June 2022 was a weird month.
For the most part, things are going ok, especially compared to last year.
But there are so many bad things going on the world that it’s still really stressful.
Plus, I’m on vacation the entire month of July (Yay!) and things at work have been very hectic (boo!), so it was almost like I was trying to drag myself over the finish line to get to vacation.
But as for games, there were a lot of games played!
And plenty of new to me games. We have a grand total of 5, and there probably could have been more if I had wanted there to be.
Instead, though, I spent the final Sunday of the month playing two games that I love and that I haven’t played for years!
I really love Prodigals Club, so much so that it’s still on my Top 25 even though I haven’t played it in 4 years.
Until this month!
I will have to do a review of that game soon, now that I have a fresh play of it.
That was definitely a fun day.
Another definition of a fun day is that the Cult of the New to Me actually gave me some compliments!
That’s because two of the five new to me games I played this month are from 2016 or earlier.
That’s the exact opposite of the New to Me folks who must play the new hotness instead of revisiting very cool old stuff!
I have a 2016 game and a 2000 game.
They are content.
Of course, that could be because I sprung for a bunch of KFC hot wings for lunch multiple times this month.
Mmmmmm they are so good.
(I know that this picture won’t get me the same amount of hits as chocolate chip cookies, but I’m not that kind of blogger anyway)
Anyway, without further ado (all of my ado was eaten by a sand worm anyway), let’s begin!
Designer: Paul Dennen
Artists: Clay Brooks, Raul Ramos, Nate Storm
Being a huge fan of Clank in Space, I’m not sure Paul Dennen can do any wrong whatsoever.
During the pandemic lockdowns, Dune: Imperium became a hit and it’s a game that I ended up buying during the lockdowns.
But since I wasn’t sure how it played 2-player, and I wasn’t sure about getting it to the table with my wife, it languished in my “to be played” pile for a long time.
Until June happened, anyway.
And it’s actually very good!
Does it belong in the BGG Top 100? I’m not sure, but I do know I enjoyed it (and now that’s another BGG Top 100 game I’ve played).
Dune: Imperium is a worker placement/deck-building game where you play cards to allow your agents (or workers) to go to places on the board to get you stuff.
After you’ve placed all of your agents, the rest of your cards are played to let you do other things, including buying new cards to enhance your deck.
At the end of each round, there is a conflict which will net the winner some cool stuff, the runner-up some not quite so cool stuff, and (if you’re playing 4-players, which I haven’t yet) the third place player some really not quite so cool stuff.
Each player is a character from the Dune movie/book (the artwork is from the movie) and each leader gives you a bit of a special ability.
The Beast give you additional starting resources and also lets you add troops to your barracks when you play your Signet Ring card (but only when you play it to send an agent somewhere).
Here are a bunch of the cards in the Market Row that you can buy, but I’ll use these to explain how they work when you play them.
If you play Lady Jessica to place an agent (in one of the four types of spaces allowed by the card, the yellow triangle, blue circle, etc), then you will also get to draw 2 cards (the green cards symbol).
Certain cards will allow you to go to certain types of spaces. If you don’t have any of those cards in your hand, then you can’t go to those spaces on the board.
The spaces will allow you to do a bunch of different things, depending on what they are.
If the card you play to place an agent has the Fremen symbol above, then you can go to one of the two spaces to increase your influence with the Fremen (one of them will cost a water to place troops in your barracks while the other one will give you water).
The game goes until either somebody has gained 10 VP or the last conflict has been resolved (there are 13 conflict cards in the game).
I don’t think it will ever end because the conflict cards run out, though in our game that almost happened!
I loved the deckbuilding aspect of the game, and how it combined with the worker placement aspect.
There are also Intrigue cards which can help you during the game (and three, I believe, cards that will actually give you endgame victory points, all of which are a matter of great debate on BGG).
I made great use of the Staged Incident Intrigue card in our game. I was going to be last place in a conflict, so I used “Staged Incident” to just get a victory point and concede the conflict.
That’s still a win!
The card play in the game is interesting. There aren’t a lot of ways to thin your deck by banishing cards from it, but there are some.
I like the “agent” turns and then the “reveal” turns (where you buy cards and figure out your conflict strength), and the decisions you have to make in regards to playing cards during the agent turns. Maybe there’s a card that has some really good reveal abilities, but you need to go to the space it allows you to go to and you don’t have any other card that has that space.
It’s always interesting!
The conflict could be seen as “take that,” but it’s really more of an “area majority” mechanic, done each turn. You can deploy troops to it, but it’s really “who has the most combat factors this turn.” There’s no real conflict between players other than that.
I have only played it the one time so far, and that time was kind of hurried by when I had to leave our game day so I’m not sure I appreciated the end game as much as I should have.
I’m really looking forward to playing it again when I’m not pressed for time and I can really enjoy it.
Is there not enough deck thinning in the game, like some people claim?
I don’t know yet.
However, I do understand why this is already in the BGG Top 100 and I will need a couple more plays before I will know whether I agree with that or not.
For my first play, though, I really enjoyed it!
D-Day Dice – 2nd Edition (2019 – Word Forge Games) – 1 play
Designer: Emmanuel Aquin
Artist: Dominik Kasprzycki
D-Day Dice is a cooperative World War II game that simulates the D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches in 1944.
However, there are lots of dice.
I mean, a lot of dice.
This is not a “true” wargame though there are definitely aspects in the game.
Players represent the varied Allied nationalities who stormed the beaches. There are Americans, British, Canadians and the Free French and each nationality has a little bit of a different ability.
You are trying to get from the beach up to the pillbox (and different maps may have different endgame requirements, but we only played the training mission).
Each turn, you roll your dice, Yahtzee-style (3 times, keeping dice you want and rerolling the rest) to try to get more troops, points to get more equipment or bonuses, or maybe “courage” that will let you advance up the map.
Each nationality does have their own player aid card.
The RWB bonuses will be different for each one.
What is RWB?
Each side has six dice: two blue, two white and two red.
The RWB bonuses are when you roll a symbol on one of each coloured dice.
Moving forward on the map costs soldiers (heck, even staying in place costs soldiers!), so you’d better keep getting more with your dice rolls (which doesn’t really seem realistic, but hell, this is a dice game!).
You can buy one-time use equipment cards which will help you storm the beach. These can give you bonuses or perhaps lessen the fire you take at the end of your turn.
It’s actually a fairly fun game, at least through the training scenario.
James, who brought the game to our game day, mentioned how the training scenario actually seemed really easy but then when you play the first “real” scenario, you get your butt kicked.
I’d like to see my ass get kicked by that!
It’s a fun little push your luck game, fully cooperative in that if you are in the same sector on the map you can trade stuff with other players.
The game doesn’t end until all players have fulfilled the objective, but that’s ok too.
I didn’t really get the “oh no, I’m under fire and we’re going to die on the beach!” vibe from D-Day Dice, but it is a fun little game that maybe (depending on the scenario, I guess) might outstay its welcome.
Our training scenario only took an hour. If that’s standard, then this could be a fun semi-filler.
Any more than that, and it might be a little too much.
But we’ll see!
I’d like to play it again.
Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
Artists: Doris Matthäus, Anne Pätzke, Chris Quilliams, Franz-Georg Stämmele, Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
This is the game that will keep my fellow cult members off my back for at least a month!
Yes, Carcassonne is a game from 2000. While I have played it a bunch of times via the app version on my iPad, I’ve never actually played it on the table.
Until this month.
So now I have “officially” played it!
We played with the River expansion, which I believe now comes with it (but maybe not?). A co-worker who doesn’t really play games plays this with her husband, and she brought it to work for us to play with her as well.
And it was fun!
Played with River expansion, which may now come with the base game? Not sure about that.
Anyway, on your turn you draw a tile and then place it out on the table connected to one of the other tiles.
You then decide if you want to place one of your meeples on the tile, either in a city (a segment of which you just placed) or on a field, or maybe a road.
You get points for completed roads or cities, but the big endgame scoring is the fields. Those meeples you put on the fields are stuck there until the end of the game and you don’t get more.
So don’t overdo it!
It can be a bit of a cutthroat game as you don’t want to be placing tiles to help an opponent. You also might place a tile in a way so that you will take the score that your opponent would have had.
At the end, you have a beautiful play space on the table and you see how many points you all have. Even if you didn’t complete a city or a road, you get points for how many tiles are in that city/road, so that’s not bad.
Maybe not as many points for the city as you would have if you’d completed it.
But at least it’s not nothing.
This was a fun one that I wouldn’t mind playing again. It helps that it was from a co-worker who we would like to encourage to play with us more often, but even without that it was a fun game.
I can see the appeal.
That being said, I’ve played the app for years so it’s not like I’m completely unfamiliar with it.
I think I do prefer the app, but on the table is certainly acceptable!
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Artist: Stephan Lorenz
Mille Fiori is a relatively new Reiner Knizia game and like most of his games, there are a bunch of scoring opportunities that make it so you have to decide what will be the best path for you.
Ostensibly, players are glass manufacturers who are trying to make the best glass and ship it out of…somewhere. I know there’s shipping in this game.
Each of the locations represents some aspect of the glass manufacturing process, whether it’s the workshops where it’s made, the houses where it’s installed, or perhaps the trade shops where it’s sold!
Or there’s the harbor where it will be going elsewhere.
Each player will have a bunch of translucent diamonds that they will be placing on the board based on the cards they have.
The card you play will tell you where to place your diamond, but then the rest of those cards will be passed to an opponent, so think wisely!
When you place the diamond on the board, where you place it can matter too. The card will tell you what general area you are placing it, but you decide the specific space.
You will get points if you can chain pieces in the pattern on the card.
Not only do you get points for patterns (my orange pieces above got points for their configuration), you also get bonus points once you have placed pieces on all of the symbols in each section! In the picture above, I received 20 bonus points due to covering all three symbols.
The game will last a set number of rounds based on the cards in play.
Each section of the board will score points differently, so it’s definitely a mish mash of scoring possibilities, and you have to make sure you don’t spread yourself too thin.
One thing I definitely noticed in this game is that there are great swings within it. There were times where I was sure that I was doing terribly, and then I placed a piece that ended up getting me 25 points and suddenly I was in the lead. Then it looked like I was comfortably in the lead until somebody else made a big move.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a game this swingy.
This is a game where you definitely need to plan ahead, but the cards won’t let you do that.
You don’t know what you will be getting from your opponent from turn to turn.
The game is beautiful, as you can see from these pictures.
I also found it very intriguing.
Whether or not I want to play it again depends on how I feel on a particular day.
If I’m in the mood for something that tactical and swingy, this definitely fits the bill!
But some days it may be too much for my brain.
I felt like I was on a roller coaster and I couldn’t get off.
It definitely is a good game that, under the right circumstances, I would definitely like to play again.
Designer: Kalle Malmioja
Artists: Ossi Hiekkala, Jere Kasanen
I first heard about Honshu when it came out in 2016, and I thought about getting it but ended up not doing so.
Come a year or two later, during a math trade, and I decided to trade one (or maybe 2!) of my games for it. I thought it might be a good game for lunchtime at work.
But it never got played.
And then the pandemic hit and I wasn’t at work for 18 months. It languished on my shelf there all that time.
Until finally, in June, I decided to try it again and I had two willing
victims co-workers who would play it with me.
And believe it or not, it’s a lot of fun!
It’s essentially a tableau-building (in a sense) trick-taking game (in a way).
Wow, that sounds confusing.
But it all works, actually.
Players are lords and ladies in medieval Japan who are trying to build up the most prestigious areas.
Each player starts with one province card that has a series of different terrain types. Each one should have a production resource that can be placed on it.
Once you have your starting province card, each player (beginning with the first player) will place a card out for the “trick.” If they want, they can spend one resource that’s on their map to increase the value of the card they place by 60.
For example, the bottom card in the picture above has the value 33. If you spend a resource, you can make that card be a 93 value.
Other players then play a card as well, and they can spend a resource too. But it has to be the same coloured resource that the original player spent. They can’t spend a different colour.
After all players have played a card, whoever has the highest value card can then choose which of the cards to take an put that card into their map. They are also “first player” in the next round.
In fact, the next round’s card placement order is determined by the value of the cards in the previous round.
When you place a card into your map, you can place it so it goes under or over at least one square of a card that’s already in your map.
There are a couple of rules, such as the fact that lakes can’t be covered at all. But otherwise, you can overlap however you want to do it.
This goes for 12 rounds (first deal 6 cards, then play 3 and then give the remaining 3 to the player on your left, then deal 6 more cards, play 3 and give the remaining cards away).
Once 12 rounds are complete, you total up the score of your map.
You score a certain number of points per square in your largest town, a certain number of points for connected lakes, etc.
If the map card you place in your city has a production square, you put that coloured resource there.
If you haven’t used the resource to increase the value of a card you’ve played, and if you have a factory that uses that resource, you will get points for it if you haven’t used the resource.
This is a really interesting game that I would like to explore further.
There are game end scoring cards that will modify the points you get, but we didn’t use them. We just used the main game scoring and it was tight!
The game end scoring may open things up, or give you a direction that you want to go when you’re building your map.
We got side-tracked with people being away and the new Space Base expansion, so we haven’t explored this game further.
But I would like to.
So there you have it. Five new to me games in June!
Hopefully July will be just as good, though I’m on vacation so I won’t be playing any lunchtime games. That will seriously degrade the number of games I play in July (June has a massive 25 plays of 18 games!).
The Sunday game days should hopefully rectify that somewhat, though.
Have you played any of these games? What do you think of them?
What new to you games did you play in June?
Let me know in the comments.
Category: Board Games, New to MeTags: Area Majority, Carcassonne, Card Games, Cooperative Games, D-Day Dice (2nd Edition), Deckbuilders, Dire Wolf Digital, Dune Imperium, Emmanuel Aquin, Hans im Gluck, Honshu, Kalle Malmioja, Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, Legendary Entertainment, Mille Fiori, Paul Dennen, Reiner Knizia, Renegade Games Studios, Schmidt Spiele, Tile-Laying Games, Word Forge Games, Worker Placement Games
This is a blog about board games, with the occasional other post for a bit of spice.