Review – Jump Drive

Are you in need of a really cool, super-fast game that can be played almost between ordering your food and it actually arriving?

Have I got the game for you!

Jump Drive is like a combination of designer Tom Lehmann’s Race for the Galaxy and his The City.

How do you get a combination like that?

Well, when two games really like each other…

Whoops, sorry. Childhood flashbacks.

What I meant to say is that Jump Drive is basically The City using some Race for the Galaxy iconography and a couple of the mechanics from that game as well.

It all gels into a fast-playing mix that really satisfies the senses.

Jump Drive was designed by Lehmann with artwork by Martin Hoffmann, Claus Stephan, Mirko Suzuki and Jens Wiese. It was published by Rio Grande Games in 2017.

How does it play?

Let’s take a look.

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My Year in Gaming – So Far

Just a fun little Sunday night post to share with you my year in gaming so far.

Little surprise that Jump Drive is #1 as it’s such a quick game. I even have a review of it posting tomorrow!

The large number of Space Base games is mainly due to the two Saga expansions (Shy Pluto and Terra Proxima) that we’ve been working through at work on lunch breaks.

I’m particularly proud of getting Clank in Space and Ark Nova to the table 4 times this year, though. Ark Nova is such an amazing game.

Storm Above the Reich is also no surprise given my ongoing campaign. The Mission #20 post should go up this week if everything works out.

So how has your year been so far? I already know Clio’s but what about the rest of you?

I hope your Summer is going well and you’re getting everything you want out of it.

And thanks to the wonderful Boardgame Stats app for letting me share this picture!

Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #14 – At the Crossroads

After losing my first anniversary Combat Commander ladder game last month, I was really hoping that July’s scenario would go well for me.

I was perilously close to reaching .500 level in my Win-Loss ratio, so that was another consideration for this month!

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the ladder tournament for Combat Commander run by the glorious Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame. I joined the Ladder in May 2021 so this is the second July that I’ve played.

This month’s scenario is #14 At the Crossroads from the Combat Commander: Mediterranean expansion. This scenario takes place in 1939 with some surrounded Polish troops trying to break out through the German ring to get back to the Polish lines.

Thus, the Poles are the attackers and the Germans are the defenders.

My opponent was Marc W and he was the Poles (light blue) against my German (grey) defenders.

(Reminder that you can click on all images to make them larger)

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New to Me – June 2022

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!

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Expansion Review – Architects of the West Kingdom – Works of Wonder

Architects of the West Kingdom has a well-deserved place in my Top 5 games of all time.

It is an amazing worker placement game with cool mechanics that keeps me coming back for more.

It was published back in 2018 by Garphill Games and Renegade Game Studios.

The first expansion, Age of Artisans, just made the game that much better without adding too much rules overhead. While it did add a couple of things (the Artisan worker and Craft cards), it more enhanced the game than added to it.

Now there’s a second (and final) expansion out, called Works of Wonder. This was published in 2022.

In this expansion, players are doing the normal Architecty things (Editor – “Look, Mom! I made up a word!“), but you also have a few other things to consider.

This is another expansion that adds more interesting stuff to the game and more options to consider.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Let’s take a look and see how it works.

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Clank! Catacombs Announced for Fall 2022

Regular readers (Hi, Bob!) know that I’m a huge Clank in Space (sorry, my exclamation mark key is broken) fan.

I haven’t had much chance to play the original fantasy Clank!, but I know that it’s a well-regarded game.

However, yesterday’s news was totally unexpected (Editor – “Maybe that’s because they keep you out of the loop”).

There’s a new standalone Clank game coming out this year!

Clank! Catacombs is a standalone deckbuilding adventure game that has something completely unique to the Clank universe: tile-laying. It will be released in 2022 by Dire Wolf Digital. It’s designed by Paul Dennen (of course) and has art by Clay Brooks, Anika Burrell, Nate Storm, Dan Taylor (II).

There’s not a lot of information about the game, but the tile-laying bit is intriguing.

From the BGG blurb:

“The catacombs of the skeletal dragon Umbrok Vessna are mysterious and dangerous. Portals transport you all around the dungeon depths. Wayshrines offer vast riches to intrepid explorers. Prisoners are counting on you to free them. Ghosts, once disturbed, may haunt you to death. Despite all that, it’s time to leave the board behind with Clank! Catacombs, a standalone deck-building adventure.”

Yes, that’s right.

There is no board!

Or, shall we say, you are creating the board as you play.

While the description says that players will be creating the board through tile-laying, there is no further information on that.

However, you can use the unique new dungeon deck of cards or use cards from previous Clank expansions.

Not the base game?

I will be following this one to see what happens. I might even be intrigued enough to pick it up.

We’ll see!

Here’s the official trailer for it.

Looks cool! The trailer shows a few cards and some of the tiles.

What do you think of all this? Are you excited? Are you bored?

Are you sneezy?

Let me know in the comments.

Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact

Otherwise known as “the ballad of Lieutenant Esparza”.

It’s time for yet another tale from the Combat Commander ladder.

The ladder competition, run by the incredible Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame, is the monthly Combat Commander competition where everybody on it plays a set scenario from the many scenarios that are included in Combat Commander and its many expansions.

Happily enough, there are 12 different groupings of scenarios to go with 12 different months!

I don’t know what he’s going to do if another expansion or something comes out.

Anyway, I didn’t play last June for personal reasons so this is the first scenario I played from the base Combat Commander: Europe game (though I have played all of them with my friend Michal).

This month’s scenario is from that base game, and it’s Scenario #9: Rush to Contact.

This is a strange scenario because it’s susceptible to a “gamey” situation where the Germans can try to win or lose very early if they decide they want to.

There’s a very small group of Germans on the map. If they exit off the board, they win!

If they’re eliminated, the Americans win!

However, a big set of German reinforcements are ready to enter the battlefield after the first Time trigger.

Yes, this month’s scenario is Rush to Contact.

My opponent was Joshua G (Americans-Green) and I was the Germans (again, as I played the Germans against Michal as well). The Germans are, of course, grey.

Joshua set up the Americans first and he set them up so running my sparse units off the board would be difficult.

(Reminder that you can click on all images to make them larger)

So I set my guys up in the forward Objective 4 position but left one Weapons Teams way in the back so I couldn’t be eliminated early.

The minefields are setup to cause as much trouble as possible, and I made them 7-power mines instead of 8-power so I could start with a Minefield card in my hand (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t!). This is a scenario special rule.

How did it go?

Ugh.

Well, let’s take a look anyway.

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New to Me – May 2022

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.

What an awesome show…

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!

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #19

Success is not something I’m used to.

Things don’t usually go so good for me.

But this 1943 Late season of Storm Above the Reich is actually going pretty well after two missions.

This is so unlike me! Is it possible that maybe I’m just good at something?

Ok, that’s probably good advice.

Anyway, we’re on Mission #19, the third mission in the 1943 Late season and I’m already at 18 VP! I need 40 VP to “not lose” and 60 VP to actually win the season, and there are still 8 missions left.

What do I do with this bounty?

Can it last?

Why don’t we jump into the mission and find out together, since I have no idea.

That happens sometimes.

I still haven’t tried any of the new stuff like rockets or the Ju-88 Stukas (aka Bullet Magnets). (Edit – Ok, not Stukas. Thanks to Alex for the correction of my brain fart! They’re still Bullet Magnets in my heart, though)

Instead I just stuck with the sturdy and reliable IAR-80 Romanian fighters that have really been pulling their weight around here.

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Review – Dog Lover

One of the better quick-filler games that can be played with almost anybody is Cat Lady, a quick card drafting game that can be explained in a couple of minutes and even your non-gamer cat lady grandma can pick up (as long as Fluffy doesn’t jump up on the table and keep distracting her).

But what about the other popular animal companion, man’s best friend and all of that?

Don’t worry. Designer David Short and Alderac Entertainment Group have you covered.

Yes, Dog Lover is the latest game in this card-drafting genre, but is a step up in the complexity department.

The game has artwork by Kali Fitzgerald and was published in 2021.

The game feels a lot like Cat Lady, but ramped up with some new mechanisms and card types.

Boardgame Geek says that it “reimplements” Cat Lady, but I would almost call it a progression than a reimplementation.

How does it compare, and does it succeed on its own merits?

Let’s take a look.

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