New to Me – March 2021

It’s another month, and it’s another month of not playing any new games on the table.

All three of my new to me games this month are from Boardgame Arena. That’s not a bad thing, and it’s very cool that BGA has so many games available!

But it is kind of disheartening.

One day, and hopefully soon, we will be playing games on the table again with our friends.

British Columbia is going in the wrong direction regarding new infections, but vaccinations are also happening so maybe by the Summer, or the Fall at least, we’ll be playing games in person again.

One can dream.

In the meantime, the Cult of the New to Me is being a lot more lenient with me. There hasn’t been talk of an insurrection in months!

That could change soon, though.

There are rumblings.

So, without further adieu (all of my adieu was accidentally mixed in with the chocolate cake batter for office lunch anyway), let’s begin!

Just Desserts (2015 – Looney Labs) – 5 plays

Designer: Andrew Looney

Artists: Brooke Allen, Andrew Heath

Players: 2-5

My games of this on Boardgame Arena were played with the Better With Bacon expansion and with the Just Coffee expansion.

Just Desserts is a very quick set collection card game where you are trying to match dessert ingredients with customers at your sweets shop that want the same type of ingredients in their junk food.

If you happen to have the card of the food they really like (which means the card has all of the ingredients they like), you even get to draw a new dessert card. Maybe that will help you feed another guest!

How does it work?

The game consists of a deck of Guest cards and a deck of Dessert cards.

Hope your sweet tooth is sated before playing this!
Three of the many dessert options

The Dessert cards will be everything from Tiramisu to Tapioca Pudding.

Each Dessert card has from 1-4 ingredients on it.

Mmmmm Kevin Bacon
Roland doesn’t like apples, for some god-forsaken reason

Guest cards are various people coming into your shop who want their sweets!

They have their likes but some also have dislikes. You can’t give them cards that have ingredients they don’t like.

On your turn, you will draw a new Guest and a new Dessert card. Then, you will see if you can satisfy one of the Guests with the ingredients on one or more of your Dessert cards. If you do, you will collect that Guest and discard the Dessert cards used.

If you meet their favourite food (Roland above likes the Cinnamon Roll), you will draw another Dessert card.

Then you can try to match a second Guest.

If you can’t match a Guest at the start of your turn, you can either draw a Dessert card or discard as many Dessert cards from your hand as you want. You then will draw that many cards.

There are 6 “suits” (or type) of Guests and 4 cards in each suit (one more suit with each expansion).

At the end of your turn, if there are duplicate Guest suits, you will discard one of them for each duplicate there is.

The cool thing is that the most recently-discarded Guest is still servable. They are basically “on their way out the door” but you may entice them back if you have what they want.

I won!!!

How do you win?

You can either win by collecting one each of five different Guest suits, or you can win by collecting three of the same suit. There are only four in each suit, so that could be difficult.

The Better With Bacon expansion just adds a new Guest suit and new ingredient type: bacon!

Everything goes good with Bacon.

Just Coffee also adds 6 new Dessert cards and 4 new Guests with the “coffee” ingredient.

This is a very fast and delightful card game. The artwork is fun and the game is very easy to teach.

Even on Boardgame Arena, teaching it to somebody (as long as you’re talking to them rather than using the chat box) is easy to do.

The expansions just add more options but don’t change anything, so that’s pretty cool too.

Not a whole lot to say about the game itself, though. It’s just a fun filler game.

And man is it fast. Our games took as few as 6 minutes to play (on BGA, so actually physically shuffling the cards and drawing and such could add a bit of time).

The most time a game took for us was 20 minutes.

Just Desserts is a lot of fun and a perfect lunch time game.

Letter Tycoon (2015 – Breaking Games) – 1 play

Designer: Brad Brooks

Artists: Mackenzie Schubert, Peter Vaughan

Players: 2-5

Letter Tycoon is a another game that demonstrates that I just really suck at word games.

My feelings toward word games really end up making me not enjoy playing most of them (for some reason I’m ok with Paperback and Hardback, though).

While Letter Tycoon does add an interesting twist of buying “stock” in various letters, it still didn’t make me enjoy it that much.

Let me be clear that this is a personal thing. The design of the game seems really interesting and if you don’t have an antipathy toward word games, you could probably enjoy it.

It’s reasonably short, too! At least at 2-player, the only way I played it.

As with most word games, you’re trying to build the longest word you can out of the letters in your hand or out on the board.

Each player will get a hand of 7 Factory cards (i.e. letters).

There will also be a pool of 3 “community” Factory cards that anybody can use.

Using these letters, you will want to make the longest word you can.

If you only use a 3 letter word, you get $1. Not really worth it, but if that’s all you can do.

Money increases up to 7 letters ($6) but if you hit 6 or 7 letters in your word, you earn a stock! These are basically end-game points. If you get more than 7 letters in your word, you get one additional stock per letter above 7.

Your opponent could receive royalties from the bank for some of the letters you use in your word.

Wait, what?

Multi-coloured!!!! That's cool.

Yes, if you accumulate enough money, you can buy patents, which is basically buying an interest in one of the letters you used in your current word.

A patent might give you a special ability (The “B” will give you double earnings of both money and stocks if your word begins and ends with a vowel, for example), but all patents will make it so if your opponent uses that letter in their word, you get money! That’s $1 per times the letter is used. So it’s not much, but it’s something.

Of course, if you can’t figure out a word to spell, your action can be to discard any number of cards from your hand and draw that many. That happens when your 7-card hand inevitably consists of AAEIOOU.

How does the game end?

At the beginning of the game, a goal card is chosen randomly. The game ends when the total value of patents purchases by one player equals or exceeds that amount.

The winner is the one who has the highest combined value of patents plus coins plus stocks.

Letter Tycoon is an enjoyable game and it has interesting mechanisms with the whole patents thing.

If you like word games, I think this would be a great game for you to try. The patents, earning money with your words, the stocks you might earn as well if you really lengthen your words, it’s all pretty cool.

I know it’s strange for a writer to not like trying to formulate words, but for some reason they just break my brain and are more stressful than enjoyable.

82-45 if you can't figure it out.
Needless to say, I lost

I do recommend you try it if you enjoy this type of game, though. It’s a great twist on the whole system.

Nidavellir (2020 – GRRRE Games) – 2 plays

Designer: Serge Laget

Artist: Jean-Marie Minguez

Players: 2-5

I hadn’t heard of Nidavellir until somebody mentioned it on one of the Discord channels I’m on. I saw it was on Boardgame Arena so I decided to check it out (after watching the Dice Tower review to see it in action too).

And wow is this a fun game.

It’s another quick card game with some aspects of set collection, but it’s also a bidding game where you can actually upgrade some of the 5 coins you start with.

In the game, you are basically trying to collect dwarf cards of various Classes (this has a Norse theme so these are almost like Viking Dwarves).

Players start with five coins, numbered 0-5 (without the 1). Each round, a number of dwarves will be dealt to each of three taverns, based on the number of players.

Once each player has bid, the first tavern bids are revealed. Whoever bid the highest gets first choice to take one dwarf from the tavern.

Recruited dwarves are placed in your play area like so.

The banners on the cards are important, though.

When a player has one banner (rank) of each Class, they are eligible to recruit a Hero.

These Heroes will maybe give more points, or have multiple ranks on their card (which could then allow you to recruit more Heroes!).

After the first round (which has a certain number of turns based on player count), each class is evaluated. Whoever has the most ranks in each one is given a certain distinction based on the Class.

What happens if you bid the “0” coin for a tavern?

That’s how you update your coins to get higher values.

When you bid the “0” coin, you will automatically go last (unless somebody else bid “0” too, in which case the tie-breaker comes into play), you will total up the value of the two coins you didn’t bid. Then, you will discard the highest value of those two coins and get a coin of the summed value.

If there aren’t any coins of that value, you get the next highest.

At the end of two rounds, you total up the Bravery score and whoever has the most is the winner!

How do you score?

Each Class has its own method of scoring, almost all based on the ranks or the Bravery score on the ranks.

The purple Class is based on the number of ranks you have in an increasing order (above, I had 25 points).

The green Class scores by squaring the total number of ranks you have (above, I had 5 ranks so 25 points).

The blue Class is just the total of all the Bravery numbers on the cards.

The red Class is the same, but whoever has the highest number of ranks also adds their highest-value coin to the total.

Finally, the orange Class is interesting because you multiply the total Bravery value of all the cards by the number of ranks (above, I had a Bravery value of 9 and 6 ranks, for a total of 54).

In addition to the cards, you add up all your coin values and the Bravery value of any grey Heroes you picked up and add that to your total Bravery.

Whoever has the most is the winner!

I really love this game.

First, I love the black and white art! The artwork is really well done.

Secondly, the scoring mechanisms are interesting but they’re not too difficult. Even the orange class isn’t too hard once you see it in action the first time (though I’m thankful BGA adds up your score for you).

The rank system is really cool and sometimes it’s a struggle to decide whether you want to get as many heroes as you can or if you want to really max out one of the Classes (getting a bunch of green or purple cards could be quite lucrative, for example).

It’s also another great lunch time game because it plays in about half an hour. Even with teaching, we were able to get two games in on our lunch break.

This is a game that I would love to have to play on the table, but I think it’s an import right now so that’s not possible (plus we’re still working from home because, you know, something called COVID that I’ve never heard of).

In the meantime, I’ll always play this on Boardgame Arena!

So what new games did you play in March?

Let me know in the comments.

8 Comments on “New to Me – March 2021

  1. I see I just hadn’t caught up on your blog to see that one. It looks like a fun game! How long does it take to play, do you think? (apologies if you answered that in the blog. I may have missed it).

    I found Nidavellir so cool. I wouldn’t mind playing that on the table at all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nidavellir looks pretty awesome from your description, I might have to do some more research. For me, in March I got to play Underwater Cities, and Oath. Both were brilliant, but I can’t wait to play some more Oath. The game we played wasn’t so much fun as it was compelling. Now the board is in a state where the chancellor has too much control, and it’ll be up to me to stop them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for stopping by, David!

    Yeah, I was totally surprised when I saw Nidavellir for the first time.

    I really want to play Underwater Cities one of these days too.


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