If you’re not paying attention during a rule explanation, you might miss a crucial detail… 😉

It’s been a while since we’ve played a game with a hidden traitor element, mostly because it often requires more players at a table. One of the latest games that we’ve added to our collection is Specter Ops and I think that game can get quite interesting with a hidden traitor element. It’s fun without, but I can’t wait to play that game with five players. Oh and I’m also looking forward to a classic game of Dead of Winter with a nice cup of warm chocolate milk.

 

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But let’s get back to what we’ve actually played! Last week we’ve played another game from the BGG top ten list. We finally played Brass: Birmingham! Friends of ours got a copy last year and had only played it with two players so exciting times for all! The game is a tough cookie! There are a lot of little things to keep in mind and understand when playing it for the first time, but it was fun! I had no idea what I was doing at the start of the game and apparently took an unexpected turn by focussing heavily on pottery in the first era. It took me taking on a third loan, but it paid off in the end! The point-heavy pottery combined with some really well-placed rails (I had no idea, honestly – I just needed them for selling my pottery business!) resulted in me winning. Wow! BUT, I was taught by the best and more experienced players, so I’d like to share my win with them. At the beginning of the game, they did point out some very obvious mistakes I was about to make and helped me optimize some turns. 🙂

On Sunday, we decided to tackle a puzzle that was sent to us by Big Potato Games. Multiple publishers seem to have discovered the world of puzzles as an addition to their popular games, but Big Potato has given their puzzles a twist! They’ve released two different themed puzzles: “Night at the Movies” and “Day at the Festival“. Both puzzles are a delight to the eye with all kinds of funky illustrations and… riddles for you to solve! Depicted on the movie-themed puzzle are 101 “hidden” movie titles, like for example, a ram holding a bow and arrow! I think you get the gist. 😉
We do both get a little fanatic when we start puzzling… originally the idea was that it was a very relaxing activity to do, but we get into this weird puzzle bubble and forget everything around us. Boiled water for tea? …totally forgot about that. We were just going to puzzle for an hour? … Three hours later. Next time we’re going to prepare drinks and snacks in advance and set a timer to pull ourselves out of it in time. :’D

Which games of the BGG top 10 have you played?

 

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It seems like gaming cons are back on the menu with GenCon coming up in a week and SPIEL that has gotten a green light in October. Obviously, we’re not going to GenCon, living in Europe, but we are planning to visit SPIEL. We’ve got mixed feelings, on the one hand, we’re excited about the buzz and craziness of board gaming conventions, but on the other hand, we’re also wary because of… well, the state of the pandemic and the fact that numbers seem to be rising again now that’s summer is over. But we’re really happy that SPIEL has a mandatory mask-rule in combination with other safety measurements. At the moment we’re just trying to stay positive and hoping we get to meet a lot of people and roam the halls to encounter all different kinds of games. Time will tell!

Last week we’ve played two new games and we continued our Gloomhaven campaign. We’re still going strong, all of our current characters are max level and we think we have only a few more scenarios to go. And that’s fine after three and a half years of playing. We’ve enjoyed it, but we very much are looking forward to exploring other games.

And there are a lot of “other games”! Last week we played two new titles that we’ve been really curious about. We’ve played two games of Cascadia, one of the latest titles by Flatout Games. The game is illustrated by Beth Sobel, so no surprise that it looks gorgeous. The game feels like a variation of Calico, it surely is different, but there are overlapping game mechanics with puzzly tile laying and tons of ways to score points! You can either score points through the animal tokens or the landscape tiles. We do think Cascadia is a less tense game due to the fact that you’re not bound to a player board. Calico presents you with a crunchy puzzle with borders, while Cascadia is more forgiving on that front. You can play the game in about 45 – 60 minutes, so it’s an easy one to get to the table. We’d like to thank Alderac Entertainment Group for sending us a copy of the game!

We also received Kim-Joy’s Magic Bakery, a co-op card game for 2 – 5 players that is about… baking and serving customers! We have quite a few friends who love baking so we know this will be a hit. One of our friends with whom we played it last week, even turned out to be a great fan of Kim Joy and they told us that they were considering buying the game a few days prior to us getting it. We’ve played the first scenario that night and although it wasn’t really hard, we did have a fun time. The game has ten scenarios, so we do assume the difficulty will increase in every scenario but that’s something we will find out in the future. 😉 We’d like to thank Skybound entertainment for sending us a copy of the game!

Oh in case you missed it, and if you’re quick, you can still participate in our giveaway on Instagram, together with Cephalofair Games we’re giving away amazing prizes like a Frosthaven pledge. 😮 We’ll contact the winners tomorrow!

Are you attending any board game conventions this year?

 

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Mad respect for everybody that streams board games! We’ve tried it once or twice and we also realized that it might not be something for us. And most problematic is that it takes a lot of time, which is one of the rarest resources in life!

So during our last play of Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, we’ve had the situation happening in the comic… except we didn’t have a chat to help us out. Luckily, we managed to recover everything from memory and checking played cards, but it can certainly mess up your game! We’ll be more careful next time. :’D
So far we feel like we have a good feeling for the game and our tactics seem to be working out even though our last game was quite disastrous with an escalation card at the end of the first turn and two escalation cards in one turn halfway during the game. Those three practice games have prepared us well! That being said, we’re really enjoying this Pandemic Legacy so far and are looking forward to seeing if March will kick our butts.

Last week, we haven’t played a lot of board games, besides a game of  Specter Ops and Pandemic Legacy. We did, however, celebrate our wedding anniversary and had an overall relaxing week while adjusting again to the working life after a few weeks off. And a real gaming highlight: Heinze played his first game of 18XX in real life together with Niels, Nele, and Jeroen. They have been playing 18XX for about six months on 18xx.games and finally the time had come to play 18MEX in real life! It took around six hours to play, but everybody had loads of fun. <3

In other news, we’ve two games that we’re really excited about playing soon! First of all, there’s Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery which was send to us by Skybound, which is a cooperative card game about baking. What’s not to love?! We have multiple friends who are going to love this theme. And today we received a copy of Cascadia from Alderac. The game is designed by Flatout Games and illustrated by Beth Sobel, so once again: what’s not to love?! We can’t wait to play this one as well.

Who’s your favorite tabletop/board game streamer?

Not everybody thinks the same about our lovely hobby. Actually, I think a burglar would be quite surprised and disappointed to find mostly board games in a house. 😉 To most people board games are just games and they have no idea of their value, let alone that they are familiar with how board games have evolved.

 

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We’ve played some great games last week, and that did make us realize how incredibly interesting and varied games have become. We played Brew, the latest release of Pandasaurus Games, and this worker dice-placement game is packed with mechanics in such a lovely theme. Players brew potions by collecting ingredients, which they can use in a relentless area control part of the game on the forest cards. And there are adorable creatures that can help you make impressive combos throughout the game.

We also played Fort by Leder Games with the Cats & Dogs expansion (which is available for pre-order if you’re interested) and this really is another super interesting take on deck-building games. The theme is awesomely interwoven with the gameplay, making it a really witty and joyful game. The expansion really just adds to that wittiness by adding cats and dogs. We really like that they are both optional modules with you can add to your game.

And we played Merv by Osprey Games, a real stunner on the table and fun but brain-intensive euro game. Players only have twelve turns during a game and there are a lot of ways to score points, so it’s quite intense to play it. On the other hand, you also know you can’t do it all and if you accept that – it’s probably less intense. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to play it with other players yet so we still have to experience the more “aggressive” version of the game in which a lot of your actions will be blocked by other players. With just two players there is an AI player, which works well, but I can imagine the experience is very different with more players.

This week, we’ve got a game of Gloomhaven planned, we’re finally taking on the “Headless Horseman” scenario which we epically failed with a previous party, but we think we might have a chance of beating him this time. Other than that, we’ve got nothing planned, so we might continue our Lost Ruins of Arnak solo campaign and play whatever game we feel like!

What’s your most prized board game possession?

Cats know exactly where the sweet spot is on a table. The point of interest, the zero-zero-zero point. And in our case, especially Starbuck will like to let us know that she definitely deserves more attention than some silly cardboard on the table. Luckily she never really completely reset/sabotaged any of our games, not even dexterity games like Megacity Oceania or Junk Art, so we’re counting our blessings. 😉

 

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Last week Heinze picked something up at our local game store and came across something wonderful: little baggies for the buildings in Tiny Towns! We really enjoy Tiny Towns, but we do find the setup a little bit fiddly with all the plastic bags with the buildings and the different resource cubes. This makes the setup a lot quicker and it also looks really nice on the table. That surely was a no-brainer purchase for us. These were released in retail in The Netherlands by the Dutch retailer, but we also spotted them in the BGG store if you’re interested.

We also played our third game of Pandemic Legacy Season 0 and… we won! But again, barely. We adapted our tactics and that certainly helped a lot, but the cards weren’t stacked in our favor. We do, however, feel like we can start the campaign now after a few practice games. Looking forward to creating some cool characters in the next session.

And yesterday we’ve played a game of Terra Mystica! It had been four years since the last time we played the game, so we were a little rusty on the rules. It’s still a great game, but it did take us over five hours with five players. That’s a little longer than I prefer games to be or that we remembered it took last time. Although to be fair, it might not have been the game’s fault since one of the players was dealing with a serious case of analysis paralysis.

This coming week we’ve got a game of Gloomhaven scheduled and that’s it! So it’s still a surprise what we’ll get to the table, although we’ve been talking about Merv quite a lot lately, so that’s probably going to be one of them and I’m looking forward to it!

Did a pet ever ruin any of your games?

We often hear of people that rent a nice cabin somewhere to mostly play board games all day and I’ve always found this fascinating. I associate holidays with hiking, exploring and, when abroad, learning about foreign cultures. Then again, if you have little time to play board games at home or if the home situation is too distracting, then it seems like a logical thing to do. To be really honest, we haven’t been on vacation abroad in quite a few years and it’s definitely something we should do again once the worldwide situation allows for it. One of the things we love to do when we’re visiting an unknown city is checking out the local game stores, it’s fun to see the different styles of shops and what games are being sold.

 

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We haven’t been playing as many games last week as we had hoped, but there were some fun ones! We solved the hardest scenario of Chronicles of Crime: 1900 and we really enjoyed that! We almost completed it perfectly. This version of Chronicles of Crime adds some escape-room-like puzzles to the game and they are a fun addition and nicely weaved into the story. We might like this version of the series the best so far. We’ve also played our second game of Pandemic Legacy Season 0. It finally clicked in our heads halfway through the game that we had to use the vans more. We won, but we’re still going to play another “practice” game before we actually begin the campaign. We also played three practice games with season 2 and that really helped us to prevent some silly mistakes during the game.

There also was more Gloomhaven! I’m playing the ultimate support character right now. I basically only influence the enemies and put curses into their attack deck and I just keep boosting the two other party members. It’s fun, but the character does feel slightly overpowered or just makes it feel too easy since the enemies almost never get to hit us with the number of curses that are in their deck. Another big box game we played this weekend was Mansions of Madness, which has been quite a while since we had time for that! And a game of Jaipur, you can never go wrong with that!

Do you play a lot of games when you’re on vacation?

We’re aware that in parts of the world, like in India, Covid is still raging and what’s unfolding there is devastating. Beneeta Kaur and AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps have done an amazing job on running a Twitch stream raising money for Covid Relief in India, raising over 17.000 dollars. We’re so impressed by their hard work and everybody who has participated and contributed to this amazing result! If you want to donate to India’s covid relief, you can do so here: https://gnfa.breezechms.com/give/online.

 

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On the other hand, vaccines are slowly being administered all around the world and for a lot of people, that means that game nights can be a thing again! But it’s been quite a long time since we’ve had these strange social gatherings with groups and games and so we thought it would be good to remind people of some things that are different from playing games with each other digitally. 😉

It’s going to take a little while longer for us before we can have gaming days and nights with gaming groups again, be we simply can’t wait to play and share amazing new games with our friends. And… continue our game of The King’s Dilemma that has lain dormant since February last year! :’) Here in The Netherlands, they’re expecting that most people will have been vaccinated somewhere in August, so we’ll just have to be patient a little longer.

Last week, we haven’t played a lot of games. We were kinda obsessed with the TV series American Gods which was very interesting since Heinze has read the book and I haven’t – so it’s a different experience for the both of us. We’ve just finished the first season and enjoyed it a lot.

This weekend, we did play two new things! First was a Dutch escape room game called “Het Boekanier Dossier” and that was fun. We did apparently missed/skipped quite a few puzzles but still came to the right conclusion to the story. Whoops!

And we played the preview copy we received of the expansion Tall Tales for Ruthless. We think that Ruthless is one of the better deckbuilding games out there but few people know about it. The expansion comes with six modules that you can mix up with the base game and we’ve played with about half of them now. You can read our first impression on our Instagram page. The expansion will be on Kickstarter, you can sign up on this website if you’d like to be notified when it launches.

What else should people keep in mind when gaming with other people IRL again?

 

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Games can make you a certain way. When we’re playing a game of Lost Ruins of Arnak, we feel like cool adventurers, exploring and finding treasure. When we’re playing games like Hive and Onitama, we feel cool and calculated. But… when playing heavy economic games like Food Chain Magnate, for example, we both often have no clue what we’re doing. We don’t play them very often, that certainly helps. 😉

Speaking of games we do understand, Villagers! Sinister Fish was kind enough to have us on as guests playing Villagers, with the upcoming Shifting Seasons expansion, live on their awShux stream! We played together with Dave, the owner of Sinister Fish and Haakon, the designer and Rachel won! While we hope we get to play with Dave and Haakon at a con someday it’s also nice to know Rachel has a 100% win rate playing Villagers against the designer of the game. Click here to watch it!

Other than that we have completed the It’s A Wonderful World War or Peace campaign which was fun and we’re looking forward to trying the Leisure and Decadence campaign when it comes out in retail. Or… if we can’t wait, we’ll order it from La Boîte De Jeu’s website. 🙂 We also tried Mandala Stones which is a nice abstract game but we’re going to try it a few times more to see if it is a classic or just a fun game. It does look incredibly pretty so if you like pretty games with few rules but hard decisions, you should check it out.

And in non-gaming news, since we haven’t been able to go bouldering for over four months now and the weather is starting to get better, we’ve started slacklining! We’re still not really good at it, but it’s a ton of fun. Have any of you ever done this? And we’ve found a freely accessible outside boulder wall on the grounds of our local university and that certainly was a highlight for us this past week.

This week, if everything goes right, we’ll get an advance copy of the upcoming Ruthless expansion which has got us excited. We always thought the pirate themed deck builder does some fun and different things which makes it unique, so it will be cool to see what designer and illustrator Roland has done to make his game even better. We’ll let you know!

What game makes you feel like a bumbling child?

 

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It’s like MicroMacro: Crime City has a bit of buzz going on since Spiel! Pegasus did a cool viral marketing thing by sending parts of the map as a postcard to different board game personalities and now that it’s out in several countries a lot of people seem to be enjoying it.

We got it last week as part of our going project to support our local game store during these hard times (at least that is the excuse we’re using 🙂 ) and we’ve played the first eight cases so far. We definitely recommend playing it on the “expert” mode as we think the first cases are very easy. By only looking at the first card of the case it feels more like actual detective work and not like an eye exam trying to spot the requested part of the map. It is an enjoyable experience, though, and we expect our friends to get a kick out of it once we’re done with it. The game doesn’t really have any rules that you’ll have to learn or things the can ruin the experience so if you want to show people how different and interesting games can be, this is probably one to try! Our only critique is that we find the price a little steep if you compare it to, for example, Chronicles of Crime which will provide you with many more hours of detective work. But we have the hardest cases still in front of us, so maybe the game will surprise us just yet.

Do like like mystery/deduction games? Which one is your favorite?
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