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Showing posts from 2019

Board Game Review: The Rise of Queensdale

Because I love a good story and groove on rich immersive themes, legacy games really appeal to me. The chance to be part of an unfolding narrative is wonderful. It provides a structure for friends to commit to an investment of their time together on a regular basis. It holds everyone's interest over time (when the story is well written and executed). Especially valuable for me is that it lessens the bitter taste of a loss; I get so interested in the plot that I don't care as much about winning. I'm trying to tamp down my competitiveness and narrative driven games help. Finally, I’m a huge fan of Inka and Markus Brand (we have a number of their games in our library already, including all of the Exit   games, Encore , and Raja of Ganges) . For all of these reasons, I was really excited when Ravensburger sent me a copy of Inka and Markus’s newest legacy game, Rise of Queensdale, to review. I actually received my review copy early in 2019, but our RoQ group consists of parent

Board Game Review > Middara: Unintentional Malum Act 1

I don't keep my finger on the pulse of all the independent Kickstarter campaigns running at any given time. There's just too much unique content being produced month after month for me to sift through everything. I leave that to those who write previews and reviews for a living (I am an IT Consultant for a living; I write reviews as a hobby because I'm passionate about board gaming). The only way an independent Kickstarter campaign is going to be on my radar is if the designer/publisher reaches out to me to let me know the campaign is running or if it's created a bit of buzz already in the key circles that I frequent. I definitely wasn't closely monitoring Kickstarter campaigns four years ago when the original edition of Middara   was initially funded. It was an adventurous dungeon crawl that promised to be so much more than an ordinary dungeon crawl. With options to run in campaign mode for an ongoing narrative or crawl mode for one off gameplay, it could work as a

Board Game Review: Machi Koro Legacy

M achi Koro   was one of the first games my husband Chris and I played together. It was released in 2012 and when we started gaming together in 2013, it was still a popular game on reviewer blogs and videos as we sought guidance in what to play and what to buy. Once Machi Koro   was in our collection, I spent every game trying my best to outthink Chris and acquire the best combination of establishment types to ensure victory. As we were enticed by other new games coming out and were drawn deeper into heavy Euros, we left Machi Koro on the shelf more frequently, with an occasional wistful comment about how we should play again. At GenCon earlier this year, Machi Koro Legacy   was the talk of the town. Designed by Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt, and Masao Suganuma (Masao is the original designer of Machi Koro ), it promised to breathe new life into Machi Koro through a campaign style series of ten games, revealing new aspects of gameplay in each session at the table. We love legacy games, s

Board Game Review: Kemet

I love a good area control game. I'm crazy about Islebound , Scythe , Spirit Island , Blood Rage , Forbidden Stars , Vindication , Fate of the Elder Gods , and Twlight Imperium IV (my FAVORITE game outside of Brass Birmingham ).  So I had high hopes for Kemet . It’s an older game (released in 2012), designed by Jacques Bariot and Guillaume Montiage and it’s been on my wishlist since I started playing board games at a neighborhood gaming store about a year after its release. My best friend and I would be at the store playing whatever new game we’d bought that month, and I’d admire the Kemet cover art from where I sat. It just looks absolutely thrilling. Because we were heavily into the cult of the new at that time, we never prioritized adding an older game like Kemet to our collection. This was finally rectified when Matagot sent me a review copy.  I was so excited to open the box, especially when I discovered the artwork on the inside was just as well illustrated as the box cov

Board Game Review: Sojourn

Earlier this year, the team from Wyvern Gaming provided me with a review copy of Sojourn . This solo game was designed by Philip Loyer and released in 2019. In Sojourn , a player takes on the role of a time traveler trying desperately to return home. To travel to a specific named time period (such as the one in which the traveler’s home exists), the traveler must use a Timesphere, which has unfortunately shattered into fragments that have been scattered across different time periods. Luckily, the traveler still has a handful of temporal charges at the ready that allow them to jump into random time eras in search of the fragments that can be reassembled into a working Timesphere. Before running out of the charges, or dying from injuries sustained in the various destination time periods, the traveler must find all of the fragments and make the leap home.   The premise here is very good, even if it does evoke classic time travel tropes (Quantum Leap anyone?). The problem is in the executi

Board Game Review: Raccoon Tycoon

After I reviewed Railroad Rivals , the publisher (Forbidden Games) sent me Raccoon Tycoon to evaluate. It’s by the same designer, Glenn Drover. He’s an award winning, well known designer credited with the creation of more than 25 different board games. I’ve only ever played one other game of his ( Railroad Rivals ) so I’m not sure if it’s the case across all his games, but there’s definitely a similarity in creative style evident in these two games. Like Railroad Rivals , Raccoon Tycoon is a mid-weight strategy game that can be played in under 90 minutes, featuring elements of auction/bidding, set collection, and price speculation. In Raccoon Tycoon , players take on the role of capitalists building businesses, towns, and railroads, financed by speculative production and selling of commodities. This all takes place in a land populated by adorable anthropomorphic animals -raccoons, skunks, cats, and dogs, just to name a few. One thing I wondered during play was whether we were also a

Board Game Review: Wingspan

It might be mildly offensive to the scores of board game designers out there, but until just recently, I’ve never played a board game that was so unique it made me want to learn more about the designer and why they designed the game. A lot of games are exceedingly wonderful, and they push me to stay tuned for what the designer might release next, but that's altogether different from wanting to understand what motivates the designer and makes them tick. And then along came Wingspan , designed by Elizabeth Hargrave, and released by Stonemaier Games. We have close to a thousand in our collection, and I’ve never seen anything like Wingspan before. It’s a game centered on birds. Beautiful, fascinating birds of all sizes, habitats, colors, and species. One hundred and seventy birds to be exact, in this first release of the the base game. It’s so richly and specifically themed; even with Jamey Stegmaier’s signature stamp of influence (goal oriented worker-placement game with win-win act

Board Game Review - Triora: City of Witches

There are some games in my collection that I get excited about when they arrive at my house but it takes me months to get them to the table. Typically in these cases the artwork is lovely, the theme is interesting, and the mechanics look promising but there is something standing in the way of playing the game right away. For Triora: City of Witches (designed by Michael C. Alves) , what stood in the way is the game’s rulebook. It absolutely flummoxed me.  Even with the errata notes released a few months ago, it’s hard to make sense of the rules. It made a mess of things. And look what’s it’s done to my review – I usually like to start with a nice overview of a game’s theme, cover the components and artwork, and then dive into the gameplay.  But the rulebook is so awful in this case, I’m forced to lead with that. The publisher needs a skilled editor to rewrite the rulebook entirely. It’s laden with spelling errors and unclear language. So that’s the bad news; the rulebook is subpar. The

Great Western National Parks Itinerary and Pictorial

There was a time – before I sank my teeth into the board game hobby and before I took on the demands of being a stepmom to three children - that I planned frequent trips for my friends circle. Each month would see us jet setting off to a different part of the United States (or a different part of the world) in search of adventure and great cuisine. I would pour myself into the research project that proper trip planning requires and create a custom itinerary for our group, working to ensure we caught all the highlights of our destination. This post is about the one I worked up for our last trip to some of the great Western National Parks in the United States.  I share it here with the hope that you might find the itinerary useful in planning your trip out west.   --> Full Photo Gallery – Come and Explore   DAY ONE MORNING Depart for Butte, Montana Pick up rental car AFTERNOON Lunch (& ice cream) at Matt’s Place (Butte) Transfer to Grand Teton National Park (4.5 hr