What I Played This Week: 11-7-16

I had the greatest luck to be in New York City on business this past week, so all the games we played this weekend (minus 1) have a NYC theme!  Ready?  Let’s dive in!

King of New York – the amazing dice rolling cousin of King of New York.  I played this with my kids the night we returned home.  I lost.  I always lose.  I said it was jet lag.  They said I’m full of it!  ha!  They were probably right.

King

Another NY themed game that I love – Tammany Hall

Tammany Hall Board Game

This game embodies all that I love about area control games.  The tides move in different directions with each turn.  You have so much ground to cover, but you never want to spread yourself too thin, or you will lose everything!  Tammany Hall is a brilliant game about political dominance in Lower Manhattan in the mid 1800’s.  From Pandasaurus Games site:

Tammany Hall is a game of backstabbing, corruption, temporary alliances and taking power at all costs.  If you want to rule New York, you are going to need to play the cities growing immigrant populations against one another.  Help the immigrant groups who owe you political favors, call in those favors to slander your rivals and win election.

Tammany Hall was the political machine that dominated New York City politics by organizing the immigrant populations. While the organization’s influence spanned from its founding in the 1790’s to its collapse in the 1960’s this game is set in lower Manhattan roughly between 1850 and 1870; the era of Boss Tweed.

I have loved this game since I played it two and a half years ago at one of our Cons.  Martin Wallace did an excellent job of designing this game.  All the moving parts meld together seamlessly.  If you haven’t played this game and you like area control (with a heavy dose of political maneuvering) then you won’t be disappointed with this game.

As always when I play this, I came out strong early on and in the end lost to over-doing my reach.  Spread too thin, my influence meant nothing to my groups on the board.  Sigh.

Secret Hitler – This is another hidden identity game in the vein of The Resistance or Werewolf.  I like this a lot, (what’s the tie in to NY you ask?  The Kickstarter version of this game sent out stickers you could apply to your Hitler Lizard card to make him look like Donald Trump.  Ok, it’s thin, but I’m sticking with the NY tie in here).  We played several rounds of this game.  It’s hilarious fun.  However, overall, I do think that I still like the game play of The Resistance better than Secret Hitler.

Onirim – This little card game is a gem.  It’s been on my wish list for a very long time.  Zee from The Dice Tower adores it and I love solo-able games.  Since I was traveling, I wanted to pack something that would keep me entertained if I found myself faced with a layover, or if I wanted a quick game before turning in at night.  Onirim is a great solitaire game about finding your way out of a dream.  You need to unlock doors and get through them all in order to escape.  It’s very easy to learn, but the game play changes with every shuffle of the deck.  Get Onirim if you like card games and wonderful solo games!

And that is what I played this week!  What did you play?

B-Con 2016 – Aurora, CO Game Convention

The first ever B-Con wrapped up this weekend!  It’s a convention that was hosted by Mr. B Games.  It was a wonderful time, I got to reconnect with some old friends from the old iteration of the Denver Gamers Association.

B-Con Badge

I didn’t host as many games as I usually do at conventions.  I only hosted two – Smash Up! and Allegiance: A Realm Divided.  The reason was because I wanted to do more playing than teaching.  It was a good call since I was really out of it this weekend.

I did play two games that I found to be AMAZING fun – so I think I’ll share them with you!

First is a classic dungeon delve style game called CLANK!

You are an adventurer (of course) going into a dungeon (of course) to bring back the most bling-iest loot that you can (Of Course!).  The hitch?  You need to get above ground before someone else makes it to the top of the castle, or you will be stuck in the horrid dungeon for all eternity!  Meaning, you cannot count the loot points you scored and you lose.  Eww. Don’t let this happen.  If you make it above ground, but not out of the castle, you get rescued by the townsfolk, and you get to count your loot points, but you don’t get the bonus experience for making it all the way.  The adventurer with the most look points wins. Simple, right?  Well, while you adventure there is a dragon lurking in the depths (OF COURSE!) and she’s not too keen on letting her loot stash go.  She will attack you when she finds you – and she finds you as you rummage around and make noise – hence the title: CLANK!  This is so fun.  It’s fast to play.  And for those who like deck building, you get to do that in this game.  I am a huge fan of both deck building and dungeon delves so this hits a sweet spot for me.  Check out CLANK!  I think you might like it.

Another game I really, really enjoyed was Posthuman by Mr. B Games.  It is a post apocalypse setting game where you have to fight the mutants and not turn into one yourself.   The game play mechanics are brilliant in that  you start out as a human, and you can win by being the baddest, toughest, or smartest person out there.  OR you can win by becoming a mutant and turning all the remaining humans into mutants too!  I know there are some who don’t like this game, but honestly I bought it and keep playing it over and over.  No two games are alike (so far).  The rules are a little wonky to understand, but once you get them down, it’s really easy to follow.  I really like the versatility this game offers.  My one complaint:  there are cards that recur from level one to level 2 to level 3.  I feel it would not have been too hard to make unique story cards for each level.  It can be a bit tedious to read the same story event over and over.  But not annoying enough to make me want to NOT play!  Here’s Rhado running through a play of this game:

Voluspa grid of tiles

What I played this week: 04/08/16

Since joining The Boardgamers League, I’ve definitely been playing a lot more games that I wouldn’t normally have played.  I’m really enjoying the experience and atmosphere.  This month, I’m hoping to add to my MTG play with the release of Shadows Over Innistrad.  I’ve fake drafted online  a few fun black/red and white/blue decks this week.  Beyond that, here is what I’ve been playing this week:

Nefarious Board Game

 

 

 

 

 

Nefarious – played a 3-player game and immediately went for a second.  This game was easy to learn and had wonderful art!

alegience - druid

 

 

 

 

Allegiance: A Realm Divided – I have played several sessions of this game since my kickstarter set was sent to me three weeks ago, and all but one of the friends we introduced this game to has gone out to buy it themselves.  Allegiance is a really solid, wonderful character driven card game.  So far I have to say that the ranger seems to be one of the strongest characters.

Crowe - my pathfinder character

 

 

 

 

 

Pathfinder Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous – we finally made it to level 6!!

Quariors dice

 

 

 

 

 

Quarriors – it’s always fun chucking a handful of dice.  We even got the teenage girl to play!  Yes, successful game night in the Smith household 😉

D&D Thursday Night

 

 

 

 

D&D 5e – Thursday night game only.  Again we were fighting fire creatures with immunity to (yep, you guessed it) all my fire spells.  Good thing I was able to twin haste on our bard and warlock.  Bad luck was when the Warlock could only roll single digits… multiple times.

Smash Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smash Up – this was our BGL game of the week.  I actually came in first with a nifty combo of Super Heroes and Giant Ants!  Rawwwr (wait, do ants rawwwr???)

Voluspa grid of tiles

 

 

 

 

Voluspa – I haven’t played this game in months and I totally forgot how much feaking fun it is.  It is such a simplistic game, yet you can certainly lapse into AP if you aren’t careful.   Trying to make the best placement with your tiles can be nerve wracking!  Nuke someone’s combo setup with a properly placed Loki tile.  Make mad points with a stack of Fenrirs or by bumping a Valkyrie with a Jotun and scoring a huge row of points.  Ahhh, so much fun!  This needs to come out again, and soon!

Runebound - Mists of Zanaga

 

 

 

 

 

Runebound: Mists of Zanaga – I finally added this to my 2nd edition collection.  We lost to the mean mean God of the land.  But I loved playing the healing dwarf character.   All the extra bits felt a little ‘fiddley’ as far as gameplay goes, but I did enjoy the thematic aspects.

What am I looking forward to playing next week?  My friend Dan is bringing out his Twilight Emperium game, and the Innistrad set for MTG should be officially available.  I hope I get to live draft with some friends.

What are you playing this week?

 

 

 

dndsunday

Sunday RPG – Ambushed On the Road to Pike’s Post

surrounded-druid-dndIt didn’t take long for our group of adventurers to high tail it out of Wailing Rock.  Quickly after the court martial and subsequent beheading of Lt. Barles, our team hit the road leading east, into the Foggy Forest, on our way to Fee Hold to meet up with a certain lady friend of Magnar’s who sent a letter requesting our help there.

On the first couple days of travel we were headed to a small outpost between Wailing Rock and Free Hold called Pike’s Post.  We were ambushed by a pack of spider mounted Drahel.  Drahel mounts live off of intelligent fleshy beings so it is  always bad to run across any of these hungry creatures.

Our druid was surrounded and nearly became spider-snacks for our foes, but our group rallied and using our cunning, stealth, and might were able to overcome our foes.  It didn’t hurt that our cleric, being undead, was oblivious to the noxious stinking cloud the wizard slung at us.

Ha!

Will our adventurers make it to Free Hold unscathed?  Tune in next week to find out!

Sunday RPG Group Stats

Achievement or Outstanding Moment:  Level 6!

Party Members:

Magnar – Mountain Dwarf Barbarian Fighter

Khemed – Drahel Rogue

Veris – Wood Elf Druid

Callis – Undead Drunbar Cleric

Satchel Lightblast – Wild Magic Sorcerer Halfling

Melody – Tiefling Bard

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Carcassonne – Week 1 of Spring Boardgamers League Play

My daughter and I decided to sign up for the Spring session of Boardgamer’s League.  Our event house is (the amazing!) Enchanted Grounds in Littleton. For only $35 you get a whole season of play and each week you can win prizes for racking up points by maximizing certain strategies in your gameplay.  Coming in first place helps, but there are often other ways to get points from playing the game.  For example, this past Friday we played Carcassonne – a great solid standard tile laying game!

About Boardgamer’s League

You get the most points for coming in first place, but you also score points for second and third place.  THEN we scored extra points for most farms, biggest city, and longest road. I’m not sure what the winner won ( I think it was a card game).  Scores are tallied every week and the overall winner goes on to compete at a local convention, which I believe is possibly Denver Comic Con.  The winner has a chance to compete for the big prize – an armfull of board games!


Playing Carcassonne

It had been a while since Carcassone has hit the table at our house.  Yes, I play the android app from time to time, especially if I’m waiting in line somewhere.  It’s a great pocket versionred meeple of the game, BUT I quickly realized that letting the app score my points for me allowed me to forget some of the finer points of gameplay.

My husband and I ran through a practice game at home (he won) but it was enough to remind me that I really do enjoy the simplicity of this tile laying game.  It can be strategic if you are trying to cut your opponent off from getting that huge city or really large farm.  I do better on the phone app (go figure).  But still scored respectable points, even if I was only 3rd place!

Carcassone BGL Game Wrap-Up

BGL score sheets

I really enjoy the concept of Boardgamer’s League.  I adore Enchanted Grounds (you have to try their blueberry pancake latte! or their smoked Gouda mac & cheese!!!) and love playing games there, I’m really glad they are an event house this time around!  So far our group consists of only three people.  While I enjoy the idea of having the odds stacked in my favor to gain points each week, I really do hope the group grows because it’s a whole different atmosphere when playing with larger groups of people.

Enchanted Grounds is not the only event house hosting BGL events, please check out their website to find one near you!

Want to know more about the game Carcassone?  Watch Jesse Cox, Wil Wheaton and more play the game on TableTop:

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Historia – A Civ Building Game

Historia is a Civ and technology building board game for 1-6 players from Mage Games.

Here is the description snippet from Boardgamegeek.com:

HistoriaIn Historia, the players guide their civilization through 12,000 years of human history, from the first sparks up to the development of Singularity. Civilizations discover new technology and expand over the planet; they trade with more developed neighbors to import new technologies or exploit the land to have more power for future actions. Civilizations develop their military and wage wars with each other. They build wonders to make their civilization stand above others and to eventually attract tourists and newcomers to their land to follow their leaders and use their national advisors.

Historia is a civilization game for 1-6 players that takes 25 minutes per player. A set of action cards is available to the players to guide their civilization, and used actions form a discard queue from which they are taken back into a player’s hand during the game. Wars and raids are carried out in a non-disruptive way. When modern times have been reached or the Singularity technology developed, the game ends and the player with the most VPs wins.

A solo Historia variant with A.I. bots is also available.

The above mentioned Civ-Bot variant may be my favorite way to play Historia. I have played the game with two players and 3 civ bots, and solo with five civ bots and I really do enjoy both systems of play. I would love to get this out for our game group sometime and see how a full out six player version goes. This is a long game, and I know that some people can be put off by that. If you want short and sweet, this may not be your jam. I personally don’t mind long games if they keep my interest. The card mechanics have everyone playing cards simultaneously so there isn’t a ton of down time for each person which is a big bonus.

Historia - a civilization building board game

Historia has a very pleasing simplistic look – an advancement grid helps you track what technologies and military tactics you have unlocked. The world map helps you know where you are in control and what is available for trade, plunder, and invasion.

The game is great in that you can pick and choose how aggressive you want to be militarily. You can go full on pacifist if you want to. And yes, if you do you will probably get plundered a lot but the end spectrum of the pacifism chart has the biggest points available on a per turn basis if you can make it that far.

As a solo variant, this game hits a very high mark. The Civ bots that have programmed movement play after you play and it works very, very well. You can vary how strong each of the bots are so you don’t get trampled by the highest (impossible) level of civilizations, yet if you feel like being king of the world you can program all easy civ bots and have fun trouncing all their kingdoms! Great fun, a definite A+++ in my book for group and solo play.

See Joel Eddy’s Drive Through Review of the game:

See Michael Wißner’s full run through of the Gameplay:

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TIME Stories

T.I.M.E. Stories is a unique build your own adventure game. Not entirely like the old build your own adventure stories from childhood but you get the same feel in the way that you choose which cards and areas of the game to interact with.  Sometimes you will find clues that you need to solve the mission you have been sent on, sometimes you find red herrings that deter you and waste your time.  Time is probably one of the most important resources in this game.  You lose time, you lose the game.

The base game comes with the rulebook and all the pieces you will need to play the first mission (The Asylum) and any of the future expansions.  The basic plot is:  you are future agents being sent back in time to thwart some bad plan that someone has put into place.  In the base game you need to stop a portal from being opened.

You have a set amount of time to complete your mission.  And that is not easy!

My husband and I played a four player game (two characters each).  We completed it on three runs.  I absolutely love the art on the cards, and I enjoyed the theme of this first scenario quite a bit.  Our first session we did the first three runs.  I ended the last run feeling that I did not like the game, which felt weird to me because I love deduction/mystery/clue gathering style story games quite a bit!  But I hate when we get stuck on clues.  I feel I was worried about the time and not focusing on the clues enough.

When we took some time and went back a few weeks later to play the fourth runthrough, we took notes.  That felt key!  We made it through and were able to really enjoy the game. I’m looking forward to playing the next scenario – The Marcy Case

I’m providing a SUPER SPOILER FILLED VIDEO of the Dice Tower gang running through their play of The Asylum.  DO NOT — I repeat — DO NOT WATCH UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE SPOILED.  They will run through the entire game so you will know all the tricks, twists, and plot points. Consider yourself warned.

For those that do not want to be spoiled, here is a SPOILER FREE assessment of the game TIME Stories:

One note to mention: I acquired this TIME Stories the same way I do many games in my collection, through a math trade on Board Game Geek.  Trading is usually a great way to acquire a game, but I have to say that there is something you must know before you snag one that has been used.  There are components that are not listed in the rulebook that you acquire by unlocking items in-game.  Not a lot of things, but if you are unlucky like I was to get a used game that had these pieces missing, you may be very disappointed when you come across the text that tells you to grab these items and they are not available to you.

It is possible that these items won’t affect the game much, but I’m a freak about getting the game in full playable condition, so this really bugged me.  Fantasy Flight has been awesome with their customer service and they are sending out the missing pieces, but just know that this can happen – you may want to consider buying this game new instead of acquiring used.

ultimatewerewolf

Top Deduction Games

Recently YouTube Game reviewer Dan King was featured on one of the Secret Cabal podcasts where he and cabalist Jamie discussed their favorite deduction games. This got me thinking, because deduction games are probably one of my favorite styles of board games to play. I decided to take a stab at my own Top Deduction Games list. Here it is:

Tammy’s Top 10 Deduction Games

  1. Battlestar Galactica
  2. The Resistance
  3. Spyfall
  4. Ultimate Werewolf
  5. T.I.M.E. Stories
  6. Bang! The Dice Game
  7. One Night Werewolf
  8. Secret Hitler
  9. Citadels
  10. Dead of Winter (when played with the traitor variant)

I know that some of my picks might not be loved by other gamers (Citadels gets a lot of hate, but my group adores it and it comes out a lot when we have 8 people over for game night).  Secret Hitler isn’t a game I’ve played myself (it’s not available yet) but I have listened to several online play-throughs (Geekly Inc plays Secret Hitler, and Jesse Cox, WowCrendor, and TotalBiscuit play Secret Hitler) and it looks like a game that is even better than The Resistance which is one of our all time favorites.

What deduction and social deduction games do you like to play?