New to Me – September 2017

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?

Tobago (2009 – Zoch Zum Spielen) – 1 play

pic596625

Designer: Bruce Allen

Artist: Victor Boden

Players: 2-4

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”).

Tobago - Board
The randomly created island

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!

Spirit Island (2017 – Greater Than Games) – 1 play

pic3615739

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

Players: 1-4

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.

Spirit Island Map
Rather plain map, but you get the idea

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.

Spirit Island Cards
Please excuse my thumb

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)

pic2528014

Designer: Martin Wallace

Artist: Ian O’Toole

Players: 2-5

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!

A Study in Emerald - Board
Green’s pulling out into the lead!

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.

A Study in Emerald card
One of the city cards that you can obtain

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.

Okey Dokey (2016 – Tasty Minstrel Games) – 4 plays (owned)

pic3509530

Designer: Hisashi Hayashi

Artist: Ryo Nyamo

Players: 1-5

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.

Flip City (2014 – Tasty Minstrel Games) – 2 plays (owned)

pic2499620

Designer: Chih-Fan Chen

Artists: Ralf Berszuck, Chih-Fan Chen, Adam P. McIver

Players: 1-4

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.

Flip City - Cards
Nice artwork on the cards

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.

That sucks.

If you play 8 ribbons or meet any other condition (like the above Convenience Store, where if you play 18 cards, you will win).

That’s cool!

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

Modern Art (2017 – CMON Games) – 1 play (owned)

pic3458036

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

Players: 3-5

I actually played the CMON reprint of the 1992 game by Reiner Knizia where you are auctioning off and purchasing artwork.

Modern Art - Cards
Actual works of art by actual artists. Who would have thunk it?

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.

Modern Art - Board
Manuel’s painting are the rarest

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.

 

2 Comments on “New to Me – September 2017

  1. Pingback: Spirit Island Coming to Steam Early Access April 16 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  2. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #280 – 271 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: