Tag: Second Chance

Top 10: Roll and Write Games

Top 10: Roll and Write Games

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 

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 

TableTopTakes: Ganz Schon Clever

TableTopTakes: Ganz Schon Clever

It’s been a while since I’ve done a board game review. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of Point of Order articles come up and go in that time because I can buy games, but I can’t play all that many of them. But one that I was able to play three times in person and twice via Zoom, plus about a million times on the app has been Ganz Schon Clever. I won’t be talking as much about the app today, but more about the game.

Ganz Schon Clever is probably one of the more influential games in terms of putting the roll and write craze over the top. There had been games before like Qwixx that were out there, but Ganz Schon Clever hit the market and took off because it made a game that was interesting and challenging and put in so many combos into the game. So many combos. In this game, you are playing a number of rounds, 4 to 6 depending on player count, more rounds for less players. On your turn you roll six dice, you can then use one of the dice in one of the five sections. Each section corresponds to one of the dice colors and then there is a wild die, the white one, that can be used in any section. The trick for what die you’ll use comes down to the fact that any dice that are of a lower value than the one you select go onto a platter (this will be important later). Then you roll the remaining dice again, repeat the process, and do it all one more time. At that point in time, all the other players can pick and use one of the dice on the platter. Then the turn passes, next person goes, and so on and so forth. Doesn’t seem that challenging, but there are so many interesting things in it, as each section scores differently and can then let you activate other areas, possibly chaining even more things together.

Let’s do a quick run down of how each section works. In yellow you cross off a number, and for rows and the diagonal that you complete you get some bonus, like crossing off a spot in another section or adding a number. The columns when filled in give you points. In Blue, you always take the total of the blue and white dice and fill in the corresponding number, the more spots you fill in, the more points you get, and filling out rows or columns gives you bonuses. In green, you fill in from left to right and the number has to be greater than or equally to the number i the circle to cross it off, the more you fill in, the more points you get, and if you make it to certain points you get a bonus. Orange is the easiest, it’s just the number on the dice, and then there are bonuses that you get for filling in certain spots, but you have to work left to right. There are also a few spots that double or triple in yellow. Finally, there is purple, in purple you go left to right and the number must always be greater than the previous number, so you could go something like 1, 4, 6. When you put in a six, you can start over again, and there are a ton of bonuses in purple. Finally, there is the fox bonus. The fox bonus shows up in each section and for the fox, you score the number of foxes you’ve made it to times your lowest score, so you can’t just skip one section, because then your foxes would be X time 0 which would give you no points.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Really, that’s probably enough to get going on the game and be able to play it. The game is simple, but there is strategy. Plus, you do get some other bonuses that I haven’t mentioned yet. You can unlock rerolls, you can get +1 that you can use to use an extra dice after people are done rolling, and you can just fill in a spot of your choice in round four. So sometimes you can use the +1 die to chain into something else and fill in a few spots, or maybe the filling in a spot will do that for you.

Like I said before, this game is pretty simple to learn. But to master it, you need to figure out the strategy for it. Sometimes you’ll want to reroll just because to use the die you need to, or want to, will lose you too many dice. Saving the +1’s towards the end can also be a good strategy because you can use them to combo more sooner, but sometimes I’ll spend a +1 to get a +1 when it’s a harder +1 to get than others, if that makes sense. So there is way more going on than just rolling dice and putting down a number, and scores can vary wildly.

Now, if you don’t like luck, there is luck involved. You might roll all ones, reroll and roll all ones again. It’s improbable, but not impossible. Or someone else might be consistently rolling higher numbers so they can score the orange and purple sections better. But with that said, since the game is fast, and since you are using dice that someone else has rolled, it is possible that you’ll get to use better dice, or if you don’t, the game will be over quickly and you can try again. The luck factor though might be a turn off for some, but I do think with all the combos that it is hard to get completely locked out of the game and doing well at all in it.

I’m also looking at this as a big fan of a lot of roll and write games. There are a number that I’ve talked about before, such as Welcome To… Second Chance, Criss Cross, and Cartographers, all of them great games, and a number that I like better than Ganz Schon Clever, but one thing that Ganz Schon Clever does differently from all of those is the combos. With those there might be other variability in the game, but you never will get that really satisfying chain of doing one thing and then doing another and another because of that first thing that you picked. Sonora, the flick and write, has that comboing if not more going on it, but that’s one of the only others I’ve played that does that.

Overall, this is clearly a game that I like a lot. I think that the play is pretty clever (the English translation of Ganz Schon Clever is That’s Pretty Clever). I like that the game plays pretty fast, I think slightly longer than the box says, but with that game speed, you never feel like you have much down time since you are doing things on other people’s turns as well. It scales well, and the rules are easy enough to teach that I think I could with most people, with just a few reminders during the game.

Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: A-
Casual Grade: A

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Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Yesterday I talked about games that would work well for that just slightly too competitive person in your life. You still want to get them board games, but which ones, today I’m looking at smaller games. These are the games that are going to be 

Holiday Lists – For the Too Competitive Gamer

Holiday Lists – For the Too Competitive Gamer

Normally I wait a little bit closer to the Holidays to create these lists. There is speculation, and I suspect some of it might come true, that because of Covid, shipping is going to be crazy, so it probably makes more sense to get your 

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

MY TOP 100 BOARD GAMES 2020 EDITION – 40 THROUGH 31

Getting close to the end, the top 100 are all games that I really do love and would want to play basically whenever someone asks but as we get higher in the list, and I think about and write up about these games, I always want to play them again immediately, if I could, which generally, for some odd reason, I can’t play them immediately.

100 to 91

90 to 81

80 to 71

70 to 61

60 to 51

50 to 41

Plus a few notes on how I’ve put together the list:

  • These are my favorite, you want what people consider best, see the Board Game Geek Top 100
  • If a game you love isn’t on the list, it might be be coming, I might not have played it, and if I have, it’s 101
  • If a game looks cool, I have links to buy it from CoolStuffInc or Amazon, or you can grab most at your FLGS
  • There are a few games, Destiny 2 Player versus regular Destiny where if they are basically the same thing, I only do one of them
Image Source: Stronghold Games

40. Second Chance

Dropping a ways on the list, I still really like Second Chance, and it’s such a peaceful game to play and easy game to teach that I’ve played it quite a lot. And that’s probably the reason for it dropping, just wanting a bit more variety in what I’m doing. In Second Chance you are using Tetris like shape, polyomino shapes, to fill in a grid. Every turn you have two different ones you can choose from and you goal is just to fill in as much as you can. if there are ever shapes flipped that you can’t put on your board, because the shapes are just wrong for you, you then get a second chance. That is a single card flipped, just for you, to keep you in the game. The game is very simple, very fast to play, but is a very calming game to play as well. It’s also fun to doodle in the shapes so that you end up with a unique looking board.

Last Year: 15

Image Source: Evil Hat

39. The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game

I can’t really say why this one has dropped so much, I’ve even played it a number of times recently. I still really enjoy the game, I think that this is one that actually works pretty well over Zoom, especially if both players have the game. The best way to describe this game is that you are trying to beat the puzzle that is a Dresden Files book. You are trying to solve more cases than you have bad guys left standing at the end. That means you might need to beat down a lot of villains or you might need to focus on cases, plus there are obstacles to overcome and advantages to grab. The game is a lot of fun if you know the series well, and I think with the exception of the last two books, the last one which just came out, I’ve read all of them at least twice. The story is really interesting and really good, and this game doesn’t have a ton of theme, but if you know the books, you give it theme as you play through the books with the characters.

Last Year: 14

38. Cartographers

Another roll and write on the list, and one that I just recently talked about because there is a standalone expansion for it on Kickstarter. This game is all, as the name suggests, about making maps. You are score points depending different scoring cards, two for each season. You are filling in polyomino shapes again, and trying to get those to match up with the scoring. There are four different land types, villages, forest, fields, or water and they will all score in a different way, depending on what the scoring is. Plus, there are monster cards, and this is something unique for a flip and write or roll and write, where you pass your sheet to the player to the left or right and let them fill in the monster on the worst spot possible. The game has a lot of interesting elements to it with the monsters and with the scoring of the seasons, so A and B scoring cards in spring, but then it comes back around to A again in Winter, so you score it at the start and end. Not complex, but a few interesting things to keep track of and a theme that works well.

Last Year: 39

Image Source: Fantasy Flight Games

37. Star Wars: Rebellion

Dropping down the list is Star Wars: Rebellion, and that’s mainly because I haven’t gotten to play it in a long time. This is a great game and a big game. It’s “Star Wars in a box” as Sam Healy used to say on The Dice Tower. In this game one team is the empire trying to track down and hidden rebel base, all the while, the rebels are trying to cause unrest and complete missions in the Imperial systems. It’s an interesting game of cat and mouse between the two and makes a really fun time. This is a big game, and it take a long time to play, probably 3 hours, but it is very immersive and time flies by. For some people there’ll be a negative of dice combat, but there’s an expansion that helps with the randomness of that, and I don’t mind it at all, personally. Really good game, and if you are a Star Wars fan and a gamer, you’ll probably like this game.

Last Year: 11

Image Source: Thunderworks Games

36. Roll Player

Second Roll Player game on this chunk of the list, technically. The other being Cartographers. Roll Player is interesting because I’ve enjoyed the game every time I play it and the dice drafting aspect is a lot of fun. With that said, I always want a little bit more from the game. I know that I’m going to be getting that with Roll Player Adventures when that comes out, so I’m excited for that, and there are expansions that add more to Roll Player itself that I need to try. But in this game you are drafting dice and using them to create a D&D/RPG character. You have your stats, you are getting them from when you have place three dice, so it’s really D&D like. And for me, making characters is a lot of fun, you gear them up nicely and then you score points off of skills you have, where your stats are at, and where certain dice are placed for your background. It’s not a complex game and a fun way to do drafting.

Last Year: 57

Image Source: Druid City Games/Skybound Games

35. The Grimm Masquerade

Now, I don’t like social deduction games for the most part. The Grimm Masquerade is a combination of social deduction and deduction that I like quite well. In this game you are all going to a fancy masquerade ball and you are Grimm fairy tale characters in disguise. You are trying to figure out who everyone else is. You are doing this by trying to either bust a player by giving them a card that they don’t want, or through process of elimination guess who someone is. All the time you are trying to collect the gift that you want. They make this work in an interesting way because on your turn, you can do a special action if you want or have the cards to do one, but mainly you are drawing a card and giving it away or keeping it and then doing the other thing with the other card. So you might accidentally bust yourself if you aren’t careful, or you might pass something away that you wanted because you have to, but can you keep a poker face while doing that? It’s a clever little game and the special powers that you can play with make the game feel different each time you play it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Grimlord Games

34. Village Attacks

A GenCon play for me last year, this one has maintained a pretty high spot on my list while I wait for my copy to come from their most recent Kickstarter. In this game instead of playing the villagers or “heroes” standing up against the monsters, you are playing the monsters as the villagers ruin their peaceful evening in their lair by kicking down the door and trying to kill you, kill your lair, or complete some other objective. This is a cooperative game of tower defense where you are killing villagers, leveling up, killing more, and hoping you can survive the onslaught. Overall, it’s a dark game, look wise, and the monsters are monstrous, but it feels and plays pretty light. The theme somehow feels more goofy than it does dark, and it really just works well. The dice use for determining actions works well so that you can’t plan everything, and the leveling up is fun to do in game. I like also that it is scenario based, but not campaign based so you can pick it up and play easily.

Last Year: 29

Image Source: Gamewright

33. Sushi Go Party!

This is one of my favorite big group filler style games. This is a card drafting set collection game where everyone is going at the same time, picking a card from their hand, building up their collection, passing their cards, and then once all the cards have been drafted scoring them and doing it all over again. The concept of the game is simple, but it works well because how the sets score are different and because you can mix in a variety of special ability cards that can change up how you draft cards or help you complete sets. There is a basic version of this game with out the variability of being able to switch up your cards, but Sushi Go Party! is really cheap so I recommend it instead. I think that variability is what keeps it so high on my list because it is a filler game, but for something that plays a large number of people, it is better than a lot of filler or group style games.

Last Year: 31

Image Source: Board Game Geek

32. Draftosaurus

Another filler game, but this one with a lower player count. But that works because it is another fun drafting game, three on this section of the top 10. In Draftosaurus you are building you best dino park, you do that by drafting dino meeples and placing them into your park. However, there is a die rolled each turn and that determines where you have to place the dino, unless you were the one to roll the die in which case you can put it anywhere. You have a number of different pens and each scores differently. One will give you more points for each different type of dino you have in the pen, others will score you points for pairs of dinos. The game is super fast and super cute because of the dinosaur meeples, and while you are drafting from a hidden hand, the game is so fast that it really doesn’t matter if others see what dinos you have. This is one that when people see the box or see it on the table, even if they aren’t gamers, they’ll want to try it.

Last Year: Not Ranked

Image Source: Board Game Geek

31. Tokyo Highway

Another one that I got at GenCon but didn’t get it to the table until after I ranked for last years list. This game is an amazingly beautiful production, and the same company that is doing Crash Octopus which I did a Back or Brick on. In this game you are building out the Tokyo Highways system. Roads going every which way, and you are stacking and balancing them. This isn’t that precarious, but when you cross over or under another road you can balance a car on your section of road, because the goal is to get your cars out as fast as possible, but you don’t want to knock over the other roads because that can cost you your pylons which you use to get your road over or under the other ones. I think that really makes this game more than just your normal simple dexterity game is the beauty of it. This looks so amazing on the table, it really is an art piece almost when you are done. And the rules and concept are simple so it’s not a convoluted game, but there’s enough going on that it’s not just a stacking game like Jenga. Overall a lovely game.

Last Year: Not Ranked

So there were a number of games in this section that I hadn’t played last year when I did my list, which is kind of fun to see all the new and fun games that are coming out. It’s interesting to see what games have moved up and down even for myself and I plan on seeing which ones have fallen off when I do a retrospective on my list at the end of this. As always, I do want to ask, what one sounds the most interesting or is your favorite in this 10?

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

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Point Of Order: Kind Of – Patchwork & Fox in the Forest Duet

Point Of Order: Kind Of – Patchwork & Fox in the Forest Duet

So this is kind of a point of order article, because the games are already here, and I didn’t order them, but they are new to me, so I want to talk about what’s interesting in them that I’m excited for. These games were given 

Board Game Mechanics – Roll/Flip and Write

Board Game Mechanics – Roll/Flip and Write

This is a mechanic that more people are going to be familiar with because we have a game that has been in this mechanic for a long time, and that is the game Yahtzee. But Yahtzee only really covers the roll part, so how are 

Top 10 – Feel Good Games

Top 10 – Feel Good Games

So, after over a week off, though 10 Minute Marvel podcast still came out, for a little bit of a vacation and a chance to reset my brain during Covid-19 and protests, I wanted to come back with a Top 10 list that is a little bit more light hearted. These are games that you can play when life has felt stressful, these games aren’t always going to make you relax, but they are light, fun games, without too much in the way of stress inducing moments.

10 – Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
If you’re familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you’ll know that they are silly books where they are taking you through some sort of crazy scenario, and if you make a wrong choice, generally almost at random, you’ll end up dying. Now, that doesn’t sound like that much fun, and it was annoying in the books at times where you’d feel like you were in a dead end and have to go back and start over again. In the board game version, something bad will happen if you die, but then you’ll reset to the previous decision and you always have a chance to go back. This game has some great writing, and is meant as silly fun for a group of players to sit around a table, make poor decisions and work through this cooperative story together. It’s extremely light and is just a fun time at the table for everyone as you go through the nonsensical story.

Image Source: Self

9 – Tokyo Highway
There are some games on this list because they are silly fun, there are others because the aesthetic is just amazing. Tokyo Highway is one of the latter. What’s basically is just little wooden cars and Popsicle sticks ends up looking like a piece of artwork on the table as the crazy roads interweave between everything. Can you get your roads to go over or under other roads in order to place your cars, and with that can you do that without knocking over precariously balanced roads with little to no room between them? The games rules are extremely simple, but there’s a little bit of tension at times as you place things, but mainly you’re just appreciating how cool it looks on the table.

8 – Small World
Now, I call this game a Risk killer, and for a lot of people, Risk isn’t a feel good game, so how can Small World be a feel good game? It’s because not only does it encourage conflict and encourage wiping someone else off the board as much as you can, it does that for everyone so you’re never down and out. If your race gets overrun, just get a new one and do it back to them, and you always have a special power, maybe you have something that makes sense, like pillaging orcs, but you might have something more out there like seafaring giants or flying sorcerers. Just the combinations, the massive swings from round to round, this game is meant to be light, and the combat doubles down on that, no more rolling lots of dice like Risk, now it’s just simply put down your tokens, and if you have two more than your opponent you take over their territory. If it wasn’t for the fact that you can always come back with another crazy combination, this wouldn’t make the list, but you’re never really down and out, and facing off wealthy ratmen against barbarian elves is just fun.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

7 – Draftosaurus
If you haven’t seen Jurassic Park, you probably know about it. And the idea of a park with dinosaurs in just a lot of fun. Draftosaurus is a dinosaur drafting game where you’re trying to get pairs, as many different or as many the same, or other combinations, of dinosaurs to score the most points. You draft from a handful of dinosaur meeples that you have, and the game just is fun and vibrant. The dinosaur meeples look amazing, and the game play is very simple. The only thing that I don’t like about this game is that it doesn’t come with a score pad. It’s on the list of things to do for me to find one and print it off and laminate it so that the scoring will be more fun. That said, the game is simple, fast, and looks amazing because of the dinosaur meeples, it’s hard not to have fun when you’re playing it.

6 – Century: Golem Edition
This game is such a simple but beautiful game as you are building up an engine through a hand of cards to trade gems for other gems and get more gems so that you can activate golem that give you points. This is a feel good game because the artwork is amazing, the metal coins are nice, but it really comes down the gems that you are trading around. The gems are just beautiful translucent plastic pieces, that you can find in other games as well, but they just make the game because it’s fun to play around with them. In the end, you’re really playing a solitaire sort of puzzle with a shared pool of cards to purchase from. The game move incredibly fast as you have a card that you’ll play or purchase each turn, so you don’t have a lot of things to think about. There’s a more standard version as well where you are trading spices, but in my opinion, the Golem Edition looks better and is more feel good.

Image Source: Board Game Geeks

5 – Homebrewers
I wasn’t sure if this game was going to make the list, but as I thought about it, as a beer fan, I feel like it really is a feel good game. It might be less so for people who won’t like/drink beer, but what makes it feel good might even give them a good laugh as well. In this game you’re trying to build up the best engine to become the best homebrewer out there. You do this by adding ingredients to your beers and brewing them. What is fun about it is that you can make all sorts of crazy combinations. If you want a beer with smoke, oyster, and lime, you can do that, and you might end up with that because that makes the most sense for scoring points. At the end of the game, which is a fast game, you can look and see what crazy beers you’ve created. So even though the game is competitive, it’s over fast and not that cut throat in it’s competitive nature, and the beers are just a fun thing to see what you come up with.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

4 – Second Chance
This roll and write, or flip and write, is just a fun little game where sometimes you are pulling for a shape to come out, but most of the time, you’re just doodling in the various shapes with their own unique look so that at the end, your board looks different than everyone else’s board, and has it’s own artistic flair to it. In the game you’re trying to fill in as much of your board as possible so that you have the fewest empty spaces left. Whomever has the fewest spaces left is the winner. But the game encourages you, as you’re filling in Tetris like shapes to have some fun with it and doodle in different backgrounds for the shapes so that you know what you put where, but also so that you have your own unique board when you’re done. If you give people the time they need to doodle, it is a very relaxing and feel good game.

3 – Sagrada
Now, with Sagrada there are some more stressful moments, at times, as you hope the right number is going to be rolled on the right color of dice to help you complete your stained glass window, but it’s hard for it to be too stressful because you are making stained glass windows. The game is just beautiful on the table, and the rules are quite simple, really, so when you’re drafting dice, you know what you’re going to want. The fact that the dice are translucent makes it even better because the aesthetic really is reminiscent of a stained glass window. The game also plays quickly, so the end game where you’re more worried about the dice that come out, goes by very quickly and then you can look at what you put together.

Image Source: Shut Up and Sit Down

2 – ICECOOL
Dexterity games can sometimes be stressful, late game Jenga where you’re worried about knocking the tower over, might not be a feel good game for some people. But ICECOOL does a good job of not making it stressful. You can get good at ICECOOL, but with a theme of being high school student penguins who are trying to skip class and not get caught by the hall monitor because they want to get fish, the whole game is just silly. And whether you are trying to jump a wall, or get a crazy ricochet and go through several doors, it’s just a fun time. The theme and game play seems like it’d be best for younger kids, but I’ve had great success with this just with adults as it’s always just a silly fun time that everyone can enjoy.

Image Source: Me!

1 – Marvel Champions
This game is just a fun game to play. It’s shown up high on a lot of my lists, but that’s because it’s a good game, and because you get to play as your favorite superhero. All the schemes of the bad guys are super villain schemes, and being able to play as Captain America and throw your shield to hit Ultron or Black Panther and break out all the Wakandan tech to take down Klaw is just a fun time. It feels like playing as the comic book characters, and while there is a good amount of strategy to the game, it doesn’t feel bogged down in that, and most of the time, you just do the thing that feels coolest and most like the hero would do and it works well.

There are more feel good games out there, cooperative games can as a whole lend themselves to that because you’re working together. But I didn’t include things like Gloomhaven and Pandemic, because while the end can be a feel good moment as you beat the game, there is a lot of stress in the game. I think out of the ones that I put down, I’d say that only Marvel Champions has some of that stress to it, the rest are very much lighter games throughout. And even with Marvel Champions, playing as a super hero is just so much fun that it has a lot of a feel good vibe to it.

What are some of your favorite feel good games? Are there any that you want to checkout from my list, or that you think I should checkout?

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Game Night Post Sickness

Game Night Post Sickness

Now, if you’re reading this years down the line, this might be the norm, or it could be something that isn’t even in your mind. Right now, though, we’re in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic with places having flattened the curve of the infection