After a month of COVID and other things that kept me from playing any new to me games in April (which was mitigated by the fact that I didn’t post the March article until April was almost over), May was a time to make things better.
May only had 4 new to me games, but it was still a great month because I managed to play 18 games a total of 31 times.
That was amazing!
I have my lunchtime game companions at work to thank for that, along with my normal Sunday game buddies.
Oh, and a couple of quick and random Boardgame Arena games as well.
The Cult of the New to Me wasn’t the happiest group of people, however.
Too many 2021 games! And the oldest game is from 2019.
I was afraid there would be pitchforks and torches, but thankfully they got distracted by Bosch: Legacy streaming in May and I was able to get away.
Being a cult leader is hard sometimes.
So, without further ado (all of my ado was eaten by my neighbour’s pet dog anyway), let’s begin!
Designer: David Short
Artist: Kali Fitzgerald
Dog Lover is a quick-playing card game of set collection and trying to feed your dogs.
This was such a great lunchtime game, just slightly more complex than Cat Lady which also (for me, anyway) makes it better.
Though I’ll play both.
Anyway, check out the review!
Designer: Eric Mosso
Artist: Michael Menzel
Cape May is a game I’ve been fascinated by since I first heard about it a year or two ago. That box cover is beautiful.
But I wasn’t sure about actually buying it.
Fast forward a couple years later and I’m looking for some games to buy and see this one again.
I decided I had to have it.
Players are entrepreneurs in the New Jersey resort town of Cape May, trying to develop the waterfront area, building commercial businesses or possibly Victorian houses (or even landmarks!) in order to gain victory points and earn money.
The time period is supposedly turn of the 20th century, maybe even late 1800s. However, there is an event card that references the Hindenburg, so I’m actually not sure.
The game consists of 12 rounds, with the neat little plastic lighthouse miniature going around the circle at the end of each round.
Each season has three rounds in it, and income will be gained at the end of each season.
At the beginning of each round (except the first), an event card will be drawn that will either give some small bonus or penalty to players, with a bit extra one way or the other if it’s the right season.
The event can also be a bad ongoing effect for the round, like a fire making it more expensive to build something making building cheaper that round.
Each player has a player board that gives them costs for building either cottages or shops along with all of the action possibilities on your turn.
It’s really a great player board, though it is of course thin paper.
The board is divided into four building zones: Gravel, Grass, Dirt and Sand.
As you get closer to the sea, it gets more expensive to build but you get more income.
During your turn each round, you’ll be spending Move cards to move around the board, building or upgrading houses or commercial businesses, playing activity cards that will let you do all of that, getting 3 money, drawing activity cards, or gaining money. You may even have to spend an action to get your discarded Movement cards back if you’re running low.
You have three actions to spend doing all of that.
The activity cards are nice because they may let you “break” the rules by building or upgrading multiple buildings or moving a bunch of spaces.
If you upgrade your shop to a business, you also will get an upgrade card. This will give you either a one-time bonus, once-per-round bonus, or maybe just points at the end of the game.
As you build things, your income will go up, giving you more money to then build more stuff!
After 12 rounds, points are tallied up and whoever has the most points is the winner.
This isn’t a comprehensive description of the game, as there are more things to do.
There is a set collection mechanic where you are going bird-watching, collecting bird tokens.
This is kind of a side activity, but if your endgame bonus cards are bird-related, they could power you to victory like they did me in a game.
The production quality of the game is just beautiful and it looks great on the table.
James loved the game so much that he wanted to play it again the next week (it turned out to be 3 weeks later, but it did get played again).
I really enjoyed it too.
This one will be hitting the table again!
Designers: Tony Miller, John Prather
Artists: Katie Khau, Beth Sobel
Fire in the Library is a push your luck game where players are librarians trying to save books before they burn in the conflagration consuming the library currently.
The library consists of four different kinds of books (this is a limited library, I guess) and they are represented by cubes of the same colour as the cards.
Turns are taken in variable player order, based on the order cards chosen. It’s randomized on the first turn, but subsequently the turn order cards are chosen in order from the player with the fewest VP to the most VP. You can decide to be chancy or safe.
On their turn, players keep choosing cubes from the bag, trying to draw book cubes and place the drawn cube in the next available space on the card.
If you draw a red fire cube and you haven’t reached a “risky” space (a space with fire on it), then you’re fine as long as you haven’t drawn two fire cubes. The second one will make you bust. You will also bust if you draw a fire cube and place it in a risky space.
Players may play Tool cards to help them, either in the drawing phase or when you bust.
If you bust, then for each book cube you have, one of the library cards of that colour is burned (taken out of the game). If a fire symbol is revealed when that happens, another fire cube is added to the bag (it starts with 7 of the 17 available fire cubes).
Once every player has taken their turn, one of the library cards burns, which means no matter what happens the number of rounds in the game is finite.
When the final card of one of the library stacks is revealed, the game is over and any end-game scoring is done.
Whoever has the most points is the winner!
I’m going to be doing a review of this game relatively soon, so I’m not going to go into great detail regarding my feelings for it.
I really enjoyed the game, though, and it’s another perfect lunchtime game.
I just really hate the scoreboard because it’s attached to the box cover. I like to get rid of the box when I’m playing a game because it takes up space, so this is slightly annoying.
Anyway, look out for the review in the next couple of weeks if you want to hear more about this one.
Designer: Fred Serval
Artist: Donal Hegarty
I am a big fan of GMT Games’ Fort Sumter (though it did drop off of my Top 25 list). It’s a great lunch-time game that I have recently played a few games of to help bring a friend of mine into this next game.
Red Flag Over Paris is the second game in the Lunchtime Games series of games and it’s a bit of a step up in complexity from its predecessor.
Which is a good thing, in my book.
The game is about the Rise & Fall of the Paris Commune (hey, that’s in the name of the game! No wonder it sounded familiar). This took place in 1871 just after the end of the Franco-Prussian war and was a struggle between the French Versailles government and the socialist Commune that had taken control of Paris in the war’s aftermath. The Commune basically controlled Paris for 2 months until the Versailles government suppressed them.
Much like Fort Sumter, this is a game of area control of different “crisis dimensions,” but Red Flag Over Paris adds a bit of chrome and asymmetry to the system.
First, there are four crisis dimensions in two different zones: Political (Political Institutions and Public Opinions) and Military (Paris and Forts).
Each player will get 4 cards in each of the three rounds, playing three of them either for their event or for the Operations Points (which will allow them to place cubes or, in a system change, to remove the opponent’s cubes).
They can use the event if it’s the same as their colour (red for the Commune and blue for Versailles). Or they can just use the action points.
Another critical addition, which adds a sort of asymmetry, is that the Momentum track and the cube pools. Versailles can keep as many cubes as they get from the Crisis track but the Commune can only hold cubes in their cube pool if their Momentum allows them to.
In the picture above, you can see that red only has room to store three cubes if the Momentum marker is on 2 (they get an additional cube on 3). That’s it. If they ever have to put a cube in the cube pool and they don’t have room, the cube’s removed from the game.
I also like the two-pronged victory point track (also shown above). The Commune wins by having more political VP (orange) than the Versailles government has military VP (the blue marker).
I mentioned the crisis track above, and it works the same way as in Fort Sumter.
When you need to place cubes, you take them from your cube pool but then you take them from this track. If you “breach” a new area, you can get extra cubes but there may be a cost involved.
One thing I really liked about the game is that now placing cubes (and removing cubes) depends on where you already have cubes, or “presence” and possibly “control” (more cubes than your opponent). You can’t just place cubes willy-nilly anymore.
I only got this to the table once in May, but I plan to do it at least one or two more times in June.
I’m really intrigued by it. We were definitely doing something wrong (tactically, not rules) because my Commune maxed out the military VP (for controlling Paris) while the Versailles player maxed out the political VP.
That’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do!
Anyway, I loved this game and can’t wait to play it again.
And there you go. Not a bad month for new to me games. Only 4, but they were a quality 4.
What new games did you play in May?
Let me know in the comments.