Game Night

Month in Review – January thru March 2017

Introduction


 

My year has started on down a chaotic path.  One at which that has not allowed much in the way of doing my normal routine of doing our monthly stats.  I wanted to apologize for that to anyone who has enjoyed them in the past.  Moving forward I decided that I will not be posting these statistics until the end of the year.  I find that the amount of work it took was turning the fun of our group into more of a job than a labor of love.  I will be posting a monthly review but in a different fashion than before.  Much like how I streamlined the reviews we post here on the site, I will be posting a month review with a “less is more” mentality.  

In these reviews I’ll pan over some of the games that I had some thoughts about in relevance to how they have been effecting game nights.  These will include opinions of gamers in the group and my personal thoughts on the game.  This is not a review but rather a perspective on which games work well in a community group of gamers.  I will also include in these any or all attained gamer achievement pins.  This has become a staple of the group and do not want to discontinue that.  

This first “Month in Review” will be a bit different from the usual fair as I’ll be lumping the past 3 months together so this one will probably be a bit longer than usual and also more focused on March as its still fresh in my mind.  


January 2017

january


We were able to squeeze in quite a few events in the month of January.  It’s a special time in northern Michigan when the snow is really starting to get old.  I personally love the snow but you can tell that a lot of people would rather move directly from Christmas into the Summer.  This allows for a lot of friends to make their way to the gaming table to forget their winter blues.  We were also able to get many new games to the table this month as everyone had their Christmas gaming loot ready to be played.  Here are some the games we played this month.


Games Played

Game Qty
Artifacts, Inc. 3
Candy Land 3
Imhotep 3
Kanagawa 3
Potion Explosion 3
Birds of a Feather 2
Captain Sonar 2
Oceanos 2
Orléans 2
Splendor 2
Takenoko 2
Above and Below 1
Best Treehouse Ever 1
Blood Rage 1
Blueprints 1
Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Card Game 1
Bring Your Own Book 1
Ca$h ‘n Guns (Second Edition) 1
Catan 1
City of Iron: Second Edition 1
Coloretto 1
Concept 1
Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game 1
Dominion 1
Elder Sign 1
Elysium 1
Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia 1
Evolution 1
Flash Point: Fire Rescue 1
HUE 1
Imaginiff 1
Jaipur 1
Joking Hazard 1
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game 1
Machi Koro 1
Mansions of Madness: Second Edition 1
Medieval Academy 1
Mysterium 1
Pandemic 1
Pandemic: The Cure 1
Steam Park 1
Stone Age 1
Sushi Go Party! 1
Talisman 1
Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 1
Viticulture 1
Welcome to the Dungeon 1

oceanos
Oceanos

This was a new acquisition for the group in January and was able to play it a couple of times in January.  This game has players drafting cards that represent discoveries of the ocean and collecting points.  They also will be able to upgrade their submarine to make themselves more efficient at this task.  

I’m generally a fan of drafting games but they can be difficult to teach new players to gaming as the concept is foreign.  This one solves this issue with a very beautiful and fun theme that is approachable.  It would not be my entry level pick for a drafting game like “Sushi Go!” is but it is closer than anything else i have come across.  Given the option I would rather play “7 Wonders” as I feel the drafting in that game is more of a difficult decision.  This one does bring some interesting mechanics as if worth a look if you’re a bit spent on Sushi Go.  


best treehouse ever
Best Treehouse Ever

I was informed from a local store owner that they had acquired a ton of games that will be open for free play.  We ventured out to check out the loot and was not disappointed.  There was a lot to pick from and could have easily filled an entire day’s worth of gaming.  We decided to simply play a small card game that I was interested in when we attended our “local” convention, Grand Con.   This game was Best Treehouse Ever.  

This is yet another little drafting game that I would truly place in the entry level game category.  In this title players will be placing cards that they draft into a treehouse that will score them points based off the types of rooms they choose to build.  Players must always be mindful of the the trees balance as each room could tilt the tree to either side.  

This one is a quick and cute card game that could easily be played with smaller children with a bit of help.  This one may well be an easier entry into the concept of drafting than Sushi Go but with a single play I can’t be sure.  I did have quite a bit of fun playing it and may have to add it to the collection in the future if the price is right.  


capt sonar
Captain Sonar

We have had great success with our Wednesday game nights.  New games are coming to the table and I cannot get enough of it.  This one is one of those games that another founding member had purchased and brought to play.  This game has players in 2 teams trying to sink each other’s submarines.  Each player has a specific role on the sub that has its own goals and responsibilities.  

capt sonar2

Captain Sonar has some wonderful capacity for a game group.  It can carry up to 8 players on two different teams which can really help when you have a lot of players that don’t want to break up.  I also really like the games ability to cater to different play types as the beginners method is turn based and the alternative is real time.  We only played the turn based system which I imagine is quite docile in comparison.  This is one that I’ll be looking forward to in the future.  


blood rage gameplay
Blood Rage

This was not the first time I played Blood Rage.  In fact, I posted on the page my review of it.  I’ve nothing new to report here on the gameplay but rather just some thoughts I was having about the game.  Initially when we played this game it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  It had nothing to do with the game as it’s a very well put together game.  My perspective was a bit tainted by the fact that i wasn’t very good at the game.  Area control games have never been my strong suit and my opinion of the game suffered because of it.  We were able to get it back to the table and play again which I feel went better than it went before.  This type of game goes over very well with players that like very competitive and combative games.  I cannot deny its popularity.  It will continue to come out and I’ll continue to give it another shot.  


kanagawa
Kanagawa

This was also another acquisition of mine this month that really surprised me.   Lately I’ve been moving in the direction of heavier games and haven’t been getting the enjoyment out of smaller games that I used to.  I was willing to give this one a shot as it’s made by one of my favorite designers, Bruno Cathala.  It didn’t disappoint and has been happily brought back to the table many times by the members of the group.  

Kanagawa has players painting a mural.  This mural will contain things like buildings, people, animals, seasons, and settings.  Each one will score out differently depending on how many of each kind that you have.  Players will also have to plan carefully as the will have a limited supply of paints that they will be able to use.  

This one has found a great home in our groups collection.  Its beautiful and elegant.  The gameplay is easily followed but still challenging and engaging.  I’m looking forward to future games of this and how it will be perceived in the long run.  


imhotep
Imhotep

I can’t overstate enough how much I enjoy playing another player’s game and be taught that game by them.  It’s nice to be on the other side of the table once in awhile.  This one is one of those games.  Another game that is simple in concept and play but doesn’t lack in strategy.  

Imhotep will have players building various structures in ancient Egypt.  Stones will be coming in by boat and the players will have to load the boats up with their stones and send them to the building site of their choosing.  

In this one timing is crucial as when you load the ships with your stones then the other players may send that ship to a destination that you didn’t intend.  This is where the game gets interesting.  It’s been on the request list quite a bit and even borrowed a few times as well.  I can’t blame the enthusiasm though as I quite enjoyed the game myself.  Yet another one that I look forward to seeing where this game is after a few months.  


February 2017

imhotep


 

February was the month of the classics.  Lots of titles that we have come to love found the table yet again and some that I have had for quite some time that we were able to introduce to new players.  Our attendance has been slowly gaining ground lately with many new faces from Meetup.com finding our group and coming to game night.  The variety of different personalities has been very challenging when planning out the games that I place in the bag to bring.  I’ve settled on the “less is more” mentality with the collection lately.  I really don’t want to haul more than is needed.  Anxiety on what to play is already difficult so this helps to limit that problem.  


Games Played

 

Game Qty
Lords of Waterdeep 3
Small World 3
Splendor 3
Tem-Purr-A 3
Dominion 2
For Sale 2
Kanagawa 2
Scythe 2
Tsuro 2
Blueprints 1
Carcassonne 1
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 1
Deus 1
Imhotep 1
Innovation 1
Islebound 1
King of Tokyo 1
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game 1
Libertalia 1
Mancala 1
Monopoly Deal Card Game 1
Orléans 1
Patchwork 1
Pirate’s Cove 1
Potion Explosion 1
RoboRally 1
T.I.M.E Stories: Under the Mask 1
Ticket to Ride 1
Timeline: Inventions 1
Welcome to the Dungeon 1

small world
Small World

Small World has been in my collection for quite some time.  It was one of the first games I bought when I started really getting into the hobby.  Oddly enough, I’ve only played this one a half dozen times at best.  I wish I had a better reason for my disinterest in playing this one but it simply comes down to amount of games.  There was always something else that was new and needed to be played.  This one seemed to be the unnecessary victim of neglect.  Recently I’ve been dusting off some of my older games as my buying habits have slowed down.  This one found some table time and some much needed love.

This little area control game is quite fun.  Normally I have a hard time enjoying area control games as I can get frustrated but this one fixes that with a simple solution.  Your units that you spread across the map will eventually die out and will need to redeploy.  Your commitment bad decisions are not condemning if you make a poor choice.  I find most area control games can really come down to one or two mistakes.  Hopefully we can see this one to the table a bit more as multiple member now own their own copy.  


dominion

Dominion

I played Dominion to death when i first got into the hobby.  It was not my entry point but was the follow up to my entry game.  The cards provided so much variability that multiple games was a no brainer.  Before too long the game had been played out and I was ready to move out to greener pastures.  How this one came back into the gaming rotation was quite by accident.  Our secondary game nights have been hosted by a local brewery called Earthen Ales.  They happen to be gaming enthusiasts and that happens to be their favorite title.  During some slower times they like to jump in and play a game or two.  This has brought the game back from the dead for me.

This one is the grandfather of deck building games.  The mechanic that a lot of modern board games use in their game.  You have a starting group of cards that make up your deck and you draw a hand of cards to play from each turn.  Using those cards will provide you the resources to buy victory point cards and additional action cards which will be added to your deck making it stronger.  

These plays really got me excited about the game again.  A few more people were introduced to the title as well.  I haven’t heard of requests for the game as of yet but i will jump on the opportunity if it should arise.  The game can play quick and has very simple mechanics.  Something that can really prove to be an asset if there are a lot of new gamers at the table.  


scythe
Scythe

This was one of the new acquisitions in February.  I have really been looking forward to playing this one since I missed the opportunity to jump on the kickstarter campaign.  Once at the table it didn’t disappoint.

Scythe is set in an alternate history where the ashes of World War 1 still loom over Europe.  Mechs were used in the war and still hang around to this day.  This one is a worker placement game with a little area control fused in there.  Each player will take on a role of one eastern european nation in an attempt to acquire the most money.  

I’m not usually a fan of area control games as they are not my style of play but this doesn’t centralize its mechanics around direct combat.  In fact, the game will punish players who get too aggressive with their advancement.  The game play runs very smoothly with an action selection mechanism that keeps turns short and sweet.

scythe2

I haven’t yet introduced this one to the group as a whole quite yet as it takes quite a bit of time to set up and also takes quite a bit of time to play.  The learning curve can also be intimidating as the wealth of choices comes quickly.  A smaller game group would probably have more use for a monster like this one.  That will not stop me from bring this to our game night though as this really knocked it out of the park.  


innovation

Innovation

Little box card games usually are very easy to learn and quick to play.  This one doesn’t fit that mold.  Players will be developing innovations starting from prehistory to the present day.  Each innovation will build on the previous ones and will provide various abilities through the innovations played.  The winner is the one that completes certain achievements.  

I really enjoyed this game but I’m afraid this may not make its way to game night unless it is specifically asked for.  My reasoning for this is the game play itself.  This is a very dense and complicated game to learn and play.  Our first game was very slow and cumbersome.  I’m dreading teaching this one so i may put it off until i can slowly teach the others in the group to play before i bring it to the table.  I really enjoy the game otherwise.


legendary

Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

Marvel comics were one of my favorite things growing up.  The stories and characters hold a very special place in my heart.  This game brings that universe to the table and allows each player to recruit the characters they love in a deck building game like Dominion.  Each player will use their deck to defeat a mastermind villain that all players will be going after.  

legendary2

My love for Dominion and Marvel was tapped in this one.  The gameplay is very tense and difficult making a fun experience.  The amount of characters that come in just the base box is very immense so replay value is very high.  My concern with this one for any game group is the cards.  There are a lot of them and spills could result in a costly replacement.  I would suggest many sleeves as I did for my copy.  This will be coming to game night frequently as many players have already developed a fondness for it.


March 2017

march


 

March was yet another month of replaying the classics in the group.  I’ve decided moving forward that i will be bringing the same games two weeks in a row.  This I feel will help encourage repeat plays and help the members find the games that they truly love.  I will still be taking requests and rounding out the collection each week with those titles but the emphasis will be put on the games that were played the previous week.  

We also have had a bit of a location change up.  Our normal Wednesday and Sunday nights may flip flop in the future to better accommodate the needs of the group.  I feel that our new Sunday location is in the best interest of our group.  


Games Played

 

Game Qty
Blokus 2
Carcassonne 2
Champions of Midgard 2
Diamonds 2
Discoveries 2
Pandemic 2
Splendor 2
Above and Below 1
BANG! The Dice Game 1
Bohnanza 1
BOO 1
Break the Safe 1
Cat Tower 1
Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure 1
Codenames: Deep Undercover 1
Dice City 1
Eight-Minute Empire: Legends 1
Elysium 1
Flash Point: Fire Rescue 1
GYM 1
Imhotep 1
Kanagawa 1
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game 1
Machi Koro 1
Marvel Dice Masters 1
Monopoly Deal Card Game 1
New York 1901 1
Nippon 1
Oceanos 1
Potion Explosion 1
Red7 1
Scoville 1
Sentinels of the Multiverse 1
SPY 1
Takenoko 1
Tammany Hall 1
A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game 1

nippon

Nippon

Nippon has not seen the table at game night until this month.  This is despite the fact that I’ve owned Nippon for quite some time.  The complexity has really held it back unfortunately.  Often at game nights we have a large mixture of players that have a varied amount of experience.  I would definitely not spend anytime trying to explain this one to anyone without any heavier gaming experience.  It’s the reason I was apprehensive in the past but lately I’ve been slightly more less apprehensive to bring the titles that I want to play personally.  

In Nippon, players are Zaibatsu (Large Japanese Companies) trying to establish feudal Japan in the the modern era.  Players will be making and shipping various goods to Japan or other countries.  The game has an interesting action selection mechanism that I find rather unique.  Each different color worker is placed on a grid that is associated with a particular action.  Each separate color of worker taken will force the player to pay out more in payroll.  

I found that this game can take quite a bit of time to teach but that wasn’t anything I didn’t suspect.  The reward of playing far exceeds the hassle of teaching this one.  I love the brain burning feel that this one offers.  Every move is crucial which is only enhanced by the random placement of the workers on actions and other players moves.  This one will see the table more often as I’m excited to see how it holds up to future play.  


sentinels
Sentinels of the Multiverse

This game was introduced to me by gamers that are rather new to the group.  They don’t show up often but when they do I was welcome the opportunity to play with them.  Recently on a visit to their home we were able to play this game from their collection.  It hasn’t come to game night but I’m sure the opportunity would be welcome.  

Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative card game that has players taking on the roles of Super Heroes defending the world from a super-villain.   Each hero has their own distinct deck of cards that they will use exclusively.  Each deck of cards has a specific feel to it to match the superhero it belongs.  The supervillains also have a specialized deck of cards that they will use to try and destroy the heroes.  This deck is automated so no player has to play this part.  Play ends with the heroes triumphant or the villain defeats the heroes.   

I can’t tell you how often the game felt bleak.  This was especially the case at the beginning of the game.  The problems start soon and start piling up just as fast.  That soon diminishes as the game progresses and your card effects start to stack.  This has a great story element and also a tense atmosphere that builds a great experience.  


gum games
Boo, Gym, and Spy – Pack O Games 2

Gaming on the go has never been so easy with the Pack o Games.  Each game in the set are about the size of a pack of game hence the name.  This was something that I had backed on Kickstarter and received in March.  We haven’t had the opportunity to play all of the games yet but I’m sure they are soon to come.  I’m not going to cover each game in how they work but rather my thoughts on the games.

Boo was quick and simple.  I could almost equate it to Go as a concept.  The mechanics are easy to understand but I see the potential for it be a masterful game.  The theme does seem a bit silly but it works for what it is.  A great little two player game if you’re looking for a game to fill some time.  

Gym is a team game about picking a kids for a team.  This has a lot of tactical decisions to make with a slight amount of variability as the cards will be played differently.  I’m not quite sure on how i feel about the gameplay yet as it was played incorrectly.  I’ll hold on that but i will be playing this in the future and looking back.  

gym

Spy has been my favorite so far.  It is a deduction game that fills a bit of a gap in my collection.   This one also challenges me in a way that most games do not with memory.  Each card in your opponent’s hands will have to be remembered in order to knock them out.  The gameplay is fun and interactive with every player.  It has some potential for “King Making” so be mindful of that.  I had a lot of fun with this one and look forward to introducing this one to the others in the group.  


quarriors

Marvel Dice Masters

(Pictured above is not Dice Masters but is a similar game mechanically called Quarriors)

I had no intention of playing collectible card games in our game group.  I find they have a tendency to take over and become the group’s activity.  I do play them from time to time but find them to be a bit dangerous as they can become expensive and time consuming.  I enjoy the change from game to game.  That said I did start building a small collection of Dice Masters with a focus on the Marvel universe. A contradiction I know, but one that i can justify a bit in the way that I’m setting up the game.  I built a few decks to play so that everything you need to play is sitting at the table and ready to play.  There is no need for the gamers to build and bring their own dice and cards.  I’m hoping that people get excited enough to play and see what CCG’s have to offer but not to let it take over.  I’m not too worried but thought I would touch on this.  


 

clank

Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure

My most recent acquisition has been Clank.  Players will be diving into a dungeon in an attempt to steal an artifact from the depths and carrying it out before the dragon takes them down.  If that sounds intriguing then let me tell you about the gameplay a bit.

In this one you will be building a deck of cards that will allow you to plunge further into a dungeon and also steal loot and kill monsters.  The ongoing threat of the dragon looms over each player as the game progresses so speed is of the essence.  

The game itself is quite simple once the core elements are learned.  It is especially simple if the players are already familiar with deck building games but here is my initial hesitation with this game.  It is so much like Dominion in its mechanics of deckbuilding that the simplicity is working against itself.  This would be a great entry point for players that are new to the mechanic but a step backwards for players that love an existing game of this mechanic.  The theme is woven in quite nicely so this may carry it through.  So far the response has been positive from the members of the group that aren’t heavy gamers.  The heavy gamers on the other hand have had little to say about the game.  This will need a bit more plays to have a solid opinion on the matter.  


 

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