Tag: table top

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

The Collection A to Z – So Many S’s

This is going to be a long post, you have been warned. I had a lot of L’s but that’s nothing compared to what I have in the S’s. Not to mention that I just got in Sentinels of the Multiverse expansions and Sentinel Tactics 

The Collection A to Z – Only I (JK)

The Collection A to Z – Only I (JK)

Not shockingly, I don’t have that many board games that start with the letter I, in fact, this will be a shorter one overall as I get through I, J, and K, but I do have some that start with each letter, so I haven’t 

The Collection A to Z – Gee tHat’s a lot of Games

The Collection A to Z – Gee tHat’s a lot of Games

Yup, another double letter day with G and H. I really wanted to just do G by itself because of the great title that I have, but no such luck. So another combined letter day and tomorrow will also be a combined letter day as we blast through my collection, but don’t worry, there will be lots of games to checkout.

You can find my whole collection here.

Numbers

A’s – B’s – C’s – D’sE and F’s

G and H’s

Gloom

This is a fun little story telling card game, and one of the earlier “new” games that I picked up after watching it played on Wil Wheaton’s Table Top show. What drew me to this game was how creative and morbid they were with everything, and how a game could have such a silly objective, such as killing of your family for the fewest points possible to get the win. What keeps this on my shelf, even though I haven’t played it in a few years, is that it’s just such a fun time when you do play it. You get into the morbid absurdity of it and collectively tell such a tragic but absurd story.

Status: Played

Image Source: Cephalofair Games

Gloomhaven (Forgotten Circles Exp and Jaws of the Lion)

Gloomhaven is my favorite game of all time, so clearly I’ve played it a lot, and I’ve beaten it and the Forgotten Circles expansion, I haven’t beaten Jaws of the Lion yet. What I love about Gloomhaven is just the large, sprawling story that it tells and the very Ameritrash feel, but also the Euro game sensibilities in the combat and combat cards come through, and no dice. Now, I like dice chucking, but I’ve found that I really like that tactical nature of the game play in Gloomhaven where it is much more buttoned down than a pure dice fest. This is a massive game with a massive rule book, but not that difficult when you get into it.

Gloomhaven and expansion Status: Played
Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion: To Be Played

Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension

This is a game that I picked up in San Diego because I had a few hours to burn before seeing family and after I was out of my hotel, so of course I went to a game shop. This is one that I had seen played on Rodney Smith’s channel, Watch It Played, and that looks like it was a lot of fun. I’m glad I made the purchase as I’ve had fun with it, trying to time out things so that I can rocket forward by spending the right fuel as you try and get your spaceship to escape a black hole and get back to your own dimension. What makes this one fun is trying to read what the other players are going to be doing, you know half the cards they have, but what else might they have to power their ships, how fast will it go compared to yours will that move them closer or further from you. And I like how some fuels move you closer to the nearest object while others push you away or pull them all closer to you. It’s a clever idea that works well in a game.

Status: Played

The Grimm Masquerade

I almost missed this one, but you wouldn’t know that had I not said it. This game I like as a deduction/social deduction game. I think what works well is that it really is more deduction than anything else. In this game you are at a masquerade and you’re trying to guess what Grimm’s Fairly Tale characters everyone is. Now that should be obvious, Rumpelstiltskin and The Beast form Beauty and the Beast should be pretty obviously in why they are, but let’s say magic. What I really like about this game is the two cards you give or keep each turn. You draw one and you have the choice of giving it to someone or keeping it for yourself and they have an item on it that you might want, because if you collect enough of one, you can win, if it’s the right one for your character. The second card you do the opposite thing from the first one, so if I give it away, I have to keep the second card. But the downside is that you have a weakness and if you get enough cards of that type, you are out of the round and can’t get the rose which is worth a bunch of points. I like the push and pull of that as you have to consider, do I take something that’s just neutral for me because I know if I get another of a certain item I’ll be out? It’s just a really good and quick deduction game.

Status: Played

Hanabi

This is a weird game, in that you have a hand of cards and they don’t face you, so you can’t see your cards, but you can see everyone else’s cards. This is also a game about hold information in your head, not just for yourself but what clues other people have been given already about the cards in their hands. You’re trying to play down cards from 1 to 5 in different colors, but you are limited in how you can talk, and of course you can’t see your own cards. It’s a nice simple game, but one that has a lot going on when you really get down to it.

Status: Played

Hanamikoji

I was going to say that this probably my favorite game to play with two, but there is one that I like better, but it’s the best two player only game that I have. This game has you trying to win the favor of Geisha so that they will come to your restaurant, you do that by giving them gifts. But what works so well in this game is how you give the gifts, each player, per round, does four actions, put down two cards face down that won’t be used for gaining favor, one face down that will be used for gaining favor, giving your opponent the choice of 3 cards which they get one and you get two for gaining favor, or giving your opponent a choice between two sets of two cards for gaining favor. That’s it, and both of you can do those actions in any order, if you can figure out what your opponent might have, you can make them have some really hard choices as to what to take, but it’s always a bit of a risk. Great two player game.

Status: Played

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

This is Harry Potter in a deck building game, as you face off against the different bad guys from the books with the characters of Harry, Hermoine, Ron, and Neville. What is really interesting about this game is that as you start you’re playing through the first book, then they add more cards and of things from the second book and you get more, and then the third, fourth, and all the way up through the 7th. It’s basically a campaign game that takes you through the whole Harry Potter series Now that does mean that the first game is pretty simple but later ones are longer and more challenging, but you can do cooler and different things than before.

Status: Played (partially)

Hats

This was one of my most anticipated games from GenCon 2019 after seeing it played by Man vs Meeple. This is an interesting game with an Alice in Wonderland theme, but really it’s a unique card game. in this game your hand of cards are cards you’re playing onto the table in the middle of the game, the cards you take off the table are the ones that you use for scoring. And scoring is fun as well, because there are more suits than there are spots at the table, and the table might have brown in two different spots, not everything will be scored, so you need to push for some colors, sometimes, and then hold one or two back so you can play it down and that color will be scored. But a card on the Mad Hatters table can be replaced if someone plays the same color or a higher number over that card, so it’s a real balancing act and puzzle, great at two very thinky, fun at four, but much more random.

Status: Played

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Hearts

Yes, I own a deck of cards. Hearts is a pretty fun trick taking card game. I don’t play it often, but I won’t say no to a game.

Status: Played

Heaven & Ale

This is a game that I talked about recently in a Point of Order post. It’s a euro game which normally isn’t my cup of tea, or pint of beer in this case. However, because of the beer theme, and a reviewer who I like their reviews and generally like their taste said it was one of their top games, and because it was deeply discounted for Black Friday, I grabbed it. This is a game that you can basically call a puzzle as you are putting out tiles, getting resources, trying to get the most victory points, I’m interested to try it when I can play with people in person again.

Status: To Be Played

Heroes of Terrinoth

There are some YouTube channels that you’ll see often on my posts, Rolling Solo is one of them. He highlighted this game a while back, and when I spotted it used at my FLGS, All Systems Go, I decided to grab it. In this game you are playing as heroes trying to defeat scenarios, which might be searching for something, going to different places and fighting monsters, and eventually dealing with a big boss. What I thought was interesting was how you had four abilities and you’d have to reset them at times, so it isn’t just about doing the same thing over and over again. Plus, you can upgrade those abilities, and how that lets you focus your character in a few different ways, just in the scenario itself.

Status: To Be Played

The Hobbit

I like Lord of the Rings a lot, so when The Hobbit game from Fantasy Flight was on sale, I decided to pick it up. This is a really interesting game as it’s almost semi-cooperative in nature. As a group you need to deal with a series of challenge points, and you can raise your stats to do that. But not one player will be able to deal with all of the challenges, so you need everyone to have raised their stats as well. To do this you are playing cards from your hand with numbers on them, the higher the number the further you’ll move in your group of travelers. But going the furthest doesn’t always mean you’ll get the best thing, but you also might not want to always get the best thing, because if someone is lagging behind too much in their stats, it’ll make it more likely that Smaug will move forward and everyone will lose the game. It’s a clever system that I enjoy.

Status: Played

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Homebrewers

Have I mentioned that I like beer? Homebrewers is a game all about being a home brewer and in a home brew club where you are trying to brew the best beer to get points at Summerfest and Oktoberfest. You do this by getting ingredients, putting them on your beers, brewing those beers, and then each ingredient has some power of some sort, it might be you get $2, or you could move up another beer on how well you can brew it, it all depends on the ingredients that you have on the beer. So if you’re smart with how you do it, you can brew one beer to influence more or to make things easier. It’s a nice engine building game that gives you a lot of fun options and things you can do, and it also plays well at two players.

Status: Played

Hues and Cues

Final game for the letter H, Hues and Cues is a fun, new, party game from The Op, formerly USOpoloy. What I like about this game is that it’s a different kind of party game. In so many you are trying to make people laugh, or something like that by what you do or write, Hues and Cues challenges you to give good one word and then two word clues to get people as close as possible to the color you want. I like that you want people to guess right, but also for the players, guessing close works as well. But you can’t just say something like Sky Blue, as that tells you that the color is some shade of blue, but your one word clue could be sky, so what do people consider sky, or maybe you give a clue that has people going in the wrong way, you then can give another clue to get people closer again. It also works pretty well via Zoom, just everyone should be looking at a monitor to get the colors as close as possible to each other.

Status: Played

What’s your favorite game from the G’s and H’s? Is there one that stands out as one that you’d want to try or one that I should try that I don’t have in this letter range?

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TableTopTakes: Marrying Mr. Darcy

TableTopTakes: Marrying Mr. Darcy

Join us for a fancy party at the Netherfield Estate and try and find the most eligible most eligible bachelor and get married in the end. Marrying Mr. Darcy is a quick card game set in the world that Jane Austen created, and it can 

TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

TableTopTakes: Draftosaurus

This was a game that I was originally introduced to at GenCon, I got to play a quick little bit of a self led two player demo. A few months later it showed up at a local game shop and I was looking at it 

2020 Board Gaming – What I’m Waiting For

2020 Board Gaming – What I’m Waiting For

So, I was going to do an article on kickstarter games that I had backed in 2019 because most of those are coming to me in 2020, but I decided to expand upon that with a series that will be running between Christmas and New Years (and depending on how many I prep into the New Year as well).

Let’s start by talking about some Kickstarters that I will have coming in. I’m counting reprints/second editions with this, so the first one is:

Middara – This game rivals Gloomhaven in terms of size and is bigger in terms of story. There has been so much put into it, and the first kickstarter took forever to fulfill. However, I’m just backing what came out in that Kickstarter so I expect to get mine next year, and projected date places it the middle of next year. In Middara, you are in an anime-esque world and fighting through a massive story with lots of different dungeons and interactions. You make decisions that might change up things in the future, and you upgrade your characters with interesting skills and weapons. This game looks amazing, when I’ll play it, who knows, but I’m excited for it.

Image Source: Grimlord Games

Village Attacks – Another reprint, I played it at GenCon last year, got a scenario and a few bits for it, found out that it was impossible to find, but then they kickstarted an expansion for it, which I backed so I could use my GenCon scenario. In this game, it’s tower defense, but you’re the bad guys who are keeping those pesky villagers with their torches and pitchforks from running you at of your house. It’s fully cooperative which I like, and the theme is just a lot of fun. I’m excited for this one to get it back to the table and properly deal with those villagers again. The scenarios are a lot of fun, and depending on what villagers come out when, the game will feel different playing the same scenario.

Dice Throne Adventures – I’ve talked about how much I like Dice Throne. This Yahtzee/King of Tokyo style game where you are fighting a character against another character. You’re part of a massive tournament that the evil emperor has set-up that isn’t at all like Mortal Kombat or anything like that. But in Dice Throne Adventures, you are fighting your way through the evil emperors lands, leveling up your characters, and playing cooperative against the game with whatever characters you want from Season One or Two of Dice Throne. It sounds like a campaign dungeon crawl, and while it does have some of that feel, it’s shorter in terms of campaign so you can get through it and play again without the time commitment like you need for bigger dungeon crawls.

Shadows of Kilforth – I blame Rolling Solo Youtube Channel for getting me into this game, the original, Gloom of Killforth is a one shot adventure game where you are in a world where things are going poorly and you as an adventurer are leveling up, exploring locations, fighting monsters, hoping to get strong enough to be able to take down whatever monster is blighting the land. The original game had a fantasy feel, and while this maintains the fantasy, it also has an eastern feel to it as well, which is cool. This game is also a smaller footprint game as you’re not setting up massive dungeons and needing a million tiles to play it.

Those are ones that I’ve kickstarted already that I’m really excited for. There are two that I know I want to kickstart in 2020, so let’s talk about those.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Frosthaven – Sequel to my #1 game of all time, no brainer I want this. I expect to get it sometime in 2021, but it kickstarts in March of 2020, so I’ll have paid for it then. It builds off of Gloomhaven and the Forgotten Circle expansion to tell you a whole new story set in the same world. But unlike in Gloomhaven where you start out of a set city, in Frosthaven, it adds in some city building and you have to worry about defending the town as well as going out on adventures. The out of the box characters seem a bit more challenging but also seem amazing to play. I’m curious to see how this game differs from Gloomhaven, but I hope it keeps a ton of the same feel.

ISS-Vanguard – A story game from Awaken Realms, sign me up. I have Tainted Grail that I’m dying to play (I’m going to try and play it over my time off around Christmas), but ISS-Vanguard is supposed to be more of an open world sort of game (or open worlds since you’re in space). You can go to different planets in different orders and experience the story that way. The art work that came in the Tainted Grail surprise box is amazing and I really love the style. I’m going to be curious to see how an open world game with a story comes together, but I like the idea of a non-fantasy big story exploration game.

Roll Player Adventure – Now, I don’t like the base game, but I got to play an early prototype of this at GenCon, and this is very different than a game where you’re rolling up your character like Roll Player is. In this, it’s a campaign game, but as compared to some games with campaigns, like from Awaken Realms or Gloomhaven, it isn’t nearly as heavy. The story is a little bit sillier, but the mechanics are fun. Can you manipulate the dice to be able to get through all the story and encounters that you run across. The mechanics were cool, and the game at GenCon, even in an early form, was a ton of fun. Helped that I might have been a power hungry sorcerer.

And, finally, and these aren’t last or least, but there are a few games that are coming out in other ways that I’m definitely interested in. Might just be normal publisher, but also might be kickstarter, I haven’t researched enough.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Deranged – Wait, you’re saying, it doesn’t say 2020, but for it coming to the US, it’s coming in 2020. I played this at GenCon and it was amazing. The game play was smart and simple, the world building of the game was really cool. While it’s not story driven, there is a lot going on, and the card play is really really fun in the game. I like the light horror theming as you’re trying to avoid monsters, get rid of your curses and not become deranged. But it’s very possible that you will or that you’ll die, and then you’ll need to get rid of more curses. It seems like a cooperative game where you’re trying to escape this town with no curses, but it’s competitive, and only one person can escape, so if someone gets too close, time to get kill them and give them another curse. Can someone win in all that fighting, who knows.

Time of Legends: Destinies – I almost kickstarted this game, then I decided I wanted Oathsworn instead. But this one seems really interesting. Each character has secrets that they are trying to solve as well as solve the story that is happening in this game that is set in the same world as Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. But in this one they combined with Lucky Duck games that did Chronicles of Crime, so there’s app integration. And there is a scenario builder that people can use to create more, since out of the box it seemed to come only with a few. For me, I really want to try this one next year, and hopefully if I can make it to GenCon it’ll be there for demoing.

Pandemic Legacy Season 3 – Some of my best gaming experiences have been playing through the first two season. I’m so excited for the 3rd season and last season. I don’t know anything about the game, I just know that I want it and I’m going to be ready to play it the second that I get it. No official release date yet for it, but it sounds like it should be a 2020 release and I’m guessing first half of 2020. That’s about it that I know about it, but it’s an instant buy for me.

There’s so many games coming out and with my proclivity for campaign games, I need to get cracking on the ones that I already have. I need to figure out a more consistent time to play them on Malts and Meeples, but we’ll talk about that in a future article about New Years Nerdsolutions.

What games are you looking forward to, is there a game coming out or to kickstarter that you just need to play?

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TableTopTakes: Point Salad

TableTopTakes: Point Salad

We’re almost to the holidays, and if you are looking for a light little game that you can play with most people, Point Salad might be the game for you. It’s a little game and easy to take with you for the holidays, but let’s 

TableTopTakes: Say Bye to the Villain

TableTopTakes: Say Bye to the Villain

Say Bye to the Villains is a cooperative game, that even with all the table talk you might want is an extremely hard game. If you like to win half of your games in a cooperative setting, this game isn’t for you, if you like 

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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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