Board Game Review — My Little Scythe: Pie in the Sky

The Annual Harvest Tournament between the animal kingdoms determines which kingdom will rule Pomme for the coming year.  However, on the eve of the 3000th festival, something amazing happens.  The Airship Kai, long lost to the ages, suddenly reappears, bringing Fox and Owl Seekers along with it.  Will the Seekers for the upcoming tournament be able to leverage the legendary airship to help them win the tournament?

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Board Game Review – Planet

As planets form, natural habitats develop and animals find their homes.  In Planet, you control the development of your own planet, working towards developing habitats and attracting as many animals as you can.  Can you make your planet the most hospitable?

Game Play

In this game, players construct their planets over the course of 12 rounds, in the hopes of maximizing their natural habitats and attracting as many animals as possible.  Each player starts with an empty magnetic dodecahedral planet.  The magnetic continent tiles are shuffled and divided into 10 stacks of 5 each.  The animal cards are shuffled up and dealt out next to the continent tiles, starting with one next to the third stack, increasing to two for the sixth, and three for the tenth.  Each player also receives a random Natural Habitat card corresponding to one of the five types of habitats in the game.

Each round, the five continent tiles for the round are laid face up on the table.  Starting with the first player for the round, each player chooses one of the tiles and adds it to any empty spot on their planet.  The unused tile(s) for the round are added to an 11th and 12th stack of tiles until those stacks have 5 tiles.  Starting in the third round, players will be able to claim the animals dealt out at the beginning of the game.  The animals all have a preferred habitat, and are either looking for the most distinct regions of that habitat type, or the largest region of that habitat that is either touching or not touching a secondary type.  If one player has more regions or a larger region (depending on what the animal wants), they will claim the card; otherwise, if there is a tie the animal is moved to the next round.  During the last round, the tie for animals looking for the largest region is broken by the player with the second largest region of that type that touches or doesn’t touch the specified second type.  The game ends after 12 rounds of tile drafting, placement, and animal claiming.

At the end of the game, players reveal their natural habitat cards and score points accordingly.  Each card scores points based on the number of spaces of the specified region on the player’s planet.  Then, each player scores points based on the animal cards they have collected over the course of the game.  Each animal matching the player’s natural habitat is worth 1 point, while others are worth 2 points.  After totaling up the points, the player with the most points wins!

Amber’s Review

Please give me a gimmick; I’m typically here for it. Some people use gimmick like it’s a dirty word; I like to think of it as innovation. With the option to hold the whole world in your hands, seeing Planet set up on the table is an instant draw. When you see a dodecahedron with so much blank space, it’s hard to pass up at least a few Planet plays. Blue Orange has piqued my attention with the use of 3D shapes and magnetic tiles. As far as I can remember, I haven’t played anything with components like similar to this before. With games where you can build your dice, full-size swords, I wonder how elements like this will continue to evolve in the future.

With only a few different components, Planet has an easy setup and tear down with the insert. There isn’t a significant table presence to the game, making it more accessible to people with smaller spaces. One crucial element that we haven’t encounter enough is the lack of text on cards and game pieces. Having played many games designed for families, having printed words can be a setback for some players. Players at a lower reading level or those who are not familiar with the games’ language can sometimes struggle when there are many words; it’s a thoughtful choice to limit print on this game. It is also beneficial that the game’s symbology is accessible and easy to identify; even if a player hasn’t been to the tundra or desert, they can tell the areas apart by color or texture.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time playing Planet with one of the main mechanics involving turning your world over and over. I found it slightly disorienting, trying to remember which spaces were next to one another and counting the areas I had adjacent to score points from cards. I do have issues playing other games where spatial recognition is a crucial factor (I’m looking at you, dexterity games!), so I know this is a personal downfall. One solution to help counteract my lack of recognition skills could be to mark tiles with a dry erase pen, so if you are like me and need a little extra help, this could be the solution for you.

Ethan’s Review

Planet is a light and quick tile drafting and placement game.  The core mechanism revolves around players drafting pentagonal terrain tiles for their planets.  I have to say, I can’t think of any other game that uses magnetic dodecahedrons, so it’s certainly innovative and eye-catching.  The component quality of the planets and the tiles is good as well — even though it’s a little challenging to shuffle the magnetic pentagons, they hold up well, and easily remain attached to the planet cores with no fear of falling off.  One interesting thing about the 3D planets, compared to a more traditional tile-laying setup, is that you can’t see all of your terrain tiles at the same time.  While this may cause a little consternation to a player looking at their own planet and trying to figure out where to put a tile or what cards they satisfy, it also means that you can’t tell at a glance who has the biggest terrain piece or most of a given terrain.  Even though by the rules you can look at any other player’s planet at any time, I feel like most players wouldn’t want to do that for fear of slowing down the game, and this makes the tiles to draft and how to place them a bit less obvious.  I think this is good, because otherwise the game is pretty light and simple, though that is good for a family weight game!

One thing I find strange about the game is that in a four player game, there is one tile left over from each of the first ten rounds to form the 11th and 12th stacks, meaning that all but 2 tiles will be drafted (the two leftover tiles from rounds 11 and 12).  However, in a two player game, there are 3 tiles leftover each round, meaning that the 11th and 12th round stacks will be filled up by round 4.  I don’t know if this is an issue with scaling — we’ve only played with two, and it seemed to work pretty well — but it is odd that in a two-player game you will see the leftover tiles from the first rounds again but not those from later rounds.  The other drawback to this game is that it is quite light, so for serious gamers it may be more appropriate as a filler game rather than the main attraction for a game night.  However, it is fun, and the planet-building mechanic is unique and definitely worth a try if you get a chance!

Board Game Review – Slide Quest

Do you remember Labyrinth?  No, not the David Bowie movie, and not that place where Theseus fought the minotaur.  I’m talking about this toy, where you used knobs to tilt the platform and try to navigate the ball towards the goal without falling in one of the many holes.  Slide Quest is essentially that, but cooperative.  Each player will take a side and can tilt that side of the board up, in a quest to navigate the heroic Knight on a quest through up to 20 various levels, facing obstacles and enemies as he goes.  Can you work together to achieve victory in this fast and frantic game?

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Top 5 Games of 2019 : Ethan

While we keep ourselves quarantined, we’ve been thinking back to the game nights of before. Reminiscing on these times had us thinking, wait a minute, we never posted our top lists for 2019! With time now abundant, we got to work, crafting the words to describe the wonders of the year before. What games did Ethan love from the year 2019? Read below to find out!

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Editorial — Black Creators in Board Gaming

On January 16th, 2016, Two Board Meeples put our first post out into the world. We created this blog because we’re passionate about board gaming and want to share this passion to make a connection with gamers of all backgrounds. In the past four years, we have written many articles about things we loved, but in focusing the lens on ourselves, we’ve neglected entire groups of people in the board gaming world. Since our first post in 2016, we’ve written specifically about 46 titles; out of all those titles, there was only one Black designer represented and no black artists. If we looked closely at our board game collection, I’m afraid it may reflect the same. How can we say we want to connect with gamers of different backgrounds, that we’re “by the meeples, for the meeples,” if we’re not representing the diversity that makes board gaming so wonderful?

Black communities are in a lot of pain right now, feeling a pain that has existed longer that this blog and longer than the two of us. I grew up in a small, southern community and heard a lot of vile things said about the Black members of my communities. Even young, I didn’t understand why people (including my own family) were saying these things; as I grew and begun to understand prejudice and racism, I made a promise to myself that these thoughts wouldn’t be my status quo, that making a change starts with me.

But it’s not enough to think we’re going to be better or saying we’re going to be better; we have to DO better. We must show up and support the members of our Black communities; if we want to continue to grow our board game community this MUST include our Black players and creators as well. So below we’ve started to create a living list. This list includes Black Designers, Black Artists and Black Content Creators that we and others in our community have recommended. From this list, Two Board Meeples will begin to share more content created by Black Board Gamers, Artist and Designers to reflect the community we want to see and be a part of.

If you are or know a black creator that should be added to this list, we will happily do so. We will continue to add to this list as we research and find new creators in the community. If you feel you have been mislabeled in this list, please let me know right away and I will make corrections. I want to do what is right by the creators, so if you have any questions or concerns, please email us at twoboardmeeples@gmail.com. Please click the links below to find out more about each creator.

Board Games by Black Designers & Publishers

Black Designers & Publishers

Black Artists

Black Content Creators

Programming with Black Creators

Board Game Review – Kingdomino Duel

In a world where territory comes in sets of 2, your goal is to ensure that your kingdom is more prosperous and prestigious than that of your rival. In Kingdomino Duel, players will draft dice to place various coats of arms in their domains, scoring points from the high dignitaries that occasionally accompany the influential houses. In addition, players race to unlock special spells granted by each of the houses. Will you be savvy enough in mapping out your territory to win the duel of Kingdominoes?

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Board Game Review – The Alpha

In the forest, when resources become scarce, predators must work hard to find food and assert their dominance over their hunting grounds.  This is not lost on the wolves of the land, who must try to find enough food to feed themselves while not running afoul of or losing their prey to other packs in the region.  Because in the end, when hunting for food only one pack can come out on top and be: The Alpha.

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Board Game Review – Exchange

The Buttonwood Agreement, signed on Wall Street in 1792, organized securities trading and led to a coalition of stockbrokers which later became known as the New York Stock Exchange.  Today, millions of dollars worth of stocks, securities and bonds change hands every day on the NYSE, but even at its founding the ultimate goal was the same as it is today.  If you want to come out on top with the most money, you have to know how to manipulate and take advantage of the Exchange.

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Board Game Review – My Little Scythe

It is time for the annual Harvest Tournament in the Kingdom of Pomme!  Each year, the seven animal kingdoms send two young siblings to compete in the tournament.  The winners receive not only the glory of victory, but the opportunity for their kingdom to take the crown of Pomme for the coming year!  Will your kingdom be victorious in this year’s Tournament?

Board Game Review — Wavelength

How hot is coffee?  On a scale from hot to cold, it would probably call on the left side of that spectrum, right?  But how far to the left?  There are definitely tings that are hotter, like molten metal or the sun.  And what if you wait for your coffee to cool down before drinking it, or (god forbid) like iced coffee?  In Wavelength, these kinds of discussion and debates are commonplace, as each round one player is trying to get their team to guess where something falls on a scale between two extremes.  You have to put your psychic powers to the test to guess what they’re going for!

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