September was a good month for “new to me” games. It was a good month for gaming in general, but the new ones I got to play were a nice mix of old and new.
Which illustrates exactly the point of my “new to me” post!
So why not get right into the goodness?
Designer: Bruce Allen
Artist: Victor Boden
This is a fun exploration/treasure-hunting game that I had never heard of.
The island that you are on is made up of modular tiles that are randomly placed and nobody knows where the treasures are. Each treasure starts with a clue card in play that narrows down where that treasure is (e.g: “not in a forest” or “next to a river hex”).
On your turn, in addition to moving around the island collecting stuff, you play a card to one of the treasures that will narrow down its location even further. You then will be getting a “share” of that treasure when it’s finally discovered.
It’s a neat mechanism, where you have to decide whether you want to help an opponent find a treasure because at least you’ll be getting some of it if you place a card down.
It’s also played in under an hour, which is a plus!
Designer: R. Eric Reuss
Artists: Jason Behnke, Kat G Bermelin, Loïc Billiau, Cari Corene, Lucas Durham, Rocky Hammer, Sydni Kruger, Nolan Nasser, Jorge Ramos, Adam Rebottaro, Moro Rogers, Graham Sternberg, Shane Tyree, Joshua Wright
This game is a fascinating cooperative game that just came out this year. It’s probably the best of the new bunch that I played this month.
Players are spirits on an island that is being aggressively colonized and you are trying to protect the island and its native inhabitants.
You do this by playing appropriate power cards that will either eliminate settlers or help build up the native population to help fend them off.
Each spirit also has a different ability, which helps as well.
It’s an interesting concept well-implemented.
A Study in Emerald (2nd Edition) – (2015 – Treefrog Games) – 1 play (owned)
Designer: Martin Wallace
Artist: Ian O’Toole
I bought this recently because a friend had wanted to play it and there was a great sale going on, but I haven’t been able to get it to the table until this month.
I’m sad I waited so long, because this is an awesome game!
Based on the Neil Gaiman short story that mashes up the Cthulhu mythos and Sherlock Holmes, in this game the Old Ones have already won. They have taken over cities all around the world, and there are now two factions fighting for supremacy.
Restorationists are trying to restore the old order, convincing people that the world is in dire shape and that the Old Ones need to be resisted. The Loyalists are trying to stop them.
The game is kind of a deck-builder in that part of the game is obtaining cards from various cities that will give you more power than just the basic starter cards that you have. You have a hand of cards and when you play them, you will discard them and won’t get them back until your deck is reshuffled.
But it’s also an area control game, because you can’t get these cards, or assassinate agents (or Old One royalty) without having more influence than everybody else in that city.
It’s an interesting push and pull mechanic.
But the best part is the hidden loyalties, in that nobody knows which side anybody’s on. Victory points are divided into Loyalist, Restorationist, and Neutral victory points. At the end of the game, you will only keep your faction points and the neutral ones. But they all count during the game. So you could trigger the end of the game by reaching the VP limit, but if you’ve been getting too many of the other faction, you could end up losing.
But you don’t want to tip your hand too much until the right time, so maybe it could be good to get a few of the other points?
To add to that, whoever is in last place, all members of that faction will lose 5 points at the end of the game, so even if you’re doing really well, it may not help if the last place player is a member of your faction.
It’s a really juicy game with a couple of mechanics that are hard to wrap your head around but really make sense once they click.
Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
Artist: Ryo Nyamo
This game I’ve already reviewed, so you can check out my thoughts there.
Basically, a fun little co-op card game, but with a really weird name.
Designer: Chih-Fan Chen
Artists: Ralf Berszuck, Chih-Fan Chen, Adam P. McIver
The game that probably put me on TMG’s radar for asking if I’d like a review copy of Okey Dokey (I did an Instagram pic of playing it), this game seems to be a love it or hate it one.
Or maybe not, because I think it’s ok. Not great, not sure why it’s on Eric Summerer’s Top 100 Games of All Time (at #32, I think!), but certainly not as bad as a couple of my friends think it is.
The unique mechanism in this game is that your cards are two-sided and can be flipped for a bit of money to give you a stronger card. You shuffle your deck secretly because you can see what they all are if you don’t. You then play cards off the top of your deck, earning you money, getting you ribbons or unhappy faces.
It’s a bit of push your luck as if you get three unhappy faces, your turn is over.
Why would you ever play your third unhappy face if that’s the case? Some cards force you to play them if they are the top card.
If you play 8 ribbons or meet any other condition (like the above Convenience Store, where if you play 18 cards, you will win).
The flipping mechanic is great in this game, and the push your luck is neat. It’s not a stellar game, but it’s nice enough to play
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artists: Carole Carrion, Manuel Carvalho, Chen Cheng-po, Mike Doyle, Pete Fenlon, Paul Laane, Ramon Martins, Daniel Melim, Rafael Silveira, Sigrid Thaler, Zeilbeck & Natzeck Design Company
I actually played the CMON reprint of the 1992 game by Reiner Knizia where you are auctioning off and purchasing artwork.
Each turn, you’ll choose a card in your hand to auction to other players in one of four different auction styles (the card will tell you what style). You can bid on it too if you want, though you won’t get any money that way (you’ll pay the bank).
The winner will pay you and display the card in front of them.
At the end of each round, players will discard the paintings they bought, and some of them will actually earn them money depending on how many of that colour were auctioned that round.
That’s what this board will tell you. Whichever artist had the most paintings auctioned that round will get the “30” marker, then the next most the “20” and the third most the “10”. Ties are broken by rarity, with Yellow being the rarest and continuing toward Orange.
Those tokens will remain in subsequent rounds, so some of the artists may become even more valuable as the tokens add up.
At the end of the game, whoever has the most money wins.
I’m horrible at auction games, and thus this isn’t a game that I would necessarily return to that often, but I thought it was pretty fun and I wouldn’t object to it if it comes to the table. The artwork is gorgeous (not sure how they got these artists to contribute art for a board game!)
(I’m kidding, if it wasn’t obvious)
Anyway, a good game, if you like auction games.