After last month’s horribly slim post, August was a cornucopia of new to me games! Spanning from the distant past of 2011 to the near future of 2019.
This should make my good buddy David at Roll to Review happy.
I have a full nine games listed for this month.
There was much cheering among my fellow cult members when I made that announcement.
What can I say? They love me.
Of course, that monthly payment I make to them might help.
What was I saying?
Oh, right. New to me games!
Maybe you’ll find a game or two among all of these lovely games that you’ll like as well. I hope that’s the case.
So without further adieu (all of my adieu was batted off the table and under a shelf by the cat anyway), let’s begin!
Cat Lady (2017 – Alderac Entertainment Group) – 4 plays
Designer & Artist: Josh Wood
This is a wonderful trick-taking card game, perfect for playing before or after that heavy load of Dominant Species or something like that (it would definitely keep to the animal theme!).
I won’t say much more about the game, but that’s because there’s this glorious review that I did almost immediately after playing it for the third time!
Long story short, though, I really loved this game and would love to play it again.
Majesty: For the Realm (2017 – Z-Man Games) – 2 plays
Designer: Marc André
Artist: Anne Heidsieck
I had heard a lot about this game when it came out last year, but hadn’t had the opportunity to play it yet.
Now that I have, I really would like to play it again (and perhaps score it properly this time!).
In Majesty: for the Realm, you are trying to become the richest realm in the land. Each player has a village with eight buildings in it: Mill, Brewery, Cottage, Guardhouse, Barracks, Inn, Castle, and Infirmary (placed in that order).
Villager cards are dealt out into a row of six.
On your turn, you choose a villager to place in your village. The card farthest from the deck costs nothing, but you must place one of your white meeples on each card you’re skipping in order to take a card closer to the deck.
If you take a card that have been previously skipped, you collect the meeples as well.
Of course, if you don’t have any meeples, you can’t skip a card!
You place the card you took under the appropriate building and execute the action of that building and score the appropriate points. For the picture above, placing the miller into the Mill will give you two points per miller you have.
There’s much more to it, but the game ends once everybody has twelve people in their village. There is some end game scoring as well, but you add up all the money/points you’ve earned and whoever has the most is the winner!
While I wouldn’t say that this kills Century: Spice Road for me, I do know that if given the choice, I would play this one over that one. And I love Century!
Instead of taking cards to then play and convert gems to other gems, you are taking villagers and actually doing something with them. It’s a lot more interesting because you have to decide what type of combinations you are going for and see what cards come out to help with that.
It’s still a quick and easy game which is a bonus. It’s easy to teach (despite the fact that we scored the cards wrong the first time through) and plays in 20 minutes. Each player gets 12 turns and their only choices are which card out of 6 (or even fewer if you have fewer meeples) you’re going to take.
Turns are lightning fast, and the decisions in this game are a lot more interesting (even though they’re not that much more difficult) than Century.
The artwork is really medieval and gorgeous. I like the cards a lot.
I need more plays of this one.
(Edit: And now you can read my full review here)
Hero Realms (2016 – White Wizard Games) – 1 play
Designers: Robert Dougherty, Darwin Kastle
Artists: Randy Delven, Vito Gesualdi, Antonis Papantoniou
Hero Realms is one of those little deckbuilder games that comes in a small box. Like its sister Star Realms, it plays best with two players despite being a 2-4 player game.
Each player in Hero Realms starts out with 50 Health and a 10-card starting deck that has some gold and some weapons.
The object of the game, much like many deck-builders, is to buy better cards than your starter cards and reduce the health of your opponent down to zero.
There is a market row of 5 cards that you can choose to buy on your turn. You play the cards in your 5-card hand, accumulating gold and strength/fight/whatever (all the different terms among different games can get confusing sometimes). You buy cards with the gold and reduce your opponent’s health with the strength.
Some cards that you can buy/play are called “Champions” and they stay in front of you until your opponent destroys them. You get their benefit every turn that they’re in play by “tapping” them (Editor: Wizards of the Coast lawyers on Line 1).
Each card has a faction colour (red, blue, green, yellow) and many cards will give you an additional benefit if you play multiples of the same faction on your turn.
You keep doing this until your opponent is down to zero health (or, as mostly happens to me, you are down to zero).
I am very familiar with the Star Realms app, with hundreds of plays on it by now. But I’ve never played it or any of its sisters on the table until Hero Realms this last month.
And boy was it confusing. Sure, all of the concepts are the same, but the colours are different! In Star Realms, the colour of cards that often make your opponent discard cards from their hand is yellow. In Hero Realms, it’s green (I think, but it’s definitely not yellow).
That confusion aside, the gameplay really isn’t much different, and it’s loads of fun. It’s easy to pack in your knapsack, plays quickly in 20-30 minutes, and is a great dueling game.
I can’t imagine trying to play this with more than 2 players, but it seems that you can. I don’t know if I would want to, though.
The artwork is really cool and it’s just an all-around good game.
I enjoyed it.
Welcome to DinoWorld (2017 – Alley Cat Games) – 1 play
Designers: James O’Connor, Nick Shaw, Dávid Turczi
Artists: Sabrina Miramon, Beth Sobel
Welcome to DinoWorld is a roll & write game that was the official game of GenCant 2017, beating out numerous other entries.
In the game, you are basically designing a dinosaur park using community dice that are rolled each turn.
Everybody starts a Level 1 and one die is rolled. Each player assigns the die to one of the four buildings (Attraction, Visitor Center, Protoceratops enclosure, or Compsognathus enclosure) and then encloses a number of squares equal to what it shows for that building.
For example, the Attraction is just one square. The Visitor Center is a 2×2 square. The Compsognathus encloses 2 squares but can be in any orientation, and the same with the Protocertatops but with 3 squares.
If you’ve already assigned the number that is rolled, you must build that building/enclosure again somewhere else in your park.
You then draw pathways using the path guide at the bottom of your player sheet. These paths can be drawn on any free square but you have to keep in mind that your enclosure/attractions won’t score (and your Visitor Center can’t be used, I think?) if they are not connected to the park entrance by a path at the end of the game.
Finally, a 2-dice “security check” is rolled, using the security column on your player sheet. Whatever number is rolled, an enclosure of that dinosaur will take one point of damage.
Once somebody has assigned dice to all available buildings in Level 1, then two dice are rolled and you do the same with Level 2 buildings. When the two dice are rolled, though, you can either use the sum or you can use both dice individually (the same when you get to Level 3 and three dice).
You still use the individual dice for your paths, however, which quickly means you’re drawing two or even three paths on your turn.
If an enclosure takes a number of hits equal to the circled number, the dinosaurs break out, causing damage to anything next to it. You also will not score that enclosure at the end of the game and you will lose points too.
The game ends when either a player cannot put a building or a path on their sheet or a player has three breakouts (and they can cascade if you group enclosures together).
The player with the most fame points wins!
Between this game and Kokoro: Avenue of Kodama, I’ve come to realize that roll & write games that require drawing (rather than just assigning values some places) are really not for me.
I don’t get any enjoyment of out trying to lay out a park, or trace a path, trying to project what may be coming next and how to design for it.
My spatial skills are not the best (hence why I loathe Factory Fun and its sequel) and it just feels too much like work.
That being said, I can see that this game would be great for those who enjoy it. The artwork on the player sheets is gorgeous, the game design is very good. It’s neat how everybody uses the same dice but can do different things with them.
But no, it’s definitely not for me. I felt no joy playing the game whatsoever.
Ok, a little enjoyment, but not much.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad game.
But it’s definitely not for me.
The Palace of Mad King Ludwig (2017 – Bezier Games) – 1 Play
Designer: Ted Alspach
Artists: Jason Boles, Stephanie Gustafsson
Palace of Mad King Ludwig (from now on known as just “Palace”) (Editor: You lazy git) is a different take on the tile-laying game that was Castles of Mad King Ludwig (or “Castles” for short) (Editor: Why do I even bother?).
In Castles, each player is building their own castle, buying rooms and placing them in front of them. It has a Master Builder mechanic where that player sets the price of the rooms and then other players pay that player for the rooms.
In Palace, you’re building a communal palace, but you are all still rivals. You want to make the best additions to the palace!
The currency in this game is swans (introduced as a side thing in the Castles expansion).
The palace is going to start with three hallways stretching out from the entrance.
Each player is given a Blueprint board where they will keep track of which types of rooms they have built, as well as any bonuses and end-game favours that they have.
On a player’s turn, they’ll take a room tile from the selection row, paying the appropriate number of swans that they have collected (0-2 depending on the place in the row). They will then place it in the castle that’s being assembled, connecting one of the room’s entrances with an entrance to a room that’s already out.
If you match the swan colours, then the owners of both rooms get a swan of that colour (unless you connected to your own room, in which case you just get one swan). The player marks the room type on their blueprint, takes another swan of the appropriate colour if they’ve built their third room of that type, and then sees if they have completed any rooms.
“Completed” means that all entrances are connected to another room with another entrance. So if one entrance actually is up against a wall of another room (or a part of the moat, which I’ll explain in a minute), then that room will never be completed.
Each room has a completion bonus depending on the type of room. For example, a completed Food (yellow) room will get you a choice of three favour tiles to attach to your blueprint board.
The numerous rooms are piled into stacks of fairly equal size. Once a stack is depleted, moats will be revealed. When a room is successfully completed, the player who completed it (not necessarily the owner of the completed room) will place moat tiles out surrounding the castle equal to the number of moats shown. So one depleted stack shows one moat; two depleted stacks show two moats; three depleted stacks show four moats, etc.
Moats must touch another moat tile (or the big moat where the main entrance to the palace is) and also touch an outside edge of the palace (if possible). There are other specific rules about moat placement I won’t get into, but suffice to say that the palace is slowly being surrounded by water.
Play continues until all of the moat tiles run out, all of the rooms run out, or (most likely) the two sides of the moat connect so that the entire palace is enclosed (as shown below).
I won’t get into how all of the victory points are scored, because there are a lot of ways, but you do total them up on the score sheet (I love that the rules actually say to get somebody good with arithmetic to write everything down).
Whoever has the most points wins!
I liked this game a lot, but the setup is very fiddly. All the rooms have to be mixed up into six piles, the swans are tiny and you’ll be swapping them a lot. The little pieces that you put on the rooms and on the blueprint boards to indicate your control are very little.
It is also kind of a table hog, in a way that Castles wasn’t (even though that one could take up some space too). Sure, the rulebook says that the palace is constrained by the amount of table space, so theoretically you could play on a smaller surface, but you’re not going to get much of a palace if you play on a small table!
All of that being said, I did enjoy this game, just not quite as much as Castles. There are things I like more (the absence of a Master Builder and the economic aspects), but overall I didn’t enjoy it quite as much. At least for the first play.
There is a lot to remember to do on your turn, so if you don’t do things in order (which is sometimes hard for my game group to do, bless their hearts), it’s easy to forget something. Like adjusting your blueprint board for the room you just placed.
I did enjoy the communal aspect of it, and the “take that” part of placing a room so your wall covers the entrance to one of your opponent’s rooms. And the rising tension as the moat slowly encompasses the entire palace.
That was cool.
Anyway, this isn’t a review, but let’s just say I enjoyed it and will play it again, but I’m not dying to.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service (2017 – Pandasaurus Games) – 1 Play
Designers: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle
Artists: Noah Adelman, Riccardo Burchielli, Josh Cappel, Scott Hartman, Jason D. Kingsley
This is a game that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I kept seeing it go on sale, but it kind of intimidated me. Is it something I would have room for? Would it get played?
When I saw that there was a scheduled event for it at Dragonflight, I immediately signed up.
And boy do I want to get this game now.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service (let’s just call it “Wasteland” for this article”) (Editor: I give up) is basically a pick up and delivery game where players are running a truck across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, doing jobs, making money, and trying to fulfill the requirements of the scenario (usually completing three priority first-class contracts unless you’re playing a campaign scenario).
At the beginning of the game, three of these missions are put out for all players to be able to complete. However, you can get faction missions during the game too, and some of those might just meet that requirement too.
Each player starts off with a truck, some cargo holds, and a character that will have one kind of special power.
For example, Big John (my character) starts with 4 cargo holds (2 of each type) but gets -1 hit during combat rolls. I guess he’s a peace-lovin’ sonuvagun.
Each round you turn over an event card that will dictate some special ability or action for that round (one event lets everybody immediately sell one piece of cargo if they have any, for example).
Then, starting in turn order (first player passes to the next player each round), you can take one action. You have a total of five actions in a round, as seen by the number of gears on the card above.
If moving, you move one of the gears to the first available movement square on the left. The first square lets you move three spaces. Once you’re there, you can slide that gear to a different action and take it there.
You can fight if you’re in the same tile as a raider or a raider enclave, you can purchase something (once per round) if that space is selling something you want, you can take an outpost action if that space allows you to do something (twice per round), deliver goods to the outpost if you have the cargo it’s looking for (twice per round).
If you don’t take an action where you stop, then you leave the gear in that square. Next turn, you will move a gear up to the second square (this is called “momentum”) and you’ll be able to move four spaces. If you did take an action, then movement goes back to three.
Some outposts are homes to certain factions on the Wasteland, and you can do an Outpost action to get jobs from them. These could be delivery jobs or some other type of job that will get you even more (including potentially a job that will help win you the game).
Other Outposts have places you can buy extra equipment for your truck, or you can buy/sell cargo (depending on the Outpost).
As far as cargo goes, you can either buy what you need to sell elsewhere, or you can pillage raider trucks for the type of cargo they have. That can be quite lucrative. (The picture above, the raider truck has two water cargo)
The really cool thing about Wasteland is how the Demand system works.
Each type of cargo (food, ammunition, water) has a base amount of Demand. Then, demand chits are randomly drawn for outposts that have demands. The Demand is increased by the number of chits that are on the board. This is how much you can sell that type of cargo for.
When you deliver goods, you remove the demand marker and decrease the Demand for that good. You then draw another Demand chit and increase the Demand of that cargo type (it could be the same type). You also can’t deliver to that Outpost again until you’ve delivered somewhere else.
The game ends immediately when somebody completes the third priority first-class contract (or, during the campaign, when the scenario conditions are met). Whoever does it wins!
I have to say that I loved my play of this game. I really want to play it again, and if I can get it at a good price, I think I will. I love the artwork (even though brown is pretty bland, it is thematic!), I love the game play. It gives me a bit of that Firefly feeling without taking up quite as much space (though it does require some).
I didn’t see the owner of the game set it up and he asked us to let him take it down, but I can see that the organization of the box and the trays is so good. Everything’s stored where it needs to go and no baggies required!
I have to play this again.
Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your A$$ets (2011 – Grandpa Beck’s Games) – 1 play
Designer: Brent Beck
Artist: (uncredited) Anne Pätzke
This is a take-that card game that can inspire a lot of…creative language.
The number of “Fuck you” expressions was more than one, but it was always said with love.
Though you probably don’t want to play this with somebody who is really an asshole.
In this game, you are trying to collect assets to become a millionaire, with each card either being an asset of some kind (baseball card collection, bank account, etc) or gold/silver (worth $50K/$25K).
Each player starts with 4-5 cards in hand (depending on player count) and if you have a pair of something (gold/silver are wild cards which can be played with anything), you lay it down in front of you as a collected asset.
Your first asset is always safe, but once you have at least one more asset stacked, things get dicey.
An opponent can play the same card (a coin collection in the picture above) or a wild card and try to steal it from you. If you have another card of that type or a wild, you can play it to stop the steal, but if they have another, they can play it.
The person who ends up winning the competition gets all of the cards, even if it was the person who was so devilishly attacked. The pile goes on top of that player’s stack (or back on top if they were attacked) and the turn goes to the next player.
At the end of your turn, you always draw back up to 4-5 cards.
Play continues until the stack of cards runs out, but you still play your cards until one player is out or nobody can play anymore.
If somebody has a million dollars in assets, the game ends. Otherwise, note your score and play another round!
(We only played one round due to time)
This is a really vicious game, but it’s very lighthearted and it can be a lot of fun.
It’s very light and it’s not something that I would ask somebody to bring out, but I’m more than willing to play it if it does come out.
Mephisto: the Card Game (2018 – self-published) – 1 play
Designer/Artist: Dylan Mangini
At Dragonflight, I demoed this fun dueling card game that’s coming to Kickstarter in October.
See my “First Impressions” post for it!
Fantastic Factories (2019 – self-published) – 1 play
Designers: Joseph Z Chen, Justin Faulkner
Artist: Joseph Z Chen
What? 2019??? How is that possible? Am I from the future?
No, of course not. I’d be rich if I was.
I did, however, play a prototype of this wonderful card game that had a spectacularly successful Kickstarter back in May. The game is scheduled to be released in April 2019 and they are taking pre-orders on their site (linked above on the “self-published” header)
In Fantastic Factories, you are building up a series of factories by acquiring cards and paying the resources to build them onto the tableau in front of you.
Each turn, beginning with the start player (which rotates each turn), you can either take a factory from the bottom row of blue cards or you can hire a worker from the top row (discarding a card with the same symbol as the token above that worker and paying any cost associated).
Once that’s happened, everybody rolls their dice.
In any order, you assign your dice to either get resources or activate factories.
In your HQ, you can assign dice as mentioned below each row. You can place any die to draw a blue research card. You can place a 1,2,3 in the center row to generate that much electricity, or you can place a 4,5,6 in the bottom row to get one iron for each die (no matter the number).
You can also activate the factories you’ve already built.
The yellow tokens above are “goods.” Once a player has either produced 12 goods or built 10 factories, that triggers the end of the game. One final round is played and then everybody totals up their score.
Some factories are worth points (the purple symbol in the top right of the card) and each good is worth one point.
Whoever has the most points is the winner!
This was an incredibly fun game. It’s quick (about 45-60 minutes), it has some dice rolling but it’s not totally dominated by dice (you can build factories or hire workers to mitigate some of your dice rolls).
The buildings are interesting, the art work is great!
We played what I believe was a prototype though a lot of it looked finalized. Keep that in mind from the pictures above.
I really liked this game and will definitely play it again if I get the chance.
So what “new to you” games did you play in August?
Let me know in the comments!
Oh yes! This is a lot better. Good to hear about Wasteland, I’ve been thinking about it recently as I don’t have any real pick up and deliver games.
Also glad to hear your opinion on Roll and Writes. I got Kokoro, and I just don’t see the point of why you’d ever play that with someone else.
Majesty for the realm sounds like a keeper, and I’ll definitely do some more research on. And I’m pretty sure I’ll jump in for fantastic factories. I saw it on Kickstarter and everyone was going crazy about it, but I was trying to be stricter on what I was backing at the time.
Anyway great post, you do a fantastic job of talking about these games!
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I had a feeling you’d like this one!
Thanks for the kind words. Wasteland is definitely a great game.
And I think I need to buy Majesty at some point so I don’t have to borrow it from my friend. 🙂
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