It was a close one this week.
Yes, I almost didn’t get this post done so that it would post this week at all.
That would break my streak and we know that we can’t have that.
But here it is!
We’re three episodes away from finishing the series, and my plan is to have it done by early October at the latest.
Let’s see if we can keep it up.
Am I going to do the Top 400?
I admit that these list posts were a way, during the pandemic, to actually get some content on here and keep me writing, or else this would have been a dead blog many months ago.
Now that I’m actually gaming again, I hope not to have to rely on stuff like this.
Hopefully, the next “Top 10” will be my Top 10 (or 5 if I haven’t played that many) games played this year.
And also, I think I’ve played enough games now and by the end of the year that I can do an updated Top 25 games played of all time.
That will be fun.
Anyway, let’s get to this week’s list.
#230 – Alien Frontiers (Clever Mojo Games) – 2010
Designer: Tory Niemann
Artists: Piotr Burzykowski, Karim Chakroun, Ross Grams, Mark Maxwell
This is now #249. That damned polarization field!!!!
We start with a game I’ve actually played! Twice! Though those plays were almost 4 years apart.
Alien Frontiers has some dice-rolling, has some area control, and has some dice placement.
It’s a cornucopia of mechanisms!
Players are trying to colonize a planet and they are rolling (and placing) dice to aid them in doing that.
There are a number of places that you can place your dice, and each one gives you something.
The dice are your spaceships, and you will be rolling them and then placing them on the board to do various things.
Some spaces require dice of certain values, other spaces will give you resources based on the value of the dice.
The little plastic pieces are actually quite fun.
You will be trying to place those little domes on the planet, controlling an area of the planet. Each area, if you control it, gives you some kind of bonus.
It’s not my favourite game, as can be shown by the 4-year gap in playing it. But I definitely won’t turn it down unless there’s something that I’ve been dying to play on offer along with it.
There are ways to mitigate the dice (which is almost mandatory in these types of dice games) and it’s an intriguing puzzle.
I actually won my game at CascadeCon 2020, so that was a bonus.
Funnily enough, I’ve been working on this post for about a week. Last Sunday, I actually played a couple of the expansions, with the Agendas, Factions, and Outer Belt.
More on that in my “New to Me” post at the beginning of October, but suffice it to say that I liked them!
And that’s pretty much the extent of games I’ve played. It’s all downhill from here, folks.
You’ve been warned.
Designers: Jeroen Doumen, Joris Wiersinga
Artists: Jeroen Kesselaar, Ynze Moedt
This is now #248. It’s an economic game, so I must have been playing it…
After having Splotter’s first game (I think) on the list last week, Indonesia is their second game (I think).
Sadly, I have never played it, which adds to my track record of never having played a Splotter game even though it has been to a game day or convention day before.
At least I think it has.
I honestly don’t know (Editor – There’s that stellar research that you’re known for).
Anyway, Indonesia is an economic game about…well, Indonesia (I know that took a lot of brain power!)
Let’s blurb it since I’ve never played it.
“Indonesia is a game in which two to five players build up an economy, trying to acquire the most money. Players acquire production companies, which produce goods (rice, spices, microwaveable meals, rubber, and oil), and shipping companies, which deliver goods to cities. As cities receive goods, they grow, increasing their demands. Production companies earn money for each good delivered to a city, up to the city’s capacity, but they must pay shipping companies for the distance traveled, even if they end up losing money. Players can research advantages, like greater shipping capacity or the ability to merge companies, possibly stealing ownership of lucrative plantations or shipping routes by buying out other players.”
I honestly have no idea if I would enjoy this game or bounce off of it so hard that I get a concussion.
Or maybe both?
Anyway, I wouldn’t be averse to trying it.
Just let me get a couple of whiskeys downed first.
Designer: Corey Konieczka
Artists: A lot!
This is now #245. Quite the fall, but maybe it was just bad runes.
I honestly have never even seen this game in the wild, though I have heard of it.
There’s some area control, there’s some player conflict, and I have to admit that the Boardgame Geek description is seriously lacking in details so I don’t know much about the game.
what I do know see on BGG:
“Runewars is an epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires for two to four players. Runewars pits players against each other in a strategic game of battles and area control, where they must gather resources, raise armies, and lay siege to heavily fortified cities.”
What does that mean?
I don’t know!
Does it sound cool?
Yes, it definitely does.
Would some kind soul show this to me at a convention?
You know, now that we can (maybe) go to those again?
Sorry for the brief description, but I honestly don’t know what to do with this one.
Designer: Matthias Cramer
Artists: Jason Coates, Hendrik Noack
This is now #194! Must be that Scottish blood.
This one I’ve (kind of) played. I’ve played the first game.
Ok, that may be nothing like this second game, so maybe it’s not relevant.
According to BGG, this second game is a sequel to the first, “expanding the gameplay substantially compared to the original game.”
I am intrigued.
I do like the mechanism that the person in back on the turn order line takes the action, and advances some distance on the track. If they’re still last, they get to go again.
That much I remember from the first one.
Let’s blurb this sequel, though:
“The core mechanism of Glen More II: Chronicles and Glen More functions the same way: The last player in line takes a tile from a time track, advancing as far as they wish on this track. After paying the cost, they place this tile in their territory, with this tile activating itself and all neighboring tiles, triggering the production of resources, movement points, VPs, etc. Then the player who is last in line takes their turn.
Improvements over the original Glen More include bigger tiles, better materials, new artwork, the ability for each player to control the end of the game, and balancing adjustments to the tiles for a better suspense curve. The game is designed to consist of one-third known systems, one-third new mechanisms, and one-third improvements to Glen More.
The “Chronicles” in the title — a set of eight expansions to the base game — are a major part of these new mechanisms. Each Chronicle adds a new gameplay element to the base game. The “Highland Boat Race” Chronicle, for example, tells the story of a boat race in which the winner needs to be the first to reach their home castle after navigating their boat along the river through all the other players’ territories. The “Hammer of the Scots” Chronicle adds a neutral “Englishman” playing piece to the time track that players struggle to control to get an additional turn — if they can afford him, that is, as he is paid using the market mechanism. All Chronicles can be freely combined, although designer Matthias Cramer suggests that players use only one or two unless they want a “monster game”.
Another major change to the game is the ability to invest in famous Scottish people of the time, who are represented through a new “person” tile type. Persons not only have their own scoring, they also trigger one-time or ongoing effects on the tactical clan board. This adds a new layer of decision making, especially since the ongoing effects allow players to focus on a personal strategy of winning through the use of the clan board.”
It does sound intriguing!
I enjoyed the first one well enough. I’d love to give the second one a try.
Designer: Mac Gerdts
Artists: Marina Fahrenbach, Mac Gerdts
This is now #241. It must be the lack of randomness that’s making it fall.
This is another Mac Gerdts game! I love Concordia.
Would I love Navegador?
Let’s blurb it and see!
“This game is inspired by the Portuguese Age of Discoveries in the 15th-16th century. Players take actions such as contracting men, acquiring ships and buildings, sailing the seas, establishing colonies in discovered lands, trading goods on the market, and getting privileges.
Each player starts with only two ships and three workers and tries to expand his wealth.
There are several undiscovered lands that allow players, once discovered, to found some colonies there. Colonies exist in different places where sugar, gold and spices are available and can be sold to the market to make some money. Money is used to build ships, erect buildings such as factories, shipyards and churches, and to get workers. Workers are necessary to found colonies or to acquire buildings and privileges, which exist in five categories and therefore encourage players to follow different strategies competing with each other.
At the end of the game the player who is most successful in combining his privileges with his achievements (colonies, factories, discoveries, shipyards, and churches) is the winner.
Hmmmm…establishing colonies in the New World might be problematic nowadays.
Other than that, sounds like another Age of Exploration euro game and not knowing anything else about it, I honestly can’t say whether I would like it or not.
It’s fairly highly ranked, so maybe?
I’d have to try it once.
Designers: Matthias Cramer, Stefan Malz and Louis Malz
Artist: Michael Menzel
This has slipped to #232, which is pretty cool considering all competing stuff coming out.
Yeah, this game would probably be jumping the charts if the new Deluxe Edition was actually using the same BGG page as the original.
Because from what I’ve heard, the new edition is…
Anyway, I haven’t played Rococo like, ever, so I have no idea what the fuss is about.
A number of people I like and respect do like the game, though, so maybe there’s something there?
One of the few games I know about fashion and the 18th Century in Europe (because there are a lot of games that aren’t about fashion in 18th Century Europe), the theme seems to draw a lot of people in.
Of course, it also tends to drive some people away, but those people maybe just aren’t comfortable in their own skin and can’t admit that they’d like a fashion game.
Especially since it’s a fashion Euro game.
Let’s blurb it since I’ve never played it.
“Rokoko is a Eurostyle board game with an interesting take on deck-building. Each turn you play one of your employee cards and let that employee perform a task: hire a new employee, buy resources, manufacture a coat or dress, or invest in the ball’s decorations. But not every employee is up to every task, so you must choose and lead your employees wisely — especially since each employee grants a unique bonus and some of these bonuses generate prestige points.
After seven rounds, the game ends with the big ball and a final scoring. Then you gain prestige points for certain employee bonuses and for coats and dresses that you rent out to guests at the ball as well as for decorations that you funded. The player who collected the most prestige points wins.”
I’d definitely like to try this one.
A bit of deck-building? I love deck-building hybrids and a bunch of people I respect like it, so of course I want to try it.
Maybe one day?
Maybe when I can drive across the border and attend a con?
Designers: Inka Brand, Markus Brand
Artists: Silvia Christoph, Michaela Kienle, Franz Vohwinkel
This has slipped to #244. Probably because it’s too hard!
Or maybe not.
One thing I have never really seen the appeal of is Escape Rooms and their board/card game equivalents. I don’t mind puzzles (I even enjoy crosswords) but for some reason the idea of solving a bunch of puzzles just to successfully complete a room or a game just hasn’t really appealed to me.
Enter the Exit: the Game series (and a bunch of other ones that so far haven’t shown up on these lists yet).
This is just one of the many different Exit games and they’re all supposed to be really good.
Hell, this one (and maybe this series?) is designed by Inka and Markus Brand, the duo behind the wonderful Village game that I do love a lot.
Let’s blurb this one since I obviously haven’t played it.
“Everyone meant to use the cabin only as a shelter for the night, but come the morning the door has been secured by a combination lock, with no one knowing the combination of numbers that will let them leave. The windows are barred as well. An enigmatic spinning code dial and a mysterious book is all that you have to go on. Can you escape from this abandoned cottage?
In Exit: The Game – The Abandoned Cabin, players must use their team spirit, creativity, and powers of deduction to crack codes, solve puzzles, collect objects, and earn their freedom bit by bit.”
It sounds kind of cool, but my brain doesn’t really work on timed puzzles and I think these games are timed (though you obviously don’t have to play them that way).
Chalk this up to a game or series that I definitely think are well-produced and designed, so no knock on the Brands or anything.
But it’s just not for me.
I might change my tune if I played it with somebody, but I’m not going to seek it out.
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artists: Roland MacDonald, Rodger B. MacGowan, Mark Simonitch
This one is now #235. The bastards ahead of the game must have played a royal flush.
Battle Line is apparently a Knizia classic, though I admit that I’ve never played it.
It’s totally a card game where you are trying to form poker-style hands on one side of a “battle line” (hey, I get where the title came from!) in order to try and win a total of 5 (out of 9) flags, or perhaps three flags that are adjacent.
Let’s blurb this since again it’s something I’ve never played (that is becoming too common in this list):
“Two opponents face off across a ‘battle line’ and attempt to win the battle by taking 5 of 9 flags or 3 adjacent flags. Flags are decided by placing cards into 3 card poker-type hands on either side of the flag (similar to straight flush, 3 of a kind, straight, flush, etc). The side with the highest ‘formation’ of cards wins the flag.
This is a rethemed version of Schotten Totten with different graphics and wooden flag bits in place of the boundary stone cards. Game play is identical, except the cards run from 1 to 10 (not 9), you hold seven cards in your hand (not 6), and the rule that stones may only be claimed at the start of your turn is presented as an “advanced variant”. Also the tactics cards were introduced by Battle Line; these cards were only added to later editions of Schotten-Totten.”
It’s supposedly dead simple to play and I’m sure many of my Twitter followers have already played it (and hopefully will chime in!)
I haven’t had the chance, though. I’d love to do it. It sounds right up my alley.
Designer: Colby Dauch
Artists: JJ Ariosa, Gary Simpson
This has fallen to #243, which doesn’t really seem very masterly, does it?
Summoner Wars just had a recent reimplementation of the app that I haven’t actually joined.
I did play the original app, though, and it was…ok.
Ok, the app was great, but I bounced off this game so hard that I think I need somebody to teach it to me on the table.
I got what I was supposed to be doing but I couldn’t get how I was supposed to get there.
It’s a 2-player (it says 2-4 player but I have trouble picturing 3-4 people playing this) card game masterpiece from what I understand, so I would love to get there myself.
The Master Set is apparently a reimplementation of the older version of the game, but it came out in 2011 so I’m not sure exactly how that works.
Would somebody please sell me on this game in the comments?
Designers: Jonathan Gilmour, Isaac Vega
Artists: Joshua Panelo, David Richards, Fernanda Suárez, Peter Wocken
This has fallen to #239. A zombie got into the camp!
This is a standalone expansion to the classic zombie “possible hidden traitor” game Dead of Winter (which I have played).
It can be played as an expansion or by itself, which is pretty cool.
Let’s blurb this version since I haven’t played it, but it sounds like gameplay is largely the same as the original (but with new cards and a new colony, and possibly new things you can do!)
“The game has players at a new colony location trying to survive with new survivors against brand new challenges. Can you handle being raided by members of other colonies? Will you explore more and unravel the mysteries of the Raxxon pharmaceutical location to find powerful items but release stronger enemies? Or will you upgrade your colony to help it better withstand the undead horde? These are all choices you will get to make in this new set, and if you want, you can mix in the survivors and cards from the original set to increase the variety even more.”
I enjoyed my two plays of the original. I’m not good at social deduction type games (this isn’t really social deduction, but it is a “suss out if one of the other players is a traitor” type cooperative game) but they are still fun.
I really love the Crossroads cards and how another player will draw one for you on your turn. If you do something that triggers the card, then they will stop you and read it and you have to make decisions on what to do.
The BGG page says it’s part of the Dead of Winter series and Dead of Winter is a “Crossroads” game, so I assume it still uses them.
I liked the first one so would definitely love to play this one.
Maybe at a convention.
Wow, this series is starting to bog down in blurbs because I haven’t played any of the games. Only one in this one, with a couple of app plays as well.
What is wrong with these people? Why can’t they rank games I’ve played?
Anyway, let me know what you think of these 10 games. Have you played them? Do you like any of them? Should they be zombie food?
Let me know in the comments.