I couldn’t have done this list a year ago but now I’ve played over 10 of them, and I have even more on my shelf that I need to play. Roll and Write games (or flip and write or flick and write) are a very …
So last night, GloryHoundd and DrGloryHogg did stream for their Top 10 Kickstarters of 2020. Turns out, unknown to me, that they were doing their Top 10 that they played in 2020, either from being fulfilled. So they asked for people to chime in, so …
We’re onto the letter C, and I was surprised with the number of games I had with the letter C. I thought that it might be one of the lower letters, but instead it is one of the higher numbers in terms of how many games I have in it, so let’s get started.
This is a game that I kickstarted last year after seeing it, not really demoing it though, at GenCon. The creator had a very little table set-up that was piggybacking off of another booth, and this game was there and it just looked so cute. In this game you are drafting tiles and playing tiles onto your quilt. If you get certain color or patterns you score points, there are some that are shared objectives, like different cats will want different patterns by each other, and if you can do that, you’ll attract that cat, or there are ways to get buttons which give points as well. The game should be a really good puzzle but not a game that you have a ton of rules to teach.
Status: To Be Played
I’ve wanted a racing game for a while, and while I do have another one that will show up in a little bit, that one is a longer and bigger game, I wanted one that could handle a number of players and play fast and silly, and Camel Up does that. You are betting on what camel is going to be in the lead on various legs of the race. What makes it even sillier is that the camels stack. So you don’t have a particular camel that is yours but you are petting on the camel you want to win. If you for example, roll the red die and the red camel has the blue camel on top of it, so you roll a two, that red camel will move with the blue camel on it two spaces forward. And the camel on top is in the lead. Once in a while I’ve seen this game fall flat, but more often than not it is that silly stand-up moment of what die will come out, what camel will move forward, because the more you win on your bets, the more points that you’ll have.
Status: To Be Played
This is another big group game, but it pits two teams against each other in submarine warfare in real time. You have tow teams with a captain a sonar operator, first mate, and engineer. Each of them is doing something different. The sonar operator is listening to the other teams captain to try and map out their path and figure out where they are on the board, the engineer is keeping the ship running the best that they can, and the first mate is prepping systems to be ready for use. If you figure out where a ship is and are close enough you can fire off a torpedo to try and hit them. The game is interesting, it has more strategy and the fact you can play it with eight and it’s not just a party game is so much fun.
This is one of those classic gateway games up there with the likes of Ticket to Ride and Catan that people might have heard of. It’s on the shelves in Target with them. This is a tile placement game as you build out a board collectively building farm area, roads, and towns. You score points for placing out meeples into roads, but you only have a limited supply of them, and most of the time you can get them back, but you might not be able to, so you have hold some meeples back. When a meeple comes off the board for a completed town or a completed road, you get points, at the end of the game you get points for them if things aren’t completed as well, so you are trying to have enough meeples to put them down to score if you need, but not too many so you don’t end up with leftover meeples at the end of the game. It’s easy to teach and play.
Another game in that roll or flip and write category. In this one you are making a map set in the fantasy world of Roll Player games. You’ve been sent out to be a royal cartographer, and are mapping the villages, farm lands, rivers, and forest while also mapping out where the monsters are. The big thing that this game does, which I really like, is that you score things by season. So if I were scoring in the first season I’d score cards A and B, next season B and C, and then in the fourth season D and A again. So you have to balance your scoring and think about what will help you now and help in the future, or what doesn’t matter, because after the second season you won’t score B again. The game is fast and fun, and I’m excited for more stuff that I have coming from their latest Kickstarter.
This one I’m a little bit surprised it’s still on my shelf and that I haven’t sold it, but it is such a good and simple cooperative game. I like that everything is played open, you have very simple zones for everything and where damage can be done. I don’t play this one often anymore, but I’m keeping it around because when the toddler is older it’ll be a nice simple game to play with them and something that we can play as a whole family, but I’ve had fun with it before, and there is a nice little bit of tension too it though you win more often than you lose.
This one is a true roll and write game, with a little bit of dice drafting. In this you are trying to make your best cat cafe. And you are scoring points off of certain things that the cats like, such as food dishes or toy mice. You also score points by filling up cat trees, the first person to get one filled in scores more points than the next person. There is some strategy in the dice drafting and the game works well. The game has a cute theme which was the big selling point, and some of the worst dice I’ve seen, but I replaced them with dice with cats on it, so it’s all better. Definitely a fun one that I need to play again.
Century Golem Edition
If I were to have a go to engine building game, Century: Golem Edition would probably be it. This is a fast and fun game where you are getting gems to collect golems. You do that by either taking a card to add to your hand on your turn, playing a card to get gems or upgrade gems, spending gems to get a golem, or picking back up all your cards. The game is simple and fast, but you can create some really powerful engines that will turn out a lot of gems fast if you can, and the game has great components, a great carrier for the gems, the gems themselves are cool, overall, such a fun and fast engine builder with a table presence that really sells the game.
Champions of Hara
I picked this one up after watching a playthrough on the Gloryhoundd YouTube channel. This seems like a fun game with a lot of depth of story to it without really being a story game. And the game components just look amazing. The modular board is cool, the areas of the world are very interesting, and the fact that you upgrade your character as you go throughout the game also helps sell it for me. Finally, the aesthetic of this game is just amazing, really a huge selling point when a game looks good and looks good.
Status: To Be Played
I still need to finish this one, there were several children that were born which derailed the game, and I think we have one or two games left of it, we’ll see if we get back to it, or I might buy a refresh pack and play it with another group. This is a simple worker placement legacy game that builds over time. It pretends like it has some story, but really it’s just a fun worker placement game, and I’m not always the biggest fan of worker placement. The rules do grow into more, but there are a lot of nice things about the game, and you won’t really be able to have a runaway leader through the game since it is competitive with how it’s balanced. Overall, this game is slipping for me a little bit, just because I can’t play it until we’ve finished it or I spend money to refresh it, and I need to group to play with then.
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
If you liked the goofy Choose Your Own Adventure books growing up, this game fits that perfectly. It’s a light silly and fun game, which doesn’t have you start over when you die thankfully. If you want something that feels like nostalgia, this is a good one, and I think that it goes over well with most groups. Definitely more of an experience than a game, but that’s what I waned from a game with Choose Your Own Adventure in the title.
Chronicles of Crime
Another one that I got to demo a little bit at GenCon in 2019, this one is an interesting tech assisted crime game. You use that feels like VR on your phone to look around a crime scene, you scan QR codes to investigate things, question people, take stuff to the lab and more all as you try and solve the case. I love the idea of this game as I really do love deduction games (keep in mind I said deduction not social deduction). This one is a bit lighter and simpler than some deduction games that might show up in different letters, but still such a good concept and excution from what I saw.
Status: To Be Played
Clank! In! Space! and Clank Legacy
I like deck building games, that’s why I have multiple versions of Clank. I don’t have the original version though where it is dungeon delving in a fantasy setting. Instead I went with the space version which has a lot of fun and silly sci-fi references sprinkles across the cards. And I knew when Clank! Legacy was announced with an Acquisitions Inc theme on it I was going to get that as well. The space game does enough more than just deck building to make it an interesting challenge and I like the push your luck in the game, even if I don’t always do the best at it.
Clank! In! Space! Status: Played
Clank! Legacy Status: To Be Played
A classic, but a good one. This is another simple deduction game that I mainly keep on my shelf because it is such a classic. I think that my copy of the game has been played maybe twice in about a decade. It does have roll and move which generally I don’t like in a game and only kind of works in this game because you basically always want to make an guess on something to see what information you can get. But if you already know everything you want from one room and roll poorly, you might just be stuck out in the middle. Still for a simple deduction game, it isn’t bad at all.
This is an abstract game that I picked up a while ago. It’s all about manipulating/flipping tiles in order to try and complete patterns on cards. The first person to complete a certain number wins. I like the simple concept of the game, though the round cards are a bit weird. It falls into that category of a game that is simple to teach but could have some turns where you really have to think about what you’re going to do.
Status: To Be Played
This was a game that I bought because it was 50% off, I wasn’t sure when I’d get to play it I know that the rule book is very bad. But I liked the idea of this game. In it you are taking Conan and some other characters up against another person who is running the bad guys for the scenario. What is so interesting is the gaining and spending of energy and activating certain troops might be what you want to do, but when you do, you push them further down the river so it’ll cost more to do so again as the person playing the bad guys. Definitely a really interesting concept with a lot of cool looking minis and a Conan theme that is pretty fun.
Status: To Be Played
This is an old board game that plays a lot like a new board game. In Cosmic you are a wheeling and dealing alien race who is trying to colonize a certain number of planets. Now, you do that by on you turn picking what planet you’re going after, how many ship you’re sending, and then the fun starts. You can recruit other people to help you and you also spend cards to improve your total. You can negotiate with the person you’re going against to maybe go for a draw and getting something else in return besides knocking them off the planet, it’s a really fun idea. This game does depend on the group some, but when I have played it, I like it. Oh, and the alien powers can mess everything up.
Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie
This game caught my eye as Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorite anime, so I thought I’d give the game a whirl. Another one that I saw and purchased at GenCon. This is a cooperative game where you play as crew members and work your way through their story arcs, dealing with obstacles, having to bring in bounties and things like that. I like the theme and the game play while it doesn’t seem complex definitely seems like it should be thematic fun.
Status: To Be Played
The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
This game has been on fire, figuratively, this year. It’s a trick taking game oddly enough, but it is a cooperative trick taking game where you are trying to get certain players to take certain tricks to get a card of a certain color or number, or someone might not want to win a trick, otherwise you’ll lose that level. It limits communication like most trick taking games do, but just seems like such a fun game and one that you can sit down, set-up a mission, play, and do another mission if you want or two even and be done within an hour at most.
Status: To Be Played
A classic game for a reason, I like Cribbage quite well, especially as a bar game. It’s so small you can pull it out at a brewery, throw it onto the table and play a few games while having some beers, it works really well. I like the card play and the scoring for it that you’re always thinking about. It’s a classic, don’t need to say much more than that.
Another roll and write on the list, the smallest roll and write that I have. I really like this one because of how fast and tricky it is. Now this one has more luck than some because guessing right on what die face might randomly show up, is helpful, but how you place in the dice faces on your sheet is even more important. And how you place the dice is interesting. You need to use them almost as a domino so that they are touching, you can orient them however you want, but they need to be touching like the two halves of a domino. Then you score both vertical and horizontal by how many adjacent symbols you have in the row or column. Good, little, and fast.
Status: Played (a lot)
I picked this one up for playing on digital board game nights. Cross Clues is a fun game where you have a grid. You might have in row A the word stick, and in column 4 the word witch. So if you have the A4 card in your hand, you have to give a clue to get people to guess it, it might be something like broom. Broom handles are sticks and witches ride on brooms. But if the word in row B was clean, now that clue isn’t as good. So you’re trying to find that clue that works for that one right spot for the card you have. You can play it with a timer, which I think would work well in person, but digitally we play without.
This is a game that I really do want to play more. It’s an interesting area control and fighting game all at the same time. Like Blood Rage, but also really not like Blood Rage in a lot of other ways. You are coming to an alien planet to get a resource, it’s a very classic movie trope, and there are natives there. What is really interesting is how the different factions play. There are mechs, humans, pilgrims, and the natives, and the natives start out with the best board presence and will score more gems, the pilgrims are trying to just collect gems and create their own pool of scoring that no one can take away, humans and mechs need to spread out and win more battles. The combat is interesting as well with how you allocate your troops to different areas of majority control, killing, and capturing.
If you want to find a version of Fluxx on any topic, IP, anything, you basically can. Fluxx is what you hope will be a fast little filler card game where you are trying to get the right set-up of cards in front of you to win the game. And the rules are always changing. The game can be a bit of a mess to keep track of the rules, but that’s part of the silly fun of it. Definitely doesn’t get played all that often, because while it should be a short filler it can sometimes run long.
Final one that starts with the letter C, Cyclades is another area control, influence game where you are fighting to build and control a number of a cities. All of this while bidding for your power and turn order as to what god will shine their face on you that round and what actions you can take. It’s an interesting idea and I think one that I’d really enjoy, however, it hasn’t hit the table after quite some time. I’m not ready to get rid of it though because it does seem like a really good game.
Status: To Be Played
That was a lot of C’s, what is your favorite game that starts with the Letter C? Is there one based off of my list thus far of what I own that you think I should get for hte letter C?
Make a map of the lands in this flip and write game based off in the Roll Player world by Thunderworks Games. Pros Established company Established Game Good Price and Great Shipping (to US) No Stretch Goals Cons No Stretch Goals Pseudo Kickstarter Exclusive Content …
There are a lot of games out there that are based off of other games that feel pretty similar to them. Ascension and Dominion are both Deck Building games, and they really don’t do that much mechanically unique from a lot of other deck building games. But every now and again, there are games that do something different, something that makes them fell mechanically unique. I already did a list of unique themes that you can find here. Let’s see what I can find for unique mechanics.
10 – Potion Explosion
Now, Potion Explosion is not that unique in terms of video games, but for a mechanic in a board game it has something very cool. You are taking/collecting marbles to mix together in your potion. That piece is pretty standard set collection fare that you see in a lot of games, but it has a mechanic where, because you are pulling marbles from a tray and then more marbles drop in, that if you pull a marble and then like colored marbles hit, you take those marbles, and if more like colored marbles hit, you can take those, so you can set-up a big chain reaction of marbles to use on your potions. It’s a simple mechanic to add into the game, but they execute it well with the tray that holds the marbles and allows them to roll. There’s also more strategy than it feels like there would be, but is still a simple game to teach.
9 – Captain Sonar
This one is interesting to have on the list, because I don’t know that it has a single completely unique mechanic, but the combination of trying to figure out hidden movement, breaking down and repairing systems, and navigating all at the same time, and getting systems loaded, there’s just a lot going on in this hectic game. But they work together extremely well. You get that pressure of trying to hunt down the enemy sub and figure out where they are and what they are up to. And if things go poorly and you need to resurface, all of a sudden they have a chance to find you. This game is also interesting because it’s a big group game but doesn’t have a party game feel.
8 – Dice Forge
I believe that there are a couple other games that have done this, but none, in my opinion, as successfully as Dice Forge, and that is dice customization. In this game, which is basically just a seeing who can get the most victory points over a few rounds, you are swapping out the faces on your dice so that you can get more of several different resources, whether it’s to purchase more and better cards that give you points, or if it’s money that you can spend to get more points, or maybe even just more points. The game gives you a number of strategies for it. But the most fun part is popping off the side of a die and replacing it with something better which really then allows you to customize your strategy going forward.
7 – Hats
Hats is an interesting one to put on the list because it’s just a very small card game and all you’re doing in it is collecting hats in front of you and trying to keep what you want for scoring on the table at the Madd Hatter’s tea party. But how it works is interesting because the cards you get for scoring are from the table. So if you aren’t careful, you could set it up that a color of hat you’ve been collecting might not be able to be scored anymore. So it’s a give and take of collecting a variety of hats but also keeping a lot of scoring options open. It can be pretty thinky at two players. Just the play of the table and how you get cards in front of you feels different and unique to me. So many games you use your own hand for scoring, but in Hats, what you have in your hand, you might not use for scoring at all.
6 – Photosynthesis
First the theme is quite unique, growing trees is not that common a theme, but it has one really interesting and cool mechanic and that’s the sun. In this game the sun rotates around the board and there are games that do that with the moon as well, but the sun rotating can determine if you’re tree is going to get any sunlight and give you points to grow your trees more so and eventually remove your biggest tree which will get you points. But the game is played a certain number of rotations of the sun, and there are a number of spots it can be, but the taller the tree is, the more shade it casts, so it’s a balancing act of blocking your opponents trees at times while getting your own to get the sun in a lot of situations or consistently getting energy to use from the sunlight.
5 – Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Not the most unique mechanic anymore, because they’ve come out with two more Crossroads games, though only one of them has been well received. But Dead of Winter is a zombie survival game where you have a main objective, personal objectives, and possibly a traitor, but what makes it unique is that there are Crossroads cards. These cards will only get triggered in certain situations, maybe if you take a certain action or go to a certain place or have a certain character. But that’ll immediately interrupt your turn and you’ll be given a little bit of story and then have to make a decision, it can be something that might help the colony, but most of the time it isn’t and you’ll have to choose between a couple of bad options. It’s a fun mechanic that adds more theme into the game and makes a pretty tough game considerably harder.
4 – Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension
You’ve been sucked through a wormhole and are being pulled into a black hole, so you really need to get out of the 9th Dimension. Fortunately you have a bunch of random elements on the ship that you can use for fuel, unfortunately you’re not sure how well they’ll work. What makes this unique is that the elements do different things, they’re all going to move someone, but some might move you towards the nearest ship, some might push you away, or some might pull ships towards you. And when your ship fires off is completely dependent upon the element that you’re using. The elements fire in alphabetical order, so you might have a card that’ll move you a long ways but it’s later in the alphabet, so you need to use that when you’re confident that it’ll pull you towards a ship that’s ahead of you, and not the wrong way. It’s a simple mechanic but one that works well and causes a lot of tough decisions to be made.
3 – Cartographers
This flip and write does a fair number of things that other flip or roll and write games have done before, or even other board games with the scoring set-up. And combined those by themselves are pretty unique, but there’s one very unique thing that this game does. It causes you to pass your sheet and someone else will write on it. As you are creating your map, monsters might show up, and when they do, you pass your sheet either left or right and that other player puts the monster in the least useful spot possible. And you get negative points if you can’t completely the map around the monsters. Just that screwing over of your fellow players is very interesting and normally roll and writes can be a bit solitaire so this adds in some more interactions.
2 – Xenoshyft: Onslaught
So, in the introduction I gave an example of how a lot of deck building games aren’t that unique. I think that Xenoshyft: Onslaught does something unique in how you can use the cards. In most deck building games, even cooperative ones like Aeon’s End, there are certain steps that you have to do to help the other players at the table. In Xenoshyft, however, you can simply pass them a card while you are setting up your defenses. This means that the person in charge of the armory who can get weapons cheaper can pass the medic a weapon, or maybe someone has six troops in their hand, they can pass an extra to another player to add to their line of troops. Compared to other cooperative deck building games, and actually many cooperative games in general, this one allows you to cooperate and collaborate more on what you are doing.
1 – Betrayal at House on the Hill
Now, this one I’m putting here because of the two halves on the game. There are other games that have multiple distinct parts, Galaxy Trucker for example, but with Betrayal at House on the Hill, you go from a tense cooperative game of exploring a house, mainly tense because you don’t want someone to get too much stuff or too powerful, to a game where it is one versus all as someone becomes the traitor. It does a good job, in my opinion of balancing the tension. There’s less to say on this one, because the mechanic is pretty simple, find enough omens, have a bad enough roll and bad things will happen.
Now, I’m sure I’m missing some that I’ve played and many that I haven’t played that could be unique or do a twist on some more common mechanic. What are some of your favorite games with unique mechanics?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!