Urbaer.com Temporary Insanity since 1998


Global Game Jam 2015 Melbourne tabletop games

Global Game Jam was held over the weekend just gone. I've grabbed all of the tabletop ones that I could find from Melbourne's.

I'm tempted to try and print and play each of them and see what they're like. Have you played any of the below (assuming you didn't also create them)? What did you think of them?

Giant Snail Will not Prevail!
A Giant Space Snail is menacing the globe! Players join forces to build the ultimate snail-eating robot and defeat the snail before it destroys all of human civilization.

March of Time
A card game about politics, timelines and temporal sabotage

Quality control is a game about needing to know what to do next and following the instructions. It's also about some other things which I hope you can discover.

This one is a PC/tabletop combo...
Yo Ho Votes
A multiplayer seafaring boardgame with democracy... and PIRATES! As a team, players must try to explore as many islands in eight days as possible in order to acquire treasure, while at the same time pursuing their own secret agendas (on their Agenda cards). The winner is the player with the most Coin at the end of the game.

YouTube Cat Video Creator Simulator 2015
A card game about creating YouTube cat videos.


New and Unplayed – Dec 2014

December brought forth MeepleCon, so I got to play some great games

Unplayed Challenge

Starting score: 32
Received games: -5
Trade Away: 0
Played +4
End score: 31

So 32... that's a pretty good score! I still think the giving away games gives you too much points, but still... at least I didn't end up with a negative for the year.


  • Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
  • CV
  • Fresh Fish
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig
  • Tiny Epic Kingdom


  • Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
  • CV
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig
  • Battle Merchants

New Plays

Remember, these aren't reviews or session reports... just random thoughts about games that are new plays for me.

Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game

The zombie apocolypse has occurred and you've managed to survive until winter... but can you make it through cold of winter? It'd be a lot easier if you could trust everyone right? Well you can trust me... I'm not the traitor... I'm just taking this food because er...

Dead of Winter is a co-op game with possible traitor and personal additional goals for each player. It combines the best bits of Battlestar Galactica and Shadows over Camelot, with a play time of somewhere between the two (probably tending closer to Shadows). It also adds some nice semi-random events in the form of Crossroads cards that the player to the right of the current player draws and it has some trigger effect (eg if the player goes to a certain location) and then a choice for that player to make.

Each game there's can be a different scenario with a different main objective.. you could play through campaign style and the game nicely gives you an indication of the game length for that scenario. The scenario also determines the number of rounds and starting moral. Players generally loose if the moral or round tracks get to zero. To win (unless they are the traitor) they need to meet the objective of the scenario and also their personal goals. The traitor generally needs to have the objective loose and to meet the rest of their personal goals.

Anyway, gameplay is pretty simple. Each round there's a crisis which requires a certain amount of items or Bad Thing happens. On their turn a player can throw cards (face down) in. On their turn players can move from location to another, attack zombies (or other players), go scavenging, clean up the trash (having too much trash causes the moral track to go down), build  barricades or provide food to the colony.

I enjoyed it. It has a feel closer to The Walking Dead, where it's less about the zombies and more about the people. It plays fairly quickly and the traitor can tend to hide a bit better as other players personal goals can often seem traitorous. Might be my favourite traitor game.

Kill Doctor Lucky

It's slightly better than I thought it would be. That said it still suffers from the Munchkin problem of "I'll try and stop you from winning... until I can't... and then you win". Pretty board and nice components, but pretty light stuff. The cards are nice and humourous and the theme is well done.

I'm just not sure if you'll hate the people your playing with more than you'll hate that doddering old Doctor Lucky...

Castles of Mad King LudwigCastle of Mad King Ludwig

It's nothing like Suburbia. It feels somewhat lighter... I'm not sure why. When I'm playing Suburbia I'm super focused and want to make sure that the tile I'm buying is going to be really good for me.

But when I'm playing Castle, I'm a bit more cavalier in my approach. I have a vague strategy, but I'll happily switch it out if something more interesting comes along. I'm going to glance at your castle when I'm deciding how to price things, but I'm not going to try and work out exactly how much you want things.

But that's not a bad thing. It's a nice change of pace from Suburbia, but at the end you can still look at your castle and tell a story about it and it' certainly prettier

Dungeon of Mandom

I only managed a brief play of this, just a few turns. It's got some nice push your luck and trying to get other players into a situation that screws them over. I'll admit in the couple of rounds I played I didn't get a great handle on the range of monsters that could be fought (or at least not that I remember a month and a half on), but I recall it was fun!

Five Tribes

Five Tribes

My brain is slowly being fried

Five tribes is simple but complex. The mancala action... super simple. Just pick up some meeples of one colour from one spot and drop them off as you move away from it. Then take the action based on the colour of the meeples and how many there are on the spot you land on. Oh and take the action of the spot. And is the spot empty now... well you can claim it.

Then trying to figure out how to make the mancala action can cause some serious Analysis Paralysis. Add to that you need to choose how much to bid in turn order, using a great little system which makes the game just zip by (where it could have got dragged down in an auction mechanic).

The djinn add another layer of complexity, but all the parts work well together and it's a good game, but oh so heavy for a Days of Wonder game. I'm sure the game went quickly, but I'm also aware that I probably dragged it out by just staring at the board wondering what to do.

And it is a little bit of a problem, that. The last player can't really determine what move they're going to make because the board state might have changed very dramatically from the start of the round. So you try and go "if this happens, then I'll do this, but if this happens, I'll do that, but if..." and you can forget what your original plan for the turn was... but it was good fun, but not the sort of game I'd want to play on a super regular basis.


I've played Firenze on Yucata a couple of times and have been very eager to pick up a physical copy. But it's slightly hard to get and slightly on the pricey side.

So I jumped at the chance to play it at MeepleCon when it was suggested. I can't remember who won or how close it was (but it felt close)... I don't think I won though.

Firenze is a game where you build towers using wooden roof peices. You do this by selecting a card from those available in the market. Each card has a certain number of tiles on it and an effect (some are good, others are bad, some are so-so). If you want to skip a card, you have to put one of your tower pieces from your supply on it (so bad cards get better). Then you can build your towers or extend the ones you already have. Each turn you must add to the tower or the authorities come and tear it down. At the end of your turn you can cash in your tower for points, but the people only want towers of certain sizes in certain colours so you have to beat out other players to fufil the contracts first.

Lovely components, not to fiddly, easy to explain, probably a lot of replayability... lots of choices but nothing that's going to cause your brain to implode... a really great game... but urgh... that price tag.


I picked this one up on the basis that I really liked the idea of Funny Friends, but the 'call a friend' stuff was very painful to understand without really much benefit. The theme and artwork was also a bit off putting for some people.

CV remedies both by being quite family friendly in terms of theme and artwork and by having a much simpler mechanic. You roll dice Yahtzee style, then use the symbols that appear to by cards which then contain symbols which mean that you can by better cards and ultimately score Victory points.

The cards are thematic, you get a great job, you get lots of money... you have twins, you get happiness, but have to give up money every turn or the authorities take your kids away (you loose the card). And it's kind of cutesy in the way that you can tell stories about your person.

But you can really get hosed by the dice, especially early on. Each dice has a side which is bad luck which can't be rerolled. Get three and you loose a card (and you really can't buy anything). I get that with a push your luck mechanic you need a method of having something blow up in the players face, but this is somewhat excessive.

In our first play I got the three bad lucks on the first two rounds which really slowed my engine building.

But... it's a little too light. It sort of feels like you're rolling dice and there's very few options as to what to do. And there's not strong enough stories to tell about the person that you're creating the CV for to make it super worthwhile.

I'm not really sure who the game is for... I suspect with two it might play better though.

Battle Merchants

Steve's a jerk

Battle Merchants

In Battle Merchants you're crafting and selling items to various fantasy races that are going to war against each other. You don't really care which race wins, just so long as you make enough money... heck, you can (and should) sell weapons to everyone.

Each player starts the game with the ability to 2 craft to weapons (there are 4 in the game) and on your turn you can buy an upgrade to your weapons (or learn how to craft new weapons), take a kingdom card (which are permenant effects, immediate effects or end of game bonuses), craft a weapon or sell a weapon.

When selling a weapon you get a bonuses depending on how many times you've sold to that race in the past and if both sides of the battle that you've placed in have weapons, then the fighting icon goes up to the season track and the next spot is available to sell to in that war. Once the season track has three fighting  icons the army's go to war... the players determine which weapons will win (based on the levels of craft that the players have for the weapons). Players collect weapons that they've defeated and receive money for any still on the board (maintenance contracts... weapons need to be kept sharp) and a new season begins.

After four seasons the players with the most cash (after working out end of game bonuses and selling remaining weapons off) wins. I've skimmed the rules a bit, but it's not too much more complicated than that.

The pacing feels right... It's a very quick start and each round takes slightly longer and because you only have one action per turn, there's not much downtime. There's not too many ways that players can race ahead to quickly either.

The artwork is nice and cartoony (though there's a blackmail card that might have to be removed for family games) and the theme will likely attract some players who are not often attracted to economic games.

It's always nice to have another good economic game and this is certainly one of them. There's no bidding and so it might be one that I might be able to get my wife to play...

A word of note however, Battle Merchants is a very different game for 2 as it is for 4 (and I presume 3). With 2 players you're looking to see what the dummy player (Steve) is going to do and take advantage of that by selling to the place that will then be fighting Steve's weapons. It's interesting, but it almost feels like you're ignoring the other player in doing so.

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Melbourne Gaming Sessions – Jan 2015

I think this is everything that's going on in January in Melbourne relating to boardgames... but if I've missed a session, let me know (I threw this up a bit late, hence why the first week is missing).

07 Jan (Wed) Surprise Game Session - Stranger Gamers  in Newport from 6pm [meetup]
10 Jan (Sat) Cafe Games at Bull and Bear Tavern [on meetup here for Party Games (from midday) and here for the everything](from 5pm).
12 Jan (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
14 Jan (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard [meetup] from 6pm
18 Jan (Sun) NSEG [meetup] 3pm-11pm
18 Jan (Sun) EGF [meetup]
20 Jan (Tue) Godzilla Games at Izakaya Chuji Japanese Restaurant [meetup]
24 Jan (Sat) Saturday Sessions @ Games Lab [facebook]
26 Jan (Mon) DB&C 7th Edition, Games Lab [facebook] 10am-6pm
26 Jan (Mon) Eurogames at Hairy Little Sista [meetup] from 6pm
28 Jan (Wed) Eurogames at the Royal Standard [meetup] from 6pm

Arcanacon 33 at Melbourne High School [site] on Jan 23-26
More an RPG, minis convention, does have some board and card events

New and Unplayed November 2014

November was a kind of busy month. It started with PAXAus, followed by a trip to India and then a whole bunch of MeepleCon planning and running about. Still... I managed to pick up a few games and to play a few new ones too.

Unplayed Challenge

Starting score: 33
Received games: -3
Trade Away: 0
Played +2
End score: 32


  •  Battle Merchants
  • Creepy Critters (Cootie)


  • King of New York
  • Creepy Critters (Cootie)

New Plays

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America

This is Power Grid... but fancy!

I'm still not entirely convinced of the change of artwork in the maps, but  the power plants look a lot nicer and I'm much happier that garbage has been switched out for gas... it seems like a less polouty option. And the resource tokens are lovely, as are replacing generators for houses.

The inclusion of more power plants for the starting plants is nice and the improvements to aid gameplay (such as the market being on the board, the resource refill being on cards, the turn order and so on) are great. It's strange that the player aid for the orginal was ditched. Was always useful for new players to see what happened during each phase of the game (though of course you could just nab that from the original.

North America seems to go quite quickly whereas Europe seemed to take a bit longer. Maybe that's because of the players that I was playing with at the time...

I like it. But should you buy it if you already have Power Grid? Erm... Not sure.

Fresh FishFresh Fish

Played this as a two player game at PAXAus... it being a learning game probably wasn't the best to judge it on the basis of this play.

However the components are lovely and the board end up looking quite nice at the end of the game.

The bidding element of the game is straight forward and the concept of trying to grab land is fun too.

It was good, but really need to play it again. Can't help but feel that it would be even better with 3 or 4 players.

Connect 4: Dunk

A somwhat fun distraction where you're trying to get your tokens into the tower by flicking them with the Connect 4 launchers.

Probably not worth the asking price to be honest.

Those creepy crittersCreepy Critters (Cootie)

Known as Creepy Critters in Australia, this game was published by TolToys in South Melbourne in the late 60s.

I picked this up from an Op Shop, thinking that it'd be a good game for Harley and me to play together. She's gotten quite good at rolling dice and identifying the number that is rolled.

It looked like it'd be an interesting construction game however it was let down by two major problems.

First, the game didn't have all of the components (which is to be expected) and Harls started to get a bit OCD about having her critter being all the same colour.

Second the game is incredibly dull and the only choice you have is what colour item you're going to put on your critter. You roll the dice and then do what it tells you. We threw away the dice and just turned it into a building activity.

Shadowrun: Crossfire

Shadowrun: Crossfire is a game that's enjoyable to come back to even though it has a tendency to kick our butts around the town.

I like the world of Shadowrun (the game comes with a book that explains it if you've never ventured into the world... I assume it's from the RPG resource books)

From wikipedia's Shadowrun entry:

Set in 2077 [...] the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count ushered in the "Sixth World", with once-mythological beings (e.g. dragons) appearing and old forms of magic suddenly re-emerging. Large numbers of humans have "Goblinized" into orks and trolls, while many human children are born as elves, dwarves, and even more exotic creatures.

So you get fantasy, but you also get cyberpunk as it's set in the future when corporations have made advances in cyberware and whatnot. And there are guns and black markets and all that kind of stuff.

You take on a role and a race (orc, human, elf) with your fellow band of merry mischeif makers you are trying to get out of a failed heist (at least in the first scenario). It's a lot of cardplay and helping out your other team members and kind of feels like a deckbuilding Sentinels of the Multiverse.

There's some permanence. Your character gets to earn new abilities when you get a certain amount of Karma (experience), but you don't get to keep any of your cards from the previous adventure. Managed to get quite a few plays of this, but only managed a single win!

But still very enjoyable.

Cards Against Humanity

As expected. I'm not sure if it's good to have your expectations met when they're so low...

CAH has two major problems for me. First I don't like any game where  there's a judge who decides on the best card. It's rather subjective and eh... I haven't played a game yet where it's worked for me.

Second there's the humour (or intended humour). I'm not a prude and I do tend to make (and enjoy) double entendre and innuendo. But single entendres  just leaves me a bit cold. Maybe it is just me, but forcing this kind of humour doesn't seem like it asks the players really to do anything. Would the game be worse if I just randomly played a card from my hand? Certainly it would save me reading all of them.

Never need to play again.

King of New York

King of New York shifts the focus from point scoring to beating each other up. While there's still opportunity to score points, you're unlikely to win that way (it should require a lot of luck and everyone focussing on it to the exclusion of all else).

I don't think it replaces King of Tokyo, but makes for an interesting change of pace.


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New and Unplayed Oct 2014

October saw us move (just a suburb away). I don't know if you know this, but moving sucks. Especially if you tend to collect things that you probably don't need. So there was a lot of giving away games this month. For some reason, you get three points for a give away... I'm not sure why, but this kind of pushes my Unplayed challenge score up rather to high.

The stack of given away games

The stack of given away games

Starting score: 8
Received games: -2
Gave Away: 9*3=27
Played 0
End score: 33

Received games

  • Sail to India
  • King of New York

Gave Away

  • Friends
  • Outburst
  • Sorry Sliders
  • Media Magnate
  • Tribbles (Star Trek CCG)
  • Hit List
  • Tiddley Winks
  • Ex Libris
  • Desperate Housewives Trivia Game
  • Monopoly xx edition?

New Plays

Dungeon Petz


Keeping my pets happy and well fed

I think I enjoy this more than Dungeon Lords. Each of the pets are nicely different and the mechanics work well with the theme.

Keeping the pets happy seems to be more of a fun challenge than trying to balance your evil levels.

And they're pretty cute too.

There's less of a puzzle here though. The second phase of Dungeon Lords (when the rampaging hordes attack your dungeon) feels like a pure puzzle. You ask yourself "how can I most effectively take down all these hereos with the monsters and traps I have".

Dungeon Petz feel more like a traditional worker placement, but that's no bad thing. I think it plays a little smoother and did I mention that they pets are pretty cute?



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Unplayed and New to Me – Sep 2014

Some great new games came into my collection and a few good plays too.


Score from Aug 2014: 6
Trade Away: 0
Received: -4
Played: +2
End Total: 8


  • Splendor
  • Formidable Foes
  • Le Havre
  • The 3 Commandments


  • Splendor
  • Formidable Foes


New to Me

Thurn and Taxis

Ticket to Ride, but less elegant.

Richard Scarry's Busytown: Busy Busy Airport

"Play airplane game daddy?" is Harley's (our 2 and a half year old) favourite phrase at the moment. This is also the game in which she slapped me across the face for not letting me play again.

Technically we've played this a few times before, but this was the first time using all of the rules.

It's fairly simple. Each player gets a cardboard plane that has spaces for 3 passengers and a cargo hold. There are four destinations which you put around the room (or in different rooms). You put the for souvenirs on their respective destinations (4 per destination, each with a point value of 1-4). Each stack of souvenirs  is then  shuffled.  You put the airport (the box) in the middle of the room and put the 16 travelers in the airport (4 for each destination). You also set up the control tower (which is a dice tower in disguise).

On a players turn they take the two dice and throw them down the tower. Then they pick one of the dice to use the action of. The actions are load 1 passenger from the airport to your plane, load 2 passengers from the airport to your plane, fly to 1 destination, fly to 2 destinations.

If you fly to a destination you drop off any passengers for that destination and pick up souvenirs equal to the number of passengers you delivered to that destination (they go in the cargo hold) then you fly back to the airport.

The game ends when there are no more passengers to pick up, each player then gets another turn. You then count up the points that each player has on their souviners to determine the winner.

Harley's become quite adept at taking turns. When it's her turn she knows it and in this game she becomes The Rock and does his "Just Bring It" taunt until you hand over the dice. She then throws the dice down the tower and can identify if she's picking up or travelling (though still needs help with the number). Playing Snakes and Ladders with her, I've found that she can by sight identify up to 4 in a pip based dice, but she hasn't got the hang of Arabic numerals yet.

We started playing this about 3 months ago (more as an activity than a game) and she had some difficulty putting passengers in the planes (it requires some degree of motor skills that she hadn't developed at that point).

The real fun of this game for the young ones is that  you get to fly around with the cardboard airplane. The further away the destinations, the better the fun that's had up to a point, depending on age... if the destination is too far away there's a chance that the child will forget where it is... though this is still helpful from a development point of view.

It's still somewhat hard to get her to identify which traveler wants to go to which destination (though with each play this gets easier). She also cares not an iota about who wins or the counting of the points.... which is probably fair enough given that it's fairly random. From a strategy point of view you want to have passengers of the same place to reduce the number of flights you have to perform and to try and reduce the chances of getting 1's for each of your passengers. But this is the opposite of what's fun so...

Clean up is a joy as well as the main task is getting the passengers from their destinations to the airport (and flying between the destinations and airport is the best bit of this game anyway). Very hard for bits to get lost.

The artwork is lovely, it's Richard Scarry after all. There's lots of cute things happening and the inside of the box is the cutest I've seen. Everything that could be happening in an airport is happening in there.

Formidable Foes

We played this incredibly wrong. The market was flooded with power and so the game fell a bit flat... will need to play it with the correct rules


I really wanted to like this game... the theme feels like the video game Tropico (which I enjoy). But the game feels incredibly clunky and I never knew why I was doing anything. This may have been the way it was taught (there was a lot of "so this has happened, so now this happens" during gameplay which lead to players saying "Well had I known that would cause that, I wouldn't have done that")

But looking at the rules it feels like it is just a rather clunky game that shows it's age. Perhaps the new version is better?

First Orchard

The game pretty much plays itself but Harley enjoyed it (and we beat that little crow)... so it's all good.


Unplayed and New to Me – Aug 2014

So late for this post! Quick notes are in order.

This month my unplayed count is a net zero!

Score from July 2014: 6
Trade Away: 0
Received: +2
Played: +2
End Total: 6


  • Ticket To Ride 10th Anniversary
  • Elevenses


  • Ticket To Ride 10th Anniversary
  • Elevenses


New to Me

Betrayal on House on the Hill

Roll Move Roll... We played through and when the game flipped into traitor mode was the only one I knew of... the one where a bird picks up the house and you need to find a parachute and jump out... but there's only half the number of parachutes as players.

Didn't really enjoy it. Never really felt that I was making decisions or that there was any real story.

Mice and Mystics

We played the first chapter but did so at NSEG, so it was rather too noisy to read all of the story elements. I think this kind of let the game down somewhat... I suspect that the story may make it better. As it is the components are lovely and the gameplay is OK.

Ticket To Ride 10th Anniversary

Hey! It's Ticket To Ride. And it's pretty.


I probably played this back in high school... but had forgotten most of it. Trick taking makes sense to me, but my ability to bid well isn't so crash hot. But does seem like one of those games that you get much better at with repeated plays.

Samurai Sword

This is like a rethemed Bang!

It seems like you can figure out who is who in the first (or failing that the second) round. And then you play a lot more rounds trying to kill the people you need to kill. It seems like it's a hidden role game, but doesn't play like one. Do not love.

Animal upon Animal

Another kid's game that is good for adults to play. Attempting to mess up the next player is fun as is watching impossible moves pay off.

Arkham Horror

Won, but far too long (5 hours?). Feel no need to play again.

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Unplayed and new to me – July 2014

Having received no new games and playing the some of the ones that I got last month, I'm up slightly!

Score from June 2014: 4
Trade Away: 0
Recieved: 0
Played: +2
End Total: 6


  • Skyline
  • Deadwood Studios

New to Me

Skyline is one of these ones that I've played on yucata a few times. It's a push your luck that has some small amount of strategy to it. It's quick and easyish to teach.

Bang! The Dice Game
Played this a few times. It moves along at a decent click and is fairly simple from a rules point of view. I think we had the highest player counts and it didn't take too long and most of the time everyone has some skin in the game.

Don't know how easy it is for the Outlaws to win though. Unless they use the Gatling gun, then they have to go directly after the sheriff and expose themselves or just lose? And if they do go after the Sheriff then they're clearly an outlaw.

Battlestar Galactica
I was a cylon and so didn't really get a good feel for it. I'd want to play it again. It feels like it took to long and it was quite draining (again that might have just been from the cylon point of view). Have similar issues as with Bang!


Deadwood Studios
A fun little economic game from Cheapass Games that has you saying silly lines. Probably need a few more plays of it to get a handle on it. Think I still like Fish Cook more though.

Dungeon Lords
Similar to Galaxy Trucker in as much as it's a game in two parts. The first is a worker (or minion in this case) placement and the second is a defend your dungeon from adventurers game. Has some interesting card play (which determines where your minions go) where each player programs where their minions will be placed simultaneously and you generally want to be the second player to go somewhere. Add to this your second and third placements are unavailable to you in the following round.

The entire game turns into a balancing act where you try and manage your resources while limiting your evilness. Having too much evil will draw the Paladin to your dungeon who is much more deadly than the other adventurers.  It's a balancing act I'm not very good at.... but it's still fun.

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Unplayed and New to Me – June 2014

Unplayed Challenge

As June is my birthday month and BorderCon... my plays and received games went through the roof.

Traded Away:

  • The Cave (Maths Trade)


  • Power Grid: Factory Manager (Bordercon Raffle)
  • Ascension (Maths Trade)
  • Small World (Birthday Present)
  • Rampage (Birthday Present)
  • Deadwood Studios (Birthday Present)
  • Skyline (Birthday Present)
  • R-Eco (Birthday Present)


  • Bremerhaven (Bordercon)
  • Fische Fluppen Frickadellen (Bordercon)
  • Alchemist Academy (NSEG)
  • Jaipur (NSEG)
  • Rampage
  • R-Eco

Score from May 2014: 4
Trade Away: +1
Recieved: -7
Played: +6
End Total: 4

New to me

So many this month. I'll try and rip through them.

Alchemist Academy
Played at NSEG. Don't like it. Needs to have some sort of rule change... constantly just felt like "Can I cast a spell? No.... So I either draw from the spell deck or the components deck... ho hum". Maybe some sort of market would improve it.

Played at NSEG. Nice little game. Have played it a fair bit online and it plays just as well on the table.

Played at Bordercon.

A good little filler. A bunch of magnets that look like little flat rocks that have different polarities. You spread them out on the table and on your turn you just curl it across the table (if you have none in your hand you pick one up and then curl it). If it ends up sticking to another (or causes another to stick to another) you get them, otherwise you just loose your rock. Once all of the magnets are no longer on the table, player with the most wins.

These things are super charged though... sometimes flicking it across the table will send one that wasn't really that close flying off the table. Crazy stuff. Super light and quick.

Also played another game that used the same (or similar) magnets where the aim was to place them within the playspace (a bunch of matt triangles that you setup before the game). You start with a set number in your hand and on your turn you place one. If it sticks to another you take those back (or if it sends any off the playspace you take those). First to have none left in their hand wins. A bit more strategic and would be interesting to play the two games back to back.

Battle Line
Played at Bordercon.
You play cards out to various flags (seven in total) and try to make three card poker hands out of it (three of a kind, straight flush, straight...). If you have the higher hand on that flag it becomes yours and winning three adjoining flags or any five flags wins. There's also a leaders deck which allows you to break the rules.

Play becomes more difficult as you go along as you tend to box yourself in. Found that I only drew the card I needed once I'd given up waiting for it. Very much felt like I was trying to make do with what I got at the time. I somewhat enjoy that sort of game, but I don't think I'm going to rush out and get it.... There's an element of stress as you hope your opponent doesn't do X in position Y, but it's not really the sort of stress I want from a two player game. Not a bad game though.

Played at BorderCon
Glory to Rome in SPACE. 

Based on my rating, didn't really seem to love it, but that could change with more plays... will check it out when it gets released.

Machi Koro
Played at BorderCon

This and Sail to India were the games that I missed out on getting at Essen 2013.

I played it three times and enjoyed it each and every time, though it did include the Harbour expansion which gives the game more (welcome) complexity. Shame that the English game and expansion won't be coming out at the same time. Will still be picking it up when it does though.

Francis Drake
Played at BorderCon
This one seems like it should be in my wheelhouse... but I didn't seem to get on board with it. I do like the way that most of the game resets after each round (and thematically this works as each voyage is years apart). I just felt that I'd enjoy it more with more rounds that are quicker.

Still the components are lovely... the ships are plastic, but wonderfully modelled and the beads reflect light wonderfully...

Played at BorderCon

This is a game I skipped over at Essen... an interesting theme, but the gameplay seemed meh.

Cards are numbered 1-9... there's 1 one, 2 twos , 3 threes and so on plus some negative -1s of two different colours.

So on the first turn each player gets 10 cards and they select all the cards of one value... so you might want to  play the 6 and you have 5 of them in your hand... So you play them down and everyone reveals what they played to their tableau .

You then work out who has the majority in each value. So obviously having played 5 sixes you have the majority... so you get the special action associated with that. Each value has different abilities, like score a VP, swap a card with someone, stop someone from taking a card, have an extra card dealt to you, keep an extra card sort of thing.

Once you resolve, you trim your tableau down to the limit as listed on the card (believe for the first round it starts at three). All the other cards are shuffled together again, you reveal the next card in the season deck (which are always in the same order) and deal out cards again (but this time less than before) and pick, reveal, resolve, discard (to more than before).

So there's 8 rounds of the game and there's a lot of shuffling and dealing and shuffling and dealing and it really does just drag. Near the end of the game, you tend to end up with single cards of stuff that isn't already in front of you. So you just play whatever.

It seems like it should be interesting... it's almost like the designer wanted to try to do drafting without having drafting... and it's a bit of bore. Artworks nice... theme is interesting but has no relationship to the mechanics.

Played at BorderCon
Splendor is a splendid game. Get tokens in order to buy cards which help you to buy more cards in order to get enough points to win. Quick, clear and to the point. The random nobles which will come to visit you (and give you  if you points) switches things up from game to game.

There's a little bit of long term planning that can be done and a little that happens on the fly.

Can see why it's SdJ nominated, but the price point is a little hefty. The tokens are nice, but the theme doesn't really seem to help explain the game. Can see it being a good game for NSEG.

The Boss
Played at BorderCon
A quick light deduction/bidding game. The artwork is OK,  but the graphic design is so so. Perhaps a little to light? Might be more interesting with playing with various valued workers rather than just the two....


It's sort of blind bidding... or worker placement with value. Needs more plays.

I was trying to get away with  ignoring the ships and just trying to use buildings (which I was fairly lucky to nab) to generate goods to dump into buses/trucks.

Near the end worked out that this wasn't going to fly... it generated a lot of money, but little prestige. So near the end grabbed some high prestige ships.

Interesting in a 3 player game where 2 players are using all their cards to try and outbid each other on thing while the other player steals the lead.

Fische Fluppen Frickadellen

Played the 15 player game at Bordercon. This was crazy fun. A really fun special event game. . I tended to rush off each board as fast as I could ... probably a mistake. Ended up arriving at another board without many goods or money. So am looking forward to playing again.

Played at BorderCon
Now... I've played this at NSEG before, but apparently didn't log it, so eh...

It's a good bluffing game... fairly quick. I enjoyed it at NSEG, but assumed at BorderCon that I remembered it so well that I didn't need an explanation of it again as I walked in halfway through picking up from another player. Clearly I did need a rules refresher (or perhaps I was just too tired) because I screwed up some rules and was utterly to dopey about what I should be doing that I was alternatively too obvious or playing so badly that I feel I kind of messed the game up for the others playing. Hate doing that. But I like the game.... just need to work at it.

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Played at BorderCon

I can see the attraction from a role playing point of view, but I really don't like the mechanics of it. We were playing the get the keys and fuel and get to the car scenario and while we had the keys, the fuel was stuck in the great big draw pile (which had cards from expansions). Choices feel like "Move, shoot or go lucky dipping for what you need".

Did not love and would likely need to have had some drinks to play again.

Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice
Played at BorderCon
Love the theme, but I don't think there's enough times that you can make a choice (really the only choices you seem to have are to tag out or whether you go for a big risky hit vs a safe small hit when you get certain die combos).

Being able to roll in such a way that you can knock  your opponents dice out of the ring is a nice touch though.

A Study in Emerald

The theme really shines through on this one. Madness... I really don't get it.

The rules don't really help with understanding why you want to do anything. It's really just a do things for points.

Going, Going, GONE!

This was fun, but I was so bad at it.... but I'm bad at ebay as well... so it's fair enough. As I recall I blew most of my cubes (money) early and then kind of got lost as to wether I should push by country or type and when to sell. There's this moment between the cards coming out and the auction starting that you have these rational thoughts about what you should do. Then the auction starts and that tends to go out the window as everyone else starts throwing cubes at the thing you want.

It's super quick though and would be good to play again.

Bit of a beast to setup, but fun to play. Has a good theme and is well integrated. Will be an nice one to hang on to for when Harley gets old enough to start playing.

Another great little card game that I've been playing online for quite a while and now have a physical copy of (I have the Amigo R-Oko version which has much nicer artwork). Plays just as well as the online version, though slowed down somewhat by having to flip out the cards from the draw pile. Easy to teach and quick and fun to play.

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Unplayed and new to me – May 2014


Managed to play both games that I bought and got another one in! Winning!


  • Fauna
  • Time's Up! Title Recall!


  • Fauna
  • Pick Picknic
  • Time's Up! Title Recall!

Starting score : 3 (from April)
Played +3
New Games: -2
Ending Score: 4

New to Me

Pick Picknic
A fairly simple simultaneous selection game where your trying to outguess your opponents. Wasn't a heck of a lot of outguessing... but we were playing with the maximum number of players, so perhaps with less would be a little more strategic.

A game that I had dismissed as being one of Friedemann Friese's odder games... but it's really quite good. Each round there's an animal card (with a picture) and your told how many areas it exists in and if you have to guess it's weight, height/length and/or tail length. You then place out cubes onto the map or the scales for weight/height/tail length. For exact matches you get such and such points (the more regions the less points) and such and such points for adjacent areas. Any cubes not in exact or adjacent matches you lose. At the end of the round you get one cube back (or back up to three).

And for some reason it's just fun. Even when it turns out your amazing educated guesses (or knowledge of movies like Madagascar and The Jungle Book) were way off the mark, it's still fun to see all your cubes wiped off the table. I'm not sure how educational it is... some of the animals are so rare and specific that I'd be hard pushed to recall anything about them. But if it gets it into schools...

We started off playing this wrong... for some reason whoever was teaching thought priority didn't matter (or that it only determined start player). About halfway through we realised that this was wrong and as a result there was less chaos in the start of the game which had let one player run away with the game. After this there was a lot more shooting at each other with the remaining three.

But would be nice to play again.

I like SET for exactly the same reasons that I hate it.

Each card has 1-3 of the same objects (either ovals, diamonds or waves) that are either shaded, empty or solid. Then you have to match cards based on these three categories where they either are all the same or all different.

For instance a 1 solid diamond, 2 solid diamond and 3 solid diamond would work (the shading and object  remains the same, the numbers vary). A 1 shaded oval, 1 solid diamond and 1 empty wave work (because the number remains the same, but the shape and shading are all different). 1 shaded oval, 1 solid oval and 1 empty wave doesn't work because the first two shapes are the same and the third is different.

So because our brains are so hardwired to see patterns, finding patterns and lack of patterns at the same time is really quite hard. It does often give me a headache. I like it and hate it for this reason... I'm very undecided about it. But it's not a game I'd actively seek out.

The Struggle for Catan
I hate Settlers of Catan. But I was willing to give this one a spin.

And it seems to take out what I dislike about Catan. Gone are the boring dice rolls, gone is the tactical city placement... gone is the long snorious negotiations for trade. It's a tight little game that plays fairly quickly and I enjoyed it.

Time's Up! Title Recall!

This is one of my only pure party game in my collection. Really quite love it. It's always entertaining, either being amazed that people can get things so easily or laughing at how bizzare some of the clues are. The three rounds of the game where each round limits what you can do to give clues (or how many guesses you get) really does make the game.

Suspect that this will get a lot more plays over the years.

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