September was a weird month as far as boardgaming went.
Our Sundays were sparsely-attended and we ended up playing games that we were already familiar with.
With one of my usual gaming co-workers away for most of the month, my other co-worker agreed to play Combat Commander: Pacific with me! That was great.
Except that due to schedules, the game actually was set up on my table at work for over two weeks, which meant I didn’t do any solo gaming when he wasn’t available.
So as of September 30, I hadn’t played any new to me games!
I know, right?
But I knew that there would be enough to post about for the month.
Because beginning on September 30 and going over the weekend, SHUX was coming…
And there would be a lot of new to me games there.
So there was!
So many that I thought this post would be tougher to write, but thankfully this post only covers Friday.
The Saturday/Sunday games will actually be in next month’s post.
I already spoke briefly about all of these games in my SHUX post, but I’ll give a little more detail below (or at least some more pictures).
There were only two games that were 2022 releases, so the Cult of the New to Me wasn’t too pissed off with me. Though the oldest was 2019, so they gave me a bit of a stink eye.
But overall they were happy.
So without further ado (all of my ado was stolen by Cleopatra during our tryst anyway, and what’s up with that?), let’s begin!
Trekking Through History (2022 – Underdog Games) – 2 plays
Designer: Charlie Bink
Artist: Eric Hibbeler
I explained a lot about this one in my SHUX post, but basically players are time travellers who are taking treks through history during a 12-hour day.
There are three decks of event cards that will cover the three days that you are doing this.
Taking a card will get you the experiences on the card as well as on the location where you taking it from. For example, Hunt bison with an atlatl will get you a yellow and green experience that you will then place on your board in an available spot.
The date on the card is also important. The Hunt bison card takes place in 12,000 BCE, so it’s probably very easy to have your next card be later than that.
That’s because you are trying to form continuous treks through history that will score you points. The points depend on how many events in the trek.
When you take a card that’s later than the previous one, that continues your trek.
If you take an earlier card (like a 1520 card after you’ve taken a 1738 card), your first trek is over and you are starting a new one.
Finally, each event you take will cost a certain amount of time to complete, as noted in the watch on the card (Practice suffrrajitsu takes 4 hours).
This will have you move your clock forward 4 hours toward the 12 hour mark.
The player who is furthest behind on the track will take the next turn, so it’s possible to take multiple turns in a row if you take some small events and everybody else is a ways ahead of you.
When your clock reaches 12, you stop regardless of how much time your event card says you need to spend. You are then done for the round. Others may get to keep going until they reach 12.
If you manage to land exactly on the 12:00 hour, you get 3 points.
After three rounds (days), total up all of the trek points plus the points you’ve already gained and whoever has the most is the winner.
This was actually a very fun game. It has some aspects of Century: Spice Road in that you are drafting cards from a row, but you don’t have to pay to take card in the middle. Instead, you get resources! You can’t save those resources, however, so you’d better make sure you have a place to put them.
You choose a different experiences board each round (you are dealt 4 at the beginning of the game and you will use 3) so things will be different each game.
In our first play, we didn’t realize that treks continued past the end of the round, so we were really wondering how you would get 11 cards in a trek and score bunches of points.
We were pretty limited.
However, our scores were very similar in the first and second games, so it was still a good time.
I’d definitely play this again.
Blitzkrieg! World War Two in 20 Minutes (2019 – PSC Games) – 2 plays
Designer: Paolo Mori
Artists: Alan D’Amico, Paolo Mori, Paul Sizer
I know this game is very popular, even making a number of people’s Top 100 games (It’s #18 on Tom Vasel’s). I’ve always been intrigued by it but had never had the chance to play it.
And at 20 minutes (which is roughly correct, as our two games were 18 and 15 minutes), how could you not play it twice?
Essentially this is a bag-pulling game (and a bit of bag-building) where you have units behind your screen that you can place out on the map. Each turn you will be pulling one unit from your bag to place behind your screen, so you should always have options.
The map has five theaters of war that you can place units on. When you choose to place a unit, you place it on the next available square on the theater and it must be able to go there. Brown squares can only hold air and land units. Blue squares can only hold air and sea units.
Placing the unit will often give you a special ability but not always.
Once a line is filled, whoever has the most strength in that theater (the numbers on units in the theater will adjust the strength track when played) will win the victory points showing at the end of the line.
One of the special abilities you may get when placing a unit is researching a random special (yellow) unit that will get placed in your bag to potentially be drawn (or possibly it will just be placed behind your screen for immediate use!).
These units break some of the rules but also may just be more powerful than the ones that are in your bag.
If the Axis forces reach 25 VP, then the Allied forces get one more turn. If the Allies reach 25 VP, they are the winner!
This game doesn’t really look like much, but it packs a lot of bang for its buck in 20 minutes. We switched sides in our two games and my opponent won both of them.
I won’t hold that against the game.
The decisions are pretty interesting for a quick game and there is some randomness in what you pull from your bag to use, but overall it’s a lot of fun.
This would make a great lunchtime game and I may decide to pick it up one day.
Wits & Wagers: It’s Vegas, Baby! (2019 – Northstar Games) – 2 plays
Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Players: 5-99 (but probably not that many)
Wits & Wagers is a fun trivia game for a lot of people that can lead to a lot of raucous laughter.
Essentially, the game goes over 7 rounds.
This isn’t your standard trivia game, though. It’s very unlikely that anybody will know the right answer to the question.
Anyway, the question is read and it will be something way out there (like “how many standard paperclips would need to be linked together to cover a mile?”).
All players secretly write their best guess down and once all have done so, the guesses are placed in order from lowest to highest.
The trick is that players are now betting on who got the closest without going over.
Yes, just like Price is Right.
Players have two chips that they can place and will get money based on the “correct” answer and the odds.
In the Vegas version, the player who guessed closest will also get an increasing amount of money ($1 in the first round, up to $7 in the seventh round).
Another difference from the basic game is that you can add money to the betting chip if you are pretty confident. You will lose the money (but not the chip) if you are wrong, but if you’re right, you could get a lot of money!
Most money at the end of the game wins, of course.
This was an enjoyable version of this classic game and I’m glad that we played it. It’s always fun, especially when you see some of the outrageous answers some people give for the question.
This is the trivia game for those who don’t like trivia because they don’t know a lot of it. In this game, it doesn’t matter what you know!
It’s who you trust to know.
Amazingly, one of the questions in one of our games that night, a player gave either the correct answer or an answer that was very close to it.
That rarely happens in my experience.
Anyway, I highly recommend playing this at least once if you’re in a large group and you want to have a great time.
Ready Set Bet (2022 – AEG) – 1 play
Designer: John D. Clair
Artist: Kirk W. Buckendorf, Athena Cagle
Another betting game!
These were not played in order. This is just the order they came up in on Boardgame Stats.
Ready Set Bet is a horse race betting game from John D. Clair (one of my favourite designers) that just came out in the last couple of months.
It’s the betting game for those who don’t like betting games (wow, this is a pattern, isn’t it?).
What’s the worst thing about betting games?
Losing all of your money and falling so far behind that it’s impossible to even see the first place player.
That’s not the case with Ready Set Bet!
This is so for a couple of reasons.
First, there are a ton of things you can bet on, not just winners and losers. You can make some safe bets and still get some money.
However, the most important reason is because you never lose all of the money you bet.
How does that work?
Let me explain.
First, you are betting on four horse races and there are 10 horses in each race represented by dice rolls.
The app that you use (or the person rolling the dice, if you don’t want to use the app) continuously rolls two dice and moves that horse forward one space. There is a horse that is 2/3 and a horse that is 11/12 that is moved with both rolls instead of just one.
The trick is that each horse, if you roll its number consecutively, will move extra spaces based on its number. The 7 horse, since 7 is so common, won’t get any extra movement. However the 6 and 8 horses will move an additional space. The 2/3 and 11/12 horses will move three extra spaces if they are rolled consecutively.
As the horses race, players can place betting chips out on the various horses to win, place, or show. But you can also bet on other things, like whether the #7 horse will finish 5th or worse, or if a red horse will win.
The reason this works for players who don’t like betting games is because you will never lose all of your money if you bet wrong.
See the numbers in the red circle?
That’s all you lose. It doesn’t matter which chip you put in there (though obviously if you only put the #1 chip in the space and you lose 2, that won’t be beneficial to you).
Only one player can place a bet in each space, so if you’re going to bet on #4, #5 or #6 to win, bet quickly and you won’t lose any money!
Betting early on #7 can lose you money no matter what and the payout isn’t that great either.
Each race, a new Exotic Finish card will come out, giving players additional betting options.
The Late Start bet will get you four times your bet but will only lose you $1. You’re betting on whether two horses will barely make it out of the gate before the race is over.
Some of the other betting options are cool too, like betting on whether #6 will beat both #5 & #9.
As the race progresses, betting chips will be flying fast and furious. Once three horses pass the No More Bets line, however, nobody can place a bet.
At the end of each race, players will draw VIP cards and choose one to keep. These will give you special bonuses or abilities for future races.
Of course, I didn’t get the one that lets you place bets after the No More Bets line is passed, which ended up losing me the game when another player came from behind by betting on #4 to win late.
This game is a riot and you just need to make sure everybody has access to the betting board.
That could limit the players, but that depends on the setting. One player who sat near the top of the board couldn’t really see or read the Exotic Finish bets so he just ignored them.
The app works really well but also having one person do the race calling and rolling works too. We played at SHUX and it wasn’t so noisy we couldn’t hear the app.
But I could understand not playing it at a restaurant like our Sunday game days.
It could work, though, if the phone isn’t too loud.
I had a blast with this game, and I’m not a betting game fan.
So it works!
Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One (2019 – Restoration Games) – 1 match
Designers: Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson
Artists: Oliver Barrett, Alexander Wells
I was given a review code for the Early Access digital version of this game on Steam, but I also wanted to try it on the table (review of that is coming soon, I promise!).
Unmatched is a 2-player dueling system where characters from out of literature, movies, and history are fighting it out for…some reason (sorry, I didn’t look at the rulebook for the backstory).
The first release was this one, and it includes King Arthur, Sinbad, Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) and Medusa.
Each player is one of these characters and they are using cards to move around the tiny map and kill the other player.
Ok, that’s kind of simplistic.
I was Sinbad in our game while my friend was Alice.
The characters usually have a sidekick, so both pieces are put out on the map.
During your turn, you can do two actions, and they can be the same action if you want.
You can move, which allows the character and sidekick to move up to their movement allowance and also lets you draw a card (the only way you can unless you play a card or have a combat effect that lets you do so).
If you’re next to either a sidekick or character (or within range if you have a ranged attack), you can play a card and fight!
Whatever attack card you play will have a strength. You play it face down and then your opponent can play a defense card if they want to and have one.
If the attacker’s total strength is greater than the defender’s, then the defender takes the difference in hit point damage. If the defender’s total is higher, then nothing happens.
Each card may have a during combat or after combat effect, and both of those happen as well (unless cancelled by another card)
The characters have their own special abilities which makes them fight in their own way, or at least move.
Sinbad’s, of course, is increasing his move total based on the Voyage cards he’s already used. Of course, the Voyage cards build on themselves in combat too, starting weak but getting stronger as he uses more.
Alice can become big or little, either increasing her defense value or increasing her attack.
King Arthur can boost his attacks with other cards (all characters can boost their move by playing a card that has the little black circle on it, increasing the movement allowance by that amount but only King Arthur can do that with attacks too).
It’s all very pretty and kind of interesting, but my initial play of it on the table did not wow me like it has other people.
I would need some more plays, and also some more plays of the app, before I can make a final decision on it.
Sadly, it didn’t impress my normal 2-player opponent either, so I probably won’t be buying it any time soon even if I do end up liking it.
But my opinion could change!
Gudetama: The Tricky Egg Card Game (2020 – Oni Games) – 1 play
Designers: Ben Eisner, Steve Ellis (II)
Artists: Derek Charm, Wook-Jin Clark
In my SHUX retrospective, I called this an “interesting” game and then I mainly said bad things about it.
And it’s kind of true, because the concept behind Gudetama: the Tricky Egg Card Game is kind of interesting.
It’s a trick-taking card game where none of the tricks matter except the last one. Only that player will get points based on the value of the card they used to win the trick.
And you don’t want points.
Each player is dealt 7 cards and then the lead player puts out a card.
Each subsequent player has to play either a card higher than the highest card in the trick, or they have to play their lowest card.
Playing the 14 to win the trick will let you choose who is the next lead player. Otherwise, just the highest card will win the trick and lead next time.
If somebody plays a “1” card in the final trick, all of the players will score their final card in the final trick, even that player (who will only get 1 point so they’re sitting pretty good).
As soon as somebody hits 21 points, the game ends and whoever has the fewest points is the winner.
I’m unsure of the strategy in this game. It’s almost impossible to keep a “1” card in your hand until the end of the round, so “shooting the moon” is extremely difficult.
Since you don’t want to win the final trick, it seems like you’re always going to play a high card early if you can, just to get rid of them.
The gameplay was kind of bland and there were a lot of “what did we just play” comments made afterwards.
I wouldn’t be opposed to trying it again, but it’s certainly not something I’m going to seek out.
Merchants of Dunhuang (2020 – Mandoo Games) – 1 play
Designer: Gabriele Bubola
Artist: Martin Mottet
I had never heard of Merchants of Dunhuang before my friend pulled it out on Friday night to play, and I have to say it was a pretty interesting little rondel set-collecting game.
And it was actually pretty fun!
Essentially players are merchants trying to corner the market in a few types of goods to score points using a rather neat rondel mechanism to manipulate the cards in front of them and in their hands.
Let’s start from the beginning, though.
The 8 characters (double-sided and they have different abilities depending on which side you use) are placed in a ring with a goods card dealt to each one. The camel pawn is placed by the last player on one of the characters. Each player will start with 3 cards and choose one to keep. The others are discarded secretly, so each player will know that certain goods cards are out of the game.
Then, in player order, actions are taken. The player moves the camel at least one space, but can pay a coin for each additional space they want to move. They collect the goods card that’s on that character and either put it in their hand or in their Shop (in front of them).
You’re trying to get majority tokens by having the most cards of a good in your Shop. When you do, you take the token. If somebody else has the token, you only need to have the same number of goods in your Shop as they do in order to earn the token.
The characters all give you an action that you can do, or you can just take 3 coins. The one above with the “5” good next to it allows you to look at the top 2 cards of the deck, placing one good in your hand and one at the bottom of the deck.
Players can instantly win if they have 4 majority tokens in their Shop and 4 different goods in their hand. Otherwise, the game ends when the deck runs out and each player has had a final turn.
Final scoring is a bit convoluted, but I think we made sense of it.
Your Shop is discarded and you only keep the majority tokens, getting 2 points each. Your prestige tokens are one point.
Players reveal their hands and for each good type that you have the most of (or tied for the most), you keep one of those cards. The remaining cards, you will score the face value of the card, though you can only do this for as many goods as you have majority tokens.
So if you end up with three different goods in your hand but only two majority tokens, you can only score two of your three goods (you’ll score the highest two, of course).
You won’t be, after the next episode…oh wait, I already used that joke.
Anyway, whoever has the most points is the winner!
This was a fun game, actually, but I think we played it slightly wrong. I don’t recall getting 3 coins if we decided not to take the character action.
I may be mistaken, though.
I’d definitely play this one again. It’s a short game (our 3-player game just took 20 minutes) so it would be a great lunch time game.
It’s not a wonderful game, but definitely pleasing.
Colt Super Express (2020 – Ludonaute Games) – 1 play
Designers: Cédric Lefebvre, Christophe Raimbault
Artist: Jordi Valbuena
I’m a big fan of the original Colt Express, the chaotic programming game where all of the players are bandits trying to rob a train. It’s fun, it’s pretty fast and there are always a lot of laughs.
Considering how fast the game generally is, did it need an express version?
Colt Super Express takes some of the programming away as well as the thieving (for the most part) and instead you are trying to eliminate the other players by forcing them off the train (or onto the last car at the end of a round, because the last car will disappear with any bandits who are on it).
The train is situated like so.
The bandits are placed on the various train cars in turn order.
Then players will choose 3 of their 4 cards to play this round and secretly choose the order to play them in.
You can either shoot, climb, move, or flip (there is a 5th card choice, if you want, called reflex).
Moving and climbing are obvious, of course. Flipping will just flip your orientation from facing one direction to facing the other one.
Shooting means that, if you are facing somebody, you will shoot the next bandit in line, forcing them back one car in the direction that you are shooting from (so it could be toward the front!). If it forces a bandit off the train, they are eliminated.
If you are shot, your meeple is placed lying down and on your next card, instead of doing the action, you stand up.
Unless your action is reflex (and you are using that card, of course), in which case you stand up and shoot! You only want to be playing this card if you expect to be shot.
Because if you’re not shot and you play it, you become stunned and lie down!
Once all players have played all three cards, the rearmost train car is removed. Any bandit on the car is eliminated as well. The bandit furthest from the locomotive (so furthest back after the car is removed) gets the car as loot.
The game ends when there is only one bandit remaining, or if the last car is removed and there are multiple bandits on the locomotive. In that case, the player with the most loot cards (or highest loot card in case of a tie) wins!
This is a very short and simple game. I thought it was ok, and it’s very quick (15 minutes) but it just didn’t feel that satisfying. It’s fine for what it is, and I wouldn’t say no to it, but I can think of 15-minute games I’d rather play (like Merchants of Dunhuang!).
That’s it! It was a full first day of SHUX.
The rest of the weekend was in October, so those new games will be in next month’s post (which isn’t that far away, considering how late this one is).
What new to you games did you play in September?
Have you played any of these? What do you think of them?
Let me know in the comments.
I really like that Blitzkrieg! made such a positive impression on you! Love games from that series!
LikeLiked by 2 people
I look forward to trying some of the other ones.
Man, this is some post!
LikeLiked by 2 people
Thank you! It’s a monthly post, some bigger than others.
LikeLiked by 1 person