New to Me – April 2021

April was not a good month of gaming for me.

In March, I played a bunch of live games on Boardgame Arena to really pad my stats and it was a lot of fun.

In April, however, I didn’t even really do that.

I did play 7 games, though, including revisiting some games that I haven’t played in ages.

The BGA edition of Alhambra, for example, is exquisite! But I first played that about 8 years ago, so it’s not a New to Me game.

Same goes for Tokaido and Sushi Go, which also have very good implementations there.

I do plan on doing something more in May, mainly because my fellow Cult of the New to Me members are starting to give me a bit of the side-eye.

But then I point out that I’m the one that’s paying the rent for Cult Headquarters, and they back off.

However, I then bring out cookies because I’m a benevolent cult leader.

Anyway, this is the first post in almost two weeks so let’s get to it!

Without further adieu (all of my adieu became T-Rex food anyway, and that was certainly a blow to the self-esteem), here we go!

Draftosaurus (2019 – Ankama Games) – 6 plays

Designers: Antoine Bauza, Corentin Lebrat, Ludovic Maublanc, Théo Rivière

Artists: Jiahui Eva Gao, Roman Kucharski, Vipin Alex Jacob

Players: 2-5

Draftosaurus is a very quick (and by “very quick” I mean that you could probably play it during a normal bathroom visit and still not get yelled at by your spouse that you’re taking too long) drafting game (hey, maybe that’s where the name came from!) where you are trying to put build the best dinosaur park out there.

Because we need more people to be killed when the fences inevitably fail.

Unlike other dinosaur pen games like Dinosaur Island, this one has no risk of reptilian mayhem.

Instead, everything is very laid back as there are just a few rules to follow.

The start player rolls a die and everybody starts with six dinosaurs in their hand.

The player who rolled the die can put one of those dinosaurs in any pen that they want.

The others have to obey the die that was rolled.

Maybe it will say you have to put a dinosaur in a Grassland pen (one of the pens in the brown area). Or a Woodlands (the green). Or maybe put a dinosaur in a pen without a Tyrannosaurus Rex in it.

Once you’ve placed a dinosaur, you pass the remaining ones to the next player (right or left depending on whether it’s Turn 1-6 or 7-12).

Each pen will get you points depending on a certain formula.

The top left requires the same dinosaur each time. You will get points based on how many dinosaurs you have in there.

Below that is The Woody Trio, a pen that requires just three dinosaurs in total of any type. That gets you seven points.

Below that requires two dinosaurs of the same type. For each pair like that, you get 5 points.

Moving to the top right, the crown space will get you 7 points if you have the most dinosaurs in your pen of the type that is in this pen compared to everybody else.

Below that is the Meadow of Differences. You can put one of each type of dinosaur in this one, and you will get points based on how many you place.

Finally, the bottom right space gives you 7 points if the dinosaur in it is the only one of that species in your park.

You also get one point for each T-Rex in your park, which will bring joy to Jess’ heart.

Play lasts for 12 rounds and then you total up all the points!

There’s also a Winter map which has pens with different requirements, but the rules are basically the same.

My friends and I have played a game of this on Boardgame Arena in 5 minutes. That’s how fast this thing is.

And yet it’s brilliant fun and I can definitely see this being a great filler game in between games while you’re waiting for your friends who are playing Twilight Imperium to finish up (ok, maybe a bad example, but you get the idea).

Draftosaurus isn’t a game you’re going to build a game night around, but it does what it does quickly and gets a lot of fun for minimal buck.

Sadly, I can’t speak to it on the table, though I would imagine it’s still pretty fast. The Boardgame Arena setup makes things really easy, though.

I highly recommend at least trying this one out.

The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats (2020 – GMT Games) 1 play

Designer: Gregory M. Smith

Artists: Rodger B. MacGowan, Ian Wedge

Players: 1

I used to be a huge fan of B-17: Queen of the Skies, the solo game where you are assembling a crew of aviators during World War II and attempting to bomb various targets in Germany and France. You’re trying to keep your crew alive through 50 missions because then they get to go home!

But that never lasted.

However, I haven’t played a solo wargame since that time, many moons ago.

Until I bought The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats from GMT Games.

This is a sequel to The Hunters, which is a U-Boat game that takes place in the early part of World War II.

In The Hunted, the Allies are catching on to your stuff and making it really hard to actually sink much shipping. Convoys abound. Sophisticated anti-submarine weapons are all over the place.

You are more likely to be sunk yourself then to actually sink anything.

Probably a good place for the novice solo gamer to start!

(If The Hunters was more widely available, I would have started with that one).

I haven’t really played a whole game of this because I’ve been trying to play one Patrol (which consists of your U-Boat going out, searching for shipping to sink and returning home) during my lunch hour and not really succeeding.

The first time I played, I died in my first encounter. That was depressing.

The second time, I actually sunk a couple of ships! But then had to put the game away before I could return to base because lunch was over.

The Hunted doesn’t really have a map. Instead, it’s a bunch of different charts along with one sheet that shows patrol routes.

Make sure you have your glasses handy
You want charts? We’ll give you charts! (Keep in mind these are all double-sided with even more charts on the back!)

The game begins in 1943, but you can choose what type of U-Boat you are going to be captain of. Some of them start later (even close to the end of the war) while others are older but you will be starting in July 1943

Depending on the type of boat, you start based in France and roll on a table to see what area you will be patrolling.

Your boat’s sheet will give you the torpedo loadout, any deck gun ammunition, and other things like that.

After setting out from base, your boat will advance to the next box and then roll on the Encounter Table.

You then resolve the encounter based on what it is. Aircraft may dive-bomb you, or maybe you’ve happen upon a ship (or ships) that you can try to sink!

If that happens, you roll to see what type of ships (i.e. how much tonnage) there are and go to the Combat sheet.

It's way cooler than it looks!

After rolling for a few things (such as Day/Night and if it’s Day and whether you want to change it to Night at the risk of everybody getting away), you choose what range you want to fire from and assign torpedoes to the ships (or if it’s only one ship, it’s easy!)

The Small Freighter will hopefully pop like a balloon

Once you’ve fired your torpedoes, if it’s a Convoy or an Escorted Ship you’re firing at, there’s a chance you’ll be detected.

If you are detected, you they’re going to hurt you.

And then you have to roll on the same table to see if you can get away.

Needless to say, you may not get away and might have to face the Escorts multiple times.

It’s very possible you will be sunk!

But that’s life under the water in 1943.

Hopefully you’ll make it back to base. You then have to refit, spending some months at home base before venturing out again.

Your goal is to make it to the end of the war, and victory in the campaign is based on how much tonnage of shipping you’ve sunk during your career.

That’s also how you determine whether you have achieved a pyrrhic victory if you are sunk. How successful were you?

I do love the charts for the boats and how everything is organized.

But be aware that you will be flipping charts back and forth quite a lot until you really get used to things.

There’s a chart for aircraft encounters. A chart for U-Boat damage if the Escorts start whaling on you. There’s a chart for what type of damage you took and if you can repair it after the encounter.

There’s even multiple charts with the various types of ships you will meet and how much they weigh.

It’s a gluttony of charts!

I have to say that I really enjoyed The Hunted and would probably enjoy it even more if I didn’t feel rushed. I need to sit down where I have ample opportunity to just immerse myself in it.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I bought its sequel, Beneath the Med: Regia Marina at Sea, which is about the Italian submarine navy.

One of these days I will really be able to sit down and absorb everything.

And on that day, Allied shipping had better watch out.

Or maybe I’ll be too much of a fraidy-cat and will just all the ships get away so I get back to base unscathed.

But then that’s not much of a game, is it?

So that’s all of the new stuff I played in April.

I hope to do a bit more in May, but we’ll see!

What new to you games did you play in April?

Let me know in the comments.

5 Comments on “New to Me – April 2021

  1. You need a longer lunch so you can finish a patrol! Glad to see you have rediscovered the narrative driven solitaire wargame . I love them and recently took Silent Victory back out for a play and had a glorious time. Yelling at times, cursing the dice, screaming in joy and despair. My wife came to check on me a few times.

    Liked by 2 people

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