New to Me – March 2018

I’m tired.

It’s been a busy month of playing new games! So I’ve definitely enjoyed it.

But I’m tired.

If I hadn’t been writing this post as I played the games, I’m not sure if it would have come out. This is a long one.

It totals 12 new games. My month of March itself consisted of 21 games played a total of 24 times.

Woo!

So, without further adieu (I lost all of my adieu in a card game that I was too embarrassed to put on my play list), let’s begin.

Raiders of the North Sea (2015 – Renegade Games Studio, Garphil Games) – 2 plays (owned)

pic3578101

Designer: Shem Phillips

Artist: Mihajlo Dimitrievski

Players: 2-4

This was definitely the highlight of the month. It’s a worker placement game with a bit of a twist, as players are vikings trying to gain the most glory by raiding and pillaging.

Raiders Village
The starting three workers.

What’s the twist? Instead of just placing a worker and doing the action, you also take a worker and do that action as well. The viking village starts with three workers on it. A player will place their starting worker on one of the open village spots and then take one of the three workers, doing both actions.

Now the next player will do the same: place a worker, take a worker.

Once a player has enough resources (provisions, possibly gold, and hired crew), they can go raid a location across the water. Doing so uses that worker, but there is a worker on the raid location that the player will take instead.

Raiders map
A drone’s level view, if Vikings had one.

Each pillage location will require a certain amount of crew be hired before setting sail. One of the village actions is hiring crew, but you can also take the Town Hall action to discard and use the right-most ability on the card if it’s in your hand (not hired yet).

Raiders villagers
Posted by designer Shem Phillips on Boardgame Geek

Whoever has the most glory at the end of the game wins!

I really love this game. I love the place and take mechanic, I love the intricacies of choosing where to raid (if there are a bunch of black tokens in the space, you will lose crew, but gain Valhalla points which will give you points at the end of the game) and just trying to balance everything.

In my first game, I ended up not raiding enough because it took too long to gather my crew and resources together. I’ll have to fix that.

Inevitably, you will want to do the “take” action before the “place” action, and you can’t. It’s just so frustrating!

And awesome.

Edit (9/19/18) – My review has now been posted here.

Lucky Loop (2003 – Queen Games) – 1 play

pic90156

Designer: Karsten Hartwig and Wolfgang Panning

Art: Christof Tisch

Players: 2-4

This is a dice game about flying stunts. You have a bunch of stunt cards in your hand and you will be playing them to one of the four stunt types on the board. Either that, or you will draw three cards and discard three if you want to get better cards.

Lucky Loop cards
Cute art

You will then roll dice, trying to roll equal to or greater than the number on each card in a series of 3-dice rolls. There are 6 dice in total (7 if you spend a chip that you earned to use the red die too). If you roll greater than or equal to one of the numbers on the card, you put those dice in the appropriate spot on the card (above the line if you hit it exactly and below the line if you went more than the number).

You then take more dice so you’re rolling three again and do it again. If you have to use multiple dice to fulfill the first two maneuvers, then your last roll may only be one or two dice.

Lucky Loop board
Wonky scoreboard

If you succeed, your total points equal the total of the dice. If you don’t, then your turn ends (if you succeeded on two legs of the stunt, though, you will get a bonus chip).

This game wasn’t really fun for me at all. It didn’t help that the rulebook is atrociously formatted. It’s not clear in the rules whether you roll to complete a stunt every turn or if you only do it when you play a card to a stunt. There’s one example that directly contradicts the text in the rules (turns out the example is correct) and it’s just not really that fun.

The art is really nice, but the game itself is very meh.

Arboretum (2015 – ZMan Games) – 1 play

pic1926202

Designer: Dan Cassar

Art: Philippe Guérin, Chris Quilliams

Players: 2-4

(Edit – 12/20/19: For those finding this post some other way, the review is up!)

I’ve been wanting to play this beautiful card game for quite a while, but whenever it hit the table at our game group, I was either playing something else or committed to something else. So when we were looking for our next game to play and I heard my friend had brought this one, the decision was a no-brainer.

Wow, is this game gorgeous!

And painful. With great beauty comes great pain.

Arboretum - Tableau
That’s a beautiful row at the bottom! Too bad it didn’t score.

On your turn, you draw two cards, either from one of the discard piles (each player has their own discard pile) or from the deck. You then have to play a card to your tableau and discard a card.

You get points at the end of the game for each type of tree in your arboretum if you can do the following:

1) Trace a path from the lowest number of that tree to the highest, and the numbers on the path must be increasing in number each card (1,2,3,4,5 for my cards in the bottom row in the pic above)

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

2) You must have the highest total number of that tree in your hand. Again using the pic above, you see 1-5 in the row. I had the 8 in my hand as well. Sadly, one of my two opponents had the 6 and the 7, so she had 13 points in her hand. Thus, the row didn’t score.

It’s so pretty!

Arboretum - Trees
I need a robotic hand for these pictures.

And it’s so painful.

I loved this game. Definitely need to get it to the table again.

Sagrada (2017 – Floodgate Games) – 2 plays

pic3525224

Designer: Adrian Adamescu, Daryl Andrews

Art: Peter Wocken

Another lovely game, this one with bright, shiny dice!

In it, you are drafting coloured dice to make a stained-glass window in a set pattern. Once you choose the pattern, you are restricted to what you can put in the various squares. If it has a blue colour, it must be a blue die. If it’s a “2”, then it must be a 2. The thing is, you start on one of the edges of the window, and then you have to place future dice adjacent to a die you’ve already placed.

Sagrada
This is what’s called “WRONG!” but still beautiful.

First time I played, the explainer neglected to mention the rule that no two dice of the same colour or number can be next to each other. Whoops! That made it pretty easy to fill the entire window.

Second time was much more fun. Always fun when you get the rules right.

Short game, brilliant in both design and components.

More please!

My review of this can be found here.

Mexica (2002 – Iello Games) – 1 play

pic2470537

Designer: Michael Kiesling, Wolfgang Kramer

Art: Paul Mafayon, Walter Pepperle, Christophe Swal, Franz Vohwinkel

What an evocative cover!!

See, I don’t just play games that are 3 years old or less.

In Mexica, you and the other players are building the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan on the island of Texcoco.

Mexica island
Pristine land

The map is the entire island, and on your turn you have six action points. You will be placing moats out to divide up the island into areas, build temples in those areas, and then score points for having the highest combined height of temples in the area.

Mexica complete side
In the bottom area, red and white are tied because both colours have 3 pips’ worth of combined height.

It’s a really intriguing design.

I really liked this game. It may have been because I won, but not necessarily (Yes it was – Editor). It’s an area control game, which is always kind of cool. And I really like how the island changes as you carve it out. Almost like Terraforming Mars.

There’s a bit of “take that” as you can temporarily strand your opponent’s piece in an area by blocking access to the bridges, but it’s not much. It just costs them an extra action point to set up a new bridge.

I enjoyed it. It’s a game I’d be willing to play again and will enjoy it. It’s not necessarily one that I would request, though.

Fallout (2017 – Fantasy Flight Games) – 1 play

pic3728149

Designer: Andrew Fischer, Nathan I Hajek

Artist: N/A

Based on the classic video game series, mainly (at least in the base game) Fallout 3 and 4, this board game puts you in the middle of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, trying to gain enough influence cards to win the game.

Fallout 2

You do this by adventuring and exploring unknown tiles, fighting monsters ranging from an easy Raider to a horrible Deathclaw. You can start with one of four stories and you will uncover other quests and encounters as you go along.

As your character, you can be a nasty Super Mutant, a Vault Dweller, a wasteland survivor, a power-armored dude (can you tell I don’t have the game and cards in front of me, and FFG, why aren’t the survivor types actually listed in the rulebook?), and what I happened to be: a radiated ghoul!

Fallout 3
That was me before being able to eat lunch

I loved the branching story cards, the encounters that work the same way they do in Dead of Winter, where the person to your left reads the card and the options, and you choose what you want to do without knowing what the results will be.

It really did feel like Fallout to me.

The problem is that the game is just way too long at 4 players, which is what I played with. It was fun to be immersed in the Fallout world that way, and maybe if you are dedicating an afternoon to the game, it may be better.

It also probably gets better if there are experienced players in the group (our game, the owner had only played it solo and the other three of us were new). The game would flow a bit faster.

I would like to try it again and see if it improves.

As it is, it was fun and I am glad I played it. I do want to try it again.

But I won’t be sad if I don’t.

Eldritch Horror (2013 – Fantasy Flight Games) – 1 play

pic1872452

Designer: Corey Konieczka, Nikki Valens

Artists: Anders Finér, David Griffith, Ed Mattinian, Patrick McEvoy, Dallas Mehlhoff, Emilio Rodriguez, Magali Villeneuve, Drew Whitmore

Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game that has players zooming around the world (that may be overstating it – Editor) trying to keep one of the Old Ones from coming through from another dimension and destroying the entire world.

You know, another day ending in “Y”.

Eldritch Horror 2
While we aren’t from Harlem, we are definitely Globetrotters

Each player is an investigator with a number of different schools and abilities, and they will go around the world fighting monsters, trying to close gates that form from that horrible dimension and unleashing monsters, and trying to solve the mysteries in order to defeat the Old One before it comes through.

First, I have to say that there are a lot of cards in this game.

I think the technical term is a “shit-ton” of cards. Spells, Talents, Clue Encounters, City Encounters, Encounters for a specific city (as opposed to the generic city symbol), Encounter cards for closing a gate, items, allies, services…the list goes on and on.

I also have no idea what expansions were included in my playing of it, so I can’t comment on those.

I have wanted to play this game for a very long time, and I have to say that the experience was…lackluster. I think part of it was the lateness of the hour (after a long day of gaming) plus a few delays in getting the game started, added to the fact that I was the only new player, etc.

I did enjoy it well enough that I want to try it again. Make sure that the lukewarm experience wasn’t the game itself.

Because I love the concept of it. And I love a game with enough cards to choke a dinosaur.

We’ll see. The game definitely has potential.

Space Base (2018 – Alderac Entertainment Group) – 1 play

pic4017302

Designer: John D. Clair

Artist: N/A

The Machi Koro killer!

This dice game is a wonderful experience that I would really like to play again.

Space Base - Deployed ships
It’s early yet, but even now you’ll be getting something any time somebody else rolls a 5, 6, or 7

I’ll leave you with a picture here to whet your whistle, but everything I could say about this game I already said in my First Impressions piece.

The Fox in the Forest (2017 – Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games) – 2 plays (owned)

Fox in Forest box
That’s a sly-looking fox

Designer: Joshua Buergel

Artist: Jennifer L. Meyer, Keith Pishnery

Received this in a math trade over the weekend and already got a couple of plays in.

Great two-player trick-taking game, some nice decisions for a card game.

You can check out my full review here!

Smile (2017 – Zman Games) – 1 play

pic3564118

Designer: Michael Schacht

Artist: Atha Kanaani

This is a game that seems to enhance No Thanks, adding a bit of strategy because you know what the other cards that are available to you are.

In the game, a number of creature cards equal to the number of players are laid out in a row.

Smile - Creature row
Ugly but cute at the same time! (picture not of real gameplay, as the numbers are out of order)

Each player has a certain number of firefly tokens, and starting with the lowest value creature (which could be negative), a player either puts a firefly on it to pass it to the next player, or they can take it if there is at least one firefly on it.

Smile - Fireflies
The blue one is a teardrop. You don’t want to cry in this game.

Once you take a card, you’re out of the round.

The set collection aspect of the game is that you are trying to get points based on the card values, but if you get two cards with the same colour tag on the top left of the card, they cancel each other out.

Even if it’s a 3 and a 6. You don’t want that (but -3 and +6 *is* good!)

Thus, it may be worth taking a negative card to make sure you’re not stuck with a card that will cancel out one of your high scorers.

Play continues until the deck is empty, and then the highest score wins!

This was a really cute game and I do like the added tactical issues with which cards to try and take. Do you put another firefly on a card you want because you know the other players really don’t want it? But fireflies are secret, so maybe somebody will have to take it because they don’t have any fireflies?

I’d definitely like to play it again. Maybe not a No Thanks killer, but a nice addition to the genre.

Go Nuts for Donuts (2017 – Gamewright Games) – 1 play

pic3595157

Designer: Zachary Eagle

Artist: Claire Donaldson

This game has a bit of a Sushi Go feeling to it, but with a couple of twists.

Instead of the round-the-table card drafting of Sushi Go, cards equal to the number of players plus one are laid out 1-7 (in a 6-player game). The cards are various types of donuts, and have different values and/or powers.

Go Nuts for Donuts
That’s a shifty-looking raspberry frosted

Each player secretly chooses a card that is the number of the donut they want.

When everybody’s chosen, numbers are revealed. If anybody chose the same number, that donut is removed and those players don’t get anything. You only get the donut if you are the only one who chose it.

Any unchosen donuts remain in the field and the empty spots are refilled

Some donuts give you straight-up points. Others give you a set collection mechanic. Some have powers that will either let you draw a donut, take the top donut from the discard pile, make others discard a donut, and things like that.

Once the center row can’t be totally refilled, the game ends. Highest total points is the winner!

I really did like this game. There’s a bit of bluffing, but also a few decisions that you have to make. You have an opponent collecting donut holes. Do you choose a donut holes card to keep him from getting another one, even though that will mean you don’t get a donut that round? Or maybe he decides he wants something else and faked you out so you’re left with a 1-point donut (or even worse, another player also was going to deny it to the original one, so you’re both out)?

It’s quite intricate for a cute, fast little card game.

I really liked it and would love to play it again.

Expansions

Ticket to Ride – Old West Map (2017 – Days of Wonder) – 1 play

pic3707326
This is the box cover for the entire expansion, which also includes France. But we didn’t play that one

Designer: Alan R. Moon

Artist: Cyrille Daujean, Julien Delval (to be honest, I’m not sure if both did both maps or if one did the Old West and one did France)

Everybody knows Ticket to Ride, right? Of course you do.

The Old West map has a couple of twists on this set-collection, train-laying gateway game that makes it more appealing to me.

Ticket to Ride - Old West
There’s a yellow station in Boise! How’d that yellow feller get in there???

The map is pretty tight, but there are numerous double (and some triple) routes to give players a bit of room to maneuver.

The twist is that each player has three city/stations, one of which they put down before the game starts (in reverse order from turn order). When you lay a route, it has to be connected to one of your stations. Thus, you can’t just place anywhere. You have to go from one route to another.

The kicker is that when you lay a route, you can spend two of the same colour card to put a station in one of the cities on that route.

Why would you do that?

If somebody lays a route where you have a station at one end of it (or both!), then you get the points, not that player. And if you have a station at both ends, then you get double points! Thus, when you are placing down a route, you have to be cognizant of whether or not you’re getting the points. Sometimes you’ll just have to because you need that route to complete a ticket.

But it’s grumbling time when you have to.

I really enjoyed my play of this map. It helps that I completed enough tickets to actually jump from fourth place (6-player game) to first and win the game. But it’s a fun concept anyway.

When I was taking extra tickets, not only was I paying attention to what routes I’d have to lay to satisfy them, but also whether most of those routes would be giving points to another player instead. Thankfully, I was able to complete the extras with minimal point giveaways.

I’d definitely play this map again, though I’d love to give France a try.

Whew!!! That’s a lot of games.

Thank you for making it this far (unless you just scrolled down to the bottom without reading, in which case BOOOOOOOOOOOO!).

What new games did you play this month?

Let me know in the comments.

 

 

11 Comments on “New to Me – March 2018

  1. I really like Raiders of the North Sea and of the three games in that trilogy (including Shipwrights and Explorers) it is definitely the best. Great mechanics and most importantly fun. Played 3 or 4 times and I’ve tried a different path to victory each time.

    I’m very interested in the Space Base five game to play with my 8 and 6 year olds. Will they get it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, Raiders is just such an awesome game. I do plan on getting the expansions at some point, but they aren’t necessary to enjoy the game. I just…you know…kind of suck at it still. 🙂

    I’m definitely getting in on the Architects of the West Kingdom game on Kickstarter. It’s the first game of a new trilogy from the designer, with the same artist.

    As for Space Base, I think they could definitely get it, maybe with a little help at first just to understand a few of the nuances. It’s easy to remember: blue activates on your turn, red on everybody else’s, and green any time you want.

    As long as they have their numbers down, I think they’ll be fine.

    Thanks for the comment, Grant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Raider’s is now top of my list!! Glad to hear it lives up to my own hype. Was worried after Luke’s champions of Midgard review, being I put them in similar category.

    Glad you got to play smile. I really enjoy it so far. Surprising amount of depth in a simple yes or no decision.

    The other one I’m interested in is go nuts for donuts. Looks cute, and I love these non-confrontational bluffing games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a few “confrontational” cards in Go Nuts for Donuts, but it’s mainly making them discard something or taking it from them. It’s not a brutal thing, since it is a family game! 🙂

      I did really enjoy Smile. I definitely want to play it again.

      Hope you enjoy Raiders as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So many games! Great write up Dave. How do you end up playing so many?
    I played Sagrada at PAX South earlier this year and enjoyed it. I really want to play Fallout and Raiders of the North Sea.

    Like

    • Thanks, Eric! This month, it was just lucky as we played a lot of new games at our weekly game days. And I bought a couple of 2-player games that I then played with a co-worker at lunch.

      Then both of my bi-weekly Thursday nights had short new games as well. And a convention helps! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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