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Jason Panella

What board games have you been playing lately?

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Obtained the little card drafting game Sushi Go and played it with family; seemed to go over well enough. The game is casual without being purely random or lacking in strategy, and the cute artwork-- which is very Nintendo, by the way-- really makes it endearing.

 

That was our intro to card drafting games and we enjoy it quite a bit. Perfect for non-gamers, your parents, etc. And the artwork is just adorable. I hadn't made a connection between the artwork and Nintendo but now that you mention it...

 

I played my first trick-taking game a week ago. I'm still not sure what to think. 

 

I've never been remotely interested in those until that new one Diamonds came out this year. That one looks fun.

 

Stuff I've played recently:

 

Agricola. A buddy of mine recently found a copy at Barnes and Noble for $20 and picked it up for me. Huzzah! My wife and I enjoy the little brother Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small and we love At the Gates of Loyang so we were eager to try this. After playing the "family" variant a few times we played the full game with cards and everything last night. As others have said, the cards are what make the game great. They can help you develop a focus and a game plan. However, the game can feel frustrating. The game is designed so you have to do a bunch of stuff to build your farm but there's nowhere near enough actions for you to do everything you need to do so you have to use your cards and be creative to find ways to combo and make smart plays. It's fun and I think it could be a lot more fun once you really get a feel for the strategy, but man, it can be a brain burner.

 

Indigo and No Thanks! I mentioned these in this thread a couple of months ago but I just wanted to make another mention here. These have become two of our go-to gateway games. Just a few days ago we had some non-gamers over for dinner and played these and it was the most successful introduction to gaming experience we've ever had. Whenever we go to someone's house or have someone over I keep No Thanks! close by and it's always hit the mark. Highly recommend these as light, funny games with a fair dose of "take that!"

 

Galaxy Trucker. Our first Vlaada Chvatil game. Very fun. It's like a real-time puzzle while you build your space ship followed by the hilarity of watching your ships get destroyed by meteors and space pirates. 

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Galaxy Trucker. Our first Vlaada Chvatil game. Very fun. It's like a real-time puzzle while you build your space ship followed by the hilarity of watching your ships get destroyed by meteors and space pirates. 

 

 

You definitely need a sense of humor when playing this game.  The first time my friends and I tried it out, there was some... impatience  ...with the randomness of destruction brought upon the ships.  Just know going in that you're never going to be 100% protected, and that something can clobber you at any time.

Last week I was able to get together with my game buddies in Sacramento, while on vacation.  Played some more Lords of Waterdeep, and got introduced to the DC Comics Deck Building Game (horrible title, but fun game that is quick to learn).  Also played Firefly: the Board Game, which has some things in common Galaxy Trucker.  A fairly long game (in fact, we had to quit about two hours in), but a lot of that was due to being the first time some of us had played, plus the fact that it's got a lot of little pieces to keep track of and, IIRC, something like 13 decks of cards to keep track of.

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Was introduced to a couple of titles over the weekend: Shadows Over Camelot and The Resistance-- neither a new game, exactly, but both new to me. I enjoyed them both immensely, and my only hesitation in adding them to my collection is that it's a bit harder to get enough players together for either. (I think Shadows can be played with just three, and perhaps that would be enjoyable, but I suspect it would also be ridiculously hard.)

 

The seven of us who played The Resistance became so obsessed with it that we started keeping a spreadhseet of how all the votes had gone, just to see if we could crack the game's code somehow. Addictively fun little game, made all the more so by its simplicity.

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Friend and I have started getting into the X-Wing Minatures game, which is a blast, but my goodness you can start spending money on it fast. Both of us already sunk a lot of money into it. It's a blast to play and there's a lot of strategy and customization to it. If you have the time and money, I'd say it's definitely worth playing, but beware the nagging need to get more and more of it. I'm already eyeing more ships after ordering a couple more yesterday. I'm hooked.

 

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Played my first round of Cosmic Encounter last night, and totally understand why it is so beloved among so many. The game is so simple, and yet seems like it would be a completely different experience each time, even without the added diversity of expansions. And it's about as cutthroat and confrontational as any game I've played.

 

Also played Zombie '15. Fun. But stressful!

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Finally got my wife to play Castles of Burgundy, and she loves it. We've managed to play a few times over the past week, even with our crazy schedules.

 

She also tried out my newly acquired copy of Lewis & Clark, which she also liked. That game is a blast; I can see why people were going nuts about it when it was released. I realize the "race" aspect is basically just a scoring track, but something about it makes it more intense. 

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Anyone familiar with Le Havre? Got it in a trade and I've been playing the solo version. So far, it's a really cool, deep game, but I feel like I'm missing something--I've read through the rules a few times and I'm still not sure where you're supposed to put buildings you bought, and if everyone can use them. 

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Was introduced to Imperial Assault over the weekend-- a fun little tatical game that packs a lot of intensity and strategizing into just 20-30 minutes of gameplay. (I imagine there are some more complex scenarios that take longer.) Even as someone without particularly strong allegiances to Star Wars, I was really drawn into it.

 

Also played Cosmic Encounter again, and am pretty much obsessed with it.

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Some friends started up a monthly gaming day, which--after two events--is going quite well. Enough people show up that there are as many as three tables going at any given time. It's always fun introducing Christian and non-Christian gaming friends to each other and watching them bond over wooden cubes.

 

This month, we got to play The Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which was a blast. I haven't played Suburbia, so I didn't know what to expect. The auctioning mechanic meshes perfectly with the shape-placing nature of the game, and it reminded me a lot of Princes of Florence (which I just got in a trade). I like Castles so much more that I might just trade away Princes! I did fairly well for my first play, though sometimes my spacial idiocy tripped me up. 

 

I also played Terra Mystica. What a crazy, huge game. It's insanely crunchy, but also has a fluidity that surprised me (and reminded me greatly of Eclipse on a number of counts). I did so poorly that the winner almost lapped me on the score track, but I loved it. I can't wait to play again.

 

Also, I should mention that I think I have a knack for finding board games that go out of print. Over the past few years, I've picked up copies of the Fury of DraculaOra et Labora, and 1960: The Making of a President because they all looked good. I enjoyed all of them, but not enough to warrant me keeping them around. (And in all three cases, I got them while they were still in print for a steal). I was able to sell each of those for over $100 each (I just shipped 1960 today, in fact). Huzzah! Oh, I forgot to mention Modern Art, which I found for $4 (new!) in a close out a few years ago and sold on Amazon for $60. 

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For a friend's 41st birthday, his wife planned a secret game of Twilight Imperium as a gift. It's his favorite game (maybe second favorite, after Scepter of Zavandor), and he only gets to play it every few years. It was a lot of fun, though its legendarily long play time really holds true. I played it once before with this same group of people, and the six-player game took 13 hours. This time, with five players, it took us around 9. Which wasn't too bad, considering that one of the players had to learn the rules. I'm super bad at these kinds of games, but I surprisingly came in a very close third!

 

That said, playing this a second time confirmed (for me at least) that Eclipse is the better game. They're different enough, for sure, but occupy the same general space in my head. Eclipse is way more Euro-y, which makes the resource aspects much more smooth. 

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So, did anyone else know that Albert Lamorisse, the director of The Red Balloon....
the_red_balloon.thumb.jpg.38e4890f7097cc

 

... was also the creator of this game?

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Hello,
I mostly play Ticket to Ride Europe on the app against bots. 

Can anyone explain to me in the photo below why the red player did not get credit for the Amsterdam-Rostov route?

The way I understand the stations rule, the Red player should be able to ride the red train out of Rostov. The station at Kharkov allows him/her to ride the green line to Bruxelles where he can pick up the red again to Amsterdam. Alternately, he could do the same and transfer to yellow line due to station at Frankfurt. 

The only possible explanations I could come up with are:
a) The computer/app doesn't know how to calculate stations. (The artificial players have yet to ever built one in games I've played against computer.)
b] Do tickets have to be completed in the direction on the card? The computer does appear to use rule that you must have a station at the place you pick up the line, so perhaps if station were at Bruxelles instead of Kharkov it would count?

Any other possible explanations? What am I missing?

Edit: So a poster at boardgamegeek.com says that station lets you ride another player's route but *only for one segment.*

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Edited by kenmorefield

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8 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Can anyone explain to me in the photo below why the red player did not get credit for the Amsterdam-Rostov route?

I don't play the online/app version, but in my Europe TTR set, the stations only connect one adjoining segment to another segment, and only for a single route. E.g. In your pictured board, you can connect from Brussels to Frankfurt *or* from Amsterdam to Frankfurt using the red station at Frankfurt, but couldn't technically use both routes, (not that you'd need to in this particular scenario). Our family even puts the stations on the trains themselves instead of the city, as it makes a bit more visual sense. Tickets don't have to be completed in the order of the card; it could have been called Rostov-Amsterdam.

I do love me some Ticket to Ride.

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Drove 350 miles to Sacramento for a game night with friends last night, mainly to see one buddy who was down from Alaska.  Played a few games I hadn't played before.  One I brought, new in box - TSURO: The Game of the Path - which makes for a nice, quick "in between games" game.  More luck of the draw than strategy required.  I like to check TSURO OF THE SEA, which is supposed to involve more strategy than luck.

We also played a couple of rounds of COLT EXPRESS - an old west game where each player is a bandit robbing the same train.  That one was a lot of fun.  My friends had played it before with just 3 players, but upping the total number of players to 5 apparently really made this game take off.  There are a lot of laughs to be had playing this game.

I hung around for one round of 7 WONDERS, but it was getting so late, and I was already tired from the drive, that I completely lost focus of the games' objective.  I'd like to try this one again when I'm a bit more rested. 

As I was leaving, my friend David was beginning to set up IN THE NAME OF ODIN, a Kickstarter game he had just received in the mail.  It looked beautiful, and was kind of reminiscent of LORDS OF WATERDEEP.
 

 

inthenameofodin.jpg

Edited by John Drew

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Last week I headed up to Sacramento again for my sort of semi-annual games trip.  This year, once gaming got under way, a couple of the guys got called away early to deal with emergencies (everything turned out well), and gaming kinda got shoved to the background.  I did get introduced to Wasteland Express Delivery Service, kind of a Mad Max world meets Firefly scenario, which ended up being a lot of fun.
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I then introduced the group to Sagrada. Game play was fairly quick, but the game kind of bogged down during the scoring round. It took much too long to figure out the various scoring scenarios. The scoring instructions are worded more complicated than need be, and could use a rewrite.
Sagrada.thumb.jpg.22b4e6d5011e55ccc6b9ff298d1d34fc.jpg

 

I was hoping we could get in a round of The Dragon and Flagon, which I actually timed to have delivered to my friend's house during gaming, but unfortunately it was shortly after this that the emergencies came up, and gaming basically ended.  I will save that one for next time. 

Edited by John Drew

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