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Category Archives: Overview

Overview of a game or game session

Crates are pretty popular. Book crates, snack crates, art crates, baby crates… the list goes on and on. We tried Loot Crate but ended up giving most of the items away, so we didn’t renew. We do love our Japan Crate though.

So recently I saw an ad for a game crate, and I was surprised that there’s actually a few different subscription services for a board game box/crate. The first three I came across were Hasbro Gaming Crate, Board Games Bento, and Game Box Monthly.

Hasbro sends out one box every three months. You choose between the Family Crate and the Party Crate. They both contain 3 games related to that month’s theme.

Board Games Bento sends out a box every month with a minimum of 3 games (though they do say it might be 2 games and 1 expansion) which are related to that month’s theme.

Game Box Monthly also sends out a crate every month; however, it’s more tailored to you. You fill out a form when you subscribe to let them know what games you already have, and you can give feedback on the games you received to help them choose the right games for you in the future.

Just looking at those three choices, I would go with Game Box Monthly becauseĀ I like that you can get a sort of customized box. Looking at the games for the next Hasbro crate, nothing there excites me. They all look like games we would never play. Unless I’m missing something, it doesn’t seem like you can see past games sent out by Board Game Bento, and they say in their FAQ that if you get a game you already have that’s just the risk of a blind box. We have so many games, we’re likely to get something we already own.

It’s not something I’m inclined to jump on now, especially considering our vast gaming library, but it seems like something that would be a lot of fun for someone looking to build their collection.

What about you? Anyone using/used a board gaming crate service?

Stellar Armada is a small and pretty simple game. Professor and I played several games. We each had a card which represented our ship, tokens to place on the card, and dice. Each ship has Engines, Repair Systems, Energy Beams, Missile Launchers, Missiles, Shields, and a Reactor. The goal is to destroy your opponent’s Reactor using Energy Beams and Missiles.

Each turn you have energy equal to your Reactor’s status. You begin with 6. At the beginning of the game it makes sense to divide your energy between your Engines and your weapons. Each point you put into your Engines makes it more difficult for your opponent to hit you. If I put 3 energy into my Engines, that means my opponent has to roll a 5 or 6 for weapons in order to hit me. That still leaves me 3 energy to use to fire my own weapons. If you have damaged systems, you might want to use your Energy to repair them (your Reactor can’t be repaired). I usually went after Professor’s Missile Launchers, so he had to spend points to repair those in order to use them.

We had a little trouble keeping track of how many points we put into Engines, so we ended up using extra dice for that.

This game relies heavily on luck. Amazingly the dice didn’t hate me, and I often rolled high on my attacks. This meant Professor was often spending his energy on repairs, and if I managed to damage his Reactor, he was working with fewer and fewer energy points. In that respect the game can be frustrating. There’s not much you can do with 2 energy points. I’m not sure this one will see a lot of play, and we’re unlikely to pull it out again unless we have 4 players.

It’s a very quick game. We played several games in under 30 min, so it’s definitely good if you don’t have a lot of time.

Aeon’s End is a co-op deck building game (we do tend to like those). The little twist to this one is you don’t shuffle your deck unless a card instructs you to do so. Your cards are discarded in a particular order (you have some choices here), and then you simply flip your discard pile over and it becomes your deck again.

Each player chooses a character (Breach Mage) which will determine their starting hands and decks. Each player also receives a player number token, 10 life, and breaches. The breaches are arranged based on the icons at the top of the player mat.

Along with trying to defeat the nemesis and not die, players need to try to protect Gravehold (or at least win before Gravehold falls). Gravehold begins with 30 health.

You choose your nemesis, which gets life points equal to the number on the nemesis mat. You then build the nemesis deck. Some cards are specific to a nemesis and others are random basic cards. These cards are divided into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 cards. Each Tier is shuffled separately and then stacked to make the deck. This deck is not shuffled after that. Final set up for the nemesis is determined by the instructions on the nemesis mat.

Finally you build the supply. These are cards you can purchase during the game. Gems = money, Relics which have various effects, and Spells to attack with. The supply consists of 9 unique piles of cards in some combination of Gems, Relics, and Spells. These can be chosen randomly. The rule book also has suggestions for starting supplies.

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Clue is the traditional “whodunit” game. I know we played that game a lot when I was growing up, and I still have our old beat up copy. At some point, though, you might feel like you’ve outgrown Clue. You still like the concept, but the execution has become boring. Enter Alibi.

Alibi: The Whodunit Card Game is more complex than Clue. Not only do you have to figure out who, what, and where, but you also need to determine when and why (the motive). Each player gets a score sheet which you want to keep hidden from other players. The first time we played this game, we used other game boxes to build little forts around our score sheets, but a piece of paper over the top is sufficient (Editor’s note: though not as interesting). The score sheets help you to keep track of the clues and eliminate options. Despite this, determining the who, what, when, where, and why is still challenging.

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More and more often we’ve been discovering that we’ve been playing some of our games wrong.

Well, maybe not wrong, but it seems like some rules somehow slip by us. Sometimes we purposely ignore certain rules. With co-op games, we always play with our cards face up on the table. It just makes it easier to strategize. Other times it’s just that we messed up.

Some of our mistakes we discovered because of a BoardGameGeek thread. Others were discovered after rereading the rules again.

With 7 Wonders, we didn’t realize you couldn’t play multiple copies of the same card. No one ever questioned it, so we never looked at the rules for clarification.

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We’re big fans of Castle Panic. We already had the expansions Wizard’s Tower and Dark Titan, so when we heard about Engines of War, we knew we had to have it as well. It took awhile for us to find it (as it was out of stock on Amazon for quite a while), so we were even more excited when we were finally able to buy it.

Engines of War adds some new monsters and tokens, a Keep for the center of your castle, and then, well, engines of war to both sides. The monsters get things like a Battering Ram and an Encampment while the players get things like a Catapult and Traps. One of the new monsters is the Breathtaker which keeps players from trading cards! We really didn’t like that one.

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Terraforming Mars is a recent (2016) game developed by Fryxgames which is a family run gaming company (“FryxGames consists of 4 brothers out of a family of 10 brothers, 6 sisters, and 2 game-passionate parents.“). I first heard about it when it was nominated for some 2016 Golden Geek Awards (Game of the Year, Strategy Board Game, and Solo Board Game). It was later nominated for even more awards (2016 Swiss Gamers Award, 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, 2017 Jogo do Ano, and 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres). Given all the hubbub, I decided to take a look.

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Tsuro is a tile placement game. This particular version also includes sea monsters (Daikaiju), but we have yet to play with those. Everyone picks a ship and gets 3 Wake Tiles. Starting with the oldest player, everyone places their ships on the start markers around the board. Then once again beginning with the oldest player, you place a Wake Tile, move your ship along the path (or wake), and draw a new tile. The goal is to not be eliminated by having your ship sent off the edge of the board.

When placing tiles you can’t:

  • Purposefully send your ship off the board unless it’s your only move (this tends to happen a lot in the end game)
  • Set your ship on an endless loop unless it’s your only move – this does eliminate you from the game
  • Place a tile that causes you and another player to travel in the same direction on the same path

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Terra Mystica was already a pretty exciting game for us. Then I got the Fire & Ice expansion for my birthday.

It includes a new board – which includes a reminder about the end game conversion of coins into Victory points – new Factions (with boards, Terrain tiles, and buildings), Final Scoring Tiles, Faction Tokens, and a Turn Order Board.

We haven’t used all the new features of the expansion. For example, the Turn Order Board changes the order of turns every round. Whoever turns in their Bonus Tile goes first (as with the base game), then whoever turns in second goes second, and so on. We haven’t had the chance to play the expansion with more than 2 players, so there’s no reason to use this. This means we also haven’t needed the Faction Tokens which are placed on the Turn Order Board.

We have played with 4 of the 6 new Factions, though: Ice Maidens, Shapeshifters, Yetis, and Riverwalkers. The Ice Maidens, Yetis, and Shapeshifters get a ring to place on the starting Terrain of their choice (unless that Terrain is already taken). After they make their choice, no subsequent player can choose the race with that home territory.

The first game Professor was the Ice Maidens and I was the Shapeshifters. The second game Professor was Yetis and I was Riverwalkers.

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As Chubby Unicorn mentioned in her post, tastes change. My original profile listed 7 Wonders, Flash Point, and Velociraptor Cannibalism as my top 3 games.

A while back I swapped in Lords of Waterdeep for Velociraptor Cannibalism due to not getting to play much of the latter and then not being nearly as excited when we did play it.

As of today, my choices are:
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