Who can believe it’s already September? It’s the best month of the year (*cough* my birthday month *cough*), the weather is cooling off, and it’s a great time to play board games! We got a lot in this week, so continue below to see What We’ve Been Playing!
Hi all! As you may have heard, last week was Gen Con, the best four (-ish) days in gaming! More particularly, it was the 50th Gen Con, and we were there to celebrate the momentous anniversary. Join me as I recap our Gen Con experience, full of games and more!
As we continue to recover from our post-con exhaustion, we’re excited to bring you a special edition of What Did We Play, where we recap not only our normal gaming nights, but the things we played at GenCon as well! Because we split for part of the con, Ethan has made a seperate post about our experience, so that everyone gets the full con experience. Go grab something to drink (we’ll wait) because we’ve got a lot to tell you!
We didn’t forget about you, we swear! We know that Fridays all you look forward to is hearing what we’ve been playing this week, but we were just so busy . . .
Thanks for joining us again for another recap of What Have We Been Playing, where we go through our week in gaming.
Welcome back to our weekly feature where we chronicle what games we’ve played in the last week!
7/22/17 — Saturday gaming. What better way to get in a ton of games you’ve been wanting to try out or a really long game that’s been sitting around waiting for a good chunk of time to get it out. Our Saturday game sessions tend to last about 6-8 hours, which is a good chunk of time for lots of gaming. We started our day with Word Domination a new word/tile game by Uproarious Games. In this game, players take on the role of spies who are trying to steal famous artifacts and locations from around the world. In order to do that, they must use the letters placed out in front of them, as well as letters they control, to spell words to gain control. This is a game we were able to demo at GenCon last year and was a wonderful Kickstarter project. The game scales for the number of players, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays with different sets of people. After putting our spelling skills to the test, we jumped Cowabunga style into IDW Games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of The Past. It’s quite the mouthful, really. In this game one player takes on the role of classic TMNT bad guys while the other players play as the Turtles, trying to defeat the villains and accomplish missions. There are multiple scenarios in the book which allow for a campaign-like gameplay. We played this game before last year and it was a lot of fun, definitely for the nostalgia sake if nothing else. After 2 scenarios of that, we moved onto Brewin’ USA, a bidding/area control game where you a are brewer trying to create delicious beers and spread them to breweries around the US, gaining control of regions and having the most influence at the end of the game. Two points of detail that I really like about this games are that they use bottle caps for currency and they use the names of actual microbreweries around the US> This price point for this game is a bit high, but definitely worth it. All that beer creating was making us a little insane, so we decided to switch it up and try out Lovecraft Letter, a Cthulhu themed version of Love Letter. This version adds alternative roles for the numbers as well as adds a madness element to the game. Amber sort of loves the Lovecraft Theme, Ethan loves magnetic boxes that are shaped like books, so this was a game that was basically made for us. Plus it comes with such wonderful sleeves! Starting to wind down, we decided to go for Skull Board Game, a colorful bidding/press your luck game that has evolved from a bar game played with coasters and napkins. To end the night, we went with Seventh Hero, a game that has sense been renamed Rent-A-Hero much to the controversy of our game group. In this game you are trying to recruit heroes but they have very specifics needs that need to be met in order to come work for you, recruit two of the same and they’ll both quit! With our heroes recruited, it was time to end game night and bid goodbye until next time.
7/25/17 In our typical Tuesday night fashion, we were back in Rockford tonight for our Pegheads meetup! We started with a few “eureka!” moments by playing Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science, a tile laying game where you are trying to recreate some of Einstein’s great ideas. In this game you play one of four Einsteins representing different times in his life. You lay tiles in a community area trying to match ideas both in your hand and under a community goal list. Person who created the most prestige worth of ideas wins! After using up quite a bit of brain power, it was time to use force to get what we wanted, in a game called Revolution! In this bidding/area control game, players use force, blackmail and money to gain control over different areas of the town, players with the most control gain the most points and wins! When the forces of evil take over town, who you gonna call? Two Board Meeples! We gathered two more players and worked together on a game called A Touch of Evil: Dark Gothic, a deck-building game where players work together to defeat 3 villains. In this game the group either loses together or the person with the highest card value wins, and unfortunately we were unsuccessful in our endeavors. Needing to take a bit of a lighter approach, we switched groups and worked next with Honshu, a bidding/tile laying/city buiding game where players are working towards their secret goals to try to building the best city for their people. There are common point earning criteria as well, so it’s important not too hard on your secret goals or you miss other important scoring criteria. To end the night we played Nevermore Card Game. We’ve played this game a few times, but this game was especially interesting in how it played out. In this game, players are card drafting and set collecting in order to gain magical powers, knock out their enemies, and ultimately gain 6 points to win. When another player loses all their life, they are turned into a raven, using their turns to peck other players and try to turn back into a human. In this particular game, Amber was turned into a raven rather quickly, as she had gained 5 points in the first few rounds. Much of the game was played and more people were converted to bird-dom until only 2 of the 5 players were still humans. In order to transform back to a human, raven players must either have one of each kind of card in their hand or achieve a 5 of a kind. In this game, there is a special 5 of a kind called a “conspiracy of ravens” that, when you get one, you hit all the other players for one and gain a victory point. Well, in the final match of the game, Amber was sitting as a raven with 5 points and couldn’t do anything unless she turned human again. As cards were being drafted, she was gaining more and more ravens until, in the last draft, she ended up with a handful of beautiful, black birds. In the resolution phase, you check for a conspiracy first, so Amber had 5 of a kind, turned back into a human, hit all human players for 1, and gained her sixth point, winning her a game. It was an exciting end to our game night and a great story to finish this week’s “What Did We Play.”
Check back next week when we revisit the Janesville Pegheads and start our GenCon prep!
Welcome back, scurvy dogs, to our recap of the Skulls & Shackles Adventure Path for the Pathfinder roleplaying game! If you missed the first installment of this series, check it out here. As before, this post will contain spoilers for the first book of the adventure path, The Wormwood Mutiny, so if you’re currently playing Skulls & Shackles or plan to play it, proceed at your own peril! Otherwise, let’s dive in and see what misadventures our heroes get into this week!
In our weekly feature, we recap the games we’ve played over the last week!
7/15/17 – Winter is nearly here and our Rockford gaming group was so excited for the new season of Game of Thrones that we decided to host a day dedicated to the theme. So Two Board Meeples packed up their most Westerosi games and headed on down to the land of Ice and Fire. We started with a meeple versus meeple match of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, with House Lannister against the The Knight’s Watch. In the Game of Thrones Card Game, you build a deck with base set and expansion packs, choosing which house you want represented in your deck. You can then play against up to 4 different players and try to become the best house in Westeros. After a little bit of rules reminder, the Meeples begin to battle it out, with eventually Amber and House Lannister winning the Match. We then moved on to playing Game Of Thrones: The Iron Throne, a Cosmic-Encounter like game that again pits the houses of Westeros against each other to spread the most influence to the other houses. Battles were fought, promises were broken, and eventually House Martell and House Lannister tied for a victory. Needing to brush up more on our Seven Kingdoms facts, we moved on to Game of Thrones: The Trivia Game, a game which allows you to use your knowledge of the TV Show to gain control of the Castles of the Seven Kingdoms. After realizing that we were much like Jon Snow and knew very little, we decided to end the day outside of Westeros by playing A fake artist goes to New York , a game much like Spyfall where everyone knows the secret word but one person. One by one the players take turns drawing one line of the secret word; after everyone has gotten a chance to draw two lines, players must guess who the “fake artist” is.
7/18/17 It was tiring travelling from Westeros to New York, so we took a few days of rest before attending the weekly meetup with the Rockford Pegheads. The Meeples got there a bit early, so we snuck in a quick game of Dreamwell, a set collection game where players are navigating dream worlds to gain the most points. After a harsh victory by Ethan, more people began to join us and we had a large group to play Werewords, a cross between Bezier Games’ Werewolf and 20 Questions. In this game, the Mayor chooses a word that the werewolves and the seer know, while the villagers are trying to figure out what the word is. The Seer has to be careful not to let themselves be know too much, because of the word is found, the Werewolves still have a chance to win by eliminating the Seer! After a few fun rounds of word guessing, the Meeples split into two groups, Ethan playing Facade Games Salem (which we have reviewed here) and Amber playing Century: Spice Road, a engine building, card buying game which some in the group consider to be a solid replacement for Splendor. The Meeples got back together again to play a game of Bruges, a game that we have visited before. In Bruges, you are working to building up your canals, create houses in your personal village, and gain successful societal members to place in your houses, gaining points for completing canals and gaining important people. After a while of brain burning, we ended the night with a few games of The Chameleon, a Target Exclusive game by Big Potato games. Another game similar to Spyfall, everyone except one person has access to the secret word from a sheet of similar words. Then every player takes a turn quickly saying another word related to the original word, while after players vote to find the The Chameleon.
This week we were able to play a lot of different types of games, which always makes for a good week!
In our new weekly feature, we recap the games that we’ve played since last Friday! Join us as we look back in the week of gaming.
7/8/17 – While not a traditional board game, we were invited to participate in an Escape Room with 10 of our friends from our Janesville gaming group. We haven’t been to the Janesville Group as often lately because of scheduling conflicts, so it was nice to see everyone again. We arrived at the same time as another couple, who ventured into what appeared as the store front of a candy store. After looking around for a moment, a crackle came in over a speaker and we were encourage to find the hidden entrance to the room. Surprise had us fumbling, but not for long as we entered a space age lounge to find our friends waiting for us. A few other groups were waiting for their times as well and we discovered that four different groups would be doing four different adventures that day. After the guide briefed us in the rules of the escape room, a man with a funky eye makeup began to escort the groups back to their rooms. One by one the groups went back as a soft “psst” of air flowed in the doorway. When it was our turn to enter, we were lead into a hallway with 6 different doors, all of which lead to different escape rooms. All the way in the back corner was our room, where our guide told us that it was the 1960s, we woke up in a warehouse surrounded by blood, and we could hear noises from the next room. We were given an hour to escape and were ushered into a small, dark, creepy room, dirty and splatter with blood and body parts. We worked together diligently to be shocked (literally at one point) and amazed at how well we work together. Out of the four groups that went in, we were one of two groups that made it out on time, so we were pretty proud of ourselves!
7/11/17 — Slurpee Day! (We unfortunately did not partake.) It was weekly gaming at the Gaming Goat and the gloom and doom outside brought out the murderous side of us, which lead us to play The Last Friday, a one-versus-many game which takes place at Camp Apache, a stereotypical 80s slasher movie camp. The game plays out in four chapters, with one person portraying the serial killer “The Maniac,” and all other players taking roles as movie trope campers. In the first chapter of the game, the camper players are running from The Maniac, trying to find keys to 5 different color cabins and hide away to safety while The Maniac is trying to kill all the campers, which would cause The Maniac to win. Our campers were diligent and made it into safety, but not without two casualties in the camp. In the second chapter, daylight is about to break and The Maniac must seek shelter until night falls again, while the campers seek out The Maniac and attempt to put him to rest. The campers succeeded and the blue player had the pleasure of killing the killer, becoming The Predestined, but what kind of horror movie would this be if The Maniac were to just stay dead? In the third chapter, The Maniac seeks vengeance against the predestined, spending the entire chapter attempting to kill the predestined and win, while the other campers are helping keep the predestined safe. If the predestined survives this chapter (which she did!) then we move onto Chapter 4: The Final Chapter. In chapter 4, dawn is breaking yet again, but this time it’s the camper’s final opportunity to seek revenge against the mayhem The Maniac has caused. Like chapter 2, The Maniac is try to seek refuge from the campers, but this time it’s real for the campers. If the predestined can kill The Maniac in this chapter, the camper team wins. If The Maniac escapes, he is the winner. The campers in our game were able to surround The Maniac, making his moves very obvious and causing a fantastic camper victory!
Since The Last Friday is a bit longer game, we only had time for one more short one this night, so we decided to pull out Garbage Day. In Garbage Day, players are roommates in an apartment and unfortunately, no one likes cleaning or taking out the garbage. Players draw cards from the deck and either place them in their room or on top of the garbage can depending on what type of card they draw. If you have to place your card on the garbage can, you must carefully balance your card on the existing garbage, if you knock over the garbage, you could be out of the game! There are also a few mischief cards in the deck, which allow you to place garbage in another person’s room or mess with how they place their garbage. The garbage was flying with this one, with Amber and another player “getting married” to try to preserve the win, but in the end someone else prevailed, becoming the king of the apartment and not cleaning their room!
7/12/17 Wednesdays are Masterchef Night at the Two Board Meeples household, and while waiting for Chef Ramsey to critique those home chef’s dishes, we decided to make it a Cthulhu Night (because what’s scarier, than Gordon Ramsey’s criticism, right?). We busted out Cthulhu Dice first, which didn’t really go very well with two players. To be honest, we didn’t even check to see if it could be played with two, but since we’ve played it before and wanted to knock it off our unplayed list of the year, we decided to chuck the dice and take each other’s sanity anyway. We segued from that into Munchkin Cthulhu, a classic game with an Elder God theme. While it was fun to revisit the game that got me into the hobby, there were very typical frustrations in game: someone running away with the lead, being the target of attack after attack. There was definitely a feeling of, “when will this game end” coming from Amber, but it was a fun revisit and a nice laugh at some of the old jokes that were forgotten. Plus, it gave us a chance to use our cool new countdown dice!
That’s all our gaming for this week, join us next week as we report back with more “What Have We Played!”
Like many gamers around this great, wide world, Ethan and I spent April 29th surrounded by tables, cardboard, and groups of loud, passionate people. Because yesterday was International Tabletop Day! Yesterday we travelled to Beloit, WI on the advice of the leader of our Rockford Pegheads Group to a company called Acculynx. They are a software development company that builds services for other companies (at least, that’s what I figured they do!) who were gracious enough to let a few dozen geeks come hang out and play games for the day.
We started our day off with a bit of Mystic Vale. It’s a game both Ethan and I had played before, I was personally not super impressed with it the first time we’ve played. This deck building game has a mechanic where instead of adding more cards to your deck, you build on top of your preexisting cards. The clear cards required for this mechanic seemed gimmicky at first, but was a bit more enjoyable my second play around, even though I lost terribly.
After a few rounds of ping pong (hey, it was tabletop day!), we played Sagrada, the game of “dice drafting and window crafting.” We recently received our Kickstarter copy of this game in the mail and needed some time to play it, so we decided to give it a go just the two of us. The mechanics were fairly simply to pick up on and the game overall was very pretty to look at. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays with more people.
Next up was Libertalia. I’ve played this game on Board Game Arena, so I was slightly familiar with gameplay but needed to have the game I hand in order to really understand what was going on. With everyone starting off with the same cards, it was interesting to see how everyone played out their cards differently.
Then we decided to do some party games, starting with Two Rooms and a Boom. This game pits two teams against each other, the red team and the blue team, in a battle of trying to keep the “bomber” away from the “President,” or getting him in the same room as the President depending on what team you’re on. We’ve played this game before with our home game group, but adding the special roles to the game this time made it much more interesting than just using regular roles.
After that, we continued our hunting adventures with Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, a game we love and have reviewed. We haven’t played this game with our group as much lately, but it still holds up as a fun deduction game with the Inspectors trying to find the murderer while the Forensic Scientist gives clues.
Next up was Unfair, a TOTALLY FAIR game of building the best amusement park you can. However, the game isn’t really all that fair. It starts off pretty nice, but a most businesses come to understand, you have to follow code, get inspections, and may have shut rides down for a turn. We’ve played our copy just the two of us, so it was nice to be able to try the game with three.
Building amusements parks is hard work, so we needed to cool down with a little Incan Gold, a press-you-luck treasure collecting game. In this game, you must decide if you will press further into the temple in hopes of collecting more gems and possibly an idol. But if you press too far and run into the same hazard twice, you leave with no gems. Press your luck is a mechanic I love for the adrenaline rush of it, so this may have to be a game we add to our collection. I’ll definitely be adding it to the list of games I play on Board Game Arena!
We ended our day at Acculynx with a game of Codenames. It’s always interesting to play this game with new people, as it’s fun to tap into people’s minds and try to figure out why they gave the clues they did. Our team had a respectable loss and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the new Codenames modules that’ll be coming out this year.
Hi, Ethan here with another solo gaming session report. It feels like a while since we’ve done one of these, and in fact it’s been almost a month since we last headed to Kryptonite Kollectibles for a regularly scheduled Meetup — our NMA gaming weekend was at the end of last month, and we needed a few weeks’ beak afterwards. Nevertheless, this Thursday, I was really jonesing for some gaming, so fortunately I got to play a few good games with a good group of people. So, enough with the introductions, let’s get to the games!
I may have mentioned this previously, but one of my favorite parts of game night is getting to play heavy or involved games with a lot of bright people. A lot of times, games don’t play as well (or at all) with two, so just Amber and I can’t play them at home, and sometimes we don’t want to just go at each other in the heavy competitive games anyway. So it’s always nice to get a chance to play a thinky game with a full complement of four people. And Shipyard is a great game to scratch that euro itch, and to play with a full four people at game night.
Shipyard is, as you may imagine, a game that centers around building ships. Over the course of the game, players buy ship pieces, parts to add to their ships (smokestacks, propellers, cannons, etc.), passengers for the ship (captains/officers, businessmen, and soldiers), and waterways to navigate. Players can also buy employees that give them special powers or extra actions, and can buy and sell train cars full of resources (coal, iron, and grain) for money or ship components. Every player has government contracts they’re working on as secret goals that will give bonus points at the end of the game, and they also earn points from taking the ships they build throughout the game on shakedown cruises, which are the shipyard’s version of test runs.
Three out of the four of us playing (Rob, Paul, and me) had played this game before, while the fourth, Brock, was new to this game. And since it had been a few months since the rest of us had played, it took a while for a rules explanation/refresher. Shipyard has a lot of moving parts, with about 8 different actions and rondels associated with most of them that all required a thorough explanation and understanding. In addition, there is a bit of complexity to the midgame scoring coming from shakedown cruises and symbology on the end-game government contract secret goal cards, so it was important that everyone knew what they were working towards and what would earn them points. By about 6:00, we were ready to start!
With the action selection mechanic of Shipyard, each turn a player puts their marker on one of the available actions, which leaves it unavailable for the other players. Then, on subsequent turns, you must move your marker to any of the actions besides the one you just did and those occupied by other players. Because of this mechanic, there were a few turns where there were no available actions that I particularly wanted or needed to do, so I had to improvise as best as I could. The game also allows you to pay 6 guilders (the currency of the game) to take any extra action on your turn, so there is a possibility for mitigation, albeit a pricey one. I did take advantage of the extra action a few times over the course of the game, as did my three competitors, but we often didn’t have enough money to do so, or our money was better spent elsewhere.
Overall, my strategy centered around one of my government contract cards, which gave me points for launching ships made up of exactly six pieces, up to 17 points for three such ships. This worked out nicely, since when building ship parts, you’re able to buy up to three each time. So I typically bought the three cheapest (or free) components to try to launch six length ships as quickly as I could. And in fact I was the first one to send a ship out for a shakedown cruise, but because I didn’t bother adding any propellers, smokestacks, or sails, it only had a speed of 1 and did not score me very many points. Meanwhile, the other three players, who took their time building their ships, earned a lot more points test driving their ships. However, by the end of the game I managed to launch my three six-length ships, and on the last one scored a lot of points for soldiers and cannons (which tied in with my second secret goal), so wasn’t too far behind before end-game scoring. Then, after successfully earning lots of points with my secret goals, I pulled out a narrow win with 86 points, with Paul and Rob scoring 82 and 80 points, respectively, and first-timer Brock coming in with a very respectable 67.
I really like Shipyard, and had been wanting to play it again after trying it for the first time last year. After this second play, I can definitely say that Shipyard is a game where strategy is heavily dependent on your secret government contract cards which are used for end game scoring and can contribute almost half of your score. The way I played this game was definitely different from the last, where I had completely different goals to work towards, and I imagine if I play again it’ll be different still based on my goals and what my opponents do. So it’s certainly a game that rewards repeated play and adaptability, so I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to try it out again.
After all the brain-burning of Shipyard, and because there were only 45 minutes left in the Meetup, I decided to finish the night off with something a bit lighter, and wandered over to another table to join a game of Dixit that was just getting started. Dixit is a family-weight game where all of the players submit cards featuring strange and surreal artwork based on a clue given by one player. Then, all other players try to find the card that player submitted based on their clue and what they know about that person. The clue-giver only earns points if some people correctly guess their card, but not all, so it’s to their advantage to give somewhat vague clues or ones that they know only some people at the table will understand. This is definitely a game that’s best played with people you know fairly well.
I’m usually pretty good at Dixit. I can often give clues that are just vague enough so that only some of the other players can get them — this is where it’s good to play with Amber because I can give clues that only she will get for sure. On the flip side, I’m usually good at picking up on a wide variety of pop culture references, which are often good candidates for Dixit clues. However, for whatever reason I was really off my game this night.
On my first turn of the game, I knew right away which card I wanted to submit, as I’d been eyeing it ever since it entered my hand. It was a card depicting a white raven amongst a bevy of black ones. I laid down the card and gave the clue “Citadel”, a reference to the Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones), where white ravens are sent from the maesters at the Citadel to herald the changing of the seasons. I was really hoping that the one other person at the table I knew had read all of the books would get the reference, but when all the cards were revealed and he looked as lost as everyone else I knew I was in trouble. I guess the clue was a bit too vague. Then, as everyone else took their turns, I was missing out on clues left and right. “Geppetto”, “Guilty”, and others were all misinterpreted by me.
In the end we weren’t able to play a full game with the time allotted, but I insisted on taking my last turn since I wanted to redeem myself. I played a card featuring a dragon with some paper lanterns, and gave the very specific clue “1988”. I waited with bated breath as everyone submitted their own cards and then pored over the results, wondering what to pick. In the end, only one person got it right, as I’d hoped — the one person at the table who had been born in 1988, the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar. So I was able to have my moment of redemption, even though I still came in dead last with 10 points, while the leader when we finished had 20, and everyone else was somewhere in between. I’ll chalk it up to playing with two couples and not having Amber there to balance things out, but it was still a ton of fun. I can’t wait for the next game night!