What Did You Play Mondays: December 16, 2019
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This week we played the following:
My wife and I played a quick game of Istanbul The Dice Game. This is a simple and fast version of Istanbul and it works really well. It's surprising how much you get the "feel" of Istanbul with a dice game and in much less playing time. Very clever.
We introduced some friends to my personal favourite game, Viticulture Essential Edition. This is a worker placement game about making wine. I love the different ways that you can score points and the different combinations of cards that you can use to help you do that. Our friends liked it but said they kept thinking of it that night and wanted to play it again and try some different strategies. I think that means it was a hit.
Trapwords is a guess-the-word game for two teams. Thematically you are travelling through a dungeon, making your way to the big bad monster at the end and trying to defeat him but that's really not a big part of the game. The fun of this game is trying to give clues to your team-mates while trying not to say the secret "trapwords" that you opponents have predicted you might say.
Mental Blocks is a real-time, puzzle, cooperative game about everyone having just one "piece" of the puzzle and working together to try to recreate the shape that everyone sees (from a different perspective) in the middle of the table. There are surprisingly few pieces to work with and 9-minutes seems like a really long time, however working together is key in this game because time will fly by and figuring out how everything fits together is much harder than it looks. This is the perfect game to take to your next corporate retreat and probably should be used in most corporate training. A lesson in teamwork.
Vegas Wits and Wagers is a huge expansion game mat for Wits and Wagers that adds some new rules to an already awesome game. Wits and Wagers is a trivia game that is more about knowing your opponents than knowing the right anwser. You can certainly try to have the right answer to each question on your turn but it will be more profitable if you can predict who is more likely to have the correct answer and bet on them. A great party game made even greater with this giant-size expansion!
Nessos is a bluffing card game about passing cards to eliminate your opponents and collect points for yourself. Nessos was just okay. I think there are far better games that do a similar thing.
I've played PIX once before and loved it. It's been on my Wishlist for a while now. It's a "drawing" game where players are drawing using only 20 black magnetic squares (pixels) and 1 red square. The idea is you are drawing words like "watch" using 8-bit artwork on your personal board, trying to get your opponents to guess what your word is. It's a great game but really hard.
Last week was so busy (with holiday orders) that I didn't have time to list my #WhatDidYouPlayMondays games so here is what I played the previous week as well:
The Reckoners is the most overly-produced game I've ever seen. The components in this game are so slick and impressive it's almost an assault when you first sit down to play it. Custom plastic trays, plastic trays for every character and villain in the game. Huge clear custom dice, trays to hold dice, a tray for the market, 3D barricades and plastic tokens. All the bells and all the whistles. Having said all that, it is actually a very good, simple cooperative game! If the story or theme appeal to you, then this game is probably something to cherish and love. I am not sure that I will ever shell out the cash for this game but I will play it again anytime and it really made me want to read the book. Reminded me a bit of Powers and The Boys.
Tussie Mussie is the other game from Elizabeth Hargrave, the designer of the hit Wingspan. This tiny little micro card game provides a big impact and lots of fun. If you liek the I-Split-You-Choose mechanism you'll love this one. On your turn, draw two cards and offer one face-up and one face-down to your opponent. That player will keep one and you get the other. A simple set collection game that works brilliantly.
I taught some friends Broom Service (another favourite of mine!) and it was an unmitigated disaster! They really didn't like the chaotic nature of this game. Pre-planning your moves, having someone else mess up those plans and not being able to do much on your turn was too much chaos and disappointment for everyone involved. I offered to quit the game early but they voted to keep playing until the end but they didn't really enjoy the game. I still love the this game and the need to pre-plan and backup-plan your moves but I know it's not for everyone.
Thankfully my friends LOVED The Quacks of Quedlinburg so game day wasn't a total bust for them. In this game you are stirring potions of different ingredients trying to build your bag with bigger and better ingredients for future turns, score points and push your luck just far enough that you don't blow up your elixir. This is another brilliant game from the mind of Wolfgang Warsch who continues to impress and hit it out of the park. This game fully deserved the Kennerspiel des Jahres award it won.
Mini Rails is a simple and elegant train game about buying stock in trains companies and building track for train companies. Mini Rails is a full, deep game experience in about 20 minutes.
Fantasy Realms is a clever card drafting/set collection game that is really not for me. Draw a card and then discard a card. That's it - that's all you do. The strategy and meat of the game is how the different cards work together and what you decide to keep in your hand at the end of the game for points. Scoring is kind of insane at the end of the game as cards will work together, modify eachother and will often total in the several hundreds. I admire the game design but this isn't one that I'm keen to play again.
Played Ticket to Ride New York for the first time at TABScon and really liked it. A shorter version of the classic game on a much smaller board making for a more cut-throat experience.
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