. I’m not sure that I’d lead with this game for a roll and write if someone hasn’t played any, but if they know what a game like Second Chance is, Cartographers is a logical next step. And just teaching it to someone who isn’t familiar with roll and writes would probably work, might just be a bit slower teaching than you’d expect for a roll and write game.
Overall, I think this is a very good roll and write/flip and write. It gives you some challenging decisions, and I really enjoy how the scoring works. I think that the scoring and the monsters make the game feel different than most other roll and write games. Definitely feels a bit like a mash-up of Welcome To… and Second Chance, and that’s great, because I really like those two games. I definitely would recommend this one for the theme, which is light, but easy to sell, and the mechanics.
Overall Grade: A-
Gamer Grade: B+
Casual Grade: B+
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The Granddaddy of roll and write games is taking on a new class as we have a fatal four-way between these games that use a similar mechanic, but are all really different. Will the old challenger be able to hold off the young guns trying to take him down?
Let’s meet the games.
Yahtzee – The granddaddy of the roll and write genre, it’s a good puzzle and push your luck game. You roll the dice trying to get various combinations to score the most points possible. And if you can’t roll what you want, what do you cross off? The game can get a little bit out of hand depending on your luck at rolling dice, which I tend to run either hot or cold. There are some interesting decisions in the game, mainly though, you are figuring out your best odds.
Criss Cross – A much simpler game than Yahtzee, Criss Cross has you picking a symbol to put into the corner of your board, and then you roll dice and everyone tries to use them to put symbols on your board getting connected ones in rows and columns and scoring based off of how many of the same ones you can get in a row. It’s an interesting puzzle not knowing what symbols are going to be rolled and depending on that starting one that you pick randomly, peoples boards look very different. The trickiest bit is that with the two dice, you have to put their symbols next to each other.
Welcome To… – No dice in this roll and write so technically it’s more a flip and write. However, the mechanics are the same in a lot of ways, the randomness of the card flip just means that you can kind of plan if you can count cards, but there are a lot of them. In this game, you are building your perfect neighborhood by building fences, parks, pools, and getting realtors to show off your neighborhoods so that they are worth more points at the end of the game. You’re also adding in house numbers, but they have to go in order, so don’t end up where you can’t add any, otherwise you get a building permit violation. May the best 50’s neighborhood win.
Second Chance – Another flip and write game, this one gives you a grid where you are trying to fill it in with Tetris type shapes so that you have the fewest spaces left at the end of the game. You can flip and orient the shapes in any direction you want, but if you can’t place a shape, you get a second chance, but if you can’t do that, you’re out. It’s a very peaceful game to play and allows you to have a little fun as you fill in areas and how you do that. It’s also a game that allows a large number of players to play all at once without down time.
Alright, let’s see how Yahtzee fairs to start. Unfortunately it isn’t looking great. Yahtzee, like the rest has you playing your own solo puzzle, unlike the other games, Yahtzee has you taking your turn and then waiting for everyone else to take their turn. That’s good for the old game, but it can’t keep pace with the younger counter parts. It does get in a few blows on Criss Cross for giving you a few more decisions at the start of the game.
Now we’re down to the three newer games, Criss Cross is showing it’s simplicity in what it does as Second Chance matches it blow for blow. However, Criss Cross gets the advantage as giving you a few more interesting choices and better scoring than Second Chance does. Second Chance tries for one last counter showing off some more style to it, but then Welcome To… comes in to get the pin, taking out Second Chance. While Criss Cross is resting from it’s fight with Second Chance, Welcome To… shows off a few interesting moves and then goes for the pin…
1…. 2… 3…
We have a winner in the battle of Roll and Writes: Welcome To…
Welcome To.. has theme on it which none of the rest of the games do. It also gives you more interesting decisions and with picking between one of three sets of cards for your moves gives you more decisions to make as compared to any of them. It’s also more of a gamers game as a roll and write while not being too complex. Criss Cross put up a good showing though as it’s a very fast game that offers a lot of interesting choices, especially late in the game, and moments that you can really cause excitement.
What’s your favorite Roll and Write? I have another coming in the mail that just couldn’t quite get into the fight in time.
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