Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Reducing the Pile of shame: a very late May update.

Life got turned upside for us over the last two months and due to that, I'm behind on most things, including my #ReducingThePile quest.

This is my first step on trying to get caught up. Here you will find a list and short review of all of the new to me games I got played in May.

You can find my previous #ReducingThePile posts by clicking on the hashtag.
In May I only got 12 game plays in and of those only 5 were new games to me so this will be a shorter post this time.

CVlizations - 2 plays - I really dig CV so I was very excited when I heard a civilization building version was coming out. The problem is that this game has nothing in common with CV besides the name and the art style. This is a card drafting game unlike the yahtzee based dice system in CV.

It's quick to teach and pretty easy to learn. We must have enjoyed it well enough since we played two games in a row.  It's not a bad game, just wasn't what I expected when I saw the CV name.

Quests of Valeria - 1 play - I love Valeria Card Kingdoms. I picked that up at Origins 2016 and have played it many times since (including about 10 plays at the con itself). At this point, I was so impressed that I would try anything else from Daily Magic. Unlike CVlizations Quests of Valeria did not disappoint. Now I wasn't expecting this to be similar to Card Kingdoms but it does feel a bit like it. You are hiring adventurers and putting them in a tableau, but then you spend them from that tableau to complete quests. What this game is actually most similar to is Lords of Waterdeep. It's pretty much Lords of Waterdeep the card game without the WotC license.  Quests of Valeria is well worth checking out. It's quite fun.

Lucha Jefe - 3 plays - I received this microgame during the TabletopDay celebrations at Brimstone Games. This is yet another Love Letter knock off. What's different about this from most is that I actually liked it. I'm not a big Love Letter fan but this was actually kind of fun. It's got a Luchador wrestling theme which is cool. Added to that you are selecting two cards to keep for the end of the game. Your main event wrestler and your back up. Unlike Love Letter where the highest card wins there's a lot more variety here. Overall though it's still a silly Love Letter like microgame. I don't think this will see a lot of play here, but if you dig Love Letter and its isotopes I suggest checking out Lucha Jefe.

Automobiles - 1 play - I dig Trains. I even like Planes. I've also heard that Automobiles may be the best of what's being called The Transportation Trilogy from AEG. I'm inclined to agree. Automobiles is a bag builder. When I first set up the game and started teaching it I was wondering why not just use cards, once we started to play I totally got it. This is an excellent racing game that doesn't take hours to play (as most good racing games seem to). It's just like a deck builder, where you all start with the same basic 'deck' and use those 'cards' to buy better 'cards.' The difference is that you have coloured cubes and these represent cards. The gear cards are used to move around the board, all the others do cool interesting stuff and represent gear, pit crews, and tech upgrades. If you dig deck builders or are into racing at all check out Automobiles.

Robo Rally (2016 edition) - 2 plays - The original Wizards of the Coast RoboRally from Richard Garfield is one of my all time favourite games of all time. I love that game so much. I still have my original edition and most of the expansions and break it out now and then. I tried out the Avalon Hill re-release that was made in 2005 and wasn't impressed. I didn't even bother buying it. I was happy with my original. When I heard that the rules had been improved in this new 2016 edition and I had to have it. 

Everything I've read about this game is true. The rules truly are the best they have ever been. Players now have individual programming decks instead of sharing a pile. The initiative rules have been improved and simplified and are no longer based on what action you are taking. Damage is done in a style like a deck builder adding spam and virus cards to our deck. Virtual robots are gone. There is one problem though: the components are horrible. Really really bad. The player boards are little more than paper. The cards are the thinnest cards I've ever held. The robots feel like cheap hollow plastic toys. It's bad. Which is really a shame as this really is the best edition of Robo Rally yet as far as fun and the rules are concerned.  On a positive note, it's cheap. 


So that's it for me for May and new games. Not a lot got done towards #ReducingThePile but I did get to play 5 new games three of which I really enjoyed. 

What did you get played two months ago? 

Friday, 30 June 2017

July Brimstone Board Game Nights - Featuring Not Alone

Hey Windsor area gamers, come out to Brimstone Board Game Night! Meet other gamers, play some great games and maybe even win a game to bring home.

Brimstone Board Game Nights hit on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. These events run from 5pm to 10pm and are open to all ages.

Every event will feature at least one game. There will be demo copies of the game available and someone on hand willing to teach the game so you can try before you buy.

You can win games just by coming out to play. At every Brimstone Board Game Night, you earn tickets that give you a chance to win free games. Every event we will be giving away a copy of the featured game and some events will feature even more. 

Players earn 1 ticket for playing games, 1 ticket for purchasing a snack or drink, and 1 ticket for bringing 1 or more board games for people to play. Earn 5 more tickets for each game you purchase. First-time players will receive 5 additional tickets.

You can find Brimstone at 1421 Tecumseh Rd. E. There is parking in back and there is a municipal lot across the street that is free after 6pm.

Note: due to Canada Day there will only be one event in July.

July 15th - Not Alone

It is the 25th century. You are a member of an intergalactic expedition shipwrecked on a mysterious planet named Artemia. While waiting for the rescue ship, you begin to explore the planet but an alien entity picks up your scent and begins to hunt you. You are NOT ALONE! Will you survive the dangers of Artemia?

NOT ALONE is an asymmetrical card game, in which one player (the Creature) plays against the stranded explorers (the Hunted).

If you play as one of the Hunted, you will explore Artemia using Place cards. By playing these and Survival cards, you try to avoid, confuse or distract the Creature until help arrives.

If you play as the Creature, you will stalk and pursue the shipwrecked survivors. By playing your Hunt cards and using the mysterious powers of Artemia, you try to wear down the Hunted and assimilate them to the planet forever.

NOT ALONE is an immersive, thematic card game, where you use guessing, bluffing, hand management, and just a pinch of deck-building to achieve your goal, which is survival for the Hunted... or total assimilation for the Creature!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

June 10th - Get Bit at the CG Realm

The second Saturday of every month is board game night at The CG Realm!

Free open gaming from 5 pm until 10 pm. All ages welcome. No experience necessary. Curious about the growing popularity of board games? Come on out! A veteran gamer since the days of the Avalon Hill bookcase games. Come on out!

Every event will have a theme or a featured game. There will be people on hand willing to teach the featured game. This is an open gaming event though and there's no need to stick to the game/theme of the night. The store has a large selection of demo games and many local gamers bring games from home they are excited to teach and play. 

The CGRealm is located at 1311 Tecumseh road east. Right on the corner of Hall and Tecumseh. At the site of the old Party Warehouse. Diagonally across from Family Video. Parking available on the street (free after 6 pm) and in the back.

Featured game: Get Bit
"You don't have to be faster than the shark, just faster than your friends!"

Get Bit! is a card game where players are competing to stay alive as the others are being eaten by the shark.

The order of the swimmers is determined by simultaneously playing cards face-down then revealing the values. The number on each player's card determines position in line (higher numbers in front, lower numbers in back), however ties don't move. The swimmer at the back loses a limb to the shark and is flung to the front of the line! The process is repeated until only two swimmers remain on the table. When this happens, the swimmer at the front of the line wins the game!

AWARDS & HONORS

2013 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Nominee
2011 Origins Awards Best Family, Party or Children’s Game Winner
2011 Origins Awards Best Family, Party or Children’s Game Nominee



While at The CGRealm check out The Windsor Sandwich Shop. They provide quality sandwiches, soups, salads, coffees, chips, smoothies, desserts and more! All available in a fun gaming environment!

Check out their menu: http://www.windsorsandwichshop.com/menu.html

Personally, I recommend the potato bacon soup when they have it and the oreo cheesecake.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Brimstone Board Game Nights for June 2017

Hey Windsor area gamers, come out to Brimstone Board Game Night! Meet other gamers, play some great games and maybe even win a game to bring home.

Brimstone Board Game Nights hit on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. These events run from 5pm to 10pm and are open to all ages.

Every event will feature at least one game. There will be demo copies of the game available and someone on hand willing to teach the game so you can try before you buy.

You can win games just by coming out to play. At every Brimstone Board Game Night, you earn tickets that give you a chance to win free games. Every event we will be giving away a copy of the featured game and some events will feature even more. 

Players earn 1 ticket for playing games, 1 ticket for purchasing a snack or drink, and 1 ticket for bringing 1 or more board games for people to play. Earn 5 more tickets for each game you purchase. First-time players will receive 5 additional tickets.

You can find Brimstone at 1421 Tecumseh Rd. E. There is parking in back and there is a municipal lot across the street that is free after 6pm.

June May 3rd - Honshu

Honshu is a trick-taking, map-building card game set in feudal Japan. Players are lords and ladies of noble houses seeking new lands and opportunities for fame and fortune.

One game of Honshu lasts twelve rounds, and each round is divided into two phases. First, map cards are played in a trick, and the player who played the highest valued card gets to pick first from those cards played. Then the players use the map cards picked to expand their personal maps. Each player must expand their personal maps to maximize their scoring possibilities.

Manipulating your position in the player order is crucial for mastering Honshu.

June 17th - Plague Inc


Plague Inc: The Board Game is a strategic game of infection, evolution and extinction for 1-5* people - based on the smash-hit digital game with over 85 million players. Can you infect the world?

Each player is a deadly disease and they must battle against each other to spread their plagues, develop new symptoms and ultimately wipe out humanity.

Starting with Patient Zero, you spread your infection across the world by placing tokens in cities - earning DNA points and preventing other players from becoming dominant. Players choose which countries are placed on the board but you must be both climate resistant and connected to a country before you can infect it. Eventually, as countries become fully infected - you try to kill them using the Death Dice.

Each player’s unique pathogen can be upgraded by evolving trait cards onto an evolution slide (with DNA points). At the start, your disease is weak and unspecialised, so you will need to add new symptoms to make it stronger. Choose carefully and plan ahead in order to react to the changing world and exploit opportunities created by other player’s actions.

A simple nosebleed could accelerate things early on, whilst diarrhea will help you thrive in hot countries. Sneezing can infect new continents by air but Total Organ Failure would allow you wipe out multiple countries each turn.

As countries start to fall, use powerful event cards to alter the balance of power. You might try to eradicate a dominant player by bombing their diseased cities, or hold the Olympics to cause huge numbers of infected people to travel to a healthy continent.

When the world collapses, who will be the ultimate plague?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

May 13th. The CG Realm May Game Night - Featuring Plague Inc

The second Saturday of every month is board game night at The CG Realm!

Free open gaming from 5 pm until 10 pm. All ages welcome. No experience necessary. Curious about the growing popularity of board games? Come on out! A veteran gamer since the days of the Avalon Hill bookcase games. Come on out!

Every event will have a theme or a featured game. There will be people on hand willing to teach the featured game. This is an open gaming event though and there's no need to stick to the game/theme of the night. The store has a large selection of demo games and many local gamers bring games from home they are excited to teach and play. 

The CGRealm is located at 1311 Tecumseh road east. Right on the corner of Hall and Tecumseh. At the site of the old Party Warehouse. Diagonally across from Family Video. Parking available on the street (free after 6 pm) and in the back.

Featured game: Plague Inc.

Plague Inc: The Board Game is a strategic game of infection, evolution and extinction for 1-5* people - based on the smash-hit digital game with over 85 million players. Can you infect the world?

Each player is a deadly disease and they must battle against each other to spread their plagues, develop new symptoms and ultimately wipe out humanity.

Starting with Patient Zero, you spread your infection across the world by placing tokens in cities - earning DNA points and preventing other players from becoming dominant. Players choose which countries are placed on the board but you must be both climate resistant and connected to a country before you can infect it. Eventually, as countries become fully infected - you try to kill them using the Death Dice.

Each player’s unique pathogen can be upgraded by evolving trait cards onto an evolution slide (with DNA points). At the start, your disease is weak and unspecialised, so you will need to add new symptoms to make it stronger. Choose carefully and plan ahead in order to react to the changing world and exploit opportunities created by other player’s actions.

A simple nosebleed could accelerate things early on, whilst diarrhea will help you thrive in hot countries. Sneezing can infect new continents by air but Total Organ Failure would allow you wipe out multiple countries each turn.

As countries start to fall, use powerful event cards to alter the balance of power. You might try to eradicate a dominant player by bombing their diseased cities, or hold the Olympics to cause huge numbers of infected people to travel to a healthy continent.

When the world collapses, who will be the ultimate plague?




While at The CGRealm check out The Windsor Sandwich Shop. They provide quality sandwiches, soups, salads, coffees, chips, smoothies, desserts and more! All available in a fun gaming environment!

Check out their menu: http://www.windsorsandwichshop.com/menu.html

Personally, I recommend the potato bacon soup when they have it and the oreo cheesecake.


Sunday, 7 May 2017

Reducing The Pile of Shame Update - April

A look at what games came out of my Pile of Shame and got to the table in April. 

This is the latest in a series of #ReducingThePile, here are links to the rest of the series so far:
#ReducingThePile Update - March
New year, new games. Further reducing the Pile(s) of Shame

April was a good month for gaming. 37 plays in of 19 different games. Here's a look at the ones that were completely new to me with a short review of each: 

Mighty Monsters - 2 plays - This one was dirt cheap on Amazon along with a bunch of other Queen games so I figured I would give it a shot. It's not bad for what I paid for it and it's simple enough I think my girls might enjoy it. Each player plays an army of monsters attacking the castle. Each round you play monsters onto the board to take part in one of the battles. At most two players can play in each battle. You don't know how hard the fight will be when you play. After everyone has two monsters up you resolve the battles from the gates to the throne room. If the combined strength of both monsters beats the defender then the owners of those monsters split the treasure. If the monsters lose though the entire siege fails and the turn ends and players have to pay to heal all monsters that are in battles that haven't resolved yet. Push your luck, co-op yet competitive reverse tower defence.

San Francisco Cable Car - 1 play - Another Queen game that was at a silly low price. This one is like an improved Tsuro. Actually, I don't see why I would ever play Tsuro again owning this. The basic mode is pretty simple with players trying to create the longest routes for all the cars in their colour. The game really shines with the advanced rules which add a Train Game style stock mechanism to the game. With these rules no players own any particular colour of cable car, instead, they buy stocks in the various colours and try to make sure the best routes are made for the colour they have invested the most in.

Raise Your Goblets - 1 play - The concept behind this game sounded awesome. It's basically the poisoned wine goblet scene in The Princess Bride but with more players. Every player has a goblet in front of them, each round they get two actions. These include adding something to the goblets, rotating them clockwise or counterclockwise, swapping your goblet with someone else's or peaking in your goblet. When you add to a goblet you have to decide if you add poison or an antidote. Once enough rounds have passed a player can call for cheer instead of taking their action. At this point everyone "drinks" by seeing what's in the goblet in front of them. More poison tokens then attitude you are dead. Each round players are randomly given another player colour as a target. You get points for staying alive, and if your target dies. Play three rounds and see who has the most points. To make thing interesting each player is assigned a role at the beginning that gives them asymmetric powers. This was good, but a bit fiddly. Three rounds we had to start over because someone spilt a goblet. Plus it's hard to add things to the goblets without someone seeing what you are adding. I love the concept but it just doesn't play out as smooth as it should. I'm thinking of investing in a lazy susan just for this game.

Junk Art - 4 plays - This has become my favourite dexterity game. The first time I played I thought it was great. The second time it was even better. The fourth time with a completely different group of people had this one cinch my top spot for dexterity game. What I love is that it's like 20 games in one box. Each game you draw three world cards. These determine what cities you will visit and each city has it's own unique way to play the game. In one city you may be building the tallest tower, in the next city, you may be getting points for having a structure build only in one colour. The next city it could be a real time build with the first person to build a tower with 10 parts winning. Each of these games is the equivalent of one standard dexterity game like Bandu. Added to that the components are top notch and are really get shapes that sometimes fit together in very interesting ways. Love Junk Art. This is a must buy if you dig this style of game.

Paris Connection - 4 plays - Did I mention there was a big sale on Queen Games. This one so far is the best of the lot. This game is fantastic. It's a heavy economic game that can be played in about half an hour. It takes the route building and stock trading elements of an 18xx game and manages to give you that feeling in about half an hour. This still blows me away. There are 6 train companies. Players start with a random selection of trains (drawn out of a bag) based on the number of players. Each train represents one stock in that company. Each turn you have two choices: either take 1-5 trains from a company and play them on the board or trade in one of your trains (behind a screen) for two trains of a different colour. Each company only has so many trains (they all have the same amount). When playing on the board you use the trains to represent routes. Every city a route touches is worth points for that company/colour. Once only one company has stocks left the game ends. Players reveal what trains/stocks they have behind their screens, then multiple the number of each to the score that colour hit during the game. The player with the most points wins. It's so simple, so easy to teach but totally scratched that stock trading economic itch.

Colony - 1 play - One of the people playing this with me called it Yahtzee meets Dominion and I don't think they are wrong. It also has a bit of Favor of the Pharaoh in it. It's a resource management engine building game where you use a lot of dice to represent your resources. Thematically the number on the die tells you what resource it represents but really you just collect sets of numbers to buy cards and add them to your tableau which either gives you more dice or lets you modify your dice so you can get the number you need to buy more cards so that you... I'm sure you get it. Each card you buy is worth points and every card can be upgraded (which requires that you roll a straight) which causes them to be worth more points and generally makes the card more effective. It's a race to a point total that varies depending on the number of players. Like Dominion, the most expensive cards are cards that do nothing but give you points. Also like Dominion, this game comes with a tonne of cards and you only play with a subset of them each game. Colony was good but not great. I was expecting more from it.

Dr. Eureka - 4 plays - this one technically comes from my kid's pile of shame, but it was my first time playing so I'm including it here. This is a really fun dexterity game that's fun for all ages. Players start with three test tubes in front of them. In each are two balls of the same colour (so three colours one in each tube). Each round a card is flipped up that shows three test tubes with the balls in a certain orientation. It's then a race for each player to try to match the pattern on the card. The player who matches it first yells out Eureka! and, assuming they were correct, they take the card. The first player to collect 5 cards wins. There's one neat rule where test tubes can be placed on the table upside down that really adds a new level to this game.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Heroclix: Mouser Mayhem Starter Set - 3 plays - Winner for the longest title ever. I've been trying to get into Heroclix with my oldest daughter for a few years now. The problem is that the game has grown so much since launch that it's a huge learning curve to jump into the game now. This starter set helps with that significantly. This set includes a simple introductory version of the full Heroclix rules. Added to that it has three co-op scenarios for playing with up to four friends (actually you can even play 5 where it becomes a one vs many game). To keep things simple the game uses tokens for the bad guys so there's nothing to click there. Also, the heroes (The Turtles) have rather simple combat dials compared to many of the modern clix we already own. They only have two different sets of stats and they each only have two different sets of powers on each dial. This makes learning the powers much easier than the standard game. Full Heroclix rules are also included for those wanting to go beyond the box. Personally, right now my daughter and I are having fun just playing with the contents of this box. Lastly, this set includes the most beautifully painted Heroclix I've ever seen.

Dogs Of War - 1 play - this one is going to be hard to describe. Players are mercenaries in the middle of a Game of Thrones like a medieval power struggle. 6 different noble houses are going to war and the players need to decide who to support each year. In each of the four rounds of the game players use their money to buy soldiers, then use their generals to assign these soldiers to battle. When assigning these players need to decide which of the noble houses to support. Each round there are three fights happening and the houses involved in each is randomised every time. After all the players are out of generals to play the battles are resolved. Players get points for being on the winning side and each house gets points. At the end of the game players, multiple the amount of influence they have with each house by the number of points the house gained during the game. In that way, it plays like many train based economic games. Really this one needs more space to explain. It's a very neat game and there's a lot more to it than I indicated here. This one's heavier than it looks and very AP prone. I dig it and look forward to playing again.


Adrenaline - 3 plays - Normally a first person shooter board game wouldn't interest me but the reviews for Adrenaline have been very positive so I decided to pick it up. What was even cooler is that the copy I got from Brimstone Games even included the Chainsaw promo card. This is a very quick very well done simulation of a first person shooter in board game form. I don't think anyone can realise just how well this works until they play the game. There's something magical about the way things work together in this game. How cool the weapons are as well as how different each plays. How simple the line of sight rules are. How they figured out how to punish people for picking on one player. Everything in this game is just brilliant. I'm loving it.

New York Slice - 1 play - I have a feeling this one is going to see a lot of play around here. It's a pizza based retheme Piece O' Cake. Each round the active player builds an 11 slice pizza. They then divide that pizza into a number of servings equal to the number of players. Then each player, in turn, picks a serving which they take and place in front of them. The person who divided up the pizza picks last. This is the very seldom used: I split, you choose mechanism. Players are trying to collect sets of pizza slices with the same toppings. At the end of the game, only the players who have the most of a set get points and they get points equal to the total number of slices there are with those toppings. To keep things interesting there are special order cards that can be collected and there are special rules for pepperoni and sardine toppings. This one is light, easy to teach, fun and still pretty tactical.  dig it.

Tales & Games: The Hare & The Tortoise - 3 plays - I brought my youngest daughter with me to the FLGS to celebrate Tabletop Day this year and this was one of many games we played together. This is a very solid kids game that is just as enjoyable for adults. The game includes basic rules for playing with kids and advanced rules for people looking for more of a game. I suggest just diving in with the advanced rules. My 7-year-old had no problem figuring them out. At the start of the game, players are randomly assigned one of the animals they want to win the race. They also pick one card from their hand to place a second 'bet' on who's going to win (yes this can be the same animal). Then players play cards from their hand trying to make it so that their animal crosses the finish line fastest. The neat bit here is that each animal moves a different way. The turtle is slow and steady, the rabbit is fast but will take a break if in first, the lamb is even faster but stops at rivers to drink, the wolf can howl causing the other animals to stop for one turn and the fox is the most balanced moving almost every round. All this movement is based on card play from the players.

So there we go, 12 new to me games played in April. How many new games have you gotten to the table?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Brimstone Board Game Nights - May - Kharnage and Castle Panic

Hey Windsor area gamers, come out to Brimstone Board Game Night! Meet other gamers, play some great games and maybe even win a game to bring home.

Brimstone Board Game Nights hit on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. These events run from 5pm to 10pm and are open to all ages.

Every event will feature at least one game. There will be demo copies of the game available and someone on hand willing to teach the game so you can try before you buy.

You can win games just by coming out to play. At every Brimstone Board Game Night, you earn tickets that give you a chance to win free games. Every event we will be giving away a copy of the featured game and some events will feature even more. 

Players earn 1 ticket for playing games, 1 ticket for purchasing a snack or drink, and 1 ticket for bringing 1 or more board games for people to play. Earn 5 more tickets for each game you purchase. First-time players will receive 5 additional tickets.

You can find Brimstone at 1421 Tecumseh Rd. E. There is parking in back and there is a municipal lot across the street that is free after 6pm.

May 6th - Kharnage

Kharnage is a fast and fun fighting game in which you are the warchief of the mighty humans, the strong (and alcoholic) dwarves, the amazing horde of goblins, or the ferocious orcs (and their giant!). Your goal in Kharnage is to take control of something strategically essential, astoundingly beautiful, and envy of all other nations: a hill. Yes, just a hill. Admittedly, it is a nice hill. It may have a very commanding view of the surroundings, or it may not. You won't know until you get up there! To do so, you're going to have to drive off the armies of the other players by simply causing as much mayhem and bloodshed as possible.

Each turn, you choose one battle card. The player with the lowest initiative value begins and: Deploys new units and applies skills if needed, or Attacks (shoot or assault) one opponent with all points, or two opponents by dividing their points.

The next player then begins their turn, doing the same. After all players have taken their turn, the player who destroyed the largest number of units wins 5 domination points, the second 3 domination points, and the third 1 domination point. The last one has only their eyes for crying.

Each time a player totally destroys an opponent army, they must yell "KHARNAGE!", loud and clear, and stomp the table. They then take a Kharnage token worth 1 domination point. The other players must cheer them on by yelling "YEAH!"; if not, they lose a Kharnage token if they have one.

After four rounds, the warchief with the most domination points wins!

May 20th - Castle Panic


The forest is filled with all sorts of monsters. They watched and waited as you built your castle and trained your soldiers, but now they've gathered their army and are marching out of the woods. Can you work with your friends to defend your castle against the horde, or will the monsters tear down your walls and destroy the precious castle towers? You will all win or lose together, but in the end only one player will be declared the Master Slayer!


Castle Panic is a cooperative, light strategy game for 1 to 6 players ages 10 and up. Players must work together to defend their castle, in the center of the board, from monsters that attack out of the forest at the edges of the board. Players trade cards, hit and slay monsters, and plan strategies together to keep their castle towers intact. The players either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. Players must balance the survival of the group with their own desire to win.

AWARDS & HONORS

2010 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Nominee
2010 Golden Geek Best Children's Board Game Nominee

Sunday, 2 April 2017

#ReducingThePile Update - March

It's time to look at how well I reduced my pile of shame in March. My goal is to have played every game that was in my pile of shame at the start of the year by the end of 2017. 

This is the latest in a series of #ReducingThePile, here are links to the rest of the series so far:
March was a much slower month for gaming for me. I only got 17 games in total. 6 of those were new to me. The first is a kids' game and technically never hit my pile of shame as it was a birthday gift for Little G but it was a new game to me so I included it in this list.



Bugs In The Kitchen - 3 plays - This is a pretty cool game from Ravensburger that uses Hex Bugs toys as part of the game. My girls love Hex Bugs and will spend hours or even days making setups with their tracks. This game takes one of the neat little robots and tosses it down in the middle of a big plastic board. There are walls on this board made up of utensils and each of these walls can be rotated 90 degrees. In turn, players roll a die to see what type of utensil they can rotate and then do so, trying to get the bug to end up in their scoring area. It's a bit of a dexterity game with a speed and real-time element that seems great for teaching kids about planning ahead. The entire family really enjoyed this one.


Red 7 - 3 plays - Heard good things about this one when it came out but never picked it up until just this past month. What a fantastic game. The rules took a bit to sink in (they aren't hard just very different from most other card games) but once they did we found a great game. There's so much going on here. I would go so far as to call this one a brain burner. If it wasn't for the length I would call it a heavy game. The thing is, that it's a filler. A full round only takes maybe 10 minutes.

The rules are simple. Each turn you play one or two cards, at the end of the round, you must be winning the game. Cards can be played in your tableau or to replace the current rule. That's it. There are advanced rules for scoring that I think really make the game. Once those are added the brain burn sets in. I think everyone needs to give this one a try. I don't think many would be disappointed.

Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh - 1 play - I've played Istanbul many times. It's a great game. This was my first time trying the first expansion Mocha & Baksheesh.

More board pieces, more options, and some improvement on old options. I couldn't find anything not to like about the expansion. I really like the addition of quite a few ways to move around the board more quickly. The addition of the barricade which mitigates some of this new movement. The larger board size I also found opened things up a bit, it wasn't quite as cutthroat which I liked. Let's put it this way: I put the expansion into my main box and don't expect to ever play without it.


Lotus - 2 plays - I think I would have liked Lotus a lot more if I didn't play it for the first time the same night I played Red 7 for the first time. I loved Red 7 and Lotus just didn't measure up. Now that's not to say Lotus is bad. Actually far from it. There's a rather good game here. Added to that it's beautiful. It's just much lighter and wasn't as engaging as Red 7. I can see breaking out each for different groups.

In Lotus, players are trying to complete sets of cards represented as flower petals. It's really amazing looking. The player that completes a set (full flower) get's the cards. Each card is worth one point each. In addition, there's an area control element and when a flower scores, the player with the most control gets a bonus.

Homeland: The Game - 1 play - This one has been on super deep discount, both at the FLGS and online. People tend to be scared of licensed games and usually for good reasons. Plus at least here in Canada, the theme isn't quite so close to home as it would be for the U.S.

What got me to buy this was the number of people telling me that it hits a sweet spot between Battlestar Galactica and Dark Moon as far as team based hidden role games go. That had me very curious. For under $20 I figured I would check it out.

Homeland was fun. I love the fact there are three factions in play here. The Political Opportunist role is brilliant, they want some terrorist attacks to go through but not all of them, they are generally a 'good guy' but with an agenda. The way the cards stack is cool. The mechanics are very similar to the 'skill check' system in BSG. I enjoyed it but I think I need to play it a few more times to really solidify my opinion. After one play I'm still on the fence.

Star Trek Panic - 2 plays - First off I am not a fan of Castle Panic. To be honest I don't even remember why. I played it at a WGR event and just didn't have a good time. I think it may have been an Alpha Gamer issue. Then I saw Star Trek Panic announced and saw it at Origins. This seemed like a great way to give the Panic games another shot. 

What a great looking game. Star Trek Panic has one of the coolest play pieces ever. The big chunky cardboard Enterprise is cool but gets even cooler looking as it takes damage. The intro game of this was fantastic. Players were talking in character, we were making all kinds of Trek Quotes. We took some damage but easily beat the missions. Total thumbs up!

Then we played a full 5 mission game. It was a ton of fun for the first hour. But then we did badly on a mission and never recovered. The next hour was just us barely staying alive, failing mission after mission until we blew up. That was not so much fun. Barely hanging on was cool for the first hour but once we got to that second hour, we seriously considered just quitting.

So it looks like this game overstays it's welcome. I do wonder if we were doing better if that time would have gone by quicker and not just turned to frustration. I do want to play again to see if that second game was a fluke. If not I strongly suggest running this like a demo game, just do two missions have fun and move on to something else.

So that's it for me for March. How did you do #ReducingThePile

Thursday, 9 March 2017

What got played by the end of February #ReducingThePile

It's time for another #ReducingThePile update. This is a look at the games I played for the first time between February 15th to the end of the month. One of my goals this year is to get all of the games in my pile(s) of shame played. 

To see how I've been doing so far check out my previous posts:

Checking my stats on Boardgamegeek.com I see I played 52 games in February. not bad, not bad at all. Of course 15 of these plays were kids games and very quick, but hey, they are still game plays.

I didn't get a lot of new (to me) games played since the last update on February 15th but here's a look at what did.

Last Mouse Lost - 10 plays - okay technically I don't even own this game. My wife had to do some banking and the kids and I went to a nearby toy store to kill some time and this was in their demo area. My kids loved it. We will be getting this game at some point, the kids didn't have their allowance on them at the time or we would have bought it right then.

This is a ridiculously simple game, but somehow, actually fun. Each turn you 'pop' any number of mice in one row. By pop I mean push them so they pop out the other side. The person that pops the last mouse loses. That's it. When the game is done you flip it over and you can play again.  It's surprisingly more tactical than you would expect and quite fun for something so simple. The game is that rubber circle thing you see in the picture, that's it. You can bring it anywhere. The box even suggests using it as a coaster. If I owned a bar, I would have these at all the tables.

SeaFall - 2 plays - This is a big one. A huge one. The big Legacy game. I would be surprised if you haven't heard about this game. Designed by the inventor of Legacy games Rob Daviau, SeaFall was very hotly anticipated and much delayed. Then it came out and reviews were very mixed, and I can see why.

We've only played through the prologue and game one. The entire campaign will last approximately 15 games and it's meant to be played with the same players each time. This is why this game was on my pile of shame for so long. As of now, I've got a group committed to playing through these games on Friday evenings when we can. I have a feeling it will take some time to finish but I do expect to finish it.

This is not a light game. This is a heavy pick up and deliver euro with some very interesting adventure mechanics. Those mechanics are similar to Tales of the Arabian Knights or Above and Below and even have you reading through a which-way book. The Legacy aspect starts right away in the Prologue which has a very shocking twist at the end of it.

If you are interested in learning more about the game check for my posts on google plus using hashtag #SeaFall

Logic Labyrinth - 5 plays - This one I picked up as a gift for my youngest's birthday and we played 5 times at her birthday party. It came strongly recommended by The Dice Tower and for good reason. This is a tile laying game that looks a bit like Carcassonne. All that maters here though is making the roads match up.

The game is a pattern recognition game. You roll a die, everyone takes that many tiles and then they all, simultaneously, try to get all their tiles to match up. The first player to match up all their tiles gets the most points. If you can't possibly line up your tiles you can discard and draw, but that takes time. In addition there is a genie on the die, when he's rolled you draw a card from the genie deck. This deck shows a set number of tiles in a specific pattern. All players draw that many tiles and again have to line all their tiles up, the difference here is that they have to match the pattern on the genie card.

I found this game to be the perfect next step from Kids of Carcassonne. The now 7 year old, loves it and even her 9 year old sister enjoys it.

Stronghold 2nd Edition - 1 play - Finally! This one has been in my pile of shame far too long. Technically my wife and I did get it to the table once a couple years ago but only got through 1 of 7 turns before we had to call the game and we needed the gaming table so couldn't leave it set up.

That's my one lesson about this game: most 2 player games are quick, this is not. Give yourself at least 3 hours for the first play and potentially that long every time due to AP (analysis paralysis). There is a lot to think about in this game.

Stronghold has to be the most asymmetric game out there. The two sides in this battle are completely different. Heck they don't even get to follow a normal turn order of one player going then the other player going. The attacker has a set of actions, of which they only need to do two. For each one they do the defender gets time tokens. After any action the defender must spend those time tokens to prepare their defense. It's all very thematic. The attacker does things like build siege engines, train troops, cast spells and move their armies of Goblins, Orcs and Trolls, while the defender is busy building walls, cauldrons, cannons, preying to the gods, using heroes and a whole lot more.

There's a lot going on here and expect your first few rounds to be very slow. Stronghold is worth the fairly steep learning curve. This is one of the best 2 player only games I've played. I love the theme and it really comes out in the mechanics. Plus it's beautiful. I strongly recommend this one.


So that's where I stand at the end of February. I used to have three piles of shame. I now have two. So far so good. How are your efforts at #ReducingThePile going?

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Brimstone Board Game Nights for March - Featuring: Cavern Tavern and Aeon's End

Hey Windsor area gamers, come out to Brimstone Board Game Night! Meet other gamers, play some great games and maybe even win a game to bring home.

Brimstone Board Game Nights hit on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. These events run from 5pm to 10pm and are open to all ages.

Every event will feature at least one game. There will be demo copies of the game available and someone on hand willing to teach the game so you can try before you buy.

You can win games just by coming out to play. At every Brimstone Board Game Night you earn tickets that give you a chance to win free games. Every event we will be giving away a copy of the featured game and some events will feature even more. 

Players earn 1 ticket for playing games, 1 ticket for purchasing a snack or drink, and 1 ticket for bringing 1 or more board games for people to play. Earn 5 more tickets for each game you purchase. First time players will receive 5 additional tickets.

You can find Brimstone at 1421 Tecumseh Rd. E. There is parking in back and there is a municipal lot across the street that is free after 6pm.

March 4th - Cavern Tavern

In a war torn land, a magical land of heroic feats and epic quests, there is a place that has never felt the wrath of the ongoing and everlasting war between the five realms. Hidden in the hills of Strongcliff , deep in the shadows of a cavern lies the best kept secret for many years.

This place is called the Cavern Tavern.

Cavern Tavern is a worker (dice) placement and resource management game that is set in a fantasy world. Each player assumes the role of a worker in the tavern. Your job is to serve drinks, work in the kitchen, do chores, and on top of that try to keep every guest happy, including the nasty and greedy barkeep.

On each turn, a player can assign his dice to 1 of the 21 locations in the tavern.

These locations are divided in 6 sections. The Main area, where the guests are located and from where each player must pick up an Order, Cellar where all the ingredients that are used to complete the Orders are located, Kitchen where players can work to receive different rewards, as well as the Chores section. Also, the board features the Wizards workshop where the players can seek help for completing the Orders and Nasty the Dwarf's office where the players can go and try to suck up to the boss and badmouth a coworker.

The players will have to complete the Orders as soon as possible, because for each round they are late, they’ll receive less points than the Order's original value.

Also, for being late with the Orders, your reputation with Nasty the Dwarf is affected, something that is vital in the game.

To stand out from other workers and gain your employers favor, you’ll need to skillfully manage the orders from your customers and the resource ingredients. You’ll have to carefully prioritize your moves, and choose from what kind of work you’ll profit the most out of the situation.

So… do you have what it takes? Get ready for the biggest challenge in your life, and start working in Cavern Tavern.

March 18th - Aeon's End

The survivors of a long-ago invasion have taken refuge in the forgotten underground city of Gravehold. There, the desperate remnants of society have learned that the energy of the very breaches the beings use to attack them can be repurposed through various gems, transforming the malign energies within into beneficial spells and weapons to aid their last line of defense: the breach mages.

Aeon's End is a cooperative game that explores the deckbuilding genre with a number of innovative mechanisms, including a variable turn order system that simulates the chaos of an attack, and deck management rules that require careful planning with every discarded card. Players will struggle to defend Gravehold from The Nameless and their hordes using unique abilities, powerful spells, and, most importantly of all, their collective wits.