Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #240 – 231

Three weeks.

Yes, that’s three weeks.

Three weeks in a row where I’ve done an entry for the Top 300 games on BGG!

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I know, right? I don’t believe it either!

Anyway, this is the next entry in the Top 300 ranked games on Boardgame Geek.

We’re looking at even more games I haven’t played (though this time I’ve played a few!) and seeing whether or not I even want to play them.

Since I’m kind of a loser and have been remiss in posting these entries, I have to remind you that the list I’m taking these from was downloaded on February 8, 2021 (a long time ago), so many rankings have changed.

I have made note of that when it happened.

I know I’m making light of it, but after the Summer I’ve had, I’m actually very proud that I’ve been pretty consistent with the posting over the last few weeks.

Maybe I’m finally coming out of this.

With that being said, let’s get to the list!

#240 – Vindication (Orange Nebula) – 2018

Designer: Marc Neidlinger

Artists: Quite a few

This is now #247. I guess it had too many bad deeds to really vindicate itself.

Vindication is a game that I’ve never actually heard of. And it just came out a couple of years ago!

Not sure what happened here, but somehow it avoided the hype train.

The game is a strategic fantasy game with some dice-rolling and area control in it.

Ah hell, who am I kidding? Let’s just blurb it:

“Thrown overboard for a life of wretchedness, you wash ashore a hostile island ruins — completely alone with nothing except the breath in your lungs and an undaunted spirit.

Through your advanced resource management, area control tactics, and freeform action selection, you’ll add companions to your party, acquire bizarre relics, attain potent character traits, and defeat a host of unusual monsters in the ultimate goal of mastering heroic attributes — and regaining honor.

You may perform 3 actions on each turn in the order you feel is most advantageous that turn: activate a companion, travel to a new location, and interact with a map tile. Many actions require the the use of your influence to gain attributes in a one-of-a-kind heroic attribute alchemy system, which is leveraged to gain the game’s most powerful rewards. For example, you can meditate at a spire to gain inspiration. You can train at a fort to gain strength. But then you can combine your inspiration and strength to gain the courage (inspired strength) which allows you to perform a bounty hunt.

There are distinctive end-game triggers that can be affected through game play, over 72 unique card abilities that can be merged in unusual ways for potent combinations, and fresh tile placement each game for high replayability.”

It does sound kind of interesting.

So why haven’t I heard about it?

That will be a question I ask for a long time (or at least until I finish this blog post and forget about it).

Anyway, it sounds cool. Anybody have this game and want to teach it to me?

#239 – BattleLore: 2nd Edition (Fantasy Flight Games) – 2013

Designers: Richard Borg, Robert A. Kouba

Artist: Henning Ludvigsen

This is now #252. I guess the magic didn’t hold the bad guys back!

I have a couple of friends (sadly, not close friends as far as location goes) who love the Commands & Colors series of games designed by Borg.

BattleLore is a fantasy game along those lines.

The game takes place in the Fantasy Flight Games fantasy realm of Terrinoth but it has its roots in Borg’s system where you have units positioned on the board and there are three columns on the board.

You can play a card on your turn to activate a certain number of units in one particular column (perhaps you might have a card that spans the columns, but it’s not likely).

You then try to kill the other player.

Not literally, of course!

You don’t want to get blood on your game (unless it’s their game, in which case go for it!).

Oh yeah, I guess there’s that whole “murder is a crime” thing too, which I don’t really pay attention to.

BattleLore adds magic cards (called “Lore”…wait, I get why it’s called BattleLore now!!!) to the game which can give you some advantages during combat.

Let’s blurb it since I’ve never played it.

Prepare for fantasy battles beyond your wildest imagination with the onslaught of BattleLore Second Edition. Set in the fantasy realm of Terrinoth, BattleLore Second Edition is a two-player board game focused on squad-based battles between the hardy defenses of the Daqan Lords garrison in Nordgard Castle and the unleashed ferocity of the demon-worshipping Uthuk Y’llan. You must strategically command your troops and use the power of lore to tip your battles in your favor.

In every game, you will create new maps and scenarios, before mustering a new army for each game, so you can tailor your army to suit your favored play style. Command armies of fearsome warriors and deadly creatures, and lead them against the enemy in this intense game of warfare and military strategy. By seizing victory points from objectives on the battlefield and by eliminating enemy units, a skilled commander can raise his banners as the victor over the borderlands of Terrinoth!

How does it compare to regular Commands & Colors? Since I haven’t played any of them, I don’t really know other than that they use the same 3-column system for activating units.

However, my friend Michal (who is going through Combat Commander: Europe with me right now) is going to introduce me to the classic Commands & Colors: Ancients system once we’re done with Europe and I’m really looking forward to it.

I’ve watched some videos so I have an idea of how it works, but not the intricacies.

Wait, we’re talking about BattleLore, aren’t we?

Well, I’ve played the app a few times. It’s ok, but I think I would get more out of it if I was more familiar with the system.

That being said, Commands & Colors fans that I know do say that BattleLore is almost like the forgotten cousin that nobody wants to deal with.

So there’s that.

Anyway, I’d be willing to try this one. After I’ve had some exposure to the system, maybe I’ll try the app again.

#238 – Antiquity (Splotter) – 2004

Designers: Jeroen Doumen, Joris Wiersinga

Artist: Ynze Moedt

This is now #258, probably because it became too old and decrepit.

Antiquity is a game that I’ve heard of but really know nothing about.

I think this is one of Splotter’s first games (definitely a very early one, at 2004) and I’ve never had a chance to play any of them.

Antiquity is kind of a society-building game based on Italy in the Middle Ages.

Hell, let’s blurb it before saying anymore about it.

Antiquity is a strategy game for 2-4 players. It is set in an environment loosely modeled on Italy in the late Middle Ages. Players choose their own victory condition: they can focus on population growth, trade, conquest, or city building by choosing their patron saint.

Each strategy requires a completely different style of play. Or you can choose to adore Santa Maria, the most powerful saint of all — but you’ll be expected to build a civilization twice as impressive as any other player.

While your economy is constantly improving, with more and more advanced cities bringing new options each turn, the land around your cities is slowly being depleted, forcing you to travel further and further to gather your raw materials — until finally, there is no more land left to farm. Let’s hope one of you has won the game before that time!

That last concept sounds really intriguing. Is that a “the game wins” condition? Or a “the game ends and whoever has done the best without actually succeeding” wins?

In fact, the whole game sounds really interesting, though I can almost tell you now that I would suck at it.

I’d probably get rolled over by the player who went the Conquest route.

Still, it might be fun trying!

I wonder if anybody I know has this?

#237 – Dominion: 2nd Edition (Rio Grande Games) – 2016

Designer: Donald X. Vaccarino

Artists: Matthias Catrein, Julien Delval, Tomasz Jedruszek

This is now #217, which means that somebody got a lot of Provinces!

I’ve been playing some of this with the new Temple Gates beta app (or at least I think it’s 2nd edition, I could be wrong) and it’s pretty good!

I’ve only played the game on the table twice. Once, it was base game Dominion and the guy I played with was very experienced, so it wasn’t a fun experience. The second one was at a convention with a guy who included one (maybe two) expansion cards and it was still a wipe out. I really didn’t see what was exciting about this game.

With the app, I’m a bit more understanding and I think it’s really good (even though I haven’t played the app in a little while, so maybe I should get back to it?)

Dominion is the father of all deck-builders, but I’m not sure what the 2nd edition really does.

Let’s blurb it so maybe I will know!

Dominion (Second Edition) replaces six Kingdom card types from the first edition with six new types of Kingdom cards, while also replacing the blank cards in the game with a seventh new Kingdom card. These new cards are available on their own in the Dominion: Update Pack. The rulebook has been rewritten, three cards have mild functional changes (“you may” added to Moneylender, Mine, Throne Room), and other cards have been rephrased (while remaining functionally the same).”

As a non-Dominion player, that doesn’t really mean a lot to me, but I’m sure it’s good!

I wouldn’t mind trying this again. I love deckbuilders, so maybe this new edition would appeal to me?

I’d like to see.

#236 – Burgle Bros. (Fowers Games) – 2015

Designer: Tim Fowers

Artists: Virginia Critchfield, Ryan Goldsberry, Heiko Günther

This is now #256. I guess that safe got cracked but they didn’t make it to the roof.

Has it really been 6 years since I played this game when it first came out? I guess it has.

I first played this on a Sunday game day when somebody who had (I assume) done the Kickstarter trotted it out and said this was the new great thing.

We played it, we lost, but I could definitely see how this game had potential.

So much potential that when the app version of the game came out, I bought it on day 1.

And even reviewed it.

However, I do have to say that it has an interesting table presence.

There are a number of tiles, but you’re not laying them. Instead, they are all laid face-down at the beginning of the game and then turned over when one of the characters steps on them. You don’t know what you’re getting!

The tiles are laid down in sets of 16 tiles in a 4×4 grid for each floor. Players start on the bottom floor and have to work their way up to the roof.

There’s also a guard on each floor that will be walking the floor on a set path, but once he reaches his destination, he will then choose a different route. You have to watch out for him.

Players are essentially trying to crack a safe and then get away with the loot.

Which is really very very hard.

I don’t think I’ve ever won this game.

The guard’s right there, so don’t trigger that alarm!

But it was a lot of fun trying!

I like the fact that each player is a character with its own special powers. If you can harness them in a good way, maybe you can do better than I can.

The app is awesome (as my review said) but I’d love to play this on the table again.

I like a lot of Fowers’ games, though. Fugitive is a great 2-player game, for example.

I’d love to try the 2nd Burgle Bros sometime but this one is another one I’d like to play again.

#235 – Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage (Valley Games) – 1996

Designer: Mark Simonitch

Artists: Lots!

This is now at #260. I guess Hannibal won in the end.

A wargame designed by Mark Simonitch? I’ve heard great things about his designs but sadly my wargaming is rather lackluster right now (as opposed to when I was much younger).

While I haven’t played this one, I do own (but it’s sitting in our Blaine, Washington post box waiting for us to be able to cross the border) Caesar: Rome vs Gaul, which is supposed to be a bit of a reimplementation of the game.

I have played Caesar online, though! Michal agreed to play it with me, and proceeded to kick my ass with both sides (yes, I wasn’t much of a wargamer when we did this).

I’ve heard interesting things about the Hannibal game, though. From what some people have said, Caesar reimplements the combat system to great effect, though some people do prefer the original.

I wouldn’t know!

Let’s blurb it since, you know, I haven’t actually played this one:

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage is an asymmetrical card driven game for 2 players set in times of epic struggle between ancient Rome and Carthage. It presents a conflict between two super-powers of Antiquity from classical Clausewitzian perspective, according to which a power only reverts to military operations when there is no other way to achieve the goal: political dominance.

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage has been designed by one of the most acclaimed designers in the World, Mark Simonitch. Players use Strategy Cards for multiple purposes: moving generals, levying new troops, reinforcing existing armies, gaining political control of the provinces involved in the war, and introducing historical events. When two armies meet on the battlefield, a second set of cards, called Battle Cards, are used to determine the winner. Ultimately both players seek victory by dominating both fronts: military and political.”

Caesar gets rid of the battle cards, which some people like and some people hate.

I’d like to try this one just to compare.

The possible 200 minute playtime kind of makes me think it’s not going to happen, even at a convention. But you never know!

#234 – The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire (Minion Games) – 2016

Designers: Tom Jolly, Luke Laurie

Artists: Josh Cappel, Jeffrey Edwards

This is now #240, probably because of a huge energy drain during peak time periods.

The Manhattan Project has always sounded like a cool worker placement game that I just never had the opportunity to play.

The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is a standalone game in the same universe but it seems to be along the same lines.

I haven’t played it, so let’s blurb it (as I continue my quest to make “blurb” a noun):

From the ashes of war, nations rise to power in the atomic age. Each player takes control of a nation struggling for power in the latter part of the 20th century. They build up their nation’s industry, commerce, and government by acquiring resources, building structures, and tapping sources of energy. The price of oil is going up, and nuclear energy is the wave of the future. The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is set in the same “universe” as The Manhattan Project, but it’s a standalone game, not an expansion.

The major threat in Energy Empire is not war, but uncertain global impacts, that result from side effects of industrialization and pollution. Many actions come with a cost. So, as nations become more industrious, they also increase the amount of pollution in the environment. Careful use of science can mitigate the harmful effects of industry, and can also help avert global crises.

Energy Empire uses worker placement, tableau-building, and resource management mechanics. On each turn, a player can choose to either work or generate. On a work turn, a player plays a single worker on the main board, then uses workers and energy to activate cards in their tableau. Players may spend energy to use an occupied space on the main board, so no spaces are ever completely blocked. On a generate turn, players get to renew their supply of energy by rolling “energy dice” that represent nuclear, coal, oil, solar, and other forms of energy.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the original game. Not so much about this one (not bad things, just not heard much about it).

It sounds interesting, though.

Worker placement is always an interesting mechanic.

Anybody played this?

Anybody want to teach it to me?

#233 – Imperial 2030 (Rio Grande Games) – 2009

Designer: Mac Gerdts

Artist: Alexander Jung

This is now #253. Somebody must not have given out enough money to make a difference.

Another game I haven’t played. Really, I have to wonder why I’m doing these lists when I haven’t played many of them!

Gerdts always gets a bit of leeway with me because of Concordia so this game does sound interesting to me.

It’s almost a pure economic game, though, so that’s a bit of a strike against it.

Yet it still sounds intriguing.

Let’s blurb (yay! One more entry in the attempt to make this a verb)

“In this game it is not the players who take turns, but the six powers, one after another. The players are just internationally operating investors who act in the background. By giving money to the six powers, which all have their own treasuries, the players influence the politics. The biggest investor in each nation gains control of that nation’s government and decides what the nation will do. As control of a government can change with each new investment, players may control several governments at the same time. As investors, players should not get too attached to their preferred nation, but rather focus on where their investments have the best rates of return. Essentially the game is about money, and not about military domination!”

The description of this game makes no sense to me, but I’ve heard good things about it.

One can hope that maybe some day this will appear on a table in front of me and I can learn it.

(A fancy way of saying “will somebody teach this to me?”)

One can hope!

#232 – Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan (Z-Man Games) – 2019

Designers: Simone Luciani, Daniele Tascini

Artists: Dennis Lohausen

This is now #167! Somebody got a lot of jade and was able to get a good price for it.

I really enjoyed the first Marco Polo game but I always had trouble moving around the board.

The second game in the series, Marco Polo II, makes things a bit easier in that regard but still adds a bunch of interesting decisions that may make you not move around much.

I have played this twice plus a couple of asynchronous games on Boardgame Arena and I have to say that I enjoy this version much more than the first.

I did talk about the game in a bit of detail when I first played it, so go there if you want more of a “what is this game?’

Marco Polo II
Having the Jeweler’s Seal will make traveling to Baghdad easier and more lucrative.

It’s not as tight in its movement. It’s not easy, and you still have to decide how much you want to move and where.

But the chaining mechanism for resources and dice and all of that just makes a bit more sense to me.

I also like the Jade resource and how it can be used in so many different ways.

My first game, I almost won against somebody who is a serious gamer (ok, I am too, but I’m also not very good)

Subsequent plays, maybe not as much. But I still really enjoy it.

I’ll play this game any time somebody suggests it (unless somebody better is being offered, of course, since this isn’t actually in my Top 25).

#231 – Tapestry (Stonemaier Games) – 2019

Designer: Jamey Stegmaier

Artists: Andrew Bosley, Rom Brown

This is now #238. Not much of a fall, but its territory must have been conquered.

Tapestry is a game that I’ve only played once, though I’m now in an asynchronous game on Boardgame Arena since it’s in Alpha there. I’m enjoying it!

I played it at SHUX 2019 (sadly, the last SHUX there has been until probably 2022 *sad face*) and it was kind of fun.

(If you want a more detailed “how to play,” go to that post as I’m not going to do much of it here).

We did play it before a lot of the civilization tweaks were issued, so maybe that was the problem.

But I know I wasn’t that impressed with our play, as one of the civilizations just ran away with the whole thing.

The only reason those buildings are there instead of on the Capital is because I was the Nomads. They normally don’t go there.

The game basically consists of you either advancing on one of the four tracks or taking an “income” turn which allows you to collect all of your resource income and play one of your Tapestry cards that will either have an immediate effect or an effect during your next round.

The Nomads did things normally. No steam engine before discovering how the stars work!

Advancing on the tracks will give you stuff, and maybe let you put buildings out on your Capital board (and also opens up slots so that you will get more income next time around).

I was the warmonger in our game, the Red one that’s just ahead of the blue marker out of frame of the picture.

It’s an interesting concept, and maybe the civilization tweaks have made it a bit more palatable. I haven’t played with those and I don’t know if the BGA implementation has them or not.

I would like to play it again to see whether I would enjoy it more. I’m enjoying my BGA game, even if it is turn-based and thus we don’t have a lot of “flow” to the game.

Count me as undecided on this one.

So there you have it. Another entry in the Top 300 games on BGG.

What do you think of these games? Have you played them? Do you like any of them? Any that you would like to drop into a nuclear reactor?

Let me know in the comments.

Posts in this Series


14 Comments on “Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #240 – 231

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  7. I’ve played two of these: Hannibal is a pretty good game overall (can’t compare to Caesar which I haven’t played) – there can be amazing games, but sometimes it gets a bit static when the Romans manage to block Hannibal with a doomstack (which he does not dare to attack because all his genius is not likely to overcome twice his numbers; and the Romans can’t strike either because their army is too huge for actual operations).
    I also played a few turns of Imperial 2030, which I found fun and my friend didn’t – for the same reason, that is, controlling an investor with a stake in several countries rather than one country. Taste differ…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clio!

      I’ve heard that about Hannibal, which may be why the system was streamlined in Caesar. Not sure, since I haven’t played the other one.

      I do know Caesar can form quite the doomstack in that game, though the Celts have a bit of an edge because they can kind of hang back a bit and not fall into that trap.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Boardgame Geek Top 300 – Play or Played – #230-221 – Dude! Take Your Turn!

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  11. Only 2/10 for me, but as you may imagine, one of them C&C: Battle Lore 2nd edition and Dominion. BL was kind a filler for the Middle Ages, but since Medieval is out (and its expansion in works) there is no need to come back to fantasy world anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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