What Have We Been Playing – 9/15/17

Well, friends, another week has come and gone, and with it we played another batch of great games! So let’s take a look at what we’ve been playing this week!

9/8/17 — We finished our week off last week with a few short and quick games. First up was Control, a small box game we got on Kickstarter last year. The premise of this game is that there is a rupture in spacetime, and you must install enough fuel cells in your craft to make it out. There are bronze and silver fuel cell cards with values ranging from 1 to 10 that you can play either in front of you, discard, or play on an opponent’s card to disable it if its value is the same or lower. Silver cards have an effect that comes in to play when you play them on yourself, but the more powerful bronze effects only work if you discard the card without installing it in your tableau. The first person to get 21 points or more wins, but since it’s such a quick game we played the best of 5 rounds. The component quality on this little game is phenomenal — thick cardstock with bronze and silver highlights and metal coins to track wins over several rounds. The game itself is nothing that special — it’s mostly a light “take that” game, but with it’s great art and table presence, we’ll likely be keeping it around for a bit as a quick filler. Then, to cap off the night, we pulled out a Gen Con acquisition, but instead of the new hotness, this was one that Ethan got from someone giving it away on Board Game Geek — which just goes to show that extensively perusing that site leading up to the con is a worthwhile endeavor. The game is Hack Trick, and this also helps with Ethan’s (some might say ridiculous) quest to own a physical copy of all the games available on BoardGameArena (currently about 33% of the way there!). Anyway, Hack Trick is basically a game of tic-tac-toe, with some card play involved. There is a 3×3 grid of numbers from 1-9, and 18 cards, with 3 copies of each 0 through 5. On your turn, you can either draw a card or play a card — playing a card will put one of your markers on the space corresponding to the sum of that and the previously played card. So, playing a 3 on a 2 would put your marker on the 5 space on the board. If your opponent’s marker is already there, you can capture it and use it on a later turn to find out what the sum of your opponent’s cards are — since you know your hand and what’s been played, this is very useful in deducing what they have. You win by either getting 3 in a row or by having 3 of your markers on the same number. Another fun little filler weight game!

9/9/17 — We continued our quest to play all the escape room type games on Saturday with UNLOCK! Squeek & Sausage. You may remember that another game in the Unlock! series (The Island of Doctor Goorse) gave us a bunch of trouble recently. Well, we did a lot better this time, getting the maximum of 5 stars and finishing in about 45 minutes. While I was feeling a bit frustrated with Unlock after the last esperience, I’ve started warming to the series again, but now we know that their jump in difficulty between a 2 and a 3 is pretty severe!

9/11/17 — On Monday, we pulled out another escape room game, appropriately titled Escape Room The Game. This game comes with 4 scenarios included, with more available as expansions. We’d only previously played the first one, so this time we tried out the second scenario, Virus. In it, a virus sample has accidentally been dropped in the chemistry lab and you have an hour to find the antidote before everyone dies! Escape Room the Game is a bit closer to a live escape room, with more physical components to play with, and an electronic Chrono Decoder to enter the three codes for each scenario in. We again made it through this game without too much difficulty, completing with almost 25 minutes to spare. It was a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see the last two scenarios in the box! Not content with calling it quits for the night, we pulled out another new game called OK Play. In this game you’re trying to get five of your tiles in a row before anyone else. New tiles that you place out have to be orthogonally adjacent to tiles already played, so you can’t just sneak in a diagonal win. If you play all of your tiles and no one’s gotten five in a row yet, on your turn you can move an existing tile to elsewhere on the board as long as it doesn’t break up the group. Eventually someone will get five in a row and that person will be the winner! Amber won a copy of this game by beating the demo-er at Gen Con, and while Ethan technically won this game, it was Amber that pointed out the winning move, so you tell me who the winner really was!

9/12/17 — It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time once again for our game night with the Rockford Pegheads. We were joined by another couple of gamers and started out with a 4-player game of The Opulent. In this cooperative game, players are managing the titular speakeasy in the Roaring Twenties. Each player has their own station to manage, from the doorman letting people into the bar to the band leader grooving on the dance floor to the bartender serving up drinks to patrons and finally the manager who deals with the goings-on in the club. The goal of the game is to make a certain amount of money before the end of the night by keeping your patrons happy throughout their whole experience. If you don’t let them in and keep them moving to the dance floor and bar quickly enough they’ll start to close their purses and end up spending less money by the end of the night. There are also events to contend with such as fights, social drama, and of course being raided by federal agents. This is an interesting cooperative game because of its asymmetric nature leading to each of the four players to be doing something different. We’ve previously only played this with the two of us with each of us taking two stations but it works out really well as a 4-player game with everyone managing their own area and keeping things moving smoothly throughout the Opulent. While we only played a single game there’s also a campaign mode available which will allow you to play through each year in the twenties with a new goal for each game. We’ll definitely have to try it out sometime when we have a solid group of four. After getting along and working together in the Jazz Age we opted for something a bit more competitive and a bit further back in history with The Voyages of Marco Polo. In this game players take on the role of Marco Polo or another Explorer from the Era of Exploration. Players travel around the board establishing trading posts in various cities throughout Asia and Europe, gaining goods, and fulfilling contracts to earn themselves victory points for the end of the game. The most interesting part of the game is that each player has a different unique ability that’ll affect the way that they can move or what they can do in the game. I’ve been interested in this game ever since hearing about it and finding out that it was designed by the same designers as another game I enjoy, Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, and this game did not disappoint. It was a heavy brain-burning Euro but definitely a fun one. We finished out the night with CrossTalk, a game we just got in the mail after seeing it and pre-ordering it at Gen Con this year. This is a game of guessing words similar to Codenames or the TV game show Password. In this game there are two teams with each team having a clue giver and one or more receivers who are trying to guess the secret word or phrase. Both teams are trying to get their guessers to figure out the same word but the twist is that at the beginning of the round the clue giver gives a private clue to their guessers. Then the clue givers alternate giving clues with the other team guessing after each clue is given. Because of this, you don’t want to be too obvious with your clues because the other team will be guessing right away. In addition the private clue can be used to great effect to help your teammates guess by giving a public clue that relates more to your private clue then to the word or phrase they’re trying to guess. For instance, when Amber was the clue giver trying to get Ethan to guess “The Addams Family”, her private clue was “kooky” and her first public clue was “creepy” which didn’t necessarily do a lot to get the other team to guess it but allowed Ethan to get it right away. While we only played it with four this time, I can see that this game will be a great addition to parties or other gatherings with many people.

And thus ends another game night and another week in gaming with Two Board Meeples! We’ll see you here next week with more games and more stories about those games!

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